September 30, 2010 -

John Heald

This will not be my greatest blog ever because it is being written at break neckspeed because the ship’s computers were all down this morning for two hours. Don’t ask me why because I tried asking one of the IT guys here and he basically told me to bugger off…….or whatever the Filipino equivalent is……magan buggeri offio fat ti …….because he was stressed trying to do what IT guys do when things stop working.

They started working just after 9 am which sounds OK but I new I had a conference call today and a meeting so I pretty much knew that if I didn’t start at 7 am as normal…..then I would be in doo doo street. And with the two-hour time difference between the ship and Miami, I am sitting here, in my underpants rushing through today’s blog. It is already 1 pm their time and I am typing so fast my underpants are smoldering………although that could be last night’s burrito.

As I said, I spent part of the morning on the phone on one of those wonderful conference calls I love so much. I am going to be very careful here but I have to say that the call was a total waste of time. What we took 65 minutes to discuss what could have been said in 3 minutes and as is often the case with meetings, no decision was made except to schedule another sodding meeting.

I have written here before about the fact that some of the beards use a language I don’t understand and I am sure most of them are using these meetings to prepare for an audition to appear on The Apprentice……..blue sky thinking my arse.

The person who was leading the call today is excellent at his or her job but bloody hell……he or she really just can’t make any of these calls interesting. Even if they had just been hit over the head with a carrot that looked like a thingy by a naked Bill Clinton or a spacecraft from the planet Epicuglyanus had landed in his backyard and that when they disembarked their flying saucer and said “take me to your leader” in a French accent..…he or she would still fail to bring the story alive. And pretty soon you’d be wishing you were a horse so you could fall asleep standing up.

Unfortunately, he or she never has been attacked by a naked ex-President with a genital-shaped vegetable or met French-speaking aliens. All that happened in their life last week was they had been looking at spread sheets about guest demographics. And staggeringly, he or she believed that this was interesting enough to bring up in a 65-minute telephone meeting with 14 people present. Honestly, after a few minutes I gave serious thought to pretending the ship was under attack by Mazatlan pirates and that I had to hang up and defend the ship from Jose Greybeardo. This person was so boring….….he or she was the Weather Channel. So please excuse today’s blog and normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

I have to crack on with today’s Q and A…….here we go.

Ashley S Asked:
Hi John Please Reply

Love your blog! My husband Herm and I had the honor of sailing with you the Carnival Freedom in Aug 2007 for our honeymoon and we had a wonderful time then. If only I could get all of those pictures we took scrapbooked it would be a miracle. We had baby in June 2008 so we are wondering if Carnival ever does a Kids sail Free promotion like that ship that is run by a mouse has every once in awhile? We took our daughter Emilia on the Carnival Sensation last November at 17 months and she had a wonderful time especially flirting with our room steward. I am sure that she will have a better time on our next cruise as she is now old enough for Camp Carnival. I would love to be able to take her on another cruise.

I hope that we will be able to sail with you again someday.

Enjoy your time with Heidi and Kye! I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be away from them.


John Says:
Hello Ashley S

Many congratulations on the arrival of your daughter and as I have Kye here with me now I know the fun and challenges that sailing with a toddler can bring. I am going to ask one of my colleagues in the Miami office to contact you as and when we have any “family offers” that he thinks may be appropriate for you. I know your daughter would love to cruise again and experience the many delights that Camp Carnival will bring her……..and of course you and your husband get to have some quality time and fun as well. So, please look out for some information in the future and maybe the ship you do decide to sail on will be the one I am on so we can meet once again.

Best wishes to you and the family

Chas Asked:
Hi “John Please Reply Heald”

Love ur blog thingy! I’m cruising on the Destiny on Monday and it has been 5 years since I cruised on Carnival. Reading ur blog has eased my mind and made me wish I was actually in California so I wouldn’t feel awkward when everyone else around me is dressed up in prom dresses on formal night while I’m elegantly casual. P I honestly think it’s just another old school tradition and hence should be kept. But I’m not old school and neither are Californians. Haha before I forget I’m actually reading ur blog on my Eye Phone while wearing underpants. And u don’t have to reply I just thought that was ur name for a while. Hopefully I’ll have a great time on Destiny since it will be raining all week thanks to all the tropical storms. I’ll let u know how it goes!

P.S. My husband has been deployed not “deported” 3 times to Iraq and reading how much you miss ur family reminds me of those feelings and I want to let you know to not feel guilty because it’s the same sacrifice! The way you feel is exactly how the soldiers feel. Military life has sacrifices and so does life on a ship. Have a great time with ur family!

John Says:
Hello Chas

Thanks for that great posting and before I go any further please allow me to thank your husband for the service he has given to his country. While nothing I do can ever compare to what he and the other brave men and women who serve have done and are doing, I still feel the pain of having to say goodbye. By now you are home from your cruise on the Carnival Destiny and I hope you had a brilliant time. Certainly dress code continues to be one of the hot three topics that divide opinion here on the blog and on Cruise Critic and Cruise Mates etc.

The other two are of course smoking……and whether I should be allowed to wear a G-String on lido deck. Certainly as I have mentioned before here, the most casual home port as far as seven-day voyages are concerned is Long Beach and having sailed these past two years out of Mobile, Miami, Port Everglades, Galveston and Charleston I can say that the overall dress code here on elegant night is elegant casual.

You said you felt awkward because you wouldn’t be elegantly dressed and that’s my point you see. Nobody should feel awkward, nobody. That’s why my opinion on this is different to Carnival’s and many of my great blogger friends. You see, I think dress codes are a thing of the past. Yes, there needs to be parameters for the whole cruise. No ripped jeans, shorts and tank tops, etc. But honestly, does it really matter if someone is wearing a pair of pants and a polo shirt or a simple dress or blouse? Not to me it doesn’t. I won’t enjoy my prime rib, well done, end cut any more if you are wearing casual clothes or a $3,000 Versacmani dress. I think this “casualisation” is excellent because if you are inviting people to spend their hard earned money on your cruise line…. I think it’s absurd to tell them what they must wear. As I said, this is just my opinion and not one shared I know by many of the bloggers and indeed by most at Carnival Cruise Lines. I am just rambling here Chas and most importantly I hope that you didn’t feel awkward and that you had a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes to you both

Robbie Asked:
John, please reply

I’m going on the Carnival Imagination in a few weeks (my 3rd on this ship/itinerary), and was planning on buying a few of the future cruise certificates, but just found out that they aren’t offered on my ship.

Are there other ways of getting these? I want to book 2 more cruises next year, and these would go a long way in helping me decide on the Itineraries. Any information would be greatly appreciated!


John Says:
Hello Robbie

I checked with the Carnival Imagination and you are correct that at this time the certificates for onboard credit are not available on that ship. There are plans to have this fleet wide by the end of the year and I know that doesn’t help you because the ships are the only place where these can be purchased. So my apologies and I truly hope you have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes

Teresa Richardson Asked:
Dear John, (Please read and reply only if you need to)
Note: last item is a request

Since my husband and I don’t have a clue who to thank for all the wonderful surprises we had last week on our Carnival Triumph cruise, we will thank you and ask that you pass our appreciation on to the proper people. First, we were pleasantly surprised to get a call just as we returned from the life boat drill offering us an upgrade. My husband answered the phone but had difficulty hearing/understanding the young lady on the phone and passed her off to me. She asked if we’d like an upgrade to an outside cabin on Empress Deck. Now to be completely honest, as long as we are on the ship, we really don’t care which deck or where the room is. There are advantages and/or disadvantages (just according to whether you are a glass half full or half empty type person) to every cabin and every deck. I told her we had an outside cabin already. My husband realised what she wanted and said ask if the cabin had a balcony, so I did and she replied she thought it did and offered to show the cabin to us before we made up our minds since we told her we had already unpacked a lot of our stuff. Well the sweet lady took us to cabin 7425 one of the aft cabins with the wrap-around deck. Of course we accepted this absolutely wonderful gift. But we do not know who to thank. At first we thought our 3 children had arranged this wonderful surprise as our 45th anniversary present, but all 3 failed to take credit. The young lady told us that she had received an email from home office to offer us the cabin, probably because this was cruise 23 with Carnival for us. But someone had to bring us to their attention and we just refuse to think a mindless computer randomly selected us. We feel it has to be you or our PVP, Shay Hart who deserves the credit and we humbly and sincerely thank you for such an honour and such a beautiful cabin.

Next we had another surprise on our 4th night when we got back to our cabin after dinner. We had lovely letter from Noonan, our CD, stating you had asked him to send us a bottle of champagne and a 24-karat gold Triumph on a stick–which he did. (As a side note, Noonan was our CD when we did our family cruise last year. Our 10-year old Grand-daughter fell in love with him and named her new kitten after him–quite an honour from that still-hates-boys-stage. We were very impressed with his growth as a CD. In fact, his entire Fun Patrol Staff were excellent and handled a no-screen-for Bingo incident without a hitch.

Now in order for the sweet to be truly appreciated, you need a little sour. Ours came the second day of the cruise. The frame of my glasses snapped at the top edge of the nose piece and the lens just toppled out. I did not have a spare pair because my eyes are still adjusting from recent cataract surgery. We thought perhaps the jewelry department might be able to apply a dollop of jewelry weld to hold until we got home and I could make an appointment for new glasses. Well, Marco, took pity on me, took my glasses to the back and super glued the frame together–and it held until Day 5. They did not charge us for this invaluable service.
Also, after we received your lovely gifts, my husband gave me a beautiful pendant that needed a very fine chain, Once again the jewelry department came to the rescue. They did not have as fine a chain as the pendant needed so they put a ring thingy thru the pendant opening and hooked that to a beautiful white gold chain and I was able to wear my necklace right out of the store.

Carnival made our 45th anniversary cruise one that we will never forget and we want to personally thank each and every person who had a part in making it so memorable for us. Please, John, accept our thanks and pass them on to those who deserve credit.

Last, I wrote you some time back requesting your help in obtaining a table for our family of 10 on our October 23 sailing at the aft section of Deck 3 in the Paris Dining Room. We had tried to reserve a table in that area on our May cruise and our Matre’D said he was going on vacation and it was too early to reserve it in May. We asked our Matre’D on this cruise and he too will be going on vacation before we sail. Unfortunately, I could not remember our booking number (58RW99) so we left him our email address and our request for one of the tables facing aft since we thought it would help entertain our 11 year old, our 12 year old and our 6 month old grand children. Since you told me to remind you in September of our request and since I am writing you to thank you for all you have already done, I thought I’d add my request-reminder for our October 23 cruise for the table for 10 in this same email and not clutter up the bloggy thingy with two letters in one month. I will thank you and the Carnival Dining Room Staff for your help in this matter in advance. I have no doubt that you will do all you can to meet our request and we will know if we have a different placement, it will not be because you did not try you best. Thanks, John. You are truly Carnival’s best asset when it comes to guest satisfaction. BTW, we appreciate your honest love for your family and that you are not ashamed to declare it to one and all. We love that you share your family with us. It makes us feel like we are all one big happy family, and isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

John Says:
Hello Teresa Richardson

What a fantastic review and I will make sure that Noonan, the cruise director not the kitten gets to see how much you all enjoyed the special things he did for you. When people ask me for little extras I rely so much on my colleagues to follow through. Most are very good at this and one or two …….. well…..need a kick in the bottom. Noonan is at the top of the list and I am very proud and thankful for him indeed. Anyway, I will also pass on your comments to Shay Hart who may have had something to do with your upgrade. It sounds like the gift shop staff also need a big thank you and again I will ask that Marco sees how much you appreciated his efforts.

I have sent your dining request to the maitre d on the Carnival Triumph and I am sure he will do his best to make sure you are seated as desired.

Thanks so much for taking the time to write and I am so glad that you had such a wonderful time.

Best wishes to you and all the family

Bill (Zydecocruiser) from ZydecoCruiser.com Asked:
Please reply, John

Hi John,

Are porters really being instructed by Carnival to inspect luggage before accepting it? What kind of rubbish is that? I understand the liquor policy, but having porters as liquid police? Say it ain’t so.

Please see the Cruise Critic thread:


John Says:
Hello Bill ZydecoCruiser

Yes indeed Bill we are relying on the assistance of shoreside security to help with scanning the bags for prohibited items. With thousands of pieces of luggage coming onboard it is impossible for the ship’s crew to check them all. I realise that this may not be something that everyone agrees with or enjoys but it is what it is and I think for the most part our guests are starting to understand and accept this policy. On a happier note I saw your recent photos on ZydecoCruiser.com and there were as always absolutely brilliant. I am looking forward to seeing you and Elizabeth next year on your Carnival Magic.

Best wishes to you both

Dave Asked:
John (please reply),

I was wondering how the beards at Carnival come up with the names for the ships. What process did they go through to come up with “Carnival Magic” or even “Carnival Fantasy”?

Also, does Carnival accept ideas for ship names? You should hold a contest to name the next class of ships after the Dream class is done, like RCI did with Oasis and Allure.


John Says:
Hello Dave

I think in the old days the names were chosen by one or two people who decided the names between them and for the most part I think they did a great job. Then of course as other companies came along and built ships names for ships began to be all too similar in name. These days the names are chosen based on marketing strategies and who knows what that involves as it’s a world I really don’t understand. However, I think the names continue to be ones that I personally like and in the Carnival Breeze I think we have a name that really inspires. While we don’t have a current contest to name a ship, we will have several contests coming up in the next few weeks to name some very important parts of your Carnival Magic. Watch this space.

Thanks Dave and if you have any other questions please let me know.

Best wishes

Shane Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply)

We are writing to let you know the Planets have finally aligned for us! Three things are about to happen in October on the Carnival Splendor.

1) Two years from the date of my first cruise, we will turn Platinum on the Carnival Splendor. We slipped in a cruise this month, just so we could be Platinum on the Splendor with you.

2) We will finally have you as a CD. We met you on the Carnival Dream’s transatlantic voyage, when you were kind enough to come and meet with our Transatlantic Dreamers CC group.

3) And our third anniversary. We have cruised for each of our anniversaries since getting married.

Looking forward to seeing you again, and have you as a CD for the first time. Won’t be the last though as we are already booked on the Oct sailing of the Magic for our next anniversary.

We too, love reading your Blog, and hope you will be able to continue for many years to come. With any luck, your two lovely ladies will still be with you, when we get there, and may be able to meet them also.

Shane and Janet

John Says:
Hello Shane and Janet

And I am very happy to hear that Mars and Uranus are aligned and that I will be seeing you both very soon. Please remember to leave me a note when you board at the guest services desk so I can give you a call and send you a little something as well. The girls are leaving October 10 so hopefully you will be cruising before then. Please let me know if there is anything you need.

Best wishes and see you soon

Cheryl Johnson Asked:
Dear John – Please Reply…

I’ve never blogged before and am so excited to have found your site. Thank you for taking a minute to read this and thrilled to learn that you’re currently on the Splendor.

20 years ago today my husband and I took our first cruise which was to Mexico for our honeymoon. I’m so curious if you might have been the cruise director on the Carnival Jubilee at that time? It was a wonderful seven day cruise and I kept thinking years later you might have been the CD on that ship – we won “the newlywed game” and earned our gold ship. The CD at the time was so engaging and fun and was a highlight of being on the ship and I’m hoping you might recall if you were the CD then.

Now, 20 years later, we will be celebrating our anniversary on the October 3rd cruise on the Splendor and thrilled you are the CD. My husband and I haven’t been on a seven day cruise since our honeymoon and thought it would be great to go to the same destination on a newer ship. We booked this a year ago so we could afford to pay overtime and treat ourselves to a balcony….and ended up splurging and getting a wraparound – I can’t wait! We’re also going with friends who have never cruised, so it’s going to be a blast.

I’m not one who’s comfortable in making requests for favors, yet it appears from your blog that you are generous in offering help. Like many relationships, my husband and I have weathered many storms. For us, we’ve had others say that we’ve experienced more than our share of challenges physically, emotionally, and financially. Yet, we are so blessed with what we do have and the timing of this cruise couldn’t have been better. It is in being positive and having each other that has helped us weather the storms. If there is any possibility that you might be able to help us get a good location for our dining table, that would be so much appreciated. It would make celebrating our 20th extra special. If you need to know, our room will be 7447 and our friends are in 7449. Even if you’re unable to help us get a nice table location, if we could get a chance to meet you that would be awesome.

Thank you John for blogging and making me laugh when I need a pick-me-up. I’m looking forward to a splendid time on the Splendor, and hopefully getting a chance to meet you in person.

Warm regards,
Cheryl Johnson

John Says:
Hello Cheryl Johnson

Welcome to the blog and I am happy that you found us. I was the CD on the Jubilee for a few months around 20 years ago and if you remember a suave, handsome and sexy cruise director as the one who entertained you…………..it wasn’t me. I will though be with you next week and I am excited for you to see the changes that have happened here at Carnival since you were last with us. Certainly the wraparound balcony will be a wonderful place from which to sit and enjoy the ocean and each other’s company. Please don’t worry about asking for a favor, that’s one of the reasons I write this blog so that I can help people. I have sent a note to the maitre d Shane here who will do all he came to give you table you will enjoy. Please leave me a note at the guest services desk as well so I can call and say hello.

I will see you all soon

Best wishes and get ready for a brilliant seven days

Coolhand Luke Asked:

I was going to post the review of my Conquest cruise that is already on Cruise Critic but I must wonder if it will ever get published? I say this as I have taken a lot of time to try and get some posts on to your blog but have never seen them published! It seems you are not interested in hearing anything but how much people like you before then asking for free gifts etc etc. So before I waste my time and yours I want to know that if I send you my review of a tired looking ship and the lower class guests that cruise on her, I want assurances that you will publish here on this blog.

John Says:
Hello Coolhand Luke.

Thank you for writing in and of course I want to see your review of your cruise. I am not sure what has led you to believe that I wouldn’t post and reply to anything that shows us ways we can improve because that is far from the truth. Please do send in your review and I will read it and respond accordingly. However, I can already tell you that I am not going to agree with you about the people who cruise out of Galveston because having spent two months there recently I can say that they were some of the most fun and loyal Carnival cruisers I have ever met. So yes, please send me your review and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes

Farmer Pete Asked:
John: Please reply

Just a quick question about Halloween. Our cruise on the Valor starts on the 31st. Will the party be that night after embarkation and stuff or will it be the next night which is formal night? We are deciding if to bring costumes or not. Love the blog and my early mornings are made easier by reading your blogs.

Thanks so much

John Says:
Hello Farmer Pete

I am guessing that you are a farmer and if so I know how hard you work and how much you probably need a vacation. I checked with the ship and just as we will do here on the Carnival Splendor we will also be hosting our Halloween party the night of the 31st. I think to do it the following day will be a bit of a letdown and regardless of what we on the ship decide to do I think most people who have brought costumes will wear them anyway on the Sunday. I hope this helps and I hope you have a brilliant Halloween cruise.

Best wishes

That’s all for today and I will be back with more tomorrow. Thanks to you all for the comments, please keep them coming.

The poor folks on the Carnival Conquest have missed both Grand Cayman and Jamaica due to tropical storm Nicolebastard. I asked Chris the CD how it was over there and it is difficult of course as people are very disappointed. However, one of the things he did say was that Host Mach and the Cruise Critic Crazies have been a tremendous ally to the crew and that’s wonderful to hear. Thanks Mach and the Cruise Critic folks………you are brilliant.

Time for a break and I want you to go and get some popcorn and put your feet up and allow me to transport you back to the year 1983. I was 18 years old and I was to girls what Judge Judy is to cage fighting. While I was desperately looking for anybody or anything to have rumpy pumpy with Return of the Jedi was the top grossing movie, War by U2 was one of the best selling albums and my mate Alan was vomited on by a girl he tried to kiss. The US invaded and liberated Grenada and the mullet was the hair style of choice……..and for some it still is today!

Meanwhile Carnival’s founder Ted Arison was blazing a path to make his cruise line the most popular in the world and with the Mardi Gras, Carnivale, Festivale and the newly built Tropicale he was allowing people who never ever thought they would be able to afford a cruise……to do so and to do so in the most fun way. So, let’s take you back to the year 1983 when tours of the bridge were not just tours….they were shows. So ladies and gentlemen please join me now on the Festivale and meet your host Cruise Director Bill Panoff and get ready to laugh…..oh and groan a bit as well.

Wasn’t that brilliant? There is so much to talk about from that video. Bill’s shirt, the fact that he could mention the names of other cruise lines and not have a senior vice president’s shoe hanging out his bottom, the hairstyles of the guests and most of all those superb jokes…….hot chocolate……….bar of chocolate and a match………..brilliant.

Bill Panoff was one of the reasons I became a CD because it was as an ugly young bar waiter that I would watch him and think how I would love to Bill and to wear tight pants that showed his meat and two vegetables. Bill was one of Carnival’s most engaging Cruise Directors and was loved by the guests. He is of course now Editor in Chief of Porthole Magazine (www.porthole.com) the industry’s most popular cruise periodical.

The sad thing is some of the cruise directors are still using some of Bill’s jokes……..peanut butter and jelly sandwiches……the only thing that tastes the same coming up as it does going down ……. what poor excuse of a CD uses that joke still………….oh bugger………….it’s me.

I will be back tomorrow with a proper blog and again my apologies today’s is so short.

But finally today.

When one of the 344 Stephanies told me she had started me a Facebook page thingy my only worry was that someone might post a photo of me naked with a rose sticking out of my bottom, with a pencil up my nose. Or that an ex-girlfriend would tell the world that I had a thingy the size of a dead slug.

However this morning I read a news article that told me that there are apparently more formidable risks attached to social networking on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter because research has showed that social networking is responsible for hideous disease such as the narrowing of arteries, heart disease, cancer, genetic alterations, dementia ………..and death.
So, as I have 4,400 Facebook friends and write a blog everyday ………….I will say:

Your friend

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.