October 6, 2010 -

John Heald

As a diabetic I have to have what’s called an A1C which is a measurement of my sugar level over the last 3 months. Thanks to the new equipment we have in our medical centers onboard they can now do this for me and give me the results straight away. This means I don’t have to go to see Doctor Longfinger when I am back home.

A non-diabetic has a reading of between 5 and 6 while a diabetic is supposed to have a reading of between 6 and 7 with obviously the lower the reading the better chance that you won’t have heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, death or that your thingy won’t fall off. Anyway, I had my reading and its 6.3….which has really pissed me off. I have being trying so hard to get below non-diabetic range but I am .3 points off……bugger bugger bugger.

I have been trying though and losing weight but bloody hell….it’s been difficult. My brain seems to be working and for the most part in charge. It allows me to be funny when I need to be and to remember the entire boat drill speech and that when I am having rumpy pumpy with Heidi my brain tells me not to call her Megan.

However, there seems to be something wrong with my stomach. It doesn’t matter how many bits of lettuce and grilled chicken breast I cram into it, my stomach overrides my brain and tells me I need a huge plate of fries. And then, instead of ejecting all the excess fat, my stomach feed sit to my hearts and veins.

Of course, I can use willpower to counter these demands, but this makes this is so dull and boring even though I know it’s a must but the doctor told me today that I cannot do it my diet alone ……nope…….exercise he said……..looking me in the eye and forcing himself not to say “Exercise you fat bastard, exercise.”

And once again, he’s right I have to exercise. Yep, I have played around with the notion for years but let’s be honest, I am to exercise what the French are to historical victories in battle ……… meaning neither of us have ever had any. You see, what I tend to do when it comes to the business of being fit is not bother. I eat lots, and then I sit in a chair. The downside is that I wobble and wheeze extensively while going to the refrigerator for something else to eat.

So that means I have to spend more time in the sodding gym and try to eat more air and eat less ……well everything. The problem with me is that I eat when I am not active. I get hungry when I am sitting here at the computer and blogging but when I am on stage I never think of food.  And I know that this Thursday and Friday while the ship is in Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan that I will be bored…..totally and utterly bored…….as bored as Tiger Woods in a room full of nuns. And because I will be bored, I will eat. Let me explain.

This Friday I have been ordered to attend a health and safety course. It’s now compulsory for all shipboard senior officers and department heads to attend this……..and I am looking forward to it as much as I would look forward to sucking Judge Judy’s toes.

I am really fed up about this because it starts at nine in the morning until five in the afternoon and on Friday we have day two from 8am – 2:30 pm. So when am I going to write my blog? Or Facebook update thingies? Or do any actual work? I realize that safety is first and foremost here at Carnival but I don’t think the beards in high visibility jackets realize that I have loads of work to do.

Not only that but the food thing becomes a factor because we are expected to have what’s called a rolling lunch. This means that a table will constantly loaded with sandwiches and cold meats and hot snacks and bread and chips and because the instructor will have a beard and be as interesting as watching grass grow…….I will eat and nibble and eat and nibble and eat and nibble and…..well you get the picture. So I will put on weight while listening to a beard tell me how I must not put my finger in a power socket and that I must wear a high visibility jacket when taking a dump. I am also disappointed because I wanted to spend Friday with the girls ……….. because they leave on Sunday.

I wonder if he will teach us that if you have a beard and you have a heart attack on the street, you are 50% less likely to survive…….because passersby won’t to give the kiss of life to someone with facial hair.

Time for some good old Q and A……off we go.

That’s all for today and I will return with more tomorrow.

Kay Thomas Asked:
John (Please Reply)

Love reading your blog. I have a question regarding the Carnival Fantasy. Is there any plans to add balconies to this ship the way they did on the Fascination? I know she is headed to dry dock later this year and I was just curious. We are booked to go on her January 1st, 2011 with my son and daughter-in-law. They are first time cruisers and we hope they will get hooked on cruising like we are. We love there is a ship out of Charleston since we are only 4 hours away. We have been out of Miami also, but this is more convenient. We would really love a balcony the next time we cruise so that is why I wondered. Can’t really afford the suites. Our first cruise was the Fascination so I hope we will like the Fantasy as much as we did that ship. Also hope the “kids” enjoy it also.

John Says:
Hello Kay Thomas

I know that at this time there are no plans that I’m aware right now to add balconies on the Carnival Fantasy. I know these have been very popular additions on her sister ships and I can understand why you love the balconies so much and how they enhance a cruise. I recently got to be CD on the Carnival Fantasy and can honestly say I had the very best of times on that marvelous ship. The upgrades she received have been a wonderful rejuvenation for her. Please keep enjoying the blog thingy and let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Best wishes

Thomas Rossini Asked:

Looking to make a reservation on the carnival dream…
now I know the max is 12 but we have 15… I would be willing to split the group up into 2 groups… 1 group of 9 and a second group of 6 or if you can do all 15 that would be great as well

Carnival Dream
Feb 19, 2011
my cabin number is 11230

Thanks again
Thomas Rossini

John Says:
Hello Thomas Rossini

That should be no problem at all. We can give you a 9 and a 6 which I think would be the best bet. Please can you resend this information to me along with the cabin numbers of all in your group on or around January 1 and I will ask the maitre D on your Carnival Dream to assist you.

Best wishes to all

Larry Awbrey Asked:

I would like to thank you for your help in getting a table for four on the Freedom, I am one of the larger people and need a chair without arms. I was a bit worried because you replied to my request that you would send this to the maitre-d on the liberty that was last year’s cruise, but it all worked out thanks to you.

It is very sad to hear people say they don’t like the way you talk about things, one of the funny stories you tell is about the women who was on her first cruise and got stuck on the toilet, I heard that story over 11 years ago on my first cruise on the Triumph what a great time my wife and I had on that cruise, on our 4th cruise we were lucky to find out that you were again the cruise director and this time I ended up being Mr. Dick Wooden for a week on this cruise I still have the tape of me playing in A Bed Time story, but that wasn’t the best part of the cruise, we picked up 27 people in a motor boat in the middle of the ocean. What a great job you and crew did that day saving those people. Thanks to you we have enjoyed 17 cruises on Carnival and today I will be booking my 18th. I would love to find out when your sailing in 2011 and book a cruise again that you are the cruise director. Please keep up the great work I love reading your blog.

Thanks again Larry & MaryJo

John Says:
Hello Larry

Thanks for the great memories and I am very happy that the Maitre D honoured (spelt correctly) my request to help you with a table. I hope you had a fantastic time and your loyalty to Carnival is extraordinary. Hopefully you will consider sailing with me on your new Carnival Magic next year as it will be great to see you again.

Thanks so much for the words of support and it’s great to know that you and so many others do appreciate my silly musings.

I hope to see you soon

Best wishes

Rich Asked:

Mr. Heald,

First I wanted to take this opportunity to please tell you to not change anything about your blog. I have been reading for a few years, since you and Heidi did the familiarization trip in Northern Europe, but this is my first posting. I think your writing style and excellent and very conversational. Also, as you would say the people posting the personal attacks against you can just bugger off! That never ceases to amaze me why they feel it’s their right to be so rude to you personally, if they don’t like the blog then don’t read it! However, there are many of us who love it daily and hope you never quite writing.

Awhile ago you wrote about spending all the time with your parents as you and take advantage of every opportunity. I took your advice and booked myself and my mom on Holland America’s Eurodam for her 60th birthday present. I’m not sure if you can do this, but if you can, would you be able to request a table for 2 at the early seating. Also, if it’s possible would you be able send a small birthday gift as you do for Carnival guests, I would be most appreciative. We will be sailing on the Eurodam’s October 16th sailing.

Thank you for your assistance, and please keep up the excellent work with your blog as I read it daily!

Thank you,
Rich Murrow

John Says:
Hello Rich Murrow

And thank you Rich for taking the time to say how much you enjoy the blog thingy. You have been reading for a long time I see and yet this is your first post. It’s wonderful that you have booked a cruise with your Mum on the fantastic Eurodam which is a ship you will truly love. I just sailed on her sister ship the Niuew Amsterdam and I am certain that you will enjoy the Holland America commitment to service as I did. I have asked my friend at Holland America to help with your requests and thanks so much again for your support of the blog thingy.

Best wishes and have a brilliant cruise.

Paula Asked:
John, Please respond

I cannot thank you enough for making a13 year old have a very special night. Josh the CD of the Freedom called our room on the first night and set up a wonderful back stage tour of show venue. We were put in contact with Amy the Show manager and she gave Hannah a wonderful tour, she saw the props, costumes, dressing rooms and the hall where the dancers live, Both Josh and Amy were great.

Josh even sent us a Ship on a stick, I would post a picture on this blog thingy but I cannot figure out how.

Thanks again for making our first time cruise awesome, so we are now planning another one for 2012 when my oldest daughter graduates Law school.

I am writing a review and will post the photo of Hannah and Josh and you can see how happy she was.  We had a great time

Thank you so very much for making that possible with the tour.

John Says:
Hello Paula

I am so glad that your daughter was able to see her dream of meeting the dancers come true and my thanks will be passed on to Josh and his team for making this happen. I look forward to reading your post and please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you before you sail with us again.

Best wishes to all.

Jim & Lisa Asked:
Dear John (Please Reply) –

My wife and I have been reading your blog since we started cruising 18 months ago. It keeps us connected to cruising between our trips. We hadn’t cruised up until 18 months ago. I was diagnosed with a serious life-threatening disease so we decided we needed to stop putting things off that we always wanted to do. Now we’re addicted and we’ve cruised 3 times in the last 18 months, whenever the doctor says I can handle it.

We’re cruising on the Carnival Legend on 10/31. Normally my wife takes care of the arrangements, getting us a cabin close to the elevator, a dining table where I don’t have to walk too far, etc. This trip I offered to make the arrangements. She deserves a break. I booked an obstructed view balcony cabin (5245) – which happens to be near an elevator. Even though it’s an obstructed view I’m hoping my wife will enjoy sitting on the balcony, drinking some wine, and just enjoying the calm. I’ll manage the dining room no matter where we are located. I don’t want her to have to worry about me during this trip. Knowing you have such a good medical staff on board helps to ease both of our minds.

I’d like to know your suggestions for excursions in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Roatan, and Belize. Excursions that don’t take a lot of physical activity as I can only walk short distances. I want to make this a relaxing trip for both of us, but especially my wife who deserves a break.

Keep up the great blog!

John Says:
Hello Jim and Lisa

There was lots of mixed emotion in your posting as I smiled that you have discovered cruising and now love it so very much, yet I was sad when I read about your illness. Please tell Lisa not to worry about anything and not that you will need them…….but you should know that we have the very best medical staff working for us and if needed that they will give you the very best care possible. Let’s have a look at my recommendations for the ports you will be visiting.

In Grand Cayman I would take The Best of Grand Cayman excursion. This will give you a fantastic overview of the turtle farm, Seven Mile Beach and of course you will go to Hell….. the village on the west side of the island. Make sure you write a post card and mail it from the post office there because the post mark says Hell. I send one to my mother in law every time I am in the Caymans……I write, “I’ve been to hell……wish you were here.”

Then in Roatan I would suggest the Gumbilnda Park parrots and monkeys of the Caribbean excursion. This also has only moderate walking but the scenery is breathtaking and seeing the wild parrots and monkeys is superb. As for Belize I really suggest you take a look at our excursion page as while there are some that have moderate walking all are quite long and not knowing your abilities I would suggest that you think carefully before deciding which one to take. My suggestion would be the River Wallace tour but even that has some walking in it.

Then for Cozumel……well I think a relaxing day at the all exclusive Playa Mia resort may be called for. It includes open bar, great food, sun, shade, fun and oh yes…did I mention open bar? Please let me know what you think of these suggestions and if you have any follow up questions. I am going to ask Ken the brilliant Maitre D to arrange a table close to the entrance for you. Have a fantastic cruise and I wish you nothing but health and much happiness.

Best wishes

Russ L Asked:
John please reply

You need to tell your Camp Carnival girls that they should provide some kind of educational experience during the cruise. My 12 year old did nothing but play stupid games and spent his evening playing on XBox and listening to questionable music. Nobody spoke to him or the other children about the history or beauty of Alaska and now he has nothing to write about for his project which he is supposed to present to his teacher. On other cruises we have always had the children’s department teach our son something. With Carnival he learnt nothing.

John Says:
Hello Russ L

Well that is a very interesting comment indeed and I think as far as I can remember it is the first time I have ever read such a concern on the blog or heard it during my time onboard. While I apologize that you felt the Camp Carnival experience your son experienced was not what you wanted I must also say that we do offer a number of fun-yet-educational activities focusing on geography, music, the environment and other areas. We want to make sure that kids have the most fun vacation around but also learn something along the way. I do hope that you had a great time on the Carnival Spirit and that your son did too.

Best wishes


Mickey Arison is the 69th richest man and the richest in Florida but won’t give us the fruit punch back. How cheap to have all that money and not have the free fruit punch. Read this and explain why?


John Says:
Hello Sunset Cruiser

I posted this comment only so that I can say that it has to be the most ridiculous postings I have ever read and can only hope it was written in pure jest.


The Gonzalez Family from Argentina Asked:
John, (question to you please)

We are thinking about going to Europe with you on the magic and have a question for you please. Does the ship have prices for drinks and all things in dollars or does the ship start to have Euros and foreign money on the boat. Will you be the cruise director if we come on September 4th please because if you are we will come then?

Thank you

John Says:
Hello the Gonzalez Family from Argentina

Thanks so much for taking the time to write. Yes indeed I will be there in September and it would be a real honour if you decide to join me. The ship keeps all its prices in US dollars even though we are in European ports. The prices for drinks and services are just as they are in the Caribbean etc so it stays a real Carnival experience. And what an experience to sail on your Carnival Magic in Europe. Please let me know if you have any other questions and my best wishes to you and all the family.


Carol Asked:
I’m new to reading your blog, and have truly enjoyed it.

John (my boyfriend) and I will be cruising on Carnival Spirit on November 4, 2010, Room 5165. John’s 48th birthday is on November 8th. As a surprise, I made us reservations at the specialty restaurant. If it would be appropriate and not too much trouble, he would really be touched and appreciative if maybe you could send a little birthday note or something to him.

This will be John’s 8th and my 7th cruise. Hopefully one of these days we’ll get to cruise on one of your cruises.

Thank you.
Carol Thompson

John Says:
Hello Carol Thompson

Welcome to the blog thingy and I hope you are enjoying it. It will be my pleasure to send John a little birthday surprise and I will ask the CD there Wee Jimmy who you love to do this on my behalf. I hope we get to cruise together soon and have a brilliant time on the Carnival Legend.

Best wishes

That’s all for today and thanks to everyone for all the great comments.

Well I finally gave in and took the sodding welcome aboard video off. I was standing at the door of the past guest party last night when Mr. Cloonpitt started to scream at me in front of guests. I won’t bother to tell you what he said but it did include the immortal sentence “I am a fu**ing actor, you immigrant”……..yep……….as witnessed by the hotel director and various other officers in attendance……..Mr. Cloonpit called me an immigrant……and did so in ummmm …….. English.

Anyway, the welcome aboard show has been on the TV for three days now and I replaced it with the marriage show. Usually I play both back to back but honestly…….I saw no point in continuing to make him angrier and angrier. But I still don’t understand though. He volunteered to come on stage and he seemed to have fun doing it, yet the following morning he morphed into a massive Mariah Carey-type diva. It really doesn’t make sense……still I know nothing about the world of show business………….after all………….I’m just an immigrant.

On a much happier note the couple I tried to help with their relationship problems seems to be doing better. I sent them a bottle of champagne and one glass with a note to make it a “loving cup.” Hopefully they will give their relationship one more try and hopefully the young lady will remember.

Now the guests here on the Carnival Splendor this week are a little older on the whole than in previous weeks and when you have older people onboard the word “volume” comes into play as you will see now.

Guest: Mrs. ________ Ref: 840098948A
Cabin: ——- Booking#: _______ Added-Changed: 07/22/09 – 07/22/09

Mrs.______ came to the GSD to say that she and her husband had left the show tonight because the volume was too loud… GSA said that she would pass the information to the cruise director and hotel director. Tasked to cruise director.

I know that there were many bad things about living in the past such as dinosaurs ready to eat you, crapping in a cave and no Diet Coke but there was one marvelous thing our smelly ancestors had that we’ve lost – a nice bit of peace and quiet.

If you were a peasant wandering through the forest, you might have terrible teeth and absolutely no sense that the Earth was round, but at least there wasn’t much noise. No car alarms, no pneumatic drills, no flight paths, dishwasher beep or elevator Muzak, no tss-tss-tss Eye Pods or that bloody annoying Nokia ringtone. Just some birds tweeting and the occasional chomping noise as a caveman has his head bitten off by a megasorearse.

Not anymore. The soundtrack to modern life is getting louder and more persistent. Even here on the ship the fridge in my cabin beeps at me if I leave it open for more than three seconds. And when was the last time you could honestly say you sat down and read a book without some great, bellowing noise ruining your concentration – a truck reversing, a car alarm overreacting or some couple in the cabin next door having a massive session of rumpy pumpy……….lucky bastards.

Here on the ships we have become very conscious about the levels of sound in all our lounges and in the main theatre. Levels have been set that fall in accordance with company guidelines and are closely monitored by myself and the onboard technicians. Now, we do get a few comments about the levels of sound in the main show room especially during our big production shows.

However, experience has told me that before rushing off to apologize to this couple I need to check a few things out……and without patting myself on the back …. Well ….. OK….. maybe a little patting…………..I was right.

Before I met with the guests I looked at their details on the manifest and sure enough my fears were realized…….they were in their late seventies. So I already knew what was coming next and sure enough when I met them I asked them to show me exactly where they were sitting during the show…….and I was right again……..deck 3 …port side …….. Right under one of the main speakers………oh and the man……..was wearing a hearing aid which I guess amplified the sound even more.

I had asked the sound technician to report on what decibel level he had run the show at and he told me it was between 95 and 100 decibels. Now consider that a normal person talks at 60 DB and rock concert by some of today’s crap metal bands runs around 150 DB…..you can see that our shows run within proper parameters.

However………and as I explained to my new friends…….if you sit directly under a speaker and you have sensitive ears……it’s going to be too loud. So, I ask all of you to remember this. When you sit down in our shows….look up……do you have a speaker over your head…. if the answer is yes and you are an older guest with hearing aids or you have sensitive hearing, may I kindly suggest you move to the center of the room or in the balcony where the sound will not be as direct ………or as loud.

My explanation was well received by the guests and I then offered to show them exactly where to sit for the rest of the week and where not to sit as in directly under the speaker.

Well it’s mostly peace here in the cabin. The girls are still asleep in their guest cabin and here I sit at 7:10am enjoying the quiet. I know the phone won’t ring for at least another hour and the only sounds in my cabin are the click, click, click of the keyboard and the gentle “wooommmpppphhh” of my arse………that jerk pork loin I had for dinner has gone straight through me.

I often talk about some of the guests I meet here on the blog and usually that’s because they are complaining about something or have done something worthy of me sharing with all of you. Occasionally though I meet a guest who you know immediately that you will never forget. I met someone like this cruise.

He came to see me after my fun ashore fun aboard talk and he has then been to everything I have done, he wouldn’t leave my side during both sittings of the Captain’s Celebration parties and has written me 14 letters so far………yep 14.

His name is Wes, he is 29, he has an IQ of 159, and oh and yes…..he also has Asperser’s syndrome.

He has a job his parents told me when I met with them yesterday evening while having a Diet Coke with Wes in the lobby……..yep he works at a Costco (I think I may be spelling that incorrectly) and has had the job since he was17. He is fascinating and I doubt very few people outside his family would understand Wes’s needs. At school they told me their son knew all the answers but couldn’t put them down on paper. His parents told me that Wes wasn’t diagnosed until he was 8 years old.

Wes is on his third Carnival cruise.  He can tell you the name of every ship in the fleet and their tonnage and amazingly he can tell me what activities we have onboard in exact time order without getting a single one wrong.

Yet he doesn’t understand that the ship is where I live and he keeps asking me if I go home every night. While he has become attached to me I tried to introduce him to Kye last night and he ran… I mean he ran away……his arms flying around in the air as though I had just asked him to hold a snake.

Wes is indeed a remarkable man and I am spending as much time with him as I can. I have read all of his letters and later this week I am going to take him to the bridge of the ship and because he has asked me a dozen times……I am going to take him to the photo lab as that’s what he really wants to see more than anything else. I won’t forget this chap ever.

He is so funny and yet so unpredictable. I have so much respect for his parents whom of course Wes loves unconditionally. Wes is going to be one of my mates for a long time and he has promised to write on my Facebook page every day when he gets home and as his parents told me “Wes is Wes. All we do is encourage him to be himself, not try and change him.”

I have had quite a difficult day what with an awful head cold and sore eyes and a diabetic blood test that was .3 higher than I wanted. It was still good but I had really hoped and expected it to be below 6. I am also not looking forward to the health and safety beards lectures and of course I only have 4 days before the girls fly home. Yet through all that and the busy day that is a Tuesday here on the Carnival Splendor there is only one thing I remember as I sit here in my underpants writing to you and that’s Wes and his brilliant sense of humour.

As we sat in the lobby with him and his Mum and Dad, Wes looked at me and said quite suddenly “I’m not like Rain Man because I’m no good with numbers.”

And then he started to laugh a big deep from inside him laugh……and so did I.

I haven’t laughed so hard in a long, long time. Oh how I wish you were here to meet him.

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.