July 18, 2011 -

John Heald

The readers of my Facebook page will have seen early this morning the Carnival Magic rescued France. OK, maybe not the whole country but certainly two of their citizens who today must be thankful to the Carnival Magic for getting them out of “Merde La Rue “…………. that’s “Sh*t Street” to me and you.

I had just completed the Welcome Aboard show and was sitting at the computer in my underpants updating my Facebook thingy when the captain called me and asked me to come to the bridge and at 12:10am that’s never a good sign and I knew it wasn’t to have a game of naked Twister.

I arrived and was told that we had received a “May Day May Day “ call from a small motor yacht that had lost all propulsion and was floundering in heavy seas and that we were on our way to help.

Now when I say heavy seas they were exactly that and with winds of 50 knots and 10 foot swells, the Carnival Magic was bouncing around like Pamela Anderson on a pogo stick, so goodness knows how it must have been for this 30-foot boat.

Then came the decision whether to tell the guests over the PA system. Now, remember, it’s 12:15am now and many guests were tired from Trans-Atlantic flights and from the movement of the ship. However, in this day and age, I strongly believe that information is important and so I decided to tell the guests what was happening. I didn’t make it inside the cabins but just in guest areas, informing them what was going to happen.

Now bearing in my mind that it was very late and all the other factors I have just mentioned, I was surprised when I looked out at the open decks and balconies on the port side and saw at least 300 – 400 guests, cameras in hand ready to capture that YouTube moment.

Around 30 minutes later, we arrived at LAT 32 N – LONGIT 0425′ E and the motor yacht Jean Michelle. We had been speaking to them on the VHF radio. Now normally this is something I do but in this case neither of the two Frenchies spoke English and I didn’t think me speaking to them like Inspector Clusseau would calm their fears of dying a horrible death at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. So one of the Italian Officers spoke to them in French and let them know that we were ready to help.

The Jean Michelle really was pitching and rolling and you know when a senior captain and five officers all go “ oooohhhhhhh “ when she pitched heavily in the water that this wasn’t looking good. She really was in trouble. Yet two things surprised me. Firstly, that the two men (Father and Son ) were not wearing lifejackets and secondly despite the fact that they were about to tip over quicker than Lindsay Lohan on a Saturday night…………..they refused to abandon their boat.

And so the captain had a decision to make and quite simply what he did for the next 4 hours and 40 minutes was brilliant. He maneuvered the ship within 50 – 100 meters of the Jean Michele using the huge Carnival Magic to act as protection from the swells. He and the crew did this on and off throughout the night and as I stayed with him watching I was again assured that Carnival really does employ the best navigators and ship’s Masters in the industry.

At approximately 4:50am, the Spanish Coast Guard cutter arrived and they lowered a rescue boat and got a tow line to the yacht and started the journey back to Majorca where they arrived this morning safe and well.

It was a long night for everyone and indeed it’s been a strange cruise with this and the weather and the change of itinerary that I will tell you about later. But the simple fact is that without the help of the Carnival Magic and her captain and crew, the Jean Michele and her Father and Son crew may have met a very desperate end.

I stood on the bridge and watched their faces as we got close to them for the first time and, as we did, they both waved their hands high in the air as if to say, “Thank God you are here”………………….or they could have just been surrendering of course.

Let’s do some Q and A…………here we go.

Peter W asked:

Cancel my Chefs Table booking made through your blog for the cruise on July 24th. I read a report by cruise experts Tom and Cheryl on Cruise Critic about the awfully common and intoxicated people they had to share the table with and how their behavior ruined their experience. I had not thought of this and I also think it’s best that you get me a table for 2 as well. Cabin number is 6341. How will I know if my reservation is cancelled as I don’t want the hassle of having to do this on the ship.

John says:
Hello Peter W,

I was so sorry to read this. I don’t know these “cruise experts” Tom and Cheryl or what happened to them during their Chef’s Table dinner and I am sorry to know they did not enjoy the Chef’s Table experience.

I do know that each and every week this brilliant event is enjoyed by so many across the fleet and along with the experience of seeing the galley in full operation and the extraordinary food prepared by the Chef is the wonderful camaraderie that the 16 guests enjoy with each other. It’s a real shame that you wish to cancel but I will do this for you and ask the maitre d’ to do his best to get you a table for 2. I have to say though that I cannot understand how people allow others’ opinions to affect their pre conception of something like this. Oh, well. Anyway, I wish you a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes,


Barbara Butler asked:
Hi John,

My question is why does Carnival allow people who are not handicapped to book those rooms? I have always booked early usually 1 year early and have been told they are all full. Strange.

Right now they are discussing the “perks” on Cruise Critic now. Sorry to bother you with it but it is 1 thing that makes my calm disposition boil. Maybe mention it to the beards? PLEASE, PLEASE Smooth seas.

Barbara and Valentine

John says:
Hello Barbara Butler,

This is a very good question and I have seen it mentioned recently on my Facebook page and I think it deserves an answer. I think we do try not to do this and I wonder how people know we have non-handicapped guests in those rooms. Have people seen them? I ask this because I am curious as to if this is a major problem. Anyway, I am going to ask and get a final answer on this and publish this in the blog this week. Thanks for letting me know.

Best wishes to you and, of course, to Valentine.


Note: I actually got an answer straight back from a beard and here is what she kindly informed me. “We actually hold cabins out of inventory up to a certain point so we can have space for those who really need this kind of cabin. We also reserve the right to move someone who doesn’t need a modified cabin if we have demand from a physically challenged guest. “

I hope this sets your mind at ease.


Deb asked:

I am a travel agent and just got off the Carnival Freedom with a group and was so relieved to have an awesome piano bar player, Dave Filsinger. A huge improvement from when I cruised on the Freedom the year before with a different group. Anyway, someone in my group has started the Dave Filsinger fan club. I have also had the pleasure of Ron Pass being on the Valor with another group I had and both of these guys are fantastic! I am however planning a couple large cruise groups for next year. Can you please tell me what ship Dave will be on in Jan and Feb and also July? The July group is ready to book, but they want to hold off until they find out which ship Dave is on. They are teetering between cruise lines so the earlier I can find out the better. I also have a group that is going to sail in April 2013 and they want to base their cruise around Dave. I would also be interested to know what ship Ron would be on at those times too. Please let me know if you can help or direct me to someone who can.

Thanks so much.

John says:

Hello Deb,

This is great news. I know Dave and he is indeed a brilliant performer as so many of our piano bar entertainers are and I think its brilliant that your group enjoyed him so very much. I am sorry that we don’t have the schedule planned for the beginning of next year yet or indeed through July 2012. As soon as it is, I will publish it here for you. It would be wrong of me not to mention that the schedules for all our entertainers are very fluid and while it’s great that the group want to book a cruise around him being there they should remember that there are always last minute changes. But the good news is that yet again David’s brilliance has shone through and I will make sure he sees your words of praise.

Best wishes to you all.


Linda asked:

Could you please help us !!! We are booked on Carnival’s DREAM in Dec.2011. We NEVER EVER had a balcony room before so we booked a COVE Balcony room # 2389. We heard if the waves are rough, they close your balcony so you can’t go out there. Since it is our first balcony, is that room worth the money ??? Any info PLEASE !!

John says:
Hello Linda,

Congratulations on your Cove balcony which is a balcony, a proper balcony, and on deck 2 thus giving you incomparable, close to the water views. The balcony is open at all times and only closed during rough seas which means that it is rare that the ship’s command will make the decision to close them. So all you have to do is look forward to enjoying this experience and this brilliant ship. If you have any more questions, please do let me know.

Best wishes,


Tim Pitt asked:

I want to know why Carnival does not have Fox news and supports only CNN which as any God-fearing American will tell you stands for Communist News Network. News to me is important even on vacation and I was appaled during my Liberty cruise this past week that the only way I could get my news was through CNN. Why no Fox. It’s America’s choice. I should also like to mention that my cabin steward Ovidu was very good.

John says:
Hello Tim Pitt,

Thanks for taking the time to write. I think it’s important to mention that Carnival does not “support” CNN but it is indeed part of the package deal we have with our TV channel provider. We actually have more network coverage than any other cruise line and part of the deal we have is that the news channel provided is CNN. As a Brit, it always astounds me just how each news channel in the States is so politically motivated whereas the old fashioned BBC where I get my news has to remain 100% impartial.

Obviously, Fox Corporation is also in the news in the UK with this awful phone hacking scandal which has closed one of their newspapers, the News of The World, which was at the time the most read English language newspaper in the world. The fact that they hacked into the phone messages of those who had lost loved ones in horrific murders and those of families who had sons killed in Afghanistan as well as the rich and famous is disgusting. I don’t know why we were not all warned about how easy it is for people to pick up other people’s voicemail. I will be changing my pin now. It seems to me that Mr. Murdoch runs a business with bugger all scruples. Ooops……..sorry Tim, I went off on a bit of a rant there, my apologies. Anyway, we do have CNN and more importantly, we do have a brilliant cabin steward whose name is Ovidu who I will make sure sees your words of praise.

I hope you had a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes,


Kali Tichenor asked:

I’m going on a New Year’s cruise this December and I’m very excited due to this being my first cruise. My mom and my grandmother will be attending this cruise with me. My birthday is January 1st and I’ll be turning 21. The day I get on the boat I’ll only be 20. Will I be allowed to purchase alcoholic drinks at midnight or the day of my birthday?

John says:
Hello Kali,

Yes, absolutely, you will and what a brilliant way to see in 2012. Please drink responsibly and have an absolutely super New Yea’s Eve and a wonderful birthday cruise.

Best wishes,


Helen Stein asked:

I have been on three cruises now and all the Cruise Directors remind me of camp counselors, rallying people to the various activities. Rah Rah Rah, everybody and why do they think that they sound good on the speaker system. Shutup Moron. Nobody cares about the sale in the gift shop or the fake art. All three of my cruises were spoiled by these constant announcements and on Elation there was one every ten minutes all day long. RIDICULOUS !

John says:
Hello Helen Stein,

No, there wasn’t an announcement every ten minutes, Helen. I say this respectfully but you and I know that just isn’t true, is it? Now I will admit that cruise directors do use the PA system to advertise what is happening activity-wise and to promote onboard revenue sources. I make no secret in saying that the promotion of these areas such as gift shops, casino, excursions, etc. is part of what the CD job is about. Promoting these revenue sources means that we can keep the cost of the cruise affordable and attractive to our guests. However, the CD’s are instructed by the senior beards to make sure these announcements are made under strict guidelines as to how many and as to what areas we promote. I am sorry if you think these announcements spoiled your cruise and I hope that when you think back, you will have many happy memories of your time on board.

Best wishes,


Ben asked:

I am 9 years old and liked your jokes on the ship when I was on it with my parents and the poo joke was funny and you gave me a medal on stage when I laughed and I was famous and a girl called Kelli was my friend and I did get $20.

John says:
Hello Ben,

I remember you well, mate, and you were so much fun when you came on the stage with me and I am so happy to know you got $20 and that you made a new friend. Please say a big hello to your Mum and Dad and thank you for being a star on stage with me.

I hope we cruise together again soon.

Best wishes,


Marleen asked:
Hey John,

I am asking you for help, John. I will be taking my first ever cruise with Carnival on the Pride when me and my husband and 2 kids will be on July 31. My children are aged 12 and 15 and are home schooled and have been protected from the decedent world that young teens have to face every day. we are Church folk and I am concerned that the show performances may not be suitable for my family. Can you tell me which ones you think based on the brief history I have given you may not be suitable? I have read that the dancing girls have costumes that show bare flesh. Most parents do not care that their children are subjected to the evils of the world but I do. Thank you for your time.

John says:
Hello Marleen,

Thanks for taking the time to write and I have looked at your schedule for the cruise and the shows that will be performed while there. There is a brilliant juggler Victor Zuniga who the entire family will love and a magician Rand Woodbury whose amazing illusions will also be enjoyed by you all. Now the two big shows featuring the dancers and singers are called City Lights and Vroom. Now both of these do contain show girl style costumes but nothing that I think will disturb your family and certainly not enough that I would consider you not watching them. The only shows I would consider not going to are those in the comedy club called Punchliner. That aside, I am positive you will have a great time.

Best wishes to you all.


Gene Londergan asked:
Hi John,

Hope you are well, I know you are better now that the family has arrived. If you have a chance, could you please post the OTHER Fun Times for the Pride? Obviously, there are two schedules and the one you have posted is not the same as the trip we booked for the Aug 28th sailing. My wife is the kind that likes to plan things, and a happy wife makes for a happy vacation, as I am sure you know.


Gene L.

John says:
Hello Gene Londergan,

Yes, indeed, I will and these will be there within two days of you reading this. Thanks for the kind words and please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Best wishes,


Chantelle Glasman asked:

Can you tell me what the earliest time I can disembark the ship in Barcelona is as I have a 9:30am flight? I need this information quickly because we sail on October 7 and I need to book my flight so please put this most important question at the front of the line as its URGENT URGENT. Response wanted IMMEDIATLEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Chantelle Glasman,

The debarkation process in Barcelona starts at 5:45am so you will have no problems making your flight at 9:30am. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes,


That’s all for today. So it’s been an interesting cruise already. Yesterday, we had to change our run because of some really bad weather that had closed the port of Monaco today. And so after making sure we had berthing space in the ports we were able to tell the guests what was happening. I did this live at my welcome orientation talk, plus we sent this letter to the state rooms.

July 17, 2011

Greetings from the bridge,

Welcome aboard the beautiful Carnival Magic! We trust you’ve started to get acquainted with your home-away-from-home for the next week. I just need a minute of your time to provide you with an update on our itinerary plans.

Due to strong winds forecasted for tomorrow, the port authority in Monaco has cancelled our call for safety reasons. We know how much you were looking forward to visiting Monaco. Therefore, in order to keep this beautiful port as part of our itinerary, we’ve adjusted the sequence and times of our other ports visits.

Below is the revised itinerary.

Shore excursions purchased for each port will be automatically adjusted to the new day and time. We are sorry Mother Nature didn’t cooperate with our original plans and thank you for your understanding.

Please enjoy all the great entertainment and fun activities our team has in store for you. My officers, staff, and crew are dedicated to making your cruise fun and memorable.


Captain Giovanni Cutugno

And, so far, most guests have been OK except a few who are upset that the private tours they booked have to be changed. We are offering free phone calls to those who need to contact operators. Last night, the ship was really moving and there was no doubt it affected some people for sure. The dining rooms were quiet as was the Welcome Aboard Show which is understandable. Today, we are at sea and I think the guests actually are appreciating this especially those who have flown long distances to be here and now have a day of rest before 5 busy days in port.

Now amongst all that happened in the last 24 hours, I was flabbergasted this morning to see this comment.

Guest: _________ Ref: 115298628A

Cabin: _______ Booking#: _________ Added-Changed: 07/17/11 – 07/17/11


Mr. ______ called the GSD to say that he was not happy as there were no US TV stations. Guest insists that he had called Carnival and they had confirmed that we would have the usual TV stations. Guest wants to speak to Hotel Director/Cruise Director.

On every cruise ship, on every cruise, there is a man like this. Someone who just won’t understand that it does not matter how much you shout and scream and threaten nothing is going to change. The guest services manager and I met with this guest and so angry was this man that the GSM Ana and I decided we should take this conversation away from the lobby into her office. Once there, I tried to explain that we were in Europe and that Europe did not carry U.S. TV stations but he wouldn’t listen. He had two specific things he wanted to see. America’s Got Talent because his niece was apparently in this episode and a show called Bluebloods which he said was on CBS. Again, I explained that we could not get CBS in Italy but he just wouldn’t listen.

Look, as a CD, you try and listen and understand and sympathize with every guest’s comments but there are certain times when guests say something that you realise that you are wasting your time and that nothing, nothing you say will ever make a difference. This chap said such a thing to Ana and I, he said, “If I had known this, I would not have cruised with Carnival.”

It was at this point that my mind switched from thinking of what I could say to make him feel better and how many oranges to put in his fruit basket to thoughts of Megan Fox’s bottom and how it and I and a big bowl of strawberry sugar free jello could have so much fun.

Yep, he booked this cruise not to see the eternal city of Rome, the incomparable Leaning Tower of Pisa or the shunning beauty of the Amalfi Coast. Nope………this chap booked this cruise, in Europe and left his home in Indiana because he could get to see his niece be told she’s crap and to bugger off home. And what the heck is Bluebloods that makes this man so upset that he will miss it?

You know, I think I am going to place something in the Capers……..bugger……….place something in the Fun Times stating that we will not receive any US TV. Honestly, I have had this comment two or three times here on the Carnival Magic and I had it on the Carnival Splendor and Carnival Freedom and Carnival Liberty during their time in Europe. I love TV but I don’t think I would ever be upset, so upset that I would complain about not seeing it while on vacation. How can television possibly compete with that? When I was 11, I watched Time Tunnel and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea because, on a wet Thursday afternoon in October, there was absolutely bugger all else to do but this man has the wonders of Europe and this incredible brand new ship to enjoy…………..honestly, I just don’t get it.

Anyway, let’s see who Mr. Blubeblood is sailing with this week.


(click to zoom)

We also have 548 British guests as well which means we start serving our full English breakfasts on board as well which includes:

• English Bacon
• Bangers (English breakfast sausages)
• Gammon Ham – smoked
• HP sauce
• Colman’s Mustard
• Marmite
• Baked beans
• Grilled Tomatoes

Have any of you ever had Marmite? As we say in the UK……….”You either love it or you hate it.” Me…………I would rather eat deep fried baboon scrotum than Marmite. What I do eat for breakfast is All Bran, a muesli we serve on Lido. I have a bowl of this every morning with skimmed milk and it has affected me in ways that are not pleasant. All Bran is good for you, I am told. Now, maybe it is healthier than eating eggs and bacon each morning. Have a look at a box of All Bran……………go on…………….just for me………………look at the very small print on the side of the box and you will see a warning that tells you that eating All Bran may cause excessive gas and abnormal stool production which is true as this morning I deposited a large sand coloured snake in the toilet . All Bran is health food, well you ask anyone who is standing 20 feet near my arse after I have eaten a box if they think it’s healthy………………….my guess is probably not.

So last week was my first week back after my time at home and overall it went well and of course it was good to be back here on the blog and on Facebook. I am starting to enjoy Facebook a little too much I think and feel guilty when I don’t post anything for more than 30 minutes. Before one of the 247 Stephanies asked me to start a Facebook page, I had the image of those that use “social networking”as either a) Lonely teens dressed in black, faces pierced with lumps of metal, drooling and dribbling over themselves about the latest Eye Pad………. or b) “Silly” women in their early twenties, pointlessly filling pages and pages of Facebook with pictures of their night out drinking slippery nipples and posting photos entitled ” He’s Hot, He’s Not.”

But I have now realised that there is a third group who use Facebook…….and I am one of them.
I even talk like a Facebooker now. How can this have happened? Would my all time hero Winston Churchill, if he was alive today be typing “ROFLMAO!”

Captains of industry like Micky Arison are not tweeting “OMG! I ♥ Megan Fox’s bottom!” all the way through a meeting of the Carnival board of directors meetings.

Someone once said to me that social networking is for the sad and lonely…………….or to put it another way………….me.

I am sure at one point I must have said wither on an early blog or in out loud conversation that I think all this tweeting and Facebooking is hurting the way we people actually talk to each other. But if I did say that then I here and now admit that I was wrong and while it exhausts me trying to be a CD of the flag ship and blog and Facebook every day, I am not sure what I would do without it. You see, when I left home and returned to ships for the first time without Heidi by my side, things were not very good at all. I was insanely lonely. I work with many if not all who are younger than me and had no desire to go to the dance club and slap my bitch down with them. So the blog and Facebook allow me to keep occupied and in some cases I think to have communication with people where late and night and early in the morning in my cabin……….there wasn’t any at all.

So rather than finish this blog with a reference to my arse or my underpants I will simply finish with a thank you to all of you who take away a bit of that loneliness.

Oh, by the way………….I do ♥ Megan Fox’s bottom. ROFLMAO

OK, just one reference to them, then…………..KHMU – Ketut hates my underpants.


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.