911 Opinions

June 27, 2011 -

John Heald

My Facebook page is growing by the day and I am doing my best to keep on top of it, but I am not worried as soon help will be on the way. Soon, some of the other cruise directors will be getting Facebook pages. The beards have not decided who yet, but some will and you will be able to get in touch with them. Now how they use it will be up to them but it will mean that they will lose some of the time that they spend doing other things like have a life, rumpy pumpy and anything that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a computer in their underpants.

So let me know who you would like to communicate with would you? Who would you like to see on Facebook? Which of our metrosexual CD’s do you want to chat with? There are oldies like me Steve Cassel and Paul Santley and the ladies of course like Risa, Jen and Stephanie. But most are the new brand of product-in-the-hair using, boy-band-looking chaps. They kiss other men on the cheek twice, they use product in their hair, they have teeth sponsored by Hollywood and stomachs flatter than a 2-year-old open can of Diet Coke. They are good looking and confident and use something called a gym to tone up their six-packs. They never say “I’m tired,” they can stay out to late at night dropping it like it is hot in the dance nightclub disco. They have Eye Pads and they buy their clothes from shops like Aberzombie and Fits. And bloody hell …… what about their names…. Todd, Ryan, Butch, Brad, Big Tex, Goose ……. sounds like the cast of sodding Top Gun? Anyway, who would you like to see on Facebook? Let me know and I will let them know ………….poor buggers!

Let’s see what today’s batch of Q and A brings to the table…………….here we go.

Flagmaster 65 Asked:

I have been cruising with Carnival since 1996 when I was with you on the Destiny. I have to say my last cruise in May 7 on the Carnival Triumph was not good at all. I was leading a roll call of 45 from Cruise Critic and we were all disappointed in the dining room. We were on main sitting and chose to eat early but was angry that I could not enjoy my meal because of announcements being made to clear the dining area and for those to help out others for the next seating. We paid our cruise fare just like all the others and we should have the right to sit and relax and enjoy our coffee and dessert not be thrown out. This happened every night at 7:50 pm when the maitre d would get on the microphone and in that annoying South African accent makes it clear he wanted us to leave. I wrote to Carnival Guest Relations as did other CC members but they have not responded yet. This is not acceptable.

John Says:
Hello Flgamaster 65

I was very disappointed to read that after a long history of cruising with Carnival that you had the problems you described on the Carnival Triumph. I will say though that there is a very short amount of time between early and late dining and the staff are under a lot of pressure to prepare the tables. That’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact and obviously if people are seated there it makes it difficult for them to do so. However, it also makes it an uncomfortable experience for the guests who feel like we are rushing them. I think this is one reason why more and more people are choosing Your Time Dining as it offers a more flexible dining option for our guests. I can’t really help you any further as I don’t have your real name or cabin number in which to refer our guest services people to so if you want me to act on this further please post again using your real name or a cabin number. Until then I apologise for the inconvenience.

Best wishes

Mike Asked:
Hey my first cruise was on the Fantasy out of Mobile, It was actually based in New Orleans but when they closed the port cause a barge or something sank they moved it to Mobile… Anyway I think the CD on that ship was Big Tex… I can’t remember his name… Was wondering if he was still a CD or if he’s moved on… Can’t wait for my cruise on the Dream in December… The 8 day one… Wish you were on it but know you need a rest…Anyway….THANKS


John Says:
Hello Mike.

I remember when we had to move the ship because of the barge and yes, the CD was Big Tex or Jeremy Barnes to give him his real name. He is a great CD and is currently on Carnival Triumph. You will love that special eight-day cruise on your Carnival Dream and for those who may not know what cruise Mike is referring to, here it is:

Thu, Dec, 23 Canaveral dep @ 4pm
Fri, Dec, 24 Nassau 9am-6pm
Sat, Dec, 25 at sea dep @ 4pm
Sun, Dec, 26 at sea
Mon, Dec, 27 Cozumel 8am-6pm
Tue, Dec, 28 Roatan 10am-6pm
Wed, Dec, 29 Belize 8am-6pm
Thu, Dec, 30 Costa Maya 7am-3pm
Fri, Dec, 31 at sea


What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas and New Year. Have a brilliant time. Best wishes


Matt Hendry Asked:

Can you get me a table for my wife and I just for the two of us. We have quite the story to tell and I won’t bore you with too many details but we got married in 1995, divorced in 2002 and are getting married the day before we cruise which is on the July 3 cruise out of New York on Glory. I was a drinking, gambling idiot back then and the fact that Lucy has given me another chance is amazing. So can I please have you get me that table so I can spend the cruise looking into her eyes and reminding myself not to mess up again?

Thank you

John Says:
Hello Matt Hendry

Yes of course mate. I am sure we can do this for you and have asked the maitre d to do his best to get you that table for 2. It’s not often we get a second chance like this and so I hope that this time you will stay together in love for many, many years. Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes

Rachel mustard Asked:

Hello John,

First of all let me thank you for taking the time to read this, it would seem you’re a very busy man. Since, I am new to cruising, and still learning, if this question has been answered I’m sorry. Anyway, my family is getting ready to go on our cruise (first for all but my husband) and we have 2 boys that are 13. In looking at the schedule for the Circle C I have noticed that the meet for them is usually around 8 going till 9. I am a little upset, because we have late dining (we are coming from the west coast so this seemed like the logical choice when we booked, it’s on the dream sailing from fl.) So my question is… why would Carnival set the meet time for circle c (or any other kids program) during the late dining time???  Thank you in advance for your reply.

John Says:
Hello Rachel Mustard

I have to ask before I start…..is that really your name? If it is, that’s brilliant! Anyway, I am glad you found the blog so I can answer your question. I checked with the Carnival Dream and you are correct that the first activity is at 8:30 pm. This is a meet and greet and timed this way as most kids that age are on the early seating. However, please don’t worry. This is just the start of the night and many of the kids that go to Circle C will arrive at different times so after dinner they can go and join in the fun. This is very normal and I promise it is absolutely nothing to worry about. So 8:30 pm it starts and, with the new Night Owls program, the fun goes on until late for the kids to enjoy while you relax and have fun Mum. Please let me know if you have a follow up to this or if you have anything else you need. I promise you will have the best of times. Oh and Rachel….do you have any Grey Poupon?

Best wishes

Cee Gadd Asked:

As a PLATINUM GUEST why does my luggage not get delivered onboard FIRST? I fly FIRST CLASS and my luggage is always off the plane first so why does CARNIVAL NOT ADOPT THE SAME POLICY? There are many OTHER CRUISE LINES that do this.

John Says:
Hello Cee Gadd

I think we offer an excellent package of benefits for our loyal Platinum guests and when, eventually, the new program is released, I know it will be even better. However, priority luggage on embarkation is a difficult thing to do as we don’t tag the bags by who has cruised with us before but by deck. Obviously, we offer priority embarkation for our guests and debarkation as well but not priority embarkation for your luggage. I had no idea other lines were doing this and I shall definitely bring this to the attention of the beards. Thank you for your loyalty.


John Hutzler Asked:
Hello John.

We sailed with you in May of 07 on the Freedom and we had the most amazing trip thanks to you and Ron Pass. This year we tried the newest “monster of the seas” and were VERY disappointed. I am looking to book one of the junior suites on the Breeze for the inaugural sailing June 3rd 2012. I wanted to know though if you know if you will be the CD for the Breeze. (I would assume so but assuming does not normally play out well for me) I also emailed Ron to see if he knew if he may be on board as well I hope to hear back from you all and hope to have as good of a vacation as we did in 07. Thanks and keep up the WONDERFUL job you do, you are by far the industries best CD and can’t wait to sail with you again soon.

John Hutzler,
Mobile AL
(oh and not happy about y’all leaving us here in Mobile but do understand and still can’t wait to sail again)

John Says:
Hello John Hutzler

Thanks for those very kind words and I will indeed be the CD on the Carnival Breeze and I am sure it’s safe to say there is a very good chance that Ron Pass will be there too. I am sorry that you didn’t enjoy your time on the Monster of the Seas but I have a feeling the Carnival Breeze will be a whole different story and I look forward to seeing you there. Thanks so very much for the kind words.

Best wishes

Susan Feuer Asked:
Dear John,

I know that you’ve set the date for the 2012 Bloggers Cruise on the Magic. It would be a lot to make our way to TX from NY so my question to you….since you’re going to be Breezing in 2013, have you considered a date to do the 2013 BC? It’s much easier to fly to and I could use this as a way to celebrate turning 60 the month before (I’ll be a young 60). Thanks for all you do! I think I’ll be going up for a poop now.

John Says:
Hello Susan Feuer

I always realise that when I pick a location for a bloggers cruise that I am going to disappoint some people and I truly wish it wasn’t so. I do hope we can see you but of course I totally understand if you cannot make it. I haven’t given any thought yet to Bloggers Cruise 6 but there is a very good chance it will be on the next new ship the Carnival Breeze. I hope you enjoyed your poop downstairs on the blog and on Facebook.

Best wishes

KC Ronaldi Asked:

On my cruise on the Valor last week I was called to the lower decks and made to open my suitcase by security. They confiscated my three bottles of Bacardi rum and told me I could get it back on the day we get off the ship. I went to get the bottles and they gave me no box or nothing to put them in and I had already put my bags out of my room door and they were off the ship. I then had to carry 3 bottles in my hand as I had no room in my carry on. Carnival bar prices are greedy and that is why so many people smuggle and if you are going to take our booze then you should give us boxes to get it off the ship with.

John Says:
Hello KC Ronaldi

We do have very strict rules about not bringing spirits onboard and when guests ignore these rules we take the smuggled items and return them to you on embarkation day. I say this respectfully but are you serious — you want us to provide boxes for you to put your liquor that you smuggled onto the ship in? Would you like anything else, ice and lemon maybe?  I do hope you had a fun cruise and I hope that your posting was written moments after you drunk all three bottles of Bacardi.

Best wishes

Lexi Asked:

We are thinking of moving our Elation cruise to the Liberty for Oct 22. How will the ship be will they still be working on her? Will you do the infamous meet and greet and bedtime stories? I have till mid July to make a change.

John Says:
Hello Lexi

Well I can definitely confirm I will be there. I won’t be the CD but I will be there to film and write about all the brilliant new spaces she will receive during her dry dock. I shall also be asking the CD Kirk if he can let me have a little bit of stage time to do something. It will be great to see you there and please let me know what you decide to do.

Best wishes

John Van Lawick Asked:
I would like to know if any cruises taken on the Spirit while she is in Australia go into my past guest tally, and if I can use my past guess number in Australian cruises.

John Says:
Hello John Van Lawick

We are very excited about the Carnival Spirit‘s trip down under and yes indeed, any cruises you take on her will count towards your Carnival loyalty program.

Best wishes


That’s all for today and we will be back tomorrow with more and of course throughout this week over on Facebook. Talking of Facebook I was asked for a recipe for a desert that we feature on our ships called Indian Milk. Well the Facebook police won’t let me post it so here it is on the blog.

(click to zoom)


So what’s happening here on the Carnival Magic? Well, we are in Civitavecchia today and yesterday while in Livorno a momentous occasion occurred. Yep, it was our first since the ship came out. Here’s what I am talking about.


Sent: Monday, June 26, 2011 10:05 AM
Subject: Main pool closed

Good morning. Please be informed, aft pool for today is closed due to fecal accident in the pool. Thank you and best regards,

Pools & Decks Supervisor


Yep our first pool closing and because we were in port and could not fill the pool from the harbor (spelt correctly) water, it remained closed until after we sailed. My first reaction to this was that it was due to the fact that we had 800 kids on this cruise. But I was wrong. The kids were all ashore exploring Rome with their parents. It was an older, much older guest that had umm…….done a whoopsie…….poor chap. In the old days before public health and environmental rules, a deck hand would have fished the turd out with a net, thrown it overboard and everyone would have got back into the pool ….. I sort of miss those days you know.

Overall the mood onboard this cruise is excellent. This is the first cruise with a lower non-North American count and so far everyone seems to be having fun. There is only one sea day again so I am sure that this busy schedule will start to take its toll but right now it’s 2:15 pm and we only have 307 guests onboard, the rest are in Rome enjoying this amazing and incomparable city. But as much as I love Rome, it’s Naples that is my favourite.

I love the way men in Armani suits ride their mopeds without care or conviction and I love the way that it’s just accepted that men from Naples can and will stare at bottoms, every bottom whether male or female and I love the way that they drive. Yes, it’s terrifying being in a car with a Neapolitan driver and even scarier being a pedestrian. In Naples even the nuns drive like bats out of hell. I also love that whole Italian umm……oh, I don’t know the word……that Italian thing…. the laundry flapping over the streets, the obsession with style, design and looking better than everyone else, fantastic food and the whole essence of the place just makes life seem more fun.

You know, I don’t often spurt into a whole “you must buy a cruise and you must see Italy and you must come on this great ship” selling thing but as I sit here in my non-Italian non designer underpants I feel that I must. OK, you must see Italy, we have established that fact I think right? So why take a cruise? Well Italy isn’t cheap and hotel prices are pretty high and sometimes service in places in places like Venice and Rome make Fawlty Towers look like a five-star hotel.

So yes, you must see a country that’s cliffs plunging into lakes, smoldering volcanoes, soft hills rolling into the twilight as far as the eye can see, heart-stopping scenery and ancient ruins. Rome, The Vatican, The Coliseum, Naples, Pompeii, Vesuvius, Ischia and Capri, Taormina, Mount Etna, Tuscany, Pisa, and Florence are all waiting for you. All of this scenery is a must see as is watching the Italians pose and strut especially the men, who can’t pass a wing mirror on a car without stopping to admire themselves. And the greatest thing of course is at the end of a brilliant day seeing this extraordinary country, you don’t have to pack and fly. You simply walk on board your Carnival Magic, eat a plate of spaghetti at Cucina del Capitano and watch the moon drift over the sea. Have you booked yet?

OK, time to talk about something a bit more serious. It is truly amazing how one subject can lead to two massively different responses. As you may remember we were requested by a group sailing on the September 11 cruise on the Carnival Miracle to delay the departure from New York and time the sailing to coincide with the lighting of the memorial at Ground Zero to mark the 10th anniversary of that awful day. Well after some negotiation with various agencies we were able to get permission to do this which I announced here and on Facebook. Within 48 hours of me doing this, I received the following two pieces of correspondence. The first was an email sent to Gerry Cahill and other top beards.

Hello, All!

Thank you very much for all of your countless hours in putting your efforts into honoring the Cruise Critic members of CCL’s Miracle, 9/11/2011 delayed departure out of New York City. You are all wonderful people, and I am very fond of Carnival’s going above and beyond. Thanks to John Heald as well, for all his efforts in keeping us informed on the status of our request. I have been on eight cruises on Carnival, and I will continue to be an avid traveler on your cruise line.


Cruise Critic Member


Thanks Michelle for taking the time to say thank you that was very kind.

And then there was this one:

Tracey Keddie

John I am sure I won’t be voted Mrs. Popular when I say this but I do not care. Why was this decision made to leave NY later to see the lights turned on for 9/11? Does Cruise Critic really have that much control over Carnival? I have paid for my cruise and the sail away should be fun and mark the start of the vacation. Now it will all be somber and that is not what I have paid for. So count one against this plan and I bet if you asked there would be many other passengers on the Miracle who would say the same. By doing this you are reminding the world how the terrorists did what they did and doing it on my dime! It’s my cruise too and all the passengers should have been consulted not just a certain group before you made this wrong decision.

Tracey Keddie
Palmyra, New Jersey

Well, I have to say that last one really surprised me. Did it surprise you? Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely do think we are doing the right thing by arranging for this to happen but I wonder if there are going to be more guests who are upset we are doing this. It’s not a date we will ever be able to forget though and as this is the 10th anniversary it is right that we pause for thought ……. isn’t it? Bloody hell, there I go second guessing myself again. Look, I think about that day every time I fly, I think many of us do and that will never change. It’s because of those bastards that I have spent many minutes of my life at airports standing in a body scanner, while a bunch of security guards snigger at the smallness of my gentleman sausage.

It’s why all of us who fly will end up with no shoes, no belt, no laptop, no toothpaste, no underarm deodorant and, now that it has demonstrated it’s possible to store explosives in the cleft of your bottom, no underpants either. And for the privilege of this humiliation, we have to stand in a line which is twice as long as the Carnival Magic. Pre-September 11, you were scanned to make sure you didn’t have an AK47 or a grenade with which you might hijack the plane, but those measures did nothing to stop those who think that by committing suicide, they’re in for a life of milk and honey and a million vestal virgins. So after September 11, 2001, we were no longer allowed to board the plane if we had a baseball bat or a pair of those small scissors we use to cut the hair out of our noses and ears. And then along came Richard Reid with his exploding Nikes, which meant we had to take off our shoes and put our hemorrhoid cream in a clear plastic bag. And then we had the Nigerian with his underpants bomb so now we have to show the security guards our thingies. And we are being asked to check in hours before the scheduled departure time so that loads of people in high visibility jackets and iron on badges can ask a lot of silly questions about if we packed the bag ourselves and examine every one of our orifices.

It was a day that changed so many people’s lives and one that none of us will or probably should ever forget. Heidi and I were aboard the Carnival Triumph, I was in the cabin, in the shower, when Heidi walked in the bathroom and said, “Think you had better get out of the shower, something terrible has happened.” My immediate thoughts were “family” and as I jumped out of the shower, I could see that my usually calm wife was ashen white. I looked at the television as like millions of others, I watched the world change.

This short stop that the Carnival Miracle is doing is designed to help people remember those who died, not the faceless cowards who I hope have found that their vestal virgins all look like a baboon’s arse …….but those whose lives they took. I know that Cruise Director Malcolm will make this a special moment and he, the captain and his crew will say and do the right things. And when it’s over, immediately when it’s over, the fun will begin again.

So Tracey please don’t worry. We didn’t do this for one specific group of people. No, we did this because we all think it’s the right thing to do and I hope that as the ship stops for a moment of reflection, just a few short minutes out of your vacation, that you will think that it’s the right thing to do as well.


Your friend

PS – Tim – If you are reading this, thanks mate for everything. We will all miss you very much.

http://www.carnival.com/cms/fun/ships/carnival_triumph/default.aspx?shipCode=TI&cid=So_John Heald Blog_5409

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.