October 24, 2011 -

John Heald

Good morning from Cozumel, Mexico, and from the Lido Deck where I am sitting in the shaded part of the deck behind the brilliant new RedFrog Rum Bar. And bloggers, I have to say that sometimes I wonder how the heck we human beings have evolved as far as we have when almost every single decision we ever make is bordering on the insane. I will tell you specifically what I am referring to in a moment but how have we been able to get ahead of the animal kingdom? You do not see baboons smoking cigars like I did last night or sheep riding their Harley Davidson’s at high speed and not wearing a crash helmet. You don’t see penguins throwing huge amounts of salt over their fish and chips or a Gerald the Giraffe at Saks of 5th Avenue buying something he knows he can’t afford.

Take my two stupid decisions I made today. First of all, I hit the snooze button on my raspberry alarm clock even though I knew that I had so much to do today that if I didn’t get my lily white arse out of bed then I wouldn’t be finished until midnight and that would incur the wrath of Peter the Hair and Jay the Recently Married. But I ignored myself, pressed snooze and sure enough I was late for our first film shoot. This made Peter’s Hair droop and Jay’s wart itch. Then this morning I went to the coffee shop on Promenade Deck and had a double espresso, which I know will make my teeth even more yellow.

And then after filming instead of going to Facebook and catching up on some questions there, I went to sit with Captain Cupisiti in his office and drink more coffee and chat with my friend even though I knew that I should be working.

And I look at the pair of expensive sunglasses I bought recently. It’s a waste of money. I shall wear them a few times and then lose them like I do my cigar lighters and cutters. I know this yet I still spent $200 on them but because I am mad………I bought them anyway. But then again if you were to come home with me you would see that most of the things I buy are things that I should never have spent money on. I look at all the things on my desk and I wonder what the sodding heck was going on in my head when I chose them? The universal remote control that doesn’t work, the cat sound thing that is supposed to keep them from crapping on my doorstep, the Aston Martin cufflinks, and something called a Sony Dream Machine, which so far as I can tell is specifically designed to do absolutely bugger all.

I must have said to someone in a shop, “What does this do?” and he must have said, “Absolutely bugger all” and then I must have said, “Brilliant. Here’s my credit card.” How stupid is that?

And after wasting the last few minutes of your life with my silly musings on life I finally come to my point. A couple just walked past me. They are in their late 50’s I would guess. Both are on the large side like myself and indeed the man is probably a good 30 or 50 pounds heavier than me. So at some point this chap must have thought it was a brilliant idea to go to a shop and buy a pair of Speedos. Yep……Speedos. A proper pair of tight dark blue bullock huggers. He strutted across Lido Deck oblivious to the fact that everyone and I mean everyone was watching, some were vomiting.

So at some point this 300 pound 50 something chap must have thought that he would look good in Speedos and so went to a shop and bought some. Seriously, my dishwasher has a bigger brain.

And his wife…….well I have to say what she was wearing was even worse. She was only a few pounds lighter than her husband but she had a very, very skimpy bikini on and it was not hiding anything. Her bottom was eating the bikini bottoms and as she walked across the deck it slowly disappeared up her chocolate starfish. Look I am fat. I know I am and if you ever see me wearing Speedos please, set me on fire. It’s OK to wear Speedos if you are a professional swimmer or Adam Levine. And it’s OK to wear a skimpy bikini if you are Megan Fox but it’s not OK to wear a skimpy bikini if you were to go topless and leave nipple drag marks all the way down Lido Deck.

Lots to do today so let’s crack on with some Q and A………….away we go.

Kathy C asked:
Hi John,

I just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoy your blog and also how much I enjoy Carnival. I recently went on my first NCL Cruise to Alaska and although the trip itself was good the ship and staff could have been better. I guess I have been spoiled by Carnival. So many differences between the two…For one they have Freestyle Dining which would be good except for the menus are the same just different days and I seem to enjoy the same waiter for each service. They also use two-liter bottles for drinks instead of cans or even fountains which would have been okay except that several drinks I got were flat and also they are skippy on their ice for drinks LOL…I have to admit though they do treat their Cruise Critic guests nice. There was a small group of us (maybe a total of 15-20) that held a meet and greet and at the meeting there was the captain, hotel director, chef, cruise director and even a security officer and was also given a bridge tour which I found to be very nice. Overall I guess I am spoiled though by Carnival and have to say that Carnival is my choice of cruise lines. I do want to thank you for your blog and a way to express my opinions about Carnival.

John says:
Hello Kathy C,

Thanks for those wonderful words. I know NCL has worked hard in recent years and has turned their product around and from some serious trouble they have found their feet for sure and I know they have many fans. I am though truly happy to hear that you missed Carnival and that makes me very proud indeed. I hope it won’t be long until we see you again very soon on one of our ships and despite the concerns I do hope that you had a great time on your last cruise as well. Thanks also for the kind words about the blog and I am so happy it is something you enjoy.

Best wishes.


Sami Kearney asked:

Got off from my Carnival Freedom cruise I was horrified to see that Carnival had charged me $344 for using my cell phone on a six-day cruise. I called your customer care line but they said nothing can be done. I have had to ask my parents for help to pay this as Carnival won’t do anything. You should tell passengers that you charge so much for texting and calls and I am telling all my friends about this and not to cruise with Carnival.

John says:
Hello Sami Kearney,

I can understand your shock at getting such a high bill but I promise you it’s nothing to do with Carnival, as the rates are set by the satellite provider and your own cell phone carrier. I should point out that this is clearly advertised on board. I am sorry that you are upset and I hope you will also tell your friends that you had fun while you were on the cruise. Thank goodness for Mum and Dad.

Best wishes.


Margo Legge asked:

I have to write and tell you about a young man called Matt who was the cruise director during our recent cruise on the Carnival Victory. If Matt had not told us that it was his second cruise ever as a cruise director we would never have known. He is funny and smart and spent lots of one on one time with the passengers and sat and played chess with my son as well. Watch out for this one John as I think he is going to be one of your best. Thanks.

John says:
Hello Margo Legge,

I am so thrilled to have read this. I have never met Matt but have heard so many great reviews about him and here is another brilliant one from you. He of course will be thrilled to read this and I will make sure I will copy Chris the director beard in the office as well. Thanks so very much, Matt is all we look for in a CD. I hope you had a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.


Lois asked:
Hi John,

Will Carnival replace the Carnival Spirit in Alaska in 2013 or is that the end of Carnival in Alaska. We want to cruise there for our 50th wedding anniversary which is June 14 2013 but can’t find any list of a ship that is going there. I then read on your blog that the Carnival Spirit is leaving for Australia. Please can you tell me what’s happening?

John says:
Hello Lois,

While I don’t know what ship it will be just yet I can assure you that you will be able to book your cruise to Alaska to celebrate that brilliant milestone on a Carnival ship. I hope to let you know in the weeks ahead what ship that will be and when we can start taking reservations.

Best wishes to you both.


Dean Malikyan asked:

I would like to see if you can get me a pin from the Celebration. I have all the ships up to and including the Carnival Dream and will be on Carnival Magic in December. But no Celebration and nobody at Carnival wants to help me. Can you get me a pin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Dean Malikyan,

I guess I should start by saying a huge thank you. I know you Dean of course and know you cruise a lot and I remember the conversation we had about this when I saw you on the Carnival Dream inaugural from New York. I am sorry but I still don’t have any pins from the Celebration and we have none at our offices in Miami. I did read on my Facebook page recently that someone had found a pin from the Holiday on eBay so may I kindly suggest you look there. I wish you luck and have a brilliant time on the Carnival Magic and let me know if you need help with your motor scooter and table reservation as usual.

Best wishes.


Sarah Baker asked:
Hi John,

Just a quick question about what to expect on our first cruise ever. We are sailing the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore on October 30. With the time change (falling back) we are excited to have more dark hours to be able to sit back and just look up at the stars on our cruise (backyard amateur astronomers, maybe) but were wondering what deck would be the best, the darker the better! Also this is our first family cruise for us (there are 10 total going) and was wondering if you could do something special for us! It never hurts to ask I guess. Our rooms are 4102, 4104 and 5215 (for now, we are hoping for an upgrade closer to our cruising date!) The kids would love it and the adults would greatly appreciate anything. Thank you for all that you do, your blogs and Facebook make my day and keep me super excited about our upcoming trip!!!


Sarah Baker

John says:
Hello Sarah Baker,

I am glad I saw this in time as you are sailing in a week and of course I will send you something. I hope you got that upgrade and while I can’t arrange that I will send you something for sure. I wish you all a great time and enjoy the beautiful Caribbean stars. Have fun.

Best wishes.


Nimmy M asked:

I am a not a Carnival cruise fan as I have never cruised on your line but I am a John Heald fan and love, love, love your humor and the fact that you take so much time to make your passengers happy. I cruise with Holland America and my latest on Eurodam will be number 44 with them. My question John is can you drop a hint to someone at Holland America to suggest that they find someone who can write a blog. They won’t find one like you but maybe someone who can tell us what’s happening and more importantly respond to the needs of passengers. I am 67 years of age and too old to change habits now but I would have loved to have cruised with you John. Keep making us laugh.

John says:
Hello Nimmy M,

I think it is so wonderful that you have shown so much allegiance to Holland America and having sampled their service recently I can totally see why. I will indeed pass this onto a friend of mine who is a senior vice president at HAL and let him see your request. Holland America has a brilliant official blog which shows highlights of all the ships, where they are and the stories from on board.

There is another blog as well. It is written by someone who works for HAL ashore in their offices and it’s not an official blog but is written by some great people who I met recently on a Carnival ship. They have a true passion for their company and the ships and I thought you might like to see it. I will pass on your thoughts though and I am sure they have someone who can write and respond far better than I. Here are those links.

I wish you happy cruising.

Best wishes,


Barbara Callis asked:

I think you need to come up with a better system for arranging tables and promises John. I asked you for a table for eight by the window and a surprise for my daughter’s graduation. We had a table for eight but it was far away from the window and my daughter received NOTHING! Cabin 2358/September 3. You dissapointed us.

John says:
Hello Barbara Callis,

I am very sorry to read this. I do always say that I will do my best to arrange the table requests I am asked but I never guarantee as in the end it’s up to the maitre d on each ship. I see he did arrange a table for eight for you and I am sorry it was not by the window. As for the gift, well that is disappointing and I did ask someone to send it but I guess they let me down for which I apologise. I do hope you had a great time despite these disappointments and I will do all I can to make up for it the next time you cruise.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today.

Before I talk about some of the specifics, let’s welcome the Carnival Liberty with the official press release written by our mate Vance:

So off we go with 3,391 guests including 110 from Mexico, 101 French Canadian and 60 Germans, 67 Italian and 1 guest from Belgium.

So yesterday, our day at sea, I was on a mission and that mission was to count how many people had saved chairs by 9 am. Now obviously I couldn’t count all the chairs on the open deck but instead I concentrated on a row of 8 on the port side close to the pool and the BlueIguana Bar. When I checked at 9 am all of them, every single one had towels on them. Some also had books and bags and one had a pair of kids swim band floaty things on it. And so I took a seat at the corner of the BlueIguana Bar and watched. While I was doing so I noticed that while the man with the huge ugly hair feet and many of his fellow guests had opted for eggs and bacon and grits for breakfast there were two ladies at the bar who preferred a more liquid start to the day and were drinking margaritas.

Anyway, I sat and I watched to see how long it would be before these guests came back. While I did so I noticed just how many people were up early and having eaten were determined to get that tan. Both young and old, male and female were worshipping the golden ball in the sky. Now, I’m long past the age when I give two shiny you know whats about a tan. When I was a young CD I’d stake myself out on the topless deck (yes, we used to have those) and lie there blinking the sweat out of my eyes and rubbing baby oil into my secret gentleman’s areas. This would make me look rich when I got home. But by the age of 30 something I’d realised that most of my tan would be left in a series of unpleasant flakes on the airplane seat and that was the end of my sun worshipping.

Nowadays, anytime my wife insists we sit in the sun I spend my time under a hat, a tree and a roof. Anyway, I digress. We advertise that 30 minutes is the maximum time that seat saving is allowed and so I wanted to see how many guests listened to that. It was advertised in the Fun Times and there was a scrolling message on the Seaside Theatre, which by the way has been upgraded here as you know and looks totally brilliant.

Anyway, 30 minutes later seven of the chairs were occupied and three were not including the one with the kids swimming thingies on it. So where were these people? Had they gotten up at 7 am to reserve the chairs and gone back to bed or were they at breakfast? I looked around at the staff. Two were handing out towels, one was watching the pool as he should do and one was helping a guest with something. So, it is so hard for the crew if not impossible at the present manning quotas to check every chair and what time the guests come and what time they are due back. But the reserving of chairs happens, of that there is no doubt and after my spying mission I grabbed by raspberry and sent a message telling the beards what was going on. I think many guests listen and adhere to the rules but some definitely do not and while it would be nice to think that all guests would respect the rules they don’t and so we have to see what we can do to enforce it better. Oh by the way, the new Serenity area looks fantastic and there we have the ability to make sure the 30 minute rule is obeyed and it is. I think anyone found saving a seat for more than 30 minutes has to use a pair of my underpants as a hammock.

Now talking of Serenity here are some photos for you of what a wonderful job they have done here with the Carnival Liberty’s adults only deck.


I have to tell you that our President and CEO Gerry Cahill and his band of beards were here on Saturday and they had smiles on their faces as wide as a Guy Fieri burger. And so they should because what they have done here is quiet simply miraculous, especially in two weeks and those two weeks that were spent working in torrential rain and high winds. I know it’s early on in the cruise but let me say that the ship is a huge hit and the Lido deck is exactly what we thought it would be………a destination. Both the RedFrog Rum Bar and the BlueIguana Tequila Bar are hugely popular. Which one is the most popular so far I hear you ask?

Well, that’s a tough one but I asked the Bar Manager and he said that revenue wise the RedFrog is slightly in the lead and that I am sure is due to the ThirstyFrog Red beer. On the first night of the cruise we stopped the music at 10 pm and there were still 200-plus on Lido Deck and that number stayed that high for the first movie “Paranormal Activity” which featured in our horror night. It looks amazing on the new big screen and from the screams I heard when I walked through the Lido deck it looks bloody scary as well. We are handing out popcorn and Depends.

So how about Guy’s Burger Joint? Well we all thought it would be popular and we were all correct. How correct? Well on embarkation day between noon and 6:30 pm Chef Sanjay told me we had served 1,000 burgers. I also have to tell you that throughout the day many guests asked the same question………how much? Yep, many guests who haven’t been on the various social media sights had no idea that they were free and so when the staff told them how much they were …….. they were both thrilled and shocked. I wonder if these guests were shocked because other cruise lines charge for their burger? Whatever the reason, they obviously love the fact that they are free and love the fact they are probably the best burgers…….in the world. I will talk more about each individual area in later blogs and there will be loads of video too but so far each and every guest has said how they love what we have done. Well done Gerry and team………you got it absolutely bang on.

The Punchliner Comedy Club is as popular as ever here on the Carnival Liberty. I hadn’t seen the two comedians who performed last night and both I have to say were funny although one who I won’t name, really intrigued me. He is in his early thirties and yet he spent his entire 30 minutes on stage doing jokes and gags on one subject. Old people. This got me thinking. Why is it that a comedian can get away with that these days? It is inappropriate to make fun of someone’s race, gender or disability…..but an old person….. well……….go right ahead. I may do it myself now and then during a Marriage Show but I like to think that I do it in a respectful way. I hope the same applied to what I write on the blog. I’ll also admit to ageist moments in everyday life, such as when I’m in the line for the ATM machine or waiting in line for the bathroom and desperate for a pee. But to spend 30 minutes of comedy doing it…….well to me it just doesn’t seem right, it isn’t funny to mock the aged.

Except though that it seems nobody cares. During my time as a CD I have received complaints from guests if a comedian dares to make a joke about religion, colour or being fat, unless the comedian is overweight themselves of course, then it’s OK. But the guests at the comedy club loved it, even the old ones. It seems that all this comedian needed to do was to mention old people and add a dash of Viagra, hearing aids, dentures and driving…….and he had a guaranteed laugh. I guess I wasn’t laughing because my Dad is 76 and every joke this comedian made on the show last night made me think of him………..apart from the Viagra obviously.

One day we shall all be old and maybe then I will feel different about this subject. Maybe older people like hearing jokes about themselves………if that’s the case then they won’t mind me saying that the only thing I am looking forward to about being old is being able to fart in public and having those around me who heard and smelt it simply go…………”ahhhhhh.”
It’s time to go film but first let me say that I have enjoyed being in the office and living on land but I have to tell you that it’s great to be back on a ship. I love seeing the guests have fun and although I am already frustrated about not having the microphone it is brilliant to be back. I am also lucky that for the first time I have a balcony cabin. I wasn’t supposed to have one but one of the very senior beards who was supposed to sail had to cancel his sailing so I got his cabin. Hopefully he won’t discover it was me that called the Miami Dade Police and told them that he had a body buried under his rose bushes. Anyway, I have his cabin and that means I can sit on my balcony and enjoy the sea. I love the sea, always have even before my life with Carnival. I was brought up in Southend On Sea in Essex which as the name suggests is by the sea and for all those people who wonder if the extra cost of a stateroom with a balcony is worth it…….well let me tell you that yes, it absolutely is.

So it starts here on the Carnival Liberty. The Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades were designed to make our guests say “wow.” Which from what I have seen here……they do. You know life is desperately short and no matter how much you do, there’s always a dollop of regret that you didn’t do more. No matter how much you see, you always think that if only you’d gone a little bit further and over one more horizon, you’d have seen something else. I bet when Tiger Woods is summoned by the grim reaper, he’ll think of a lady that he could have rumpy pumpy with but didn’t, and that will make him a bit sad.

So book a Carnival Liberty cruise. Go on, book one. And if you do I promise you something for sure. When all is said and done, you’ll remember those seven days sipping a ThirstyFrog Red, eating a free Guy Fieri burger followed by a taco from the BlueIguana Cantina for dessert and enjoy each and every one of the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades. Do that and I promise you’ll go through the Pearly Gates with a huge smile on your face.

What a brilliant ship this is.


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.