Good morning from a typical rainy summer day in Essex, England. Yes, it’s me, Heidi, here and Kye, too, of course. It is not often that I get to write to you these days so thank you for all your kind words and thoughts for Kye and me. We had a great time on the ship and Kye was of course spoiled by everyone. She is a Daddy’s girl for sure and we have had some tears recently as she “wants Dadda and Mama to be with Kye.” Life goes on and I noticed that John had listed some of my most annoying habits in his blog and I demanded the right to reply and here is my list of his most annoying habits and I expect the female readers of his blog will recognize some of these.

1. Passing gas without shame or saying “pardon me.”
2. John is a total control freak over the TV remote control and if anyone else dares touch it he will shout “bugger off” and then get all moody.
3. John expects lots of praise and a reward for doing a household chore that I do 20 times a week. When John is home, he tells me he has emptied the dishwasher as if he has done something brave or challenging.
4. Snoring. John never snores unless he is really, really tired which after a long time on the ship I know he is. When John does snore, it sounds like I’m sharing the bed with an elephant but ladies …..only the snoring. There are no other comparisons with the elephant, if you know what I mean.
5. Swearing. John swears more on his blog than he does in real life unless he is watching football, in which case he shouts and screams at the TV. I have to remind him that Kye picks up everything we say and I do not want my daughter telling her three-year-old kindergarten friends to “bugger off “when they want to play with her.
6. He mentioned that I text and gossip with my friends a lot. That may be true but if I have to sit and listen to his stories of life on the ship and who said what, then he can listen to my gossip about my friends and who is doing what to who! But he doesn’t, which is totally unfair.
7. John is only affectionate when he wants rumpy pumpy and the idea of cuddling in bed without anything happening as a result is like asking John to appreciate my scented candles which he also hates.
8. Never changing the toilet roll, instead leaving either me or the toilet pixie to do it.
9. Blaming all of the above on PMS.
10. Leaving various stains on the toilet seat…………..enough said.

But strangely enough and despite all of this, I love him and miss him very much and so, of course, does Kye.

Heidi
x

PS – I have made sure I send this to the beards in advance so John cannot change anything.

John here………..ummmmm…………bugger!

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

Gale Huth asked:

Hello! My family and I just got back from our cruise on the Carnival Victory. While on board we had hoped to book our next cruise, but sadly, this ship did not have that option. We called Carnival after getting home to see if that was an option to book now with the on board benefits, but again it wasn’t available. We love cruising Carnival and are now completely addicted, so we had hoped to be able to book our next cruise for January. So I guess my question is why aren’t all of the Carnival ships equipped to do this, and if they aren’t, why is there no program to get these benefits? Thank you for your time 🙂

Gale

John says:
Hello Gale Hurth,

I am thrilled to see that you love cruising with Carnival and that you had such a wonderful time on the Carnival Victory. We don’t have the Loyalty Cruise Experts on all the ships as you said and often this is because of staffing and/or cabin space or other operational reasons. I know this is frustrating and I also know that the person in charge of the program is, as we speak, exploring ways to see what we can do to change this and have the option of booking cruises and purchasing the FCCs on all the ships. My apologies though that you were not able to do this on the Carnival Victory but I do hope that we will see you again soon.

Best wishes.

John

Rebecca MC asked:

I know I will be flamed for this but tell someone who cares! You seem to have put yourself on a pedestal and want to be worshipped like some film star. All your “fans” who have drunk the Kool-Aid are nearly as sad as you are. I have sailed Carnival three times including one with you on the Carnival Spirit and you were the least favorite of the cruise directors and the best was a guy called Brad who was everything a cruise director should be. He was informative, respectful, hardly used the speaker system to plug stuff like you did so much. I am cruising next on NCL and then have a Carnival cruise booked on the Carnival Liberty in December. Who will the cruise director be then? I hope I am lucky and not get you. Let the flaming start!

John says:
Hello Rebecca M.C.,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write about Brad Calabrese who is a wonderful cruise director and whose bio I will feature in the days ahead. The new CD schedule will be announced in the next couple of weeks and I will be able to let you know who the CD will be. Please don’t worry about being “flamed,” which is, as I understand, a word that means you are concerned about others attacking you about your comment. There is no need to because you have every right to your opinion and I while I don’t ever think of myself as anything but an overweight chap with a blog, I know I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I despise, though, the “Kool Aid” reference as I now understand what that refers to and respectfully, I think it is degrading and disrespectful to describe people who love Carnival and the brilliant fun experience we offer that way. But as I said, I know I am not for everyone and I hope you will have a brilliant time on the Carnival Liberty and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Oh, by the way………I have never been cruise director on the Carnival Spirit.

Best wishes.

John

Scott H. asked:
Hi John,

I hope this message finds you well and thank you for taking the time to read my question. We will be cruising the week after Thanksgiving with Josh on the new
Glory Fun Ship 2.0! I am a piano player and have a bunch of Christmas gigs waiting for me
when I get home, so I need to keep in practice. I don’t want to get booed by the seniors at the retirement home! My question is: Would it be possible to arrange some time each day in an unused lounge to practice on one of the ship’s pianos? Place and time doesn’t matter — I will work around whatever is available. If this is something that can be arranged, could you kindly direct me as to how I would go about requesting this on the ship? Thank you again for taking the time to consider my request.

Sincerely,

Scott H.

John says:
Hello Scott H.,

Yes, of course, we can arrange this for you. I will let the ship know and when you board please visit the guest services desk and ask to speak to the musical director. He will meet you and have you sign out a key to the piano and tell you which one and the times you can play. I wish you a wonderful cruise and don’t spend too much time practicing and forget to have fun.

Best wishes.

John

Robin asked:

Can I purchase a bottle of sweet and sour on the ship or can I bring it on board since it is non-alcoholic?

John says:
Hello Robin,

That is, if I may say, an unusual question but, yes, you may bring one on the ship as we don’t sell it on board. Have fun, Robin.

Best wishes.

John

Mel Wellard asked:
Hi John,

I’m loving your blogs & am so excited my husband Chris has just booked us on Carnival Breeze for Oct. 25 this year. It will be my birthday on the cruise and it would be great to meet you on board, if possible. We live down the road from you in sunny Southend so feel we have lots in common already 🙂 Our cabin is 8201 & I cannot wait!! The ship looks brill…we did the virtual tour. Good luck with the first cruise.

Mel

John says:
Hello Mel Wellard,

Goodness me, it’s a rare thing indeed that someone cruises from my hometown. It will be great to see you here and I will be sending you something for your birthday. Please drop me a note when you get on the ship at the guest services desk so we can meet up. It will be a pleasure to see you and get ready for a brilliant time.

Best wishes.

John

Harry Sera asked:

Not impressed at all, John, with Carnival’s decision to stop the turndown cabin makeover while passengers are at dinner. Coming back to a clean cabin and a post nap clean and made bed is something that may stop me from booking another cruise and judging from the cruise boards there are many others that feel the same.

John says:
Hello Harry Sera,

This is one of those posts that I do admit I find frustrating because someone, somewhere (I am pretty sure where) has so much time on their hands that they have decided to write something that is 100 percent false and written only to provoke others. We are not stopping the turndown service, Harry. Please feel free to check with me if and when you have any concerns.

Best wishes.

John

Maureen Doyle asked:

I have sailed with other cruise lines buy this is my first with Carnival. I will be going out on the Breeze for a 12-day Med cuise. Can you tell me can I buy a case of bottled water on the cruise for my room? And do you know if they have a refrigerator in the room?

John says:
Hello Maureen Doyle,

I am very pleased indeed to discover you will be sailing here with me on the Carnival Breeze. We provide bottled water in the staterooms (fees apply) and you can buy bottled water from all the bars and on the gangway as you leave port. All the staterooms here have mini-refrigerators that are also stocked with sodas, beers, etc. but will have room for the smaller bottles of water that can be purchased on the ship. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes.

John

Katrina Noble asked:
John,

We had the best ever waiter on the Carnival Elation. His name was Boris and he and my friends loved him. We asked Boris if he would come dancing with us one night in the nightclub but he told me he needed permission from his boss so we spoke to the restaurant manager and he said no. We were really upset by this because we wanted to reward Boris for his work and thought he would enjoy a night out with us. We wrote to the captain but never got an answer. We saw other crew dancing and think it’s very unfair that Boris was punished like this.

John says:
Hello Katrina Noble,

I am very glad you wrote to me so that I can explain why this is so and my apologies to you that this was not explained at the time. Certain staff on the ships does have permission to be in guest areas including the nightclub. These staff includes the entertainment staff, shop staff, casino and spa, etc. However, the crew such as waiters and stateroom stewards, etc., do not have permission. This is for two main reasons. Firstly, there is only so much space for the 2,000 guests on a Fantasy-class ship and if we were to allow 800 crew into guest areas as well there would be no room for those that had paid for the cruise. Secondly, after work, the crew likes to relax in their cabin and if they do go out, they go to the crew lounge so that they can do just that, relax. If they are in guest areas with guests, they still have to be “on,” if you understand what I mean. So please don’t be concerned and I thank you for telling me about Boris and the wonderful job he did during your cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Karen Curry asked:

My husband and I have been on seven Carnival cruises so far. Our eighth ninth cruises (six- and eight-day back-to-back) are in July, our 10th is in September and our 11th for December 30. On our first three cruises we had our four children with us. Obviously, we spent a fortune traveling with them. Well worth every penny. With all that said, why have we never been offered any upgrades or other perks? Obviously we love Carnival and are very loyal customers. Also, how do we get discount/coupon codes to use to purchase shore excursions?

John says:
Hello Karen Curry,

Thanks so much for your amazing loyalty and I am so thrilled to see you have all these cruises forthcoming. Upgrades aren’t as available as in years past and I do suggest though that you maybe think about talking to one of our PVPs or a good travel agent who can maybe work on these things for you. Please send me a note on my Facebook page facebook.com/johnheald a few days before you sail next with the cabin number and I will send you a little something to say thank you. Have a wonderful time.

Best wishes to all.

John

And that’s all for today………………well nearly all.

A few days ago I had a request on Facebook that read like this:

Monica Borcegue Petisco posted to John Heald

Hi John… my husband and I are missing the Carnival Breeze!! Question for you, is there any way you can get us the recipe for the Oysters Rockefeller from the dining room? We are seriously craving it (it was DELICIOUS!!) and want to try and make it at home. Is this possible? Thanks!! Hope all is well… 🙂

So, as requested, Monica, here is your recipe:

Ingredients:

For Oyster:

  • Oyster half shell 8ea
  • Crab meat 2 oz
  • Spinach 4 oz
  • Heavy cream 2 oz
  • Onion yellow 1 oz
  • Garlic 2 cloves
  • Cheese Ementhaler 1 oz
  • Tarragon 2 sprigs
  • Salt to taste
  • Crushed black pepper to taste
  • Hollandaise 3 oz
  • Balsamic reduction 1 oz

For Cured tomato:

  • Tomato 1 ea
  • Rice vinegar 1 oz
  • Sugar 1 oz
  • Pepper powder white 0.5 oz

Garnish:

  • Green Beans (1×2 slant cut) 10 ea
  • Sesame seeds 0.5 oz
  • Tamari sauce 0.5 oz
  • Basil leaves 4 ea
  • Garlic cloves 4ea
  • Dill sprigs 4 ea
  • Sugar 1 tbsp
  • Salmon smoked 0.5 oz
  • Dashi 0.5 tsp

Method:
Cured Tomato: Blanch seed and cut in quarters, arrange on trays and sprinkle with a mixture of rice wine vinegar, sugar, oil and seasonings. Dry under the hot counter.

Oysters: Shuck oysters and clean shell under running cold water. Make a ragout with chopped onions, chopped garlic, crab meat, spinach and cheese, adjust seasoning. Finish with chopped tarragon. Place the oysters back in the shell and top with the ragout.

Salmon Sauce: Reduce tamari with smoked salmon, sugar, Dashi and water to a coating consistency. Toss the trimmed pears.

Garnish: Fry basil leaves and garlic chips.

Finish & Presentation:
Top oysters with hollandaise and gratinate in oven. Drizzle balsamic reduction as shown and place oysters. Place basil leaf and garlic chip and cured tomato. Toss beans in salmon sauce and sprinkle sesame seeds and place on top of the cured tomato. Garnish with dill sprigs on top of the oyster.

Thanks for the kind words, Monica, and I am so glad you had fun here on the Carnival Breeze. I hope you enjoy your oysters and thanks so much for the kind words.

Best wishes,

John

OK, there you go. Oysters Rockefeller, a very popular dish here on the Carnival Breeze and on other ships as well but they are definitely not on my list of favourite things.

Oysters, it’s said, are an aphrodisiac which doesn’t really matter when your wife is in another country and, besides, a Russian sex goddess smoking a cigar on the Lanai is all the aphrodisiac I sodding well need. Why anyone would even consider eating oysters is beyond me. Where is the pleasure anyway in swallowing something that has the texture of snot? I have no idea who first opened an oyster, looked at the snotty stuff inside and thought: “Yummy. I’m going to put that in my mouth”……………but I bet he was French.

I have, when time allows, been featuring the biographies of some of our brilliant cruise directors and today we have another one as we say hello to Big Tex………except he isn’t anymore.

 

Jeremy “Tex” Mayes

I was born on November 19, 1977, in Dallas, Texas, where I still currently reside. After graduating high school in 1996, I received a football scholarship to the University of Central Oklahoma. As much as I loved football, I realized it wasn’t really for me at the college level. That’s another way of saying I wasn’t as good as everyone else. From there, I moved on to West Texas A&M where I fell in love with broadcasting. I wasn’t sure what kind of career I would have, but I knew it would involve a microphone. I graduated college in December of 2001. I joined Carnival in January of 2002 as a social host. The job was quite different back then, I was also the backstage manager, group coordinator and karaoke host. In addition to that, most of my port time was spent running the stores for the cruise director. It wasn’t an easy job by any means, but I loved it and since I’ve never been afraid of hard work, the job was perfect for me.

In late 2002, I met my wife Kimberley, a dancer on the Holiday. Throughout our entire journey at Carnival she has been a rock and an inspiration. I was promoted to assistant cruise director in 2004 and started covering as cruise director in 2005. I’ve had the chance to be cruise director on the Celebration, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Valor and my current home, Carnival Triumph. I used to go by Big Tex (a name given to me by some guests on the Carnival Miracle), but since I’ve lost over 110 pounds (the old fashioned way – diet and exercise) I dropped the “Big.” I also stopped wearing my trademark cowboy hat and I was worried it would have a negative effect on the guest’s perception of me. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. Thanks to a great team and great guests, I’ve had more success than I could have imagined. In my years as cruise director, I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot. I like to think I’m getting better at it every day. I enjoy what I do.

Thanks, mate. I am well aware that Tex is one of our most popular CD’s and I have watched him grow in stature as a CD while he shed the pounds (the bastard) and became someone that I have great admiration for. Tex is a cruise director everyone must sail with — he really is that good.

There is no segue for this but I have to tell you what I just saw. I left my desk to go host the morning show an hour or so ago and, have just returned to finish this blog. Now we broadcast the show from the Liquid Nightclub as its one of the few places on the Carnival Breeze that has a live TV feed. After a few shows guests get to know where we are broadcasting from and come and watch which both Calvyn and I love. Today, there was an eight-year-old chap called Ryan who was watching us. Except he wasn’t. That’s because he spent the entire show engulfed in his Playstaionxboxnintendo thingy. After the show I went over to speak to him. I wanted to make sure he was OK as his parents were not with him. He was fine, he said, and I asked him what his favourite port had been, Venice, Dubrovnik, Rome? He shrugged his shoulders and said nothing. OK, have you liked the shows or Camp Carnival? No response. OK, I moved onto another form of questioning and asked him what his favourite video game was. He spent the next five minutes telling me and showing me and was galvanised into conversation. It’s bloody ridiculous. Any child old enough to eat solid food is already proficient in search engines, apps, text speak, Wii Wee, Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo and have cell phones by the time they are five. When we were kids we had two choices when it came to playing ….. inside …… or outside. How times have changed!

I want to go back to the question posted by Harry Sera about the turndown service that is not being stopped. It is wonderful to see how popular this service is as I said in my answer but as I was writing this, I could not help but think about how I refuse this when I am at a hotel. Now if Carnival operations have booked my hotel it doesn’t matter because Motel 6 doesn’t offer a turndown service, but when I travel as brand ambassador, it means marketing is paying and that means I get to stay at nicer hotels that offer this service. I do though hate that knock at the door. “Sorry to disturb you, sir, but would you like your bed turned down?” What do you say when a hotel cleaner knocks on your hotel door and offers this? I do what I always do when someone knocks at my hotel room. Panic and somehow feel guilty, as if I’ve been caught watching Latvian rumpy pumpy movies and then I panic more in case a pair of my underpants are laying on the floor and the skid marks are as obvious as the ones on the runway at JFK Airport. Then I always try to make them go away. Why should I let her in just to peel down a corner of my bed sheet? “Oh, but it’s about being pampered,” some of my bloggers may say but is pulling a corner of your bed sheet back really pampering? OK, maybe I should let her in to replace the toiletries I stole earlier but that’s all.

But I do realise, as do the beards, just how popular the turndown service is which is why despite conspiracy theorists saying otherwise, we will continue to offer this service. Did you know our stateroom stewards here on the Carnival Breeze have up to 25 staterooms and 72 beds that have to be made…….twice a day? I don’t know how they do it and they do it with such a smile and such dedication. It would exhaust me. I could never do their job and if I had a rude guest who didn’t appreciate my work, I am sure I would consider leaving something rather more personal on their pillow………..than a chocolate mint.

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.