Famoso in El Wal-Marto

October 17, 2011 -

John Heald

Tonight I will be back in my hotel room all alone again. Some of the Miami beards are great friends but they have their families to go home to and some are traveling and away from Miami. And so it’s me and my TV and shows like Star Trek. Yep, as there was bugger all in I watched Star Trek and I have never realised until the other night when I watched back-to-back episodes on late night TV just what a horny sod William Shatner was. Captain Kirk was the Enterprise’s Tiger Woods. A man who could seduce any woman and some who could even shape-shift to become the girl of his dreams. It didn’t matter who many Klingons were de-cloaking on the starboard side, our brave captain always found time to spread the love and no doubt some good old fashioned intergalactic sexually transmitted diseases. Let’s face it……..he was a very blessed man as those tight fitting Starfleet uniforms used to show his Phulton Torpedo was always ready to fire.

I am not sure if it was William Shatner’s choice that all the women crew members wore very short skirt, no political correctness in space, of course. Oh, and while I think about it, those bloody doors were too noisy. Old Scotty, the chief engineer, could fix a broken warp coil and build a phaser out of a toilet role but he wasn’t smart enough to slap some WD40 on those “whoosh” doors.

Kirk was replaced with Jean Luc Picard who was more cautious and compared to Kirk he was utterly boring. Both fought the Borg. Picard celebrated with a nice cup of Earl Grey tea while Kirk would have had rumpy pumpy with half the bridge crew before the kettle boiled. Picard always wanted to talk his way out of a difficult situation, he would talk to the Romulans and find a common ground. Kirk meanwhile would just rip their bollocks off and use them as paper weights.

Anyway, once Kirk had finished having rumpy pumpy with a green skinned lizard woman I started flicking around the channels and came across something called Pan Am and I have to say that I enjoyed it. It wasn’t the plot or the acting that I enjoyed but it was the step back in time to show me what flying used to be like. As you may know I hate flying in the same way I hate having genital warts. That’s because unless you’re Mr. and Mrs. Loadsofmoney and can fly first class there is bugger all pleasure in modern air travel. However watching a bit of Pan Am the other night it was unquestionably a bloody sight better in the past.

As I watched I started thinking when did this all change. When did flying suddenly become as fun as explosive diarrhea? Add the stress and strains of today’s security measures and the overall drop in standards then at its best flying is tolerable and at its worst its Ryanair. One thing that’s obvious from me watching Pan Am was that back then airline travel was something designed for men. It seems that they were chosen for their looks and looked airborne Playboy Bunnies. You wouldn’t have needed an in flight movie to watch ……………not with all those bottoms to look at.

But we live in different times where we are stopped at security and arrested because our toothpaste, shampoo or contact lens solution could apparently blow up the plane. Unlike cruising, the whole process of air travel from the moment you enter the departure terminal until the moment you exit at the other end is a grin and bear it experience. And considering what we pay it really shouldn’t be like that……………….should it?

Time for today’s Q and A………………….here we go.


Montague Asked:
John, it seems to me that Carnival puts little thought into its entertainment planning. I watched the show about New Orleans and the graphic sexual nature of the show meant that I hurriedly had to take my grandchildren out. There was no R-rating mentioned by the hopeless cruise director and nothing was written in the daily program. My question is then is Carnival a family cruise line or is it just pretending? The rest of the cruise was most enjoyable and special mention to Ceilia at the Circle C Club who both my grandchildren said was the best part of the cruise and gave them so much fun.

Thank You!

John Says:
Hello Montague

Thanks for taking the time to write and let me start by saying yes, Carnival leads the way when it comes to family cruising experiences and I think that is proven by the fact that your grandchildren enjoyed Circle C so much. The show you are referring to is The Big Easy, a show based around New Orleans and a show I know very well. I have been trying to think what part of the show would have made you feel like you had to remove your grandchildren from the theatre. I know there is the French Quarter section but it really doesn’t have revealing costumes etc so I am at a bit of a loss there. I personally don’t think the show deserves an R rating in any way, however there is obviously something that disturbed you so for that I sincerely apologise. I am so glad you had a fun cruise and I do hope that we will see you and your family again very soon.

Best wishes.

Sara Radcliff Asked:

I have written twice now about a table for two with a view for my boyfriend and me and still no reply. We are on the Nov 14th sailing on the Magic and this is our fourth cruise, all with Carnival. Our booking # is ______ and we are in cabin 8341. I hope I get a response this time as hearing nothing is so annoying. My parents are Platinum cruisers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Says:
Hello Sara Radcliff

I am so sorry I haven’t replied to your previous requests. I try to answer as many questions as I can both here and on Facebook but alas I am but one man. Anyway, no worries as I have seen your request and I will ask the maitre d and he will do his best to provide you with a table for two. I wish you a wonderful cruise and I will see you on board.

Best wishes.

VIC Asked:
Hi John,

This is my third try for this question and don’t get offended by this. You state that you rarely get off the ship so I would just like to know when you do talks on the ports, where do you get all your information from, do people pass it on to you, looking forward to seeing you in June 2012 on the Carnival Dream.

John Says:
Hello VIC

I have I think answered your question in a previous Q and A as I remember this well. There is a four-week delay in me answering the questions so my apologies. I know the European ports better than most as this is my sixth season there. I have also done three one month long trips around all the ports plus I meet with the excursion manager each cruise to catch up on any new business I need to know. I feel very confident that the information I am giving the guests is the right information. Thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes.

Alva Ellis Asked:
Hi John,

I have seen the towel creation became an icon throughout the cruise and hotel industry, who could ever imagine that something that I personally created as a cabin steward back in 1974 to entertain my guests would have become such an art form. An art class teacher and student in St Croix V.I. visited the ship while we were in the island to teach the class the new creation. It was done as credit for the entire art class. I was elated at the time, now I saw the fruit of my creation/invention. Thanks for your write up on your blog.

Have fun,
Alva Ellis

John Says:
Hello Alva

It’s great to hear from you and ladies and gentlemen this is Mr Alva Ellis who was for many, many years the senior chief steward or as we now call them housekeeping manager. Alva was responsible for bringing the towel animal to Carnival, the animals that we all know and love and we owe him a great debt. I hope you are well and those of us who remember you do so remembering your passion and hard work. Thanks for writing and I hope we see each other again soon.

Best wishes.

Gerri Green Asked:
As a Platinum cruiser with Carnival I feel strongly that you need to give Platinum cruisers far more than you so. Other lines offer their Diamond status passengers free internet and free drinks before dinner and reserved seats at the shows and by the pool. I deserve MORE!

John Says:
Hello Gerri Green

Thanks for writing and I think our current loyalty program for Platinum guests is good but it can always be better and we are in the process of enhancing the program. And while I can’t promise free this and free that I will be talking soon to someone called Rob who is putting the new program together and as soon as I have news on this I will pass it on. Thanks for your loyalty until then, it means a lot.

Best wishes.

LoriAnne Garbutt Asked:
Hey John!

Now that I have posted the pic on your FB page, I will give you my praises on how wonderful the Carnival Fascination cruise was. As we were pulling into the parking lot at JaxPort, I received a FB notification that was from you!  That was just too kewl!  Talk about timing… Then, on the second day on board (I think) is when the bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries arrived from you and Jen. Another awesome surprise!  We did partake and I did learn to like Champagne and white wine on this cruise (I’m a beer and Crown Royal person…lol).  We went to Half Moon Cay and Nassau Bahamas.  Half Moon Cay was beautiful, and I do mean B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!  Nassau was “an experience” and I will leave it at that…LOL.

Christopher was our room steward and he was awesome!  Amazes me at how they can remember everybody’s names and they do call you by your name every time they see you.

In the dining room we had Yves, Adrian, Godfrey, and the “I” brothers, (I think it’s I Gomez, but not real sure), they were brothers and both had the same name……. I don’t know that you could have found a better fit of wait staff for us!  We had a blast with them, on the first night in the dining room, I dropped all of my utensils, not once, but twice!  Adrian was great, he brought more and they all caught up with us the entire cruise. Pat was waiting on the Grand Marnier Soufflé to hit the menu from the time we got on the boat till the time it finally did become available, they ALL knew that she was wanting that soooo bad, that on the nite it was available…..They didn’t even bring us the dessert menus, not even me, they just brought us the Grand Marnier Souffle for each of us and then the Cappuccino Pie to split as a surprise for us!  It was great!

Every night at dinner the wait staff did the dancing and one night they sang… I missed that on the first cruise but totally loved it on this cruise!  To see all of them dancing to Apple Bottom Jeans and That’s Amore’, let me tell ya.. PRICELESS!

We met the head waiter for Lido deck, Dario, at breakfast one morning and he obliged with us answers to all of our questions that we had about his country which was Croatia… me and Pat had a debate about what it used to be named…… So he settled that and gave us the history and told us that when we retire, it should be to Croatia… If it’s as pretty as he says, I just might check into that… LOL!

We also met Jen, the Cruise Director for Fascination and she is a total hoot!  When we told her who we were, she did recognize our names and said “Oh, you got your strawberries and champagne!”  We laughed and laughed during the shows and a lot of it was because of Jen!  That British Chick has a great sense of humour (as you spell it) and her actions were hilarious.

On our last night of the cruise was the Chef’s Table. We chose this to be our excursion and it was the most amazing experience that I have ever had!!  Thank you so much for setting that up for us!  It was totally worth the money to go!  We had a great group that joined us!

All of us were from the South, so the only accent that was there was the chef… 🙂  Chef Remy Gomes outdone himself on our meal!  One of our girls that joined us was vegetarian and he accommodated her just as he did the rest of us!  She was totally thrilled with the selections that he did for her, and I have to say they did look great and I could have totally had the vegetarian meal too!

This was the best 40th birthday present I could have ever gotten! Thanks for everything and I can’t wait to cruise with you!!!


John Says:
Hello LoriAnne

What a brilliant review and there are so many highlights and so much excitement that oozes out from your writing. I promise to pass on all you have said to the ship and those ashore in charge of the vessel and they will be thrilled. I hope we will see you again and I am so happy you had such a brilliant time.

Best wishes.

Grant and Melissa Hove Asked:

We will be taking our first cruise on Carnival. We are big NCL fans but were persuaded to go on the Carnival Miracle by the price. We must have a private table though as we won’t eat with other passengers as we are very private Christian folks who keep to ourselves. I was told that this was the place to come to get this accomplished. I wasn’t sure what you need so here is all our information.

NAME: Grant and Melissa Hove

John Says:
Hello Grant and Melissa Hove

I have obviously read this post too late as you have already sailed. I wanted to apologise therefore that I missed this post and didn’t get to arrange a table for two for you. I hope you managed to do this while on board with the maitre d and I hope that you had such fun that you will join us again here at Carnival.

Best wishes to you both

Rod K & Deb C Asked:
Not really a question John – more a message of support from UK.  We went on our first cruise in May on the Carnival Dream – Western Caribbean – and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The reason we booked was to see our daughter Natasha who was on her first nine-month contract in the Cloud 9 Spa on the Carnival Dream as a massage therapist. Now she is on her last week and will be coming home this weekend, and I will be trying to persuade her to preference for the Carnival Magic for her next contract from the middle of November through to June 2012 (so we can do another cruise!). Any words of wisdom on what she can expect to find different on Carnival Magic compared with Carnival Dream?

ps – does all your audience really get the humour? I bet not.  Keep being funny, and regards.

Rod & Deb

John Says:
Hello Rob K and Deb

It’s always nice to hear from the parents of one of my fellow shipboard crew and I hope that your daughter enjoyed her first contract on the Carnival Dream. I hope she does get the Carnival Magic although basically the spa is exactly the same just with different décor. She will enjoy sailing out of Texas as well as the guests are always very friendly. As for my humour (spelt correctly), I think most people get it although at times regardless of where the guests are from its not going to be everyone that finds me funny. I am sure you are glad to have Natasha home and please say a warm hello to her from me. Please let me know if you ever have any questions and I will be here to help.

Best wishes to you all.

Nick Boughtwood Asked:

Much of your blog today was spent complaining about how much you miss your family which considering you make more $$$ than most people reading your stuff is laughable. If you don’t like your job quit. None of us come to your blog to read this but for current and useful information that helps us decide if we want to cruise with Carnival again. My question is will Carnival add another ship here on the West Coast as our choices are limited and while Florida and the eastern seaboard get ship after ship the west coast gets nothing.

John Says:
Hello Nick Boughtwood

If I might kindly just start by saying I make bugger all apologies for writing about how much I miss my family and as this is my blog occasionally I use it to express my true emotions. I realize how lucky I am but that never takes away the fact that there are days when I think about my family and how much I want to be with them. Now as for the West Coast, well the ports of call as we know are limited but there are no plans at the moment to give the West Coast another ship.  Considering the majority of cruise lines have left completely, I think it’s fair to mention that Carnival continues to support the west coast with the Carnival Splendor and Carnival Spirit. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes.

Allan Ruse Asked:

I wrote to you about my parents and the fact that they were celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary on their cruise on the Carnival Miracle but I never expected you to do the things you did. The table for 2, the gift of champagne and strawberries and the shout out the cruise director gave them at the TV show made them feel like VIPs and I am forever in your debt. They also asked if I would mention their room steward called Lizbet. They said she was so friendly and always called them by their names and looked after them.

Thank you John and thank you Carnival.

John Says:
Hello Allan Ruse

Thanks so much for writing and I am so happy that your parents were able to celebrate their 55 years together on the Carnival Miracle and had so much fun doing so. I will gladly pass this onto Lizbet and she will be thrilled I am sure. I hope we see you all again soon on another cruise with us and please send a big hello to your Mum and Dad.

Best wishes to all.


That’s all for today and a big thank you for all the comments. The blog views are now well over 12 million which I think is absolutely brilliant and that’s all because of your continuing readership.

So tomorrow I will head back to the Carnival Liberty for two days to film how the new Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades are coming along and of course I will then return for the first cruise and report via the blog and via video on how the guests are enjoying them all. Obviously they all have to be built and it’s only then that the crew can get in amongst them and learn everything. By that I mean the chefs have to practice making Guy’s burgers exactly as he would. The mixologists have to learn to make all those new cocktails at the Alchemy Bar and they have to learn this intriguing prescription way of ordering those cocktails. The chefs have to practice using the taco machine at the Cantina and I will be reporting to you on all of the above.

One big change I think you will see on the Carnival Liberty and then as other ships get the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades is how we utilize our Lido Deck. With the exception of when we have our deck parties the Lido pretty much shuts down doesn’t it at 6 pm. I have never liked this and I blame myself for not pushing the beards to do something about it. But now with this new Lido Deck and the two competing bars we have out there then it is time to change the way we use the Lido. This is roughly what we are planning for three or four nights of the cruise.

The bars will remain open until very late. Live music will continue throughout the day mixed with poolside activities etc. The live music will feature two different musicians or groups playing and supporting either the RedFrog Rum Bar or the BlueIguana Bar. This music will continue until 10 pm. At 10 pm we will play a movie on the big screen. We are also giving our movie nights themes with Superheroes, Best Picture, Chick Sodding Flick Night and Family Nights.

The big question was keeping the pools open. You see we have always closed them at 6 pm. Much of this has to do with manning and having staff available to be there. But it looks like we have overcome this concern and we are now looking at keeping the pools open until 10 pm or even midnight. I will let you know which as soon as it’s confirmed. My question though is I wonder how many will actually go for a swim that late at night. We shall see. We are still discussing keeping the water park open longer and I shall also let you know more about that as soon as I can. Carnival Liberty will be the test ship for all of this and we will no doubt have to make changes along the way. But one thing is for sure, the much underutilized Lido deck will change for the good over the coming months and it’s been a long time coming. What do you think to all of this?

So yesterday I went shopping for essentials such as toothpaste and hemorrhoid cream and some much needed deodorant because it continues to be hotter than Satan’s scrotum here in Miami. And so off I went to the nearest Wal-Mart, the largest shop I think I have ever been in, which is on NW 87th Avenue in Miami. Or is it? Because when I walked through the door I felt like I had entered Spain or Cuba or Venezuela or Columbia. Now I realise that there are many, many Spanish speaking people in Miami, in fact I have answered a comment here on the blog a few days or weeks ago from someone who felt that we should speak more Spanish on ships sailing out of Miami. I also know that there is a proud heritage amongst the Spanish speaking people here but nothing, nothing had prepared me for just how prevalent the Spanish speaking language was in this particular Wal-Mart. I say this also because I asked someone (and this isn’t a joke as Mel my PA was with me) who was wearing red Ask Me shirt where the toothpaste was and he simply said “No intend” ……..I couldn’t believe it. So I had no choice but to use a visual aid and therefore stood in the middle of this massive Wal-Mart demonstrating to Jose the art of brushing my teeth. He got the message and pointed to where I should go. I decided not to ask him where the hemorrhoid cream was.

Anyway, that’s not why I am telling you about my shopping trip. This is why. I was searching for the Las Hemorrhoid Creamo when my sixth sense took over. Now, I do not have super powers although I wish I could be invisible…….I mean , I was invisible when I was a teenager as certainly any girl I ever spoke to certainly thought I was but I have sometimes wished I was, really invisible.  If I was, there are certain places I would to be invisible in. For example, Buckingham Palace to find out about what Royal Family. Does the Queen eat barbecue ribs with her hands, does she ever enjoy a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken? Does Princesses Katie dress up as a naughty nurse for Prince William? Does Prince Charles feed Camilla some hay and a carrot before bedtime? Then there is the White House Situation Room, just to see if it is anything like the one shown on my favorite program The West Wing. It would be amazing to see how emergency situations are dealt with and whether President Obama is in his underpants while doing so. I would also like to be invisible in Megan Fox’s bedroom and her shower but you knew I was going to say that didn’t you?

Anyway, back to El Walmarto and that sixth sense I was mentioning. In this case the sixth sense is being able to tell that someone is looking at me and talking about me which is something I have developed over the years and it was this “feeling” that washed over me as I removed Las Arseospoto cream from the shelf. I heard my name to my right, it was only a whisper but I had definitely heard my name mentioned by a female voice talking to someone else. Now, at the time two possibilities came to mind.

  1. It was a beautiful senjorita who had read my blog and wanted to whisk me away to her father’s luxury beachfront house on South Beach and have el rumpio pumpio with me.
  2. Then of course there was the possibility that someone knew me from the ship.

So who was it? I looked over to see two ladies waving and grinning at me as though they had just seen Johnny Depp……….naked. I did that thing where I look behind me thinking that their admirations were meant for someone else but of course I knew I had been “recognised.”

Realising that the ladies were indeed waving at me I decided to hasten this along a little by saying, “Hello ladies, how are you?” Well they were from Miami and one of the ladies said, ”We cruised with you twice on the Carnival Valor and the Carnival Freedom and we read your blog everyday” ………. The lady then continued, “We have booked a cruise in November on the Carnival Liberty with our families….we are so excited.”

I returned her kindness with words of thanks and then the ladies had a request. “Can we have a photo with you?” “Yes, of course,” I replied and I walked a few paces to stand next to them. Nowadays every cell phone has a camera on it and the ladies took it in turns to stand next to me as they took photos and then Mel took one of the three of us all together. As this was happening various shoppers and employees were looking at the man in sweat pants and a Miami Heat T-shirt trying to work out why he was having his photo taken. I want therefore to say a huge hello to Blanca and Lourdes (I told you I would forget your last names, sorry) and thank them for the kindness they showed me in El Wal-Marto……….and thanks for pretending not to notice that I had just bought an extra strength tube of hemorrhoid cream.

So, after the photos came the goodbyes and the ladies left looking with huge smiles on their faces and I headed to the check out desk to pay for my items. As I did a lady in her forties came up and tapped me on my shoulder and asked if she could have her photo with me as well. I said of course and asked her how she was and when she had cruised with me. She just smiled and said nothing as Mel took the photo. I thought that maybe she didn’t speak English very well but then it dawned on me. She had seen the other two ladies so excited and screaming at seeing me that she must have thought I was famous and decided to have her photo taken with me. But honestly, I could tell….she had no sodding clue who I was. Maybe because I was in a Miami Heat hat she thought I was Micky Arison. Simple mistake to make. We look alike and he shops in Wal-Mart all the time. Maybe she thought I was a sex object and wanted her photo with me. Actually, when I was in my early twenties I was indeed a sex object……..I asked many girls for sex …………… and they would all object.



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.