Family Business

July 25, 2011 -

John Heald

It’s 6:35am and I can’t be arsed writing a blog today. So if it’s OK with you, I’ll just sit here in my underpants, picking my nose and eating a bag of pistachio nuts for breakfast. And I am not going to brush my teeth today, not even the bent one. Well, it’s not like there is a long line of Latvian strippers in suspenders standing outside my cabin, are they? Why? Because according to my online newspaper this morning, a professor from Oxford University with a beard was talking about how at the age of 45 we become completely invisible to the opposite sex. Yep, that’s me finished then so why carry on? Women disappear like a fart in a hurricane at the first sign of a love handle and oversized non-Calvin Klein underpants. I guess only George Clooney and George Hamilton are the exceptions to the rule. Professor Beard is blaming marriage and that when we get married we both stop making the effort.

But, really, who’s got the energy to strut around in tight fitting underpants with half a cucumber stuffed down the front? When your spouse has seen you, mouth agape, snoring, dribbling on yourself and leaving nasty marks on the bed sheets it’s a bit late for having a shave before breakfast. As the joke says:

“How do you stop a woman having rumpy pumpy with you?” Answer: “Marry her.”

I guess Heidi and I survived the biggest test of our marriage and that was living and working together on board in the closest of environments. Being the boss “on paper” anyway and living together was difficult at times. Don’t get me wrong, our cabin compared to most was very comfortable but it can still be very small when you are trying to both get ready at the same time. There was many a night before a show or many a sea day morning before the start of our busy schedules when Heidi would be hunched over the bathroom sink brushing her teeth. Spitting and gargling. Gargling and spitting. “Have you put an extra staff member in the library today?” I would ask my assistant cruise director and wife Heidi, while peeing into the cabin toilet beside her. Our cabin bathroom like all the non-grand suite bathrooms on board the ships is not exactly big — how small……..well let’s just say if Heidi was brushing her teeth and I was doing a number one there was no way I could shake and dry without the danger of a toothbrush being inserted in me.

Oh, the romance of cruise ship cohabitation. These days we have long since shut the door on shutting the bathroom door. This is left over from the days on board together where we would enjoy some of our most important exchanges while one of us is on the loo, in the bath or applying mascara. Actually no………not applying mascara……….Heidi can’t talk when she is doing that. Why can women only apply mascara when their mouths are open? Of course it was not always like this. During our early dating years, all natural bodily functions were suppressed. Heidi had no idea that I brushed my tongue for 10 minutes so my breath wouldn’t smell, and for a good few months I never once farted in front of her and I cannot begin to tell you how bloody difficult that was. These days, pretty much anything goes. She accepts I have breath like a camel’s scrotum and I fart randomly and at will and, because she is from Holland, I often treat her to a Dutch Oven although she does not see it as a treat.

After all, can you really still fancy someone once you have seen them on the toilet? Heidi will tell you in a moment. I am sure she will tell you I am a bastard in the bathroom but she gets on my sodding nerves as well. She steals my razor to shave the oak trees of her legs and spends hours in there listening to music and lighting scented candles. It’s a bloody bathroom not a spiritual retreat. Heidi will have the right to reply in a moment but first……let’s crack on with some Q and A.

Jim Cavendish asked:

I just finished my cruise on the Valor and everything was OK except the shocking lack of English skills amongst the crew especially the cabin steward and other public sector workers. Why does Carnival an American company hire third world employees and not more Americans or from other English speaking countries. My concern as someone who works in the hotel industry in Las Vegas is not just about language barriers at service levels but for what they would do if the boat got in trouble and passengers had to get into the lifeboats. If the basic English skills are not there to serve you a hamburger with Swiss cheese as I requested twice and still he got it wrong how can they save my life?

Thank you!!

John says:
Hello Jim Cavendish,

Well that’s a good question and first of all I hope you had a wonderful cruise and enjoyed the hospitality and entertainment of our crew despite the fact that your burger came back incorrectly prepared. All our crew has to pass English standards set by us and by United States Coast Guard. They are then trained regularly in lifesaving procedures and I could say a lot more about that but I think I have a better answer. As you may or may not know, I was on board the Carnival Splendor when we experienced a fire in the engine room. The guests were placed on the open decks and the crew to their muster stations and I can tell you that each and every one of them did their jobs, professional and as per their training. I have absolutely no fear or trepidation in saying that in an emergency the crew will know exactly what to do. I hope this sets your mind at ease. Once again I hope you had a great cruise.

Best wishes.


Ed Long asked:
Hello John,

In your June 28, 2011 blog, the first question involved church services on Carnival, asked by Vinita Brook. My family and I will be leaving on the Conquest on December 18, 2011. As an ordained Baptist minister, I would be glad to host church services on Sunday evening or Wednesday night if you or Paul Santley would care to arrange it. Being the week before Christmas, I am sure there will be several people looking toward the celebration of our Savior’s birth. I also want to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog; it never ceases to give me a chuckle. Reading about the foibles of our depraved human nature makes me appreciate the Majesty of God even more! I pray God continues to richly bless you in your job and protects Heidi and Kye while you are gone.


Ed Long

John says:
Hello Ed Long,

This is wonderful news and I am so grateful to you for letting me know that you are willing to conduct services during the Christmas cruise. I have sent this to someone in the office as well as the ship and they will be in touch Ed. Thanks so much once again and I thank you so much for the blessings which I return to you and your family.

Best wishes.


Patricia Richards asked:


My niece just graduated from high school and I am taking her on the Fascination July 28th. We are in cabin number Main Deck 108 and I think you should send her something for her graduation. She takes size XXL and a Carnival t shirt would be nice.

John says:
Hello Patricia Blackden,

While I won’t be sending her a T-shirt I certainly will be sending her something for her graduation. I hope you and her family are very proud! Have a great cruise and I am glad I saw this question in time as I see you sail next week.

Best wishes.


Raven Eddie asked:
Hi John,

On the Pride the Lido buffet areas felt like shopping at Wal-Mart on Black Friday. Only star was the steak restaurant. My question to you is I just don’t get the worship status thing with cruise directors. I don’t understand all the fuss. Your humor and jokes are basically the same based around ships toilets and stupid questions. To me you and all the others are just employees on the ship and your group of worshipers have taken it to a new height and pathetic and sad it is to witness. The cruise director on the Pride did nothing for me and nothing to make my cruise better.

John says:
Hello Raven Eddie,

Well, obviously, I am going to disagree because I think a cruise director can, if he or she is at the top of their game, make a real difference to someone’s cruise vacation. I will admit that some of the stock jokes that are used throughout the industry can get tiresome but there are many, many cruise directors who are funny, laugh out loud funny and totally unique. Steve Casell, Gary Hunter, Butch Begovitch, Big Tex, Todd Wittmer, Graham Seymour, Richard Spacey, Wee Jimmy and more are all unique and bring their own brand of entertainment to the ship. They are also the voice of the vessel in good times and in bad. So, this is one of those posts I can’t agree with however I am concerned at your reference to Lido deck which I don’t quite understand although I don’t think it’s a good comment right? I am glad you liked the steakhouse and I hope that you and I will sail together one day soon so I can do my best to try and show you why I think a brilliant CD can truly make a great cruise even better.

Best wishes.


Terri Garner asked:

Thank you so much for your assistance. Back in May I wrote asking whether or not the Paradise had a steakhouse, I didn’t get a direct response from you, but got a confirmation for The Chef’s Table. Thank you for making that happen. What a wonderful experience! It was certainly the highlight of our trip. Also, one couple at our dining room table is from New Zealand and they were interesting and funny. We’re hoping to continue our new friendship through e-mail etc. Thank you again. Oh, and just to let you know, you’re not a bad dad.

Growing up my father, my sister’s and I lived with his parents (who really raised me). He kept to his room, only occasionally graced us with his presence only to subject us to humiliating commentary and questioning. So, I have been fortunate to have others in my life provide me with much more positive experiences. While you may be gone for long stretches of time, you’re there for your daughter when it counts. That’s the most important thing. I would have understood if “Daddy was working” but he was there but separated from us as well as being non-participating. Thank you again for your assistance. It was absolutely wonderful.

John says:
Hello Terri Garner,

Thanks so much for those kind words. Never a day goes by when I don’t feel guilty for being away from the family I love so I truly appreciate your words of wisdom. I also was glad to read how much you enjoyed The Chef’s Table and that it was such a highlight for you. I hope the friendship you struck up with the couple from New Zealand continues for a long to come. I hope we see you again soon and of course if you need anything I will be here.

Best wishes.


Wendy Marrin asked:

Hello John,

I would like to know why Carnival does nothing about kids running around the ship. Many of your passengers are like me and don’t like children especially those who Carnival allows to run riot. My cruise on the Elation was ruined by this. They were everywhere and the staff did nothing to stop them running and screaming and being rude and unruly. On child dropped an ice cream cone on the floor right in front of me and didn’t clean it up. I grabbed him by the shoulder and told him to clean it up but he ran off. They were jumping in the pool and the staff did nothing again. Carnival better get a grip of this because I am sure that many cruisers feel like I do and many cruisers dislike cruising with children like I do. One other note from the ship was the coffee on lido was putrid and the cabin room service wait was sometimes 45 minutes which is simply not good enough.

John says:
Hello Wendy Marrin,

I was sorry to read that your experience on the Carnival Elation was spoiled by the children on board. We have a rule that children should not run anywhere on board for their safety and the safety of the guests as well. We also have brilliant children’s programs on board with Camp Carnival, Circle C and Club O2 and we encourage all parents to allow their kids to participate. We are a family cruise line and proudly continue to be that. However I will pass on your comments to the ship and maybe we can help you choose your next cruise when the number of children on board is lower. I will also let the ship know about the coffee. As for the room service ……. well remember our policy at Carnival is that if we don’t deliver in 30 minutes or less, it’s free. I do hope that you had a great cruise despite your concerns that I thank you for bringing to my attention.

Best wishes.


Siegfried Boldt asked:
Hi John,

Love to read your Blog every day; I have to laugh at your comments, so keep it up.

My wife and I are going on the Carnival Spirit on October 7, will be celebrating our 50th anniversary. We could use your help in getting us a large table, near the window. We both love chatting with other guests, so any help would be appreciated. This will be our 9th cruise with Carnival. Booking#——–, late seating. Thank you.

John says:
Hello Siegfried Bolt,

Love the name Siegfried by the way, reminds me of one of my favourite books and TV shows All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot who was a vet. Anyway, congratulations on your pending anniversary and for reaching this wonderful milestone. I will certainly do this for you but as it’s some way off can I ask that you post this again here on September 1 and I will make sure I send it to the ship. The problem is that if I send it to the ship now they will probably forget. You can also post two weeks before on my Facebook page if you wish. Either way I will help you celebrate and thanks for the kind words about the blog thingy.

Best wishes to you both.


Mosiegirl asked:


I recently booked our second and third cruise for this October and I am very excited. My husband, daughter and myself will be on the Dream and then onto the Sensation right after. I have one small tiny question that I have searched high and far and could not find an answer to… I also called Carnival and the agent did not know the answer, asked her supervisor who also did not know the answer. John… here is my question – What is the weight limit on the loungers/deck chairs by the pool? You know the long navy blue ones with silver coloured metal frame, the ones in abundance… No one seems to know the answer? I’m well over 300 lbs and don’t want to break it.

John says:

Hello Mosiegirl,

Congratulations on booking these two cruises and I am very happy to see how you and your daughter will be spending some quality time together. There is no official weight limit for the chairs. I asked the housekeeping manager this morning and in his 15 years of experience, he has never heard of one being broken and we have had some large people use them. So, please don’t worry and look forward to a fantastic time and if you need anything else please let me know.

Best wishes.


Ellen Schonbach asked:
Hi John,

Dave and I are cruising on the Pride again this summer. Our cruise leaves on August 14th. The past couple of summers you were able to get us a table for two. Is it possible for you to try again this year? We love being around people and join in all the games and activities, but cherish our dinner time alone. We are in Cabin 5245 and are assigned the late seating. Thanks so much and as always we appreciate all you do for us and everyone else. Forget about all the idiots around and keep up the wonderful job you do.


John says:
Hello Ellen Schonbach,

Congratulations on another cruise and I have sent the email to the maitre d to see if he can help you with your request. I hope you enjoy the cruise and the quality time you can spend together.

Best wishes to you both.


Lynn Boor asked:

I am a TA and avid lover of Carnival Cruises. I have clients, 2 couples booked that are sailing together on the Carnival Glory from Norfolk, VA on Oct 16, 2011 to Bermuda.

Their booking numbers are ———–. Both these couples have some mobility and weight issues and are unable to get in and out of a booth in the main dining room. There is no way on for me to request, in advance, that they be seated at a larger table with chairs and other cruisers. Can you possibly make this request for them? Also, if someday you could ask the beards if they could include on the site an area where TAs could make requests of this nature and bed configuration requests while doing the cruise booking that would be wonderful.

I did instruct my clients to check the location and type of seating they are assigned as soon as possible after boarding and if it is unacceptable to see the Maître D to request a change. It would just be nice if I could have handled this issue for them prior to their sailing and save them from a potentially embarrassing situation. If you are unable to do this for us it is OK. Just wanted to ask.

John says:
Hello Lynn Boor,

Thanks so much for writing and yes of course I can help. We can find your clients a nice table close to the entrance so they don’t have far to walk and it will be a table not a booth. Please can I ask that as we are sometime away from the cruise that you post this again on September 1 or indeed two weeks before you go on my Facebook page and I will make sure that your clients, our valued guests, are looked after. Thanks for your support for Carnival.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today

So here we are again in Monte Carlo and on a 12-day cruise. I have to say that the longer cruises are my favourites. Yes, the seven-day cruise had a brilliant atmosphere but with only one sea day it was hard for me personally to connect with the guests as I have limited time to do my things, morning show, marriage show, etc. I know that’s a bit selfish but that’s my bread and butter and I miss doing these signature events. It was an interesting cruise to say the least with an itinerary reversal and rough weather and rescues and four people missing the ship and some very interesting comments. This cruise has started off well though and we are back on a 12-day run so let’s see who is here and where they are going.


DUTCH: 186

It’s interesting that we get a specific count each cruise of “French Canadians” and a separate count for what we list as “English-speaking Canadians” of which this cruise we have 307. Anyway, regardless of what language everyone speaks I hope they all have the best of times and enjoy the ports and the entertainment, both which are as follows:

Sun, Jul, 24 Barcelona Lance Montalto/ Jerry Goodspeed
Mon, Jul, 25 Monaco Welcome Aboard Show
Tue, Jul, 26 Rome Activities / Seaside Theatre Lance Montalto/ Jerry Goodspeed
Wed, Jul, 27 Livorno Groove Line
Thu, Jul, 28 Naples Penny Mathisen (West End Vocalist)
Fri, Jul, 29 at sea Destination Unknown/ Jason Byrne
Sat, Jul, 30 Dubrovnik David Deeble – Juggler
Sun, Jul, 31 Venice Deck Party
Mon, Aug, 01 Venice Sam Jay Multi Instrumentalist)
Tue, Aug, 02 at sea Phillip Browne (Vocalist) Kim Harrison/Michael Panzeca
Wed, Aug, 03 Messina Groove Line Kim Harrison/Michael Panzeca

Kim Harrison is coming, she is so so funny and we are back in Venice again. Even though we are on a 12 day cruise the family atmosphere remains and in fact we have our largest number of children sailing so far this European season.

So last Saturday we were in Monaco and around 11 am I was sitting at my desk, in my underpants Facebooking to you all when the captain called me and said we had a visitor at the gangway. It was none other than Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO John Heald ………. bugger…….I mean Micky Arison. He was in Monaco for the big Flo Rida rap festival and was hanging out with “his homeys and his dogs.” OK……he wasn’t. But it was wonderful to see him and, accompanied by an entourage of captains, we toured the ship and it was absolutely obvious how proud he was of his 100th ship in the corporation. Like so many others who have visited the Carnival Magic, he said how wonderful the new areas were, especially the RedFrog Pub and the open deck spaces and, like so many others, he agreed that this was probably Carnival Cruise Lines’ best ship yet.

We toured every part of the ship and when we tour with Mr. Arison it is obvious just what a brilliant eye for detail he has. It’s easy to forget that this man is a very hands-on chairman and is massively involved from the start of the ship’s build and design. He also has been raised on cruise ships and his knowledge of what works and what does not work is extraordinary. I have often thought that being given an established business by your father when they retire may sound like the ultimate dream. But taking over a firm that has been built up by your father over many years can also I imagine be very difficult indeed.

On the one hand you want to do things differently now that you are in charge. On the other, you need to be sensitive to the fact that any bold changes could upset your father and lead to some silent stares across the boardroom and the family dinner tables. I obviously could be talking out of my bottom here as I have bugger all experience with this but I would think the biggest problem with handing a business from parent to child is that the parent can find it difficult to let go after so long. Now don’t worry Carnival fans and shareholders, Mr Arison is not retiring but he has promoted his son Nick to a very senior post and the Arison family’s other passion………..the Miami Heat. Have a read of this.

So many congratulations to Nick Arison who has so much in common with his very proud father. Micky’s father Ted made sure that Micky took the time to establish himself in the cruise business both on board and in the offices knowing that it was good for him to get different perspective on all that Carnival was about and establishing a name for himself and becoming an independent person rather than just being “Ted’s son Micky.” And that formula that Ted bestowed on Micky and that has led to his son creating Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest and most successful cruise company in the world, is the same formula that Micky has bestowed on his son.

In that brilliantly written article by Tim Reynolds we see that Nick started off as a team attendant. Micky worked on board the Mardi Gras in the bar department and other areas of the ship’s operations. At the age of 30 years and 2 months, Micky Arison became CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines and at the age of 30 years and 2 months, Nick became the CEO of the Miami Heat and will I have no doubts lead his team to new heights and hopefully another new shiny championship ring. Following in the family business can be daunting for any child but Nick has it seems inherited his father’s creativity and determination and that, along with his father’s continuing guidance, will see him through the challenges that he will face. Plus, as CEO of the Miami Heat, Nick gets to audition the Miami Heat Dancers……….the lucky bastard.

Here is a photo of the lunch we had when Micky visited last week.

Sitting from left to right: Chief Engineer Stefano Gazzolo, Captain Giovanni Cutugno, Carnival Chairman and CEO Micky Arison, Madeleine Arison (behind every great man there is an even greater woman and I know what Heidi does for me and I cannot imagine what Madeleine does to make sure Micky has everything he needs to be who he needs to be), Kelly Arison (a beautiful lady with her mother’s charm and grace and humility and a brilliant artist, as well).

Standing from left to right: Vice President of Deck and Engine Operations Captain Giovanni Gallo, Captain Salvatore Rassello (who will be taking over from Captain Cutugno this cruise), Some Fat Sod, and Hotel Director Donato Becce

And as promised – here is Heidi.

It’s been a while that I wrote a little update from the home front but I sometimes think John is talking behind my back and making fun of me as he knows I don’t always read the blog but forgets his mum and dad do, so I still get the updates… it’s smuch more fun for you to read then hearing the other “correct” side of the story…

Like my handbag fetish…….the handbags are in the news at the moment, physiotherapists are worried that the ever bigger handbag causes back and neck pains and women should keep that in mind…….but what do you do? John always jokes about the amount of junk I carry with me in a large bag but when we then go out and I have a little designer purse under my arm, he passes me his car keys, blackberry and wallet and asks me to put that in as well…huh?

Researchers have said that handbags are a breeding place for germs and I have to say, at the bottom of my bag there is the odd bread or cookie crumb, maybe a used wet wipe and some chewing gum in a paper napkin. They also said that you should never put your handbag on the floor in a public toilet as the Louis Vuitton E-coli supposedly isn’t good for your health…

So, there is the question, what’s the excitement about buying a new handbag?

I think there are a lot of things that handbags and men have in common. I love a man who has lots to offer on the inside AND the outside needs to make other women jealous and if you can’t close it anymore or it’s looking a bit grubby, you just go out and buy a new one! (None of the above relates to you, love of my life!)

That brings me to another pet hate of my hubby dearest. My nails…the ones who I like to look perfect ALL the time and he just doesn’t see the point of spending all those Pounds on, when a nail file and brush to take the dirt from underneath will do…he said…

I was watching CSI last night. They were pulling a naked woman’s body out of a river. Her face was unrecognisable and what did Horatio Cane say??? “She has got well looked after toe nails, that means she didn’t live on the street.” Wow! I thought…even when you are dead you still have to have a perfect French manicure to prove you were not a homeless person.

When I was little, I remember my mum saying that you always have to make sure your underwear matches and is clean, in case something happens and you end up in a hospital (how strange was that by the way??) but now your toe nails need to look good otherwise the pathologist might think you ran from a crack house…

So, manicure and pedicure booked…check!

That’s enough justifying my actions and I am sure all the ladies agree with me, sorry John.

Now, for all the male readers, you might think, that Heald Mrs. does nothing else than shopping and visiting salons all day. I am sorry to disappoint you but no, my life is not that glamorous.

My nails might look good but they have to look good in sand, water, mud, play-doh and whilst changing one of Kye’s @+#* diapers.

We started some potty training but with the last few visits to the ship it didn’t really work out so we will continue after we return from our next trip and hopefully get it done as quick as possible.

Kye is now 2 years and 2 months and a few days and she is the funniest ever. I think this is my favourite age so far. She is starting to talk a little more every day and understands what I am saying to her and she is becoming my little friend more than my baby. (Even though she will always be my baby). In September she will start playschool for 2 mornings and as much as I know she will love it and it’s good for her…I am dreading that day! Leaving her in Camp Carnival got me upset already so you can imagine what this will do to me. I will sit in the car park in our ice bear killing machine, with a big box of tissues and won’t do anything productive but just wait for 12:30pm to come around … haahaaa! I am sure I will be fine, go to the gym and look like Cameron Diaz by the time it’s Christmas (a girl can dream).

John told me that today he would be talking about bathroom habits and obviously this is where he can have no complaints about me but I have a War & Peace sized book of comments about him. In the beginning of our relationship John was charming in and out of the bathroom but not now. He leaves his underpants on the bathroom floor and I am always finding horny toenails on the floor. We also have different bathroom mat policies. I often find toe nails on the bathroom floor which do battle for space of course with his underpants. Then there are the bath mats. I read John’s blog the other day about how he hates my bath mats and while the urine sprayed over the floor and the underpants he leaves there are bad and drive me crazy, his bath mat behaviour makes me want to SCREAM. I drip dry in the shower before stepping on the bath mat to make sure it’s dry for him. He walks out of the shower almost as its still running and drips his body all of the mat like Niagara Falls which means it’s always soaking.

Enough of that I think. Now Kye is 2, I think everyone around us thinks it’s time for the question…”When is the next one coming??”

What kind of question is that?? You don’t ask people how their mortgage payments are going, do you? It’s very personal. But, as we are on the subject and I am sure many of you secretly want to know as well…..Number 2 is not in the planning. So, there it is, out in the open. John and I are blessed with a beautiful daughter. She couldn’t be an easier going and more content little girl. She is always happy, never cries and has Daddy’s sense of humour. What more can we ask for? Maybe we are just not the kind of family with the 1.3 children and the magnolia walls 🙂 Things are just perfect the way they are, well, apart from the fact that it would be even more perfect if the home port of the Carnival Breeze would be Southend on Sea…..haahaaa!!! We do miss him so much and are very proud of him. I hope he will one day be able to work closer to home but that has to be his decision……..not mine. I will support him whatever he does.

Anyway, all is well here, we are looking forward to visit John again soon on board the beautiful Carnival Magic. In my humble opinion it’s the most beautiful ship in the fleet and Kye and I particularly love the outside spaces. And the ice cream machines inside, Kye would say 🙂

I would love to post a photo of Kye but with so many thousands of readers of John’s blog and Facebook and because what has happened in the past I am sorry to say I just don’t feel comfortable doing so. I can tell you she is a beautiful girl and thank you for all the kind words you say about her to John in person and on the blog and Facebook. Sending you all the very best wishes from yet again, a very rainy UK.

Heidi and Kye

Thanks Heidi. Niagara Falls……………………….my arse.


Your friend,


P.S Click this link to check out the the Carnival Glory Fun Times.

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.