I’ve Got A Crush On You

February 9, 2011 -

John Heald

It’s 2011 and you may wonder to what level a man may admire another man. You see, I am talking about a taboo subject………man crushes…….the way you express admiration for other men. I think a man crush starts when you project the things that your man crush subject can do that you can’t. I say this because a guest stopped me last night at the entrance to the show lounge and told me he had a crush on me………..I was his idol…………he wanted to be me …………. and while it was truly humbling………..it was also a little disturbing. He was married, his wife was there next to him and it was flattering, especially after the other couple has screamed hateful abuse at me because I wasn’t the cruise director this week.

It got me thinking and one of my thoughts was about the classic show Happy Days and watching Richie, Ralph and ummmm……..the other one…………and how they looked up to the Fonz. There they were, three nerds adrift in a sea of teenage problems always knowing that they could go to their hero for help. The Fonz rode motorcycles, was as hard as nails and was damn good looking. He was also an unemployed mechanic who lived in a garage and liked to hang out with teenage boys……..but we will ignore that bit shall we? The nerds looked up to Fonzie and always wanted to be with him.

So, here’s a question for you male bloggers. Given the chance, would you want to hang out with other men or women. Let’s make this a bit more selective shall we. Just imagine you had to choose between going on a date with Megan Fox and chilling with George Clooney on his private yacht. Staring at the most gorgeous bottom in the world……or playing poker and smoking cigars with George? Pretending to be interested in the fact that she has ordered a small salad and a glass of air for dinner or listening to George Clooney tell you about the time he and Brad Pitt went to a Latvian lap dancing club and had lashings of rumpy pumpy….….if you voted for George ………….then……………you have a man crush.

And so it is that I have a confession to make by telling you about my very own Man Crush …… it is…….Carnival’s President and CEO Gerry Cahill. I find myself in awe of his accounting abilities and his brilliant sense of humour. I actually have a recurring dream about Gerry. We are sitting in cafe on South Beach. He is wearing a V-neck sweater, immaculate pants and drinking a beer. Everyone is laughing at our jokes and jealous of our blokey banter. Everyone wants to buy us drinks and wants to be me………..the chap hanging out with Gerry.

Suddenly, Gerry turns to me and says “You know John, you are my best mate, let’s get out of here and you can come back to my place and I will show you my collection of calculators.”

Yep …………Gerry Cahill……………..my man crush.

Gerry and I will be talking to 1,000 travel agents and assorted press on the 19th of February onboard the Carnival Splendor. You know, so much has happened since “that cruise” and there have been so many people who have praised the crew and the attitude of the guests. This is all great but I wonder if they and indeed I here on the blog…… have ever said out loud a huge thank you to Gerry.

You know he was in the command center in Miami all the time. He slept in his office and he made the instant decision to give the guests the compensation that was heralded by all.

He also came to San Diego when the ship arrived and he came onboard, put his bags down on the bridge and then walked the ship talking to many different guests and helped some by carrying their bags off the ship. I am glad he is going to be with me on the Carnival Splendor and I will be proud to stand alongside my man…………….Gerry Cahill………….a brilliant leader …………..and someone who looks really good in a pair of tight jeans.

Time for today’s Q and A…………let’s make like a horse turd and hit the trail

Sara Asked:
Hi John! Please respond.

I hope all is well and you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season. I’m writing to inquire about making a Chef’s Table reservation on the Carnival Freedom departing FLL 2/20/2010 for a party of 4. If you would please point me in the right direction, it will be most appreciated. Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!

Kind regards,

Sara Mada

John Says:
Hello Sara,

Sorry for the delay in answering this as it must have got lost in cyber space somewhere. Anyway, you are all set and your reservation is confirmed. Have a great time at The Chef’s Table and have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes


Jazzqueen Asked:

As your companies ambassador I want you to read my review of our cruise on the Pride which I posted on the world most influential cruise site Cruise Critic. http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=76130

I have complained over and over again but nobody at Carnival has ever returned my calls which from what other Cruise Critic members have told me is typical. So Mr. Ambassador. What are you going to do for me?

John Says:
Hello Jazzqueen,

I am so sorry that you did not have the cruise you had hoped for on the Carnival Pride. I have to be honest though and tell you that I am replying to this post because what you said about Cruise Critic is absolutely correct. It is a very important and influential site and that’s why while I am truly sorry that you did not have a good time that I hope that the people who have read your review will read the many other reviews that state that their Carnival Pride cruise was brilliant.

I have sent your review to someone at Carnival’s guest relations team and they will be in touch. One point I would like to mention is to kindly suggest that when writing a review like this and to ask someone to help you is to maybe use your real name rather than a screen name.

Thank you for taking the time to write and someone will be in touch via the e mail you provided.

Best wishes


Maria & Juan Santana Asked:

Hi, John! Hoping you & the family had a great Christmas and that you’ll have a great New Year too!

We recently returned from 3 b-to-b cruises, the Nieuw Amsterdam was the 1st (11/28 – 12/5) & we must report that you & Heidi were absolutely right about the ship & the Tamarind Restaurant. The ship is a jewel & the Tamarid is unbelievable! Do you know that Porthole Magazine recently voted it the best restaurant at sea? This was our 2nd cruise on Holland America…the 1st was on the Statendam many yrs. ago. CD Dan Bernback is a very talented young man, besides having a great personality. He has been a singer, educator, conductor & producer. He earned his Master’s Degree in Education Administration from the Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas. In Vegas his work has been featured at most of the major casinos including Paris, The Venetian, Caesar’s Palace, the Wynn & the Bellagio. For Holland America he has been featured as Lead Singer and also Vocal Coach, directing all of the singers on the HAL ships. You probably know all of the above, but we wanted the bloggers to know the excellence of the Nieuw Amsterdam. We also wanted to mention that instead of a Past Guests Cocktail Party, Holland America offered a champagne Brunch….great idea! Terrific!

On 1/29/11 we’ll be boarding the Crown Princess for a 1-wk. Western Caribbean Cruise (our 4th Princess cruise), so we’ll give you our report upon return.

Then, God willing, May 1st we’ll be joining you, Heidi & Kye on the Carnival Magic Inaugural Cruise from Venice! We can’t hardly wait! As we mentioned on an earlier note, we’ll be sailing from Port Everglades April 2 to Barcelona on one of the competition’s ships (a reposition cruise) and we’ll stop along the way on several Spanish ports before reaching Barcelona on April 16. We’ll spend a couple of days there and then we’ll be doing some more interesting and exciting traveling… but of course, making sure to be in Venice May 1st!

About the recent letter sent to you about the couple who were celebrating their 30-yr. anniversary and were complaining about Carnival’s service prior to boarding on the Freedom’s sailing of Oct. 31, we are very sorry for what they went thru, but we have to say that we have sailed 10 times with Carnival (the Freedom included) and never had a service problem or any kind of problem with Carnival. Whatever happened that day was probably the exception to the rule, not the way Carnival’s service is. We have encountered service problems with Italian ships (Costa & MSC) but not in every department, and we do not blame the crew, it’s the way their bosses/managers have trained them or maybe the problem is based on their policies/rules. Who knows!

Warmest regards to you & Heidi, a big kiss to Kye, and keep those blogs coming with all your funny jokes. Happy New 2011!

The Santanas of Miami Beach

John Says:
Hello Maria and Juan,

It is always a treat to read of your adventures as you sail around the world. I had a brilliant time on the Nieuw Amsterdam and the entertainment, the food and the exceptional service was just as you described it. I will pass your review onto my friends at Holland America who will be thrilled to see it.

Heidi and Kye will for sure be with us for your Carnival Magic’s inaugural cruise and I am so very much looking forward to that. I read your comments on the service concerns you had on the Carnival Freedom and I must have missed this if it was on a previous post. Was this resolved? Do you need my help?

Thanks so much as always for your contributions to the blog and see you soon.

Best wishes to you both.


Karen Lankford Asked:


I love reading your blog, but rarely comment. I try to read it every day, but have to say I have been overwhelmed at work, working LONG hours, and don’t always have time during the day.

My daughter and I love to cruise and are heading out on the Carnival Legend March 13th. I am a divorced parent and my daughter hasn’t seen her father since she was 9mths old (his choice). It hasn’t always been easy for us and we only get to cruise once every 4 years or so, but we do love it. This trip will be my daughter’s senior trip, I am honored to say she chose to take a trip with me and not with a group of friends. We plan to take it easy and just have a great time. I am so very proud of my little girl, she has excelled at school being ranked 15th out of 900+ students. She was accepted to all the colleges she applied, including the top research universities in our state. For her senior year, she has been doing dual enrollment and taking college classes in lieu of her high school courses and has maintained an A average through the first semester. Combined with a part time job and her volunteer activities (include summer programs at Children’s Healthcare and volunteering with our church), I think she is one amazing young lady (of course I am biased).

I do have a request, a very small one to make this cruise special. I have to be very frugal to cruise as a single Mom, but we never feel like we miss out because of what is included in our cruise fare. This is one of the reasons we are Carnival cruisers, because it is a great value. We especially love the dining room “experience”. For us, it is an opportunity to just experience dining with no worry about prices, sharing meals, etc (these are things we watch so we can cruise). We have confirmed early dining (our favorite) and just want to make a couple of requests for the dining room. I do NOT want to be in a booth. I am a little fluffy and would find a booth very awkward. I would just like to request a big table with some great waiters. We would never do anytime dining because we LOVE getting to know the wait staff. I would, of course, love a window, etc but these are not as important as NOT being in a booth and having some great wait staff.

Other than that, we are SO ready to cruise!!!!

I enjoy reading about your family. You have all this to look forward to with Kye. Parenthood is such an emotional roller coaster. I feel I have been blessed with the young lady I have and my heart is hurting at her graduating high school and moving to the next phase of her life. I couldn’t be more proud of her and can’t even put it into words here.

Thank you in advance for making our cruise even more special (if you get this in time) and for what you do for others.

Karen Lankford
Carnival Legend 03/13/2011
Cabin 5176

John Says:
Hello Karen Lankford,

That was a very heartfelt and passionate post and I can imagine that this cruise will be a wonderful chance for you both to have a fun and relaxing time. I know I should not judge but as a new dad I can’t ever understand how any father would not want to be with their child. I will certainly do all I can to help you with your table request and see what else we can do for you. Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes

DET222 Asked:
Reply and booking,

I have never had a good waiter on the 3 cruises I have made with Carnival. They have been slow, couldn’t speak English and one was racist. Me and my husband and 2 children will be on Sensation cabin R22 and need a table for 4 with the BEST waiter.

John Says:
Hello Det222,

While I will certainly ask the maitre d to make sure you have a table for four, I cannot imagine that, knowing my fellow crew members as I do, that your waiter could have been perceived as you say. Working on a cruise ship is a special and unique experience as we all work closely with team members hailing 50 plus countries representing every creed, colour and religion, meaning that you develop a deep appreciation and respect for others. It’s a United Nations here for sure.

Best wishes

Doug Eggiman Asked:
Hi John… please reply,

I really enjoy reading your blog but this is my first time posting so I am not sure if this is the right place or not. I just wanted to pass on some accolades and ask a question.

My wife, three daughters (20, 17, & 13), and I recently returned from the 11/20/2010 sailing on the Destiny out of Miami. While the boarding process was a little more “Disney World” lines than I remembered and the waves and wind did not cooperate, everything else was terrific. For my wife and I it was our fourth cruise and for our daughters, it was their second. Since it had been eight years since our last cruise, this was pretty much a new experience for them.

We had a slight oops initially when our 13 year old daughter was assigned to a totally different dining room but the Maitre’d resolved that quickly. In fact it probably worked to our advantage because we had been waitlisted for the main seating and were planning to visit him to verbalize our request. We ended up all together at the main seating with a window. As in our past cruises, the dining room staff was terrific. As someone that has problems remembering what I did yesterday, it always amazes me how they can remember so much about everyone – rather it be eating habits, names, drinks, or other information. They seem to have a knack of realizing the right balance between the formality and service of the dining room experience and the personality and playfulness that we like. Oh yeah… and the food was excellent too!

The cabin steward was terrific and seemed to anticipate our needs. Our daughters thought our room was bugged because every time we left the cabin it would be freshened up when we returned. We felt our girls were too young for us to have a balcony eight years ago but we sure enjoyed it this time. There is something about sitting on the balcony, sipping your coffee, and watching the sun come up that just cannot be described.

Of all of our cruises, this was probably the roughest. The first two nights the deck with the putt putt and track were closed due to winds. Unfortunately we did not get to dock in Ocho Rios due to the current and waves. The Captain made two attempts and then came on the air and explained that in the interest of safety we would not be visiting Jamaica. Everyone was disappointed but such is life. Staff did a great job adjusting to the last minute change. It still surprised me at the number of people that were lined up at the Purser’s Desk complaining about it like it was Carnival’s fault.

The process to disembark was much improved from what I remembered too. All in all it was a great trip and we can’t wait to plan the next one. I can assure you we are spreading the word of how well we like Carnival.

My question is do you know if Carnival has any plans to expand their sailings and ships that sail out of Charleston, SC? As SC residents that live about an hour from Charleston we would love to see you guys add another ship or two and some additional itineraries. We sailed out of Charleston eight years ago on the Triumph to the Bahamas and it was so convenient. Definitely much easier than travelling to Florida. I think the Fantasy is doing very well (at least it seems like most of the guys at my fire department are taking advantage of the location and prices) but we like to explore new ships and ports.

Thanks John for what you do. Look forward to hearing from you. Take care and smooth sailing.


John Says:
Hello Doug,

Thanks so much for posting this great review. You know, it doesn’t matter how much I write it, the captain announces it and guest services and cruise directors apologise about it……..there will always be guests who truly think that we miss ports on purpose, that we control the weather and that we should refund huge amounts of money when we don’t dock as per schedule. Thank you then for your understanding and I will pass on all your great comments to the ship.

Charleston has become a very popular homeport, I loved it and while I can’t tell you anything specific I can tell you that Charleston has a wonderful future as a home port for Carnival ship!

Thanks again then and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog and I am here should you need any help. Best wishes to you all


Margaret Martin Asked:
Greetings, John (PLEASE REPLY)

I have a question for you and it’s not asked out of anger or anything, just curiosity. Last year on my Carnival cruise, I proudly had a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream in my carry-on bag. Unfortunately, I was taken into the “Naughty Room” and my Baileys was taken from me. But then at my age, it was such a thrill just to be accused of being naughty.

Now here comes the question: Baileys is 17% alcohol by volume and is not allowed on board. A port wine is 20%, but I can bring that with me. What separates one from the other and makes the wine acceptable?

I like a taste of Baileys in my coffee….port wine tastes terrible in coffee.

John Says:
Hello Margaret Martin,

I have to say this is a good question and one I don’t have an answer for. I will get one for you for sure and will post here or on my FB page. I am sure there are others who would like to know. Best wishes and hope you get to be naughty a few more times


VandVcruisers Asked:
John (Please Reply Back To Me)

I am going on my anniversary cruise on the Valor on April 17th in state room 7345. It’s our 25th and special. I have seen that you give free anniversary gifts. Can you let me see a list of what these gifts are so we can chose something? Look forward to your quick reply

V and V

John says:
Hello V and V

Certainly. Here is the list.

Bottle of Vintage Dom Perignon 1979 Champagne served by a naked Latvian supermodel which you also get to keep. A crystal model by Lallique of the Carnival Valor. His and hers matching Rolex Daytonas. A pair of underpants that I was wearing during the Carnival Splendor fire.

Or ……….the mystery gift. Please let me know which gift you would like.

Happy anniversary and have a great cruise.

Best wishes


Darryl Johnston Asked:
Please reply

John, can you tell me who the Cruise Director will be on the Dream in March and will he be able to help me with a marriage proposal?

Love the blog.

John Says:
Hello Darryl Johnston,

Your CD will be the brilliant Butch Begovitch and I will let him know that you may be asking for his help with your special request. Please let me know if you have any specifics and I will send them on to him.

Best wishes and good luck


Tim Squires Asked:
John (Please Reply):

Will Carnival ever serve Pepsi products. Coke sucks!

John Says:
Hello Tim Squires,

Carnival is very loyal to Coke products and we have no plans to change to Pepsi. I am though very, very close to getting diet root beer added to the soda menu.

Best wishes


And that’s that for today

I stood on the bridge this morning in my underpants in Grand Cayman watching 12,000 cruise ship passengers being ferried ashore like an occupying force, armed to the teeth with sun cream, credit cards and beach towels. Oh yes……….they still haven’t built that sodding pier yet …………… cheap bastards.

One of the ships we are in with today is the Carnival Inspiration and at 11 am I will be going over there to address the new Entertainment Staff College.

Yep, for the first time we have a class of would be social hosts who are learning all about the job and if at the end of six weeks training they prove themselves to be worthy of the job then they will be offered a job. This is a huge step forward and I know that the CD’s are going to really appreciate this when a staff member walks onboard already fully trained and ready to go. I will tell you all about my visit in the next blog.

A few days ago I was asked by someone on Facebook to post the recipe for the ribs that are served in the restaurants on the first night of the cruise. Now I have never tasted these but everyone who has tells me that they are superb. And so for those rib lovers out there and as promised ……….here is the recipe for Carnival Cruise Lines Barbecue Spare Ribs.

Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

Yield = 10 Servings

Beef stock: 12 quarts for marinade

Liquid smoke: ½ tsp for marinade

Vinegar: 1 tbsp for marinade

Salt: for marinade

Pepper: black whole: ½ oz for marinade

Onion powder: 1 oz for marinade

Garlic powder: 1 oz for marinade

BBQ Sauce: 1 qt for marinade

Pork Spareribs: 10 lb

Onions: green scallion: 1/2 lb

French Fries: 2 lb

Corn – cob: 10 ea


Marinate ribs overnight – using listed ingredients (except salt).

Season the pork spareribs with salt and pepper and in a roasting pan with plenty of marinating liquid (covering the bottom of the ribs); inside of the ribs facing down.

Cover the roasting pan with silver foil and roast at 280 degrees Fahrenheit for about 2 hours (brushing it with the marinade 2 or 3 times).

Brush with the marinade & finish at a high heat (400 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 20 minutes.

Once cooked, carefully remove the ribs on to a sheet tray.

Place the rib in the grill and pour little sauce as shown above

Finish the ribs under salamander.

Brush with sauce from the cooking liquid, and cut each slab into three.

Serve 8 ribs per portion

Serve hot with French fries, grilled corn, grilled spring onion and coleslaw .

My huge thanks to Eric the Beard for figuring out the best way to post these Fun Times here on the blog thingy. Yesterday we featured the Carnival Fantasy and today we have the pleasure of looking at the fun and excitement onboard the Carnival Ecstasy.

Download the Fun Times here.

Dan the cruise director is doing a great job and is enjoying life a lot. I look at him and see myself 20 years ago. Young, energetic, full of life with the possibility of endless nights of rumpy pumpy ……………..lucky sod.

Well bugger me she did it. Heidi has gotten herself a small tattoo on the side of her ankle. It’s a small heart with Kye’s name written through it. Apparently it’s cute and “all the Mum’s are doing it”……..well all the dads are going to strip clubs nights and having Latvian women bounce up and down on their laps ………so I guess I can as well then.

I can’t say I am happy about this and we had a little discussion about it on the phone this morning. I am old fashioned; I admit that and part of this disposition means that I don’t understand why Heidi or anyone else for that matter would want a tattoo.

In days gone by tattoos used to demonstrate that you were a pirate or had been in prison or the navy, but now pretty well everyone I ever see has some kind of art work peeping out of the back of their underpants. “Everyone has tattoos these days,” cried my wife down the phone this morning. “Bollocks” I replied……….”Everyone has one, do they? “

Do I have a great white shark with Judge Judy clenched between huge bloody teeth tattooed on my arse?…… of course I don’t. Does Christina Aquithingy have a tattoo on her arm with the words to the National Anthem on it? Nope she does not.

Of course, when I was 16 I fancied the notion of having a tattoo because I felt it would make me look tough and street wise thus attracting the women and thus attracting lots of lady garden experiences.

I didn’t for two reasons. First, the law states that you can’t get a tattoo unless you are drunk or Britney Spears. Second, a tattoo artist once ran his needle over my forearm to show me just what a painless experience it was. He was lying. It felt like I was being stabbed in slow motion…..so hence I had no tattoo…..no women……and no sight of a lady garden.

We have those henna tattoo thingies on the ships and wow…….how the kids love them. But to me – and I remind you that this is just my personal opinion – tattoo art is bloody awful. Angelina Jolie used to be stunning and the constant subject of this blog thingy……..these days she looks like an Iron Maiden album cover.

It’s also the tattoo artists themselves that make me nervous. I am sure they are nice people but there is no way I am letting a bald 400 pound Hell’s Angel with most of Office Depot’s stockroom stuck through his nose near me with a needle.

But forever Heidi has Kye’s name on her ankle and she is hoping I will get the same as well. I love my daughter unconditionally and with all my heart But there is more chance of me playing naked twister with Judge Judy and Micky Arison….…then ever getting a tattoo.

No blog tomorrow as we are in Jamaica and I am going to take a day off and go ashore. I will be on Facebook as always though and hope to see some of you there and back here on the blog on Friday.

Oh one more thing………yesterday our blog thingy passed 9 million views so thank you all for continuing to give up your valuable time to read my daily musings. Long may it continue.

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.