Full Of Cheer

October 14, 2010 -

John Heald

I am not going to dwell on what happened yesterday too much except to say that apart from one or two guests who felt compensation was due to them because of our late port arrival, the guests have been amazing with many offering support and words of sympathy. The crew are sad, there is no doubt that this has had an effect on them and yet they are keeping their sadness to crew areas and when they are with the guests they are hiding their true emotions and being what Carnival crew always are………professional, courteous and of course fun.

It is interesting that some guests are more inquisitive than others with some asking me who and why etc. Obviously this is information that I can’t share but what I do know is that all of us here on the Carnival Splendor and the rest of the fleet is very saddened by yesterday’s events.  But life indeed must go on and just as I am making sure that the guests continue to have the most brilliant time so am I going to make sure that today’s blog resumes normal service.

Just before that happens though can I say a big thank you to everyone of you who has written here and on my Facebook thingy? Your words of love and promise of prayer for the family left behind and the crew of the Carnival Splendor were simply wonderful and I have posted them on the crew notice boards.

And with that…………..here comes today’s blog.

As well as getting bugger all sleep on Wednesday night I also have had a sinus cold and headache for three or more weeks now. My head feels like a swarm of bees are having a party in there and Lindsey Lohan has joined them. Being on stage means adrenalin kicks in and you forget that you feel tired and blocked up. Sitting behind the computer blogging to you all is also fine because it’s just me and my underpants and when I feel like crap I stop, feel sorry for myself, Google “symptoms for brain tumour” and after worrying that I have one…..carry on writing.

While all of this is possible while feeling pretty awful, hosting a table in the Steakhouse is the last thing I wanted to do short of being invited to a Turkish prison to play drop the soap. But that is what I had to do last night because we have some VIP guests onboard from a group who are looking to charter the ship next year. I can’t mention the company they represent but I can mention that they are lovely people who deserved better than the company I gave them last night.

My nose was blocked, my throat sore and my stomach is queasy. Honestly, my nose is so clogged it’s been trapped up there for so long I am thinking of hiring those brave men who are rescuing the poor trapped miners in Chile to build a tunnel up my nose and drill a hole. Anyway, I wasn’t in the mood for polite conversation but at the start of the meal I think I managed to conceal that I really didn’t want to be there. Now, the Steakhouse meal usually takes 2 hours to enjoy and normally I enjoy every moment up there but feeling like I do I wanted it to be over as quickly as possible.

But everyone else at the table of 8 was having fun. The guests and the hotel director and the captain were all laughing and joking while the bees and Lindsey continued to have an orgy in my head. Then eventually the lovely Serbian waitress came over but had stand there for hours while the table continued to have a great time.

But then the one thing that drives me absolutely crazy in restaurants and that’s women…..yes you ladies. Let me explain why. Along comes the waiter and asks you what you want and the reply is always the same, “Er, what, me? Oh dear, I haven’t looked at the menu yet.”

Why is this? It’s not your first time in a restaurant and it’s not like you don’t know that the lady will be invited to order first.

The men have always decided. Why haven’t the women? How did it become law that the person that is invited to order first is the one that never knows what to have?

And that’s what happened last night. As my head pounded and my nose strayed blocked and my throat felt as scratchy as 1940’s gramophone record all I heard was “Why don’t you go first, while I decide.”

Sorry but I have had enough of this bollocks and so I have written to Gerry Cahill our president and CEO and asked him to sign off on a new rule. The new service rule at Carnival will be to make it the men who order first……it’s always the same thing anyway………shrimp cocktail, porterhouse steak, chocolate something and more wine or beer………..the end.

The women will get asked last once they have had another three hours to look at the menu before they say “I’m not very hungry, is it okay if I just have two appetizers? Do you think that’ll be enough ……………… if it’s not I can always have some of yours.”

More about the Steakhouse later but now it’s time for today’s Q and A………….here we go.

Debbie Robinson Asked:

I love reading your blogs. Counting the days until our Oct 3rd cruise with you. Keep the stories coming, luv them. My inlaws are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on the cruise. We would love for you to have a little fun with them while on board.

Joe and Julia Robinson Rm 2366.

John Says:
Hello Debbie Robinson

Well this shows how far I am behind in answering the questions as you have just returned from your cruise here on the Carnival Splendor. I hope you had fun and that you will come back and see us soon. I wish you and your husband many more years of happy togetherness and hope you also continue to enjoy the blog thingy.

Best wishes to you both.

Sharon Asked:
John – Please reply-

Enjoyed seeing and hearing about Corey – he was the first Carnival cruise director we ever sailed with and now we are going on our eighth! That brings me to my question – when will the Halloween celebrations begin? We are sailing a bit earlier than we usually do (October 17th on the Carnival Legend) and in the past have looked forward to the Halloween costumes. Any hope for this cruise? Thanks!

John Says:
Hello Sharon

It was so great to see Corey Schmidt again and he will always be thought of as one of Carnival’s very best cruise directors. Halloween will indeed be celebrated (is that the right word, do you celebrate Halloween?) during your Carnival Legend cruise as we will feature this on all of our ships during the week before as well as the 31st of course. So, I hope you have fun and please send my best to the CD there Wee Jimmy who on Halloween will be dressed as a small round Scottish ball of fun.

Best wishes

Globe Seeker Asked:
John, Reply if u want

Another Cruise Critic member suggested I post this review of my Triumph cruise on your blog so here it is.

Smokers were everywhere and not required to smoke only in designated areas. Smaller issue – elevators slow – I mean really really slow. Disembarking at the end of the cruise was almost as bad as embarking – stood in a crowded lobby for almost an hour with the line barely moving. Can’t they figure out a way to do this a little more efficiently? While our specific waiter and cabin steward were both very responsive and cheerful they were definitely the exceptions to our overall service experience. The biggest issue was the general surliness of the staff. When you would meet staff in a hall they rarely spoke, rarely smiled, and rarely even acknowledged you were there. When we asked a question they seemed irritated to have to answer and certainly did not offer to actually help. From rude bartenders, irritated pursers office staff, surly photo shop clerk…the list is long. Even room service staff who we tipped was hurried and unfriendly. What do you have to say about that then Mr. Brand Ambassador?

John Says:
Hello Globe Seeker

I was so disappointed to read your review because I just read one from another blogger Linda who painted such a different picture of the Carnival Triumph. As Brand Ambassador I take comments like yours very seriously and therefore I will pass these onto those in Miami as well to the hotel director on the ship. We expect all of our crew to be the friendliest at sea and normally that is what we hear they are. Please accept my apologies and I hope that there were many aspects of the cruise that you did enjoy. Please let me know if you have a follow up to this.

Best wishes

Christopher Packard Asked:

My wife and I will be sailing 22 Jan 2011 on the Carnival Dream. Since we don’t get to see each other but twice a year I wanted to do something special for her and try and get reservations for the chefs table. I just got off the telephone with my PVP and was told she was unable to make reservations for this event. Could you please tell me if there is someone else I can talk to that would be able to help?

I thank you for your blog as it sure is a good way to laugh off the blues so please keep it up and I will try very hard to stay up on all the new information that you put out.

Keep up the great work and we both wish we would have the privilege to sail with you again as we did on the Carnival Freedom in the med.

John Says:
Hello Christopher Packard

Thanks so much for the kind words about the blog thingy and I would be honoured (spelt correctly) to make reservations at The Chef’s Table for your Carnival Dream cruise next year. I hope we get to sail together again one day and recreate those wonderful memories we shared on the Carnival Freedom.

Please let me know if you need anything else.

Best wishes

Carrie Asked:

I experienced the new Captain’s Celebration format on My Carnival Dream in March. I miss the drinks in the lounge for this occasion. However, I don’t think I would have had the pleasure of meeting you, John if it had not been held in the new way. It does get quite congested with everyone wanting to meet the Captain. The celebration definitely needs “tweaked”. Less than 6 months until #11 on My Carnival Fascination.

John Says:
Hello Carrie

I totally agree Carrie. I am not a fan of the new format at all but we will certainly be making changes in the weeks ahead to make it more of a success. Obviously the free drinks at the start of the cruise brought more people out to the elegant parties than with our new format but as you mentioned it does allow those who really want to meet the Captain a proper chance to do so. I wonder what other bloggers think of the elegant night festivities. It was an honour to meet you on your Carnival Dream and if there is anything you need before you sail please let me know.

Best wishes

John T Asked:
Hi John (please reply),

So glad you’re finally back with Heidi and Kye. These complaints get better and better, and you absolutely did nothing wrong.

We are considering cruising the Miracle in December, but we have several concerns. In addition, we wanted to make several recommendations that we have (in addition to members on cruise critic), and we hope you can consider and possibly discuss some of them.

First, the Miracle looks like it has some awesome itineraries coming up, going to the Southern Caribbean from Florida. This is really great, and it will be a great change from sailing the typical eastern and western routes.

We were disappointed in several when we sailed the Dream last holiday season, and we have read reviews about the Miracle addressing the same problems and complaints that we had. We really hope Carnival can reconsider some of what we were disappointed about and some of what Miracle cruisers and other Carnival cruisers are currently commenting on, so we can hopefully continue to sail Carnival and possibly cruise the Miracle and have a great time this December.

First, we are very disappointed in the poolside calypso bands. I know this has been addressed on the blog before, and it still remains something that upsets us a lot whenever we cruise or think about cruising Carnival. Carnival used to have amazing 3-5 person calypso reggae bands. They used to play every day. They used to be engaging and take requests. They set the mood at the pool and the fun, relaxing atmosphere we love and have come to expect on cruises every day by the pool. It really is our favorite part of cruising, and I know many others on cruise critic and cruisers in general agree. Anyway, last year on the Dream, we had a duo who played synthesized music. They were not engaging and they did not play our favorite songs. It really put a damper on our cruise, and we did not look forward to going to the pool every day to lay down and listen to the live music. I have read reviews on cruise critic where everyone agrees that the duos are not the same and that many readers really do miss the full calypso bands. I read some Miracle reviews where they voiced the same complaints about the duos as we had last year on the Dream, and I am really concerned about cruising Carnival or on the Miracle as this is so important to us. Other cruise lines still have the full bands, and many of us are wondering if Carnival can bring back the full calypso bands. If necessary, they can cut-back in a less important and noticeable area such as with the magicians or with one of the solo performers. We really would like to keep sailing with Carnival and on the Miracle, and we (in addition to many cruisers and many on cruise critic) hope that Carnival can bring back these bands (especially for when we cruise in December)… sorry for the rant, it just means so much to us and so many cruisers that we have spoken with about and read about.

In addition, we missed the sail away party last year on the Dream, and we hope Carnival can bring back the live music and the fun vibe, setting the tone for a great cruise. Besides my concern about the Miracle and Carnival ships in general above, several Miracle reviewers wrote about a lack of daily activities. We are concerned about sailing on a smaller ship, and we hope this is not the case. Lastly, some Miracle cruisers wrote about the past guest party being held during the day. On every Carnival cruise, we always look forward to attending this party all dressed up at night, meeting other past guests and enjoying an hour with music and drinks. We hope that if we cruise the Miracle, this party will be at night as it has been on all of our other cruises.

We appreciate your help and taking the time to address these concerns. We know you are always trying to listen to what we love and what we are unhappy with, and we hope you can take these common concerns by many into consideration to keep Carnival as our favorite cruise line we have loved in the past.

We love reading your blog every day. You are such a kind person helping out the bloggers, and we are always here for you as you are always here for us. Looking forward to the next blog. Enjoy your time with the girls.

John T from NY

John Says:
Hello John T from NY

Well let me be the first to say that I too miss the 4 piece reggae bands of old and while I have heard many a good duo on our ships, nothing beats the old Jamaican bands we used to have. But times have changed and hiring a duo has freed up another cabin so we can add more live music around other parts of the ship. Oh there are so many things I would love to add to the onboard entertainment but before you can even work out costs etc, the first question is simply…..is there a cabin for them. Every department onboard wants more staff but there are only so many crew allocated cabins and each week on each ship each cabin is occupied. The Calypso duos allowed us to put duos and or two soloists on the ships and add a variety of music around the ship because not everyone enjoys calypso/reggae music and therefore we have to try and offer something for everyone. But I once again agree with you that these four piece bands were the best bands for live lido music and I promise that I will re-address this subject with the beards straight away.

Please don’t worry about the activities. I just took a look at a typical sea day and as you can see here there is lots to do.

Miracle FunTimes_Sea_day

I know that sometimes other people’s reviews can influence your own even before you cruise so I hope you will base your decision on whether to book or not on the value for money and the experience that I know will be fun and exciting. I will find out when the ship is holding the past guest party and get back to you. I can tell you though that on most ships these days we hold them in the late afternoon as the lounges need to be free at night for entertainment and live music. So, I hope you do book. It’s a brilliant itinerary and if you do, please let me know would you. And I promise to address the Calypso band situation once again.

Thanks so much for the kind words and I truly value them and your opinions so please…….keep reading the blog and posting them.

Best wishes to you and the family

Theresa Taylor Asked:

John wanted to comment on your ‘accidental movement or 10′ comment during drill. The Mexican gentleman needs to realize that the Montezuma’s revenge is real and something you want to avoid at all costs, it is very unpleasant. You were lightening mood, and shouldn’t be faulted. And also, you are a wonderful CD and a gentleman with a heart for people. Don’t ever doubt for a minute that you don’t make a positive difference in people’s lives, you do. Just don’t let it go to your head love.-grins-


John Says:
Hello Theresa Taylor

Oh what wonderful words. I am so very thankful to you for taking the time to write them. Thank you for your friendship.

Best wishes

Trevor Sinclair Asked:

Cruise Critic has a long running thread about smoking being allowed on the balconies and many members are disgusted that Carnival allows this and more unbelievably allows it in the cabins. Its time Carnival sat up and paid attention to what people are saying and the health hazards these smoking idiots are doing to themselves and to others. When will Carnival change its policy and get with the program

John Says:
Hello Trevor Sinclair

I actually replied to another similar post a few blogs ago where another Cruise Critic member had posted the thread you are referring to. I know that this is a contentious issue and while I can understand the concerns about smoking inside the cabins and the smell it can leave behind the following cruise, I do not personally see the problem of smoking on a balcony in the open air. Now, if there is a person seated in the balcony next door then common curtsy dictates that you may ask if they mind or not, that is something I would probably do. But that aside, I do not see the concerns and how it effects others. As I said, the smoking inside the cabin question is one worth raising again with the beards in Miami which I will of course do.

Best wishes

STILLMissingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:
JOHN – Please reply

1. I do not believe that you reference to not drinking the water is offensive – it is the truth.

2. I also have a sister with Down syndrome who is now age 52 – the story of Rebecca is heartening because such advances have been made in the normalization of Down syndrome patients.

Now, onto my question – unfortunately, I have cancelled my reservations for BC#4. I have just started a new job that requires me to be around during the first part of the month, so the dates don’t work.

Instead, we are looking at taking the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore on a five day cruise to Bermuda. Does the ship really spend three days tied up at Kings Wharf? If so, is there entertainment at night (we want to dance)? It just seems like a strange itinerary.

Best wishes to Heidi and Kye –

John Says:
Hello STILLMissingthesmokefreeparadise

Thanks for the words of support and it was quite poetic typing your name after the last comment about smoking….actually it was a little twilight zone if I think about it. Anyway, I was sorry to learn about you not being able to join us on BC4 but at the same time I was happy to hear about your new job and that you will be sailing to Bermuda. I only got to spend one night there and that night was dominated by my “hot sauce” incident. But what I did see looked amazing and yes, the ship will overnight there. Now I haven’t spoken to the CD so I don’t know what specific entertainment program he has in store but there will be a show and the lounges will be open for music and dancing so yow will for sure have a wonderful night.

Rebecca was a wonderful girl and I have such fond memories of her.

So, congratulations on the new job and I do hope we will see each other very soon.

Best to you and Mrs. SMTSFP

Leisure Larry Asked:
Please Reply!

John thank you for your blog, which has provided me numerous hours of entertainment. I am currently booked on the Splendor for the November 28th 2010 sailing. This will be our 4th Carnival cruise. My lovely wife and I were sooooo happy to find out you will be the CD. We look forward to all the wonderful entertainment you will provide. This will be our first cruise without a large group of family. We usually cruise with 25 + family members. This time we are bringing some good friends along for their first cruise.

This brings me to my request. There will be 8 total in our party. We usually get a long table by a window or around the edge of the dining room. I was hoping you might be able to persuade the maitre d’ to put our group at a round table in the middle of the dining room. I find it is much easier to talk with each other at the round tables, as you do not have to scream to talk with someone seated on the opposite end. Whatever you could do I would gratefully appreciate. We look forward to seeing you on the cruise. My wife would also like to invite you and your family to join us for a meal if you find the time, but we don’t want to get in the way of your naps.

Thanks for all your hospitality. By the way I know you don’t expect anything from your guests, but if something just happened to find its way into my luggage what would it be?

John Says:
Hello Leisure Larry

It looks like the cruise you will be on will be my last on the Carnival Splendor so I will do all I can to make it the most fun. I will ask the maitred to do his best to provide you with the table you requested and please make sure you leave me a note at the guest services desk when you arrive. I will see you soon. If a can of diet root beer accidentally fell in your suitcase….that would make a fat man very happy.

Best wishes to all

That’s all for now.

I want to say how sorry I am that my original blog about Thomas the chap who looked like the President provoked Darryl to be outraged that in turn had some of you adding your political viewpoints here on the blog. That is my fault entirely and not something I wanted to happen so please forgive me. I also want to apologise to the 2 people who wrote about how they were offended by my Irish/Jewish joke which as I said was delivered quickly and without any malice ……..my apologies. Sometimes I reveal far too much here on the blog and open myself up for a massive kick in the bollocks……but that’s the way I am I guess and I don’t want to change. If I make a mistake…..I want to tell you even if it does mean a public flogging for me. Anyway, sorry again.

And BC4 is rapidly approaching and here is one of the 344 Stephanies to remind you about registering………Stephanie, over to you.

Hi Bloggers
Just wanted to give everyone a little reminder about the electronic signup form that can be used to sign up for Bloggers Cruise 4 in February 2011 on the Carnival Glory. The link is below however it will also stay easily accessible on the right hand side of the blog.

Bloggers Cruise Sign Up Form

Thank you and as always if you have any questions, feel free to email socialnetworking@carnival.com.

Stephanie H.

Let’s take a break clean the smoke stack shall we?

OK, time for some news on your Carnival Magic because yesterday……she got wet.

Here’s Vance to tell you all about it.

Carnival Magic ‘Floated Out’ at Fincantieri Shipyard; On Schedule for May 1, 2011, Debut

There’s an interesting group on the ship this week who at 8 am and 5 pm each day get together on deck for something called “Piloxing.” Apparently it’s a cross between Pilates and boxing which I am sure is fine and is good for body, mind, soul and bottom.

But what gets me is that I have to announce tomorrow that they are inviting any guest to come and join them which means I will have to say the word “Piloxing” over the PA system which means……I am going to sound like an absolute idiot. This is a word invented by tofu-eating marketing people who sit around eco-friendly desks, scratching their beards trying to come up with “PR friendly” names for products and services. Instead they come up with smug new combo words that don’t even make sense in the hope that they’ll sound wacky and “hip” and get some free advertising.

The travel industry staggers under the weight of crap words: staycation, mancation, gaycation, etc.  There’s also breakation where one of you gets dumped and laycation where you stay in your cabin having rumpy pumpy.

The other group we have on this week is a group of cheer leaders who have asked to take part in the talent show. They are from age 15 to 17 and the lady who is in charge of this Californian group is extremely serious about what they do……..and I think I may have upset her a little. She asked to see me and when we met she started to tell me that this particular group was medal winners and champions and so on and so forth and that they would “bring the house down” if I let them perform. So, I was about to say yes when she said that cheerleading was one day going to be an Olympic sport……and I don’t know why…….maybe it’s the Sudafed I am taking……but I giggled like a school boy that’s just seen his first pair of breasts in a naughty magazine.

She looked at me as though I had just farted ……..I knew she was not happy so I carried on laughing and tried to get myself out of the situation by saying how funny it would be if I came out at the end of their show and did some cheerleading with them. I am not sure if she bought this or not but the conversation finished amicably enough and indeed they will be performing in the show on Thursday night. But come on……is cheerleading a sport?…..is it really going to be an Olympic event?

Isn’t it just based on young females wearing tiny bits of clothing, gyrating their arse cheeks during one of 3,478 time outs at football game? Now I know that there will be some bloggers who have children who cheer or who may have done it themselves and will want to tell me what an ignorant bastard I am…..and maybe you’re right. But what I don’t get about cheerleading ……. and yes maybe it’s because I am British…..is that cheerleading is a cross between gymnastics and dance isn’t it? So why not do either gymnastics or dance and that way you wouldn’t have to dress up in costumes that include a skirt the size of a belt.

Still…….what do I know? Maybe it will be an Olympic sport one day and maybe I have a future gold medal winner performing in the talent show on Thursday. Pole dancing requires athleticism too…. you know……maybe that’s going to be an Olympic sport as well….in which case my money is on the team from Latvia to win gold.

Well here we are in P.V……….I still can’t spell Puerto Vallarta. Like many of the guests the crew will all be going out to have some Mexican food for lunch and dinner. Obviously, I won’t be joining them as I have no friends, I don’t feel too good with my sinus stuff and oh yes….I am not a big fan of Mexican food. I just don’t see what the big fuss is all about. I mean, it’s all tortilla chips, guacamole, salsa and lots of cheese, heated to a temperature at which iron would melt. The main courses include all manner of mystery components. There is also the fact of course that there is a good chance that a few hours after your meal you will have a runny bottom and ring sting. I also won’t be going because I went to lunch with Heidi and Kye two weeks ago and couldn’t believe how expensive it was…………and that leads me nicely into this comment here.

Guest: Mrs. ————Ref: 842059148A
Cabin: ————–Added-Changed: 10/12/10 – 10/12/10


Guest Mrs._____ came to the GSD to say that she had eaten in the Steakhouse and that the food was not worth the $30. Mrs.____ showed me her business card that said she was a restaurant owner from California. Guest says she knows how much food costs and that she wants a refund for her meal and of her husband’s meal as well for $60. GSA checked with Steakhouse Hostess and she reported that no guests had made complaint or return meals. Tasked to GSM and F and B Manager

So this lady is a restaurant owner and I am not. This means she absolutely knows more about food than I do……but really….are you really telling me that a five-course meal of that quality is not worth $30. Maybe we shouldn’t advertise the price and instead just bring the check at the end and see how people react when they see it cost only $30. You see, as was my experience in a basic restaurant on the waterfront in Puerto Vallarta everything is always more expensive than you think.

I remember I bought a glass of Diet Coke at a hotel in New York when I was waiting to board your Carnival Dream….it was $7. It wasn’t a particularly big glass but nevertheless, with a tip, I bugger all change from a $10 bill. Then, you have purses. Heidi told me the one she wants for Christmas this year and when I looked on Uncle Google it cost more than a 3 day cruise on the Carnival Imagination.

Curtains and carpet are bloody expensive. So is flying. So are T Shirts that change colour in the sun. And so is the cost of using your Eyephone or Raspberry to access the internet while you are on the ship. I know because Heidi told me that the five weeks she was onboard and checking her e mail on her raspberry cost $2,000,080,976,421,117.

So Mrs Restaurant Owner………….from what I understand you and your husband had:

Beef Carpaccio

Lobster Bisque

Ceasar’s Salad

Surf and Turf

Wasabi mash


Quartet of Chocolate


I wonder if she could re produce the same menu in her restaurant with the same quality and the same service and include the tip as our $30 charge does.

What you may ask is she getting for her complaint. Well considering she ate the whole meal as did her husband she is getting………….well to go back to an early theme in today’s blog it’s time for some cheerleading of my own.










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.