Fighting Talk

September 19, 2012 -

John Heald

Now and then I get some posts that are very personal and attack me with such venom that it leaves me quite shaken up. There was one particular post I won’t grace with publishing but let me say it was so personal and full of such hate that it pushed my thick-skinned soul to the limit. You know, I spent all of my school years without ever getting into a fight, and even when the school bully Shane Ibrahim used to beat me with a wet towel in the changing rooms I remained calm and polite and tried to brush it off with humour. And that’s a practice that I continue to this day.

Even today when things get to me I would never, ever resort to violence but not everyone is built like me. I sit here, in my underpants and use the keyboard as a sword but often I think a swift kick in the bollocks to some folks might make me feel a bit better – but obviously it wouldn’t.  It’s just not dignified or professional. I mean, you wouldn’t see Gerry Cahill leap over the table and kick someone in the bollocks at the Cruise Shipping Miami conference when all the other cruise line presidents start blathering on and become annoying. You know, in my job and, indeed, in my life as a whole, I have been made in such a way as to stay calm and carry on. I hate violence. I really do.  But there are times when I do wonder how it would feel to take my fat, oversized hand and smack someone upside the head? Hmmmmmm.

Now that I have that off my chest, time for today’s Q and A……… we go

Scott Dieterle asked:
Thank you for the wonderful job you do keeping us up to date on EVERYTHING Carnival!

I just called to request an ash tray be put on our balcony. Unfortunately, there was no place except in the cruise notes to put it in and they weren’t sure the right people would see it.
We always request one when we get in the room but everyone is running around like crazy when we first board and it would be nice if they knew ahead of time so it would be one more thing they know ahead of time and don’t have to worry about getting at the last minute. Is there a place I am missing to request it early?

John says:
Hello Scott Dieterle!

We don’t have a place on the booking form for this but please don’t worry. May I suggest that when you drop your luggage off that you tell your stateroom steward that you want one and they have them on their service trolleys so one will be immediately available? I hope this is OK and if you tell me your cabin number and sailing date a couple of days before you sail then I will have one there for you. Thanks for the kind words and have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.

Leanne Baldock asked:
We were always told Carnival was for younger people and was surprised because on our Carnival Triumph cruise the DJ played mostly old music and not the music we wanted to hear. I and my friends are 22 and 23 years old and the DJ was rude because when we asked for more current club music he said no and ignored us. Who do I complain to about this?

John says:
Hello Leanne Baldock,

I have often said that the job of being a DJ is not an easy one because trying to please all the people all the time with everyone liking different music types is virtually impossible. I sometimes hear this the other way round that the DJ plays too much modern music and not enough variety so it is interesting to read this the other way round. Our DJs are being trained by one of the country’s best, DJ Irie of the Miami Heat, and one of the things they are being taught at “Spin’iversity” is to read the audience and to make sure a variety of music is played. I do hope that you and your friends had fun and I really don’t think the DJ was being rude but, as I mentioned, trying to appease everyone. However, I will for sure pass on your comments to the ship. Thanks for taking the time to write and I hope we see you again soon.

Best wishes.

Kelly Wentworth asked:

When my husband and I married almost six years ago, we sailed a competitor for our honeymoon thinking that spending more money meant a better experience. For our one-year anniversary, we wanted to sail again and chose Carnival for the value, and enjoyed this much more than the previous cruise. Since then, we have taken one to two Carnival cruises a year.  For our fifth anniversary, we thought we would treat ourselves to a trip on the newest Behemoth of the Seas. By the end of the week, we had missed Carnival so much. While some things were definitely done better and grander, especially if it was something they could tangibly spend money on, and they made sure we knew how amazing it was. Overall, we feel that that the value and experience are much better at Carnival, especially in terms of customer service.

Our next cruise will be a family cruise on the Carnival Breeze in early January, which has been planned for over a year. I recently gave birth to our first child, which was not an issue when we booked. Normally, my mother would watch our daughter at this young age, but as she will be on board, we will be brining my daughter as well. My question is why does Carnival charge third person rate on a child of less than one year of age? I have no problem paying for services and products utilized, so I would like to understand the resource burden a child of seven months creates. She won’t be eating any food, and will have to bring all of it with us. She is too young to use any of the entertainment options open to guests, including Camp Carnival.

In fact, we were excited to find out the babysitting would be available to us, at what we felt was a reasonable hourly rate, only to realize the availability of the service have left us making other plans. Babysitting only available from port arrival to noon is too short of time to enjoy the port and add stress to our time on excursions. We had also planned to have an evening dinner in the steakhouse for the seven adults in our party, without the baby, of course, but babysitting hours aren’t until 10pm, so that is out as well.  Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my question and concerns.

Kelly Wentworth

John says:
Hello Kelly Wentworth,

Firstly, it is great to read how the value for money experience has you wanting to return to Carnival and I am very happy that is the case. I do hope you enjoyed your cruise on the Something of the Seas but we are ready to welcome you back to Carnival. I totally understand your thoughts on the babysitting because last year, I was in exactly the same position with my then two-year-old daughter. I don’t have an answer as to why this rule is in place but I will get you one. As for the rate, well often we have specials where the third and fourth persons in the cabin do go for reduced rates so may I kindly suggest that you find a really good travel agent or even one of Carnival’s PVPs to keep you updated as and when these become available. Let me get back to you on the babysitting and if there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.

Best wishes.

Jessica Murray asked:
Dear John,

My husband and I were discussing cruising (and your fabulous blog!) last evening and he asked me, “Just what does a CD do?” I told him that the captain is responsible for the sailing of the ship and the CD is responsible for everything else (entertainment, customer care and comfort, etc.). Am I correct, or did I just blow smoke up his arse? (By the way, we LOVE reading your blogs and FB page….makes me even more excited about our upcoming cruise on Magic in October!)  Thanks, John!!

John says:
Hello Jessica Murray

That’s right, I am responsible for scheduling activities and entertainment as well as hosting and performing activities and shows myself. The CD is also the voice of a ship and will promote different offerings on board, keep the guests informed and obviously meet and speak to as many of the guests as possible during each cruise. I hope you both have a brilliant time on the Carnival Magic — what a great ship she is and I know you will have fun. Please let me know if there is anything I can do and I am so glad you continue to enjoy the blog.

Best wishes.

Kevin Fitzpatrick asked:
I am very frustrated! I have asked two different morons at Carnival and gotten two different answers. DO YOU HAVE TO WEAR A JACKET AT THE STEAKHOUSE – YES OR NO?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Kevin Fitzpatrick

NO JACKET REQUIRED, HAVE A GREAT CRUISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!……………Oops, sorry about that, my caps lock was stuck on. Have a wonderful cruise and enjoy the fabulous steakhouse. Best wishes.


Clara Menotti asked:
Hi John. Please can you tell me if the power has been changed to house Australian plugs on the Carnival Spirit? We will be on her first cruise and are soooooo excited but are concerned about charging cameras, etc. Please can you help?

John says:
Hello Claire Menotti

I can see how excited you are and yes, indeed, all the cabins now have both Australian and US sockets so you will have nothing to worry about. Have the most wonderful cruise and enjoy this great ship.

Best wishes.

Jeff Cifone asked:

Just want to say how much I enjoy reading your comments. I have been on Cruise Critic for a lot of years and don’t post there much since they beat up on pretty much anyone with an opinion. On our last cruise in 2010 on the Carnival Dream, my wife started to become sick the last couple days from an ongoing illness and a couple weeks later, I almost lost her twice in a very short period of time. We are now going on our fifth Carnival cruise this October and are very excited and grateful to be able to continue to be blessed with the ability to vacation and live the lifestyle not everyone in the world can afford. People in this country (USA) really do need to look at how good life is for us in comparison and if you can get on a cruise ship, stuff your face, drink too much, and just relax…do you really have a complaint? Please keep up the good work you do and remember……..there are more of us that enjoy it that don’t always take the time to comment than those that (female dog). The complainers just love to try and find company. Thanks again.


John says:
Hello Jeff

My goodness, I cannot imagine what that must have been like and I am so happy to know that your wife has made a full recovery and is ready to cruise again. We do sometimes forget how lucky we are to be able to cruise and to have a choice of when we cruise and who with.  There are many in the world who have not been able to have these choices and so it is indeed important to remember this and to enjoy every moment we have. Please, can you send me your cabin number here, or if you have Facebook, one day before on my page as I would like to send your wife a little something to say welcome back. Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes to you both.

Carl & Sheila Rice asked:
Hello John,

Love your blog! My wife, who is blind, would like to know if ship personnel will let her take the ship’s tour? She would be guided by me. If she can’t, then I will be the one going. She has been on tours on the galley and the bridge before and she hopes to get to go! If she will be allowed to go, can we ask a favor? Since we take longer to get on the ship, could we sign up for the tour early?  Also, she would like to do The Chef’s Table. I know that she should be able to do this one. While I took up too much of your time I’m sorry. Hope to hear from you soon….
Carl and Sheila Rice.

PS Can you ask your wife if DOT or Pauline on EASTENDERS DIED?
Thanks again!!!!

John says:
Hello Carl and Sheila Rice

Yes, of course, she can go and if you feel comfortable guiding her, then yes, I don’t see any reason why not. Now I should inform you that there will be some stairs involved in the engine control room area and one or two other areas. Most of the time, we can use the elevator but there will be a few steps here and there so if that’s OK then go ahead and I am sure she will have fun. I can’t reserve them online, I am afraid, but please go to the shore excursion desk as soon as you board the ship and they will make sure you get tickets. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make your time on the ship more comfortable. As for Eastenders, well, Pauline Fowler dies and, unfortunately, the actress who played her, Wendy Richards, passed away some months earlier. You may remember her from Are You Being Served. Dot is still going strong.

Best wishes.

Ed asked:

I really enjoy reading your blog. I have a question about the karaoke with a live band. My wife and I are scheduled for the Carnival Dream on April 27 and I love to sing karaoke. What tips can you give on getting to sing with a live band as much as possible during our cruise?

John says:
Hello Ed

It is called Superstar Live and, during your cruise, you will have at least three one-hour sessions and that should give you multiple chances to sing with them. I hope this helps answer your question and please let me know if you have any others. Have a great time.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today.

So just before I tell you the specifics of the new voyage that starts today here on the Carnival Breeze let me quickly tell you something about the naming ceremony in Miami. Here is what I know……………….. ummmmm……………’s bugger all, actually.

I am asked about this a lot here and on Facebook with guests wanting to know when it is and what’s happening but so far no final decisions have been made as to when and what we will do. There will be a naming ceremony, of course, but we have not announced who the godmother will be and at this point I am considering going to Neiman Marcus, buying a designer dress and I will smash the sodding bottle myself. Seriously, plans are nearly complete and I will let you know who it will be and when the ceremony is as soon as I have the information.

Anyway, today we started a new cruise and here is who is sailing and where they are going.
Wish you were here.

TOTAL GUESTS         3,778
USA                 1,622
Great Britain (UK)         695
Canada             523
Russian Federation         209
Australia             168
Canada (French)         143
Israel                 74
Ukraine             57
Netherlands             49
Taiwan             24
Mongolia             1
GUESTS UNDER 18     91

Wed, Sep, 19    Barcelona                5am-5pm
Thu, Sep, 20    Monaco                9am-8pm
Fri, Sep, 21    Livorno                7am-7pm
Sat, Sep, 22    Rome                    7am-9pm
Sun, Sep, 23    Olbia                    7am-4pm
Mon, Sep, 24    at sea
Tue, Sep, 25    Dubrovnik                7am-7pm
Wed, Sep, 26    Venice    Activities            arr @2pm
Thu, Sep, 27    Venice                    dep @ 7pm
Fri, Sep, 28    at sea
Sat, Sep, 29    Messina                7am-4pm
Sun, Sep, 30    at sea

No Naples this cruise as the port is too congested, so instead, we head again to Olbia. Last time we were there this beautiful Sardinian port was a huge hit with the guests and the hospitality we received from the locals was superb. We have an overnight stop in Venice again and overall this is a really terrific itinerary.

It’s interesting reading all of your comments and it reminded me of a guest I met last cruise. It was after Calvyn and I had hosted the Divas show before which we have some fun on stage and turn one lady into a Diva. Anyway, we did this and introduced the cast and walked off stage, through the audience and to the back of the lounge to watch the show. As I stood there a man came up and asked to speak to me and I knew instantly that he was not happy. Funny, isn’t it, that after all these years doing this I can tell straight away who isn’t going to want to give me a big hug and say, “This is the best thing I have ever done” but rather wants to say, “I need to complain about….”

So, what can I tell you about this guest? Well, he was from California and a successful business man. I know this because he told me so right at the start of our conversation. This was his eighth cruise but it was his first with Carnival. And while he thought the crew was friendly, he didn’t like the food; the ship was too big and he didn’t care for the people he and his wife were seated at with at dinner. I asked him for his cruise history and basically he has cruised with one company only before this, and all his eight previous cruises were with Celebrity. I was going to write “Brand X” but that would have been unprofessional and you know me, I am never that.

Now I am sure Celebrity has a great product and as I listened to him tell me how they did everything better than us (except he said the Carnival crew was friendlier) I wondered why then after being loyal to Brand X……bugger……..I mean Celebrity, why did he change and decide to cruise with us. I asked him and he said the price was excellent and that he had been recommended it by a work colleague. But even taking the brilliant value for money into the equation and having heard his list of previous cruises, it was obvious that, quite simply, Carnival wasn’t for him. Sometimes certain people feel comfortable doing, eating, sailing on and wearing different things. I mean, would Prince Charles ever have been photographed playing naked pool? Would Mr. Radu have taken photos of Kate Middleton’s breasts? Can you imagine me wearing clothes from Abercrombie and Itch or whatever they are called? No, of course not. People tend to know what suits them ……..and what doesn’t. It is rare to find someone who has just finished reading the Art of War by Zang Su and has now picked up a copy of 50 Shades of Grey. So value for money is what brought this chap to Carnival but even that wasn’t enough to put a smile on his face.

I guess my point is this. In the same way as having your nipple pierced isn’t for everyone, occasionally you are going to meet someone who doesn’t have a great time no matter what you do and, in the case of the “successful businessman,” I spoke to last cruise it’s safe to say that Carnival wasn’t for them, just as vacationing in Paris isn’t right for me or indeed for anyone with a good sense of smell.

Opinions, everyone has them and they continue to be fascinating to read and to listen to. It always amazes me as I continue towards 30,000 readers on Facebook and 15 million views here on the blog thingy how opinions on what we do are often as different as a beautiful Latvian models bottom clad only in a Versace G-string and my bottom clad in a pair of mostly white baggy underpants from Wal-Mart. Some people may wonder still why I post negative comments about the company I work for and indeed negative posts about me. I always thought that the danger would be that I would make this blog a bit self-pandering and right from the start I promised myself that if I was going to continue, that I would always post the good, the bad, and, in my case, the ugly.

There are people on other pages who think that I do this so that I get waves of sympathy from the readers. They could not be more wrong. I do it because it’s one of the reasons that I think we do have close to 15 million page views and close to 30,000 likes on Facebook. It’s one of the reasons our blog has won awards including one last week from Cruise International Magazine. I post these comments so that the blog and my Facebook page remain real and I remain grounded and I think, or at least I hope, that this is one of the reasons why people continue to read.

Speaking of complaining, women are always complaining about their looks and looking for new ways to enhance our facial features so they look and feel our best. But even men are getting into the act with Botox and other treatments as they were getting tired of their loved one shouting, “Ohhhh, Johnny Depp, you are the man” all the time. I am going to have one so when I fly back home and I burst through the front door like an all-action jaw chiseled hero Heidi will be yelling my name rather than thinking about Johnny sodding Depp. Then again… will have been many weeks or more since I have been blessed with any rumpy pumpy…….so she can call me Johnny, Gerry, Micky or as some have called me, “the sperm of the devil”…. if there is rumpy pumpy involved…………I will answer to anything.


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.