December 3, 2012 -

John Heald

One of the beards wrote me an email last night from his eye pad. It was 11:20 pm and he told me he was writing it from in bed while his wife lay next to him asleep. Oh, FFS, get a life. What a sad bastard he must be I thought, lying in bed writing emails. But then I realised what an idiot I was because I was reading his email on my blackberry in my underpants with my legs planted firmly under the Intercontinentahyattarriot’s duvet. I then realised that I do this all the time whether I am on a ship, hotel or at home and I do it quite a lot! This is probably not a good thing and will probably mean that I will have less rumpy pumpy than a Benedictine monk. Anyway, it’s now Sunday evening, 11:45pm and I am writing this piece of today’s blog from my bed in my underpants with my laptop resting on my beach ball of a belly.

So let’s talk about Christmas and the fact that Heidi and I are buying Kye her first proper bike. Good news, all kids deserve a bike but the bad news is that Heidi who being Dutch worships at the altar of cycling has suggested that we also get bikes so that we can all ride cycles together, as a family. Oh deep joy. When I was growing up, I used to love my bike. I now hate them. I used to go on a great many bicycle rides and they were great fun. But, of course, you can’t do that anymore because today cycling has been ruined by high visibility jacket wearing men and women. This means for kids they have to have more body armour on than a United States marine wears in Afghanistan and for adults…….well is even sodding worse because you can’t just buy a bicycle. You need lots of other bollocks, as well. You need a helmet with brakes made from materials last found on a Star Trek episode, some tight shorts that show you are hung like a yak or in my case that you are not, some sodding energy bars and a tube of special gel to keep your gentleman’s sausage area fresh and free from chaffing.

It’s the same with any hobby these days, the equipment and the cost needed is outrageous. Calvyn and I were in Venezuela last weekend or as it is sometime known, Dolphin Mall in Miami. While there we visited the Bass Pro Shop which amongst other sporting stuff had a huge range of guns, rifles, bazookas and hunting gear. I examined some of the guns and for me to shoot a deer in the head with a decent rifle would have cost me $1,000. But what fascinated me was a huge sign that said “Over 500 Styles of Hunting Knives.” Really?………500 styles? Isn’t a knife just a knife and why if you are going hunting do you need a knife if you already have an AK47 to shoot a dangerous duck with. Now I can see why you might need a knife when you are carving the Christmas turkey or if you are Lorena Bobbitt. But why would you need such a thing in the woods of Alabama? Do people really imagine that they will be attacked by a bear? It’s nonsense because a) bears are too busy sleeping or stealing picnic baskets, and b) even if one did, do you think you’d have the presence of mind to unzip your special hunting knife, retrieve the blade and stick it into a bit of the bear that might somehow make a difference?

Anyway, Kye is getting a bike for Christmas. I am not. I am sure all the tofu eaters here will say “Come on John, get fit. I power walk five miles a day, I run three miles a day and then ride my bike every weekend for 10 miles or more.”…………Well…….bugger you……..I have a car.

Let’s do some Q and A………..off we go.

Ben and Jenny Outen asked:
I had read all the hype about Half Moon Cay but have to say I was not just disappointed when we went there on our cruise last week I was angry as well. Why would Carnival send us to a place that means a boat ride to get there and has nothing but a beach? Me and my husband and my 14 year old son were bored and went back to the ship after just an hour. We are not beach people and there was no shops, no tours – nothing to see. I suggest that you cancel this stop and get a proper island for passengers to visit.

John says:
Hello Ben and Jenny Outen,

I am so sorry you did enjoy the private island of Half Moon Cay which is I must admit was a surprise to read because it usually gets such rave reviews. This slice of paradise is one of our more popular destinations and while tendering ashore does take a dollop of patience but the reward is a little slice of paradise. I hope you had a great cruise though, and that we see you again soon.

Best wishes to all the family


Ron Hanna Jr asked:
Will you be publishing any listing of planned events for the BC6 on this blog prior to our sailing?


John says:
Hello Ron Hanna Jr.,

First of all thanks for joining me on what will be a brilliant cruise. I hope you have registered via my blog and I will be dropping a few hints here and there but not the full schedule as I want some of what we are doing to be a surprise. You will though get the full schedule on board

Best wishes and see you soon.


Tammy Roberts asked:

We just got back from the Carnival Glory out of Norfolk Va. I would like to thank the captain and crew for keeping us out of harm’s way. The captain kept us informed at all times, and got us home safe. We love the Carnival family and look forward to our next cruise with Carnival.

Thank you again.

Tammy and Thomas Roberts

John says:
Hello Tammy Roberts,

That’s so good to read and I will make sure this now gets sent to the ship. We often don’t get to read things like this but normally instead we get the other side of the coin if you know what I mean. I hope you had fun and thanks again for taking the time to write.

Best wishes and hope we see you soon.


Iain Scrutton asked:

there was a poll on cruisecritic.com and the Carnival boards all voted with thousands of people voicing their opinion that carnival MUST bring back STEEL BANDS. This voice should not be ignored.

John says:
Hello Iain Scrutton,

Thanks for taking the time to write on behalf of the thousands of people who voted to have steel bands back on the ships. I will say that there are no plans to do this at the moment as we want to have more versatile bands on the ship that can play a greater variety of music. However, we have hired a new manager of music at Carnival and they will be tasked in improving all our live music choices and that includes more live music on the Lido deck with perhaps party bands and Caribbean bands providing this. Please pass this on to the people who wrote about this on Cruise Critic, would you?

Best wishes.


Paul Jervis asked:
We just booked the Carnival Splendor for December 16, 2012 cruise and want a guaranteed table for two which for personal reasons we must have. I was told to contact you to get this done. Our cabin is 1357 and the booking reference number for us is ****** Also need to make sure that the cabin steward does not make towel animals and need the mini bar emptied of all alcoholic beverages. Can you mail me to confirm these needs have been met!!

John says:
Hello Paul Jervis,

Yes of course, I have contacted the ship and both of these requests will be taken care of and I wish you the most wonderful cruise.

Best wishes to you both.


Matthew Terry asked:
My wife and I will be sailing on the Carnival Splendor departing from NY on April 8. Could you please tell me which nights will be the elegant nights? My wife has a spinal injury and getting into a dress is difficult, so we are planning to go to the steakhouse on one of the elegant nights and do the dress on the other. So, we need to know which night to reserve.


John says:
Hello Matthew Terry,

The two elegant nights are on the first and third sea days and so hopefully this will allow you to schedule the steakhouse according. Please would you let me know if there is anything I can do to make your wife more comfortable and I wish you both a wonderful time?

Best wishes.


Linda Shank asked:
Hi John!!

My mother and I will be sailing with you on the Carnival Breeze bloggers cruise and cannot wait!! You were our cruise director on the Carnival Liberty in Europe and we had the absolute best time! You are so funny!! I will be celebrating my 25th cruise with Carnival which makes this even more special! I would love for my mother and me to have a picture with you! Thanks for being so entertaining and making us laugh!!

Sincerely, Linda Shank and Pat Knoop

John says:
Hello Linda Shank,

It would be an absolute honour and a pleasure to meet you both again. Please can you make sure you have registered for this cruise and if not please do so here on my blog at the link provided. It will be a wonderful cruise and I truly look forward to seeing you both again. Thanks so much for your amazing loyalty.

Best wishes to you both.


Bill Teff asked:
You might just think its me Heald that hates your over usage of the word brilliant but others who read where I read feel the same and you are a becoming more of a corperate stool speaking nothing but jaberwocky each day!

John says:
Hello Bill Teff,

“Read where you read”………….ummm……………school…………7th grade?

Best wishes.


Karen Blatt asked:
Can you tell me what’s done for the Jewish passengers on the ships for Hanukkah festival of lights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Karen Blatt,

Yes indeed, there is menorah on each ship and each night there is a lighting service for guests which is advertised in the Fun Times program. We do not have a rabbi on the ship but usually guests get together and enjoy these special times. We also have copies of traditional prayers, etc., for the guests to read. I hope this helps answer your question and please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes.


Eddie and Brenda Hanzik asked:

I wanted to tell you about our cruise we took out of Galveston on the Carnival Magic. This was our first seven-day cruise but our fifth cruise with Carnival. We went on October 14-21. We had the pleasure of meeting the Punchliner Comedy Club manager early in our cruise. I met him while people were going into the Vibe Club. He was very nice and invited us into the club and also told us to come to the comedy shows that they had some great comedians on the ship.

We have been to the other comedy clubs on the other ships and while they were good the experiences we had were nothing comparable to this trip. The manager’s name was Craig “Socksy”. He was so welcoming to all the guest and you could tell how he greeted even the comedians that he loved his job and cared about them and his guest having a great time. Well we would end up seeing almost all the shows. We would get in line and of course no one would want the front row so we would sit up front. We were there with our daughter and our cousins.
Yes they got picked on some but you know that is the chance you take when you sit in the front or second row. We took this cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary and our cousins celebrating their 20th anniversary. During one show that we attended with just our daughter Socksy brought us a bottle of champagne for us to celebrate our anniversary. We have never had someone do that for us. I still have the bottle because I can’t tell you how much that meant to us. We are hardworking people and not really accustomed to that happening to us. We were so touched.

Well we got to know this young man as well as you can on a ship while he is working. I think because we were at the shows each time on the front row! We can’t tell you how good of a job he does as the manager. He cares about his job; he loves the comedians and truly wants the guests to enjoy the shows. You don’t always find this on the ship or in any jobs these days. We would pass him on the ship and he would tell us that the new comedians were on board so don’t miss the shows! Socksy is a young man and to be a manager is something we thought was special that he already had that position, but we also know why you all have him in that position. He has some qualities that we all should have. He listens very carefully to what you say and then also easy to talk with you. That is a quality I wish I had more of! We also wanted to brag on the comedians. They were funny in both the family and the adult comedy shows. Loved Just June and Tony, Percy and Brown. Don’t want to say my favorite but they all have their special talents of making you laugh.

I can tell you that it we would put in our recommendation that you continue to look at Craig “Socksy” in management and we really think he would be awesome as a cruise director. The cruise director on the Carnival Triumph that we took the four-day cruise in April over Easter weekend out of Galveston was like him. He was also very good with the guest and very good with your employees. Even helped us shop to find the right stone for my anniversary ring we had made. We can’t say enough about Craig “Socksy” and how I think you found the right guy for the job but we also think he would be a great pick for cruise director. He has the humor and personality that guest will like and enjoy. Anyways wanted to say thank you and we will continue to cruise with Carnival. We were looking on Monday for our next planned cruise!

Thanks again,

Brenda and Eddie Hanzik

John says:
Hello Brenda and Eddie Hanzik,

Goodness me, what a brilliant review for one man who we definitely need to watch and help along the ranks as he sounds like a major asset indeed. Thanks so much, I hope you know how proud Craig will be when he reads this and his managers will also be very, very proud as well. I am so glad you had fun and again I thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed review. I hope we will see you both very soon.

Best wishes.


And that’s all for today.

Well things are planned now for the naming ceremony of the Carnival Breeze on December 8 while the ship is in Miami. Tracy Wilson Mourning will be a brilliant godmother and her charity, the Honey Shine mentoring program, is certainly a worthy recipient of the generous donation Carnival will give. Tracy joins an esteemed group of women who have served as Carnival godmothers over the years. In the past we have had many famous people such as Dame Judi Dench, Kathy Ireland, Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, TV hosts Paula Zahn and Katie Couric, amongst others in fact. Let’s see a complete list of who the godmothers are for our ships:

CARNIVAL FANTASY – Mrs. Tellervo Koivisto (Wife of Finland’s President) (1990)
CARNIVAL ECSTASY – Kathie Lee Gifford (1991)
CARNIVAL SENSATION – 4 CCL VP’s: V. Freed, R. Jacoby, C. Weinstein, G. Donnelly (1993)
CARNIVAL FASCINATION – Jeanne Farcus (1994)
CARNIVAL IMAGINATION – Jodi Dickinson (1995)
CARNIVAL INSPIRATION – Mary Anne Shula (1996)
CARNIVAL DESTINY – Lin Arison (1996)
CARNIVAL ELATION – Shari Arison Dorsman (1998)
CARNIVAL PARADISE – Paula Zahn (1998)
CARNIVAL TRIUMPH – Madeleine Arison, (Wife of Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison) (1999)
CARNIVAL VICTORY – Mary Frank (Wife of Carnival Corp. Vice Chairman Howard Frank) (2000)
CARNIVAL SPIRIT – Elizabeth Dole (2001)
CARNIVAL PRIDE – Dr. Tamara Jernigan (astronaut) (Jan. 2002)
CARNIVAL LEGEND – Dame Judi Dench (Aug. 2002)
CARNIVAL CONQUEST – Ambassador Lindy Boggs (Nov. 2002)
CARNIVAL GLORY – Dr. Sally Ride (astronaut) (July 2003)
CARNIVAL MIRACLE – Jessica Lynch (retired Army private) (Feb. 2004)
CARNIVAL VALOR – Katie Couric (December 2004)
CARNIVAL LIBERTY – Mira Sorvino (July 2005)
CARNIVAL FREEDOM – Kathy Ireland (March 2007)
CARNIVAL SPLENDOR – Myleene Klass (July 2008)
CARNIVAL DREAM – Marcia Gay Harden (November 2009)
CARNIVAL MAGIC – Lindsey Wilkerson (former St. Jude patient/now employee) (May 2011)
CARNIVAL BREEZE – Tracy Wilson Mourning (founder of Honey Shine mentoring program and wife of NBA legend Alonzo Mourning) (November 2012)

The thing is though that these days a new cruise ship doesn’t make such headlines as it once did. This isn’t a bad thing – it’s actually a brilliant thing because such is the strength of the cruise industry that new ships arrive all the time. These women really have represented the Carnival brand well. In my opinion, the cruise line with the most prestigious godmothers is, of course, Cunard whose relationship with the Royal Family makes their naming ceremonies incomparable.

So as we did with our contribution to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with Lindsay Wilkerson the godmother of the Carnival Magic so we will present Tracy Wilson Mourning with a check for her fantastic Honey Shine charity. Tracy is an icon here in South Florida and having met her I will also add she is a wonderfully kind and funny lady and is the perfect choice for the Carnival Breeze.

I started writing this blog in bed and now it’s 7:50 am Monday morning and I have been awake since 5:30am. I woke sweating like Calvyn probably was last night because he went to a bar in Miami called Swinging Richards……….not lying……….that’s where he went.

The reason I was sweating though was because my air conditioning was off in my room in the Marrioyhyattcontinental. I called the front desk and they apologised saying there was a problem hotel wide and they were “working on it.” It’s over two hours later and they are still “working” on it. I love air conditioning because I am a big guy and big guys sweat like a penguin in a microwave. But Heidi has other thoughts about this entirely because to her…..air conditioning is hell. I have heard this speech so many times over the years. “If I want a sore throat and runny nose, I will go stand in the rain,” she will moan. We even argue about this in the car. I have to have some air on, especially when I am driving a long distance but this means Heidi has to sit with a vicious jet of cold air drilling into her face. After any long car journey when we have had the air on I know that the next morning Heidi will wake up and tell me she has glands the size of my stomach. To Heidi “summer” means having to wear only two fleeces instead of the usual six. I wanted air conditioning put in our house but to Heidi having air conditioning in Britain is a preposterous as a nun buying a copy of 50 Shades of Grey.

I like a temperature that means I have nipples like hat pegs while Heidi prefers it hot, hot, hot. This battle has raged for many years and I have always won. That’s because whereas Heidi can add more layers when she is cold my promise to remove all my clothing and walk around the cabin naked has meant that I am the winner supreme in the AC wars because nobody wants to see my sweaty body naked. But that’s what I am at the moment. I am sitting here naked, writing the end of this blog and if they don’t turn the air on soon I shall go to the front desk naked and demand a fruit basket, 12 chocolate-covered strawberries and a plastic model of the hotel on a stick and a meeting with the Hotel Manager Jose Healdo.

And if I don’t get what I want I shall write on hotelcritic.com under my screen name H82SEAMENAKED. “TURN THE AIR ON YOU BASTARDS.”


Your sweaty naked 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.