I do, now and then, talk about my friend and staff member Calvyn and indeed late in the blog I will be chatting about some of the other staff members here on the Carnival Magic. Calvyn is from another world. Now I don’t mean than he is from a strange planet like Jupiter or Uranus but from a world where fashion and behavior is strange to me………very strange.

This includes the new thing Calvyn wears. It is a vest. A spandex paneled man’s vest that….. and I’ll put this nicely ……….holds in his…….ummmmm…….chest skin. A vest that, if you believe what Calvyn says, banishes his man boobs, or mobs, and his love handles and gives him an “instant six-pack”……the abdominal kind, not the ThirstyFrog Red kind. Calvyn wears this vest, which along with his control pants, compresses his colon like the filling of a Lido Deck burrito. Calvyn has suddenly become obsessed with trying to eliminate every lump and bump with this “magic” elasticized underwear. I am sure he is only a few days away from dining on laxatives and boiling his arse in seaweed or whatever it is they do with these cellulite loss treatments in the spa. I thought it was only women that do all this kind of stuff to improve their image but apparently it’s men that do it, as well. Who knew? I’m told that men use Botox eye lift, bleach, peel and be wrapped in oils and mud to achieve the GQ Magazine-approved version of a “hot” body. What a load of bollocks, honestly, it really is.

Calvyn’s latest thing is he wants his hands waxed. It is a sad day when a man looks at the back of his own hand and feels that it could look better, prettier even. Why, unless the back of your hand is covered in welts and sores and zits, then leave it alone for God’s sake. Whiskery nostrils? I’ll pass you the clippers myself, Calvyn. But a slightly hairy hand? It’s just a hand. Let it be. Who is Calvyn modeling himself on…….Cameron Diaz? He has gone too far and the final straw was as we were about to go live on the morning show when he said, “Be honest, John, does my gut look big in this?” That’s when I realised that I am not living in the same world as Calvyn and many of my metro sexual colleagues. Control pants? My underpants are men’s underpants or at least I thought they were. They are either plain white or are military camouflage while some have Aston Martins or rocket-blasting-off imagery. I also know while boxer shorts are undoubtedly cooler, big baggy briefs are rather better at containing unexpected toilet related accidents.

And after that wonderful image to start today’s blog, let’s get on with some Q and A. Here we go:

Scott Pullen asked:
Hi John/Beards,

I love the blog, read it daily, and my wife and I are avid Facebook followers. We started reading the blog a couple of years ago but never caught up all the way back to the beginning. Before the new format, there was a calendar that you could click on to view the archived blogs. Is there any chance of getting that back? It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for all you guys do for us. My best to Heidi & Kye. John, keep up the awesome work.



John says:

Hello Scott,

I asked the beards about this as someone else mentioned it as well and here is Eric the Beards response.

“We are working to get this back up shortly. Will send you a note once it’s back up”

Thanks, Eric, and I will, of course, let you know as soon as he tells me.

Thanks so much for being such fans of my writing and I hope we get to sail together soon.

Best wishes to you both.


Beth James asked:
Hi John,

It’s interesting that in today’s blog you mention Postini. You see, we stopped receiving emails from CCL about a year ago. We talked to a PVP about the problem and although he tried to help, the problem is still not solved. We had the PVP send us the error message he was receiving, my husband is a techie kind of guy and we could track that the email being sent never leaves CCL and could see it was being held up by Postini. When we tried to explain this, the concept was lost. He even has CCL tech support look into it. Well, sometime later we were told CCL no longer uses Postini and it must be that they have stopped sending out blast emails. I guess the point of all this is, maybe you can have someone contact me to see if we can get this resolved. We continue to cruise with you and will for a very long time, but we feel we could be missing out on great specials or just CCL news. My phone number is _______and my email address is already here. Thank you for all you do. You really are a wonderful and helpful man.

John says:
Hello Beth James,

A few weeks ago I was trying to send and receive emails with one of my Facebook friends about an experience he had on the Carnival Legend and the same thing that happened to you happened to him, as well. It was only after much deliberation that we discovered that his email was sent to our Postini system which filters emails. Now, as I don’t have a beard, I cannot pretend to understand the complexities of this, but the bottom line I think is that the same thing is indeed happening to you and therefore we can and will make sure we contact you. I will pass this onto someone who can make this happen. My apologies and thanks also for the kind words and please let me know once you get that first email.

Best wishes.


Grace Keddie asked:


Love the blog but have to say that sometimes your humor is not appropriate for my 14 year old son to read. We cruised with you the week before the Carnival Splendor fire and had a great time and Marcus, my son, loved your shows and has been reading your blog ever since and has written to you on Facebook as well. Please can I ask that you start placing a rating at the top of each page such as PG and R and X so that I know which ones he can read or not if the case may be? Please start this as soon as you can.

John says:
Hello Grace Keddie,

Thanks for taking the time to write and I apologise sincerely if what I have written here may not have been suitable for your son to read. I often forget that younger people read this blog and agree that I need to keep younger readers in mind as it can be a bit on the naughty side sometimes. I hope you enjoyed sailing with me on the Carnival Splendor and please send my best to Marcus.

Best wishes,


Nancy O’Hara asked:

I’ve cruised on Carnival only once on Carnival Sensation and what keeps me from returning is the price of booze. I like a cocktail at lunchtime and a few in the afternoon and again in the evening but the prices were so high, I spent more on liquor then I did on my cruise!!!!!!! I am from Aiken, SC where a margarita is only $2 and it’s even cheaper at happy hour. How does Carnival think it can charge $5 or more?

John says:
Hello Nancy O’Hara,

Those sound like some very cheap bar prices indeed and I expect a few of the blog readers may be heading to their car now to drive to your town. On a serious note, our prices are on par with most land-based resorts and are also priced competitively in the cruise industry. I hope you will consider coming again with us and consider the fact that you spent little on the cruise experience itself and all the happy memories you had……..if you can remember them with that bar bill …….. sorry, cheap shot. Seriously, come and sail again and if you have any questions, please let me know.

Best wishes.


Kurt Eberle asked:

Hannah’s parents here (from the July 17th cruise). This was our first cruise ever and while we had low expectations (I worked on a cruise line after college in Alaska), the family consensus was that every aspect of our experience on the Carnival Magic was fantastic! Thank you for a great first night welcome show. Hannah had fun on stage; the magic medallion you gave her was a problem because she has two brothers (thanks a lot).

John says:
Hello Kurt Eberle,

Your daughter is clear in my memory and her antics with me on stage brought the house down. She is a wonderful little girl and you should be very proud to have raised such an angel. I apologise for costing you $20 – or was it $60? I hope to see you all soon and I am so glad you had a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.


Bonnie Gill asked:
Hello Dear John!

You and I have sailed together four times (remember the Salmons?) and I look forward to seeing you again on the BC5 next March. I have a request…On September 17, 2011 I will be sailing on the Carnival Glory out of New York. The request is not for me – as a Platinum guest, I already have more than I need – but for my dear childhood friend, Gail Tyler. We will be roomies on that cruise and will be seeing each other again for the first time in 36 YEARS!! As this will be her first cruise ever, I am hoping you can think of a way to help me make her maiden cruise memorable. Our stateroom is 8445 and booking #****** Thank you, John, for all that you do and I really appreciate anything you can come up with – I know you are so very busy.

Love from your FB and blogging buddy, Bonnie!

John says:
Hello Bonnie Gill,

Thank you, first of all, for your loyalty as a Platinum guest and I am excited to read you have booked the Bloggers Cruise here on Carnival Magic. I am now about four weeks behind on my questions here on the blog thingy and I wondered that as you are not sailing until mid-November that you could ask me this again by posting here on the blog on October 10 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/johnheald a week before you sail. Either way, I will be happy to send Gail something. I look forward to hearing from you and I will see you here in March.

Best wishes.


Lane’ Small asked:

I just ended a call with a booking representative for suggesting I leave one of my family members home. My question to her was, I have a family of six. Two adults and four children under the age of 10 and needed a suite to accommodate us. She advised me that I would have to purchase two separate rooms or leave a family member behind. I would like to know is this truly Carnival’s only option or did I just have the misfortune of speaking to a less than accommodating rep?

John says:
Hello Lane’ Small,

I am hoping there is another side to this story but I do apologise that you left this call feeling less than happy. I will pass this now to someone who can help you discuss cabin accommodations. By the way, our largest staterooms only accommodate five people and for six guests indeed you would need to purchase two staterooms. Please accept my apologies and someone will be contacting you shortly. I hope we see you and all your family soon.

Best wishes.


Sami asked:

When can I find out who the cruise director will be on the Carnival Legend in June 2012? I am wanting to book and it may seem harsh but if there is a specific female there I won’t go as her voice ruined my cruise. I won’t say any more here but please feel free to email me if you want more information.

John says:
Hello Sami,

Thanks for taking the time to write and I am sorry to hear one of my colleagues had such a negative effect on your cruise. I obviously know who you are talking about and I should mention that this lady also has many fans. While I don’t have the complete schedule and as soon as it’s published, we’ll let you know. If there is anything else I can do for you please, let me know.

Best wishes.


Alexander Knight asked:

I am PLATINUM and I was just wondering if you could tell me where Maitre d’ George the Greek is these days. He was fantastic and we had him on four of our 14 cruises.

Thanks, John.

John says:

Hello Alexander Knight,

George the Greek was indeed a brilliant maitre d’ and gave many great years of service to Carnival. He retired last year though and we miss him a lot. Please let me know if you have any other questions and thanks for your loyalty.

Best wishes.


And that’s all for today which is good as my arm is hurting ……bugger. I am going to take a break and turn things over to a good friend of mine Mr. Robert Brother. He and I are both from the UK and he owns my favourite fish and chips shop back home……..his cod and chips are the best in the world. Anyway, we are in Venice today and last week he was in Venice as well on the beautiful new Princess ship Azura.

Now because this blog often waffles on about underpants and stuff, I never get chance to truly describe the wonders of some of the ports we go to and none are more wondrous than Venice. Robert wrote me the following email describing what he did in Venice and I thought it was so brilliantly written that I would share it with you. Here is Mr. Robert Brother in his own words.

We had a really good cruise on Azura and were really well looked after. The highlight of the cruise was, of course, Venice. We had wanted to see the Dogana museum having seen scaffolding around it for so long, and having discussed how best to get there with Graham, the port presenter, we walked to the end of the dock area and got the “people mover” monorail. Graham had said you’ll need a one Euro coin for the ticket, but we didn’t have any one Euro coins and the ship only keeps notes. However, there was a small shop/kiosk at the end of the dock so I asked if he could change a five Euro note for coins for the people mover. “I sell you tickets” he cried, so we were fixed. Arrival at the people mover produced the next problem as there were hundreds of loud women with suitcases queuing for this having disembarked the ___ ship in the next dock. So we had to queue with them for I suppose 20 minutes but we made it. That took us to the Piazza Roma, the first stop on the Grand Canal where we queued again for tickets. We took the No 1 Vaporetto which stops everywhere along the Grand Canal to the Salute stop. What a lovely way to see Venice though and with a 12-hour ticket you could stay on it all day.

Anyway, you were right about the Dogana, the light is quite spectacular and I loved the roof timbers. We bought the guide book so we could reflect on it later. There were some works by artists that I’ve seen in England too. Having had a good look round and not been disappointed, we went back on the Vaporetto to the Accademia stop to see the Glasstress exhibition. The name of the venue is The Institute of Science, Letters and Arts (strange combination) and wasn’t shown on any of the maps, but it was clearly advertised with large posters and was right next to the Accademia bridge. It was interesting and there were some quite beautiful pieces. And then a quick walk back over the bridge and along to the Peggy Gugenheim Collection. We’ve been before but amongst other things, they have my favourite Kandinsky painting (Upward). Incidentally, the BBC has been making a big thing about art that is in storage in this country and not on display and one of these owned by the Tate is a quite beautiful Kandinsky painting (Swinging) of a similar type to my favourite. What a waste, maybe they’d lend it to me. So….Venice was a real adventure this time and we loved it.

I have posted this for two reasons. Firstly, because it describes passionately how beautiful Venice is and, of course,………..free fish and chips. Well written Robert – send more please.

As you know, this is my last cruise here in Europe on the Carnival Magic and my last cruise with the wonderful entertainment staff who have provided thousands of guests with so much fun. Indeed, James, Eli, Leonnie, Calvyn, Christian, John (aka LSOP) Eric, Katie, Ryan and Mel were the best start up team I have worked with. Some will be here when I return in November but a few will not and that’s because they have, thanks to their brilliant work here, been promoted and I would like to give them a mention here on my blog thingy and we shall start with Christian Davies:

Hi Everyone I’m Christian Davies and all I can say is becoming an assistant cruise director is a dream come true…quite literally as I will be heading off to sunny Port Canaveral to return to the Carnival Dream in my new position. When I found out from John that I was becoming assistant cruise director, I nearly fell out of my chair as it’s an honor to get one step closer to that hallowed chair of the cruise director. I have had some amazing times on board and even crazier memories I will never forget from many of my activities…..I just love the unexpected. I am looking forward to guiding others now in creating a fantastic experience for all our guests and create some more everlasting memories. I also want to thank John for believing in me and giving all his wisdom which I intend to take with me. He is like a cruise ship Yoda.

Thanks, Christian and I am sure that it won’t be long before you are in the big chair and I wish you all the best…………….oh, and Yoda, my arse.

Now let’s meet L.S.O.P. or John Gleason as few call him.

Greetings Everyone! Or as they say back home in the Big Apple, “How you doing?” My name is John Gleason and I am extremely excited about this promotion to assistant cruise director. I remember embarking on this great new adventure; with the intentions to one day hopefully grace the big chair as cruise director…..and I’m now one step closer. (Cue dramatic movie trailer music). It has been a whirlwind of great challenges and even greater memories, and I know that there are even more around the corner. I am looking forward to the new challenges and new adventures that await me and of course all the opportunities to put smiles on the faces of the people and help make their cruise with me an amazing memory. One for the record books or, more fitting, the scrapbooks.

And if you see John, ask him what LSOP stands for. I wish him much success and he is another star of the future.

Also promoted to assistant cruise director is Melody De Dios and I will miss her the most.

She has been my personal assistant and worked so hard and put up with my mood swings which on the days directly after my girls leave me, are pretty dramatic. Mel will join me in Galveston and back here for the Bloggers Cruise but will then take her place as ACD on the Carnival Conquest.
She has been invaluable but it’s time for her to move on and bring the same smile that she brings me every day to thousands of lucky guests. Good luck, Mel……and thank you.

So who is going to be my new personal assistant? Who is going to fill the huge gap that Melody will leave? I looked hard around the fleet and finally went with someone who is funny and extroverted and someone who I hope will be able to look after me in the same way as Melody did. Here he is

My name is Calvyn Sean Champagne Martens (I am one man). I come from Vancouver, Canada, and have accepted the position of executive assistant to Mr. John Heald. At first, I had to think about it, but after John literally was on his knees pleading with me, I had to say yes. What I look forward to the most (besides learning from an outstanding cruise director) is bringing him his coffee at 5 in the morning. What I am not looking forward to the most is him throwing it at me if it is not precisely 118 degrees (he has a digital thermometer). I also relish the challenge of turning him into a metro sexual and giving him warm hugs and a friendly pat on his bottom when he is feeling blue. I imagine that on the Carnival Breeze we will work hard but in the evenings take long walks around the shipyard, sit at a Trattoria and talk about our shared passions, Liza Minnelli, The Golden Girls and David Hasselhoff. I am so lucky and feel like skipping down promenade naked. See you on the Bloggers Cruise.

Oh FFS! What have I done?

On a more serious if not confused note, I have to talk about yesterday, the 10th anniversary of September 11…….oh, by the way, before I forget, thanks so much for all the wonderful words about Friday’s blog, that was so kind of you.

Anyway, like all the ships, we here on the Carnival Magic paused for thought just before we arrived into Venice. It was a beautiful day with the early morning mist having dissapissatated (spelt correctly) and the sun shining through and onto this beautiful ship and her guests. At 11:30am local time I gave a small brief speech about memories that would be created in Venice and how today we should also remember what happened, etc., and then invited the guests for one minute of silence. Now most of the ship were lining the open decks and on their balconies to see the arrival into Venice and as I invited everyone to hold hands together I could, from my position on the bridge, see that everyone was doing so and as the minute of silence began that most were bowing their heads in remembrance. The minute ticked by and the end was marked by one blast of the ships whistle. And we moved on and I spoke about Venice and all was well. Well, you can imagine my surprise then that over the next few hours I received three complaints and because I am both frustrated and confused, I wanted to share them with you.

The first one is self explanatory.

Guest: Mr ————- Ref: 848081432A
Cabin: **** Booking#: ******Added-Changed: 09/11/11 – 09/11/11
Mr. **** approached and said that during the CD’s talk on 9/11 on the PA system the guest who was on deck 10 starboard side said that during the silence minute that a group of guests were laughing and talking. Mr ______ told them to be quiet but guest was rude and swore at him. Mr___said this was very disrespectful and wanted to make sure his opinion was recorded.

Considering that there are numerous other nationalities here on the Carnival Magic, including several hundred French and Russian guests, I am certain that they didn’t understand the announcement which was not repeated in multiple languages….or at least I hope that’s the case.

That comment is a little frustrating because obviously it spoiled the moment for the guest who commented. And while that is, I guess sort of, understandable…………these two are not.

Sent: Sunday, September 11, 2011 7:49 PM
Subject: 9/11 ANNOUNCEMENT COMMENTS – 09/10/2011

John, following your announcement earlier today, we have received the following comments from three cabins.

Mr._______ said that he was on vacation and shouldn’t have to be forced into a moment of silence. Guest was very angry, John, and has asked to speak to you and the captain. He feels that he is on vacation to get away from the event.

Cabin ****
Mrs________ also said basically the same thing but added that your announcement woke her up as well.

Cabin ****
Mrs________said that it was inappropriate for the event to be mentioned as the ship is in Europe not in the USA. Mrs______also said that the American flag hanging in the lobby was also wrong and asked for it to be removed. John, this lady has also asked for a meeting with you. I will let you know if we get anymore.

Guest Services, Carnival Magic

You know, having done this job for as many years as I have you would think I would be prepared for anything. Well, I wasn’t prepared for this and what I truly am confused about is all three guests that made those comments are all U.S. citizens. I have spoken already to the lady who complained about the speech and the moment of silence and she berated me with her political views. And even though she is from California, her views on what I had said and her flag flying proudly, high in the lobby, really made me have to bite my lip severely. All I could really say was my hope was that all the guests could simply just pay our respects to the people who lost their lives and the families that lost loved ones and leave any political debate on the pier in Barcelona, it will be waiting for her when the ship returns in four days time.

You see, I have already upset the guest who offered the diet pills to me who in fact hung the phone up on me when I tried to apologise, so the last thing I wanted to do was to upset another guest. But it was hard not to express my true beliefs to her and so I have to force them on you, my blog readers and friends. It’s not often I express my political beliefs here and before I do, a kind reminder that the disclaimer says that this is my blog and my opinion and not Carnival’s etc., etc., etc.

But as I said, she stood there telling me how she hates her country and the government and actually what her country’s flag represents. But what really got to me is when she told me that “America had got what it deserved.” How can she say that? How can she say that about her own country and not have an ounce of sadness in heart for those who lost their lives and the remorse for the families that still mourn today and will be still mourning tomorrow? I had to force myself from not looking her in the eye and tell her and all the defeatist sods who share her views……… to bugger off. But I didn’t. I stood there listening and nodding my head until Mrs. Ihatemycountry and her hairy legs headed for the deck 5 coffee shop to no doubt buy a soya milk latte.

Yesterday on the Carnival Miracle 2000 guests got to experience what surely was the most emotional event and only those with ice in their veins could not have been moved by what they saw. The following photos speak more clearly than any words I could write.



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.