Spam and Small People

July 26, 2011 -

John Heald

Spam! Yep………..Spam. Strange that this simple word has become part of my life in recent times. First of all it is mentioned to me each and every time anyone mentions the Carnival Splendor fire. It’s never “I hear the crew was amazing” or “The guests must have been scared,” it’s always “Hey John, did you have Spam for dinner?”

Yesterday, as I walked the promenade deck after my welcome aboard show, I met a group of Brits who are blog readers and, as we chatted, they told me that they had started reading the blog every day since the one I wrote about the whole Carnival Splendor thingy. And of course …………they mentioned Spam. I guess that if Spam is all people remember from the whole thing then we did a good job. I still feel like screaming “WE DIDN’T SERVE ANY F******G SPAM ………..SHUT UP!” Instead I just smile…….and make some silly joke.

At UK schools when I was a kid and before bastards like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey said kids should swap fried food for tofu and green crap, Spam was very much a part of the menu at my school. And I have to say, I loved Spam. It was offered every day and on Friday things got really exciting as it was offered in a greasy batter. Spam was part of my world and I embraced it with open arms.

These days things as I said have changed. School kids are vegetablists and it’s actually difficult to buy Spam in supermarkets. And of course Spam was probably a meat that someone else didn’t like and that’s the beard who when the Internet was invented decided to call all the crap and unwanted emails that nobody wants “Spam.”

Now we have a very sophisticated Spam filtering thingy here at Carnival called Postini that tells most people who don’t work for Carnival and who try and send an email to me to bugger off. I rarely pay any attention to this and usually just delete the folder that comes into my inbox at 11 am every day. However this morning for some reason as I sat here in Civitavecchia in my underpants I decided to open the folder that had dozens of slices of Spam in it and I was surprised to find some from people I really wanted to answer.

Now, I am supposed to have a filter thingy for my Yahoo account but it filters bugger all and today when I checked my e-mail I had 56 slices of Spam. Now I admit that most were from companies offering me Viagra and loans to pay for it. Then there are emails from someone I’ve never met telling me that they had rumpy pumpy last night with someone called Juicy Lucy.
I also was threatened with violence today by one of those awful emails that states that if you don’t forward it on to at least 10 people you will get bubonic plague……and die. Today’s such threat came in the form of a beautiful waterfall and beneath it a poem about love for your fellow mankind and how we must all embrace our fellow man..… then in small print at the bottom were some words telling me that if I didn’t forward this email then I was a complete and utter bastard.

But there were also a few e mails from people who had tried to contact me. Now I never have and never will publish my email address on the blog or on Facebook because I can’t possibly start answering emails as well as everything else. I do have the social media email but this is just for emergencies and we are also having problems with this address as well. I have been trying to send a reply to a chap who writes on my FB page but for some reason it won’t reach him. Anyway, it doesn’t take Professor Stephen Hawking to figure out my email address though and amongst the offers for two extra inches (who needs eleven?) and all the other bollocks was this email that I wanted to share with you.

Hello John,

I am sorry to use your email but I tried to post on your blog but have not seen a reply yet. I love your blogs and you are a great writer and the laughs you provide me are so valuable to my day. My wife Mary Lou and I cruised with you on the Dream when we missed San Juan. I am sure you remember that because you helped Tim, the cruise director, field some angry questions during his TV show. We never got to meet but enjoyed your sense of humor and have been reading your blog ever since. I hope you see this before Saturday July 23 as my wife and my two sons will be back on the Dream again. I was supposed to be with them but have been called back to service but by then I will be far away.

I am a Submariner and will be off on a 4 month deployment with the United States Navy rather than spending 7 days with my family having fun in the sun. I know that many people ask you for favors (spelt incorrectly 🙂 )and I promised myself I never would but as I won’t be there I wondered if you could send them a note or something to tell Mary Lou, Jay and Jake telling them I love them and that I am sorry I cannot be with them and I miss them more than words can say. Thank you so much John for this and for all you do. Please may I ask that if you reply within the body of the blog that you remove my last name?

Thank you John.

Jonathan _________
Chief Electronics Technician USN

John says:
Hello Jonathan,

First of all as requested I have not printed your last name and of course I understand why. I also have to say that I know nothing about the submarine service except that it is I am sure one fraught with difficulties and challenges. However, I think that if I was to join the armed services then it would be as a submariner. The infantry involves too much running around, lying in mud, crapping in a ditch and getting shot at while you are doing it. However, I can imagine myself as a submarine captain and if the world got a little too dangerous I could park the sub under a tropical island where it could not be seen by a satellite and spend the war drinking Mai Tai’s with my new Latvian girlfriend. Then, when the trouble was over I would sail home and say my sun tan was due to the reactor getting a little hot. Of course, if I did join the submarine service it would be as an enlisted man and that means sharing a bunk with three other men and although my friend and entertainment staff member Calvyn would enjoy that……….I would not.

Obviously I have nothing but respect for what you do. I cannot imagine the stress and claustrophobia and the tough conditions of everyday life underwater. I also imagine that there are periods of time when there are communication blackouts and that must be so difficult for you and perhaps worse for Mary Lou and your boys. Anyway, I don’t really believe in fate but for some reason I decided to open my Spam Postini thingy today and I am so glad I did because I got to see your email and that your family is already on the Carnival Dream. Now I know the chances of you seeing this are small but I wanted to let you know what I have done. I sent your wife a huge fruit basket, 12 chocolate-covered strawberries and the kids got two of our valuable solid gold plastic trophies and two medals. But most importantly I think they got this note which …………I hope you don’t mind……….I wrote on your behalf:

Dear Mary Lou, Jay and Jake,

There is no place I would rather be than on the Carnival Dream with you all. You are all the lights of my life. I have known no greater joy than the happiness you all bring me. I want you to know that I love you more than words can express. I will be waiting impatiently for the time when we can all be together again and have lots of fun on the cruise.

Love and miss you all very much.

Jonathan (Dad)

I hope this is ok. It’s not easy to write something like this and I hope I didn’t overstep my boundaries here but I took what you had said in your email to me and used these words as the foundations for the note. I have also made sure that a copy of this blog will be printed and sent to Mary Lou to keep and to show you when you come home. So thank you for the service you are giving your country and for taking the time to write. I am sure your family is very proud of you. Hopefully you can all cruise together again soon.

Best wishes.


Time to answer some more questions in today’s Q and A session…………here we go.

Katherine Tanner asked:

My husband and I will be cruising for the 2nd time with Carnival on the Triumph. Our departure date is August 6 and we will be residing in stateroom number 1357 and we would like a table for 2. Your blogs often feature words that are misspelled and some that even when you do spell them incorrectly you stress they are words that are “spelt correctly” which they are of course NOT! I am not naive enough to not understand that this is an attempt at humor but it is a poor attempt as if you are to be considered a serious writer then it is not just content but spelling and correct use of punctuation that will be considered by those that read you and those that will judge you. These are my observations.

Thank you.

Katherine Tanner

John says:
Hello Katherine Tanner,

Thanks for taking the time to write and I appreciate your opinion and as an American I totally understand your point of view. However, when I say “spelt correctly,” I mean that because when I was at school I was taught English that has the spelling of some words differently to how you spell them in North America. Often you have replaced the “s” with a “z” and dropped the “u” in words like humourless. This is what I know and yes, I do treat it with a bit of humor (spelt incorrectly) and I hope you will be able to see my point of view. I have taken the time to ask the maitre d for a table for two for you and I hope you have a splendourous time on the Carnival Freedom.

Best wishes to you both.


Wanda Montgomery asked:

Hi John,

I love your blog and look forward to reading it. Your charm and wit are always good for chuckle.

My question is about the new Carnival Breeze. My husband and I will be on it July 21, 2012 and we were wondering if you were going to be the cruise director for the new sailings of this ship. If you are I look forward to meeting you on our wonderful 12-day cruise. Thank you so much for making me smile with comments.

Wanda Montgomery

John says:
Hello Wanda Montgomery,

Thank you so much for those kind words and congratulations on booking a cruise on what will be our new flag ship. There will be many new features on the Carnival Breeze and the return of many that have become an instant hit here. I will indeed be there from the start up so we will be sailing together here in Europe. If you have any questions please let me know and I will see you soon.

Best wishes.


Deputy Dawg asked:
Hi John,

Can you please send me copies of the Carnival Capers, the excursions and the preferred shopping stores to my e-mail address? Thanking you in advance for your time & help. I will say, I am disappointed that John did not answer my primary questions. Carnival’s customer service seems to be getting worse, and going downhill since our first cruise in 2002. John seems more concerned in talking about the new ship(s) and the comments from the passengers onboard and not answer anyone else questions or concerns. Maybe it’s time to try another cruise line.

John says:
Hello Deputy Dawg,

This message was sent to me by the beards. I know you only posted this a few days ago but I wanted to bring it to the front of the line so I could answer you. I haven’t seen any previous messages from a “Deputy Dawg” and I apologise if they have gone missing and therefore unanswered. I also in my defence must point out that I answer 40 questions a week here on the blog and hundreds each week on Facebook and they all cover a wide variety of topics and requests for help. Therefore I think it’s a wee bit unfair to say that “concerned in talking about the new ship(s) and the comments from the passengers onboard and not answer anyone else questions or concerns.” Regardless of this incorrect statement I am anxious and willing to help you.

The Fun Times as we now call them are all listed for the entire fleet here on my blog. Click here to see them all. Please can you tell me which port you are interested in the shopping map for and I will see what I can do? The excursions are also on line as well for all the ports at Please accept my apologies for not replying to previous questions but as I said I have seen no previous postings from you. I am as always doing my best to help as many people as possible and I truly hope we will see you again on one of our brilliant “Fun Ships.”

Best wishes.


Kathy asked:
Hi John,

I had written before but never received an answer so I am going to give it another chance. I will be sailing on the Dream Sept. 10th and am very excited. I have asked a couple of my friends to go along with me. This is going to be a honeymoon/anniversary cruise for them. They were married last year but he was deployed and not able to go on an actual honeymoon and this year has been hard on them because they have been put on alert for another deployment so I was wondering if you could possibly send them just a little something to help them relax and enjoy their cruise a little more. I also wanted to thank you for getting me reservations for the steak house. Keep up the good work on here even though some seem to have different opinions on your blog I seem to love it.

John says:
Hello Kathy,

I am so glad that you sent me another posting and that you and your husband are finally getting the honeymoon/anniversary you so richly deserve. I am glad you got your steakhouse reservation and I would like if you can to post me your cabin number on my Facebook page a week or so before you cruise so I can send you something to celebrate. Thanks for the very kind words and have the best of times.

Best wishes.


Kevin Teffeteller asked:

Love the blog – came across it when booking our upcoming cruise and really enjoy it. We have a group of 9 family members who will be on the Legend the week of Halloween and wonder if there are any Halloween themed activities that encourage guests to dress in costume.

Thanks very much.

John says:

Hello Kevin Teffeteller,

I am so glad you found the blog and you are very welcome here. We love Halloween at Carnival and each and every ship will have the vessel decorated accordingly and for the week before Halloween and the week of each ship will host lots of activities. You will find that many of our guests dress up and really get into the spirit of Halloween. I hope you do too and if you have any questions please let me know. I wish you all a wonderful time.

Best wishes to all.


Rebecca asked:
Good Morning!

I’m rather new to your blog and just love it! But I gotta tell ya’, I don’t know how you manage to keep your composure when dealing with some of the inane questions/comments/requests I’ve seen on here! I’d need to have a permanent Valium salt lick attached to my desk just to get through the day. I’m amazed at how selfish and self-serving some of the comments are (i.e.- it’s my birthday, will you give me a present?!) yet you are just so nice and accommodating as can be.

Big kudos to you! : )

ps – I cruise Miracle on Oct 17th. I have no special occasion but would love a present just because, LOL!!! (just kidding!)


John says:
Hello Rebecca,

Thanks for those kind words and there are times when huge deep breaths and counting to 10 are required. That’s why I always write my blogs in my underpants as sitting here dressed in just a huge pair of Fruit of the Looms reminds me that life really is too short to be taken seriously. I would be honoured to send you something and if you post me a reminder on Facebook or here on the blog I will make sure I remember to do so.

Best wishes and thanks again.


Karen Marakova asked:

I placed a question on your blog on May 29th and so far it has gone unanswered which I find very frustrating!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We cruise on July 30 on the Dream and need to get a specific table for dinner. There will be 8 of us in cabins 6256, 6270 and 6288. We need a table in the middle of the lower level of the dining room. I weigh 340 pounds and that’s why I am so upset you have not answered my question as I cannot have arms on the dining chair. The same is for my husband and my sister who are also not wanting to be embarrassed by having to ask the wait staff to change the seats. During the cruise it will be our 18th anniversary and can you send us something as I have read that you do this. Hopefully you will get this and answer in time before we cruise.

John says:
Hello Karen Marakova,

My apologies again for the delay in responding to you. I see that you posted this on June 15 which means I am about five weeks behind. Luckily I got this though and I apologise that it has taken me this long to reply and as you sail on Saturday, it’s just in time as well. I have asked the maitre d to make sure you all sit together and that there are three chairs with no arms as you requested. Have a wonderful cruise and I wish you a very happy anniversary.

Best wishes.


Nick 77 asked:

Can you tell me if there is going to be a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 on all the ships or just the Miracle as I read about on today’s blog. We will be on the Inspiration then.

Thanks so much.

John says:

Hello Nick 77,

Yes indeed there will be and each ship will make sure there is the proper observation of this sad day. I will let you all know details of what is planned closer to the time.

Best wishes and have a brilliant cruise.


Andre Washington asked:


My wife and I took our honeymoon with you on the Destiny in 1997 and you were beyond funny. Since then we have taken many cruises and no cruise director has ever come close. I have booked the Breeze with you for July 2012 and I know you will be telling us more about the ship but I wanted to know if there will be a Red Frog pub as I have read so many great things about it. Keep up the great work and we can’t wait to sail with you again.

John says:
Hello Andre Washington,

Those are very kind words indeed and I am glad that after all these years we will be together again. Yes indeed, Carnival Breeze will have a RedFrog Pub and along with many of the features here on Carnival Magic she will have some new ones as well that are going to be………. brilliant. I will tell you more very soon and until then I hope you continue to enjoy the blog and I will see you both soon.

Best wishes.


Izzy asked:

IMPORTANT! We got off the magic and had a 1 hour wait for a taxi in Barcelona and nearly missed our flight. Warn the passengers john as it’s a nightmare.

John says:

Hello Izzy,

Thanks for writing and I hope you got home safely. I do indeed warn the guests now and we have been working hard with the Barcelona authorities to send more taxis. The problem is not only are lots of ships using Barcelona as a homeport but also that many of the taxis are not mini vans but saloon cars and not big enough to hold families and all of their luggage. This causes extra wait time for the guests. We are really pushing our transfer of $19.95 to the airport as this means no wait. However, we will continue to try and get the taxi service improved but there will be a wait time for sure. Thanks again and I hope most importantly that you had a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today and I will be back with more tomorrow. I am as I said a little behind again and please try and be patient with me as I continue to answer the questions here on the blog thingy and on Facebook.

Every now and then I get an update from my friend and Carnival’s 358th best comedian Mr. Al Er………oh hold on…….I just heard we hired Harold Camping whose act entitled “10 Things To Do Before The World Ends And You All Die In The Fires of Hell” will debut on Carnival Conquest next week. That means it’s time to turn you over to Carnival’s 359th best comedian ………. Mr. Al Ernst for an episode of Alivers Travels.


This edition of Alivers’ Travels takes place from the Carnival Inspiration…

We are on the way back to Tampa from Cozumel.I once did a show in Jacksonville, North Carolina ….it is near a ton of Marine military bases. The venue I played was totally “Marine”…to say I was little intimidated was an understatement. Before the show, I was looking at all the pictures on the walls. I came across a small poster that said simply “Adapt and Overcome!” with the Marine logo at the bottom. That simple saying hit me at the right time, and needless to write, I changed my attitude, and my show was very well received despite a crowd that probably could have laid me to waste. It changed the way I look at life to this very day.

The reason I write the above is because of my day in Cozumel. It was a miserable day. Not only the heat of July, but the rain just came pouring in, and would not stop. No blue sky, no sunshine, and very little cover to find. Not exactly the kind of day you would see in a Carnival advertisement for a cruise.

I have determined there are three types of people. First there are the ones who expect the worst. “You know if we go, it’s gonna rain! Just the way it goes for me.” The second are the ones who assume that it’s someone’s fault that it rained. They look to pass blame on someone. These two types got exactly what they expected and probably had a terrible time. Then there are the third type…someone who expects the best day, and adapts to any circumstance that may occur.

During the day, I really ran into each of these people, instead of harping on the first two; let’s take the example of the third group. I saw a couple huddled under a plastic trash bag, absolutely cracking each other up. They said they might as well jump in the pool with all their clothes on because they were soaked already! You could see that they would not let a little liquid sunshine mess up their vacation.

How do you choose to live your life…expecting the worst? Looking for someone to blame? Or looking for the best no matter the circumstance? I my wish am that you will be a “Marine” and adapt and overcome to anything in your life. Hope to see you at a show, or on a ship having a fun time in the rain very soon.

Al (aka…Emmett Lee Tutwiler)

Sometimes it rains…What fun can you have in the rain?

Thanks Al. I am hoping Al will join me again on the Carnival Magic because he truly is as he says himself……the best comedian…….in his price range and still the one comedian everyone should see.

So apart from missing two people yesterday in Monte Carlo, all is well. They had rented a car and drove to Nice but on the way back there was a serious accident on the Cornice Drive that blocked the road for a long time and so they missed the ship and will join us in Rome tomorrow. We are glad they are OK and it’s another advert for thinking seriously about taking an excursion from the ships in Europe as we then know where you when you’re off the ship.

OK, I am going to have a haircut now. Yes a haircut and that means a trip to the Cloud 9 Spa. I am not happy about this as yes, it’s a stunning spa and the Carnival Magic’s spa team is fantastic. You see, I am old fashioned. I like my hair cut only when I really need to and when I do I like it cut by a man called Giuseppe or Dave and not by Brittney or Chelsea.

I am a man which means …………..I don’t:

  • Wear “product” in my hair.
  • Use a hairdryer.
  • Wear sandals.
  • Go to the dentist for a teeth whitening session.
  • Wax any part of my body.
  • Manscape.
  • Or wear jeans that are so tight you can see my thingy.

Anyway, while I go and have my hair cut I will leave you with this gem.

Guest: Mr. ___________–Ref: 832071611A
Cabin: _______ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 07/25/11 – 07/25/11

Guest came to the desk to complain about a comment made by the CD on the PA system. Guest states that John had made a joke about him. Guest found it offensive. Note: John – guest is very small and is referring to the joke you made about the mini golf course. Please can you call him?

I read this and had absolutely no sodding clue what I had said and then suddenly I realised that I had upset him while advertising the late night golf tournament.

In the UK these sorts of courses are called crazy golf. However…….I’m not supposed to call it that here in North America as it’s deemed politically incorrect. If I did I am sure men and women with beards would put their sandals on and start to throw lumps of tofu at me. You can’t use the word “crazy” as it upsets the ummmmm……….crazy people.

I could have used “mini-putt” or “fun golf.” This seems silly to me. Calling it “fun golf” implies real golf is not fun which obviously it isn’t. It’s just an excuse for men to put on a stupid pair of pants and bugger from their wives for nine hours. Anyway, last night when I was giving the rundown of the nights events I referred to the tournament as a “midget golf tournament.” Now hold on………let me explain. This doesn’t mean that here on the Carnival Magic we have a load of very small people in a closet and they will be competing on the links. This is what they call it in Holland and I guess this had been on my mind when I was making the announcement. You see in Holland, there is no such thing as politically correct. What you see is what you get which in my humble opinion is quite refreshing.

And as luck or in this case bugger all luck would have it…….on board we have a small person….. or whatever we are supposed to call them these days and I felt so bad that I had upset him. I can understand why. I imagined that if he had gone up to the SportSquare to play golf that guests would walk past, see him playing and start shouting “Look, look at the little person playing golf ………. John was right.”

So I arranged to meet with the guest and met him in the lobby this morning before he left on his Rome excursion and I apologised deeply that I had offended him. I explained that I had not been thinking and that in Holland this is what they called it. I am sorry to say that he didn’t forgive me and used this as a chance to tell me all the other things he did not care for on board including the height of the sink and other concerns he had in the cabin. I was glad he told me because I was able to get a lot of things done for him including changing his dining table, putting a foot stool in the cabin bathroom and helping him with his excursions. I cannot imagine the challenges that life must throw at him and I was determined to do all I could to help him. He left without saying thank you though and I don’t think I changed his mind and he is still upset.

I spent 30 minutes with him and did all I could. At the end of the meeting and as he left I was joined by Entertainment staff Calvyn. He could see that I looked frustrated and said:

“What’s going on?” I pointed at the chap as he walked away and said “He’s not happy.”
To which Calvyn replied, “Well, which one is he, then?”

So my midget golf reference ruined the day for me and I shall do all I can to help him. Apart from that it’s all going well so far and the guests are having a great time and the atmosphere on board is wonderful. I have to say again that the decision to put Club O2 and Circle C on deck 4 away from the promenade deck and other areas of the ship was brilliant. We have over 1,000 kids on board but thanks to the location of our kids venues and the great work of the Carnival Magic’s youth staff, it never ever feels that we have that many on board. RedFrog Pub continues to be popular as is the ThirstyFrog Red signature beer which as I posted on Facebook yesterday can now be found on the following ships:

Carnival Miracle
Carnival Freedom
Carnival Destiny
Carnival Liberty
Carnival Valor
Carnival Glory
Carnival Imagination
Carnival Pride
Carnival Dream
Carnival Legend
Carnival Victory
Carnival Elation
Carnival Conquest
Carnival Triumph

Carnival Splendor will be next.

Just before I go I have been talking to you about my cat crapping problems recently and Heidi using it as an excuse to get a dog to scare even more poo out of the cat’s arses. She read your comments about getting one from a dog pound and yesterday she went to one to investigate. The dog sanctuary near where we live has loads of animals in its care at any one time so you might think they’d be only too glad to provide us with one of the poor puppies to anyone with a heart and a garden. Not a bit of it. Heidi said that she had to fill out a form asking what dog experience you have (saying that you liked Lassie movies when you were seven years old apparently is not good enough), who’ll take care of the animal while you’re away, what sort of house you live in, what will you feed it and is it something you have seriously considered. If they like the look of what you’re offering, you’ll be visited by the area welfare officer who’ll make sure you are not Korean……. and just looking for dinner.


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.