February 25, 2012 -

John Heald

There has been much excitement these past few weeks since the announcement that the Carnival Splendor will be heading to South America in 2013 on what will be an incomparable series of voyages. Obviously, there have been questions including visas in Brazil which I think we have sorted out (you definitely need one, the end). But also on Facebook this week I have been asked if guests will need “Yellow Fever” injections before the cruise starts. Now I have a beard called Doris who is absolutely terrific and beautiful and gorgeous and stunning and cute and your married John and oh bugger, I’m looking into this and I will have the answer soon.

However, being a bit thick I admit I had to ask Uncle Google what Yellow Fever was as I thought it’s where you write about how you hate fat cruise directors on cruise websites but do so not using your real name. But apparently it’s not that, it’s worse even. It’s a killer that goes “bbbzzzz” instead of “grrrrrrrrrr,” because it’s a mosquito. When I was reading about this Yellow Fever thingy I began to delve into the world of this tiny insect. Apparently, mosquitos are the deadliest creature known to man, and are quickly lining up to invade the world.

Mosquitos are responsible for various diseases that can cause vomiting, headaches, fever, neck stiffness, a rash, stupor, and more …of course, many of these cases are not reported because even though men have all these symptoms they refuse to admit anything’s wrong and refuse to see the doctor.

Anyway, we are looking into this for those who will cruise to South America and I will let you know ASAP.

And on that cheery note it’s time for today’s Q and A

Raymond Wenzel asked:

I need help fast! We are eight people cruising on the Carnival Dream March 24 and we are waited listed for early sitting meals. We cannot possibly eat late as I have an eating disorder and need my meals at 6 pm no, ifs, or buts. Who do I need to speak to, whose palm needs greasing to get this done? We are in cabins 8316, 8324 and 8328!

John says:

Hello Raymond Wenzel

You don’t need to grease anyone’s palm and please don’t worry. While I can’t promise for certain, I will certainly do my very best to make sure you and your family get early seating dinner. Have a wonderful cruise. Best wishes.


Vera Hanson asked:

We took our first cruise in January 2006 on the Carnival Valor. Had such a great time except when we got back and had to go to the Miami airport it was absolute heck and I know that’s not the fault of Carnival but since then my husband has crushed his hip and had it replaced and now uses a walker. Everyone says the best airport and port to go out of is Fort Lauderdale. We want to take another cruise in 2012 but I want to make it as easy as possible for my husband and myself. My last question is getting around the ship would be so much easier if we could have the use of a wheelchair. Is this possible? We absolutely loved the Carnival Valor and I am sure your other ships are as nice. We will always have a balcony room because we did enjoy sitting out on it. I would appreciate any help you can give us.

John says:
Hello Vera Hanson,

I think it’s a well known fact that I am not a huge fan of airports in general (Miami International Airport included) and so I understand why your husband had such difficulties. Carnival Freedom does indeed sail from Fort Lauderdale and I have flown from Fort Lauderdale airport and it’s quite convenient. This may be, therefore, the right thing for you to do and the Carnival Freedom is the same class of ship as Carnival Valor so you will know your way around. My advice is yes, rent a wheelchair and please call our special needs department in Miami as they will help arrange one for you. It’s always best to have that option. Your husband may not need it all the time but it’s a comfort to know it’s there if you need it, Vera. So have a think about what’s best for you and, of course, if you need anything at all, please let me know.

Best wishes.


Hana asked:

So I recently turned 21 and went on a cruise back in July. My parents have been on several cruises and said that Carnival prides themselves on not needing your ID while on the boat and I’ve read this on the Carnival website. While on the cruise, I got carded several times and refused a couple of times because I look so young. I understand that this is because I look young, but I was wondering if there is a way around having to carry around my ID? Or could I take an expired ID and punch a hole in it and keep it with my key card? I really do not like carrying my ID around because a lot of my cruising attire does not have pockets and I’m just afraid I’ll lose it, and I can’t punch a hole in my current ID because it voids it.

Thanks for taking the time to look over my question!

John says:
Hello Hana

This is something I have heard about recently from someone else who said the same thing and I agree it is something we should look at. Obviously we have to ask for ID when serving alcohol and allowing entrance to the club but it would make it easier for sure if we had a way of doing this without, ladies especially, having to carry their ID. Let me see what I can do and thanks for bringing this to my attention. I hope you had a wonderful cruise and I am here if you need any additional help or have further questions.

Best wishes.


Nathan J asked:

We were on the Carnival Fascination last year and had a blast especially with comedian Happy Cole who we hung out with the rest of the time he was on the boat. I want to know if he will be on our next cruise on Carnival Magic 4/1 and if not who the comedians will be. This information should be available on your website so I don’t have to waste my time writing in.

John says:
Hello Nathan J

It would be a big process to keep all 23 ships’ weekly entertainment schedule posted online and, besides, schedules do change. However, I do thank you for writing to me and telling me how much you enjoyed Happy Cole who remains one of our very, very best comedians. You will also have some excellent comedians when you cruise on the Carnival Magic and they include Just June who is a hilarious lady indeed and Frank Del Pizzo one of my all time favourites. I wish you a wonderful cruise full of laughter and fun.

Best wishes.


Mary Jane Flannigan asked:

Why do you never compliment your nurses on your ships? You go on about waiters and cabin cleaners and other workers but never the nurses. As a nurse, I am insulted by this as we nurses have the toughest job in the world they never get any thanks for it. I cruised on the Carnival Elation last year and there was a big parade of crew at the shows end and the captain thanked them all and again no nurses to be seen anyway. It’s a disgrace and I hope you do something to rectify this.

Mary Jane Flannigan

John says:
Hello Mary Jane Flannigan,

I am so sorry to see you so upset and while I am sure that in past blogs, and certainly in my role as a cruise director on the ships I have many times thanked the medical staff including the nurses for all they do. I know that they are often the unsung heroes of a medical rescue because it’s the doctors who get the praise so let me say loud and proud now a huge thank you to nurses everywhere for all they do.

Best wishes.


Lola Kneip asked:

Hi John,

Will you be the CD on the Spirit for the Aussie trip? We’re already booked and can’t wait! I will have 20 Carnival cruises under my belt with this one-but my twin sister will have a lot more. She is a milestone member which she is extremely proud of! I threaten to throw her overboard if she says it one more time. Do you think the beards could have a specially made, black with gold letters on it-maybe with twinkling lights, so no one can miss it? Just joking!

LOVE your blogs, and hope to see you on the Carnival Spirit come Oct!

John says:
Hello Lola Kneip,

The CD for that magnificent voyage will be Stuart Dunn who, as an Aussie himself, is going to be so proud to be in that position for our first venture Down Under. Your twin sister should be proud and we are proud of her for showing Carnival such amazing loyalty and so very thankful to her for that as well. The new loyalty program will have four new levels and she will be at the top so let’s see what surprises we have in store. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes to you both.


Jeanne asked:

Dear John,

First, we would like to say what a pleasure and honor it was bumping into you on the 10/29 sailing of the Carnival Liberty! You graciously agreed to pose for pictures and patiently waiting while cameras were switched. There were so many things I would have liked to say to you (such as we think you’re doing such a wonderful job representing Carnival while, at the same time, being true to the person you are) but I was totally star struck and only managed to mumble a few inane comments! Second, there were chocolate covered strawberries delivered to our cabin one evening. There was no card attached and at first, we thought it was one of the goodies given to Platinum members (this was our first Platinum cruise) but then in reading a Facebook entry, it dawned on us that YOU were probably the mystery benefactor. So going on that assumption, many, many thanks for your thoughtfulness and for remembering us. That was really sweet of you and of course, the strawberries were incredibly delicious! As for our cruise on the Liberty, it was absolutely awesome! We loved the changes involved in Fun 2.0 and have to confess that we had one of Guy’s burgers every day! We do also want to give a huge shout out to Butch Begovich. He is one of the most genuine, down-to-earth people we’ve ever met and he was the most entertaining cruise director we’ve sailed with. So between meeting you, the fun we had with Butch, the beautiful Carnival Liberty and the Fun 2.0 updates, we could not have asked for a more positive cruising experience!

Thanks again, John, and all our best to you, Heidi and Kye.

Jeanne and Terry

John says:
Hello Jeanne and Terry,

I am so glad you got the strawberries and I am sorry we didn’t send a card with them. It was an honour to meet you and to read about your love of the cruise and those burgers. Butch is a star, he really is and gives his heart and soul to the job each and every cruise as you saw for yourselves. I am so glad you had fun and I am hoping we will sail together one day soon.

Best wishes to all.


Jeanine Russo asked:
Hi John,

Before my first cruise in 2010, I submitted my contact information on carnival.com and received a call from a Carnival Personal Vacation Planner Misty Jacobs at ext. 82389. She was so helpful in picking my room and answering all my first timer questions. I also used her to book my second and third cruises. Two weeks ago I tried to reach her with an Early Saver/billing question only to find her voice mailbox is closed. I understand personnel change, but please if a PVP leaves, have her replacement contact the clients. I miss chatting with my PVP very much and while the 800 operators are helpful, it’s not the same level of service.



John says:
Hello Jeanine Russo,

I hear this sometimes. Guests get very attached to our PVPs and when they are promoted or move on they are very disappointed. I hope it’s OK if I ask a PVP supervisor to call you and find you a suitable replacement? Please let me know that things are OK or if you need any further help.

Best wishes.


Juan Limpocora asked:

My cruise on Carnival Valor was ruined by the constant announcements made by Goose all day and night. I counted on the sea day that he made 18 announcements. Stop nickel and diming us and if I had my way, all cruise directors would be fired. Who needs them anyway.

John says:
Hello Juan Limpocora,

Respectfully, no he didn’t. No, Goose did not make 18 announcements in one day, not unless he accidentally left the PA microphone switched on. Now we do, I admit, make announcements at different times of the day and generally speaking, cruise directors make about four a day, per our company policy. I do hope you had fun on the cruise and as a cruise director myself, I hope your wish never comes true.

Best wishes.


Gary Ulbin asked:

Too often you hear the negative or the “I want” comments. This comment is all positive and asks for nothing in return. We just returned yesterday (12/4/11) from our Carnival Valor cruise to the western Caribbean. Yes, we were not able to go ashore in Grand Cayman and the weather in the Caribbean was not the greatest last week. But we loved the Carnival Valor and the entire cruise in general. We thought the food was very good, the service was outstanding, and we had a blast! Our CD Goose and all his elves were great! This was the second year in a row that we cruised the week after Thanksgiving, and it looks like it could be a yearly tradition. Just wanted to let you know that we appreciate all the hard work that goes into making 3000+ people happy for a week.


John says:
Hello Gary Ulbin,

Thanks so much for finishing today’s Q and A on a positive note and I am so happy to know you had fun. It’s always a shame when you can’t make it into port because of weather but bravo to you for staying so positive. I have sent this note to the ship so that the senior management can thank the crew and show them your kind words. I hope we see you again and if you ever need my help, I am here.

Best wishes to all.


In 1989 I was a social host and I worked that year with two cruise directors. The brilliant Gary Hunter and the incomparable Eddie Capone who as our friend Vance will tell you is celebrating a very special milestone.

The 25-year anniversary of popular fly-on comedian Eddie Capone was celebrated with a special dinner on board the Carnival Paradise put together by the ship’s senior management.   It was a fitting tribute to this legendary funnyman who has kept Carnival guests laughing for a quarter century.   Many people may not realize it but Eddie was a Carnival cruise director in the 1980s before embarking on his incredible comedy career.  Keep ‘em laughing, Eddie!


Thanks, Vance, and congratulations to Eddie who remains the Godfather of Comedy, a great friend and one of the funniest men I have ever met. Of course I have to say that because I don’t want to wake up with a horse’s head in my bed.

It’s been a brilliant first week, certainly for me anyway. I have loved being on stage again, it’s still what I enjoy the most about my job and doing the bedtime story, marriage show, and the morning shows with Calvin has been so much fun. The guests have been amazing as well and have really seemed to have fun. There have been very few complaints of note outside of a young lady not liking the Groove Line show saying the music was for “dead people,” a comment about the tender service in Grand Cayman being too slow and a few little things here and there that we can work on. There are always one or two guests each week on every ship in the industry who will not be happy. It’s a fact and to say otherwise is ridiculous and sometimes you have to just throw your hands up and say, “Hey mate, I don’t think cruising is for you.” OK, you can’t do that but while I always try to make sure that I do all I can to resolve issues, there are times when you know you have bugger all chance of doing so.

Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 11:11 PM

Good evening,

Kindly be advised that ______ came to us with a number of comments he wants to bring to your attention. These include not enough ping pong tables, food presentation and service, his cabin is too cold and he wants you to play the Arizona election on the big screen? Not sure what that is? Kindly contact Mr——–,

Thank you and Best Regards,

Guest Services Associate | Carnival Magic| Carnival Cruise Lines |

So apart from that, you’re having a good time then. It might not be professional of me but I couldn’t help reading this and saying, “Oh FFS!” out loud. So yesterday I called him and ended up listening to one very angry man from Arizona. He didn’t need the telephone because he was shouting so loudly from his cabin on deck 7 that I would have heard him if I was on deck 0 with Calvyn sitting on my head. He was a professional shouter; I will give him that for sure… He kept going and going without drawing breath. After five minutes, I put the speakerphone on…… went to the bathroom……dropped off the previous night’s dinner….came back and he was still going. His biggest complaint was that the cabin was too cold. The stateroom steward had shown him how to turn the heat up but it was still too cold….at 78 degrees.

But overall, the straw that broke the camel’s arse was that I had refused to show the Arizona Republican thingy on the Seaside Theatre. He told me, loudly, that this was a matter of extreme importance to the country and that if I showed it we would have a full deck. I explained that my experience told me we would not and that we had advertised two movies — Iron Man 2 and The Green Lantern — and that we couldn’t disappoint the guests who were looking forward to these flicks. Anyway, there was little I could do to change his mind and he told me in no uncertain terms that this, his first cruise, would be his last and I knew that there was bugger all I could do about it.

But that aside, it’s been a brilliant week and I love Texas…yep there you go I said it, I love Texas and those who cruise out of Galveston. Ask the crew and they will say how polite and how much fun the guests are who cruise from Galveston and ask any CD and he or she will say that they are some of the best audiences you can entertain. I said the same thing when I was last here on the Carnival Conquest in 2010. Oklahoma, Louisiana and other states are also well represented and overall the ship has……well, it has a fun, easygoing, “we are on vacation” feel to it and I love that.

I remember also a previous visit to Texas very well. It was back in 2000 when Heidi and I went to visit some friends in Houston. They were Houston born and bred, although they spent much of the year in Cozumel, which is how we met them. They were owners of a cigar bar there and my love of cigars had made us firm friends and so when we were invited to visit them …..we jumped at the chance. It would be our first visit to the land of the brave and the home of the free. As the plane began its descent into Houston airport, I remember seeing flat, unrelenting land as far as the eye could see — and this was from 10,000 feet. Then, spectacularly and without warning, the skyline built with huge dollops of oil money sprung up, and I could not help myself…..and as the plane landed and even though we weren’t in Dallas….. there I was singing “da da…da da …… dadadadadardar.”

I have met some real Texas characters this week. I had a chap called Cleetus in the Marriage Show and in the Welcome Aboard Show a brilliant man called Chuck. Chuck was a large man who made me look stick thin. Now Chuck had, obviously, bought a pair of jeans when he was a bit smaller. However, as he got bigger, rather than throw them away, he had simply done them up under his bottom letting his shirt cover his modesty. This was OK until in the spoon game he bent over to try to pull the spoon through the bottom of his jeans and it wasn’t pretty ladies and gentlemen. The front row tried not to vomit………and many in the audience crossed seeing the Grand Canyon off their things to do list. Hank also taught me and the non-Texans in the audience that if someone calls you a “son of a bitch”……….it’s a compliment.

It’s been great to be back as cruise director and I have enjoyed the cruise so very much and seeing why Carnival is so popular in Texas. The guests this week have been brilliant and I will miss them, except those tea-drinking, explosive diarrhea-causing chubby chasers. “Ask Me How I Lost 30 Pounds,” my arse.


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.