Time For a Wicked Leak

December 7, 2010 -

John Heald

Have you been reading the stuff that this website “Wiki Leaks” is telling the world? Some of it isn’t exactly breaking news is it? President Sarkozy is a bit on the short side, Prince Andrew is a snob and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn’t much like Israel. President Bush thought British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was an idiot. Italian President Silvio Berlusconi likes rumpy pumpy and that Kim Il Jong is as mad as a rabid bat.

I guess under the current climate I should start calling this blog John’s Bloggy Leak because amongst the tedious stories about my underpants there is I guess stuff that I write that normally cruise ship guests would not ever get to know. Time then for some a “Bloggy Leaks” of my own. Gerry Cahill likes to curl up in bed early with a copy of Cosmopolitan. Micky Arison has all of Lady Ga Ga’s songs on his Eyepod and knows the choreography to Poker Face. It was in fact Stevie Wonder who designed the Norwegian Epic. Tomorrow’s “blogileaks” will reveal which male Carnival executive likes to dress like a woman on weekends and insists on being called Loretta.

Time for today’s Q and A…..off we go.

Linda (Mom of DJ) Asked:

I believe Bruce meant to have this as a request:
Brian Jurgensen, on October 21, 2010 at 10:14 pm Said:

Usually don’t do this because I think it’s a little tacky, but I was wondering if you could do something for me. My dad and I will be on the December 12th sailing of the Valor and it will be his birthday cruise. It would really mean a lot to me if you could have something special sent to our room for his birthday. We’ll be in room 7434. If you need verification of this I’ll be more than happy to do whatever it takes. My Dads name is Michael

Thanks a million!!

John Says:
Hello Linda,

First of all let me start by saying a big thank you to you for your continuing support of the blog thingy. I was also wondering what your opinion of the new Superstar Live event was? As Carnival’s Karaoke queen I would be interested in hearing your views. Now I am way behind with my answers and I am not sure as to why you posted this comment. Did I miss it or is he a friend of yours? Anyway, I will make sure I send him something and again my apologies for not knowing as I am sure this comment was posted sometime ago.

My best wishes to you and all the family

Will Johnson Asked:
John (Please reply)

Thank you for your reply regarding Steakhouse bookings in 2011 some weeks ago. I have now submitted our booking request for the Carnival Dream sailing in March 2011. What I find strange is advanced booking is recommended but no confirmation is sent that the booking has been received or can be met- this is confirmed in the FAQs as follows:

“Steakhouse reservations can be requested prior to your cruise on carnival.com. Just login/register or access your booking by clicking here. Go to My Cruise Manager and select Plan Activities from the “To-Do List” section. Once in the Plan Activities section if your ship has a steakhouse you will see steakhouse section with the option to submit a reservation request. Requested dates and times are on a first come, first serve basis. If the requested time is not available, the next available time slot will be assigned. At this time, we do not send out confirmations prior to the cruise indicating that the dinner reservation has been confirmed. The guest will be notified once on board.”

Is this a new policy as I am sure when I booked in advance last year we got an e-mail confirmation


John Says:
Hello Will

You are correct sir. We don’t have a confirmation policy for our steakhouse reservations. We have 11 ships that have the fabulous steakhouse and with 400 covers or more per voyage it would be difficult for the steakhouse hostess to manage this. If anyone is anxious, though, that there may be a problem with their booking I can always check for them if they contact me here on the blog thingy. I am not sure if we ever actually did e-mail confirmation for the steakhouse but I am glad that you booked your Carnival Dream cruise and I am now in fact ready to start 2011 Chef’s Table bookings.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you

Best wishes

Parrothead19 Asked:
John – Urgent reply,

Why has the cruise director schedule been posted on Cruise Critic yet. We are all waiting for it to see who is lucky and will have good cruise director and who will be unlucky and have ________.

We shouldn’t have to wait this long and many Cruise Critic members are waiting so I suggest you get it done!


John Says:
Hello Parrothead19

Well the timing of this is absolutely perfect because in fact the schedule will be posted here on the blog thingy tomorrow and I will then ask my good friend Host Mach to post it on the Cruise Critic site. I will say that I am sure most cruise lines do not make this information public so I make no apologies for not posting it yet. In fact, the cruise directors themselves only got the schedule late Monday night so the fact that I am posting it two days later is I think pretty good. Now you will see that I removed the three names of the cruise directors that you listed at the end of your post. I never edit people’s postings but I found it a little disrespectful that you listed three of my colleagues and suggested that people who cruise with them would be unlucky.

Anyway, the CD schedule will be here tomorrow.

Best wishes


Miranda M Asked:
Please Reply

I will be sailing on the Fantasy out of Charleston where I live in January. I love Carnival and this will be my 7th cruise with you guys. I wondered if you knew though that there is a group of people here in my home town who resent Carnival being here and are making a big old fuss about it saying you are an environmental disaster. There was a suggestion in the local press City Paper that Carnival was going to leave Charleston because of this bad press. Please tell me this aint so.
Love you, love Carnival

John Says:

Please don’t worry Miranda. Carnival complies to each and every environmental law required by the US Government, United States Coast Guard and other agencies. Charleston has become a homeport favourite for us and I am sure that there are many who live there who appreciate the cruise industry and the revenue that the cruise industry brings. The Carnival Fantasy’s cruises to Charleston are doing extremely well and we have no intention of leaving.

Thanks so much for the kind words and your loyalty to Carnival and have a brilliant time on the Carnival Fantasy

Best wishes

EDDIE PAR 4 Asked:
John, Please reply!

I have to agree with Charles because I also cruised on the Ecstasy and found the Texan passengers to have no class. I know some may not like this but it’s the truth and I will never cruise out of Galveston again. My question is then about the Magic. Will she always be in Galveston or will you be moving her to another home port so those of us who want to sail on her can. Also, when are details on Breeze going to be release?

John Says:
Hello Eddie Par 4,

It seems that I have been defending my Texan friends a lot recently and I will do so again now when I respectfully disagree with you and say that my time on the Carnival Conquest was brilliant and as an entertainer the audiences were some of the best I have ever performed to. I should also point out that not everybody who sails on the ships out of Galveston are Texans.

There are no plans to move your Carnival Magic to another home port and I hope you will seriously consider sailing on her and enjoy the new WaterWorks aqua park, Cucina del Capitano restaurant, the Red Frog Pub and so much more. There is no news on the Carnival Breeze just yet but I will tell you all about her as soon as I hear.

Best wishes,

Irene Garner Asked:
Hi John…. Please Reply
I read your blog today about the passenger who wrote a bad comment about you when you were trying to comfort the girl whose boyfriend was injured. It makes me so angry when people accuse us of being a racist. I am English like you, and when a customer at the supermarket where I work tried to get my attention by shouting “Oi” I told him that it was not a polite way to speak to me. I was later accused by his daughter of being prejudiced against her father because English is not his first language. As you say, what a load of bollocks. I don’t care where you are from. There’s no excuse for bad manners.

Now for my question. I did receive my comment card by email after my last cruise and there was something I feel I should have said something about after I had submitted the form. I have noticed that when I spend any time on my own on the ship, on the promenade deck or even on lido deck that the waiters seem reluctant to approach me. On the last cruise I was waiting on the lido deck for my grandson Mackenzie (The Wave) while he was doing the Behind the Fun Tour. I was there about three hours in total, but was asked only once if I wanted a drink. In the end I had to go up to the bar to get my own drink. I wondered if other solo, older, female passengers find the same thing. It bothered me too when the waiter came around to get ice or something, and a man sitting behind me called to him for another bucket of beer, and the waiter had no problem getting it for him, and I was ignored. When it was my turn the bar staff served me, but my thoughts were “What am I …chopped liver?”

Anyway this won’t stop me from more cruising with Carnival. I’ll shout to the waiter next time like that man did, even if it’s not ladylike.

Only 38 days to my next adventure.

Irene Garner (Hooked on cruising)

John Says:

Hello Irene,

I hate liver……chopped or otherwise. My Dad love it and I remember the smell of it used to make me feel sick and it still does. Anyway, you certainly are not chopped liver or any other kind of liver and there is simply no excuse for the bar staff not to give you the levels of service that you expect. Now I couldn’t remember what ship you last sailed on so I sent this comment directly to the chap in the Miami office who is in charge of our bar service. I am sure he will act on this accordingly.

Thanks so much for the kind words. The lady who called me a racist later apologised. The whole incident was very upsetting to me as I value the many friendships I have on board from people of all walks of life. Working with 50 different nationalities like we do on board gives you an incredible insight and wonderful appreciation of the world’s cultures.

Please send my best to Mackenzie and thanks for your kindness.

Best wishes,

Linda (Mom of DJ) Asked:
To one of the 344 Stephanies:

Is there any way we can “ban” this moron? He isn’t funny. He isn’t contributing to our fun. He is an insecure child whose Mother obviously isn’t monitoring his computer time.


John Says:
Hello Linda

If you are referring to my truck driver friend he is indeed banned………………….forever.

Best wishes,

Yolanda Vasquez Asked:

John REPLY!!

Table for 6
January 15th
By Window
Cabin 6321
Spanish speaking server

John Says:
Hello Yolanda

I will certainly ask the maitre d on your Carnival Dream to do his best to assist you with your request. Have a great cruise.

Best wishes

Jeff Mabrey Asked:
A REPLY would be fun, but not mandatory.

John, love the blog! It’s a good read. My wife and I are frequent floaters on “that other cruise line” but I am trying to convince her to try Carnival out of Galveston. Would you please help me answer some questions she has asked?

1. We understand from the Cruise Critic Elite that if we chose Carnival we will have to row the boat for a while. How long are we required to row? I don’t mind rowing but coal shoveling is where we have to draw the line.

2. If we upgrade to a suite, do we get our rowing time reduced?

3. After reading the CC boards it seems that everyone that goes on a Carnival cruise is a loud, boisterous drunk. How do we get in on this action?

4. If we print out our Cruise Critic Right of Austere Pass (CCRAP) and show it to the Cruise Director do we get a free drink at the piano bar?

5. Is it true that all Carnival Cruise Director’s fart?

Thanks again for the enjoyable blog.

Jeff / TxBubba

John Says:
Hello Jeff Mabrey,

Very funny mate. I should point out again that the majority of Cruise Critic readers are brilliant and love Carnival and the opinions they post on their boards are extremely important. However there are some who think that the fact that they are Cruise Critic members gives them a get out of jail free card for being somewhat rude ……..and that’s a shame……..because it certainly does not.

While rowing is not mandatory I can tell you that most cruise directors do fart. It’s part of the job description and while many of the younger CD’s are funnier and more energetic than I am now …………..nobody can let them rip like I can.

I am so glad you are enjoying the blog thingy and thanks for the great posting

Best wishes,

Justin Giggs Asked:
John (Please Reply)

Can you help me organise a special something for me. My brother passed away in August, he was not of his motorcycle and killed by a drunk driver. He was only 29 and was supposed to cruise with me and my parents and other family members on the Liberty this Christmas. I want to have his ashes scattered from the ship and need your help making this something we can do.

Thank you

Justin and family

John Says:
Hello Justin Giggs,

Please would you allow me to speak for all the thousands of blog readers and say that we all send you our deepest sympathies at the awful loss of your brother. I have already spoken to the people on the ship and they are expecting you. Everything is arranged and all I ask is that when you board the ship please go to the guest services desk and let them know when you wish to have the ceremony. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do. Our thoughts are with you and the family.


Michele Nolin-Love Asked:

John: Please Reply – Originally posted on September 16th, but have not seen a reply. Thanks.

My husband and I just returned from our second time on our Carnival Legend and most importantly we want to thank you so much for helping us have a private table in the MDR. We were on the 2nd floor right at the railing with a great view of everything on the main floor. We thoroughly enjoyed Ken’s singing along with all the servers. We are the Carnival cruisers that look forward to the shows after dinner every night. That being said, there is one thing that we were disappointed in and maybe you could pass this along. It would have been nice if Ken made his way up to the 2nd floor 1 or 2 nights during the 7 night cruise. We understand it is a big dining room and didn’t expect him to greet every single table on the 2nd floor, but just make his presence known. It also seemed that he visited the same 6 or 7 tables every night. I did go downstairs on the last night to get a picture with him, which he was more than happy to accommodate. But even the assistant Maitre D never came to our table or any tables near us. Just a thought.

We also were pleasantly surprised to have Jen Baxter as our CD and we sent her a hand written note to tell her how happy we were and how much we enjoyed her last year. Please understand, by doing that, we most certainly were not looking for anything free, but thought that a little note or phone call acknowledging that she received the note would have been appropriate, but we never heard anything.

All in all we had a great time and just love this ship. The staff was wonderful, the food was excellent and the ports were perfect.

Thank you again for helping us.
Michele & Brad Love

John Says:

Hello Michele and Brad Love

My apologies that I have missed replying to your comment until now. I am not sure how this happened because I am currently answering comments that were posted in late October but I am glad you sent it again. I know Ken will take this criticism very much to heart because I know how professional he is. I have known him a long time and was surprised that he did not visit the top floor of the dining room as I have seen him do this many times. Anyway, as I said, he will definitely want to know your thoughts and I wouldn’t be surprised if you received a personal note from him.

I am glad your table was arranged as you requested and please would you let me know if you need anything before your next cruise.

Best wishes to you both

And that’s all for today. Many thanks for all the great comments and I will be talking about requests, etc., very soon because Eric, Everett and the beards are working on a way to make this part of the blog much simpler for you and for me. Anyway, I will talk more about this on Friday. One thing I have decided to do is pay less attention to the posts that say Carnival is crap and other cruise lines rule the world. While I will certainly never stop posting those criticisms that state that we at Carnival could have or should have done something better, those that are written by what are now commonly known as trolls will not be posted. I see no point in doing so.

I am proud to ask my friend Vance to tell you some great news and it’s news that is very appropriate after reading the question about Charleston. Here then is Vance.

Carnival Cruise Lines and the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital are proud to announce a partnership for 2011.

The year-long partnership will include several in-kind and monetary donations and fundraisers, as well as bringing smiles and fun to the patients of the MUSC Children’s Hospital. Under the partnership, Carnival’s involvement includes:

  • Four Fun Centers, mobile entertainment units that include a Nintendo Wii console, flat panel television and DVD player. Each Fun Center can be rolled up to the side of patients’ beds or throughout the hospital. Two laptops will also be donated, both items helping to improve the quality of the child’s life in the hospital setting.
  • Quarterly shows for the children in the MUSC Children’s Hospital Atrium, by a Carnival cruise director, Fun Ship Freddy and other talent.
  • A total of 1,000 Towel Pals delivered throughout the year to provide companionship and comfort to the children.
  • A donation to the Children’s Hospital through fundraising efforts at the Cooper River Bridge Run.
  • A spring fund-raising effort, currently in the planning stages.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with MUSC Children’s Hospital after a fun tie-in at last year’s Cooper River Bridge Run,” said Mike Julius, managing director U.S. sales for Carnival. “This hospital makes a positive impact on these children’s lives. It is extremely important to Carnival Cruise Lines, and part of our ongoing corporate philosophy, to give back to the Charleston area community in a meaningful way while bringing smiles to children’s faces.”

“We are looking forward to the positive impact of this partnership,” said Dr. Ray Greenberg, MUSC president. “Since becoming a greater part of our business and tourism community this year, Carnival Cruise Lines is continuing to demonstrate its commitment to the Charleston area.”

In May 2010, Carnival Cruise Lines officially launched the first, year-round cruise service from Charleston on the Carnival Fantasy, with destinations to The Bahamas and Key West, Fla. In 2011, Carnival will also offer a series of Bermuda cruises for the first time from Charleston.

“We are thankful for the positive reception Carnival has received since the launch of our year-round cruise service,” added Mike Julius. “The Port, the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, area travel agents and many other business and community leaders and residents have provided support and partnership, enabling Carnival to truly feel a part of this great community.”

The partnership will begin December 2010 with the first of the quarterly entertainment shows occurring on December 17. The goal for the partnership is to provide $50,000 through a combination of monetary and in-kind donations and fundraising efforts. The Fun Centers are expected in the first quarter of 2011. Information for the upcoming entertainment events, fundraisers and Cooper River Bridge Run involvement will be announced at a later date.

A few days ago I posted on my Facebook page that there would be some exciting news in the weeks ahead. And indeed there will be. In fact I am hoping I will be able to bring you some news by the end of this week and later some news about a new………..ummmm………..well you will have to wait until our Superspy PA 007 gets me all the details. Anyway…………stay tuned.

Talking of the comments I want to thank you all for your support regarding my St Jude blog yesterday. It’s very early here in the UK and yet I see that we have 55 comments already and as I read them I see that unanimously you all agree that it’s a great thing that Carnival is doing and therefore OK to ask for your help. There were some great ideas and I certainly think we have to do a better job putting the word our on the ships that we are supporting this place of hope and that’s something that I will be doing once I am back on board and that I will encourage my colleagues to do as well.

Well as I mentioned in the Q and A just now I will be posting the CD schedule tomorrow so you can see who will be on what ship until the early part of summer and later this week I will also have the Assistant CD schedule as well because some of you had requested this.

We continue now with a look at our Piano Bar entertainers and today our journey takes us to the Carnival Fantasy and our first lady entertainer……………..here’s Lorraine

Bio: Lorraine Ingle, singer, songwriter and pianist, was born and is still currently living in Toronto, Canada. She began her career as a piano bar artist with the Carnival Destiny in 2005 and has since performed on many Carnival ships, including the Inspiration, Glory, Celebration, Ecstasy, Liberty, Fascination and the Fantasy.

Lorraine’s piano bar is a versatile mixture of fun, participation or just sitting back and listening for enjoyment. She takes requests all night long mostly in the pop/rock/blues/boogie/country genres, but there is always a request or two for Frank Sinatra or Michael Bubble to venture into the jazzy side of things. Her repertoire covers songs from 1914 through to the 2000’s, songs for all ages. She provides sing-a-long books and request books for the piano party, with a few little surprises for special guest spots in the piano bar. Her motto is “No skill required in my piano bar, come on in and have some fun!”

When asked what she likes best about the Carnival piano bar, she says “I love sharing the music with people, and getting them to have fun by participating in the music, it makes everyone very happy, including me.”

Lorraine’s top requested songs are:

  • I Love This Bar, Toby Keith
  • American Pie, Don Maclean
  • Sweet Home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • You’re So Vain, Carly Simon
  • The Bumble Boogie, Jack Fina
  • Crazy, Patsy Cline
  • Livin’ On a Prayer, Bon Jovi
  • Don’t Stop Believin’, Journey
  • Ironic, Alanis Morissette
  • The Entertainer, Scott Joplin
  • Clocks, Coldplay
  • Georgia, Ray Charles
  • Bennie and the Jets, Elton John
  • Piano Man, Billy Joel

Thanks Lorraine and keep up the great work. We have another entertainer to share with you tomorrow.

Well, the ships are dressed for Christmas and over the next few days I will share some photos with you of how they look. Let’s start today with a trip to your Carnival Dream and see her beautiful decorations.

The fleets decorations were decorated “Professional Christmas Decorators” who have beards and sandals and……. who make a living by decorating other people’s Christmas trees.

Don’t you find that amazing? That someone has persuaded a bank that there is a demand for such a thing, let alone such a volume of demand that it would overcome the extremely seasonal nature of the business? I can only presume that they charge Carnival a huge amount of money and although the decorations look good…..it is surely something the crew of each ship could do themselves …….and probably make it look good……and having fun doing so ……….. and the money we spend on paying Mr and Mrs Sandal could be then given to St Jude……..just a thought.

Talking of Christmas decorations I am embarrassed to say that yesterday I used bad language in front of my daughter.

“Sh*t………are you having I laugh,” I said out loud. We were at the Christmas tree dealer, and my glowing wife picked out five foot sodding spruce. It was freshly cut and smelt like a Norwegian grandmother. The 14-year old salesman had already used his chainsaw to bugger the stem, so that it would fit in our stand, and now it was being wrapped in white plastic netting. The only question left was the price.

I had a vague memory that last year, and the year before that, we had been asked for something in the region of £30 to £35 for a tree of identical height and beauty. So when he said, “£70 (that’s $110 as of today’s exchange rate) to you, mate, and that’s as cheap as I can do it,” I nearly decorated the tree with some projectile vomit.

We looked at the tree, wrapped and ready to go. I looked at my wife, agog with excitement, already thinking about the red and golden balls and other Christmassy stuff that she and Kye were going to drape all over it while we all ate a Dutch Christmas delicacy called Kerststol and listened to George Michael sing about Last Christmas.

I looked from tree to wife, from wife to tree, from daughter to tree and from tree to daughter and I knew there was nothing for it, and so I paid for the bloody tree. Anyway, we got the tree home and as I write Heidi is decorating it in her usual way. This means the tree will look wonderful and despite my complaining and her embarrassment at my bad language at the tree farm, ours will be the best Christmas tree …….in the world. It is traditional at this time of year for me to moan about how much I hate just about everything to do with Christmas ……..and while I hate the fact that Christmas now starts in September and the fact that my neighbour’s house light decorations illuminates the entire street……….. I know that Kye is going to love it.

Naturally there are one or two minor irritations. I don’t, for instance, like it when you get hit in the face by a remote controlled micro-helicopter the moment you walk through the door of a toyshop or in a shopping mall. I also despise the fact that in the politically correct world we live in certain Christmas traditions have now been cancelled for one reason or another. For example, my town’s traditional Christmas tree, has been abandoned in favour of a plastic one – on environmental grounds.

But mostly I get on well with Christmas. The lights work straight out of the box, I enjoy watching my Dad eat Brussels sprouts knowing that in a few hours time Mum will be decking the halls with a can of Oust. I like turkey curry in January. You can never watch the Great Escape too many times. I don’t have any relatives who wet themselves during lunch and I am grateful for my new socks. That said, there is one feature of Christmas that fills me with such fear and such dread that I genuinely shiver whenever it is mentioned. It is the damp log in the fire, the boil on the arse of Christmas and thank goodness I no longer have to endure them on land or at sea………….I am talking about the company holiday party.

When I worked in the city of London, the staff would each save £1 a week for the annual yuletide piss-up. By July they would have enough for the shrimp cocktail and by October they were more excited than Tiger Woods at a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue photo shoot. When I was travelling in Memphis last week with one of the Stephanies she was telling me how excited the entire marketing department is about their Christmas party. And this of course will be the same across the land I never understood why. I still don’t. The notion that you turn off your computer at 5 pm and at 5:01 pm are getting drunk with people you don’t like very much over a plastic cup of Pinot Grigio seems really sodding strange to me.

They are not your friends and you would rather have pumped gas in the crack of your arse and set it on fore……… then see them socially any other time of year. So why think for a moment that the evening will be anything other than hell? And, these parties can really spoil the whole spirit of Christmas. The streets become full of ordinary people who have suddenly lost the ability to walk in a straight line.

And the atmosphere in every restaurant is firebombed by the table of 60 who order food not for its taste but its aerodynamic efficiency. Some people put more effort into the office party than they do into the family event a few days later. Last year I went to a party of a company we work very closely with at Carnival ……..and boy…..…..did I feel old. I ended up in nightclub, looking at my watch every few minutes and thinking: Can I really go at 10 pm?

There are some rules, therefore, that I feel I should pass onto you, should you be considering an office party this year. Never, ever let your firm’s outing be organized by the most junior member of the team because their idea of a good night out — lots of vomit and silly hats — is likely to be far removed from yours.

You think you have nothing to talk about with the president and CEO, but you have even less in common with the office juniors. Your houseplants, for instance, are alive — but you can’t smoke any of them. There is more food in your fridge than booze and you hear your favourite songs when you’re in an elevator.

The other thing about the work party is very disturbing. You sit opposite the really ugly girl for 48 weeks and it never once occurs to you that you want to see her naked. So how come, after one cup of warm white wine, Jennifer from accounting looks like Megan Fox and you have an overwhelming desire to take her to the photo copy room for some rumpy pumpy?

Oh and I guess Christmas is also the time for people to try and extort as much money as they can from you. The mail just came and amongst the Christmas cards there was a letter from the shop where I bought my plasma TV from offering me a chance to extend the warranty for only £129 ($204). Yes, I would love to do that………first though let me draw a huge thingy on my forehead.

See you tomorrow.

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.