I am in a foul mood and not just because of Minnie who, as you will see later, has continued where she left off. No, my foul mood is based on the fact that I have lost my credit card. Somewhere between the hotel in Tampa where I stayed before joining Carnival Legend and the guest cabin I stayed in for the cruise before I took over as cruise director, I have lost the sodding thing. I haven’t used it at all but this morning went to reach for it to pay for my wife and daughter’s cabin when they join me in 12 days……………and it has gone. Bugger!


Obviously, I have to cancel it. This meant phoning a very happy phone system that asked me to say my 16-digit number. I read it out. But it didn’t understand. So I swapped my now English-American voice that 26 years crossing the pond, has left me sounding like a cross between Robin Leach and Gomer Pyle and used my best Hugh Grant voice and tried again. It still didn’t understand. And then the ship’s satellite phone decided to drop the signal. And so after kicking Calvyn in the bollocks, I had to start again. Eventually, after tapping 700 sodding numbers into the phone, I was transferred to a nice man in India, who asked me my mother’s maiden name, my date of birth, my postal code (zip code), what I had for dinner on March 28, 2009 and how big my gentleman’s sausage is and he eventually said he would cancel the card immediately…….along with all the others in my name.


“Excuse me,” I said. “What? No, you can’t do that.” Canceling all the cards would include cancelling the card my wife uses for food shopping and for petrol (gas) and for important items like milk and dog food and gossip magazines and scented candles. My local banking associate from Mombai said he was very sorry but went on to say that if I cancelled my card, then my wife and my daughter and my dog would starve and there was nothing he could do about it as the computer only allowed him one option, cancel everything.


So because of a computer program, my card was either lost or stolen, and someone could use it to buy a 50 Shades of Grey starter kit or a jet ski. I complained using the skills Minnie had taught me these past few days and a supervisor came to the phone………..and told me there was nothing he could do. And so both my wife and I now have to wait five days before a new card comes. It was my fault I lost it and yes, I have to accept the rules but the inflexibility of my bank and the flippant attitude that the person I spoke to showed me was quite a shock. I have been a customer of the bank for 20-plus years and yet I didn’t get a fruit basket and they certainly never offered to do my laundry for me. I got “orgatz,” as they say in parts of Italy – “bugger all” as they say where I come from.


There was no social media page for me to write to and no Mischelle or Mary or some fat cruise director with a blog to write to. It does make me think that at Carnival we give you so many different ways to tell us what you enjoy (or what you didn’t) and many ways for you to ask for help and I know you all appreciate that along with our help desk and guest services people in Miami who truly do care that in Michelle, Mary and myself you have a place to ask for help, vent your frustration and, of course, to tell us why you love sailing with us (and one of the three mentioned answers wearing only underpants).


Time for today’s Q&A – here we go:


Meghan asks:
Hi John. I posted earlier, in the wrong area. So sorry. Question: May I take a bottle of wine on the ship? I’ve heard we may but I haven’t read anything on the web site that indicates we may or may not. Thank you 🙂

John says:
Hello Meghan,
Yes, indeed, you may take one bottle of wine or champagne on the ship with you. This is a per person amount as long as they are 21 or over. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Best wishes.

Colleen Falcone asks:
Just returned from the Carnival Breeze and have two big complaints that I want to bring to your immediate attention. The towels our cabin girl placed in the cabins were so new, that it was impossible to get dry with them after we took showers. I explained this to her but her lack of basic English, which was a problem we found with many of the workers, prevented her from understanding and replacing the towels. Then to an even bigger complaint and it is a complaint that many other passengers also were overheard saying, the smoking. Why should I have to breathe in the smoke of the degenerates who seem OK about assigning themselves to an early grave? The smoke was overbearing and wherever we went, we had to walk through a death cloud. Carnival is years behind other cruise lines when it comes to smoking that be warned, I will consider them over Carnival based on smoking alone and go to RCCL which has a completely non-smoking ship. So many places for smokers so few for the clean living people like me. I was told this was the channel to use to get my complaints heard and I await conformation of this to be a fact and I wish to be contacted by some one of high importance. My booking number for this very disappointing cruise was ******

John says:
Hello Colleen Falcone,
Thanks so much for writing to me and, yes, this is one of the places where you can express your views freely and, yes, they will be sent to all the right people. I have never come across this comment about the towels before but I can understand that a new fluffy towel may not be the best way to get dry and I apologise that this was the case. I am surprised though by your comment about the state room stewardess as they all must speak English based on SOLAS  (Safety Of Life At Sea) regulations as stated by United States Coast Guard as do all the crew.  Maybe something was lost in translation though and, again, I apologise. Smoking on the Carnival Breeze is limited to the port side of the Lanai open deck, the starboard side of Deck 11 which is also an open deck and a small section of the casino. All the other bars, lounges and restaurants and open deck spaces are all non-smoking. I am not sure where you found the smoke to be overbearing but I apologise for the fact you did. I don’t think it’s fair to say that we are “years behind” other cruise lines as most of us have very similar policies when it comes to smoking and please do correct me if I am wrong here but I don’t think RCCL has a non-smoking ship, does it? This all sounds very defensive on my part and I don’t mean it to be so the most important thing is that I am sorry that you found these concerns and that yes, they will get sent to all the right people. I hope you can look back on your cruise and see many happy times and that we will see you again soon. Please let me know if I can help in any way.
Best wishes.

Mary Ellen Geick asks:
Hi John!
Just wanted to say we had a wonderful time on BC6 and just booked BC7. We cruised on the Destiny several times and are awaiting the transformation to the Sunshine.  Only 353 days until BC7!!   Where do we officially sign up for the BC7?  Say hi to Heidi & Kye and not to forget Calvyn also!
Joe & Mary Ellen Geick

John says:
Hello Joe and Mary Ellen Geick,
That is fantastic news and I am so thankful to you for booking what will be a superb cruise. I will be holding a registration here on the blog around November so please stand by for that. Meanwhile, if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.
Best wishes to you both.

Michael asks:
Hi John,
Firstly, this is not one of those comments that say my booking number is ***, my room number is ***.  I expect you to give me something because I am special. I just wanted to comment to you with my thoughts on how Carnival is keeping everything fresh for frequent cruisers.  My wife and I decided that after sailing on the Carnival Splendor, Carnival Dream, Carnival Magic, and Carnival Breeze (among many ships before those), that we’d take a break from cruising since we’d conquered all of the new ships. Then 2.0 was announced and we booked the Carnival Sunshine in June. Now I’m reading your post today about the different ports and itineraries you are adding to the Carnival Dream. Great job by the marketing folks at Carnival for keeping things fresh, new and overall holding our interest (which is generally hard to do). We are booked on the Carnival Breeze in March, the Carnival Sunshine in June, and look forward to future new adventures with Carnival. I also wanted to acknowledge Mary Hirschman, my PVP. She has booked half a dozen cruises or more for me, and is very good at what she does.

John says:
Hello Michael
I am glad you have posted this and thank you for doing so. There are indeed some great new itineraries for the Carnival Dream and I am glad to see you are really pleased with your PVP and will pass your kind words onto her and her supervisor, as well. I will see you soon and thanks for the support you give me and Carnival and I am here should you ever need anything.
Best wishes.

Edwardo De Silva asks:
Nothing for us Latinos on Carnival Breeze. No Latin dance band, no Spanish shows or announcements from this Butch guy or the captain in Spanish. AND THE SHIP IS IN MIAMI! Your passengers were all complaining and you need to have a good think about this or the city will only cruise on other ships that are not Carnival

John says:
Hello Edwardo De Silva,
Thank you for writing and giving me the chance to explain. Even though the ship sails out of Miami we still have English as the spoken language by our staff and crew and all the shows and announcements are in English as you mentioned. The majority of the guests each sailing do not come from Miami and are English speaking so we do present everything in English. However, there is a duo on board from Argentina and we do have translated written information and menus in Spanish. I hope you had a wonderful time despite your concerns and I hope we see you again very soon.
Best wishes.

Ricky Garrido asks:
Can you tell me who the comedians will be for our cruise on the Carnival Dream May 4? The last cruise we did on the Carnival Fascination, the comedians sucked and everyone said so. I hope they are better quality this cruise coming for me!!!

John says:
Hello Ricky Garrido,
I am sorry you did not enjoy the comedians we featured at the Punchliner Comedy Club on your last cruise and, while I am sure many of the guests did enjoy them and found them very funny, comedy certainly can be a personal taste. Anyway, the funny men this time will be Percy Crews and Ken Rogerson, followed by Rob Little and Thomas Brown. I know three of the four and I know you will really enjoy them. Have a brilliant cruise.
Best wishes.

Karen Hayes asks:
Love reading your blog! I wanted to take a moment to tell you about my wonderful PVP, Alanna Hermes.  I have been keeping her very busy with our two reservations and she is so responsive, professional and kind.  I truly have never met another travel agent like her. I read about terrible travel agents all the time and it is wonderful to be able to say what a pleasure it is to work with her.  Please pass these kudos on, she really deserves it!

I would also like to THANK YOU for your thoughtfulness on our last cruise.  I’m not sure you remember, but we had to take some time off from cruising because we both had to have multiple major surgeries. We were so excited to cruise again last summer and celebrate our anniversary (and health) on the Carnival Liberty!  It meant so much to us. It was so fun to come back to our cabin to find a special gift and note from you and Karl with a K. Thanks so much!

We are so excited to be cruising again this summer on the Carnival Conquest. We are taking along our son’s girlfriend who has never been out of the country and has only been to a few neighboring states.  We can’t wait for her to experience all that Carnival and the ports have to offer. Cheers and thanks again!

John says:
Hello Karen Hayes,
That’s two fantastic comments today for the PVPs and I will take great joy in sending this on. It is so good to hear that after the surgeries that you are cruising again this summer and I hope it will be a rejuvenating and fun time for you. Please let me know if there is anything at all I can do for you and I wish you all the best of times.
Best wishes.

John Prouser asks:
I need the e mail address of the dining manager on the Carnival Conquest as I want to book my family a good table for our reunion. Can you tell me what it is and the name of the person in charge?!

John says:
Hello John Prouser,
I am afraid that I am unable to give out ship email addresses and even if you did send him one, they aren’t in a position to reply to guests who contact them directly. However I am happy to try and help so please send me your request and the cabin numbers, ship and sailing date as soon as you can here or even better on my Facebook page at Facebook.com/johnheald.
Best wishes.

William Burgess asks:
I think yáll need to take a look at the Bahamas culinary excursion in Freeport.  I did enjoy learning how to cook conch and eating it but, this is not an excursion for families (with kids) or
for people who do not want to listen to cussing and sex talk the whole time, I’m not a prude but a person can only take so much before it gets irritating. I was on a cruise with a Christian group, and wasn’t expecting that.

John says:
Hello William Burgess,
I am so very sorry to read this and I apologise most sincerely. I am not familiar with this tour or this particular situation, so let me forward your message along to the appropriate beards here at Carnival to investigate this further. Once again, my apologies and I do hope that, this aside, you had a wonderful time on the cruise.
Best wishes.

Diane Kirkpatrick asks:
This is not a question, merely some observations. I completed my cruise survey thinking there would be a chance to make final comments, but there was not. So here it goes. My husband and I sailed on the Carnival Glory on Feb. 17. Despite flight issues and barely making it in time for sail away, we were so looking forward to our 20th anniversary cruise. We had such a great time on the Carnival Liberty a year ago with Karl (With a K) and wanted to relive some of that fun, treat ourselves to a balcony stateroom on the Lido and the Cheers program. I won’t bore you with how financially challenging that was after an unexpected and extremely expensive surgery for our dog (we have a real dog, a golden retriever, not a shiatsu).

Did we enjoy our cruise this year? Yes. We make our own fun. But something was missing. First of all, the ports. I really do not enjoy the man-made outdoor mall experience that was three of the four stops. The ports, while quite ugly from the ship, are lovely inside but lack an authentic feel. I want real people, not a compound where locals are on the outside and cruisers on the inside. It explained why we did not see any local children……..everyone was an employee. Side note …….. each day we were served perfect weather. Yes, I know I could take an excursion to get to the real thing, but what happened to just being dropped off in it?

Now let’s go to the ship. We loved the beautiful decor on the Carnival Liberty and felt the Carnival Glory was, how should I say, cold. Very wanna be 80’s retro…lots of plastic. And the grand wall as you ascend or descend Old Glory, was such a disappointment – just a couple of projections floating around. I guess that’s art. You either love it or you don’t. Entertainment- even though I hate to compare Carnival Glory against Carnival Liberty yet again, I must say Carnival Glory’s entertainment (and entertainment director) were lackluster. We are the kind if people to expect others to make our fun, but some acknowledgment, interaction and energy would have been nice.

Karl, quite unexpectedly, entertained us every possible moment. He was boarding the ship at a port one minute, making an announcement the next and then on the lido leading the next party, all while making everyone feel like they were his favorite guests that week. I can’t tell you how much of an unexpected surprise he was.  Alternatively, Josh “Big Sexy” was nowhere to be seen. We heard he was at the main show, which we never attend, and we saw him pass by us three times, in full suit, looking rather elegant (and awfully sweaty in 28 degrees Celsius).  He quite literally was announced on a sail away in the Lido, waved a presidential wave to the onlookers, and moved on. As a cruise director, he should not only start the party, but should keep it going, rather than passing it off to his staff who obviously don’t have enough experience to hold a ships audience captive (just yet) but watch it Josh; there is a couple on your team who would surpass you one day. That said I will give no credit to the fun I had to the director. Thank goodness I don’t need anyone else to have a great time. My husband and I always meet interesting people and enjoying our time.

But while I am at it, let me tell you about the live entertainment. I really enjoyed the men who played on the Lido deck. A little guitar, some humour, decent skills. But the bands that moved from the lobby to the casino bar did not hold a candle to our time on the Carnival Liberty. The Mexican band was OK but not great. The other band was a disappointment. The lead singer did not know her lyrics and sounded as though she was in rehearsal the whole time. Hesitating, reading sheet music, off tempo, off key……..off-putting. So now that I have had my rant eight days after returning and making sure I really did have fun, my husband and I agree that we will not cruise the western Caribbean again but would instead visit Grand Turk on our own.

We will not likely sail on the Carnival Glory again. And unless I got a personal guarantee that we and everyone on board that wanted it experienced much more engagement from Josh, we will not sail with him again. We have recommended Carnival to many friends, eight of whom are sailing for the first time at the end of this month. I shared with them how jealous I am that they are getting what is probably the best cruise director in the world. We can’t all win. I will travel Carnival again and hope you might at that time be the CD from Puerto Rico. I think we will enjoy those ports more and are guaranteed at least a great day before and after sailing.  Wow, quite the rant.  Know deep down I love you and only want Carnival to be better because of these comments.
Diane (and Jim)

John says:
Hello Diane and Jim,
Reviews like this are very important and some may wonder why with 40,000-plus views for each blog that I would post it. You see I have always promised that I would post everything, the good and the bad because I have never wanted this to be anything that shouts “we are perfect” because we are not. Yes, we will work hard to reach that level but we are not there yet. That’s why constructive criticism will always be so important. I have taken this review and sent it to some people who need to see it both on board and shoreside, as well. We only want to get better and so that’s why I thank you for writing and I hope that your next cruise with us will be the best ever. Thanks for your support and I remain here to help in any way I can.
Best wishes.


And that’s all for today.


Would you join me please in congratulating Troy Linton, Jacques DeLange and Matt Mitcham for their promotions to full-time cruise director status.


  • Troy first joined the company in 1992 as a social host on board the Jubilee. After many years as cruise director Troy left to pursue other endeavors. He’s been back since last year and is doing an outstanding job.
  • Jacques started off his Carnival career in the spa aboard the Carnival Imagination in 2002. He first covered as cruise director in 2008 and continued to master his craft in a more permanent role over the past year.
  • Matt brought his energy to Carnival as a social host aboard the Carnival Ecstasy in 2007. He’s moved quickly through the ranks and established himself as a very popular CD amongst our guests


Well done to all three and I am sure I will be reading your reviews of the fun they bring to their ships in the days ahead.


And so after arriving safely from our very successful trans-Atlantic cruise, we are here in beautiful Barcelona ready to start our first 12 day voyage. Here, then, is who is sailing with us and where we will be sailing to.


GUEST COUNT                                2,272


NON US CITIZENS                          292 CANADIANS


208 UK











Kids Under 21                                    50


Mon, Apr, 22


Welcome Aboard Show

dep @ 5pm

Tue, Apr, 23


Brett Cave/Piano Ent

Donel Keith Grey/Jimmy Carroll


Wed, Apr, 24

at sea


Donel Keith Grey/Jimmy Carroll

Thu, Apr, 25


Jonathan Stamp/Juggler


Fri, Apr, 26


Jazz Hot

John Lory/Anthony Scott


Sat, Apr, 27



John Lory/Anthony Scott


Sun, Apr, 28


Danny Buckler/Comedy Magic


Mon, Apr, 29


Joe West/Multi Inst


Tue, Apr, 30


Guest Talent Show


Wed, May, 01

at sea

Big Easy

Lance Montlalto/

Thu, May, 02


Carnival Legends

Lance Montlalto/


Fri, May, 03


Kyle Morgan – Big Band singer




So here we go with a very international group as is usual in Europe and the Russians are back. Normally, that makes me shudder but not this cruise because I have something far scarier than a Russian ex-KGB guest who is upset that we won’t let him walk down promenade deck with a bottle of vodka in both hands……………..and here is that scary thing.


Sent: SUNDAY, April 21, 2013 7:53 PM

Subject: Miss_____ Cabin________



Miss______wants to meet with you again.  Can you call her cabin? She says that because of her bad experience on the excursion in Malaga and the other comments she has made she should get free excursions. She has given me this list to give to you for her and her travel companion, Miss______


Palma City tour

A Day in Provence

Florence and Pisa

Olbia Highlights

Amalfi Coast with Lunch

Rome at its Best

Best of Dubrovnik

St Georges, Gondola and Murano


I have already spoken to the shore ex manager _____- and he has said he can’t do this and now she is at the desk again. Sorry JohnL

Thank you & best regards,

Guest Services Supervisor, Carnival Legend

So that’s only $1,000 worth of complimentary excursions then. Let me consider this for a moment. Ummmm…….considering I haven’t even sent her a single piece of fruit yet, I don’t think I will be giving her $1,000 worth of tours. And her reaction when I politely told her that we would not be doing this was as to be expected. She wagged her finger inches from my nose and as she told me that I was “worthless.” I explained that while we took her comments seriously her comments about the tour she had not been happy with were being investigated but that there were 108 others on the same tour and there had not been a single other negative comment.


I really don’t have anything humorous to say about her anymore and I also have to remember she is a paying guest, of course. But it has as you can see all come down to “I want this for free.” The guest received brilliant service from her stateroom steward and waiter yet removed all her gratuities and I checked with them to see if she may have given them cash but alas, she had not. I have 2,200 other guests to entertain and to take care of this cruise and my full attention will be given to them.


Minnie is one of the most difficult guests any of us here have dealt with in recent times and she is obviously a major topic of conversation amongst the guest services desk and other departments. I am clinging on to the fact that she is eccentric which explains how she is and while all of us will help her as we would any other guest, her comments and actions will all be noted so that if she does sail Carnival again (she says she never will), the ship she sails on will be prepared.


For some reason, whenever I get a guest like this I have the urge to post a link to this video. I know I have posted this before but watching it helps me get through the day.


OK, it’s time for me to go and host the orientation talk on Palma de Majorca, Marseilles and Livorno and then we have the safety briefing and then my welcome aboard show. We have 151 guests who like Minnie, we’re here last week and will be spending a wonderful 27 days with us and tonight I am sending them all a plate of fresh chocolate and pistachio cookies which I hope they will enjoy.


We now have all our TV stations and thank goodness we have CNN International and SKY news as well as BBC1 and their superb news broadcasts. For five of the last days of the TA we had little or no TV and so I was keeping the guests informed about what was happening in the world. This made me realise that we really have to bring back the daily news sheet we used to print. Yes, I know we offer a free news service on our Fun Hub stations which by the way are heading out to other ships in the weeks ahead and I will tell you more about that later. But for now I shall be impressing on the beards that we should print off these news sheets and make them available once again. I will let you know how I get on with that. Certainly, after the tragedies in Boston and West, Texas, it would have been nice to have had them here and, as I said, it’s my intention to try and get the news headline sheet back.


There was some good news at the end of the trans-Atlantic and that concerned the gentleman who was seriously injured on the motor bike he had rented in Bermuda. While his condition is still serious, he was well enough to be flown home back to the U.S. on an air ambulance. Our wonderful shore side care team is with him and I hope that he will make a full recovery very soon.


I guess renting a motor bike is a thrill to some and a thrill I have never understood. You see, being a fat and lazy old bugger, I have absolutely no understanding of thrill seekers. I don’t get why anyone would want to seek adventure by doing things that could end in a phone call that says “Sorry to disturb you in the middle of the night Mrs. Heald, this is the police and I have some disturbing news. Your husband was found alive following a skydiving adventure but did have to saw off his own thing with a mini Swiss Army knife but it was only a tiny snack that quite honestly wouldn’t have given enough nutrition to feed a baby Meercat.”


I guess the most dangerous thing I do is smoke a cigar. This will have many hating me and bollocking me saying I am putting my life in danger. But while I get a bollocking, climbers, extreme skiers and the chaps that jump off mountains and high rise buildings are applauded and cheered and have many girls waiting for them at the bottom wanting to have rumpy pumpy with them.


Much has changed over the years on the ships and nowadays we also offer a heap of exhilarating, albeit much tamer thrills for adrenaline junkies. Rope swing courses, climbing walls, zip lines, see through water slides that hurl you through a trap door screaming in terror and wait until you see the one on the Carnival Sunshine! There is a thing that hovers high above the new Whatever of the Seas and goodness knows what the Carnival beards are planning for the new ship in 2016 and indeed ………beyond.


There are now many chances to ruin your underpants on a cruise and more are on the way. It used to be that most dangerous thing you could do on a ship was sitting on the toilet and flushing at the same time….. especially for men. But now thrill seekers can come on a cruise and get their daily dose of adrenaline.  Whatever happened to just sitting on deck, sipping a cocktail, soaking up the sun, reading a book and deciding if it would be just too dangerous to have just one more of those Guy’s burgers before dinner?



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.