A Brilliant Reason to Sing

May 27, 2011 -

John Heald

I have a brilliant team of entertainment staff here on your Carnival Magic and overall they are by far the best I have ever delivered a new ship with. There is James who will take over as CD here and Christian, Ryan, John, Katie, Leonnie, Melissa, Eli and my PA Mel. Together they are a magical team. However…….they all make me feel so, so old with the talk of Justin Beaver, Eye Pods and staying out until 3 am.

And there is another thing. The male staff members are metro sexual which means sometimes I have absolutely no idea what the hell they are talking about. Take the conversation I had with one of them earlier today. We had just finished tour departures in Messina and afterwards the team gathered for a debrief before going ashore etc and when I asked one of them…….I won’t say which one but it could have been any of the male staff chaps…….what he was doing.

It went something like this:

What are you doing today?

I’m going to do some manscaping.



Is that like gardening?

Well, sort of.

I don’t understand?

Tending to my garden.

What, like, flowers and stuff?

No. Down under.


No you idiot…….Your man hair, for God’s sake and then he pointed to his gentlemen’s sausage.

Oh…………….I said

Oh FFS is what I wanted to say! I found it impossible to believe that any self respecting member of the male sex no matter how bloody metro sexualized or how much he worshiped Liza sodding Minnelli, would engage in such a ridiculous thing. I would have to be stone cold dead before anyone would get near my thingy with a lawn mower……………….manscape my arse.

Time for today’s questions………….here we go.

Darren and Lizzy asked:

I have to tell you that we just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Freedom and amongst all the many highlights one thing stood out more than anything, our State Room Steward Marianito. He was so kind and funny but one thing really made me want to tell you about him. One day we returned from ashore in Costa Rica and decided we would have a nap. We were woken at 6:00pm by screaming outside in the corridor by our cabin. I went outside and saw a passenger screaming and shouting and using all sorts of bad language with another passenger. They were standing close to each other and it looked like a fight would break out any minute. Then along came our steward Marianito who is from the Philippine and he stood between these two big men and managed to calm them down and they both went back to their cabins. I am sure it was not his job to do this and he was so calm. I spoke to him and he said they had been shouting because one was smoking on the balcony and the other passenger did not like it. That’s the story and I wanted to tell Carnival but we did not get a comment card this time so I hope you will tell the “beards” this. We love your blog and are booked on the bloggers cruise with you and are very excited about that.

Darren and Lizzy

John says:
Hello Darren and Lizzy,

Thank you so much for telling me about the brilliant Marianito. Smoking on the balconies does involve a bit of consideration to those around you but coming to near blows about it in the hallway is ridiculous. I will certainly make sure that he sees your words of praise as will the shipboard management and the shoreside beards. I am very happy to read that you will be joining me on BC5 and thanks so much for taking the time to write about yet another one of our brilliant crew members. See you soon.

Best wishes to you both.


Karen W asked:

Hello John (reply appreciated)

I really enjoy your blog and your Facebook posts. They are very helpful and enjoyable at the same time. I thought I read somewhere that there were plans to update the Bon Voyage pages. Am I mistaken or have I missed something? The reason I am asking is because currently it isn’t possible to order alcohol, other than wine, via the website. It would be wonderful for your international customers to be able to do it some way other than having to phone. Looking forward to Carnival sailing out of Australia also. Are you planning on making the trip at all? I’m sure Kye would love a swim at Bondi 🙂



John says:
Hello Karen or should I say G’dday,

I am glad you are enjoying the blog and Facebook posts and you did indeed see a mention from me about a change to the bon voyage site. In fact the senior vice president who is setting this in motion was just with me here. We spoke a little about it and he certainly has big plans for the on line store and if it is anything like the new Cherry on Top store he has introduced here on your Carnival Magic, I think it will be excellent. As always these things take time and so I don’t know exactly when it will be ready but of course I will let you know as soon as I can. We are all very excited about the Carnival Spirit coming to Australia and I will at some point absolutely be there and if I can persuade Heidi that she won’t see any spiders then she and Kye might come as well.

Best wishes to you and the family.


Carla asked:
Hi John,

Just wondering who are the maitre d’ on Carnival Magic?

John says:
Hello Carla,

The maitre d’s are Ken and Kris. Ken manages the Southern Lights Dining Room while Kris is in charge of the Northern Lights. Together they provide our guests with a lot of fun and fantastic hospitality in the dining rooms.

In fact…………..here they are:

Here is Kris:

Here is Ken:

I hope you get to meet them personally here on your Carnival Magic very soon.

Best wishes,


Rachel Bonsor asked:

We have decided to book the Magic for our 25th wedding anniversary in the PENTHOUSE. This will be our first voyage on a Carnival vessel and normally we cruise Celebrity Cruise Lines. I discovered your web page and having read some of the requests that are made I have one which needs to be looked at. We are Captain’s Club members at Celebrity and always book Concierge Class and this would mean automatic seating at the captain’s dining table. I do trust that you will take this into consideration and invite us to the captain’s table and concierge cocktail hour on the Magic. I am sure the captain will enjoy listening to our tales as we are world travelers. Can you tell me if this can be accomplished and pass this request directly to the captain?

John says:
Hello Rachel Bonsor,

I am delighted to read that you are going to experience your first ever cruise with Carnival and you could not have picked a better ship that the Carnival Magic. Unfortunately we do not have a captain’s table as much as we used to and when we do the assignments are made by our Miami office and not by the captain himself. I will keep a note here onboard and be sure to send you something to wish you a very happy 25th anniversary and I am positive that you will have a wonderful time.

Best wishes to you both.


Joshua T asked:

Having just returned from the Liberty ship I wish to tell about the lack of entertainment for people like us. My wife and I don’t drink, don’t gamble and are a religious African American couple. The first problem was that we were put at a table with people who drank alcohol with every meal and were loud and had little manners even when we said grace before dinner. By the 3rd evening we asked the manager to move us to a different table which he did. The show performances featured near naked dancers and the comedy was all sexually based which made us feel very uncomfortable. I would also like to mention that there were no black persons in the dancing shows which I find discomforting. I think you need to look at the kind of people who are on vacation on the Carnival ships and try to provide a service and a ship for all not just one specific kind of party cruiser.

John says:

Hello Joshua T,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me here on the blog. Our dining room team does their best to seat guests together according to age demographics however with 3,000 plus guests each cruise it is not always possible. I am sure you will understand that it would be impossible to arrange seating based on any other parameters such as religious beliefs or if or not people drink alcohol or not, however, saying that, I am sorry that your table companions were not to your liking and I hope that the rest of the time in the dining room was enjoyable.

I hope you do try cruising with us again and if you do may I suggest our Your Time Dining option which as it says allows you to eat at anytime between 5:30 pm and 9 pm. This will also give you the option of either eating with different guests each night or if possible, having a table for two.

I am also sorry to hear that you did not appreciate the entertainment which unless advertised as an adult comedy show is I feel certainly family oriented. But I realize that not everyone has the same tastes and again my apologies that you did not enjoy the shows. As for there being no black dancers in the cast again this is only because we hire the best that come to our worldwide auditions and do not hire based on creed or colour. I do hope that you can take many positives from your cruise and I hope we see you again soon.

Best wishes to you both.


Renee Dubarko asked:
Hi John,

My Mother and I were on the Carnival Conquest last year when you were the CD and you absolutely made our trip!!!! I don’t think there is any better medicine in the world than laughter and we definitely got our share of medicine on that trip. We would sit in our room and watch you on the TV and laugh so hard we just about peed ourselves. I only wish you were the CD on our cruise this year to Alaska. If our CD on that cruise is half as good as you we will be very lucky. Ok, now for my question. Do you have any more information on the Breeze? When it is coming out, where it will be sailing from, when we will be able to start booking for that ship? I am hoping it is going to start out in Europe and that we might be able to do the repositioning cruise back home. Any chance you will be on that cruise? Keep up the good work and hope to be on the same cruise with you again someday.


Renee Dubarko

John says:
Hello Renee Dubarko,

Thank you so very much for those kind words. I had such a brilliant time on the Carnival Conquest and am looking forward to some fun in Galveston with your Carnival Magic. I am sure by now you will have seen that the Carnival Breeze will be sailing in June and spending some months in Europe before home porting in Miami and then sailing on some six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises. All the information can be found at www.carnival.com/breeze and I truly hope we meet again there. Have a brilliant time in Alaska and I am sure the CD will have you laughing out loud once again.

Best wishes and hope to see you soon.


Victoria J.L. asked:

MOVE THE INTERNET CAFE AWAY FROM THE CIGAR BAR!!!!!! Did that get your attention? I know you are a cigar lover and if you want to kill yourself go right ahead but you and all the other murdering smokers are stopping me and the majority of the passengers enjoying a safe cruise. On the Conquest it was disgusting and I had to walk through the cigar bar with a blanket over my head to stop myself breathing cigarette and cigar smoke. This is 2011 and Carnival’s smoking policies are stuck in the 1960’s. Smoking kills and people who smoke are stupid and selfish but why John should the rest of us, the biggest majority have our cruise ruined and possibly our lives to by you smokers.

John says:

Hello Victoria J.L.,

I can see how passionate you are about this and there is no escaping the fact that it is unpleasant for non-smokers to have to walk through the cigar bar on the Conquest class ships to get to the internet cafe. This was a bad design, of that there is no argument. We will continue to look at the smoking situation on our ships and continue to see what changes if any we need to make. Meanwhile I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and I truly hope that you had a great cruise.

Best wishes,


Yvette Fimbres asked:


I will be sailing on Magic beginning June 12. The excursion to Florence/Pisa is not inclusive of entry into the museums. I have read that the lines are long as well as the wait for entry without pre-purchased tickets. I don’t see tickets being offered for sale in advance. The description only states that you will be guided and view the outside of the museums. And, I would like to view inside (especially, Academia). Will Carnival Magic provide the purchasing of these tickets on the ship only as I do not see them as a selection to purchase on the excursion website?

Thanks for your help.

John says:
Hello Yvette Fimbres,

The only tour we have that has pre ticket purchase is Best of Florence. This excursion includes VIP entrance to Academia and of course that gives you the chance to see the incomparable Statue of David. The excursion you have is also not going to give you much time to see the Museums and the whole of Florence as you have the mooring at Pisa, the journey to Florence and then lunch. After lunch the guides will give you the choice of staying with them and seeing The Duomo Cathedral and shopping district etc or spending the afternoon on your own. You could then go to Academia but you will have to line up and yes, the lines can be long. It’s a difficult choice isn’t it and the best advice I can give is that if you want to see Academia and the Uffizi museums then take the best of Florence excursion. Hope this helps and of course we have a dedicated team here to help you as well.

See you soon and best wishes.


Doris Stahl asked:


I saw the video today of you at the naming party for the Magic and you look tired and drawn and unhealthy and of course you know I am sure that you are overweight by what I would guess is 100 pounds. I say this because I can help you. With a product I sell called Apidexin. I am now 55 pounds lighter and I feel AWESOME!! I feel like a totally different person, I can’t believe how much better I look and feel what a difference 2 months makes! I am not quite to my goal weight yet but I definitely couldn’t have done this on my own. Apidexin has made a world of a difference. I am so passionate about this product, I want to tell EVERYONE about it! Apidexin is the real deal John, don’t waste your money on other products! I have enclosed details and my e mail address and ordering information. I have the cure for you John; take it before it is too late. I have never cruised with you John but have done 3 Carnival trips and I hope to cruise with you one day soon and see a healthy and happy John and not the obese exhausted John I just watched on the video.

My pills can change your life John.

John says:
Hello Doris Stahl,

Thanks for the kind words of help. I probably looked tired on that video because I was and still am. Bringing out a new vessel is a big job and add Facebook, the blog and numerous other requirements to that and it is indeed a very tiring process and I don’t mind admitting that. Thanks for your kind offer and while I know I have to lose more weight I need to do it my way which I am sure you understand. Thanks for thinking of me and I hope we sail together one day soon.

Best wishes and congratulations on the weight loss.


Rebecca Cavanaugh asked:

Hi John,

I just returned from my graduation cruise on Carnival Miracle. I would like to thank you for everything you did to make my graduation cruise memorable. I had no idea that my mom had written to you before we sailed, so my week was full of surprises. I truly appreciate everything you did. This was definitely my best cruise yet and one that will never be forgotten.

Thank you again!


John says:
Hello Rebecca Cavanaugh,

Your Mum is obviously very proud of you and I am too. I hope you have so many great memories of your cruise and I wish you a bright and successful future. Thank you for taking the time to write.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today and I will return on Tuesday with more and over the weekend on Facebook. Please keep the great comments coming.

Let’s take a break and while I pee you choose what you want for dinner tonight once we leave Messina…………mmmmm…..grilled tofu steak………..lovely.

  • Potage saint germain, peas soup with baby tomato salad, petite marmite
  • Clear beef broth with beef, chicken and vegetables
  • Gazpacho blanco, chilled yogurt soup with diced cucumbers, peppers, onions and celery
  • Langoustino cocktail, salad of crayfish and vegetables, served with American cocktail sauce
  • Thai beef salad, sliced prime beef, onions and peppers, marinated with oriental dressing
  • Crepes filled with spinach and ricotta cheese, parmesan and cold pressed olive oil dressing, cucumber confit
  • Mixed garden and field greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots with lemon vinaigrette dressing
  • Linguini with Italian sausage, bell peppers and mushrooms, served with freshly grated parmesan cheese (also available as a starter)Blackened fillet of tilapia, topped with shrimp and seafood, jambalaya rice, scallion and cured tomato stir-fry
  • Coq au vin de chamberlin, supreme of chicken marinated cooked in red burgundy wine garnished with silver onions, gratin potatoes and wine dough crisps
  • Broiled Australian lamb chop, served with braised lamb leg meat baked in traditional puff pastry
  • Grilled New York strip steak from aged American beef, served with a green peppercorn sauce
  • Grilled tofu steak, vegetarian entrée; served with scallion and cured tomato stir fry
  • Amaretto cake, almond flavored chocolate cake
  • Baked Alaska, vanilla sponge with assorted ice cream and baked with meringue
  • Diet New York cheesecake, prepared with a sugar substitute
  • Warm chocolate melting cake, served with vanilla ice cream
  • Fresh tropical fruit plate
  • Vanilla • chocolate • strawberry • butter pecan ice cream (Sugar-free ice cream is available upon request)
  • Orange • pineapple • lime sherbet
  • Port Salut • brie • Gouda • imported swiss • Danish bleu cheese

Well, it’s been a good cruise so far with a high international count making it interesting of course. We also have some ummmm………interesting guests onboard as well. We have the older couple who have refused 12 days of cabin service and don’t want the linen changed, towels changed and don’t want the stateroom steward to enter at all. He gives a courtesy knock twice a day and they are apparently very pleasant but they don’t want him in there. Both are in their seventies so I doubt they have turned it into a crack cabin or that it’s become some sort of swinger’s paradise………not without clean towels anyway. It is though apparently for religious reasons, which I honestly can’t fathom unless they have sacrificed a lamb in there and the towels are covered in blood……..sorry Henry O.

The other day I spoke to you about the benefits of leaving your children with Camp Carnival so Mum and Dad could concentrate on sun, chocolate melting cakes and making little Johnny a sister. Well now those chances just increased as we roll out our exciting Camp Carnival’s Night Owls program. From what I hear, we’re putting out the official press release on Tuesday, but here are some of the details of the program.


What are the hours of Operation? 10:00pm-3:00am (every day of the week)

What ages can participate? All kids age 6 months to 11 years of age

What is the price? $6.75 per hour plus 15% gratuity per child –

What is offered at Night Owls? Options to play video games, watch movies, play with toys, enjoy snacks from room services, pillow and blanket available for the kids to sleep on etc.

Camp Carnival’s Night Owls Program will also offer late night parties for the kids. However, days and times for these parties may vary,so be sure to check with your Camp Carnival staff for more information on them. Here is what they are:

Owl Jams

What ages can participate? 2-11 Years

What are the hours of operation? 10:00pm-12:00am

What is the cost? $13.00 per party plus 15% gratuity per child (all activities included)

Special Prizes/Gifts: These will be given to each child who participates in the party.

Fun ‘Til One

What ages can participate? 6-8 Years

What are the hours of operation? 10:00pm-1:00am

What is the cost? $20.00 per party plus 15% gratuity per child (all activities included)

Special Prizes/Gifts: These will be given to each child who participates in the party.

Fun at Sea… ‘Til 3:00

What ages can participate? 9-11 Years

What are the hours of operation? 10:00pm-3:00am

What is the cost? $33.00 per party plus 15% gratuity per child (all activities included)

Special Prizes/Gifts: These will be given to each child who participates in the party.

So Mums and Dads………I hope you take advantage of this. Leave your kids with our wonderful and professional Camp Carnival staff while you both enjoy a meal at the steakhouse, a walk on deck under the stars or just head straight back to the cabin for some……..well you get the picture……..safe in the knowledge that your children are having brilliant fun.

Well, we are in the middle of our third cruise and I am surprised it has taken this long to get this comment………………but it was always coming.

Guest: Mr ________ Ref: 007129511A Owner:

Cabin: ______ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 05/026/11 – 05/26/11


Mr._______ came to the GSD and wanted to know if the basketball game would be shown later tonight. GSA called AV manager who explained that we would not be getting it here in Europe. GSA told the guest and guest shouted and wanting to speak to someone in charge. Cruise Director and Hotel Director informed and CD will call guest.

I did call him and explained that nobody wanted the basketball game on more than me because I am a Miami Heat fan. I then went onto explain that the European stations we have don’t carry the NBA and unless we had a satellite dish the size of …….well……the ship, we were not going to get it. Now I would like to tell you he understood or was disappointed but I can’t because I have no idea how he was because after I said that there was no way we were getting it and had just started on my apology when he simply put the phone down on me……..yep………he hung up on me in the middle of a sentence. I called Mr. Hangup back immediately just in case me telling him that he wouldn’t get to see the game had caused him to have a heart attack and when he answered and I said “Hel”……..he hung up on me again.

I have long stopped taking things like this personally and apart from the woman who thrust a bag of wet laundry into my chest last week, I have learnt to take a deep breath and move on. By the way, Miami won and are playing Dallas in the finals. It’s Miami vs. Dallas, Dick Norshitzki vs Dwyane Wade, Brendon Harwood vs. LeBron James, The Arisons vs. The Ewings………. and me and Mr. Hangup…………won’t see a sodding moment of it. Bugger!

So I have to finish with a tale that left me feeling like a total and utter bastard. My cabin here is on deck five forward and just in front of the crew deck. This is an outside area where the crew can sit and smoke and chat etc. Well last night I was woken from my bed by the sound of singing. I looked at my watch and saw it was 1:05 am. You may have noticed that I posted on Facebook last night at 1:45 am because I was up because of this. Well, it took me a few moments to work out where this singing was coming from. It wasn’t one voice it was a sodding choir. I lay in bed for a few moments hoping it would stop but it didn’t. Now I was in a grumpy mood already due to mass bollockings I had received on Facebook from some readers about the Boston announcement.

And as the singing continued I decided I had to do something. So I got out of bed, put some clothes on and walked out to the deck and down the stairs. When I got to the bottom I found a group of crew members in the 20s from various departments all standing with their arms around each other’s shoulders singing with much gusto. Suddenly one saw me and stopped and gestured to the others all of who suddenly looked embarrassed and nervous that the grumpy old senior cruise director was standing there.

And the conversation that followed made me feel like a piece of crap. You see, one of the guys explained that the choir was made up of waiters, housekeeping and other departments all from the Balkan countries who were celebrating the capture of someone called General Mladic who had masterminded the 44 month siege of Sarajevo in which 10,000 people died. He was a butcher and had been caught and this was the reason the young men were singing and that’s when I felt so bad for storming down to stop them. None of these crew fought in the Balkans war and yet I am sure their fathers and brothers did and as young children the memories of what must have happened there will I am sure be everlasting. And so just as us westerners rejoiced when Osama Bin Laden was killed so to were these Carnival crew celebrating that “The Rat” as they called him had been captured and were celebrating by singing national songs.

Thinking about it it’s been a good year so far. Not even five months in and Bin Laden is dead, Mubarak and Ben Ali overthrown and now the Rat is on his way to The Hague. Hopefully Gaddafi, Assad, Gbagbo and that bastard from Yemen will be along shortly to keep him company. I think we should put them all in one cell with insufficient food and water, set them tasks and televise it. Now that would be much better than Survivor.

Anyway, I left the choir and headed back upstairs and as I did I saw Donato the hotel director on his way down. He lives next door to me and had been awoken as well. I explained to him what was happening and we both returned to bed………to our own rooms, that is, not to each other’s.

And as I sat at my desk, in my underpants adding a last few comments on Facebook I listened to the choir start up again and read some more on the BBC internet site about General Mladic and how he had ordered the killing of so many thousands of men women and children. He was truly an evil person and you know what? Having read what he had done and if I had known the words ……………I would have gone back down and sang with them.


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.