Please State The Nature of Your Emergency

November 5, 2010 -

John Heald

For the past few day’s I’ve come into your world and had a good old moan about……… well everything. I’ve complained about the mad professor who thinks that the Mayans know the end of the world is just around the corner. I’ve whined about how much I miss my girls and the US dollar falling quicker than Paris Hilton’s underwear on a Saturday night or any night for that matter. I’ve looked under every conceivable stone and been grumpy about everything I’ve found.

Well not today. As I write, the sky is a vivid blue and the guests are excited to explore the beaches of Cabo and swim in the tanzanite blue waters of the Sea of Cortez…

Our blog has over 7,500,000 views, my Facebook thingy has 6,000 fans, my beautiful daughter Kye is healthy, my wife is happy and I am going to ask Carnival for a raise….and if they say “no” I shall just sell my body on the corner of promenade. So, as a result of all this, I’m in something quite unusual. I’m in a good mood.

I can’t even get my knickers in much of a twist about the fact that we had to interrupt the tender service this morning because of the swells and move the boats from port to starboard side. In fact, I’m so cheerful I might even give the mad professor a lounge tomorrow so he can talk to the zero guests who will come and listen to him. I’d extend happy greetings also to the health and safety people who have decided that we can no longer do any pool game that involves the guests jumping in or diving under the water. Nope, I am in a good mood today and send my best wishes to everyone the world over………..apart from the French…….obviously.

So while I often moan and gripe here I need to remember how lucky I am and remind myself what a brilliant cruise line Carnival is and last night in the cigar bar I was given reason to be cheerful. After the bedtime story I went to the cigar bar. I did so on my own not caring for once about being Billy No Mates but because I just fancied a cigar and because I didn’t really feel like going back to an empty cabin…… was the Latvian’s day off. So down I went and after a few moments of peace and a Monte Cristo I was approached by two male guests also with cigars in hand. They had eaten in the steakhouse and had laughed so hard at the bedtime story. Both of these forty something chaps were here with their wives and children and both worked for United Airlines as pilots. Both said that they were having a brilliant time and value for money…. “This could not be beaten.”

So, there I sat with two Brietling-wearing professionals who realised they wanted value for money ……..they gave us a try…….and as they both said “we will be back”……brilliant. Oh and it was nice not to sit on my own…..cigars were meant to be smoked in good company. So, spread the word. Value for money is what all walks of life deserve these days…….. Whether its food, cars or Carnival cruises…..but not toilet paper. ….don’t get the Publix value packs …..$2 for 12 rolls……they are great value…..but only if you’re okay with dirty fingers and a machine sanded arse.

You didn’t think this was going to be a blog without a poo or arse reference………did you? So let the good mood continue as we do today’s Q and A………..tally ho.








John Says:
Hello Betty Williams,

I am a huge Purple fan and along with Smoke on the Water my favourite (spelt properly) tracks are My Woman from Tokyo and Highway Star. Anyway, enough of that and let’s move onto your cruise. Any tickets that were ordered online will be delivered to your stateroom sometime during Sunday evening. They will contain the time and meeting place so please check them carefully. I will certainly ask the maitre d to do his best to assist you in your seating request. Have a great cruise.

Best wishes

Yonkers1 Asked:

Cruise Critic has a thread now about children on your ships running riot and spoiling the experiencing for everyone who does not travel with children. As so many members have agreed to this OP I think Carnival should be listening to what we say and provide a ship that is child free. This is the opinion of the majority.

John Says:
Hello Yonkers 1,

Just before I reply I want to apologise if I misinterpret this post because I am not sure what “OP” means and I hope that it’s not an important part of the subject. That aside I responded to a very similar comment yesterday where I mentioned that while I understand that some do not like children sharing their vacation time, Carnival will not be moving away from our policy of encouraging families to sail with us. I do want to reiterate that while we do have some naughty children at times your description of “running riot” is a bit harsh. Most of the time the children we have onboard are well behaved and cared for by the superb children and teen programs we have across the fleet. So while I appreciate your comments and those of other fellow Cruise Critic members please know that we will not be banning children from any of our ships. I hope you will consider coming onboard soon for a fun for all experience and if you have a follow up please let me know.

Best wishes

Barry Asked:
John (please reply)

About twenty years ago my wife and I had the pleasure of your company on our very first cruise. This was on the Ecstasy, which at the time was I believe, the newest and largest ship in the Carnival fleet. Following a second cruise a few years later, having a family (welcome) and other events (less welcome) have interrupted our cruising career… until now. The decision to bring the Magic (again Carnival’s newest and largest ship!) to the Mediterranean next year presented an opportunity too good to miss and we will be introducing our two daughters (then 15 and 12) to the joys of Carnival cruising on the Grand Med on 14/08/2011 (the correct way round). Learning that the Magic will be under your cruise directorship is a very large cherry on our cake and we are all really excited about our first family cruise.

One question if I may. Why is entry to the Magic “naming” competitions restricted to US residents? It took me hours to come up with “Made with the finest hops…” and then I found I wasn‘t allowed to enter!

Anyway, would it be OK if I contacted you nearer the time to perhaps organise a little something for the girls? If not, I will tell them it means you don’t like them (yeah, I’ve seen the “magic medal 10 Euros under the pillow” piece).

Kind regards,


John Says:
Hello Barry,

I wanted to say how honoured and humbled I was to read this posting and I am very excited to hear that you and your family will be joining me on your Carnival Magic next year. Yep, the competitions are only open to US Citizens and that’s not quite fair is it? I have been asked this a lot and the answer I am told is that contests like this have a 18 and over rule in Canada and so we were unable to make it available to anyone outside the United States. I will be happy to make sure the girls get a welcome gift so please make sure you drop me a note when you board at the Guest Services Desk and I will make sure we meet and they get something under their pillow.

Best wishes and see you all soon.

Capt Fred Asked:
John, Please reply

High John. Long time reader, sometime writer. First, my wife and I are travel agents and starting Oct 11, 2010 we will be on the Triumph with our back to back group cruises out of New Orleans. Ye Ha. We have about 75 people ready for fun

Question. I read your blog about needing more things to do on your some of your sea days. I’m not sure if you want to answer this on the blog or email. Six Star Entertainment wants to sign me up as a special Interest speaker for cruises. The problem is, they don’t supply speakers for Carnival. I’m a platinum member and always try to book my groups on Carnival. I speak all over the country on many subjects. I have a presentation called Body Guard to the Stars. I get great comments on it where ever I speak. I have been in Law Enforcement for over 30 yrs. I do a power point presentation and talk about my Body Guard experience and the many things I learned when I work with the secret service in protecting three US President, Movie Stars and Entertainers. I have also written and publish a book on my experiences. I have pictures of me with many of these famous people. I have also been in a movie and have one of my stories on the TV show called Cold Case Files. My Trouble is. I want to speak on Carnival Cruises and I can’t get anyone to answer any of my Emails at Carnival. I do what I call entertainment. You will laugh, cry and have a great time but I promise you, you won’t sleep. I can’t get Carnival to even answer me and say [Bugger Off, Body Guard Boy] so if you can tell me who to email it would be a great help. I may be sending them off to the wrong person and I know they get hundreds of emails. Thanks for any help you can provide. I would also be glad, [free of charge] to be your Body Guard. I know it sometimes sounds like you need one and I know all the cute chicks and CD Groupies must just drive you crazy HAHA .Just Kidding Heidi .Thanks for all the great thing you do for us Carnival Fans.

John Says:
Hello Captain Fred,

It is always a pleasure to welcome first time posters to our blog thingy and what an interesting life you have led. You are correct of course that I did mention that during our Trans Atlantic voyage on your Carnival Magic we do indeed need to plan more lectures. It is these sorts of activities that I think people crave on those long days at sea. I am going to send your information to someone at Carnival who I promise will respond and who knows, we may see each other next year. I want to thank you also for your loyalty as a Platinum member and I am sure that our guests would love to know more about you. Thanks for taking the time to write and someone will be in touch son.

Best wishes

Bill R Asked:

We loved the Dream and wanted to thank you for the trophy and for your help with the chef’s table reservation. Wow, what an experience that was and all the hype I had read about it was true and then some. The show Dancing in the street was amazing and definitely the best I have seen on my 7 Carnival cruises. The acrobat dancers were amazing and everyone was talking about this show afterwards. I should also mention that the other show Get Ready was the worst I have seen in 7 cruises and was very boring. Our waiter Jo Jo was outstanding and my girls wanted to take him home with them and they still talk about him now. The highlight though was the Chef’s table and to anyone reading this I encourage you to reserve a place the next time you cruise Carnival.

Thanks then John for all your help and for the blog which brightens my day

Bill and family

John Says:
Hello Bill R,

Thanks so much for this wonderful review of your Carnival Dream and I will make sure “Jo Jo ” gets to see your words of praise. The problem with Dancin In The Street is that it is so good that the other shows that don’t have the Fun Force dancers in them do feel a little less…… ummm …… “wow.” I personally like Get Ready and its Motown theme but of course I will pass on your comments as I know our production team will find them very useful indeed. I am glad you enjoyed The Chef’s Table so much and your review will I am sure encourage many others to try it for themselves. I hope it’s not too long before we see you on one of our ships again. Best wishes to you and your family.


Dutchmanpm Asked:
John Please reply

Time for me to do a short vent.

We are Platinum, as when Platinum started, we are also Milestone, which gives you a day in the sun and from there on nothing. Platinum used to be treated to being first on and then self assist you could be first off. The last 3 cruises that went out the door, too much trouble for carnival to call Platinum first then VIP. Throw the Platinums in with all the 100s of VIPs. So that perk is gone, for getting on or off. Were stacking picture frames for a yard sale.

Sometimes it’s more about how you are treated then given something. You already have people in the area so it doesn’t cost anything extra to keep the Platinum separate. It’s now been a year and a half somebody at Carnival was supposes to be reviewing Platinum perks, did he get fired? Nothing ever happened. If it takes this long have them start to do a review on Milestone. Maybe in a few years Carnival will give something.


John Says:
Hello Dutchman,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write. Our Platinum and Milestone members are of massive importance to us and I was surprised to hear that you were not happy with the embarkation and debarkation system we offer as one of the perks of holding these cards. Please can you tell me which home ports and ships you experienced difficulties on so that I can investigate this further and so we can improve. I do agree with you on the photo frame, we must change this gift as soon as possible and we will. The whole loyalty program is under review and while I think the benefits we offer Platinum guests and the extra discount of a cruise we offer to Milestone guests are excellent, I know we can get better. That is why a dedicated team in the Miami office and myself are working on achieving this and I promise I will have more information for everyone in this regard very soon. Until then I hope you will take the time to write again with more details and thank you so much for your loyalty.

Best wishes

Scott Nickle Asked:

“I have been surprised by the amount of noise guests make when they are walking down the corridor which I’m sure happens on other cruise lines as well.”

John, if you were on a Spirit or Fantasy class ship you wouldn’t have this problem. The noise is because there is an air vent in your cabin door. I mentioned this to you after BC1 on Carnival Freedom and you replied that only a few of the inside cabins have those door vents. Well, I haven’t returned to the Freedom so I can’t say for sure about her, but I have checked carefully on the Splendor and I’m pretty sure every cabin has those damn vents. Inside, outside, and balcony cabins all have ‘em.

BUT if you were on Carnival Spirit you would have a nice quiet cabin because you would have a nice solid door that didn’t have a big sodding hole cut in it. Same thing on the Inspiration and the Ecstasy.
Since I know that Fantasy class and Spirit class were built in Norway, and Freedom and Splendor were built in Italy, it seems that Norwegians are better ship builders than Italians since they can ventilate a cabin without chopping up the door.

Or, maybe it’s simply a cheaper option? Is Carnival exposing their guest to more noise simply to save a few bucks?

John, would you please pass this question to an appropriately bearded person for an answer? I’d really like to know.

By the way, John.

When I sailed on Carnival Splendor last year, I tried to submit a complaint about this door-vent issue at the Purser’s desk (I refuse to call it “Guest Services” or whatever bland corporate-speak CCL now calls it). But the lady at the desk REFUSED to take my comment. She said I could only send it directly to the Miami office!

Now I do realize that she couldn’t fill in the door vents herself, but I do feel it is less than ideal customer service to flat-out refuse to take a comment from a guest.

John Says:
Hello Scott Nickle,

You are correct Scott about the vents and the difference between the doors on the Spirit and Fantasy class that were built in Finland (not Norway) and the other class of ships that were built in Italy. However, I have been in a guest cabin on the Carnival Legend last year and despite there not being a vent I still could hear people talking in the corridors as they would at home in the wee small hours of the morning. It is just the way some people are I guess yet I never seem to hear this I the many hotels I stay in. Maybe it’s that hotels are for the most part depressing places where as the ships are fun and people continue to have fun despite the rest of us trying to get to sleep. The guest services desk should have taken your comment and I am very surprised to read that they didn’t for which I apologise. Thanks for the post and I hope we will see each other again on another cruise soon so we can tip-toe down the corridor together.

Best wishes

Georgia Gal Asked:

Can I have an answer please? I am going on the Fantasy next month and want to bring my own comforter and bed sheets and pillows. Is this allowed?


John Says:
Hello Georgia Girl,

Yes of course you may bring these items. I see many bring their own pillows although I am not sure I have ever seen anyone bring their own comforter and sheets before. But you may of course do so and your state room steward will make sure he sets the bed for you. Have a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes and sleep well

Carolyn and Don Asked:
Hi John,

First let me say you are definitely NOT old. I have 2 children older than you, now I’m OLD…

We have just returned from our cruise on the Carnival Elation, the second in 6 weeks. A lot of the crew recognized us and some even remembered our names. Our waitress we had the first cruise, our maitre d we had in the Inspiration dining room both cruises. Mark from India on the Lido deck. Also the assistant MaitreD we saw every day morning noon and night on the Lido deck. I don’t think he ever took time off to rest.

Our first cruise was with Felipe Couto as CD and we enjoyed every minute of watching his humor ……… (right spelling) on stage. I’ve told you previously he is so good at his job. I hope he will soon get his own ship so we can sail with him again.

This time we were entertained by Steve……. he too is hilarious; His version of Dolly Parton will leave you rolling in the aisle. The first time we met him, I walked up and he said you’re Carolyn……….That really surprised me as we had never met. He’s great at his job.

The shows were great. I’m sorry we won’t be back to the Carnival Elation until next Sept. as Steve said they are fixing to have a new show.

Carnival can be comfortable in the knowledge that they have a lot of young men and women ready to take over as the older CD’s retire. There is so much talent waiting in the wings so to speak.

We enjoyed Nick Gardiner the social host, he is such a fine young man and will make an excellent ACD and in time CD. You can already see his talent when he is on stage.

There are so many up and coming ACD that we have met and watched during soon to be 20 cruises we have been on.

Charlie Davidson, who was CD on the Valor when you had to leave and go to CA to welcome the Splendor last year, we enjoyed him and would love to sail with him again. Sexy Craig, Jaime, Stephanie Meads, so many young talented young people ready to take over when their turn comes. Carnival is in good hands.

I wish you would also give us a list of the ACD and what ships they are on like you do the CD.

We’re getting ready to cruise on the Carnival Miracle and enjoy Malcolm Burn as CD for the first time.

Carolyn and Don

Sending cuddles and hugs to Heidi and Kye

John Says:
Hello Carolyn and Don,

This is a great review and as I know how passionate you are about everything Carnival I am really proud to read that Felipe and Charlie did an outstanding job in their roles as cruise directors. The ACD’s you mentioned are also part of the future and when I am old(er) and retired these young men will be carrying us forward and helping Carnival remain at the top of the cruise industry. I think it is an excellent idea to post a list of the ACD’s and I have asked someone in the Miami office to have this ready for next week. Thank you for donating the library books, you have a wonderful kind heart and I thank you as always for your time and for your continuing words of love for Heidi and Kye. See you both soon.

Best wishes

That’s all for this week and I will be back with more on Monday. Once again my I kindly remind you to add the words “John Please Reply” to your post if you would like something answered or my help. Thanks for another great week of comments. Let’s take a break and here is the last of the Halloween photos and this time we go to Wee Jimmy and the Carnival Legend.

It’s been a difficult day in the CD chair and not just because my arse is on fire after the spiciest bowl of Mongolian Wok which has left my bottom smoldering like an Icelandic volcano. Talking of volcanoes my Indonesian friends here are all quiet concerned about a volcano that has erupted in their home country. We have a few crew members who are from the area where Mount Merapi is causing havoc and we are making sure they are able to stay in touch with what is happening.

It’s been a difficult day because I have had a dancer resign and two comedians miss the ship. The dancer is just 19 years old and this is his first contract. I tried to talk him into changing his mind but he just feels that ship’s life is not for him and he wants to go home. And so we will arrange for him to do this. Ship’s life is not for everyone and a mixture of homesickness and living, working, playing and socializing with the same group of people all the time can occasionally make some very unhappy indeed. We shall miss him, he was a good dancer and a good cast member.

So, just after he had handed me his notice I received an e-mail from Miami telling me that the 2 comedians who were due to perform in the Punchliner comedy club were not going to be joining the ship in Mazatlan because of a canceled flight. This was a big blow because the Capers were already……..bugger…………this was a big blow because the Fun Times were already printed and guests expectations were that they were going to see two comedians perform 5 comedy shows. So I made apology announcements and placed posters saying the same thing outside the lounge.

Instead of the comedy shows I scheduled the Superstar Live performances there which were popular………but you could tell that guests were disappointed such is the popularity of comedy. I am still hoping that we can get these chaps into Cabo this morning but as I sit here at 8:30am it doesn’t look good as Miami are struggling to find flights. As always with all of our fly on entertainers we are at the mercy of the airlines. I am still crossing everything I can though.

It has also been difficult but nothing can beat a certain mad professor. As you may know I have had yet another in the long line of eccentric Californian guests here this week with this one wanting to have a lounge reserved so that he may tell everyone they will be dead in two years time. Obviously I have refused this and since doing this his contempt of me has been obvious.

He has written a letter to the captain in which he stated he would write to Carnival’s owner “Mr. Arnisen” and was so rude at dinner two nights ago that the people at his table asked the maitre d to be moved which they now have been. I am very careful in these sorts of situations to be careful in case this chap has some learning difficulties etc but he doesn’t. He is here with his wife who if he speaks to her like he has me, the staff and the people he was at dinner with must wish it was 2012 tomorrow.

And then I got this.

Guest: Mr————Ref: 842142151A
Cabin: ————– Added-Changed: 11/04/10 – 11/04/10

Guest cut to the front of the line and demanded he speak to the GSM immediately. Guest was shouting and GSA asked Mr.__ to take a seat in the lobby. GSS ___ then came to speak to him with me. Guest said this was the cruise from hell and stated following concerns.


Guest also said that in the Port Of PV he had waited in the hot sun over 105minutes to get back on the ship because the lines were long. Guest says this is the worst vacation his family has ever had. Tasked to F and B Manager, Youth Director, Cruise Director, Housekeeping Manager

Now I am sure he has some legitimate complaints there but anytime I hear the words cruise from hell my hemorrhoids flare up. We are checking the air in his cabin and yes, he is in one of the smaller quad inside cabins which I am sure with four people in them can feel a bit small at times ……..but the worst vacation ever…………..really?

Have this family never had massive arguments because nobody remembered to pack the magnetic Scrabble? Have their children not get travel sick and vomited all over the rental from Hertz? Have the kids never fallen over while riding their bikes and spent two weeks screaming as Mum picks gravel out of their knees? Did they all remember their passports? Was their luggage never lost? Was Coca Cola not knocked off the flip down airplane table on to jeans that became sticker and nastier as the flight progressed? Are none of the children so embarrassed by their parents’ summer outfits as their Dad wears the briefest of Speedos on the Lido Deck? Is the air conditioning working perfectly in every car they have rented and every hotel bedroom they have stayed in? Did nobody get lazy about the sun cream because it was a bit cloudy and then blister like purple bubble wrap? Has Dad never drunk a few too many pina coladas and spent rather too long talking to the woman with the big breasts. Have there been no rushes to the toilet after eating weird looking shellfish? Surely a camera has been lost? Or a cell phone dropped in a pool …….or maybe because of the aforementioned shellfish you never made it out of the pool? No problems because Mum and Dad want some rumpy pumpy in the tiny hotel room just for once ……you little bastards….. It isn’t all that much to ask? Can’t you just go and play on your own for a bit like other children?

Anyway, myself and those mentioned have all agreed to meet with this chap today and I will report back as to what happened on Facebook.

But these sorts of letters are few and far between and it’s easy for me to forget to write on this blog thingy that 99% of our guests on every cruise on every ship have the most fantastic time. You see though the problem is that me writing about people having fun doesn’t make for interesting blogs and besides, the majority of the thousands of daily blog readers are Carnival fans and already know what a brilliant experience a Carnival cruise provides. So often, I concentrate only on the bad and not the good. I must do better in this regard.

So we have a captain onboard the ship this week……I mean that’s not to say we have some weeks where we don’t have a captain onboard and that Ketut my cabin steward is driving ……. no I mean we have an extra captain onboard who is here to implement some new procedures on board. Now I won’t bore you with the details because…….well……..they are boring but basically it’s a security thingy and amongst the new rules and regulations that were written by someone with a beard and that this captain is going fleetwide to implement is the change of who can call the bridge and when. This of course applies to the crew but there won’t be a change of rules for the guests although some of the deck officers wish there was I am sure.

You see, guests can call the bridge anytime on the emergency number listed in the cabin directory. It’s the same on every ship “33” and as the directory clearly states it is for emergencies only ………..except it’s not because in a meeting yesterday Captain Vincenzo told us how he needs the CD’s help to emphasise that this is an emergency line only and then told us some of the calls that the various ship’s have received on this number while trying to navigate the ship. Now these are not made up, they are officially recorded and are all from the last 12 months. I have chosen five for you to enjoy.

1. Carnival Inspiration – 2nd of February 2010 – Guest called at 9:10am to say that she had opened a closet door and snapped her fingernail off and it was bleeding.

2. Carnival Dream – 15th June 2010 – Guest called at 23:35pm to say that he had found a hair in his room service sandwich.

3. Carnival Inspiration – 11th December 2009 – Guest called at 8:30am to say that his TV remote control was not working

4. Carnival Fascination – 2nd of May 2010 – Guest called to ask what the land was on the port side.

5. Carnival Paradise – 14th December 2009- Guest called to say that she needed some ice.

It would be easy for the skeptics amongst you to think that the flat bloke in his underpants has made all the above up but you would be wrong. This is from an official report and it’s why you will see new wording in the directory and the Fun Times and directly from the cruise directors that the 33 line is for emergencies only and not because you have picked a zit and it won’t stop bleeding

We have the 911 medical emergency line that is to be used if you can actually see bone poking out of your skin and the 33 line to the bridge is also for medical emergencies or if someone falls overboard or if you see an iceberg……just in case our bridge officers haven’t. I tried to explain to Captain Vincenzo that just telling guests not to call is not good enough and we should come up with a stronger deterrent. I have therefore decided that the carrot and stick approach is best. Only without the carrot. This works for dogs and so I see no reason why it should not work for life forms that have less intelligence then a Shitzu.

Therefore anyone who calls the bridge emergency line number and whose head is still attached to the body and who does not have gangrene or whose dangly bits have not been sucked off by the cabin toilet ……..will be locked in the brig and forced to listen to some mad old bastard tell you that in 2012 you are going to die in a fiery ball of burning magma.

See you on Monday.

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.