November 12, 2012 -

John Heald

There is a young lady who works here on the Carnival Breeze as an entertainment staff member and her name is Stephanie Erb. In an ideal world, Stephanie would have everyone singing their hearts out and she is doing this by forming from amongst the guests something called a Glee Choir. When Stephanie first approached me with this idea, I was a little skeptical but straight away it is obvious that this was a brilliant idea.

We have 75 guests signed up and, as we speak, they are rehearsing and doing it with great gusto. I went down to visit them during their rehearsal and saw that there were men and women of all ages and speaking to them was inspiring. Some have sang in a choir before, most at church but some have never sung in a choir before but are excited to do so here on the ship. No one is more surprised than they are to find themselves at a choir practice then Gillian Olgin who is 71 years old and from Dayton, Ohio. I spoke to her and she told me “I’ve always liked singing but I would never normally have considered joining a choir. I have always wanted to sing but been too scared that I wouldn’t be accepted and this is really making my cruise special.”

I myself sang in a choir, yep, I was a tenor in a choir at church when I was in my teens but things are a lot different in today’s choirs from what I remember. My sister Suzanne and I and my parents all sang in the choir and we would find ourselves singing from ancient music books, their pages yellowed and curled up at the corners. It wasn’t just that the music was old, it felt old, it even smelt like it was old. But these days it’s all changed and the first time I noticed this was when we had a choir group sail on our ships. They were called Sing Live UK. There premise is that they can bring the joy of singing to everyone and provide extraordinary opportunities to sing in the UK and around the world and they don’t care if you are a fantastic singer or have the vocal talents of a cat being tasered. And that’s what our choir is all about. We have great singers, average singers and singers who ……well aren’t singers but all are welcome and all are having brilliant fun. They will be performing a disco medley and will close the talent show with We Are the World and I will make sure this is recorded and I will put the final results on a future blog. It really is brilliant and well done to Stephanie for putting this together.

Here is a photo of our Breeze Choir at rehearsals:


Time for today’s Q and A………off we go.

Jerri asked:
Hey John,

I’ve been cruising with Carnival since 1990, and waaaay back then, they had pre- and post-cruise hotel packages available for purchase in cruise port cities, like Miami. The only ones I see now are for Barcelona or Venice. Do they still offer “local” pre-cruise hotel packages? I leave on Carnival Destiny on Dec. 6 and would like to stay the night before in Miami to extend our “cruise experience.” If you could steer me in the right direction, or tell me that I have to fend for myself, I’d appreciate it!

John says:
Hello Jerri,

I am afraid we don’t offer pre- and post-cruise hotel packages outside of our European destinations. Wish I had a better answer but please let me know if there is any other way I can help you.

Best wishes.


Keri Fidler asked:
Hi John,

I love Carnival cruising and love your blog! My family and I (all 19 of us) will be on the Carnival Breeze for the Jan. 13 sailing. We are SO EXCITED! I have two questions. First, my mom is taking us on the cruise in honor of the 10-year anniversary of my dad’s death. Is there any way you could help us do something special for her while onboard? She is amazing and has gone through so much, and to voluntarily spend a week with all of us is pretty amazing in itself. Second, the first time we all cruised together was on the Carnival Liberty back in 2006. We had the most amazing server, Vlastimil (we literally still talk about him at family gatherings). Any chance he’s still with Carnival and/or on the Carnival Breeze? We can’t wait to meet you and spend a week of quality relaxation on the Breeze!

Thanks so much!!!


John says:
Hello Keri Fidler,

I will be on the ship for that cruise as I prepare for the Bloggers Cruise the following week and of course I will send her a little something and my sympathies at your loss. I see we have a lot of staff with that name including seven waiters but none are here or are heading here so it looks like you will have a another wonderful waiter to look after you. So I will see you soon and please get ready for a wonderful cruise and when on board drop me a note at the guest services desk to remind me about Mum.

Best wishes.


Pauline Enfield asked:

We are just off the Pride and had our Cruise Critic roll call with 50 plus in attendance. We did receive your two bottles of champagne and two ships on sticks but I have to tell you that we found these door prizes completely inadequate compared to NCL. They offered T-shirts, mugs and every Cruise Critic member got a signed chart of the ships route by the captain. This leads me on to another disappointment because the captain or the cruise director took the time to come which we all commented on and will write in our reviews. I am just saying that if Carnival wants Cruise Critic members to cruise on their ships then they need to step up to the plate and do better things for us.

John says:
Hello Pauline Enfield,

I started giving the CC meet and greets the two trophies and two bottles of champagne some months ago. It was my idea as I tried to show that we do appreciate you sailing with us. However I have to say that we have no plans to increase gifts or incentives to those who travel as part of the roll call. I can say that I truly hope you had fun and that your reviews will be subjective, honest and most importantly that you had fun.

Best wishes to all your roll call friends.


Carl T Stearman asked:

My wife is panicking because she has been told that she is not allowed to bring a hair curler to the ship and that it is prohibited, is this true.

John says:
Hello Carl T Stearman,

Please tell your wife not to panic because she can bring a hair curler to the ship. The only thing we ask is that before you leave the cabin that it is unplugged. Hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions. Have a great cruise.

Best wishes.


Terri Lynn asked:

There is a young lady who works on the Carnival Liberty who to me sums up why I have 21 cruises with Carnival and her name is Adi. My husband and I normally have a routine when we cruise where after dinner we go straight to the piano bar with some casino slots mixed in but all that changed on the Liberty. We met Adi at the Alchemy Bar the first night and because of her engaging conversation and amazing smile her bar was our first stop after dinner. John I hope all your passengers get to meet her as she is what Carnival is all about. See you on BC6, can’t wait.

John says:
Hello Terri Lynn,

It is always great to hear from you and before I forget may I say again how much I appreciate your amazing loyalty. Yep, Adi is amazing and a sensational crew member loved by guests and her fellow crew. She is now on the Carnival Conquest opening the Alchemy Bar there and I am sure she is doing what she always does best — mixing superb cocktails and making everyone feel at home. I will make sure she sees these wonderful words of praise which I thank you for taking the time to write. I will see you in January.

Best wishes to you both.


Frank Dena asked:

We will be on the X-mas cruise on Carnival Imagination and my son will turn 15 on X-mas day. He always complains that he gets less presents than others as his birthday is on X-mas day so can you send him something special. Our cabin number is M112 and his name is Shane.

John says:
Hello Frank Dena,

I am sure this cruise will be very special for him and please can you send me a note here on the blog marked “time sensitive” one week before you sail or at the same time drop me a note on my Facebook page at facebook.com/johnheald and I will send him a little something to wish him happy birthday I hope you all have a wonderful time.

Best wishes.


Georgie Marino asked:
Hi John,

Well, our Sept. 7 – 19 Carnival Breeze Mediterranean cruise is over and we’re back to reality! Again, receiving your very thoughtful gift on-board helped made the cruise even more special. I am so sorry I didn’t get to see/speak with you personally, but maybe the next time. I will not book my next cruise until I know what your CD schedule is for 2013 so please let me know. I noticed on our cruise that the RedFrog Pub didn’t get anywhere near the attention that it got last year on Carnival Magic. If you recall last year on the Carnival Magic you couldn’t get into the pub every night, it was jam-packed! Please, please pay special tribute to our waiter in Blush, his name is Loubo (don’t know his official first name), he’s from Bulgaria – he and his two assistants were incredible – we talked about his wife and two children every evening and how he misses them and also our room specialist, Susanna, she was also from Bulgaria. She went above and beyond. So, please let me know your CD schedule for next year. Also Calvyn’s as well. Hugs and Kisses to Calvyn too!

John says:
Hello Georgie Marino,

Yes, while the RedFrog Pub on Carnival Breeze continues to attract lots of fans, you’re right – on your cruise traffic was slower than other sailings and I still can’t work out why that was. Maybe the international count was a factor and of course the other areas of the ship were busy as well and traffic was spread more I think. I am so glad you had fun and I will be honoured to pass on your words of praise to all those you mentioned. Calvyn and I send you our best and I hope we see you soon and as you will have seen by the CD schedule I will be on the Carnival Legend next year and I hope you will too.

Best wishes.


David Amerio asked:

Just wanted to show you an interesting article I found in relation to your “Flat Iron Steak” whiner. http://news.ufl.edu/2007/11/28/flat-iron-steak/. It appears a team from my hometown of Gainesville, Florida teamed up with cattle industry to create the steak – “the researchers created a steak that has the tenderness of a rib eye or strip steak with the full-flavored character of a sirloin or skirt steak. It’s also perfect for grilling over medium high heat,” That said, I am one of the many people who have enjoyed the Flat Iron steak on my several cruises with Carnival as well as at home, off my grill.

Cheers and happy cruising, John.


John says:
Hello David Amerio,

Thanks so much, that made for fascinating reading indeed. The flat iron steak continues to be very popular on our everyday menu and this shows that it is indeed a very good cut of meat. Thanks again and I hope we see you onboard enjoying a piece very soon.

Best wishes.


Helen Stern asked:

Looking to find out if Carnival does kosher food. This will be important to know before we book a cruise which we are wanting to do in 1/13 so can you confirm Mr. Heald if this is possible or not and will you allow my husband to inspect the galley to make sure all is in order for our food.

John says:
Hello Helen Stern,

Yes indeed we do and please may I ask you to call our guest access services desk. Please tell them your sailing date and how many guests want kosher food and we will make sure it is so. I am sure we can let your husband see the galley although maybe not during operation as it is obviously a very hectic place. Rest assured we will look after you as best we can so I hope you will book your cruise. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with and enjoy your cruise.

Best wishes.


Adrian Vangard asked:

I need to know what vodkas they serve on the ship Magic. This is an urgent matter and I need an urgent response!!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Adrian Vangard,

I guess the fact that you posted this close to five weeks ago makes this a ummmmmm not so urgent answer for which I apologise. Here though is the list of vodkas we serve on the Carnival Magic: Absolut, Stolichnaya, Smirnoff, Ketel one, Grey Goose, Three Olives, Belvedere, Grey Goose, Ciroc, Finlandia, Skyy and Crapashitski Plus several of these vodkas have fruit flavor infusion inside such as cherry, orange, Bloody Mary, citrus, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, and blueberry. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes.


And on that curious question, we end today’s Q&A. Thanks for the continuing questions and comments.

So today we start our five days crossing the Atlantic and so far the sea conditions have been favourable. The staff and I have done our best to make sure we pack the day full of fun and I thought I would share with you the Have a Great Time section of the Fun Times so you can see what is going on. Here it is;


All Day Card Game Area……….. Conference Center, 4 Mid
Sunrise Stretch……………………….. Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

Fab Abs Class…………………………. Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
Library Open Until midnight………….Deck 4 Fwd

Daily Puzzles……………………………….. Plaza Café, 5 Mid

John & Calvyn’s Morning Show Channel 16 & Seaside Theater
Arts & Crafts…………………………. Limelight Lounge, 5 Aft
Big Screen Trivia: Celeb Double Take Ovation Theater, 3 Fwd

Trivia: Slogans…………………………… Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
Punchliner Brunch……………. Sapphire Restaurant, 3 Fwd
Ping Pong Tournament………………………… Deck 11, Mid
Body Sculpt Boot Camp #2 + Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

Trivia: Vacation Destinations………….. Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

Super Trivia 1………………………. Ovation Theater, 3 Fwd
Match Game…………………………….. Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
Breeze Olympic Sports………………… Sports Deck, 12 Mid
Punchliner Brunch Sapphire Restaurant, 3 Fwd
How to Increase Your Metabolism……………………… Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament… Winner’s Luck Casino, 5 Mid
Noon Fun Finds Shopping Show………… Ovation Theater, 3 Fwd
Punchliner Brunch……………. Sapphire Restaurant, 3 Fwd
Behind The Fun Piano Bar 88,5 Aft
Slot Tournament Begins…….. Winner’s Luck Casino, 5 Mid

Jazz In Plaza with Eddie C & Band…… Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
Future Cruise Talk………………….. Limelight Lounge, 5 Aft

Punchliner Brunch……………. Sapphire Restaurant, 3 Fwd Art Gallery “Sneak Peak” Liquid Nightclub, 5 Mid

Bridge Players Meet……………… Conference Room, 4 Mid

Bear Cuddly +……………………….. Camp Carnival, 11 Mid

Trivia: General Knowledge…………….. Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

Veterans Day & Remembrance Day Ovation Theater, 3 Fwd

Trivia: Sports…………………………….. Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
Dive In Movie: The Kings Speech. Seaside Theater, 10 Mid

Slot Tournament Finals……… Winner’s Luck Casino, 5 Mid

Guess That Song……………………….. Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
Win A Bracelet……………………………. Fun Shops, 5 Fwd
Dodgeball……………………………….. Sports Deck, 12 Mid
TRX Rip Trainer + Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
Tea Time…………………………….. Blush Restaurant, 4 Aft

Bingo: 5 Game +…………………… Ovation Theater, 3 Fwd

Sea Feud #3…………………………….. Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

Bean Bag Toss………………………….. Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

Seminar: Wrinkle Remedies…………. Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

Total Body Conditioning……………… Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

Ballroom & Dance Hour……………… Liquid Nightclub, 5 Aft

Happy Hour Spa Specials……………. Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

Guess the Price of Peter Max…………… Art Gallery, 4 Mid

Ballroom & Dance Hour Liquid Nightclub, 5 Aft

Fab Abs Class…………………………. Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

Dive In Movie: Saving Private Ryan Seaside Theater, 10 Mid
Le Vian Seminar and Jewelry Sale Fun Shops, 5 Fwd
Win A Gold Bracelet……………………… Fun Shops, 5 Fwd

Karaoke Fun…………………………….. Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
Showtime: Brett Cave…………….. Ovation Theater, 3 Fwd

50’s & 60’s Hour…………………….. Liquid Nightclub,5 Mid

Night Owls +…………………………. Camp Carnival, 11 Mid
Friends of Bill W. …………………….. Library Lounge, 4 Mid
Friends of Dorothy (LGBT)…………… Liquid Nightclub, 5 Aft

Showtime: Brett Cave…………….. Ovation Theater, 3 Fwd

Punchliner Adult (18+) Show……… Limelight Lounge, 5 Aft

11:00am – 2:15pm Beach Pool, 10 Mid and JAZZ IN THE PLAZA WITH EDDIE C & BAND
12:30pm – 1:15pm Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

5:00pm – 6:00pm Breeze Atrium, 3 Fwd
7:30pm – 8:30pm Breeze Atrium, 3 Fwd
9:30pm – 11:30pm Breeze Atrium, 3 Fwd

7:15pm – 8:15pm Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
9:30pm – 12:30am Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

8:00pm – Midnight Piano Bar88, 5 Aft

8:00pm – Midnight RedFrog Pub, 5 Mid

5:15pm – 6:00pm Ballroom & Dance Hour Liquid Nightclub, 5 Aft
7:15pm – 8:15pm Ballroom & Dance Hour Liquid Nightclub, 5 Aft
9:30pm – 10:30pm 50’s & 60’s Liquid Nightclub, 5 Aft
10:30pm – Late Liquid Nightclub, 5 Aft

The temperature outside is 61 degrees and that meant that we could show a matinee movie up at the Dive in Movie Theatre. Some were wrapped up in our super soft Dive In blankets while others just stretched out and enjoyed the movie. Weather permitting I will put one up here every one of the five days as we head to Antigua and if the weather dissapissatates (spelt correctly) I will move the movie into the Ovation Theatre instead. Today’s Matinee Movie on Lido is The Kings Speech which I think our older guests will appreciate and these next five days the Matinee movies will include War Horse, ET, Forrest Gump and Jaws.

Choosing the right evening movie is difficult with such an older crowd. We were going to show Iron Man 2 today as the evening movie but as yesterday was Veterans Day I decided we would show Saving Private Ryan. Now this may seem a little heavy for the Lido deck but with Veterans/Remembrance day in mind and with a warning in the Fun Times that the movie contains some upsetting scenes I decided to go ahead and show it.

The conference room has been turned into a card room with multiple tables of four, six and eight used for card players and bridge players to meet and from 8 am to late each day this has been packed. The older guests especially seem to love playing cards as they do trivia which we also have multiple times through the day.

Overall things are going well and most of the guests are very happy and tell me so as I walk the ship. Each day I spend 10:30am – 11:30am at the coffee shop meeting and greeting guests and just chatting with them which they seem to appreciate. As I said, most of the guests are really happy………..but one or two are a little grumpy as you will now see.

Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2012 8:47 PM
Subject: Stateroom **** – reserve seats at show

Good Evening John,
Please be advised that stateroom 1411 stopped at guest services desk to comment on the show. Guest says that she is legally blind and wants a reserved seat at every show for her husband and the three other couples totaling eight people. I advised that we could reserve a seat for her and with her husband but not for the rest of the group but guest became very upset and shouted loudly at me. Please can you call her John because I know that we cannot do this and have told her but she wants to speak to you. Sorry about this John.

Thank you and best regards,
Guest Services Supervisor, Carnival Breeze
Carnival Cruise Lines

We will happily indeed arrange seats for her and her husband but not for the other eight people and I called the guest yesterday morning to explain this. All I can say is that it is that following the call I doubt I will be on her Christmas card list. I offered to have the seats for her and her husband but when I politely refused to reserve eight seats at every show she told me that it would “cost me my job.” The story is not over though…………….oh no it isn’t.

Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2012 3:31 PM
Subject: Stateroom **** – Mrs________

Mrs ______ just called and is now stating that three of her friends who are travelling with her are also legally blind and need reserve seating. Not sure how you want to proceed here but I said I would pass the message on to you.

Thank you and best regards,
Guest Services Supervisor, Carnival Breeze
Carnival Cruise Lines

Well there you go, what should I do now? Short of asking the doctor to give them all eye tests how can I prove they are not? She never mentioned this at all to the guest services supervisor on Saturday or to me during her rant at me later that day and suddenly she remembers that the others are legally blind too. I can’t write too much else here because this could have ramifications in the future but I will close this bit by simply saying……….come on…….you all know what I am going to say so please join me in our own choir as we in unison sing that well known song “Oh FFS.”

By the time you have read this I will have hosted our Veterans Day service which will have featured a tribute to all those on board who have served their countries. I will include a minute’s silence, not ship wide, just for those attending the ceremony in the Ovation Theatre. Some people may question if there is a place for this on a fun cruise with Carnival so please allow me to say this. I decided to do this to give the guests a sense of perspective, and to remind them that whatever day-to-day problems they face, no matter how badly their steak is cooked or if suddenly their friends become Stevie Wonder that there that there are much worse things that can happen. Most importantly I do this so that we can remember that the people gathered in the room gave service to their countries to protect and sustain the freedom they have to cruise. It is, indeed, a case of “lest we forget” and to remind us that no matter how hard things might seem, previous generations endured such suffering of an altogether different magnitude. Veterans Day and Remembrance Day is a time to reflect, to appreciate the sacrifice of those who gave their lives.

Thank you to all the veterans reading this………….It is an honour to salute and remember all of you who put yourselves in harm’s way without question or reservation.

And here are those people who have served their countries so proudly and with such honour.


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.