A Class Of Their Own

October 26, 2010 -

John Heald

I sometimes feel that during my time here on the Carnival Splendor that I have been somewhat cruel to the folks who sail with us who live in the state of California. Certainly they have provided me with a never ending dollop of material for our blog thingy and if I do appear to be suggesting that they are ummmm…..different…..well I apologize to any Californian readers who I may have upset. But the truth of the matter is……..that from what I have seen these past three months …………some of you are………..umm…..…..different.

Take the group we have on this cruise. It consists of 55 guests of which 20 something are children all of whom are home schooled. “Nothing wrong with that,” I hear in you cry and you would be right because I have seen quite a few home schooled groups recently. But this group is different. They have the Boardroom (conference center) for much of the cruise and early this morning I was asked to go to see the group and spend 30 minutes doing a Q & A for them about the ship and life onboard. I was joined by the captain and hotel director and off we went.

They were certainly very keen as the class had started at 8 am. We were supposed to start at 9 am so we arrived a few minutes before and the first thing we noticed was that every child……I mean every single one had a sodding Eyepad in front of them. There wasn’t a pen or paper to be seen. There were no text books and no chalkboard as the teacher had her own Eyepad which was hooked up to a screen. Now that wouldn’t have been so bad if she had been teaching the class who ranged from age 6 – 12 a lesson on history or literature……but she wasn’t……..because much to the astonishment of the Captain, HD and I she was teaching them how to use Wikipedia. Maybe I shouldn’t have been shocked because maybe in today’s schools all kids that age are being schooled in the art of search engines, apps and how to poke their friends without catching syphilis.

I spoke to the teacher who was in fact one of the parents about this after the Q&A and she said that at least 30% of every week’s lessons are about the internet and computers. And this got me thinking. Maybe she is right to do this, why do we need to teach kids anything except how to use the internet because all the answers to life’s questions are right there. I think of all the hours I wasted in chemistry class learning about the periodic table. Why did I bother? Has it ever helped me? Knowing the chemical symbol for table salt is of no use if you want to cook a Thanksgiving dinner, or have rumpy pumpy, or use the Blueteeth system on your cell phone. In fact, all of chemistry is bollocks and only of any use if you are planning on becoming a suicide bomber.

And Mr. Sonnen you bastard……..what a waste of time your math classes were. No one needs to be able to do division and multiplication because every computer Eye thingy and cell phone comes with a calculator for free.

And Miss Claudette what about you? Yes you had beautiful breasts that us 15 year old lads fantasized about but what a total waste of time your French classes were I have never ever needed to say: “Where is the Eifel Tower” or “Can you please help me I am lost.” If you had taught me to say “For God’s sake, take a sodding shower will you” then just maybe that would have been useful.

English could be quite useful but the stuff they forced down my neck didn’t even remotely resemble the language we use today – not even in the Northeast.

The fact is that kids aren’t taught this stuff because it sets them up for life as an adult. They are taught it so that they can pass exams and so parents can spend thousands of dollars on their college education. Which helps employers and universities decide which ones are bright and which ones are so stupid they are going to end up in politics or as a climbing wall attendant?

So maybe this California Eyepad owning group of home school kids have it right and maybe they will be the better off and become the next Donald Arison.

I think back to what I learned at school and the only stuff I think that has really helped me are:

  • The importance of friendship.
  • That you should never ever grab a girl’s breasts without asking first (sorry Sally Poole)

Yep, these were Eyepad kids of the future but one thing made them the same as any of kid schooled in the normal way because during the Q and A all they wanted to know was what the biggest wave the captain had ever seen and had he ever crashed the ship.

Time for today’s Q and A………….off we go.

Canuck Cruiser Asked:
Hey John,
Please reply when you find time……no rush. Just curious……are you allowed to promote products while a passenger on a Carnival ship? Maybe the men with beards should add that to the contract and then you wouldn’t have to be bothered by the HL assassins.

Apart from the fact that she was RUDE and has no ethics……be honest and tell her that you’re not interested and please don’t bother any other guests! You’ve got the clout to do that and as Senior Cruise director each of the other ships should be instructed to do the same. I honestly don’t know what has become of people that think they have free reign to interrupt others while dining in the name of trying to SELL something. Get a life………….you’re on vacation people. Drop the blackberry and order forms and CHILL for a few days. You can bother others once you hit dry land again later next week. I hope Heidi and Kye are having a wonderful time on board with you.

I see that Thomas Lloyd is quite a better dancer than I was in January on the DREAM. He needs to work on the pelvic thrust………….beat him hands down on that move. LOL

Smooth sailing.

From your friends that are 137 days from the MIRACLE southern itinerary…….can’t wait. Any idea who the CD will be?

All the best,
B&D from Canada

John Says:
Hello Canuck Cruiser

I am sure that these products have helped many thousands of people over the years lose weight. I tried them a long time ago and ended up spending more time in the bathroom than I usually do which is, trust me …….a lot of time. What bothered me was that one or two felt that anyone who looked overweight were obvious targets for a sale. One lady as you mentioned was very rude indeed and it was her that left such a bad impression on me and turned me off these products forever.

On a happier note we are working on a new CD schedule as we speak and it should be ready very soon and of course I will share it with you all. The new Carnival Miracle schedule looks fantastic and I can’t wait to hear all about it

Thanks for the kind words of support

Best wishes


Grace J Asked:

Your political views on President Obama were uncalled for. He is the hope for the future our future and as I understand you are Australian so how come you have a right to say anything. I thought this was a cruise boat blog not a political forum and I was very angry after reading it. You should be fired!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


John Says:
Hello Grace J

I am so very upset to read your posting because it really hurts me when I read that someone is upset by what I have written. However, I must defend myself by saying that I have never expressed any specific political views about your president short of stating that a guest I had on stage looked like him. You are correct, this is a blog about being a CD and about life onboard and not a political blog. Please accept my apologies for upsetting you.

By the way, I am British not Australian.

Best wishes,


James Brau Asked:
John (Please reply),
Love the blog thingy. My wife and I have booked an 8 day Western Caribbean trip in Dec 2011 on the wonderful new Carnival Magic. This will be our 8th cruise for us (all on Carnival). We book one of the Premium Vista Balcony rooms, and I was just wondering if our friends traveling w/ us booked the aft balcony next to us would we be able to open the divider for one big balcony for all of us? I have heard yes and no to this from various people.

Thanks for time,

John Says:
Hello James Brau

Thanks for the kind words about the blog thingy which I hope you continue to enjoy. We can certainly open the dividing doors for you so please post again with both cabin numbers and I will let the ship know. I checked with the ship already and it can indeed be done.

Hope to hear from you soon
Best wishes

John Karczewski Asked:
John (Please reply)
First, let me say that I have absolutely no idea how you can maintain your hectic schedule of writing this blog thingy just about daily, posting on Facebook along with the many other ship duties as a Department Manager, not to mention those part-time responsibilities as a Cruise Director! And I am certain that there are many more that I haven’t even thought of. All this while not even mentioning making time to spend with your family during the short time they are getting a chance to visit you. I applaud you!

I also look forward to meeting you this fall when we will be cruising on your Carnival Splendor. We have a small group (about 25-30) coming in from all over the country. Some new friends and some friends we have cruised within the past. We will be on the November 14th cruise and I was wondering if you could assist or point me in the right direction to setting up a Meet & Greet on the ship. One other request would be that if you could find the time to stop by the M & G and say Hi.

We will be in cabin 6485.

Thanks so much for all you do for so many.

John Says:
Hello John Karczewski
I have to admit that sometimes it is quite exhausting writing everyday and then Facebooking and then running the ship and doing shows. Maybe that’s why I can’t get rid of this sodding cold. Anyway, enough of my woes and more about you. I am looking forward to seeing you and your group next month and if you can write back and post it with a title TIME SENSITIVE one of the 344 Stephanies will send this to me. What I need to know if this is a Cruise Critic group and if not the name of the group. Please also include the sailing date again. I will arrange a room on the Monday afternoon for you all.

I will certainly do my best to stop by
Please let me know if you need anything else

Best wishes

David Suhrenbrock Asked:
Thanks for arranging our reservation to the Chefs Table on our upcoming Dream cruise. We are celebrating our 29th anniversary on this cruise having gotten hook on Carnival in 1981 on our honeymoon cruise on the Mardi Gras. Looking forward to cruising with you for our 30th next October on the Magic. If possible could you arrange a table for 2 for us on the October 30th sailing of the Dream? We have late seating and are in cabin 2264. Really looking forward to the Cove balcony. Thanks for all you do.


John Says:
Hello David Suhrenbrock
I always love to read that people have seen the changes through the years since cruising on our older ships to sailing on our newest. Thanks for your loyalty and I will certainly ask the Maitre D on your Carnival Dream to do his best to assist with your table for 2. You will really love the cove balcony.

Have a brilliant cruise
Best wishes

Linda (Mom of DJ) Asked:
John: (please reply)
Thank you so much for the list of songs …..

I do have one question though… will these songs only be performed in the original key … or will the band be able to transpose them into a key that is more suited to the singer’s range.

Btw, I just learned a Mariah Carey song that I think will change your mind about number 6.

It is called Hero. And I am planning to incorporate it into karaoke (along with a message to promote the St Jude’s fundraiser that the ship does every cruise).

The message is a wonderful reminder that each person can indeed be a Hero to someone in need.

Tried it a couple of times on the Elation last month. (not the St Jude’s part…just the song to make sure I had it down before taking the next step,)

Now of course I don’t begin to do it as well as Mariah, but hopefully will do it well enough to get the message across to promote St Jude’s….

We will see in a couple of weeks!!!

Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

John Says:
Hello Linda Mom of DJ

It’s always great to hear from you. We should make you our President of Karaoke because I know how much you love it and how much passion you put into every song. The Superstar Live song list is being added to all the time and having spoken to the musical director here I can confirm that the band can indeed change the key as required. I know that you once again donated a large sum of money to St. Jude so once again I thank you for being so caring to others. I hope one day soon I get to hear you sing at Superstar Live.

Best wishes to you DJ and all the family.


Daniel Lee Asked:
John Please Reply:
John, we sail on the Dream Dec 12, 2010. This will be our 16th cruise with Carnival and the 2nd on the Dream. Our daughter and her boy friend are sailing with us in Dec. I know you receive a lot request each day, but I have a favor to ask. Our daughter sailed with on the Glory last year, had a great time but during dinning each evening we were seated in an outside section behind a pole. She missed seeing most of the waiters singing and dancing. It would be great if our group could be seated in the main area so we could see the waiters singing on the stairs.
Working to Milestone

John Says:
Hello Daniel

Thank you for your loyalty and congratulations on being a Milestone member. I will ask the Maitre D on your Carnival Dream to do his best to honour your table request

Have a brilliant cruise

Best wishes to all


Susanne Asked:
John, Please Reply

I just returned from the September 12th sailing of the Carnival Legend. Thank you very much for arranging the window seating in the dining room and the items that you sent my grandchildren. They were very happy that you did that and the fact that Jen wrote a note saying they were from “Bobble Head” just made them both smile.

When I first saw that Jen Baxter was listed as the Cruise Director in the Fun Times, I was not sure if I would be impressed with her based on previous comments that I had read and heard on previous cruises plus I thought Wee Jimmy was going to be the Cruise Director. Just to set the record straight, any and all negative comments that I had read or heard were without merit based on what I observed. I have been on quite a few cruises and I can honestly say that Jen ranks up there with the best Cruise Directors that I have seen. Without a doubt, she was the most visible as she seemed to be at every event (most of these are normally done by the Social Host) and she must have constantly been walking around the ship because it seemed like I saw her everywhere. She was very funny, energetic and entertaining. She was an excellent Cruise Director.

Ken in the dining room was excellent as usual, the food was very good, and the dining team of Rex and Totsiana were amazing.
Thanks again for everything that you do for everyone and the daily entertainment which we all enjoy.

John Says:
Hello Susanne

I know that Jen was given a hard time recently on Cruise Critic and here on the blog thingy so it’s wonderful to read that you enjoyed her so much and that she made a real impact on your cruise. I am glad the kids got their gifts and that your table was OK. I will also pass on your thanks to Ken and his team.

One of my bobbleheads just sold for $42 on that EBay thingy which I find flabbergasting. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write and I am so glad you had fun.

Best wishes and please let me know if you need anything before you next Carnival cruise



Need a table for two on our 18th December cruise on Valor preferably by window. Cabin is 6278.

John Says:

I will ask the Maitre D to assist you with your table request. Have a great cruise.

Best wishes


Brian Scholes Asked:
John, (Please Reply)
Hi John,

Just saw this on Cruise Critic. Is there any chance it is true? Sounds great to me.

Possible 7 Day Fascination cruises. My travel agent was telling me that Carnival is adding 7 Day cruises on the Fascination starting May 2011. Is this true??


John Says:
Hello Brian Scholes

I just checked with the office and yes the Carnival Fascination will offer a series of six week-long Exotic Eastern Caribbean cruises to Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, and Nassau, complementing the ship’s popular four- and five-day Bahamas/Key West departures. Departure dates include April 30, May 7, July 23 and 30, and Sept. 17 and 24, 2011. Please let me know if there is anything else you need.

Best wishes


That’s all for today.

Oh, look whose sailing with us this week……………yep…….Santa

Let’s talk sport and while everyone here is getting excited about the NFL and of course the Miami Heat starting their journey to another NBA championship trophy, back in the UK things are much more…………..British.

Here’s our man in London and Cunard’s President Peter Shanks to tell you more.

How did we win that one……………..

Gordon Shanks, that’s what we call him. We all remember Banks from the 1979 Football World Cup and his wonder Pele save (we in the Vets can sadly recall it from living memory) but he has nothing on our Pete. Read on ….

We pitched up at St Albans unbeaten. We were eleven good men, strong and true – for about ten minutes. First Matt Speers departed with a smashed eye, looking for all the world as though he had been ten rounds with Tyson. We were down to ten men. Then Burles’ calf packed up midway through the first half (now 9 ½ men) and then Pete Stoughton-Harris suffered a hamstring followed by a split and bloody shin (effectively we were now 9 men). The only miracle on the injury front was that Tim Green, that master of the 90 second appearance followed by 88 ½ minutes crippled on the sidelines, survived the game and indeed played with undying spirit and to great effect for the whole match.

In the midst of our casualty list St Albans sliced us open early in the first half. It looked ominously easy – a few crisp passes with their inside left flicking the ball deftly over the keeper into the net. 1-0 and we were rocking.

A few minutes later and they opened us up again, our back five spectators as the ball pinged to their three strikers, lining themselves up. A goal looked inevitable but not with big Pete in ‘they shall not pass’ mode. The ball was smashed to the middle of the goal only for Pete to get a good foot on it but alas it rebounded to St Albans striker No 2. Smash and Pete goes down again to keep out another, falling to the ground to defend the goal. The OC defenders look on admiringly but again the ball falls to an orange shirt. Surely a goal is now inevitable, but no, Pete springs up and manages to lunge out a foot to knock the third strike out for a push. This was stirring stuff and it galvanised us (sort of). We struggled to half time a goal down, but a one goal lead is never enough, as the wise old heads had been saying in the changing room as they reflected on the Tring game.

Our back five looked solid enough, Richard Wheatley performing heroically. Tommy T was ever-strong, Wade tackling heroically and down the right the old ‘axis of evil’ Gray, Hothersall and Burles got some crisp movements going. The tide turned.
Eve quietly converted a penalty corner and suddenly it was all possible. With Matt bellowing encouragement from the sidelines and big Pete making save after save we began to believe. Sure enough Eve struck home a second and St Albans heads went down. We battled to the end, claimed the three points and carry on unbeaten. It was a fine match, we played well – both as a team and individually, but none played better than big Pete. We left grinning.

Can’t beat some exercise, screaming and shouting on a Saturday – and when it’s a victory like this it makes it all worthwhile. I have always told my daughters – ‘It’s not the taking part that matters – it’s the winning……’

Best Regards

After all the stress of meeting Queen Elizabeth and introducing the brand new ship that bears her name it’s good to read how you relieved some of that stress Peter. Thanks as always for taking the time to write to us ……we all appreciate it very much. Maybe you should try ice hockey next. Well yesterday I met with the QAC team and I wanted to tell you about some of the things I addressed with them.

I spoke about the Platinum benefits and that while it was a brilliant program that it could do with some refreshing. I also mentioned that the Platinum gift needs to change as some have enough photo frames to open a photo frame shop. What to replace it with? Well, I gave my suggestions but the most important one to me was that there should be a choice of maybe 5 or so gifts. I was assured once again that the loyalty program is under review and that there would be news on this soon. Yes……I know I have been saying this for some time but I was promised that this is a priority. Now, I also mentioned that we need a new video for the past guest party and that was stupid bloody thing to say because now I have to come up with the ideas for this and in the blink of an eye it’s now my project. Me and my big sodding mouth.

Next I spoke about the review card. I did a poll on my Facebook thingy and I know Hostmach told me that there is a similar poll on Cruise Critic. It seems that not everyone who has cruised recently has received a review card and I know many want to be able to praise the crew and tell us what they feel we can do better. Those that have received them tell me that the questions make total sense and are well written so I asked if we could find a way to make sure those who want them get them.

Tomorrow morning before they fly out of PV we will have a meeting specifically to discuss smoking, not just on this ship but across the fleet. That should prove very interesting indeed.

Let’s take a break from the heavy subjects and lighten the mood with a good old fashioned cat fight.

Guest: Miss ———-Ref: 842022163A
Cabin: —————-Added-Changed: 10/25/10 – 10/25/10

CABIN ———–
Security reported that Ms______ and Ms_____ were involved in an incident in the piano bar. Ms______states that Ms_____ spilled a glass of red wine on her and did not apologize but laughed. Both girls pushed each other and bar waiter______ had to stop them. Both guests were spoken to by security and Ms____ was told to pass her clothes to her state room steward and that they would be sent to the laundry at no charge.

Last week we had the senior citizens pushing and shoving over a seat for the show and now we have a 28 year old and a 22 year old having a fight. There is nothing quite so daft as the spectacle of two senior citizens fighting………..apart from two women fighting.

It’s not like Bond versus Bauer. There are no deft punches, no subtle jabs. No smooth moves. And no handy four irons which can be employed as weapons in case your husband has just had a hole in one.
It’s messy and clunky and usually involves a lot of rolling around on the floor, calling each other rude names.

Now what you may have noticed is that there is only one space for a name and one space for a cabin in the above report. That’s because the cat fighters share the same cabin and that’s because they are sisters……………….brilliant!

Well I had some new yesterday regarding what I will be doing at the end of November and as always I thought I would share my travel itinerary with you……….here it is.

  • November 28 – leave Carnival Splendor and fly to Miami
  • November 29-30 – meetings with beards about bloggers cruise 4 and your Carnival Magic
  • December 1 – fly to Memphis Tennessee to make a special film at the St Jude hospital
  • December 4 – fly to Detroit for a Delta connection to London
  • December 5 – arrive home in time for my wedding anniversary on December 6

Yep, here I go again…….flying……….4 flights in a week which I love just about as much as Ketut loves scraping my underpants of the bathroom floor. I shall also have to hire a car which. If I were running a car hire business, I’d make it so that after you stick in your details online, you get to your destination and they’ll give you a car. I wouldn’t make you wait in some scorching airport fishbowl for an hour, while the person employed to hand out the cars slowly types an enormous amount, and then photocopies everything you own, before sending you off by delayed, crowded electric bus to some miserable sun baked car park three hundred miles away, where the one attendant present will send you and your luggage to the very last car in space Z99.

But anyway, it’s a small price to pay to arrange BC4 and of course to go visit the children of St Jude. Marcello the ACD here now will cover the week of November 28 before Jen Baxter takes over as cruise director. I hope I am not letting anyone down my leaving a week earlier than the schedule says and if I am please accept my apologies.

It’s been a busy week so far and as I was telling my Facebook mates I even had a wedding proposal on stage last night where as soon as the 23 year old chap looked like he was going to adopt the one knee position his would be fiancé sprinted off the stage and ran through the audience like Usain Bolt leaving both me facing 1,000 guests and a distraught 23 year old with soiled underpants.

OK, time to go as I my Morning Show and then I have another meeting with the Quality Assurance Beards. I am as you know not a big fan of meetings and today’s is going to cover the topic of smoking. I know there will be different opinions in the room and it will be a bit tense. So it will be up to me to try and keep everyone on an even keel. I shall do this by getting as many song titles into what I have to say as possible. I wrote about this before I think some months ago and as I said then, you really have to try this the next time you are in a meeting…..it will go something like this:

“Yes Mrs. SVP Beard but we have to remember that this is a ship and smoke on the water is very different.”

“Yes Mrs. SVP Beard but I can understand why people don’t like walking to the internet cafe because smoke gets in your eyes”

Of course, you will argue that this is fun if you don’t really care about the outcome of the meeting. But sitting there running through Deep Purple and the Platters song book at least gives me some pleasure and to be honest no other bugger will realize I’m doing it anyway. But meetings are for the most part a waste of time think about it. If you have a meeting to agree a deal, then both sides will have to compromise, and that means everyone leaves feeling a bit disappointed. If you decide not to compromise, then what’s the point of going? So, there can be no such thing as a “good” meeting. It’s either disappointing or useless. There is no other way.

But at least I will have an opportunity in getting my point across and have fun while doing it ……. I told PA 007 our Super Spy I was going to do this and that I could get any song title into the meeting. He/she has bet me $10 that I can’t and like a fool I accepted the challenge…..because he gave me this song title “Slap My Bitch Up”…………and for a $10 bonus “I Like Big Butts.”

See you tomorrow either $20 poorer…….or unemployed

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.