I know the first part of today’s blog has nothing to do with cruising but I hope you will excuse me for writing my feelings here. You see, I felt such a total and utter bastard last night. Let me explain. We took Kye to the doctor yesterday as her nose continues to flow freely. And while she is fine in herself, happy and content, her breathing is laboured and at night she snores like a drunken elephant.

So the doc gave her some antibiotics and gave me a huge bollocking because I didn’t bring her in to see him earlier. Yep, despite Heidi thinking we should I went by the old adage of “everything will be alright in the morning,” something which most British people suffer from. My Mum for instance still believes that gangrene and gastro-illness can be immediately cured by putting the kettle on and making a nice cup of tea. So there I sat last night. My daughter sitting on my knee playing with Heidi’s Eyepad and I felt awful. Awful that I had given Kye my cold that had caused her to have a sinus infection and caused her to have her first antibiotics and a nose that looked like LeBron James had thrown her the ball. Yep, I was feeling pretty awful and then suddenly………I wasn’t anymore.

I am sure you are aware that once again there is a brutal famine in east Africa and certainly here it seems to be all over the news and of course there are the usual charity appeals. Back at home we all sit on our sofas feeling awful but the compassion is buried under the blanket of our own comforts and conveniences. The fact of the matter is that Africa’s leaders are the most corrupt in the world and so much of the money and food that gets there is not given to the people who really need it, which is a crying shame. Please don’t judge me here but I went to see Live Aid with my mate Alan. I can’t remember how much we paid for our tickets but they were not cheap. And we both paid for these tickets not only because we wanted to help the starving people of Africa but also because we really wanted to see Queen and The Who. I would like to think that the money went to those poor people who were indeed starving not toward paying for some African dicktator (spelt correctly) to have a new armoured-plated Mercedes. I am not the brightest bulb on the tree but you would think there would be something, anything that could be done to make sure these bastards allow the real help to get to the people who need the most

So there I was feeling sorry for Kye and then suddenly a pair of eyes not much older than Kye’s was on the screen. A pair of empty eyes just staring, all hope gone. And then suddenly on the screen there were hundreds more just like her. I had been self absorbed in worrying about me and Kye and feeling sorry for myself and then there they were….children who had nothing to look forward to. And so I picked up the phone and gave all I could in the hope that the little girl I had seen on the television would be one of those who would be saved.

Time for some Q and A………let’s crack on.

Brenda Gaugler asked:
Dear John,

Another rumor running around CC. True or false……are all Carnival ships going smokeless after Jan.1? Thanks for the time you put into this blog!!!

John says:
Hello Brenda,

Yes indeed this is true in the same way that it’s true that one of the activities on the next Bloggers Cruise will be naked Twister. Seriously, no it’s not true in any way. Thanks for taking the time to write and for those kind words.

Best wishes.

John

Elaine Heaton asked:
Hi John,

I want to say that I am on the Carnival Ecstasy as I type this and I am not a happy person! I had asked you in an email a while back to please do something nice for my sons’ birthday but nothing has been set up, we are in cabins R151, R149 and R147. Sadly I’ve had to set up a cake, etc by myself, I am disappointed! Another thing is that this ship is sadly in need of repair and updating! And the front desk is very rude, and I have to tell you John that I am usually very upbeat and not a complainer. So maybe you can call someone quickly and see what’s up with this ship! Standing in line for 20 minutes and being ignored is not the way a PLATINUM cruiser should be treated.

Hope your day is going better than mine!

Elaine Heaton

John says:
Hello Elaine,

I am so sorry that your children did not receive the gifts I had asked to be sent although I certainly have never promised anyone that I would send a birthday cake. Normally I ask for the cruise director to send children a trophy and medallion and I guess in this case my request was not followed up on for which I sincerely apologize. The ship is currently in dry dock and will come away looking fantastic and I am sure she will look in top shape once again. Obviously you are home now and I have missed the chance to send the kids something which I will do the next time. I hope your cruise got better and my apologies once again.

Best wishes.

John

MiLB Cruiser asked:

Just not good enough Heald. You write that Carnival Liberty is going to get lots of upgrades and then don’t tell us what. I guess Carnival controls you and you are what many believe you to be and that’s Gerry Cahill’s puppet. There are lots of people who want to book the ship and more who are booked as me and my DW are in November and have the right to know what we can expect on the ship which we have paid to cruise on. The world’s most read cruise site agrees

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1408978

289 angry comments about you not telling us the information shows you that not informing your customers is a Heald size mistake! NCL always releases their dry dock and upgrade information. I only hope that when you do tell us it is worth all this hype because if not expect to be keelhauled on Cruise Critic.

John says:
Hello MiLB Cruiser,

I actually had your comment to answer in my list of questions yesterday but as it was on the nasty side I deleted it. However I have rescued you from the trash can which you were sharing with a quickly deleted photo of a Latvian lady wearing only lipstick and a smile (Heidi was heard coming up the stairs) and an email offering of a larger thingy. I have resurrected you because I am sure amongst the link you posted which by the way I didn’t open are some very nice people and those who while frustrated that we haven’t told anyone about the dry dock plans understand that these new features take time and planning. As for me being a puppet for Gerry Cahill……well as much as I respect him and as much as I think he is leading the company into exciting times ahead and as much as I always do what he asks of me, this is my blog and nobody is going to put their hand up my bottom ……. except Doctor Longfinger of course……….the bastard. Will it be worth it……..yes……and I will give off a few hints in a moment as to why. Until then I hope you have a wonderful time on the Carnival Liberty and despite your less than pleasant threats of being keelhauled, I offer you the chance to let me know if there is anything I can do to make your cruise more enjoyable by contacting me here on the blog or on Facebook.

Best wishes.

John

Diana Louis asked:
John,

Do you know who the CD was in Oct 2005 on the Victory? I need to know.

John says:
Hello Diana Louis,

Yes indeed I do, it was George Solano who has recently retired from cruise directing. I hope this helps.

Best wishes.

John

Norman S asked:

There are far too many reasons for me to list why my last cruise on the Carnival Splendor was the best of my 19 but one of them is Miguel the maitre d. I was travelling with my 81 year old mother who suffers from Parkinsons and other health problems. Each and every night he would help her walk to her table and after seeing the difficulties she had in cutting up her food and the somewhat embarrassing experience of other guests watching me cut it for her he made sure that when the food was served it was already cut up for her. This along with the constant care and consideration he gave her made her cruise so wonderful. Please John as we didn’t get a comment card can you send this to Miguel and let the beards see it as well. They have a true gem in Miguel.

Thank you so much and we will see you on the Breeze.

John says:
Hello Norman S,

This does not surprise me at all because I know Miguel to be exactly as you describe him. I am thrilled that his actions made sure that Mum had the very best of times and I will make sure that all the right people see this. Thanks for taking the time to write and I hope indeed that we see each other on the Carnival Breeze.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Colleen’s Mum Kathy asked:

On Saturday 10/1 my family and I will be embarking on our first cruise with Carnival on the Carnival Dream. On 10/4 it will be my daughter’s birthday. She recently graduated high school valedictorian and will be spending a year serving in the Peace Corps before attending the University of Oklahoma and she deserves to be made to feel special. I would like her cabin (2412) decorated and I think it would be good if the ship could acknowledge her during a show and for her to be presented with something by the boats captain. I was told this would be the place to get these things accomplished.

John says:
Hello Colleen’s Mum Kathy,

It seems that you have every right to be a very proud Mum and congratulations to Colleen on all her achievements so far and I wish her safe travels as she spends time helping others in the Peace Corps. You can indeed get your room decorated and even though you are sailing this Saturday it is not too late. Please go to www.carnival.com/bonvoyage and you can arrange this online. Now while I can’t promise that the captain will present her with something I will indeed send her something to say congratulations………by the way I had to ask Uncle Google what valedictorian was so I can see she has achieved a lot. I wish you all a wonderful cruise and I hope it will be the first of many.

Best wishes.

John

Tom Stellison asked:
John,

I have cruised with you twice and have to tell you I find your humor annoying. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. We were on the Carnival Splendor with you two weeks before the fire broke out and this was the second time we had seen you. I am going to be on the Carnival Dream over Christmas and wanted to see if you are going to be there as well and if not (of which I am hopeful) who the director will be.

Thanks.

John says:
Hello Tom Stellison,

I am fully aware that my humour is not for everyone and you will be glad to know that you won’t have to put up with me on the Carnival Dream. Your CD will be the brilliant Butch Begovitch who I have no doubts that you will truly enjoy. I wish you a wonderful cruise and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Tileman asked:
John,

This is a dining question. I know lots of passengers enjoy the songs and dances and parades there are many more who do not and find them intrusive to the dining experience and embarrassing for the waiters to have to dance like performing chimps. Can I ask that on my cruise in January 29 on Carnival Magic to be seated as far away as possible from all of this so that my family and I can continue our conversation and not be forced into having to clap our hands and stamp our feet. Our stateroom numbers are 7339 and 7357. Thank you for your consideration.

John says:
Hello Tileman,

It is very rare actually that I see comments that state they do not like the parades and I must if you will allow me to promise you that for the most part the staff have a lot of fun performing them. However I can understand that some guests prefer not be involved in them of course and I will certainly ask the maitre d to put you on the upper level in an area where you won’t have these performances so up close. You will still hear the music of course and see the other guests enjoying them but they will be over very quickly. Please can I ask that you remind me about this here on the blog six weeks before you sail or a week before on Facebook. I am sure you will have a brilliant cruise and please let me know if I can help in any other way.

Best wishes.

John

Brandon Campbell asked:
John,

I have written you several times and really enjoy your blog thingy. I just returned from my eighth cruise with Carnival and have to say it was the worst yet. My family sailed on the Carnival Conquest out of Galveston on August 7. While there were plenty of highlights there were far too many lowlights which is something I have not experienced on any ship. First I would like to compliment the people who did do a good job.

Starting with the entertainment staff we played many of the various games that were offered throughout the week and they all did a wonderful job. Secondly I would like to thank Kim the Karaoke DJ. He made me laugh on multiple occasions and he is a fun addition to your crew.

Now on to the things that did not go well. First it was warm in every area of the ship. We received a letter on the third night saying that one of the circuits had been fried that night and that the AC had been messed up temporarily. However, it remained hot the entire cruise. At dinner it could not have been less than 80 a couple of nights. Next, the food was not nearly as good as any of the other cruises I have been on. My wife ordered some sort of fish every night and they all came back dry and overcooked. Our waiter Young was very good and he continually tried to help us get good dishes just nothing seemed to be cooked right. Next, our wait staff in the dining room was very rude. The food there was divine though so that at least was a positive. All in all we had fun but that was more due to our group’s ability to make fun out of anything than the cruise lines. I love Carnival and I have always spoken highly of them always had fun and enjoyed the food. This one just seemed cheap. It was like

Carnival and spared nothing in its attempt to save a few dollars. Nothing seemed fresh or new or clean just old, unclassey, and boring. I will travel Carnival again, and I hope its better. I still love cruising and will do it for the rest of my life. I just don’t want Carnival to turn into the Motel 8 of cruising.

Thanks for listening. Hope all is well.

John says:
Hello Brandon Campbell,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write this review which I have sent to the ship and the shore side beards as well. I was aware that there had been an air conditioning problem for a short time and that really is something that I can understand must have been very uncomfortable and for which I sincerely apologise. I am confused about the food which you describe both as “divine” and also stated it wasn’t very good. You also stated your waiter Young was very good but then said “Our wait staff in the dining room was very rude.” Please can you clarify this for me as rudeness is something we will not tolerate so I would be grateful if you could clear this bit up please. Obviously we can do better though and we will I promise and I hope that you will come and sail with us again. I have sent this also to our guest service department who will be in touch. Thanks again for writing and I hope to hear from you again very soon.

Best wishes

John

Helen Molby asked:
John,

Can you tell me if there are beach wheelchairs on Half Moon Cay that we can rent. I heard that there were but I called my PVP and she didn’t know and suggested I write to you. Thanks for all you do.

John says:
Hello Helen Molby,

I see you posted this on August 22 and I hope that you haven’t sailed already. There are indeed beach wheelchairs available free of charge on Half Moon Cay and as you disembark the tender you need to tell one of the staff that you require on and they will assist you. Please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes.

John

And that’s your 10 questions for today and in a few minutes I will be off to see a specialist about my arm that last night hurt so much I thought one of Sigourney Weaver’s Aliens was going to come bursting out.

As you can see I answered another question about the Carnival Liberty which included being keelhauled if the announcement wasn’t exciting enough. Well, let’s see what happens on October 3 shall we when in front of the industry’s most influential press types I introduce Gerry Cahill who will let everyone know what is going to happen. Oh by the way, myself and Gerry Cahill may not be the only people you recognise. Once I have introduced Gerry I will post live on Facebook exactly what is going to happen and then sit back and see if I have survived a Cruise Critic keelhauling. I have no doubts that I will.

Today I sent another 109 Chef’s table reservations to the fleet .This event continues to be so popular. Carnival Magic has a different menu to the rest of the fleet and it includes something called Wagu beef which is apparently a cow that has been dining on caviar and had its udders tickled by a Latvian cow before ending up on our guest’s dinner plate. It is extraordinary though and the comments that the chef received on this dish were incredible and there are plans to add the Wagu beef to The Chef’s Tables soon. Please remember that you can book Chef’s Table spots at anytime via this link thingy and we are now taking them for the Carnival Breeze as well.

OK, I have to go to the doctors and I want to leave you with two things.

First of all this.

Hector Garcia asked:
John,

Thank you for arranging our family table on the Carnival Fantasy which made our cruise. Everything was so good and the kids loved everything but they especially loved the chocolate melting desert cake which our waitress Salena always served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and say “One is never enough.” This is something our kids are still saying now and I wondered if you could post the recipe for the chocolate heaven. This would make Roberto and Luci very happy indeed.

Thanks John, you are one of a kind.

John says:
Hello Hector Garcia,

What a brilliant advert for the Carnival Fantasy and of course the now massively famous Chocolate Melting Cake. I will pass on your thanks to Salena and she will be thrilled to see her name in writing. So rather than post the recipe I thought I would re post this video that I made a year or so ago which shows the Chef making the CMC in person. I hope you enjoy it and I hope we will see you again on another cruise.

Best wishes to all.

John

I miss the Carnival Magic a lot, especially her crew and of course my soon to be executive assistant (a self imposed title) Calvyn Champagne Martens.

Here he is reporting from the ship:

A Lonesome Melody

Last night I sat down and I listened to one of my favorite depressing songs: “Somewhere Out There” from the soundtrack to the movie: “Fivel – An American Tail.” Why am I depressed? Both Melody and John have left for 41.5 days and counting. I think that ‘depressed’ is being slightly over dramatic, and don’t get me wrong, I am happy for the break of having to dodge a 100 degree “lukewarm” coffee coming at my head, or red sharpies being thrown in my direction every time I make direct eye contact at “The Heald.” However, I have to say I miss the little guy. As well as missing John, I have to say that I am also missing Melody, his PA. Being 31 and in the position of entertainment staff is actually quite rare as my colleagues are folks in their really early 20’s. Now I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, it’s just that it is so… well let’s just say that they have a way of making life seem more complicated. I feel as if I’m living in the soap opera “The Days of our Lives” except we are at sea, so “The Waves of our Lives.” I sketch you this scenario so I can express how much I am already missing Melody. Because she is in her very early 30’s like me and I feel that we have a special connection because of it. For instance, when Melody is drinking a can of Coke, I can look at her and say “Drink your juice, Shelby” and have her rolling with fits of laughter because she understands my reference. If I said “Drink your juice, Shelby” to another member of our team they would never understand that I am referencing one of the greatest movies ever to have been made: Steel Magnolias!

And as my two friends are gone for 41.25 days I have come up with the five things I will miss most about them:

1) Having John call Melody and I to come up and finish our game of naked Twister

2) Late night calls at the RedFrog Pub when I should be sleeping… I mean hello, it’s 10pm!

3) Licking a piece of fruit from “The Heald’s” fruit basket so he is forced to give it to me. (this one drives him insane – he hates sharing his fruit basket)

4) Our morning show pow-wow’s

5) Laughing together.

And in the same spirit, here is a list of the five things I will not miss about Melody and “The Heald”:

1) My left hand on blue while Johns right foot is on red

2) Having John and Melody ask if I showered… I mean hello, I went in the hot tub which is basically the same thing

3) Trying to buy cheese for John – Picture it: Melody and I standing in front of the massive cheese section with hundreds of foreign cheeses stressing out with sweat pouring off of us asking each other the same question over and over again “will he like this one?”

4) Painstakingly taking out all of the green colored sugar free JellyBelly jelly beans that guests buy John because he says that the green ones talk to him. (Okay I made up that up, they don’t talk to him, he just doesn’t like that particular shade of green).

5) Two words: Back waxing.

In John’s absence, the Carnival Magic is definitely missing a presence, however, I have to say that James is carrying the torch and bringing a new flavor to the ship. He signs off every morning show, every announcement, and every talk with the word ‘Cheerio.’ I don’t get it. He must really like Cheerio’s. So in kind, I have started to sign off with my favorite cereal: “My name is Calvyn from Canada, thank you for watching, Fruit Loops.” James says it’s not the same, I beg to differ.

One thing that James is doing that John would never allow is letting the team earn points in order to use his bathtub. There are very few crew cabins with bathtubs and the cruise director’s cabin is one of the lucky ones. I am not sure how you go about earning bathtub points, but I will find out because I can imagine the horror on John’s face when he finds out I have had a bath in the tub he has to use again in November. I was disappointed he doesn’t have a bidet and instead I had to do what John does, a handstand in the shower. He also left some hemorrhoid cream which I have used on the wrinkles around my eyes.

All in all I am looking forward to the return of ‘The Heald’ and Melody in 41 days. Till then I will be earning bathing points and listening to ‘Somewhere out there’ as I play Twister all by myself.

For reference I have typed out the lyrics to my favorite song sung by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram:

Somewhere out there,
Beneath the pale blue night,
Someone’s thinking of me,
And loving me tonight.
Somewhere out there,
Someone’s saying a prayer,
That we’ll find one another,
In that big somewhere out there.
And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing
On the same bright star,
And when the night will start to sing
A lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the
Same big sky.
Somewhere out there,
Beneath the pale blue night,
Someone’s thinking of me,
And loving me tonight.
Somewhere out there,
Someone’s saying a prayer,
That we’ll find one another,
In that big somewhere out there
Somewhere out there,
If love can see us through
Then we’ll be together,
Somewhere out there, out where dreams come true.

Goodnight.

Your friend,

Calvyn Champagne Martens
Executive Assistant to Big Daddy John Heald

Oh FFS………..I have created a monster.

Goodnight

Your friend,

John

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.

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