Purses, Volcanoes, and Underpants

June 1, 2011 -

John Heald

Heidi manages our money because left to me I would be the proud owner of an Aston Martin DBS. OK, we would be living in cardboard box under a bridge but I would have the car of my dreams. It’s Wednesday June1 and the time is 7:48 am and as I sit here in my underpants I have come to the realisation that I will never own my dream car. Yes, Carnival pays me well but the car is $187,000 so there is bugger all chance of it ever happening. I promised myself that when the blog hit 10 million views that I would rent one from www.dreamcarhire.com but I can’t afford it. But I have come to terms with it………….sort of.

Heidi and I never argue about money. She provides a wonderful home for me and Kye and of course very rarely spends money on herself……..except on one thing. And it’s one thing that drives me absolutely stark raving bonkers……it’s purses and handbags and during a pleasant conversation last night she casually mentioned she had bought another one. Purses are right at the sodding top of the list of things I find annoying about women apart from why more of the species wouldn’t have rumpy pumpy with me before I was married.

I get the make-up thingy, because it makes you girls look better for us men, and clothes, because us men can tell the difference between a full length woolen sack and a short silky black dress that allows us a Sharon Stone moment now and then. Heidi doesn’t have a shoe fetish although I am a big fan of high heels that show of a nice pair of Latvian legs. Handbags though are a total bloody mystery. I asked Heidi why she needs another sodding purse because you already have like 4 or 39. They’re just for carrying stuff around in so let me give you a Carnival plastic bag which would do the job just as well.

I just don’t get it ladies. Handbags don’t make you look sexier, or boost your cleavage, or make me want to have rumpy pumpy with you. Do you think us men look at a girl who looks like she has run a 100 yard sprint in a 90-yard gym and want to have rumpy pumpy with her because she has a Chanel bag over her shoulder. Bollocks do we? Yet I often see Heidi stroking the pages of Cosmovogue with eyes of pure desire as she looks at some stick insect model promoting the latest “it” bag.

And who, who came up with the pricing of these things? Heidi’s latest cost $175 which is bugger all compared with the thousands of dollars the rich and tanned pay for them. I may understand this if these people carried diamonds and gold and miniature ponies around in them but they don’t and neither does Heidi. On the inside of her handbag she has a BlackBerry, diapers, a pack of wet wipes, one of Kye’s toys, spare keys, tissues, half of Walgreens’ stock of pills and potions, glasses she never wears, three pairs of sunglasses, and 238 lipsticks. I genuinely don’t understand this need to carry everything you’ve ever owned around with you at all times.

When I go out I take keys for the house, keys for the car, my raspberry, some money, two cigars, a lighter and a packet of hemorrhoid cream……………………..Gucci my arse.

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

David and Miriam R asked:

I want a surprise for my wife whilst on our 5th June cruise on Splendor. It’s my wife’s birthday and last year on Royal’s Monarch they decorated the cabin so if you do that and a cake for her birthday on the 7th which is the Tuesday that should be fine. Our cabin number is 2445 but we are expecting an upgrade so can you check with our booking number which is ________ before you arrange this.

John says:
Hello David and Miriam,

I am sorry but I can’t arrange a cake or complimentary decoration of the cabin although this can be done through www.carnival.com/bonvoyage. I am sure your wife will be thrilled to know that you have arranged this for her. I will send her a little something to wish her a very happy birthday and hope you both have fun.

Best wishes,


Klaxon Gee asked:

I am a single man in my 50’s and someone who enjoys the thrill of cruising. I have been looking at Carnival and thinking of taking a cruise to Alaska with your line but was shocked when I saw just how much you charge for single occupancy. It is disgraceful and nothing short of prejudice against the single man. You seem to have the ear of the people who make these decisions so please tell them that they won’t get my business or that of the thousands of single men like me until such time as Carnival reduces the price we are expected to pay.

John says:
Hello Klaxon Gee,

Thanks for taking the time to write and I am very much aware of the extra cost that is placed on the single traveler these days. I will certainly pass on your thoughts to the right people and I hope that in the future we will see you on one of our brilliant vessels.

Best wishes,


Anthony Manacusi asked:

I am thinking about booking your bloggers cruise but I am worried that I cannot get to see my beloved college basketball and march madness. Can you assure me that the games are shown!

Thanks John and luv the blog.

John says:
Hello Anthony Manacusi,

It’s great to know that you are thinking of joining us on BC5 and I promise you it will be a brilliant time for sure. As for the basketball, well if the games are shown on major networks such as ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS or ESPN, we will be able to show them although I can’t promise exactly which ones will be broadcast and remember we are dealing with satellites at sea. The basketball and all the Carnival fun should make for the perfect cruise.

Best wishes and hope to see you soon.


Amanda Rodney asked:

FELLOW UK CITIZEN! I am so chuffed to note that you will be onboard the Magic this year. Yippee! We are travelling from Yorkshire to Barcelona on 14/08/11 as in 14th August (spelt correctly) to cruise for 12 days on the amazing Magic. We cannot wait. We cruised on the CC Holiday for our honeymoon 10yrs ago; Oct 2001, hence our anniversary cruise this year. My hubby is convinced you were our CD on that cruise – Is he right? This will be our 3rd cruise with Carnival-we would recommend your cruise line to anyone who is considering a cruise – especially English folk. We have always been blown away by the level of service provided to us by the amazing staff on board. Love reading your blog thingy every day – really brightens my day. Keep it up! PS if you would like any English treats bringing to you – please let me know. People ask you for stuff – so why not get your own back! i.e. real Cadburys/pg tips/branston pickle/vimto/shortbread etc so please ask!

Thanks again,


John says:
Hello Amanda Rodney,

Thank you, absolutely perfect timing as I had a British couple who are used to cruising with more intimate small 5 star lines tell me tonight that me and the company I work for are and I quote “common.” There is nothing worse than a British snob. They are a minority of course because most of my fellow Brits believe as you do that the service and brilliant value for money we provide is absolutely brilliant. I look forward to meeting you and if by accident a chicken curry Pot Noodle fell in your suitcase then that would be amazing. If there is anything I can do for you please let me know and I will see you soon.

Best wishes,


Steven Michael (Mike) Malone asked:

I am writing to thank you and my Personal Vacation Planner Sarah Elizabeth for a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Freedom. Sarah listened to the reasons why we have waited ten years to book another cruise and contributed substantially to a great cruise for my family. I am actually thanking you in advance of our sailing on July 16 (Rooms 2340 & 2344). I sincerely appreciate the authentic picture I believe you offer of the Carnival cruise experience. You have prepared me and my family for any slight imperfections that are part of every vacation and helped us to look forward to a positive cruise experience. If there is any little thingy you can send along to make a great cruise even better, it would be much appreciated. I will take any lack of response to this request as a sign you are either still too busy involuntarily contemplating Luigi’s arse. Of course, I am kidding. Whether or not you respond, please know you and Sarah are greatly appreciated by our family.

John says:
Hello Steven Michael (Mike) Malone,

It’s always great to read about our PVP’s that help our guests and I will pass your thanks to Sarah and her supervisor as well. I am glad you have found the blogs and Facebook updates useful as you planned what will be a great time for you and your family. Can I ask that if you can, you post this request two weeks before you sail here or a few days before on Facebook? If I send your request to the ship now I know it will get lost and I don’t want that to happen. Thanks for the fun post and the kind words and I hope you send me that reminder.

Best wishes to you and the family.


Wendy Horton asked:

I read on Cruise Critic an alarming thread that some cruise lines keep a percentage of the gratuities that we leave the workers. Please tell me Carnival does not do this. They work so hard and it makes me sick to my stomach that a huge company like Carnival would keep money back from their employees like this.

Please let me know the truth John.

John says:
Hello Wendy Horton,

I am so glad you took the time to write to me so that I have the chance to absolutely assure, promise and swear to you that 100% or every dollar you leave for gratuities for the crew goes to them and that Carnival gets nothing, niente, zero and bugger all. I hope this makes you feel better and thanks so much for being concerned for the crew as that is most kind of you. I wonder if you could post this on the subject board about this on Cruise Critic please so others can see the truth. Thanks so much.

Best wishes,


Ian Cryer asked:

I was horrified to find that on my Legend cruise last week that Carnival openly advocates the promotion of lurid sexual behavior by advertising in the Fun Times Daily Program that gays and lesbians and transvestites can meet and do who knows what. You often talk here John about Carnival being family friendly but how can you say that if you allow this. Was this a one off for this cruise that myself and my wife and three children were on or is this something I can expect to find if I return to Carnival. If the answer is in the positive then I won’t be back and will look at other cruise line companies and Branson, Missouri. Now they know what family vacations are all about. I expect an immediate answer to my concerns and I bet if others were brave enough to admit it, many more would feel as I do.

John says:
Hello Ian Cryer,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write and I hope you had a wonderful cruise. Please allow me to correct you on one part of your post before we start. We advertise Friends of Dorothy BLT which stands for bisexuals, lesbians and transgender……..not transvestites although they are welcome as well. This gathering is indeed offered on all our ships each cruise and it does not in any way, shape or form advertise any “lurid” behavior. It’s just a place and a time for one particular group of guests to meet and make new friends. We arrange Rotarian and Lions Club meetings on request and despite me apparently being an atheist, I also arrange bible study and prayer meetings when asked. Starting next week we have Friends of Johns Underpants which will be the code word for bloggers to meet as well. The world is made up of many different types of people. Short, tall, thin, fat, straight, gay, believers, non-believers, polite and kind people, French people and all are welcome here at Carnival. I truly hope that we will see you again and oh by the way………I had to ask Uncle Google about Branson, Missouri. I had never heard of that before.

Best wishes,


Daniel P asked:

I just read your blog today that had a request for a room reservation for a bible study where 200 bibles were requested. You poured scorn upon this and I as a Christian found this highly offensive. I am surprised Carnival condones such behavior. You may be an atheist but many of your passengers would have enjoyed this and it would have enhanced their cruise tenfold. You should be ashamed.

John says:
Hello Daniel P,

First of all while I am very sorry that you are mad at me I absolutely did not pour scorn on this request and did my best to offer assistance. And may I also kindly ask how you came to the conclusion that I am an atheist? Please accept my apologies for making you angry at me although I truly believe I said nothing that should have had you feeling like this.

Best wishes,


Jordan M asked:
John Please Reply,

Hi John. I’m avid blog reader and Facebook follower. I’m looking forward to my ninth cruise on Carnival. We are taking the Freedom on June 4th. Is there a chef’s table aboard? Secondly, I believe that you were the CD on the Pride in May of 2002. Is there any way you could confirm this? Could you pass along a comment to the beards, we would love to see the fresh Crepe buffet come back to lido deck!
Jordan Marchbanks Room 2346

John says:
Hello Jordan Marchbanks,

Thanks so much for being such an avid blog reader and fan of my Facebook page. There is indeed a Chef’s Table that you will love it I promise. It looks like as the cruise is just a few days away that you will have to book it onboard. Actually, I have never been on the Carnival Pride so no, that wasn’t me Jordan. If you have the actual date I may be able to see who it was. I had forgotten about the crepe buffet and I will certainly mention this to the beards. Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes,


OK, time to open a huge can of “Whoop John’s Flaccid Arse” because I am going to talk about elegant night again. I know this subject may bore some people and for that I apologise. I also have to point you in the direction of the disclaimer thingy because this is my opinion, not Carnival’s and in this case I am speaking for me, the big fat Brit cruise director with a bent tooth and hemorrhoids the size of Pamela Andersen’s knockers. You see, this cruise and on previous cruises I have received bollockings about our Captain’s Celebration on formal night. You see …….I personally don’t like it….. and judging by what you tell me, you don’t like it much either.

So, let’s talk about it shall we? Well, there are positives. The captain, myself and the senior officers walked around meeting lots of people and taking photos, the atmosphere was excellent and we utilized the Ocean Plaza, the casino bar and promenade and overall the atmosphere is ummm………nice. But there are problems. You see we have the RedFrog Pub which is supposed to be and is as casual as French rumpy pumpy. This means you have people going out and coming in who are far from elegantly dressed and we will talk more about that in a moment.

Then there are the expectations. You see I had many guests who expect something else, something better and most of these guests are past guests. Now what they are saying is that they don’t like where we do it and how we do it. But……..if you really examine everything there is only one thing that has changed…….complimentary cocktails. We still have the music, you still meet the captain, you still are invited to dress elegantly and you still have 309 different photo stations from which to have a beautiful portrait taken. All that’s missing…….is the free drinks. Everything is exactly the same. So one has to ask, is that what this all about, the free drinks? The atmosphere, the music, the place, the photos, the meet and greet the captain is the same ……… without the free drinks. The reason I ask this is because if that is what would make people happy then a) they need to admit that and b) we need to go back to what we used to do or c) reconsider other alternatives. And let me be clear, this is just me ………waffling……..passing on my opinion because you all know my thoughts on dress codes.

I also think we should have to get the captain and senior officers back into their white formal uniform. I understand why we did this when we changed from formal to elegant but having them in blue uniform makes it harder for the guests to tell who is the captain. You see, from the back, it looks like a blue business suit which was fine when the captain was static and the entrance to the lounge, shaking hands, but when he is wandering, people I think do not realize he is the captain. And, I think the captain should be dressed differently to other management. The white uniforms looked great in photos and truly show that yes….….he is the master of the vessel. So those are my thoughts.

We played around with elegant night with mixed results. The people who complain to me dress it all up but if you look through the dressing what they are really saying is…….we want the free drinks again. And if that’s what the guests want…….maybe that’s what the beards need to give them. And so today I officially announce my intention to do all I can to get the free drinks back and return to the old style elegant night parties which means keeping everything the same ……. except we pay for the cocktails. But don’t get me started on dress codes……I still hate them.

We are at sea today and heading to Palma de Majorca which means we are in the Gulf of Leon and after last night’s lake placid of a sea, today we are bouncing up and down like a hamster on a pogo stick. Still, most of the guests seem happy and are having fun but one or two are not. I seem to be highlighting this a lot these past few blogs but the level of negative comments I am getting seems higher than I can remember in a long, long time. Some are justified. Last night we had only one performance of the Talent Show and that upset a guest who wrote me a letter in two halves. One half was that he didn’t pay to come on the ship and have the passengers provide the entertainment. And maybe he is right you know. While I never ever get this kind of comment in the Caribbean and people love the talent show and Bedtime Story, maybe with a much more international clientele I need to bring in another variety act, a more visual kind of entertainer. In fact I have decided next cruise to do just that because I actually had two more comments about this as well last cruise. So as much as I love the talent show and bedtime story and as much as I hate reacting to one or two comments, I am while the international count is so high, going to replace the one talent show with two variety shows. You see, that was the guest’s second complaint, the one performance.

Then there are complaints that baffle me, completely and utterly baffle me. I read the incident report and there are very few if any negative comments about service and the friendliness of the crew. There are a few about food but I think that’s more based again on international guests wanting more as one comment said “less American food” despite a Tandoor and our daily Taste of the Nations. Overall, the comments are minimal but we seem to be spending all our time dealing with 10% of the guests.

The first three cruises the complaints were few and far between and the comment review cards that “some” are sent have been returned with glowing praise as have the comments made on the blog and on Facebook. Yet this cruise we seem to have had some comments that are……..well ludicrous. It’s not just that the comments themselves are strange it’s the fact that people walk from their cabins and stand in line at the pursers offic….. bugger……stand in line at the guest services desk and spend their valuable vacation time actually making them.

Take this one for example:

Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 9:52 PM
Subject: Cabin ——/Guest not happy with Stromboli Pass

Good evening John,
Mr___ was very upset that we showed Stromboli on the port side of the ship and not the starboard side. Guest states that the Captain should have done a circle around so that both sides of the ship could see it. I explained that all guests could see it from the open decks but guest is upset as he paid the same as guests with balcony on the starboard side and wants to talk to you.

Normally, I would attempt a bit of humour here but there are times and this is one of them when you really don’t need me to because there really is little else to say except……..”Oh FFS!”

Well, in case Mr., Wrongside sat on his balcony and out of spite stared at an empty sea……. here mate is what you missed as shown through the lens of Mr.Radu

Still, most everyone has had fun and that is the most important thing. I think we need to lighten the load and so what better way than to talk about my underpants. Let me explain why.

On the Morning Show I read a letter from a guest who had put some clothes in the guest laundry on deck 9 midship and had returned to find that someone had taken his clothes ……I mean taken them away, not just out of the machine but had……well to put a finer point on it …….stolen them.

Now in the letter the guest said that there had been a very elderly man in the laundry putting his clothes in the machine next to his and he thinks that he may have returned and emptied the wrong machine. So, he was appealing for me to ask if everyone could check if they had the right laundry. Amongst the missing socks, T-shirts and underpants were a pair of pajamas. This took me by surprise because the chap with the missing laundry was only 29 years old……and he wears pajamas. This shocked me because I thought all me were like myself and wore underpants to bed. I asked my staff and they all wear pajamas with entertainment staff member Calvin adding that a person’s “private bits” should be “aired” at night, like an old blanket. And the elastic in underpants will “cut off your circulation” causing yeast infections. Bloody hell………..who knew?

My problem though is that I can still remember the school yard stories about spiders crawling into your pajamas and into your gentlemen’s sausage forming a super race of mutant spiders that would one day conquer the world. What about hygiene? I don’t….but if you are weird and change your underpants every day, you should, arguably, change your pajama bottoms daily, right?

And ladies, what if the doorbell rings and you sleep in a T-shirt with nothing else down below and you forget this and run down to answer the door and it’s a Jehovah’s Witness who is standing there staring at your, well you know. I never told anyone about this until now but during the fire on the Carnival Splendor, when the alarm sounded, a certain very senior officer ran to the bridge in his pajamas. It had a flap in the front and trust me….its sodding difficult to speak on the PA system to 3,500 guests in a calm reassuring voice when there is a giant Italian thingy waving at you through a hole in the front of his blue silk pajamas.


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.