July 12, 2011 -

John Heald

As you know I was ordered by she who must be obeyed to host a barbecue for our friends during my week off. I’ve tried my hardest over the years to get into the barbecue thing, I really have but I just can’t. It’s the same with anything in the “outdoor world”…… camping. Camping is fine if you are 10 years old, or if you are stuck on a mountain and your fingers are falling off, but I view it in the same way that I view barbecues. What’s the point? Why eat food covered in ash when you have a cooker? Why sleep on the floor and defecate in a hole if you have a house with running water and a bed? Because you want to get close to nature?  Fine. Bugger off and watch Animal Planet. But Heidi had already told our group of mates that we would be hosting a barbecue and so that was me wearing a girlie apron burning one sausage at a time. I don’t get it. Why does anyone want to eat a barbecue? Why does anyone want to eat in direct sunlight?

So there I was though, setting things on fire. Prickles of sweat on my forehead. Shirt sticking to my back. Underpants riding up my arse, having to reach down and pull them out with my bare hands before using those same hands to throw another chicken drumstick on the fire. Honestly it was just an excuse for my friends to get pissed drunk in my garden while I slaved over a hot fire. To me, barbecues have all the appeal of explosive diarrhea which apparently after eating one of my sausages is what my wife’s friend Lucy had the next day anyway.

Time for today’s Q and A – let’s crack on.

Monica asked:

I have suffered from arthritis and take medical marijuana three times a day for the pain as described by my medical professional. I have the current letters, etc. and need to make sure there is no problem with me bringing this and smoking this onboard. We sail on Carnival Liberty in august.

John says:
Hello Monica,

I have been posed this question before and have to tell you that we do not allow marijuana on board even under these circumstances. We have very strict rules about this as does United States Customs and Border Protection so please leave it at home. I hope that during the cruise you will be able to have your doctor prescribe another pain reliever for you instead.

Best wishes.


Wendy asked:
Hi John,

Was on the Carnival Magic May 10th and loved it. We met you a couple of times in the Red Frog [Canadian travelling with Bournemouth UK cousins].  I’d love to go on the Carnival Breeze but was disappointed that after the June sailing, it’s doing the exact itinerary as the Carnival Magic.  Have done this itinerary 3 times with Carnival.  Why is the Carnival Breeze not continuing the Greece/Turkey itinerary for its duration in Europe next summer?  I bet it would be sold out in a flash by people who were on the Carnival Magic.

John says:
Hello Wendy,

I remember you all well and I am so glad you had fun. Yes, the Carnival Breeze will call at Greece and Turkey before heading back to the Grand Med cruises as we are doing on here now. That’s because they sell so well and we hope to attract more and more new customers. I do realise though that for some, like yourselves, who are looking for new ports that this is not the best option and I hope that the following year we will be able to offer different itineraries.

I do hope we see you soon though and it was great fun meeting you all.

Best wishes.


James K asked:

Need you to book and reserve a table for me and my family. We want the aft dining room as we are in cabin 7321 and 7323 on the Carnival Valor and not with other passengers. It is my son Kyle’s 14th birthday as well the day we are in Half Moon Cay just FYI in case you can do something that will make his birthday special. We cruised with you on the Glory in 2003. Hope the food is better this time as it was awful then. Our cruise details are as follows

CABIN 7321 AND 7323

John says:
Hello James K,

I will certainly ask the maitre d to help you with your table and he will do his best to assist you. I am sure you will all have fun and if you remind me here about your son’s birthday I will be happy to send him something. I suggest you do this by sending me a note here on the blog posting it six weeks before you sail. I am sure you will find the food delicious and I wish you all a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.


Carrie Peru asked:
Dear John,

I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful blogs, you have such a wonderful personality and I appreciate your honesty it is so great to read all your valuable and informative information that you continually provide. This is the third time that I have e-mailed you without a reply; I was so hoping you could answer a couple of questions for me regarding shore excursions. My husband and I are sailing with the Carnival Magic Sept 25th and we are so excited. We figure though that excursions will be roughly $2,000 and want to make sure we are doing the best possible excursions. In Rome we can’t decide on the Rome at its Best tour or Rome and the Vatican Museum, I know it’s hard for you to comment on someone else’s trip, but I appreciate your view. Please let me know which one is better all around excursion because we really want to see the inside of the coliseum, but we are wondering if seeing the Sistine Chapel is better. Also in Rome at its best do we have to wait in line for the coliseum or do we have privileged entrance? Also in Naples is it better to do Positano, Sorrento and Pompeii or Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri? Please try and answer my questions John this is our 4th Carnival cruise and 6th so far and we absolutely love Carnival, everything about Carnival is absolutely fantastic… thanks so much I know you are very busy!



John says:
Hello Carrie Peru,

I am sorry that I have not seen your previous questions and I am glad that I saw this now and hopefully am able to help you. Let’s talk about Rome. Well, Rome at Its Best is the complete tour and offers the Coliseum which with the new underground area that has recently opened is absolutely stunning and there is no waiting in line, you go right in as we have pre-purchased tickets. There is plenty of time for shopping and the lunch we serve is fabulous. But then there is the Vatican Museum and seeing the smallest country in the world is something I think everyone should see. So, it’s a tough one for sure but if it were me I would do the Rome and the Vatican….. I am absolutely positive you will never forget the experience. Naples is a bit easier and I would definitely recommend the Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri excursion. These three places are the must see. Yes, it’s a long day but the time capsule that is Pompeii and the brilliant shopping and lunch you have in Sorrento and the beauty of Capri will leave you very fulfilled. I hope this helps and if you have any other questions please do let me know wont you? I look forward to seeing you soon.

Best wishes.


Vanetta W asked:

There was a post today on Cruise Critic that about toddlers not being allowed in the pools and I was horrified to read that that the pools on the Carnival ships are not chlorinated. Why is this? And why do you allow babies in the pools, this is not hygienic at all. Also mentioned was many Cruise Critic members desire to have an adults only ship as many of us hate cruising with kids. Will Carnival consider this as many of us hate vacationing with rugrats.

John says:
Hello Vanetta W,

We do indeed chlorinate our pools at the levels determined by United States Public Health and these levels are strictly monitored on board, so the reports you have read are incorrect. As for babies in the pool, we do have a rule that states that children must be potty trained before they are allowed there. I doubt you will ever see an adult’s only ship at Carnival. We are a proud family cruise line and I think it would be a huge mistake for us or any line to close their doors to a specific demographic. There are various times of the year when our children count is lower and hopefully those are the times when you can cruise with us.

Best wishes.


Gerry G asked:

We are sailing on the Carnival Magic, room 6245, on August 5. We have been confirmed for an 8:15 dining time. I want the same dining room as Ken Byrne AND to have a table for two in the middle of the main dining room floor.

John says:
Hello Gerry G,

I get many requests from guests to be in Ken’s dining room and it’s not surprising as he is absolutely brilliant. He is on vacation at the moment but I will make sure that I pass this request to him when he returns next week. I will see you soon and get ready for a brilliant vacation

Best wishes.


Karen asked:

Is there going to be a wine tasting on the Carnival Breeze and if so will the wines being offered be different than the ones I tasted on the Glory this past Feb? It was a great way to spend the afternoon and learn about wines and paring… would love to do it again regarless if they don’t change the wines…Salut’ mon aime

John says:
Hello Karen,

Yes indeed, there will be a wine tasting held on our new ship and, as we do here on the Carnival Magic, we feature some of the wines that are grown in the areas the ship visits such as Tuscany. It is always a great event and I hope you will join us for it next year. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes.


Paula asked:

My mother and I took our first cruise out of Galveston April 2009.  I don’t know if you remember it but my mom stopped breathing and was rushed to the infirmary.  I want to tell you that the care she received was better than that of the ICU in a hospital. The doctors/nurses were amazing.  She spent the last day and half of our cruise down there.  We are traveling on our second cruise on the Magic, January 22, 2012.  We are very excited and are counting on not having a repeat event.  But we are at ease the medical staff on board is incredible.  Thanks for saving my mom’s life!  Hope to see you on the cruise.

John says:
Hello Paula,

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you for taking the time to write this. The medical staff is indeed brilliant and some still think that all they do is administer seasick pills. They obviously do so much more than that, including saving lives and each and every week across the Carnival fleet. So thank you for praising them and I will make sure they see your posting. I hope Mum is doing well and if there is anything I can do for you both before you sail next year please do let me know.

Best wishes to you both.


Jenna asked:
Hi John!

I just got back from a wonderful all-girls cruise on the Triumph (May 30th-June 4th out of New Orleans). All of us women had a wonderful time. I wanted to let you know about two particular staff members that went above and beyond their job in order to insure that we were having such a great time. First was Evita from Latvia. She works at the California Wine Bar or as we liked to call it, the martini bar! She is such a wonderful woman and does such a good job.

Our group of women would go have martinis before dinner and Evita would make the best martinis for us without having a look off the menu. Spending time with all of the women in our group at the martini bar with Evita was an event that we looked forward to every day. By the end of the cruise, she would know when we would be there and the flavors that each of us liked so she could make up a unique martini for each of us. The next crew member who did a wonderful job was Arvin our head waiter at table 310. He was so entertaining and was able to joke around with us. He took the time to get to know our group and could even start guessing what we would be eating by the end of the cruise. He by far has been the best waiter I have ever had. Even when we saw him outside of the dining room, he would always say hello. I really wanted to let you know about these two people who made our cruise an amazing experience. I wish that by taking the time to write this, they will be recognized in some way for their wonderful work. Also, thanks John for this blog and for giving us a place where we could share our feedback! I really enjoy reading it!

John says:
Hello Jenna,

Thanks so much for this brilliant review that features some of our wonderful crew. It seems like you all had a fantastic time and the fact that you have taken the time to write about the crew is just great. I will make sure that they see this and so do their shipboard and shoreside supervisors. Thanks again for writing and I hope you and the girls all get together to do this again soon as it sounds like you all had the best of times.

My best wishes to you all.


Dean asked:

I thought your reply to the people trying to help you lose weight was both cruel and rude. Face it John. You are obese and you should not shun help from any quarter. On another note I have just returned from the Ecstasy and the CD Steve Castle was nowhere to be seen. I saw him at his violin show but that was it. I asked at the front desk to speak to him because I had found some spelling mistakes in the Fun Times program but he never replied. I found a total of 28 spelling mistakes and 44 grammatical and punctuation errors in one program and yet he did not have the decency to contact me or thank me in anyway. The spelling and grammar on your blogs is also imperfect and this also reflects poorly on Carnival. I will be sailing on the Inspiration in November and hope their cruise director will offer me, a paying passenger, some time and some respect. This forthcoming cruise will be my Platinum cruise.

John says:
Hello Dean,

I am not sure to what blog you are referring as it seems my weight is a constant source of comment here but if I did come across as cruel or rude then I apologise. As for Steve Cassel, well he is, in my humble opinion, a fantastic cruise director and I am sorry that his busy schedule did not allow him time to meet you and thank you for pointing out the mistakes in the Fun Times.

Some Cruise Directors spank time cheeking spalling and punktuation while some dont. I think tits important that the Funtimes have corect spalling and I know that I am one off the wost in the fleat. I also no that I have too loose wieght and I am tyring. This moaning I went to the jim and did shit ups and ran on the turdmill. Just kidding of course, we’ll certainly make note of this.

Congratulations on your Platinum status and thanks so much for your loyalty.

Best wishes,


Jim Kippenhan asked:
Dear John,

On October 16th my darling wife, Jeanette, and I will embark Carnival Glory for a 6 night cruise to Bermuda. This will be our third cruise, all on Carnival. We love the friendly, outgoing staff and passengers and also love the convenience of sailing from our hometown of Norfolk.

We always cruise in October in order to celebrate our wedding anniversary. This year we will celebrate 21 years of wedded bliss. I will be ordering a cake and stateroom decorations through Bon Voyage to help us celebrate. One thing that would make this trip really special for Jeanette is to come home with a ship on a stick. She entered in nearly every contest possible during our last cruise in her quest for a ship on a stick but was unsuccessful. I know that you are a busy man, but if you can please help me out by arranging for her to receive a ship on a stick, I would be most appreciative. Thanks in advance for anything that you can do and, if you can’t, no harm done. Fair

Winds and Following Seas,


John says:
Hello Jim Kippenhan,

Many congratulations on 21 wonderful years together and thank you for cruising with us once again. It always amazes me how popular these little solid gold plastic trophies are and I will make sure that this time your good lady gets one. My concern is that if I ask the ship now they will forget by the time October comes around so may I ask that on September 1 you post this again on the blog or perhaps a few days before you sail on Facebook. Either way a reminder will make sure she gets a trophy and maybe a little something else to help you both celebrate.

Best wishes to you both.


That’s all for today and I will return with more tomorrow and of course help those as best I can who have asked me questions on Facebook as well.

Yesterday I told you about the fabulous new Costa vessel that joined the ever-growing Carnival Corporation & plc family. We also welcomed the uber-luxurious Seabourn Quest. The naming ceremony was pure Seabourn and actress Blythe Danner who is already mother of Gwyneth Paltrow and is now godmother to this ship. I know most of us will probably never get to immerse ourselves into the luxurious world that is Seabourn but just for a moment, walk the decks with me and see how Seabourn does a naming ceremony.

Enjoy the video……oh hold on…..I am sitting here in my underpants and feel a bit underdressed for this….hold on a moment while I put a bathrobe on. That’s better. Here is the video.

Congratulations Seabourn, a stunning ship, beautiful ceremony and one day I hope I do get to sail just for a few days to see just why this line wins so many awards and continues to be the ships that the “in” crowd wants to be seen on. OK, I have taken the bathrobe off now so we can continue.

I have often said that Great Britain should consider conquering France. There are good reasons for this. First of all, we can be assured the French will not put up much of a fight – they never do – so casualties would be small. And second, the fact is they don’t need all that space. And the space they have is stunning and while I may not care too much for the people……..just look how beautiful their country is as we visit Provence through the lens of Mr. Radu. He visited the Provence floral fields…….have a look.

Thanks again to Mr. Radu whose skills never fail to amaze. The areas he photographed are all visited on our excursions when the ship visits Marseilles. Maybe some of you will be seeing this for yourself while you cruise on the Carnival Magic or next year on the Carnival Breeze.
There have been some changes with our piano bar entertainer’s schedule in the past few weeks so I thought that you would like to see who is where and until when.

Carnival Splendor         Jafar Curry                          07/10/11
Carnival Fantasy        Michael Smith                       07/16/11
Carnival Liberty         Brad Alexander                     07/16/11
Carnival Freedom        David Filsinger                     07/16/11
Carnival Spirit            Tom Riccio                               07/19/11
Carnival Fascination        Dana Honey                     07/23/11
Carnival Pride            Roger Concepcion                    07/31/11
Carnival Glory        Doug Ross                                      08/27/11
Carnival Sensation        Adam Saxe                            09/01/11
Carnival Conquest        Walter Boik                            09/04/11
Carnival Victory        Tom Grable                               09/04/11
Carnival Ecstasy         Agustin Villarin                     09/08/11
Carnival Destiny        Seth Gibson                               09/10/11
Carnival Miracle        William Barclay                      09/11/11
Carnival Triumph        Lorraine Ingle                        09/22/11
Carnival Elation        Bruce McGhie                            09/29/11
Carnival Paradise        Jordan Heppner                      10/07/11
Carnival Valor            Robert Crucilla                          10/16/11
Carnival Legend        Hrvoje Knezevic                         11/13/11
Carnival Magic        Chris Novak                                  11/14/11
Carnival Dream        Milburn Dumas                          TBA
Carnival Inspiration        Angela Johnson                  TBA
Carnival Imagination        Lizl Strauss                        TBA

I know that the always wonderful Laura Divetrash will post this on Cruise Critic where I know these ladies and gentlemen have a big following.  As always I thank her and of course those who play in our piano bars for their wonderful work.

It’s a beautiful day here today in Rome. The time is 11:05am and, as I sit here in my underpants, I see we only have 296 out of 4,505 guests on board. If you believed everything you’ve seen about Rome on the silver screen, you’d wonder how on earth they managed to find the toilet in the morning let alone work out how the Biggus Turdus thingy might be flushed and be carried away in a sewer system the likes of which the world had not seen before.
But it is an unwritten law that all empires, whether the Borg, the British, big business, or Rome, are bastards. However, out of all the empires it is the Romans who have come off the worst. We have the Emperor Nero who liked to wear lipstick and women’s clothes and whose best friend was a goat. Caligula would nibble on a baboon’s ear before bathing in a pool of yak’s milk while using a slave’s severed head as a flotation device. And there are still crazy Romans even today like the immigration inspector this morning who decided that out of nowhere he wanted to personally see everyone’s proof of citizenship as they left the ship. This has never happened before and so I had to make an announcement at 7 am and explain that as they left the gangway that everyone would need to show their passports and or photo ID. And so down came the guests and from 7 to 7:50 am the officials stood at the gangway casually looking at the passports. Then at 7:50 am, they realised it was time for a cappuccino and so they buggered off………..and never came back. Welcome to Italy.

The seven-day cruise is, as I said, yesterday very different with guests out later despite the port- intensive itinerary. Everyone it seems is having a fun time and yesterday a few of our guests got a view they never expected to see.

Guest: Mrs ———- Ref: 848012737A Cabin: _____  Added-Changed: 07/11/11 – 07/11/11

Guest stated that she had used the water slide and while coming down it her swim top clasp came open and she ended up at the bottom of the slide with no swimsuit top which followed her down. Mrs ____ said that when she reached the bottom other guests saw her and laughed and that this was upsetting. Mrs _____ has stated that the slide broke her swimsuit clasp and that we are responsible. The item has been sent to the upholstery workshop for repair.

I love the way the guest services lady wrote “she ended up at the bottom of the slide with no swimsuit top which followed her down”………followed her down……….brilliant. Obviously I feel very sorry for the lady and I can imagine how embarrassing it must have been to arrive at the bottom of the twister slide bare breasted waiting for the bikini top to arrive. I also have to think that Miguel our upholsterer who usually repairs things like lifeboat covers is sitting in his little workshop repairing the damaged bikini and I thank him for his support and I thank the lady for her support, as well. It seems that this may be a problem and that the waterslide is so fast and so fun that it may disrobe ladies’ swimwear………….what a shame!

For those of you who read my Facebook post yesterday you will have seen a comment from a guest who had witnessed another guest smack their child during dinner in the Southern Lights dining room and was quite about it, as was other guests on board. Now the guests are from Russia which actually I don’t think is relevant at all but thought I should mention it. I have discussed this with the guest services manager and we both feel that having spoken to the waiter who saw the incident that we are not in a position to speak to the guest. But I can tell you, it has been a tough call. I think that the sight of a parent disciplining their child is rare these days and I am certainly not saying it’s right. However, there is part of me that thinks is it not just coincidence that over the years when punishment has been banned in schools, we now see children getting into serious trouble like never before. Some people say it is wrong to discipline our children, and since parents have been following such advice, children have started to rule inside and outside their homes. I was disciplined not only at home, but at school when I was a child and through that I learned respect or at least I like to think I did. But there is of course a huge distinction between discipline and abuse and that is why we are keeping a close eye on the family in question. It worries me though as a parent. I spoke with Heidi about this last night on the phone and we spoke about how if she is naughty we would try grounding her first and keeping her in her room as punishment. But then again, in the ridiculous nanny world we live in how long before grounding a naughty kid is classed as wrongful imprisonment?

Talking of children I want to congratulate my good friend Captain Pierluigi Barrile and his wife ex-Dance Captain Beverley Barille on the birth of their beautiful son Pietro. Captain Barrile will return to the Carnival Valor soon and will feel the heartache I have felt so often as he says goodbye to his gorgeous son. They are so proud though and I know they will be absolutely wonderful parents and all of us at Carnival are very happy for them both. Now Bev is from Essex like me and has a wicked sense of humour and I saw her just before I left and asked her how the birth was and she described it by simply saying this in her broad Essex accent “John, mate, it was like trying to pass an elephant through a cat flap.”


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.