January 28, 2013 -

John Heald

Let’s start by talking about something we have all probably had today……..breakfast. Here’s a letter from blog reader Donna:

Donna Raymond
Amongst a few positives of our recent Carnival Liberty cruise was the lack of choice at breakfast which was a deal breaker for us coming back to Carnival. It seems that Carnival created some decent lunchtime choices but has not done the same with breakfast. I suggest you look at what others offer and then perhaps you will improve. This was the one disappointment of the cruise.

So, breakfast. Recently on Facebook we spoke about bacon and how it is indeed distributed by our service staff on Lido. However, I have never ever thought that our choices were not enough so this comment from Donna took me by surprise. Now, I have heard suggestions before that we add more Southern specialties to the ships sailing out of Charleston, including sausage and gravy and things like biscuits and chitterlings but, overall, I think we have an excellent choice on Lido. In fact, let’s have a look at some of what we serve, shall we?

  • Eggs to order
    Eggs Benedict
    Salmon Benedict
    Scrambled Eggs
    Omelets to order
    Boiled Eggs
    Grilled tomatoes
    Grilled Mushrooms
    Sausage Combo
    Yak Sausage
    Sautéed Breakfast Potato
    Baked Beans
    Assorted Yogurt
    Assorted Milk
    Whole fruits
    Honeydew melon
    Wheat Bread
    White Bread
    Rye Bread
    Gluten Free Bread
    Apple Cornets
    Crown Vanilla
    Cinnamon Swirls
    Raspberry Croissants
    Chocolate Croissants
    Banana Bread
    Chocolate Chip Bread
    Banana Nut Cake
    Cream Cheese
    Assorted Cereals
    Swiss Cheese
    Cheddar Chasse
    Sliced Ham
    Sliced Turkey

And some of the ships have the addition of the Punchliner Comedy Brunch menu which I know many of you have raved about. So there you go, looks good, doesn’t it, and certainly a more than adequate choice. Now I have to ask you, what’s your favourite meal of the day? Mine………well it is without doubt….. breakfast. I love breakfast because you really don’t have to make an effort, use a napkin, decide which of the 200 knives and forks to use and best of all……… don’t have to get dressed. You can have it in bed, at a table while reading a newspaper standing up if you are in a hurry. You can have it in silence, watch the news or enjoy a family breakfast in your pajamas. On the ship, you can order room service and have it on your balcony, naked if you wish. You can go to Lido and sit inside or outside and eat a huge plate of eggs, bacon, sausage and lashings of pancakes and pastries all washed down with a huge bucket of grits. You don’t have to dress and you don’t have to look good and you don’t have to cook and you don’t have to wash the dishes. You just eat, munch, slurp and enjoy while discussing what to do on this fun day at sea. It is the perfect start of the day.

I love breakfast. When I am home, Heidi makes me eat a healthy breakfast which usually consists of a boiled egg and wheat toast and a bowl of Muesli. I love breakfast, I don’t love sodding Muesli. It is good for you, I am told. Now, maybe it is healthier than eating eggs and bacon each morning but have a look at a box of Muesli……..go on……….just for me………look at the very small print on the side of the box and you will see a warning that tells you that eating Muesli may cause excessive gas and abnormal stool production. This, I can tell you, is absolutely true because after eating a box of Muesli, I always deposit a large snake in the toilet. Muesli is health food. Well, if you ask anyone who is standing within 20 feet of me after I have eaten a box if they think it’s healthy……….my guess is ……….unmmmm…

Occasionally, I am naughty and have what we Brits call a Full English Breakfast which consists of bacon — proper thick bacon sliced from Pete the Pigs thigh, not the thin weedy crispy stuff that like most land based restaurants in North America serve. And as for turkey bacon………..well I would rather eat a slice of Calvin’s thigh than that! In an English breakfast, the bacon and eggs are accompanied by huge pork sausages, or bangers as we call, them and they fight for a place on the plate with baked beans and fried bread. I am, as I write this, dribbling on myself.

Think about this though. Breakfast is the only meal where you can eat the same thing every day for the rest of your life and not really complain………well, most people can, anyway. Do you really want something that you’re not familiar with? When you are in a hotel in any country in the world, while you may experiment at lunch with some barbecued peacock and at dinner try the deep fried bison, at breakfast, wherever you are, you look for eggs, bread, butter, jam and cereal right?

So, thank you, Donna Ray, and I do hope you had a wonderful cruise and I ask you and all my readers now to tell me simply what we are missing from our breakfast selections because I have been sitting here in my underpants and honestly……………..I can’t think of anything, can you?

Time for more Q and A, let’s crack on.

Jeremy Childers asks:
We are thinking about going on a cruise with another couple – maybe sharing a room. What are the sleeping arrangements for that? I was just kind of wondering if you would suggest sharing or getting separate rooms.

Johns says:
Hello Jeremy Childers,

That’s not an easy one to answer but let me try and give you a couple of options. First of all, I guess the most important thing is how friendly you are with the other couple. You see, while the cabins are roomy and some of the biggest in the industry, with four adults in there it may become small very quickly and the bathroom issue maybe something you should consider as well. Now the Dream-class ships have cabins with two bathrooms. These have a half bath, a sink and overhead shower in one and a sink, shower cubicle and toilet in the other. We also have ships with adjoining cabins, meaning you can have a connecting door between and this may be the way to go. I hope this helps and if you have a follow up, please let me know.

Best wishes and I hope we see you all soon.

Beth Sewell asks:
If we are the Red Frog Pub first-guest VIPs, will you mention us from the stage and buy us another free drink? Can’t blame us for trying! 🙂

Beth and Kenneth Sewell

John says:
Hello Beth Sewell,

While we won’t mention you on the stage to 1,500 guests, you will get posted on my Facebook page which has a stage of 32,500 readers. So I wish you good luck and hope to see your photo there soon. Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.

Kevin Compo asks:

Booked the Carnival Triumph for March 2 in Oct. and since have tried to do as much research as possible to make this a brilliant cruise for my wife and me. In all my searches, there is one thread that seems unanimous and seems to get no reaction from Carnival.

Lido music …….

The two most complained about aspects…
1. Style….this is a Caribbean cruise …not a rave….I’m all for mixing it up and I understand the band is gone but a wave file from a DJ can be anything. Especially when greeting and leaving port. Reinforce the Caribbean experience….

2. Decibels? I am a professional in the audio and video industries and mixing sound is without a doubt a profession …however, the levels I have witnessed on the Lido in videos is over the top. The music in this setting is an additive to the experience….not the experience. It’s not a concert, it should accentuate, not dominate.

Just my unsolicited thoughts in an attempt to raise a point I have heard over and over to make a better experience for all….


John says:
Hello Kevin Compo,

Thanks for taking the time to write and I have read similar comments on this page and on my Facebook page in recent days. We now have a new manager of music and while I know we won’t see the return of the steel drum bands which are too one dimensional, I think that one day we will look at adding more live music to our Lido deck, so let’s see what the future holds. You will see a big difference in the volume in all our locations as this is already being monitored and controlled much more than in days gone past. Thanks, then, and I will keep you informed as to what is happening.

Best wishes.

John Bodenhamer asks:
We just got back from our cruise on Carnival Liberty. It was our sixth cruise and it was the best one to date. The wait staff we had in the Silver dining room early seating was excellent, Head
Waiter Nicholas Timola, Team Waiter Venancio and Assistant Waitress Olivera (not sure of her last name) went out of their way to make our dinner time a great experience. Out of all the cruises we’ve been on this team was the best we’ve ever had serve us. There was another person whom we need to mention her name is Maria Zolezzi she is a bar waitress. Our son is mentally handicapped and just fell in love with her. She took time to make him feel special by dancing with him when the show started in the dining room and just talking to him. She is a very special person. This was his best cruise ever. We have only cruised with Carnival and have converted another couple to cruise on Carnival instead of RC.

John says:
Hello John Bodenhamer,

What a brilliant review and it is one I will take great joy in sending to the ship. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and those crew who you mentioned will be so thrilled to see just what a difference they made to your cruise. I thank you also for introducing others to this great cruise line and if there is ever anything I can do for you, please let me know.

Best wishes to you all.

Morris Richman asks:
I cannot begin to tell you of my anger at finding you will not have a rabbi for Hanukah for our cruise on the Valor. Last year we cruised on the Eurodam and the year before the Independence of the Seas ships and they both had rabbis for Hanukah. I called Carnival and spoke to someone who curtly told me there would not be a rabbi provided for Jewish guests. I suggest this be dealt with quickly as there will no doubt be many angry passengers who, just like me, will vent their anger and this lack of respect.

Morris Richman

John says:
Hello Morris Richman,

I apologise for the very late reply and I know the cruise has come and gone now but, nonetheless, I wanted to apologise and also explain. While we did, as no doubt you saw, have a Menorah lighting ceremony each night during Hanukah, we do not have rabbis sail on the vessel. In fact we don’t have any permanent religious program where priests, ministers and, indeed, rabbis sail and these include the important holiday times I am afraid. This may upset some but it is the current policy. I do hope you had a wonderful cruise and my apologies again for writing back to you after the fact.

Best wishes.

Debra Tucker asks:
I have been trying to send the form on for an answer for two days now and it won’t go through. I purchased Fun Ship dollars to be used as onboard credit before they were discontinued and now I can’t get in touch with anyone and they have not shown up yet.

John says:
Hello Debra Tucker,

I am hoping that this has been taken care of now and, again, I apologise for the delay. If you need further help on this subject please e mail and they will gladly help. Please also let me know if I can help you with anything.

Best wishes.

Julie Clark asks:
Dear John,

I have been trying on and off for years to find out what has happened to Malcolm Kennedy. I discovered quite recently to my dismay that he has died. Malcolm and I worked together more than a year on the Carla C, Costa line, and then the Angelina Lauro, in 1978-79. He was such a lively character, once met never forgotten! I still tell the joke about the German measles…I’m sure he told that one for years and years! Best regards and thank you in advance for any info on Malcolm. I lost track of him in1980 when I moved to Norway.

Thanks again,
Julie Clark

John says:
Hello Julie Clark,

Yes indeed, Malcolm Kennedy did sadly pass away some years ago and is deeply, deeply missed by all of us who knew him. I have many happy memories of Malcolm who, as you know, had a joke for every occasion and my favourite was his love song “She sits among the cabbages and peas.” Thanks Julie and if there is anything else I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes.

Brandon Tremmel asks:

I am told you are the go to guy to get things done around here. My wife and I will be going on the Carnival Inspiration on 2/11 and need a rapid response to these questions. Who are the comedians this time because we had two that sucked last year on the Carnival Elation. I need a table for two as again we had problems on the last cruise where we were put at a table with passengers who spoke only Spanish and were boring for us so it’s best that you get us a table for two this time.

John says:
Hello Brandon Tremmel,

You will have Jerome and Adam Hunter as your Punchliner comedians and I have no doubts in telling you they will have you laughing out loud. I have also asked the maître d for a table for two which I agree will be for the best! I wish you a wonderful cruise and have loads of fun.

Best wishes.

Marsha Tweedie asks:
Today your blog praised the maitre d and I have to tell you that on my seven cruises I have never tipped any of them. Why should I tip people who pay me no attention and do nothing special for me? I give tips for the cabin cleaners and the servers in the restaurant but the maitre d is only seen on tip night. You should probably check the facts more before saying how good they are.

John says:
Hello Marsha Tweedie,

I am not sure what blog you are referring to so please excuse me if I miss the point here. Firstly, let me say that the maître d is no longer part of the tipping process and guests have for some time not been asked to tip them. I will say that some guests do tip them still if he or she has provided them with memorable moments or if they have done something special for them but it certainly is not compulsory to do so. The maître d’s have a challenging job in managing the dining rooms and the staff that work there and respectfully I will say that I think we have some of the best in the cruise industry. Thanks for taking the time to write and I hope we see you soon.

Best wishes.

That’s all for today. .

So here I am, back in my familiar hotel room here at the Intercontinhyattarriot Hotel. It’s 7:05am and here I sit, in my underpants writing the first blog after bloggers cruise number 6. So the immediate question is — was it successful?

Well, from my standpoint, the answer is a definite yes and, certainly, the remarks I received were for the most part very positive. There were a few comments about service outside the RedFrog Pub being slow and one comment about room service and a few comments about the air conditioning being too cold or too hot but that aside, it was all positive. Certainly, the bloggers enjoyed meeting each other and enjoyed the shows, events and activities and all loved the ship and all the Carnival Breeze has to offer.

It was interesting though listening to the comments from people with blue cards and who had never sailed before and those from the Platinum and Diamond guests who obviously have loads of cruising experience. Let me give you two examples.

The first-time cruisers and those who may have only cruised a few times had booked Your Time Dining and loved the flexibility of being able to eat when they want. Now I also spoke to some Platinum guests about this and they said they would never want Your Time Dining and would only be happy eating at assigned dining even though they have never tried the alternative.

Then there are the shows. The first time cruisers loved the Playlist Productions shows with Latin Nights being the favourite. When I received a compliment about the show I would often see a blue or red sail and sign card dangling round their necks. However, if I heard a negative comment about the shows it was, for the most part, from experienced cruisers who miss the big casts, feathers and Broadway-style of past shows. Two different views from two different levels of cruise experience. Interesting, though, isn’t it? So the next bloggers cruise will be on the Carnival Sunshine and here is the link to the official press release.

It would be fantastic to see you all there and for us to spend the week together and spend that week on what will be the brilliant Carnival Sunshine. I want to thank all the people who sailed with me this past week on the Carnival Breeze and I hope that you all had the best of times. It was an honour (spelt correctly) to see you all and thank you for sharing in the fun.

So my plans have changed a wee bit and here is my movement for the next few weeks. I have meetings all day today with the new entertainment beards where we will discuss enhancements in the live music program and also other areas of entertainment on board the ships. Then tomorrow, I fly home and then at the start of next week, I will be filming a TV program for our Carnival UK office to support the massively successful TV advertising campaign that we have recently started. Then later in the month I will make three trips to the Fincantieri yard in Trieste to film the transformation from the Carnival Destiny to the Carnival Sunshine. Oh by the way, talking about the Carnival Sunshine, stand by for a brilliant contest coming soon which I have a feeling you will truly enjoy.

Then, in early March, it’s back to the office to prepare the Fun Times and schedules for the European season of the Carnival Legend and then I am hoping that on March 17 I will be able to join the ship. It may be the 24th but I am aiming for the 17th. Regardless I will be ready to take the CD chair for the trans-Atlantic crossing and her European cruises around the Mediterranean, the Baltic, Norwegian Fjords and around the British Isles. Are you coming with me?

So how about Facebook and the blog? Well, it was impossible to dedicate loads of time to Facebook while I was hosting the bloggers cruise as I wanted to be as visible as I could be. However, I will be back to answer questions starting a week from today (Monday, February 3) allowing me a few days with the girls and then back to normal service from then on. As for the blog, well I will have far more blogs in the coming days, let me explain.

One of my great mates recently told me that many of my longer Facebook pages would make for great blogs. Now I always thought that blogs had to be long, like this one is. But bugger me, if that isn’t correct as my mate Mr. Bentley told me. So this is what I am going to do. Starting soon I will post a daily blog or indeed blogs. Some will be short stories and some will be just the ten questions but I hope by posting more here that people will enjoy the diversity of what I am going to do. I will still answer 30 questions a week here and multiple questions as usual on Facebook but I want to use the blog tool more as per the great advice from Mr. Bentley. Hope that’s OK and hope as we get ready to cross the 16 million views mark that you continue to enjoy them.

As I mentioned above, I will be doing a TV show for the Carnival UK office who have made excellent inroads in the British market and finally Carnival Cruise Lines is being promoted as the brilliant cruise vacation experience that we all know it is. What’s interesting about the British travel market is that many Brits still like to go to their shopping street or mall and use a travel agency that has real people behind the desk who will help find the right holiday for them versus in the states which has a higher number of Internet-based agencies.

I guess I have always been a bit scared to use the Internet. You see, I always feel that the moment I enter the details of my credit card into the computer, that someone in Nigeria will use my credit card to buy an industrial carpet cleaner or some machine guns. I know this is bollocks but it’s what I think will happen and that’s why I always try and buy something from someone I can actually see, actually talk to. That’s why I am glad to see the travel agent shops are alive and well in the UK and that finally they have the chance and materials to tell my fellow tea-drinking, spotted-dick loving Brits just what a brilliantly fun and affordable cruise vacation Carnival Cruise Lines can give them.

Well it’s been a busy eight days of events and activities and I guess because I have been with the bloggers cruise that I haven’t had time to sit back and realise that I am now 48 years of age ……. bugger me…….I am 48 years old………and that frightens me nearly as much as you would all be frightened if you saw me as am now sitting here in my hotel room in my underpants.

But there is no escaping it……I am 48 years old …….oh FFS!

And examining myself this morning it is quite obvious that age is not being a good mate. My hair..…well not only I am 50 shades of grey but I now seem to have forests of hairs of the same color sprouting out of my nose and my ears and I guess it won’t be long before my bladder will cease to function. I am already making old man noises when I get out of bed in the morning or rise from a sitting position…“Ohhhhahhh,” I heard myself say this morning when I got up off the toilet although it is only six sodding inches off the floor and, in my defence, I had been sitting there for 30 minutes reading the What To Do In Miami book the hotel provided which is in Spanish.

There are other signs too such as crying when Kye says she miss me, farting involuntarily and refusing to look in the mirror, terrified that an aging fat silverback baboon will stare back. OK, time to fly and I will be back here all next week and back regularly on Facebook from Friday if not before. I have a busy month ahead what with shipyard visits and TV shows and blogs and Facebooking and quite frankly I am very much looking forward to being a CD again which I will be from March to September on the Carnival Legend.

I can’t wait to see my daughter and my wife and, indeed, my dog Breeze although I doubt he would be happy to see me if he knew what was about to happen. Yep, he is getting neutered as they said. Not a very fetching sentence to read, I’m sure, and not particularly pleasant to write, either. Few sights are more guilt-inducing than your poor German Shepherd gazing in bewilderment at the blackened, pillaged terrain that was once his testicles and wondering why I have put a plastic lampshade around his head. I wonder if the vet will give me a two-for-one coupon so I can get my assistant Calvyn done, as well?
Your friend,

PS – Hope to see you on Bloggers Cruise #7


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.