The Grey Man

July 9, 2012 -

John Heald

I rarely pay attention to what other people are reading but over the last few days here on Carnival Breeze I have noticed a pehenomonan………a fernoman………..a phernoma………..something is very, very popular here and it all started with this comment from a guest.

Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 10:59 AM

Good morning John

Just FYI, cabin ________ Mrs.________ came to the desk to say that she was unhappy that we did not have current book titles in the Library. Mrs.______ was looking for Fifty Shades of Grey which she says is the number one book at this time. Guest also said the books were not enough titles. Thank you and best regards.

Guest Services Supervisor, Carnival Breeze
Carnival Cruise Lines

OK, let’s start with the last part. We have a wonderful library here, the best in the fleet and in fact, it is called and branded as the Library Bar. Each time I have walked past the Library Bar at night I have seen the wonderfully pleasing site of guests sitting, engrossed in a good book and enjoying a glass of wine. Then the books. Here we have 800 fiction books and 100 nonfiction and they were chosen and shipped to me by the beards when the ship was still in the yard. These books will stay here with us and occasionally we will get new books sent to us. The Library is open from 9 am – 10 pm each day and, as I said, I think it’s the best library in the fleet.

So, back to this lady’s request for a book called 50 Shades of Grey. I read books. They are about explosions and SAS and Delta Force commandos shooting terrorists in the face and so I have no clue about this 50 Shades book. But apparently I am the only bugger who doesn’t know about this book because it appears everyone else does. Or should I say everyone with breasts is reading this book. I casually asked my staff about this and two of the entertainment staff are reading it and I am told that if I were to walk Promenade deck, that I would see ladies reading it the old- fashioned way by turning its pages and the new way on their Kindlethingies.

OK fair one. The book is popular, so what, no big deal, right? It was only when I began to learn from my staff and learn from Uncle Google that Fifty Shades of Grey is in fact a sodding soft pornographic book or as Uncle Google told me, so it’s called “Mummy Porn”…….oh FFS! So I borrowed a copy from Taylor who is one of the entertainment staff here and in the name of research for you bloggers, you understand, I had a flick through its pages. And bugger me it is indeed page after page of naughty stuff — in fact, it’s one big rumpy pumpy fest! So what makes this book any different to other books full of smut? Well, the big deal is apparently that it was written by a woman, is bought by women and is being constantly discussed by women. Peering inside I see that the hero is someone called Christian Grey who is of course gorgeous, chiseled with a six pack and perfect teeth and hair. His voice is warm and sensuous as a chocolate melting cake. He is rich and powerful and drives a Ferrari and will only wear Armani. What a wanker!

He also has of course an XXXL gentleman’s sausage, which is pointless. Why even bother saying that in the book. All the readers know he was going to be hung like a Mongolian yak. It’s not like he was going to pull down his underpants to reveal something the size of a baby carrot.

This book is from the bits I read total and utter bollocks. Take for example the fact that Mr. Grey has rumpy pumpy twice in one hour which all of us men know is impossible without a nine-hour gap in between. Twice a month maybe. Twice in an hour? Bollocks.

I should point out that the book is seriously steamy and I say that in case some of my lady readers decide to buy a copy. What gets me though is that a guest went to the guest services desk to complain that we didn’t have a copy in our library. Isn’t that like saying “I really fancy reading about whips and chains and explosions of pleasure. What do you mean you don’t have anything to satisfy me? No, I don’t want to read 10 Easy Steps to Basket Weaving instead. Right, I am off to the guest services desk to complain!”

Anyway, when Taylor has finished with her book, I will place it in the library for 2,000 female guests to fight over. I doubt the men will bother reading it……….most men will wait for the film version to come out. Though chances are, we’ll have seen it all before on


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

Peter Wordley asked:

While on Carnival Magic, I met a waitress server who did something I will never forget. Her name is Alinna. On the first night’s dinner she noticed our five-year-old looked very sad and asked what was wrong with her. We explained that she had lost her favorite teddy bear she calls Hugs and that she was very upset as she could not go to sleep without Hugs. The next night when we arrived at the dining hall there, sitting in our daughter’s chair was a teddy bear which was a gift from Alinna. Our daughter was so happy and for the rest of the cruise she took the bear everywhere. She has named it Alinna after the wonderful person whose kindness and thoughtfulness was something we will never forget. We did not get a comment card so please John can you make sure that her bosses know what a gem they have in this lady and we found Hugs and had left him in the car but ever since she got Alinna, Hugs has been forgotten. We had a wonderful cruise made so special by Alinna.

John says:
Hello Peter Wordley,

What a brilliant way to start today’s Q and A and I promise to make sure that Alinna’s supervisors both ashore and on board see this wonderful story. This is what makes our crew the best at sea and I thank you for taking the time to tell us this uplifting tale. I hope we will see you all again soon. Best wishes to you all……even Hugs.


Edith C. asked:

Is this the right place for requests for anniversary gifts because I am getting the run around from Carnival customer care? I will be on our 25th wedding anniversary cruise on Carnival Dream 8/25/12 on booking ****** This will be our first experience with Carnival but so far it has not been a good one. I am trying to get a table for two confirmed and also register for the free gifts that anniversary couples get. I was told you are the only person who can get this taken care of which is crazy. On RCCL and Celebrity, all anniversary couples get free cocktail vouchers and other gifts yet getting this with Carnival is a real chore. Can you make sure we get that table for two as this is a special cruise to mark 25 of years marriage? My husband owns a successful law practice on Hilton Head and needs this special time!

John says:
Hello Edith C,

I had no idea that other cruise lines offer complimentary gifts for all anniversary couples that must keep them very busy indeed organising that. Anyway, while I cannot promise to guarantee you a table for two, I certainly will ask the maître d’ and will also send you a little something to wish you a wonderful anniversary cruise. I hope you have the best of times and that this will be the first of many cruises with Carnival.

Best wishes to you both.


Lisa asked:

I am going on the Carnival Liberty Aug. 25, Western Caribbean. I emailed and am confirmed for steakhouse reservation on Tuesday, Aug. (the third night of cruise) and also reserved The Chef’s Table already but they never gave a specific day. What days do they have the elegant/formal dining for this cruise because I would like to attend one of those nights and reserve the specialty dining for other nights?

John says:
Hello Lisa,

Look at that, Edith C posted above and is cruising on the 25th and so are you, just on a different ship, the Carnival Liberty with all her 2.0 additions. The Chef’s Table will be held after departure from Cozumel with the elegant night the evening before. You will receive written confirmations for both locations when you board so all should be set. Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes.


Jean Marie asked:
Hello John,

What is the best show you have seen in the ships? I ask this because I saw the show Dancing In Street on the Dream and it was incredible! I am sure there can’t be any better than this can there?

John says:
Hello Jean Marie,

Yes indeed, Dancin In the Street is a brilliant show and one of my favourites for sure. The new Playlist Production shows here are also fantastic with Divas being my favourite, however, my personal favourite show featuring the singers and dancers is the Beatles tribute called Ticket to Ride, which, in my opinion, has the best finale of any show we have. I hope you get to see it one day and thanks so much for this wonderful post.

Best wishes.


Steve Mavrelos asked:
Hello John!

I am fresh off the 5/19/12 sailing of the Carnival Freedom. My wife, our two friends, and myself had a wonderful time as expected. This was our third cruise, and we were thoroughly impressed, as usual, except for the quality of the pizza on this particular ship. In the past on the Carnival Miracle and Carnival Pride, I found the pizza to be very good, especially when it was fresh out of the oven. Unfortunately on the Freedom, the Margherita pizza was often unevenly cooked and seemed to lack tomato sauce. It also had an over abundance of cheese. On the first day I summed it up to being really busy, but each day I tried the pizza it was the same thing. Hopefully you can give this feedback to whomever is in charge of the pizza station. Also, I wanted to commend our waiters from the Chic dining room, Herman, Leslie, Dadam, and Sumatra….they were exceptional servers and really made our cruise special.

Thank you.

Steve Mavrelos

John says:
Steve Mavrelos,

So noted and your comments regarding the pizza are on the way to the chef. I will be talking more about pizza over on my Facebook page this week and it will be very interesting what people say. I am so glad you had fun and I will send your words of praise for the dining team to the ship as well. I hope to see you soon and I am sure you will see huge improvements on the pizza front.

Best wishes.


Brent Farrington asked:

There are many people from the Caribbean who travel on Carnival Cruise Lines. Most ask why on the breakfast buffet line there are no chicken, turkey, mutton, fish sauce or stew with Johnny cake? I think it will add plenty to the menu. Thanks.

John says:
Hello Brent Farrington,

I love Johnny cake but I feel, as do the chefs, that the number of guests who would enjoy this as a breakfast choice would be limited, so I am afraid there are no plans to add this to the current selection. Thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes.


Lynda McKendree asked:

I’m one of those cruisers who are getting hosed by the new loyalty program. I have seven cruises. My eighth is July 22 and my ninth is Dec. 6 – they’re booked and paid in full. Still, because I don’t sail until 27 days after June 25, I’m not going to make platinum status for YEARS!

John says:
Hello Lynda McKendree,

I am sure you will have seen by now that you will be grandfathered into Platinum status if you board your tenth cruise by 12/31/2013. I hope that is something that can happen and thanks so very much for your wonderful loyalty.

Best wishes.


Shayne O’Brien asked:


We had the best Chef’s Table experience in November 2010 with Chef Biju on the Carnival Conquest. We are considering itineraries for the fall and would like to know if he is still the chef on the Carnival Conquest. If not, is it possible to find out what ship he’s on? We would consider sailing on that ship just for the food! BTW….my wife and I sailed with you as cruise director on the Carnival Freedom in Europe in 2008, I believe. Still the most fun we’ve had on Carnival.


John says:
Hello Shayne O’Brien,

What a tremendous advert for The Chef’s Table and the wonderful Mr. Biju is on vacation at the moment and is set to return to the Carnival Glory in September. Now this could change, of course, so please check back with me and I will let you know where he ends up. Thanks so very much for this.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today.

Let’s take a break and meet another cruise director. This young lady is a unique individual and I know of no other CD that has more passion for making sure her guests have the best of times then the incomparable Jen Baxter.


I was born in Liverpool, England, in 1973 and joined the Everyman Youth Theatre at age 12 in Liverpool where we put on many productions throughout my teenage years. I lived in Chicago for two years when I was 20, where I did quite a bit of touring theatre. Following that, I worked for a British Holiday Company – Thomson Holidays – for three years as an entertainer in Spain. My next jaunt was touring theatre in the North of England and Scotland which I did for two years. In July 200I, I started my career with Carnival on the lovely Carnival Ecstasy as a social host. I was a host for four years before being promoted to ACD. I was officially promoted to cruise director late in 2008 (after calling thousands of bingo games and feeling far too many hairy chests……). I have been the CD on the following ships: Carnival Legend, Carnival Spirit, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Destiny, Carnival Elation, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Valor and Carnival Fascination and Carnival Triumph (where I currently reside).

Fun Fact: I LOVE Dogs…….


Thanks, Jen. and I know she is a favourite of many and her royal wave and her laugh are things that guests always talk about. She is a great asset to Carnival and I send my congratulations to her for the brilliant work she does.

And as a new adventure begins, let’s see who is sailing with us.

French Canadian 163
Russian 229
Italian 2
German 45
Dutch 103
Portuguese 38
Japanese 75
Spanish 162
Australia 50
Canada 592
Ireland 30
Israel 156
Norway 64
United Kingdom 589

Total Guests Under 21: 1,089

And here is where they will be going;

Mon, Jul, 09 Barcelona 5am-5pm
Tue, Jul, 10 Marseilles 7am-4pm
Wed, Jul, 11 Livorno 7am-7pm
Thu, Jul, 12 Rome 7am-9pm
Fri, Jul, 13 Naples 7am-7pm
Sat, Jul, 14 at sea
Sun, Jul, 15 Dubrovnik 7am-7pm
Mon, Jul, 16 Venice Overnight Arrive 2pm
Tue, Jul, 17 Venice Depart 7pm
Wed, Jul, 18 at sea
Thu, Jul, 19 Messina 7 am – 4 pm
Fri, Jul, 20 at sea

The Thrill Theatre and the Dive in Movies on the Seaside Theatre Big Screen are two very popular areas. We also have two complimentary movies a day on the stateroom TVs and the most comprehensive TV station list we have ever had for a European season. It includes a Sky package, that means guests can watch Sky News, Fox News, CNN International, ITV, BBC entertainment channels and more. This means we have had Wimbledon and will soon be showing the Olympics, as well. We also have interactive movies that come with a fee, of course but these also seem very popular. I don’t have access to these movies and indeed it’s interesting how the movie world has changed. For example, each and every crew cabin here on the flagship and on every single ship in the fleet come with a TV and DVD player supplied by Carnival which we are all very grateful for. However, finding anywhere that sells a sodding DVD really is difficult and, in fact, in Europe it’s bloody well impossible. So what Carnival has done is ship over to the Carnival Breeze 500 DVDs and box sets so that the crew can rent movies for free which they truly appreciate.

Now back in the “old days” this was one of the many “black market” industries that happened below Deck A. My how things have changed – you could essentially buy anything you wanted. One crew member, usually Korean, would sell things called Bowl Noodle Hot which were plastic bowls of spicy noodles. Then there would be the crew members who would rent videos. Their cabin would be festooned with them and most were pirated. To this day, I have no idea how crew members like Mr. Pak or Mr. Choi (who were what we used to call the purser bellman) would get these movies from. But they did and if you wanted to see a movie that had just come out, Mr. Choi’s cabin on the Holiday was the place to get it from. You could also get (allegedly) …… ummmm …………….ummmmmm……..rumpy pumpy movies allegedly with titles like Saving Ryan’s Privates and H82Seaugo Does Dallas.

Yep, you could get it all. Toiletries, a haircut and if you were in with the Chinese laundry guys, you could get the best food on the ship. They had their own galley and they would cook some of the most amazing food I have ever eaten. You never saw them you know. They would come on the ship for the start of their contract, head down to deck B to the laundry and you would not see them for the entire time, unless there was a casino in the ports we called at and then every single one of them would be there, playing and usually winning. They had their own galley and their own community and it was a sight to see. But now they have gone and so has all the black market activity that we used to allow and while I certainly understand why this had to happen, I have to admit, I do miss it, especially that freshly made Chinese food.

I also miss renting videos because renting a video is much, much quicker than the alternative we have today …… the DVD. At least, with a videotape you could press the FF button and miss through all bollocks at the beginning. And then back up a bit, because you’d gone too far to the actual start of the film. Try this with a DVD and you get a little message on the screen telling you that the operation you have requested is not possible.

Yep, these days, before the actual movie starts, you have to sit through hours of warnings about what might happen in the film, and how the views expressed therein may not be in accordance with those of the distributor. And then you are told who the producers are. Usually, there are many, because these days, every single film seems to be produced by 27 companies and executive produced by the star’s wife, who gets a credit, too, along with all the people she approached for money. Couple all this to the time your machine takes to decide whether the disc is in the correct format and was bought in the right region, and the time taken from you turning the player on to the start of the film is about 10 hours. There are some films that are made in less time than it takes them to start. And of course do not ever show the DVD to more than a few people at a time or try to copy it because if you do an FBI SWAT team will fly in from a helicopter, throw a stun grenade into your living room and, once detained, send you to prison for 300 years.

Now I am sure there will be those bloggers who will tell me about the joys of downloading but this is pointless. Asking me to work out how to download something is like asking Calvyn to unhook a ladies bra. In the old days, I used to go to the audio visual manager on board and ask him for a copy of the pay-per-view movies that you get in the cabins and, for a case of beer, Dario would oblige. However, this also has come to an end because the movies we show in the cabins and on the big screens on Lido are all digital………whatever that means.

OK, time to go as it’s a busy embarkation day. Last cruise went really well. Yes, we had some comments that gave us reason to think that we need to better do in some areas but the guests loved the ship for sure. Right, it’s time to get ready for the travel and adventure but first I want to continue working on my new book. It’s an erotic tale about a fat British guy and his underpants. It’s called 50 Shades of Brown.


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.

57 Responses to The Grey Man

  1. Glenn Hughes says:

    John John John you will never make everyone happy – John, I PROMISE you the minute you put that book, Shades of Grey in the library – you will have someone SCREAMING about why CARNIVAL would have such PORN available for people in the public library….
    AND for the dear sweet lady that thouht it so important for you and all to know her husband has a successful lay practice on Hilton Head – I suggest she get her privat yacht out of storage and enjoy their table for two alone…. My Lord!!! John thanks for putting up with so much….

  2. Judy Sharum says:

    HAHAHAHAHA you make me laugh!!!!!
    Having finished all 3 books of fifty shades and then selling on EBay you should read them! You wouldn’t need your lativan dancers or Megan Fox(she Pregant!) and could re-activate your love life! HEIDI would LOVE them!!! Women love to fantazize and these books do it! My hubby LOVED me reading them!! There is a story in there! borrow your friends and start with book 1 and read all 3-you’ll be amazed at the story! We are all rooting for Angie Jolie for the “Mrs Robinson” role!! Black leather-whips-can you see her?????

  3. CRSLW says:

    Ms Edith
    Please and thank you go a long way, but obviously a spouse of a successful Hilton Head Lawyer doesn’t have to be polite. NO ONE CARES that your husband is a successful lawyer. I would gather he puts his pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us!!

  4. Dana T says:

    Oh, be careful…if you place that book in the library, someone else is gonna complain that that the ship is supplying porn. I don’t think you can win! But seriously, come on, I would expect the ship library to maybe have “classics” or the kinds of books you can buy in the grocery store…I certainly wouldn’t expect to find all the newest releases. I mean…really? If it was that important, wouldn’t you bring it yourself?

  5. John, Pat says James Bond can do it twice in a hour and he’s British. So whats your problem?

  6. Cindy Salmon says:

    John, be sure you are home when Heidi reads “50 Shades” because you will gets lots of rumpy pumpy. I read them all and my husband keeps asking me to read them again:)

  7. Sharon says:

    Fifty Shades is training wheels, but some Cherise Sinclair in the library and you’ll have less couples to deal with on the ship. They’ll be too busy in their cabins!

  8. I can hear it now.

    Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 10:59 AM

    Good morning John

    Just FYI, cabin ________ Mr.________ came to the desk to say that he is very disappointed that Carnival a family ship would have smut in the ships library. Mr. ________ says he has not been able to get his wife away from the book she got out of the ships library. When she does put the book down all she wants to do is have rumpy pumpy. Mr.______ says he needs you help.

  9. John,

    Our upcoming cruise on the Breeze – Cabin #8297 (Oct 1st departure),will be our 25th cruise on Carnival’s ships. Our 1st cruise was back in 1989 on the Carnival Mardi Gras. My concern is the new VIFP Program, as we are still going to be Platinum Guests, and not Diamond Guests as we would have become under the old Past Guest Program. Is there anything you can do to rectify this issue?


    • jennifer says:

      How could you have been diamond under the old program when diamond never existed?

    • Sage56 says:

      Michael – There was no Diamond Level in the old program. On your 25th cruise you will be a Milestone (this is a separate program) .. Have a great cruise.

  10. Jan Cartwright says:

    John, you didn’t list any American’s on-board the Breeze, are you “American Free”?

    • vivienne says:

      Take the total number of non-americans (1089) and subtract it from the total number of passengers, (4,505)and you will get the number of Americans. Simple mathematics. Hope this helps you.

    • Bonida Kimbrough says:

      The remainder of the 3000+ passengers are Americam. ;0)

    • Kyra van wingerden says:

      That would be an experience…an american free carnival cruise… Doesn’t sound too bad. They would only have to bring half the food and there wouldn”t be hysterical women shouting OMG all day.
      But only if you don’t substitute them with Russians though!

      Cheers Kyra.

  11. Glenda Taylor says:


    My twin sister and I will be cruising on the Carnival Valor on September 1. I have nver been on this ship. Would you and others give us some insight regarding this ship, food and service. Also would it be difficult to order a birthday cake for us and who should we contact to place the order. Thanks

    • Cruiser Dave says:

      Was on the Valor last year. She is a very handsome ship with heroic motifs. Food and entertainment were very good.
      To order a cake you just need to call Bon Voyage.

      • disappointed cruiser says:

        We were on the Valor at the end of May and were very disappointed with our experience. Food was so-so (small portions and mostly bland). Entertainment was lacking. And cruise director was not memorable. I will post my specific thoughts on cruise critic in a day or so, so be sure to check that out. For the record, we were on the Triumph and Pride in the past and LOVED every minute of those cruises. John Heald was CD on the Triumph and there’s never been a CD anywhere near comparable since, including the Royal Carribean cruise we were on.

  12. Irene says:

    I reckon the guest hoping to find “Fifty Shades of Grey” on the ship was too cheap to buy the book for herself

  13. Helene Apper says:

    If the Alinna is the same one, I have cruised with her 3 times. She is absolutely top of the line and I miss her when I go on other ships. A fabulous server and a fabulous person. I know it has to be the same person because getting the teddy bear for the child would be her style. Please make sure she is duly commended because she deserves it.

  14. Steve Savitt says:

    Just a quick note. My wife and I love Jen Baxter. We have sailed with her four times. She gets a bad rap sometimes,, but she does not hide on the ship as some CD’S do. We would always see her all around the ship at all hours.Love that wave. She is an asset to Carnival.

  15. Mike says:

    To be honest I really did stop reading at the first item by Peter Wordley. I skimmed a bit more and sure enough, the whiners and “gimme, gimmes” are all over. Thank you for posting the story of the teddy bear. These are the types of things I love to read about. It is a truly heart-warming compassionate thing for Alinna to do. Lynda, I am so tired or the whining. You did not get screwed, it was something you never really had in the first place. Grow up! Learn what is really important in life (HINT: IT IS NOT YOU!).

  16. Jan Bode says:

    John this is a very funny blog. I laughed so hard that I cried!! Might I suggest you give Heidi a copy of the book – it might lead to more rumpy pumpy for you. Just don’t be upset if she screams out Christians name.

    • disappointed cruiser says:

      You should just give her the book because if you put it in the library somebody is going to swipe it. That or tape a chain affixed to the table to the book. I’ve read all three books and can easily see it permanently disappearing after being put in the library.

  17. Nicole says:

    I laughed out loud when you said ‘What a wanker.’ The book is ridiculous! I mean of course, she has to fall in love with a billionaire who is physically perfect in every way, and she has to mention this every 5 seconds, while in between saying ‘Oh My’ or ‘peeking up’ at him. It’s laughable. Anyway, I’m jealous of everyone on this cruise. I sailed with my family on the Magic last summer, and one day I hope to cruise with you in Europe again because it was the trip of a lifetime! Best wishes!

    • Cathy says:

      “Oh, My!” I’m with you, Nicole! So glad to hear about someone else who thinks the books are completely ridiculous. The writing is so horrible I couldn’t make it past the first couple of chapters. “Oh, My!”

    • Sharon says:

      Hear, hear, Nicole!

      I like an erotic novel as well as the next person, but this one drove me crazy with the poor writing, ie: “Oh my! Oh my! Oh my!” and the: “I looked down at my hands, afraid to meet his gaze.” As John said, this novel is bollocks! I’m only at page 146 but am packaging up the book to mail over to the Breeze for their library so that the 2000 female passengers can fight over this copy as well. :o) P.S. The photo of John grimacing while reading the book was the best laugh I’ve had in ages!

  18. Pam says:

    I agree with you John about the Ticket to Ride show! That was a highlight for a cruise that I wanted to forget. I want to see it again and this time with my family. thanks for all your hard work and do not get down with this guest who have nothing better to do then complain. YOU ARE BRILLIANT MATE!!

  19. John,

    That is one heck of a news letter. I enjoyed that, especially your answers to all your customers.


  20. Bonida Kimbrough says:

    Edith C. are you kidding????? I am embarrased at your audacity, begging for something you obviously can afford to do yourself. Shame on you!

    I am trying to “register for the free gifts that anniversary couples get”. Seriously?
    “My husband owns a successful law practice on Hilton Head and needs this special time”! I hope HE has a wonderful cruise!

    • EmmyW1 says:

      Edith C. SURELY you have heard the words PLEASE and THANK YOU…might I suggest that you use those words the next time you ask for anything…the words go a long way in getting the results you are looking for..

    • Sharon says:

      Edith C., I have to agree with Bonida. Tossing around your husband’s occupation and success as a lawyer in order to get a couple of perks is sad, to say the least. My husband is a busy courier who has worked hard for the same company for 25 years, however, I would never consider using that as leverage for begging for free stuff for our anniversary. I’m sure your successful lawyer hubby would be embarrassed if he knew about your post.

  21. Alex Aguilar says:

    So funny John, my wife not only read 50 shades of grey but she read books two and three which is 50 shades darker and 50 shades freed. In fact I am looking at them on my desk here as I write. She read the trilogy twice and was so sad after completing it that she may just read it for a 3rd time. I don’t understand as she gave me a few paragraphs to read but the women seem to be going crazy over this book. Anyways, I am sailing with you September 19 on the Breeze. Will you be the CD for that sailing? Have a great day!

  22. GAIL DAVES says:

    Hello John

    Love the adding of picture and Inf. on cruise directors. Cannot wait until you get WEE JIMMY, please add inf. about him soon. In my 12 cruises, he has been the Best, of course I had not got to sail with you.
    Thanks for all your do, Love your Blog.

  23. Marjorie(Ann) Evans Rainey says:

    John, although I have occasionally read you on Facebook, I just recently started subscribing to your blog. I am thoroughly enjoying your British humor and especially your diplomatic, tongue in cheek responses, to some of the ruder writers. Keep up the good work.

  24. Wanda B says:

    Hi John! Sailing on the Spirit’s last inside passage cruise on Sept 11. Can you tell me if the ship goes East or West of Vancouver Island? East of the island is the best chance to spot Orca’s – and I couldnt figure it out from the Carnival map! Thank you!

    • BUBBA aka Chris Roberts says:

      Hi there, saw your post, thought I would help John out since I am here on the Spirit now. You have booked the very special Glacier Bay Cruise. A wonderful place where we only get to go a couple of times during the Alaska season. To answer your question on which side of Vancouver Island you will pass….both. The outbound trip up from Seattle we will cruise on the Western side of Vancouver Island. All though this sea day does not provide much as far as scenary, it does have a good chance for seeing humpback whales. When the ship comes back down to Vancouver, the final day is spent cruising the inside passage on the Eastern side of Vancouver Island. Orcas are possible to see, but not an every day event. However the Inside passage is spectacular just on its own. There are great whale watching tours in Juneau which are your best chance to see both. I won’t be here when you come, but I am sure Stu can point you in the right direction when you get on board. Enjoy Alaska.
      Chris Roberts
      Cruise Director
      Carnival Spirit

  25. frances says:

    I am just noting to edith C there is a bon Voyage gift store on Carnivals web site her family can go there!! or even she or her Husband and purchase some nice little anniversary gifts sent to her cabin which I have done many times for friends and family as a surprise on thier trip and a little gift for thier Anniversary hubbys a lawyer he can afford the nice Anniversary pkg.for his wife, while I can afford to send a cake or a fruit basket. it makes everyone feel good, no matter what you purchase and send. it not up to the Cruise Company to send you your annivery gift that’s what your families should be doing or for you both to be doing for each other!!!

    • Richard Taylor says:

      There is a snag with the Bon Voyage website. I wanted to order the cabin for my wife’s actual birthday, 20th July, but the only option was embarkation day. Doh! many thanks to Carnival UK, who managed to take my money for the package… but then forgot to tell the ship. And many, many thanks to Nigel of Guest Services. (wonderful people who put up with all the petty complaints, and always have a smile. Each and every one a Carnival Star) Nigel, who could find no record of it, chased it up and arranged its being done whilst we were at breakfast.

  26. Kathy T says:

    I love to read your blog whilst I drink my morning coffee…… Always gets my day off to a good start! Keep up the good work, John. Can’t wait till my Triumph cruise in February!!

  27. Pam Wagner says:

    To Edith C.: What about a please and thank you? And if your husband has a “very successful law practice on Hilton Head”, then I’m sure you can afford to purchase your own anniversary gifts! People who think they’re entitled drive me crazy!

  28. Joleen says:

    OH JOHN! OH JOHN! your blog today on Fifty Shades of Grey is just TOO FUNNY!…I’m still laughing
    I so love your sense of humor
    thanks and keep up the BRILLANT work

  29. Kevin Nickens says:

    Hello John,

    My wife an I just returned from a short-but-oh-so-sweet 3 nighter on the Sensation. What a surprise to find that Ralph “Wee Jimmy” Valente was our Cruise Director! We sailed with him previously on the Legend. He is always so cheerful, and makes the voyage that much more wonderful

    I also wanted to thank you for arranging the Chef’s Table for us. Chef Erwin and his team outdid themselves. It was truly an amazing experience. It’s been three days, and I think I’m still full!

    Thanks again and take care.

  30. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Jen is indeed a jewel.

    We have only gotten to cruise with her a couple of times….but each time was a delight.

    And Bonnie (her ACD on the first cruise) was a hoot as well!!!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  31. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    To bad your husband’s law school did not teach him even the basics of common decency…like PLEASE and THANK YOU!

    Because surely if they had, at least a small amount would have rubbed off on you after 25 years.

    I suggest you take your arrogant ill-mannered attitude back to those other cruise lines.

    There is no place for that on Carnival.

  32. Leon Biesiadecki says:

    I enjoy reading about the cruise directors, but one I haven’t seen and should be mentioned is Stephanie Meads. She’s probably retired by now,so I’d like to wish her the best in her next chapter. I hope her replacement is half as good.

  33. Eileene says:

    Thanks for the laughs, John – loved your description of “50 Shades of Gray” and the synopsis of your own, upcoming novel. 😀

    Thank you also for the bio on Jen Baxter. We absolutely loved her! We sailed with her on the “Hurricane Ike Cruise,” and can’t say enough good about her handling of the situation.

  34. John,

    You were in rare form today and I just wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for all the giggles I had reading the posting.

    I also want you to know that since you’ve advertised it, we are all going to demand you publish “50 Shades of Brown”. Seriously, I really do think that would be a perfect title for the book you should write some day.

    Bob (AKA Kokomo_Man)
    Memories of Naked Fanny

    P.S. Only twice an hour… what’s wrong with this guy?

  35. Teddy Gautsch says:

    Why cant she bring her own softcore porn onto the ship if it means that much to her? YOU ON A CRUISE SHIP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN WITH MORE FOOD AND DRINK THAN YOU COULD EVER CONSUME, quit your complaining!!

  36. Nicole Griffin says:

    Hi John-

    I am fresh off the Carnival Breeze June 27th voyage. I was a virgin cruiser and virgin to out of the US travel so I was really siked about this trip. There were a few things that didnt sit well with me, however, the good really outweighed the bad. My cabin steward, Picard from Haiti, was absoluetly spectacular. He was very accomdating with my 2 cabin companions as they liked to party all night and sleep doing the day when we needed our cabin cleaned. Additionally guest services were great as well, Nigel from Englad and Kristina were very helpful along with Blanche from South Africa and Jonathan from Canada. From hom I know everyones name you would probably attribute it to me going to guest services alot. I can assure you it was not for complaints. Additionally, our waiter, Costinel from Romania, made dinner entertaining every night and I strongly believe he is a member of the mafia but very kind. Additionally, my bar waiter, Colin from Guyana, was always on stand by with my favorite drink. It was like he knew exactly when I needed a drink. I LOVED ALL THE CREW. From the entertainment team to housekeeping. Please let the bosses know exactly how great of a staff they have. I must say I seriously considered applying for a job with Carnival. May still consider it. I also loved you and Calvyn absolutely funny!!!! I especially loved how you got attacked during the Guest Talent Show…CLASSIC!!!! The ship was beautiful! The shows were great, I really loved the DIVAS show. Shane is the best. I loved the HASBRO game show, I was a contestant and won; taking home a great prize to my two children who love HASBRO games. LOVE BUTCH!!!! One suggestion. I think the night club should be seperated into 2 age groups. Children (18 may be considered an adult, but not in my eyes) should not be partying with grown and sexy adults like myself. :o). My only major complaint was the kids…THEY WERE BADD!!!!!!!!!!!!! I left my 2 at home thinking hey this is a European cruise..shouldnt be too many kids, boy was I mistaken. I guess I am the only parent in the world who thinks trips such as this should be paid for on their own dime, not mine. But Carnival needs to get a grip on those out of control children. Talking my kids on vacay in 2013, but will definately cruise again in 2014.

  37. Cynthia G says:

    Hello John;
    I’ll be sailing with you on the Breeze in October I hope. I just read todays Grey man blog and as a recently retired librarian, I may be laughing too hard to board the ship.
    I’d be willing to lead a book discussion in the lovely library with the wine bar as long as it’s not on that book.
    See you soon.

  38. Robyn from Savannah says:

    Oh Edith dear, I have a wonderful idea. While your on this cruise why don’t you open your eyes while you’re in Roatan or Belize and discover the abject poverty these people are living in, and then take the money that you spend on frivolous crap and donate it to one of the many orphanages or schools that desperately need help. The median income on Hilton Head Island, SC is 300,000.00 a year and you are asking for free gifts? Come back down to Earth Edith, this week, I got to fight my insurance company for iron transfusions for my daughter, the same one who when we cruised made sure she got off in Belize to take backpacks full of school supplies to an orphanage. The gall and total lack of manners of some people never cease to amaze me.

    • Robin from the Midwest says:

      EXCELLENT post, Robyn from Savannah! I brought bags of school supplies to St. Lucia last cruise, where they are much-needed and much-appreciated. Left me lots of room in my luggage for souvenirs! 🙂

      The gall of some people demanding things from John just amazes me. Some special occasions really ARE special and asking for recognition is fine. Others, not so much. And whatever you want, “please” and “thank you” need to be used early and often!

  39. dave j says:

    John, Just wanted to say thank you for todays post. You brought up a point that many don’t realize, the infamous double standard. See, it’s ok for women to read smut and fantasize, my wife does all the time, but if us men do the same, well, we’re just pigs. Just imagine a copy of say Ron Jeremys biography was in the Breeze’s library. What would be said about that? One last thing, can’t wait till 12/08/12. My wife and myselfs cruise on the stunningly gorgeous Carnival Breeze. Please go to youtube. There are some fantastic home videos of the Breeze sailing form the ship yard back in May on her first unofficial voyage.

  40. Richard Clough says:

    Hi John. In regards to 50 shades of grey, why don’t you have one of the beards in Miami go to Home Depot, and select 50 shades of Grey paint colour patches and have them sent to the ship.

  41. Kara says:

    I really enjoyed Jen while I cruised for the first time on the Fascination. I went for a study abroad biology class and had to do a picture scavenger hunt. One of my pictures had to be with the live version of Funship Freddy. She was very pleasant and helpful when we ( my roommate and I) told her it was for a grade. She chatted with us for a few minutes before pointing out which door he would be coming out of so we could get our picture. We saw her latter in Nassau and she asked us if we were having fun. Needless to say, she has made me want to cruise again if any of the CDs are like her!

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