August 1, 2011 -

John Heald

I am straight. I am so straight you could grow flowers up me but let’s face it, you can’t work in the entertainment department of a cruise ship for 25 years and not understand and respect all cultures, lifestyles and backgrounds. However all the admiration and understanding in the world doesn’t mean that for one moment I can pretend to understand my friend, morning show co-host and entertainment staff member Calvyn “Champagne” Martens.

For example, yesterday he told me that he was an enthusiastic proponent of something he called “manscaping.” Now for those of us men who like movies with explosions and dream of being stranded on a tropical island with only Megan Fox’s bottom for company, let me explain what this is. Apparently it is the tinting and dying of grey….…ummmm….….…downstairs hair, back to a more “youthful” colour. Calvyn told me he has a full range of dyes suggesting that he’s even experimenting to find out which colour best “brings out” his eyes. I found it impossible to believe that any self-respecting member of the male species no matter how bloody metro sexualized or how much he worshiped Liza sodding Minnelli, would engage in the art of dyeing his short and curlies.

But then I guess someone somewhere is making money out of this and the male celebrities of this world are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a bit of professional genital hairdressing. But as I said, I don’t get it to say the least.

Time for some Q and A……….away we go.

David F asked:

I am sailing on Carnival Magic October 7. During the cruise it will be Yom Kippur and I want to know what you will be doing for us who celebrate this. I heard from a friend that Carnival does nothing for the passengers of the Jewish faith which I find very disturbing so tell me that this is not true. On another subject can you tell me how far the railway station is in Civitavecchia from the Magic as we want to go to Rome by train?

John says:
Hello David F,

Not long now and you will be on board this beautiful ship. I am sorry to report that we will not have any organised services for Yom Kippur as we will not have a rabbi on board. However, if you would like me to organise a lounge for Jewish guests to meet, I would be happy to help you and to help with anything else you may think we can provide. There is a shuttle bus that leaves the ship every 10 minutes or so which will take you on a complimentary ride to the gates of the port. From there it is an approximate 20-minute walk to the station. Please check the timetable carefully to make sure that you leave enough time to get back on board. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Best wishes.


Vicky asked:

Fantastic, Fantastic, Fantastic. That sums up the time my husband Keith and I had on the Carnival Fantasy. Thank you John for the table for 2 you arranged which made our 25th wedding anniversary even more special. The staff was amazing with the stars being Lambert our waiter from Grenada and I Wayan the charming and always smiling cabin steward but everyone we met was always happy and smiling. We have just booked our 4th Carnival cruise this time on the Carnival Triumph in January. We love it!

John says:
Hello Vicky,

I don’t think there is any doubt that you had a brilliant time on the Carnival Fantasy and that is wonderful to read. Thank you for taking the time to write about the crew members that made a difference and I will make sure that they see your words of praise. Many congratulations on booking the Carnival Triumph and if you have any questions about the trip, please let me know.

Best wishes.


Alice Mund asked:

Why does Carnival charge for sodas when all the other cruise lines do not? I have three children age three, five and nine and they drink lots of soda every day so I have to buy three soda cards when I was on the Carnival Fantasy but on the Monarch of the Seas they were all free all the time.

John says:
Hello Alice Mund,

I was not aware that other lines gave free sodas to children but we do offer the Fountain Fun card which certainly cuts down the costs on buying individual sodas, especially when you have three thirsty children. I should point out that water, juice and lemonade is free at all times on Lido deck. I hope you had loads of fun on Carnival Fantasy.

Best wishes to you all.


Jennifer Ruff asked:
Dear John,

I will be on the October 15, 2011 sailing of my Carnival Triumph in cabin 7425. I need you to have a bottle of champagne waiting in my cabin upon my arrival, reserve a table for two as far away from any obnoxious Texans as possible, and issue gags to all children as they board the ship. My ancestors were Irish, so I will need all announcements repeated and all printed material written in Gaelic. In addition, I will need you to helicopter in each morning at about one hour after sunrise to wipe my arse. The night of The Chef’s Table, you will need to spend the night as all that rich food does a number on my digestive system.

Now that I have your attention….

I would LOVE to have a hint or two about the Carnival Triumph dry dock. Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, pretty please with a “Cherry on Top?”

John says:
Hello Jennifer Ruff,

Thanks for the very funny post and I will get right on those requests for you. I have lots of people asking about work that will be carried out on the various dry docks of your Carnival Triumph as well as Carnival Elation and Carnival liberty. And so I am going to work on this in the next few days and see what I can let you know. Thanks so much for being so fun and if there is anything you truly want please don’t think you can’t ask because that’s what I am here for. The helicopter bit was brilliant.

Best wishes.


Peter Perry asked:

I have a question about tables for two in the dining rooms. I have read your blog on and off for some time and it seems that more and more people want tables for two yet Carnival does not have enough and forces passengers to sit with people they don’t know and who mostly they have nothing in common with. I won’t go to the dining room if I don’t have a table for two as I don’t want to have to share my days and my life’s experiences with some knuckle head I have never met before. I am sure you would be pleasing a huge number of passengers if you chopped up the big tables and made more two tops.

John says:
Hello Peter Perry,

I do know that there are some who do prefer to eat just with their own family but respectfully I think there are far, far more who enjoy the pleasure of meeting new people. We also have the Your Time Dining option as well. Please let me know if you ever need me to help you with a table for two reservation and I will do my best for you.

Best wishes.


Travis R asked:

Interesting that you scorn those who try to help you John. You are diabetic because you ate like a pig for years and now are paying the price so when people try and help you with weight loss suggestions you ridicule them. I will be on the Carnival Magic with you soon and you will meet someone who has helped many drop the pounds through proper diet, exercise and a wondrous pill which I will tell you about when I see you. I hope you will treat me with more respect then you have others who have tried to help you. Please arrange a meeting with me at your earliest convenience. We will be in stateroom 7318 and are on the ship the cruise of August 5. I can help you because I look at you and know you need help. On a completely different subject I want to ask if you can hook me up with a visit to the bridge. I have recently purchased a 50-foot boat and would like to see the bridge of the Carnival Magic and talk to the captain. I look forward to hearing from you John and cruising on the Carnival Magic.

John says:
Hello Travis R,

I see you will be here next cruise and I am glad therefore that I have seen this post before you cruise with us. I apologise if I came across as ridiculing someone here on the blog who wasn’t trying to offer me help, I certainly never meant to sound like that. I am actually doing very well on my diet and steadily losing a few pounds each week and although it’s not going as fast I would want it is working for me. I know that I have to lose weight and yes, the reason I have type 2 diabetes is my own fault although my father has it and he is far from being overweight. But yes, it’s my fault for eating as you said “like a pig”…….although, strangely, I love pork.

Anyway, I hope you will understand when I say that while I look forward to meeting you next week I won’t be needing a “wonder pill” but I will look forward to shaking your hand and wishing you a brilliant cruise. Unfortunately I cannot arrange private visits to the bridge Travis but we do have the brilliant Behind the Fun excursion that spends time there with the captain as well as other “crew only” areas of the ship. You can purchase this on board from the shore excursion desk. Thanks again for thinking of me and I will see you soon.

Best wishes.


Zack asked:

I am 12 years old but my brother is 16 and we will be on the boat together. Can I go to the same kids club as Adam Does?

John says:
Hello Zack,

I am sure you and your brother are looking forward to your cruise. What ship are you going on, mate? Unfortunately you will not be old enough to go to Club O2 which is where Adam will go. Meanwhile you will be having fun and meeting new friends at Circle C. I promise you will both have so much fun. Best wishes to you both.


Fawn asked:

We are sailing on Carnival Sensation August 7. Our cabin number is R27. My daughter April will be celebrating her graduation from Boone High School and I think it would be nice if Carnival sent her a graduation gift as we are paying for her to celebrate her graduation on Carnival. Does the boat have karaoke as we love karaoke and want to sing as a family?

John says:
Hello Fawn,

The good news is that yes, Carnival Sensation does have karaoke and you and the family will have a lot of fun there I am sure. Congratulations on your daughter’s graduation and I will certainly send your daughter a little something to say congratulations.

Best wishes to you both and have a great time.


Gretchen Bias asked:

Just wanted to say what a wonderful cruise we had on Carnival Dream in May of this year. Everyone on board was great. The weather was beautiful in the Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. Can’t wait to sail with Carnival again. Butch and Baby Butch were wonderful CDs.

Enjoyed every minute of the cruise would highly recommend Carnival. The excursions were great also really enjoyed St. Thomas want to go back there again. Thanks again for a wonderful cruise Carnival.

John says:
Hello Gretchen Bias,

This is a wonderful advert for the ship and for Butch and George (aka Baby Butch) who will both be thrilled to see this. I hope we see you again very soon and if there is anything you need please do let me know.

Best wishes.


Carol Beadsley asked:

I am going on the Carnival Ecstasy August 11 and during the trip we will be in Cozumel. Some of family is in Cozumel at the time we will be there and I want them to come and visit the boat with us. I called Carnival and they told me that there is a no visitor’s rule which is stupid. There are only nine of them and they are on a diving vacation and have never cruised. Why does Carnival not want them to visit the boat and get more possible passengers for the future? What do I have to do to get these friends of mine on the boat on August 13? One of them is a JUDGE!

John says:
Hello Carol Beadsley,

First of all I hope you have a brilliant time on the Carnival Ecstasy and thanks for taking the time to write. Unfortunately we do have a no visitor’s policy not only based on ship security but also the local Mexican authorities will not allow non-cruise ship guests through pier security either. May I suggest you meet at the top of the Puerto Maya pier where the ship docks? There is a restaurant called The Three Amigos which is an excellent landmark to meet by. Once again my apologies that we are not able to help you with this and have a great cruise.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today and I will be back tomorrow with more.

Let’s take a quick break and allow me time to console Ketut who is huddled in a corner of my cabin trying to tempt a pair of my underpants off the bathroom floor with a bit of cheese. Meanwhile, here are some photos of the brilliant crew who have been voted Employees of the Month on your Carnival Magic.

(click to zoom)

Congratulations to them all.

I want to thank each and every one of you who took the time on Friday to give me some advice about the young disabled guest whose loud shouts were disturbing other guests and the show’s performers. I really was in a quandary about what to do so your advice was most welcome. Many of you suggested that I speak to his parents, so taking that advice to heart, I arranged a meeting. I met with his guardian. If you don’t mind we will call this young man Tom. That’s not his name but it starts with the same letter and I don’t feel comfortable referring to him as “the young man” as it feels very impersonal…….so we will call him Tom.

Tom was present at the meeting and, he sat there in his special chair, as I explained to his female guardian the concerns I had about them being at the show. I was joined by a Sabi, a guest services supervisor, as well, because we had unfortunately received similar comments about the disturbances at dinner. Now I have no idea what is wrong with Tom. He is 24 years old and every 30 seconds or so, he rolls his head around so severely that it honestly is quite despairing to watch. As he does so he shouts out loud. Most of the time it’s indiscriminate but there is one group of words that sounds like “I hate you.” It is beyond sad to see.

Look, it’s not my job to judge what his guardian does or how she does it and it must be so difficult to look after Tom. She told me how challenging it was though as if to defend herself which I totally understand. She said that Tom was sick at breakfast, so she went down to the cabin, showered him and changed his clothes. Then she said that an hour later he was sick again so she changed his clothes again and sent them to the ship’s laundry. This is a common thing she said because of the severe head movements Tom has. I have arranged free laundry for them for the entire cruise.

Anyway, Tom’s guardian agreed not to bring him to the front row of the shows and instead we have a reserved seat for her and Tom at the back and have asked her to take Tom out of the show if he gets too “excited.” We also have Tom and his guardian eating on Lido deck. You see, the people at Tom’s table were uncomfortable watching him try and eat, as well. So they are on Lido but we offer the same menu and waiter service for them which seems to better for everyone.

I noticed though that last night Tom was not at the show which made me feel hugely guilty. As I met with them both I couldn’t help but look at how exhausted Tom’s guardian looked and I couldn’t help but think that it would have been better for Tom and the guardian herself if they had cruise on a Carnival ship closer to home. Is it wrong of me to think that way? Maybe Tom is enjoying himself. He certainly seemed very excited when I gave him a trophy and a medallion and hopefully his guardian will enjoy the goodies I sent to her cabin. It looks like everyone came to a mutually agreeable solution. Why, then, do I feel like a total and utter bastard?

So we are in Venice today. It’s been some time since we were here because on the previous seven- and nine-day cruises, Venice was not on the itinerary. One of the most difficult things to do is to explain the process of getting ashore in Venice. It comes as a shock to many that you can’t just take a taxi and go into St. Marks Square. It seems some people do not realise the place is built on the sodding water. Anyway, I explain the Vaporetto system as clear as I can but some people still seem confused so therefore I always make sure I am available after my talk to answer questions. We were there yesterday as well and the guests loved Venice…….really loved it. All except this poor lady.

Guest: Mrs______Ref: 848007127A

Cabin: **** Booking#: ——Added-Changed: 07/31/11 – 07/31/11

Guest was fined 400 Euros for buying fake purses in Venice. Guest was very upset and said that the police would not let her go until she paid. Guest was angry that she was not warned about this by Carnival. Note: CD mentions in his travel talk on stage and video on stateroom TV. Guest asked to speak to John.

It must have seemed a bargain — a Chanel bag for 50 Euros. It was being sold by a chap with a charming smile as its only guarantee of authenticity but as she handed the money over to him a police officer appeared and fined this guest 400 Euros. How they came up with that figure I don’t know. Anyway, sorry Mrs. Chanel but I do warn you and it’s on the TV. Still, you’re on a Carnival cruise…………so, of course, it’s our fault then.

I went to see the guest as she demanded and I stood there listening to her tell me that it wasn’t her fault for buying the bag it was actually my fault for not personally telling her not to. I explained it’s on the video playing in her cabin TV but she wouldn’t listen. And in front of Sabrina, the guest services manager, she actually pointed her figure at me and said “It’s your fault and I will never cruise Carnival again.” And I nodded and apologised.

But what I wanted to do was turn into my hero, Basil Fawlty. Here’s a clip that involves some workmen who were supposed to put a door on the dining room and…….well, they got it wrong. So watch this and as Basil starts to blame himself I want you to picture me, in the lobby of your Carnival Magic doing exactly what Basil does in front of Mrs. Chanel.

Just once………just once, I wish the beards would let me do something like that in the middle of the lobby. Standing there slapping my own arse screaming “Oh, it’s my fault that you bought a fake bag. Well, I must be punished. Who’s a naughty boy Heald, don’t do it gain you fat non- wonder pill-taking, eating-like-a-pig bastard.”

I would do anything………I would even let Calvyn manscape me and dye my man garden a Barney shade of purple.


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.