I have had Heidi and Kye here this cruise and they have had a wonderful time and indeed for me it has been simply brilliant to have my darling girls with me. Kye is three years old now and still in awe of her father especially when I am on stage holding that magical thing she calls, “Dadda’s mickyphone” which for those who don’t speak three year old English, means Dadda’s microphone. Yep, it’s all cuddles and kisses and I have one proud daughter who loves everything her Dad does. But I am truly aware that as the years role on, that this will change and Dadda will soon be one big lump of an embarrassment to her. I have seen this so much over the years, parents embarrassing their kids on the cruise. So here’s a guide to what parents can do when they take them on one of our Fun Ships to stop their children wanting to never leave the cabin.

Never squeal with excitement like a pig being tasered when you see the ship for the first time. Jumping up and down shouting’ “Oh, my God, Oh, my God, it’s huge, look at the slide, look at the smoke stack, I think I can see our cabin” should be considered child cruelty.

Please Mum and Dad– no romantic moments in front of the kids. Please don’t hold hands down Promenade or start playing tonsil hockey while walking the deck at night, not in front of the children. This will tarnish them forever.

Never wear clothes that are too young for you. Wearing a bikini or tight swim shorts on Lido Deck or tight jeans or Abercrombie and Finch T-shirts embarrass the heck out of the kids, so please don’t wear them. In fact, kids would much prefer if you didn’t expose any of your body in front of them at all and, in fact, they would truly prefer you stay in the cabin the entire cruise.

Please, please Mum and Dad, never ever dance in front of your kids. Dad dancing to Slap My Bitch Down in the Liquid Nightclub is a crime and your children will need therapy if they see Mum “dropping it like it was hot.”

Please Mum and Dad, I beg you, please don’t take us to karaoke and have to listen to you sing. And, like, who are Sonny and Cher, anyway?

Never use your child’s cute nick name in front of their friends at Circle C. Saying, “Did my little princess have a good time with the kiddies today?” This may a) make them vomit and b) make them want to get off the ship in the next port, leave home and become a Goth.

Never try to “speak street” with kids by using teen language. Wearing a polo shirt tucked tight into a pair of Dockers that says, “What’s up Dog” when he meets a friend your son has made at Club O2, is just truly sad.

Never write a letter to the cruise director demanding that your daughter must be in the talent show because she is the greatest singer in the world and will be the next Brittney GaGa. No, she isn’t. She has a cute voice and that’s it and she just wants to have fun with her friends at Club O2 and forcing her on stage to sing an Adele song in the talent show is simply cruel.

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

Tiffany asked:
Hi John!

I really enjoy reading your blog – love your humor and honesty! We have cruised twice with Carnival (Valor in 2010 and Fascination in 2011). We loved both trips and are booked for our third. We’ll be sailing on the Ecstasy in Dec. – I cannot imagine somewhere better to be for Christmas than Half Moon Cay.

I’ve read a lot of the reviews, and even among the positive ones, there seems to be a bit of a problem with food being served cold in the MDR on this ship. I’m wondering if the people in suits track common issues on the ships in an effort to address them? As I said, this is our third cruise, but the first for my parents and brother who are going with us. I have talked so much about how great our first two cruises were, and I believe if this one is as good as the others,
they’ll be hooked as well! Thanks for your help! I am looking forward to a great week!

John says:
Hello Tiffany,

Thanks so much for the wonderful words of praise at the start of the post and I will keep trying to make sure I post fun and information as often as I can here. It is great to see that you are cruising again with us and, I agree, Christmas at Half Moon Cay will be fantastic. I haven’t seen any reviews that mention cold food so please don’t worry too much and I will though pass your concerns to the ship. Please make sure you contact me before you cruise with your cabin number.

Best wishes to you all,

John

Quonetta Lewis asked:

I was wondering why Carnival’s Bon Voyage has discontinued some of its items like its towels for purchase? Thank you.

John says:
Hello Quonetta Lewis,

We are slowly disappearing our inventory on Bon Voyage as we will soon have an exciting new online store. I hope to have more news on this soon and until then, my apologies for the inconvenience.

Best wishes.

John

Ted George asked:
Mr. Heald,

While on the Valor in March this year, the wife and I had the pleasure
of the Chefs Table which was quite awesome. We enjoyed a very fine
Merlot wine from McGuigan Winery and we cannot find here locally. The
wine was from their Bin 3000 series Vintage 2010. Can you find out for
us where in the United States we can purchase this wine or did
Carnival purchase the wine out of the United States?

Thank you for your time in helping us with this question.

Ted George

John says:
Hello Ted George,

I am so glad you enjoyed the Chef Table experience and the wine. Here is the full information.

Full name (wine list) – MCGuigan, Bin 3000, Limestone Coast, Australia. I hope you are successful in getting some locally. Please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes.

John

Cindy Miller asked:
John,

I’m thrilled to say that we (my mom and dad, my sister, my two children, and myself) have booked our third cruise with Carnival! We can’t wait. Happily, we’re bringing my brother and his family, my two aunts, and my grandfather and his wife with us for their first cruise. This will be four generations of family on board! All of us managed to get early dining, except for my grandfather. They are on the wait list, but, we really want to make sure they are with us for dinner. He’s 82 years old and has a couple health conditions, so we’d appreciate your help with this matter. We’re on the October 7 sailing of the Legend from Tampa.

Thanks for any help you can give us. I love reading your blog.

Thanks,

Cindy Miller

John says:
Hello Cindy Miller,

I am sure we can help you out. Please though can you contact me again here on the blog one month before you sail or one week on my facebook.com/johnheald page? That way, I won’t forget and will do all I can for you. I am sure you will all have a brilliant time.

Best wishes.

John

Lester Haslett asked:

You know, John, when people talk about your weight, it is because they are trying to help you and the fact that you dismiss their help usually with some snide and off color remark is disturbing to me. Today in your blog, you wrote how a passenger had offered you some diet pills that had helped shed 80 pounds. John, you need to lose 80 pounds. You are obese, face facts! I am in a position to tell you this because I was 380 pounds and now am down to 225 and it’s because I let people help me and you should too because you are fat and fat will get you dead! So as someone who has cruised three times with Carnival and someone who has been where you are, I say stop ridiculing those who want to help you and do so before it is too late!

John says:
Hello Lester Haslett,

I, first of all, congratulate you on losing all that weight, you must be very proud. I have never been that big and while I am still 288 pounds and continue to lose weight, I have a long, long way to go. I never mind people trying to help me. What I do mind is when guests feel it’s OK to come up to me, rub my stomach and tell me that they have a pill or a plan or a tea that will help me get rid of the awning I have built over my gentleman’s sausage. Why is it OK for them to do that? I don’t know the answer but many think it is OK to do it and, honestly, it takes a lot of will power not to tell them to bugger off. I know I am overweight. I am the first person to mention it on stage and in writing. But it is my weight just like it was yours and it’s for me to do something about. I hope that makes sense, Lester, and again, I congratulate you on your success.

Best wishes.

John

Tanya Nazwisko asked:

My husband and I are Polish and were deeply offended by your comedian Eddie Capone who made stereotypical Polish jokes. We got up and left as did most of the passengers. Does Carnival condone this?

John says:
Hello Tanya Nazwisko,

I know the comedian you are referring to and I know that his show makes fun of every nationality, gender and more. Please accept my apologies that his jokes offended you and while we do give our Punchliner comedians a free rein on what they can say at their uncensored shows, we never want to offend anyone. I do hope that you had a nice cruise and that this one incident did not spoil the fun.

Best wishes.

John

David Castlebury asked:
John,

I have been considering booking a suite but don’t see the advantage. Why doesn’t Carnival offer more perks for the suite passengers? The price of these suites is very high and we won’t get anything for them. Just a little something would be nice.

Thanks,

David

John says:
Hello David Castlebury,

I wrote about this on my Facebook page and had 400 or so answers, I think, about what suite customers would like to see and I have sent those thoughts to the beards in charge. Certainly, I would say that one advantage is the cabin itself of course because our suites really do make a brilliant base for your cruise. I hope you book and if there are any changes to the suite benefits, I will let you know.

Best wishes.

John

Stuart G. Harper asked:
Mr Heald,

I need urgent help for a table for three, please, for our cruise on July 21st on Breeze. I cannot sit with other passengers as I have no pallet in my mouth which makes conversation and eating somewhat embarrassing. Please, can you help me out? Thank you for this, John, it is such a wonderful thing having a resource like you! Keep up the grand work.

John says:
Hello Stuart G.Harper,

Yes, of course, please do not worry because I have spoken to the maître d’ and he will indeed make sure you have a table for three. Have a brilliant cruise and if there is anything you need, please don’t hesitate to ask. See you soon.

Best wishes,

John

And that’s all for today.

So how are things on the Carnival Breeze, I hear you cry? They are all good and thanks for asking. The new features here and the 2.0 additions are a hit. But while I love having the Thrill Theatre and the new Playlist Production shows and RedFrog Pub, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Cantina etc., etc., I also think it’s important that as a cruise director, I remind our guests about another feature that has been with us since Carnival began but is often these days overlooked and that is how people used to take walks around the decks at night under the stars, standing by the railings listening to the sounds of the sea. This doesn’t happen as much these days and so I am trying to remind our guests that this is something they should do, at least once, and I have, in fact, seen many couples and families do this and that I think is a good thing.

There have been a few comments on my Facebook page recently asking about when and if we are going to change the way we sell photos and certainly the world of photos has indeed changed. In the olden days, our cameras were the size of a coffee table book, but we’d carry them around with an assortment of spare lenses and flash guns and we’d move people out of the sun and make everyone smile and we’d take the film to the photo department on board and we’d pay a bit extra for a fast turnaround because we were desperate to see how everything had turned out. And then we’d leaf through the finished shots in 10 seconds, put them in a drawer and never ever look at them again.

Today, things are very different. Because you have a digital camera on your phone, you take pictures of absolutely everything and on YouTube, every day’s a wedding day. You used to come back from your cruise with 24 pictures, because that’s how many were on the film. Now, most people come back from a cruise with about a billion all stored on their digital cameras.

But then you have to store them onto your computer. This is easy enough if you have seven spare days, the patience of someone who’s actually dead and a master’s degree in Geek talk. Once you have finally understood how to put the photos onto the computer thingy, you face another problem. Do you delete the ones that have bugger all meaning or which are out of focus? No. You either leave them all where they are, in which case they will be lost for all of time when your hard drive crashes. Which, one day…………… I assure you, it will.

This leads me onto the current way Carnival sells photos because I can totally understand why Carnival’s hard copy portrait photos are so popular……….because you can actually put them in a frame…………..and look at them without having to press “control, alt thingy, delete” and call Bill Gates a complete and utter bastard for deleting the rarest photos in the world of your camera and that is……a photo of H82SEAUGO actually on a Carnival ship.

Seriously, though, our photo revenue is pretty much the best in the industry and as I have always said, good on board revenue keeps ticket prices down. I do think that some of our packages are a little expensive and I understand that we do end up with some unsold photos and these are recycled. But there is a certain air of fun in looking for your photos and that’s one of the reasons they are so popular. However, times do change and so soon we will trial a new system on a couple of ships to see how in this new era of digital storage, we can best serve our guests and I will have details on this soon.

Let’s talk shows shall we? The main theatre here on Carnival Breeze seats 1,400 people and with two sittings, that means 2,800 people who can see the shows. However, with a count of 4,000, this means that 1,000 or more guests cannot see them and that has always been a concern. We have always believed in a same format for our shows, for the most part. Have dinner, see a show. Two performances and if you miss it, that’s your lot, there is no other chance, you have missed it, that’s it.

So here on the Carnival Breeze we are trying something that we will be implementing next on Carnival Ecstasy followed by Carnival Conquest and Carnival Glory and eventually pretty much around the fleet……………..and that’s choice. A mix of shows repeated at different times and different nights which means you can plan on what show you see when and if you miss it one night, there will be other chances to see it again. Now on five day ships, we will repeat each show twice, on seven day ships three times and here on the 12-day run, we are doing now, we repeat the Playlist Production shows four times.

They are mixed with variety acts and the talent show and don’t forget, we have six different comedians performing 24 comedy shows as well.

So, a wonderful feast of entertainment. Now, I must admit, it’s a bugger to schedule as you have to plan who has seen what and when and what night and even Professor Stephen Hawking would find it hard………….but the effort is worth it. Now we realise that guests may get confused as to what show to see when so what we have done is to produce a flyer that the guests get at the start of the cruise so they can plan and highlight what show to see.

This is how the flyer looks:

(click to zoom)


It really works and I will be interested to read your views on this as it comes to a ship near you soon.

It’s time for me to go as Calvyn and I are hosting Liar’s Club this afternoon, a fun activity that I hope you get to see one day soon. Following that, I have a conference call with all the senior beards, I mean all of them, as we discuss what works and what improvements we need to make here on Carnival Breeze following this, the end of our second cruise. There have been a lot of changes within Carnival’s senior management these past years and I don’t know everyone in important positions like I used to. You see, some of these new beards don’t know me very well and that means they don’t understand some of my pathetic attempts at humour. This means, I now have to be very careful what I say on these calls because there are new people there who may not appreciate my mostly sarcastic and mostly unfunny wit.

In the past, management would laugh or just say, “Oh, John” and move on. Now, with all the bearded new folks, my humour is not understood and in some cases, I think it isn’t appreciated during calls and meetings. Therefore, I am learning to be more serious………..more corporate ……. and therefore………..more boring………..bugger.

At the start of the blog, I spoke about how not to embarrass your kids on a cruise and of course this was written very much with tongue firmly in cheek. I will say though that I have seen these past years that many younger people in their twenties and thirties are going on a cruise…….with their parents. There are advantages, of course………..it’s cheaper than going on your own…………. it means you’ll always have a babysitter …………….and above all, it’s fun.

I remember the days when my Mum and Dad cruised. I was so proud to have them see me as a CD and we spent the days laughing, watching Dad try every food item on the menu and laughing until we cried. This was the golden period where parents are still young enough to handle the stresses of flying and traveling and you are finally old enough to appreciate just what wonderful parents they are and how cruising with them was the best vacation you have ever had.

They can’t manage flying these days and even two hours to Barcelona is too much. And that makes me so sad. So, let me say this, if you have never cruised with your parents, I urge you to do so……..that golden period doesn’t last long…..why waste it on anyone else?

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.