October 18, 2011 -

John Heald

There are many of the senior beards that work at Carnival HQ that have known me for years. Beards who used to work with me on board and know me. By that I mean they know and understand my personality, they know my strengths and indeed my many weaknesses and they all know and put up with my faults as they worked with me for many years and had to put up with and my sometimes rancid bottom.

However there are those beards that have joined us recently and don’t really know me yet. They are brilliant. They brought us Fun Ship 2.0 and they have many more surprises in store that will keep us at the top of the cruise line tree and I am amazed at the brilliant new ideas they are bringing to the ships. But we really haven’t gotten to know each other very well. That’s because they are busy and have meetings and then they have meetings and then they have their Blackberries and then they have meetings and then they bugger off home to their families and their 890 fish. So slowly, ever so slowly I am getting to know them and they are getting to know me.

Last night I went out with one of the new senior beards for an after dinner chat and a drink. And as we sat in the hotel bar my bearded friend ordered a glass of Chatenufe Du Crap and I ordered ……yep, you guessed it, a Diet Coke.

“Have a proper drink,” the beard suggested.

“I don’t drink,” I replied.

And then it started. “Oh John……..are you an alcoholic?”

Yep……I knew it was coming. It always does when I say I don’t drink and haven’t since 1997. When I tell people I am not an alcoholic the next question is usually “Oh, are you religious?”

Funny isn’t it? It’s October 2011 and if you tell someone you don’t smoke or eat red meat it comes across as impressive…….tell them you don’t drink……and people think you’re strange. Certainly I think that’s the first thought the beard had last night and if he is reading this and I am wrong I apologise. But I think I am right only because it has happened many times over the years and I am sure there are many guests I have met and many of my Carnival friends who must think I am Bill W’s best mate.

What else always happens is the effect me not drinking seems to have on others. When I tell people that I don’t drink, they start looking at themselves. They either start trying to justify drinking, or say “I really must give it up.” Or they’ll tell you a story about how they stopped drinking for a few weeks and it felt fantastic.

I stopped drinking as I said just back in 1997 when I was CD on the Carnival Imagination. I had been out in the disco or dance night club as we call it now. I would have been grooving to the sounds of Wham and Rick Astley, two artists I insisted that the DJ played anytime I was in the disco. None of that Pee Diddly rap-rave bollocks while I was in there thank you very much.

I think we may have been celebrating someone’s birthday and I had drunk three or four cognacs …….large ones. Cognac was my favourite drink. I am not an aggressive drunk. I usually giggle a lot and tell a joke about a nun and an Elephant. Anyway, I remember going to bed around 2 am but then the phone rang at 4 am and I was told to come to the bridge.

There had been a report of a missing guest and I had to call a full muster. This meant getting on the PA system, waking every guest and crew member up and telling them that the stateroom stewards and department heads would be checking that every guest was accounted for. I was told this by a captain who I can’t name but who had a strong Italian accent. He has retired now and I have to say he was one of the finest navigators I have ever met and so so funny. But his thick Italian accent was difficult to understand at the best of times without my head feeling like Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan were having drunken rumpy pumpy in it.

This is what I remember.

“You zee”……the captain said……”Wake op de passengers and tell dem wea hava to check a them in de beds.”

“Ummmmm……….”What?” I replied

I had flashbacks of the last time he had called me to the bridge to tell me “Johnny…….you zee make on an announcement dat we no go Cayman!”


“Johnny…….you zee make on an anoouncment dat we no go Cayman.”

“Oh OK……why are we not going to Grand Cayman?”

“De oricani come”

“Ummm ………… “What?”

“De oricani come.”

It was just as he was about to repeat it for the third time and just as he was getting ready to explode because I didn’t understand that the staff captain told me “We are not going to Cayman as the hurricane is heading that way.”

But on this occasion it wasn’t just his thick accent that I was having trouble with… was my head and my stomach and ……I have no idea how I managed to get through that night. My speech sounded slurred and I couldn’t concentrate and luckily the guest was found and it turned out to be he was ……well……..drunker than I was.

I have no idea how I got through that night and how the guests understood me anymore than I understood the captain but since that night I have never drunk anything on board or indeed on land. It’s been 14 years now and I don’t miss it all.

I have to leave this section with my favourite story about what people do when they have had too much to drink. My best friend Alan was working in the city of London some years ago. It was Christmas time and he had been at the office party. Now this was back in the early 90s when times in the city were good especially amongst the bankers of which Alan was one. Anyway, the champagne had been guzzled all night and Alan somehow caught the last train back to Southend on Sea. There were a few people on the train and most were in the same comatose state as Alan was.

The train ride from London Fenchurch Street to where we live is around 50 minutes and it was halfway through the journey with the train rattling and rolling along that the 17 glasses of champagne and the chicken vindaloo curry started to curdle and Alan woke up knowing he had seconds to act. He knew there would be a toilet on the next carriage but he also knew he would never make it. Now remember, this was the early 90s. There were no lap tops and Eyepads ……… everyone carried around something called a “paper” and they did that in brief cases. And so Alan knowing he was about to vomit reached up above him, grabbed his brief case off the rail and deposited champagne de vindaloo into his briefcase. The other few passengers were either pretending not to notice and had their eyes tight shut because they didn’t want to see the contents of Alan’s stomach or………..they were as I said before in a drunken coma. Anyway, Alan closed his eyes feeling pretty sorry for himself and some 30 minutes later he got off the train. Collected his briefcase and walked the short distance to his home. Once home and knowing that he would be as welcome in his bed where his wife was sleeping as Mel Gibson is welcome in a synagogue …………he went to the spare room and went straight to sleep.

The next morning he woke up. And as he began to rise he remembered what had happened on the train and looked down at the briefcase knowing what was inside. He took the briefcase into the bathroom and prepared himself for the hell that was about to greet him as he opened it up. One click……two clicks……it was open.

But….there was nothing inside apart from his paperwork. He couldn’t understand. Had he dreamt the whole thing? He then realised he hadn’t dreamt it. He had projectile vomited last night on the train……..but he had done so in someone else’s briefcase. And that someone was probably thinking, “What the hell did I do last night?” as he scraped bits of diced curried carrot off his spreadsheets. Brilliant.

Time for today’s Q and A………….let’s get going.

Luke Bevan asked:
I will be celebrating my 30th birthday on the Carnival Dream October 29. I am young and single and want to make sure the dining room people don’t put me with old people. I need to be with single women. I am in cabin 1419.

John says:
Hello Luke Bevan,

Thanks for letting me know your request. I will send this to the maître d who will do his best to place you with people just like you. Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.


Judy Harrison asked:
Hey John,

Family and I have been on the Carnival Conquest three times now and CANNOT wait for the Carnival Magic. Question — The entrance to the Lanai will it be accessible for guest with special needs? Hubby is so much like you and enjoys a good cigar in the morning and after dinner. We SO did love to go to Alfred’s on the Conquest (every night of our cruise back on May 1, 2011). Enjoy yourself and for the thousandth time THANKS for all you do.

John says:
Hello Judy Harrison,

It’s great to see you getting excited about the Carnival Magic, what a brilliant ship she is. Please tell your husband that he will be able to enjoy his cigar on the port side of the Lanai as it is indeed wheelchair accessible. I hope you have a brilliant time and if there is anything else you need please let me know.

Best wishes.


Cathy Burk asked:

Thanks so much for all you did to commemorate my dad’s 90th birthday on the Carnival Splendor 8/14/11. We loved the chocolate-covered strawberries you sent and Todd also sent a bottle of champagne, a ship on a stick and a medal. We also talked to Todd on the morning show! Of course the dining staff also took very good care of us!

Thanks again for adding to this wonderful cruise!


John says:
Hello Cathy,

That’s my pleasure and I hope Dad had the most wonderful time and that we will see you all again very soon. Thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes to you all.


Tim Rinehart asked:
Dear John:

I have just been reading your blog and I am amazed by some of the things people write you to complain about. My wife and I will be taking our eighth cruise on carnival in December and I have only the greatest of praise for the staff of your ships. These people go out of their way to make sure that all the guests have the best cruise possible. The complainers need to realize the problems they had are things they should have taken care of directly themselves instead of crying that carnival should have done it for them. Although you treat us like royalty we are not. TAKE RESPONSIBILTY PEOPLE!!! I salute the Carnival staff and thank you for memories that will last us a lifetime.

John says:
Hello Tim Rinehart,

Yes indeed, it does seem that more than any other section of the travel industry that cruise ship guests do tend to comment on some quite extraordinary things. I often wonder if that’s our fault and had we not been so apologetic in years gone by would they feel that commenting and expecting something back be as rampant in the industry as it is now. That door I feel will never be closed and of course I guess I do encourage it somewhat here on the blog thingy as well. Thanks for your kind words and for your loyalty and if there is anything you need please let me know.

Best wishes.


Beth Trewin asked:

I had a good time with you on Carnival Magic but I do have a comment about the Cucina. I ordered the pasta carbonara and it was so al dente I couldn’t eat it and sent it back. The second time it was served it was exactly the same and I refused it. Then the next day at the steak restaurant my fillet was supposed to be cooked medium rare and it came to the table medium and I sent that back as well. It came medium rare the second time but by then everyone at the table had finished their meals so I left it and couldn’t believe it when I was charged the full $30 and it was only after complaining that I got my charge removed. Not good enough John.

John says:
Hello Beth Trewin,

I was so surprised to read this as I think that is the first ever comment I have seen like that for the Cucina del Capitano. We do get the odd comment around the fleet about the steaks not being cooked to perfection though and that’s why we are always prepared to change it for our guests although again I must say this is very ummm……….rare……if you will pardon the pun. I will send your comment to the head chef of the Carnival Magic and I know he will take your comments to heart. Thanks for letting me know and I do hope that you had a brilliant time.

Best wishes.


Judy Modrick asked:
Hi John,

I love your blog. You are a fantastic writer and I hope you really will write that book one day. It would be a bestseller for sure. I read your blog today John and you mentioned that one of the ships had a veterans gathering. My DH and I will be on the Carnival Inspiration over the Thanksgiving holidays and I would ask that you help me arrange one then. DH is a Vietnam vet and although he is not one to stand and shout about this I know he loves meeting others who have served their country. Is this possible John? Can you arrange this please?

John says:
Hello Judy Modrick,

Thanks for those kind words and one day I will sit down in my underpants and write that book. Please would you pass my regards and admiration onto your husband and thank him for his service. There will be a veterans meeting on all the ships each and every cruise and just to make sure I will follow up with Stephanie the cruise director to make sure she has one and sends a personal invitation to your husband. I wish you both a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes.


Stacey asked:

I LOVE your blog! I see people post, “I am a platinum member”….what does that mean? May seem a nutty question – but it is driving me crazy! Looking forward to cruising the Glory in Feb 2012 ; )



John says:
Hello Stacey,

I am sorry to say that your question doesn’t even come close to entering the “nutty” section here on the blog. Platinum members are guests who have been loyal to Carnival and have cruised between 10 and 24 times. For doing this they receive a special service such as first on and first off the ship, confirmed dining room seating and free laundry to name just some of the benefits. Then we have Milestone guests who have cruised 25 times or more and they get discounts as well when they cruise — 25% off for cruise number 25 and 50% off for cruise number 50. I hope one day you reach Platinum status Stacey and if you have any other questions nutty or otherwise, I am here to help.

Best wishes.


Yolanda Garcia asked:
Hi John!

We are joining you on the Carnival Magic cruise on November 14th and are excited to see the new ship. We are from Houston and my daughter is coming with us. She is a country singer and has a voice like you have never heard before and I want her to sing on stage for my birthday which is on the 17th. She is bringing her music for your musician to play from and this will make my 50th birthday very special. We are on first seating dinner time and are in stateroom number 7387.She is the next Taylor Swift for sure John. Hope you can do this.

John says:
Hello Yolanda Garcia,

It seems your daughter is very talented and although I don’t know who Taylor Swift is (I will ask Uncle Google in a moment) I will do all I can to have your daughter sing. Now it won’t be on the 17th in the main lounge as we have a show there that will not have a place for her to do so but I will arrange with one of the musicians at the Ocean Plaza to see if we can work something out. As I will probably forget between now and when you cruise please may I ask you to drop me a note at the guest services desk when you are on board and remind me and as I said, I will do all I can.

Best wishes to you all.


Bob Amersfort asked:

Can I ask you to help me John? I did not get a comment card following my cruise on the Carnival Glory but I must make mention of the bartender at the wine bar at the back part of deck 5. She was outstanding and like the old man I am I have forgotten her name. She never forgot mine though and as soon as she would see me she would start to make my favorite dirty martini. Her smile and conversation made the wine bar the best place to be on the ship and I wanted to make sure the “beards” as you call them know this. Thanks John

John says:
Hello Bon Amersfort,

This is a wonderful post and I will make sure that the young lady in question gets to know what a positive influence she had on your cruise. Thanks for telling me Bob and I will indeed make sure the beards see this and that it makes its way to the bartender in question.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today.

While you are reading this I will be in Freeport reporting back on the progress of the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades. I can tell you work is going well and one big job already completed is the Seaside Theatre Big Screen which now has the same high definition screen we have on the Carnival Magic.

Actually, let’s talk about movies as obviously they are very popular and I should explain a few things. First of all we can only play select movies as in ones that we have ordered and paid the copyright for. If we were to play a movie that we had not paid the copyright for then we could be fined a large sum of money. This happened to another cruise line recently. They were playing a movie that they had not been contracted to play. They basically shoved a DVD in and played it. Someone who worked for the film distributor was on board and obviously reported it. Big fines followed.

Now most cruise lines order their movies through one vender who provides certainly all of the Carnival family of ships that have big screens. The movies are similar to the ones that you will find for $14.95 plus tax in the hotel room I am staying in at the moment and we pay a large sum of money for these movies to be shown on the ships. They are current, maybe a few weeks behind the hotels but certainly we get them before Netflix and Blockbuster do. They come in digital form, not DVD form and are chosen not by the cruise directors but by one of the beards in the Miami office.

Choosing the right movies is not easy. We have an operating budget for each ship and different movies are different prices. A blockbuster like Cowboys and Aliens which is one of our current big screen movies is one price where a lesser known movie will be cheaper of course. So, they are chosen to comply with the budget, that’s step one. Step two is to choose movies that will suit a family audience and that’s harder than it sounds. Animation and chick flicky things, that’s no problem but choosing a movie that has Bruce Willis shooting someone in the face or a rumpy pumpy scene featuring lots of breasts and bottoms and lady gardens is not possible. That’s because we can’t monitor who is out on the Lido deck watching and there have been occasions when mild rumpy pumpy or an exploding head has caused Mum or Dad to head down to the guest services desk to administer a bollocking.

Now the Carnival Magic is of course going to be starting her trans-Atlantic cruise in 10 days time and we have extra movies being shown there. Some of these will be shown as matinee movies as there will be four of the six days at sea in the middle of the voyage where it will be chilly at night. We have chosen some “classics” as well as you will see here with the Seaside Theatre list for the trans-Atlantic crossing.

  • Casablanca
  • The Godfather
  • Roman Holiday
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Nanny McPhee Returns
  • Shrek 4 EverAfter
  • Source Code
  • The Little Fockers
  • You Again
  • The Dilemma
  • Casino Royale
  • Harry Potter
  • Secretariat
  • Gladiator
  • Megamind
  • I Am #4
  • Tron Legacy
  • The Green Hornet
  • Tangled

For the month of November movies will include the following and will be sent to all the ships to be shown either on the Seaside Theatre Big Screen or on the cabin TVs or indeed both. I don’t have the full list yet but I can tell you they will include: Captain America, Friends With Benefits, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Zookeeper, Cars 2, Cowboys and Aliens and Latvian Women Go Nuts in Stockings and Suspenders.

As I mentioned the other day the Carnival Liberty will be doing something very different. This is because we have the RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar with live music and entertainment happening there. We also have two big new deck parties planned of which I will be writing more about when I get on board.

We are going to be theming these nights and here is how we are going to be doing it:


  • Pirates of the Caribbean (the new one)
  • Dr No.


  • 50 First Dates
  • Notting Hill


  • Shakespeare In Love
  • Forest Gump


  • Iron Man 1
  • Iron Man 2


  • Gnomio and Juliet
  • National Treasure

These movies will change every month. There will be two deck parties so that’s two nights when following the live music at the two competing bars we will continue the excitement and fun by going straight into the two deck parties. And I should point out that the more current movies will be shown on the new flat screen TVs that are in all the Carnival Liberty cabins. The family movie night will start at 7 pm. Oh and one more thing with the big screen. Throughout the day and night bar waiters and staff will be taking random photos of you on Lido and as they do those photos are projected immediately up onto the Seaside Theatre Big Screen which will be brilliant fun. But please………no Stars and Stripes Speedos. So there you go – some information on how we chose the movies and what’s happening next month. I will try and remember to post the new movies for the following month here on the blog thingy.

The other day I had a post on my blog from someone in the submarine service. I had been complaining about there being no air conditioning on the Carnival Liberty while in Freeport and he remarked that I really had to work on a submarine to appreciate hardship. The poster was right of course and I have felt guilty ever since. I must say that I know bugger all about the submarine service except that it is I am sure one fraught with difficulties and challenges. However, I think that if I was to join the armed services then it would be as a submariner. The infantry involves too much running around, lying in mud, crapping in a ditch and getting shot at while you are doing it. However, I can imagine myself as a submarine captain and if the world got a little too dangerous I could park the sub under a tropical island where it could not be seen by a satellite and spend the war drinking Mai Tai’s with my new girlfriend Rum Pi Pumpme. Then, when the trouble was over I would sail home and say my sun tan was due to the reactor getting a little hot. I have always loved submarines and any movie that involves one is bound to be on my favorite list.

  • The Hunt for Red October
  • Das Boot
  • Crimson Tide

I love the sneakiness of a submarine. The fact that you can creep up on the target, blow it to kingdom come and sneak away just in time for dinner. Mostly though my love of submarines came from seeing a clip on the news. It showed the submarine rising silently out of the water and suddenly there it was……..this incredible machine filled with brave men (are there any women?) who were there, silent and waiting, ready to protect us all.

So guess where I am going on January 5? I got told yesterday by wife and notice the word ……… told. We are going with our friends John and Lucy who have three young girls one of which is Kye’s best friend……to Disneyland Paris. I couldn’t believe it when she told me. My reaction was the same as if she had told me she was having rumpy pumpy with Stuart the Gardener…… fact my reaction was worse. Yes I know Kye will love it and yes I know I should do things as a family with me being away so much. But come on. It’s Paris. I don’t ever want to be in Paris. I would rather be in Judge Judy than in Paris.

OK, at this point some of you will be saying here he goes again making fun of the French …… but bear with me….it’s not just the French because I have been to Euro Disney before with Heidi pre Kye and it was truly awful on a biblical scale. Now you Americans are good at grinning and smiling and saying” have a nice day” but this simply doesn’t translate in France. Most of the staff I encountered had a Z in their name indicating that they were from Poland, not France, and boy did they look pissed off. Rightly so. You spend your entire life fighting the perils of Communism and your reward is dressing up as Donald Duck.

However, after I had spent hours queuing for rides that made me vomit and that you could only go on if you were 18 foot tall. Putting up with this and the rude staff I at least could look forward to a fully loaded cheeseburger or turkey drumstick. with gallons of fries and ketchup …… nope ………..this was Disneyland Paris……..this meant I had a choice of smelly cheese served by smelly people or a McHorse Burger.

Worst of all were the kids….thousands of them……….and unlike the ones in Disney America where you can hear the words “awesome” echoing around the parks …… here ………it was mostly French kids shouting ”Oh la la” pushing and shoving everyone all the time.

Some say the entire world’s evil lives in something called Pandora’s Box. They are wrong, the entire world’s evil lives in Disneyland Paris and in my underpants
The last time I was at Euro Disney I changed the words of that famous song to “It’s a smelly world after all.” And I am heading there in January. Oh FFS!


Your friend,


Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous, unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

46 Responses to NOW SHOWING

  1. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Yolanda Garcia:

    As John mentioned…the shows in the Main Theater are set to timers and can not be delayed or changed.

    The Ocean Plaza will be wonderful, but I would suggest that she bring an accompaniment CD instead of asking the stage band to learn a song on the “fly”.

    As someone who sings, the arrangement is very important and an accompaniment CD will mean she has her perfect arrangement and proper key for this special song.

    We look forward to meeting you and your talented daughter on this cruise!

    Linda (Mom of DJ)

  2. TAC says:


    I too am a man that does not drink. I don’t understand why that makes people uncomfortable. Maybe because I am the one that remembers what the drunk people did last night.

  3. Charlie says:

    Dear John,
    My family will be cruising on the Dream Oct 29. I was wondering which movies will be shown that week on the seaside theater and in-cabin tv’s.

  4. Darlene says:

    John, loved the story about your mate Alan. It had me laughing out loud, and reading your blog to my DH. There are 2 things drunk people can’t stand: (1)A sober person when they’re drunk (2)A drunk person when they’re sober!

  5. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    When someone asks why you aren’t ordering a drink…just tell them you are allergic to alcohol.

    That will end the discussion and stop any judgments being passed….

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  6. Somehow I doubt Beth complained about the $30 charge until AFTER she finish the steak. Another day, another freeloader.

  7. The Cruzin2some says:

    Cheer up John,
    It could be the Ikia in Paris!

  8. thomas tunks says:

    John good for u 14 yr I dont under stand why people need a drink at dinner or drink at all maybe the new beard is becoming a alcoholic I under stand why u have so meney club etc on the ship it is carnival cash cow

    U wont belive this but i am 73yr and have been in the u.s.air force and army [12 yr] all together and i I have never drank or smoked
    so keep u the good work

  9. John your going to Disney Paris in the winter? Your going to freeze your dangley bits off. It’s not like FL Disney nice and warm.

    What happen to the BIG news that’s coming January 5th?

  10. Kathy B says:

    John – If you like submarine movies, and given your occupation, you might enjoy the 1966 movie “Assault on a Queen” starring Frank Sinatra. It’s about a group of thieves who salvage a sunken U-boat and plot to hold up the Queen Mary during a transatlantic voyage. The plot’s not the greatest, but the shots of Queen Mary are wonderful.

    My dad was a WWII submariner. He loved submarine movies (he actually appeared as an extra in the 1944 movie “Crash Dive”). In August, right before our cruise on Carnival Fantasy (a great cruise, BTW), we visited the USS Clamagore – and it made me wonder how in the world all 6’2″ of him could have managed on one of those ships!

  11. Laura Capano says:

    I read your blog every night and I just have to say that I can’t believe that people expect…no demand that you give them gifts and insist that their prodigy have a stage. A gift is freely given not asked for or demanded and if your prodigy has talent to insist/demand a showcase for them on a cruise, is a little too much. Every parent feels that their child is a treasure. I have 3 treasures. One of them is an artist..a darn good one but you don’t find me asking that her artwork be brought onboard. She has to make her own way. Demanding things just isn’t the way it should be. John, I commend you on your poise, control and whatever that makes you able to handle all these things that would drive another person nuts! Here’s to you, John!!!

    • Chyrie Moore says:

      U agree wholeheartedly. Every mom has “treasures” and would like for them to feel special. The ship has a talent show, enough said.

  12. Ashley Darden says:

    lol I always luv reading your blogs!!!

  13. Helene Barnes says:

    Brilliant blog as always! I always enjoy reading your writings John.

    I did email you with a question and a favor request before we sail on Splendour on the 23rd and while I don’t think I’ll be hearing from you directly I wanted to tell you that I am so looking forward to being on this ship. You see it was your “smoke on the water” series that got me hooked on your blog to begin with. So I can’t wait to see her in all her Splendour! I look forward to reading more upon our return and of course I will write a fantastic review.

    As to today’s writings first – THANK YOU JOHN for all you do! I don’t think folks say that enough to you!

    Also just a bit of advice regarding your upcoming trip to Euro Disney. Try not to dwell on the bad of Euro Disney and focus instead on the huge smile the characters will bring to Kye’s face! I promise you that smile alone will be worth dealing with anything!

  14. Steve Worden says:

    Awesome story about the submarine service. Honesty check — Your reasons for submarine service – “Pretty much why I volunteered for sub service.” Secondary Reason, and why I like cruise ships – Submariners had THE BEST FOOD IN THE WHOLE US NAVY. A good friend of mine actually ate 16 lobster tails in one sitting.

    And you forgot one movie, and this is a Historical Fact .. Upon pulling into port after 60 days underwater … the 16mm movie shown in the ships galley the night before we turned over the ship to the BLUE CREW was “GREY LADY DOWN”. ALL I could think was “I’m glad we are going home for three months and the other crew has the ship while we have R&R” Even though the movie was Hokey and not true to fact in so many ways, it was just the thought of what could happen.”

    On a lighter note. After the first 30 days under water, no women. no day light and the only escape was movies every night. And this environment tends to cause on to look at things in a different light.

    Jessica Lang became a site to see and see and see in the 1976 movie “KING KONG”. She was HOT HOT HOT! I’ll leave it at that.


  15. Cathy W says:

    John, for you I would make the ultimate sacrifice and take your place at Euro Disney – hope you have a blast, wish it were me! 🙂

  16. Ruth says:


    I love the movies on the Lido and the idea of being able to swim late. Thanks for keeping us posted as to which movies are showing, too. My daughters and I come to your blog to get excited about our December cruise. You’re awesome!

  17. Scott Nickle says:

    Hi john,
    Excellent list of movies the beards have come up with. I heartily applaud adding the classics!
    Here’s a couple of more classics they might consider for future sailings:

    A night at the Opera. One of the Marx Brothers’ best and it has a very funny scene set in a transatlantic liner.

    The Sin of Harold Diddlebock. Stars Harold LLoyd, a famous silent film comedian, but it’s a “talkie” and it’s hilarious!

    The Captain’s Paradise. Another comedy with a cruise-related theme. Stars Alec Guiness (you probably already know that). May go over the heads of the kids, but I think it’s one of his best.

  18. STILLmissingthesmokefreeparadise says:

    John –

    As usual, your musings have made me laugh. Excellent job.


  19. Leon Biesiadecki says:

    John – on the Trans Atlantic I don’t want to be seated with OLD people – Woops, too late, I’m old people!
    Years ago when I was in the Navy, a friend was at my parent’s home to stand up for me at my wedding. Back then we had these large leather bags called AWOL Bags. My brother thought he’d get back at me for leaving rice everywhere when he got married so he loaded the AWOL bag up with wet rice. What he didn’t know was that my bag was already at the hotel and my buddy, Dennis, had left his bag at my parent’s place. Yep, Dennis got the rice, and I got the girl. He was picking rice out of his clothes for a while after that, it didn’t come off in the laundry.
    Thanks for the story, it reminded me of good times.

  20. Debbie Spence says:

    I would like a reservation for (2) on the 12-18-2011 sailing of Carnival Dream. What day will it be, or is there a choice? I hope I am doing this correctly. Even Platinum guests still learn new things about Carnival from each cruise. I experienced Chef’s Table twice in August 2011 on Ecstasy. It is incredible!

  21. Edvard says:

    John, I need your help. I am a CARNIVAL CRUISER. I enjoyed your jokes on Destiny. I need to go on a vacation on any Carnival 7+ days leaving out of South Florida. C’mon brother help me.

  22. Dwayne says:

    Dear John,

    I wanted to take a moment and thank Carnival Cruise Lines for bringing the beautiful Carnival Fantasy to Charleston,SC! While there have been Port challenges with this, the Carnival cruise community of the Carolina’s and surrounding areas FULLY support this.

    • Chyrie Moore says:

      I second that, taking our second Fantasy cruise in December. All of my siblings, my parents, couins and extended family live in SC and NC. All have been on the Fantasy. We even did the NCL Majesty when it sailed from Charleston. We love the availability of the port. Hope the controversity surronding the cruise industry and Charleston ends soon and the port authority builds a bigger dock so we can get a larger ship. But, if not, please keep the Fantasy close to us.

  23. Thrifty Brit says:

    Imagine the drop in revenue if many of your guests followed your lead and stopped drinking alcohol!:)

  24. Angela Stanley says:

    Another fabulous blog!! Hope that your trip to the “Not so wonderful place on earth” is bearable, but most importantly filled with new happy memories of your baby girl!! 🙂

  25. Bill Heck says:

    Hello John:

    The Carnival Magic is a great ship, the best yet. Plenty of dining choices. Lots of room. Those pesky Russians are a chore though. Dad Igor gets in line at the Mongrolian Wok and then as he reaches the sweet spot, the extended family of 15 or 20 brings him their orders, and he has the line stopped for 30 minutes. The nice man in front of me left in disgust. Oh well, I figured if they were all in line, Carnival might have opened up the other station. So beware Russians with big families.

    Enjoyed the Frog and the Cushina. Look forward to the barbie on a sea day. Savona is a great addition to the itinerary.

    Having a great time, WYWH.

    Your Friend

    Bill Heck

    ps. great story about the briefcase.

    • Bill Heck says:

      But I wish the outlets stayed on without the card in the slot. Hard to charge the laptop and the camera battery!

  26. Richard Taylor says:

    Another brilliant blog, John! You really must write a book, might even get to be a comedy show on TV!
    Now here’s one for the new beards. Base a ship in the UK. We have a thriving cruise industry here with new companies doing very well. People in the UK are fed up to the back teeth with the hassle air travel is nowadays. Even a short flight to Barcelona, which my wife and I are taking for a Carnival Breeze cruise, is not something to look forward to. So cruising is taking off (excuse the pun).
    With Carnival in the UK you’d mop up the market!

  27. Hi John,
    As usual many thanks for your blog, Knowing how partial to a good french joke you are, I thought you might enjoy the following, Old gentleman arrives at Charles De Gaul airport Paris and the Customs Officer demands his passport. The old chap starts to rummage through his hand luggage and the Officer asks “Monsier have you been to France before”, the chap replies “yes”, “Then you should know that you Must have your passport ready for inspection”, the old gentleman replies “The last time I was here was on the beach on D Day and I couldn’t find a single Frenchman to show it to” !!!!!!!

    Apparently during the 60’s the American Ambassador Dean Rusk had a meeting with De Gaul who demanded that Allied troops leave France ASAP. Mr Rusk reponded by saying “will that include those buried here?”.

    At a conference of Engineers from US, Canada and UK held in France, one of the French engineers remarked that the language used was always English and asked why the others did not learn French. An English engineer replied that they did not have time as they were too busy preventing the French from having to speak German.

  28. Brian L. Grass says:

    Hi John. First time to comment on your blog site. Read your 18 Oct blog and enjoyed it. Have been on plus 10 Carnival cruises, currently on Magic Med/Atl to Galveston. Was on Dream in 09 Trans Atl and it was great. My wife Dixie and I cruise mostly to just relax and not necessarily to visit any particular ports. Love going to the shows each evening in the theater, but, after being on here three days, saw the first schedluled show last night. Why the long weait to have the first show? Don’t hear much from our CD like on past cruises. Thanks for all you do and enjoyed you as CD on a previous cruise out of Galveston as I recall, where the lady laid you out up on the stage. Hope you had a complete recovery. Brian and Dixie from San Antonio, Texas

  29. Eileene says:

    Poor John – having to go to Paris! Working for a French company, I can empathize. Luckily, my position doesn’t require that I travel there. And I HAVE met some truly good people from France, who live in the US for a contracted period, and find out we’re not as bad as they’ve been raised to believe!

    Thank you for the info in your blog. Your blog gives me my first chuckles of the day. Hope you have a great Hump Day yourself!

  30. Hi John,
    I can appreciate what you mean when you say people think you are strange because you don’t drink. (and I appreciate that you don’t,)especially because of your job duties.
    My wife and I are not drinkers, (I am a Minister) But that is not the reason we do not drink, My family has a long record of alcoholics, and my brother who would have been 58 this year, literally drank himself to death.Thank for letting us know we are not alone.

    Amber (my wife) and I will be on the Carnival Splendor for our Platinum cruise on February 5th 2012, to celebrate our 33 years of marriage together. We have never had a bad cruise and every staff member has been great. Sure there were times when I have seen some of them a little edgy but hey if I worked as hard and as many hours as they do without seen family and friends I would be upset once in a while too.

    I just want to thank you and them for all their hard work to make every thing on board the best that it can be.

    Gary Hamilton

  31. Amanda burden says:

    Hi John! I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone in the not drinking camp. After an admittedly wild (and underage) night in high school i decided that drinking just wasn’t for me. It’s been 13 years and it’s now part of who I am. The only thing I hate is the assumption that I’m a recovering alcoholic… Also, the lido movies look great!!

  32. Judy C (OH CANADA) says:

    Hi John; Having a wonderful time on day 4 – Civitavecchia – of our 28 day trip on the Carnival Magic!
    Hope to be able to say hello in Galveston – we are staying overnight November 13 (on shore).


  33. Clair says:

    Hi John, (please reply when you can)

    My husband and I returned this Sunday from 10/7 sailing on the Carnival Spirit. We had a wonderful time!

    Several of the crew went above and beyond and I hope you can pass this on to the correct department/people.

    Jimmy on the Entertainment staff was fabulous! I went to many of the trivias hosted by Jimmy, chatted with him at the deck party and other activities. He was always engaging, getting everyone involved and extremely nice.

    The Assistant Manager at the Shore Excursion Desk (sorry, I have forgotten his name..shame on me). There was some confusion regarding one of the shore excursions we had booked (the office in Miami had accidently refund/cancelled our tickets). He went above and beyond in not only explaining what had happened,but fixing it too.

    Salvoi — Bartended at the Fantail Bar. My husband and I don’t drink alchol (no reason other than we just don’t). Most bartenders pretend like they don’t see us when they see the soda sticker on our key cards. But not Salvoi! He was always pleasant, helpful and new what we’d be ordering.

    Thanks John for all of the information and updates you give. I’ve been following your blog since day one and it’s because of you and your blog that I gave Carnival another try several years back {which then led to more Carnival cruises :)}. I hope Heidi and Kye are doing well.


  34. Loretta says:

    I am sure you are going to have a great cruise with people just like you.

  35. Wanda says:

    Hi John, I have cruised with carnival three times the lasts on the escasty oct. 1-8 and have enjoyed each time. But I just got into your blog and after reading your blog and the comments I realize that I haven’t been getting all that the ships have to offer. I have learned about things to do and see that I didn’t know about. So I just want to thank you and everyone on here for all the info. So now my next cruise which will be next year on the conquest even more enjoyable. Thanks you guys!!! And John I hope I get an opportunity to sail with you. Keep up the good work.

  36. Steve Worden says:

    Added Comment regarding comments on your blog postings.

    My Pool Boy (cause that’s the name of the company that takes care of pool, Pool Boy, Inc) came today. He knew we would be gone next week and as he left he said ” I hope you have a good time on your cruise!”

    My reply to him was based on expereince … I said “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BAD TIME ON A CRUISE SHIP!”

    Regarding comments by anyone contrary to my reply to the POOL BOY Employee …
    My comment basically says it all!

    (A.K.A. – HIM)

  37. Carnival junkie says:

    Ever try a VIP tour at Universal Orlando? no lines, food is much better no language barrier.
    Best way in the world to go to a theme park.

  38. Ken says:

    OK Johnee. I do drink. I’m also diabetic so I don’t drink (or eat) sugar or carbohydrates. When someone offers me a sugary drink or a high-cab food I say ‘No thank you’.

    I do not loudly proclaim ‘I don’t drink sugar!!!!!!’

    Maybe you should do similarly.

  39. Jodi says:

    Hi John!

    I am really looking forward to sailing a ship with a “big screen”! And the extended hours for the Lido deck sound brilliant! I just got back from a 4-day cruise on Carnival Paradise and I love the Lido!

    Just wanted to give you a quick review of our trip. It was FABULOUS! My husband Jeff and I have only one complaint: IT WAS TOO SHORT! When I asked him what cruise he wanted to do next year he said “on the Splendor!” this was the guy I never thought I would get on a cruise ship! Anyway we had a porthole cabin on Empress Deck and so now we are ruined for interior cabins for life! Our Cabin Steward was Antonio, and his assistant was Puti. They make a great team! Always greeted us by name and the cabin was spotless! Until we came back, of course, we are not the easiest people to keep up with! Our waiter io the Elation Dining Room late sitting was Ray. He was Super! Very friendly and efficient at the same time! Our tablemates were fun and a perfect mix. Of the 5 couples at least one of each pair was an educator and my husband is a custodian in a jr. high school. There were many stories that we could all relate to and I beleive a great time was had by all! Jeff the cruise direcot was brilliant! He has the corniest sense of humour and is quick on the uptake, we enjoyed him this cruise as much as our first and his “Fun Patrol” is OUTSTANDING! Especially Sam in the Comedy Club and Rolly with the Karaoke! The entertainment was great! Stanley Ullman a;nd JeROME were hilarious! Though we only saw the one show, “8 Seconds”, it was superbly done and the singers and dancers very professional! Catalina Island was lovely, Ensenada, was well Ensenada, the weather was lovely, but I am a Sea Day girl at heart I think. So relaxing and many things to do, if you want to. Thank you Paradise, we will miss you! But we are looking forward to meeting “Inspiration” and of course “Splendor”.

    Thanks for keeping us in touch with cruising through the blog John. And thank you Carnival for making a fabulous experience affordable for all!

    Always, Jodi

  40. David in West Palm Beach says:

    Paris . . . . in January??????? Come on John! Bring the family to Florida in January. The weather is great and Kye will love Disney World soooo much better. And, with sunlight instead of gloomy weather, Heidi will likely be in a MUCH better mood . . . . .

    Just saying.

  41. Steve B says:

    Hi John!

    I fully understand the reaction to “I don’t drink alcohol”, having been a teetotaler all my life. As a youth, that was more due to the one time I *did* try drinking, and got very sick. I didn’t have any desire to try it again, and besides, the taste and smell was terrible – even worse than coffee. 😉 Over the years, my body has become less and less tolerant of alcohol, to the point where even a small sip is likely to make me ill, and even a whiff of strong stuff can be problematic.

    As the years pass, Caffeine is slowly joining Alcohol in the area of bad reactions – leading me to drink Caffeine Free Diet Coke or water… Which reminds me, I was a bit surprised on my recent Carnival Destiny cruise not to be able to find the Caffeine free stuff anywhere on board. I’m hoping that was just a one time thing, and not a fleet-wide change…

    @TAC: ROFL! Yes, there definitely *is* that bit of worry that being a non-drinker, you’ll remember everything that the drunk people did last night. It doesn’t help when they ask me “Did I do something stupid last night?” and I simply chuckle evilly and rub my hands together… 😛

    @Linda (Mom of DJ): Heh… I’ll often say I’m “allergic to alcohol”, since I *do* have bad reactions to it as noted above. It’s not clear whether that’s truly an allergy or simply an increased intolerance to a poison, but it does simplify explanations.

    @Ken: I’m on a low carb diet – and I frequently qualify a “No, thank you” with “I don’t/can’t eat carbs”. Often a “No, thank you” by itself simply results in them continuing to foist something on you until you explain *why* you don’t want it.

  42. Barbara Lyle says:

    Hi John,
    I am on the Magic as we speak!!! Having a great time on my 2nd Magic Cruise. I have a request. We are taking my parents 84 & 87 on a cruise for their 65th Anniversary on the Triumph 11/26/11. We have early dining and there are a total 8 family mambers sailing. We would like to request a round table for our family so we can enjoy this special occasion together and in addition (my duaghter was recently engaged as you know) we will also be using it as an engagement celebration. I just realized the cruise is fast approaching and want to be sure we can get a round table since it’s difficult for them to slide in and out of a booth and they love the entertainment in the dining room. I hope you can help!! Thanks for anything you can do!!!!
    FYI I am leaving Kye’s gift with James since Mel is with you! Hope to see you in Galveston one day!!!

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