OK, no time to waste. I have two hours only to write this blog because I have loads to do, shows to host and a new CD to help get ready for the transition cruise to Dover.  Life is pretty hectic for me at the moment with a ship to run and some other stuff I have to prepare for and I have these last few days, quite honestly, only just keeping my head above water. Last night when I was on the phone with Kye saying goodnight, she was telling me how she wants to go ice skating and I suddenly realised that throughout the conversation with my four-year-old daughter I was answering questions on Facebook. Yep, there she was, the most beloved thing in my life, telling me that she wanted to ice skate like she had seen in a Barbie movie and I was answering a question about dates for 2014. I was making vague sounds of feigned interest such as “mmm, mmm, sounds great” ………what a complete and utter bastard I am. I am no better than one of today’s teenagers whose distracted glaze says, “If I don’t read that text which probably says something really important like ‘what’s up dog,’ I might actually die.”

 It’s the way of the world and I see it here on the ships. I see younger guests, usually in their late teens who get so frustrated by ambling older guests who block the line at the buffet slowing them down on their way to get a slice of pizza. Some probably imagine they are evil sea monsters in a computer game which they could zap with a harpoon because “they’ve got all day to get their

lunch whereas I need to go back on Lido deck in the sun, looking at breasts, OK?” I cannot judge them, though, for I frequently fantasize about tasering people who hold the elevator doors open while they finish a conversation with a friend. Anyway, I shall take a few days away from social media between getting off the Carnival Legend and going to Houston and instead, I will take my darling daughter ice skating.

 

Oh, by the way, if you’re on that first Carnival Triumph cruise…….you are in for some wonderful surprises and I will share them with everyone when I am there.

 

Time for some Q and A…..off we go

 

Tim Welbeck asks:

John,

In November of 2013, my wife and I cruised with my sister and her husband on the Carnival Paradise and you were so nice because we had requested a private table for four which you came through with and you sent us strawberries and chocolate and champagne. We had a fantastic time but the sad news is that just two months after the cruise, my brother-in-law was killed while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. We have booked another cruise with my sister on the Carnival Paradise and we want to scatter his ashes at sea and so I am back asking for your help in arranging this for me and the family. It has been a difficult time for all of us, especially Sandy, my sister, so anything you can do to help with this, we all would be eternally grateful to you John. Our cruise details for 6/24 are booking number ****** and we are back on the Carnival Paradise and for emotional reasons this time. Can I call on you to book a private table for three please?. Thank you, John, for the help I hope you can give us.

Tim Welbeck

 

John says:

Hello Tim Welbeck,

My deepest sympathies to your sister and to you and all the family for the tragic loss of this young man who died serving his country and protecting the freedom we all enjoy. I cannot imagine how difficult these past few months have been for you and it will be an honour to help you with the scattering of ashes while you are on the ship. I have asked my colleagues on board to make this a special moment for you and someone will be in contact with you once you have boarded the vessel. I have also asked the maître d’ to assist with a table. If there is anything else you need please let me know and of course my colleagues on the ship will also be there for you. Again, I send my condolences to the family and you will all be in my thoughts.

John

 

Jeff Behm asks:

Hi John (or whoever is reading these questions  🙂  I’m looking to book a family cruise in May/June/July 2014, and only see a few ships have their 2014 summer schedules out. When will all the ship’s schedules be out for summer of 2014? I’m dying over here, trying to get something finalized!

 

John says:

Hello Jeff Behm,

I am behind in answering these questions so I am sure you will have seen we have released many of the ships’ schedules with more to come in the next few days. I hope you have found something you are looking for and if you have any questions, please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

 

Cruzinman Matt asks:

Someone posted a cartoon today where you were pictured BRILLIANTLY in a row boat. Your obese frame was wedged into a small boat and you only had one oar which, for those pom-pom waving cheerleaders who don’t get the logistics of this, meant that you were going round in circles with no direction or course. Sound familiar?!!!!  LOL.

 

John says:

Hello Cruizinman Matt,

I am flattered to be a cartoon character now. Thanks for letting me know and I really, really hope we meet one day. Best wishes.

John

 

Judy Kauffman asks:

We enjoyed our Panama Canal cruise on the Carnival Miracle so much. Just wanted the beards to know that we especially appreciated Elvis and Precious, and our waiter Chandler. Our stateroom steward, Tennyson, was outstanding.  This was our fourth Carnival cruise, and the first time we felt so impressed with certain crew members and their service. Thanks for the great experience and we will be back!

 

John says:

Hello Judy Kauffman,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write and I will make sure that the people you mentioned will see your words of praise. I am proud of the crew that made a difference to your cruise and they will be proud when they see this. I do hope we see you again soon.

Best wishes.

John

 

Nathan Schweid asks:

Hey John,

I was on the Carnival Breeze last year on a European cruise with my family. We got on the ship June 27, and we had a great cruise thanks to the amazing Carnival staff. On the cruise, our stateroom steward, Augustina was incredible.  He was so nice, learning all of our names and always greeting us with a smile.  We will be cruising again on Carnival Breeze on June 8 out of Miami.  We were wondering if he was still on Carnival Breeze because we would love to have him as our stateroom steward again.  Our room numbers are 9319 and 9315.  Let me know if you need any more details. Thank you so much!  Keep up the good work and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

John says:

Hello Nathan Schweid,

Thanks for those wonderful words about Augustina. I don’t show a stateroom steward with that name currently on the Carnival Breeze and as this is such a common name in the Philippines it is difficult for me to know where he, is I am afraid. I am sure your stateroom steward will be just as good this time around and that you will have a brilliant time. I am sure this will be another brilliant cruise and I wish you all the best of times.

Best wishes.

John

 

Gary Allder asks:

Heald, you gotta do something and get rid of the Coke products and go over to Pepsi. In a recent study, 7 out of 10 Americans said they prefer Pepsi to Coke, so let the people be heard because I am positive Carnival is losing passengers who don’t want Coke products

 

John says:

Hello Gary Allder,

I never knew that. I always thought it was Coke that was the favourite. We won’t be changing to Pepsi products, I am afraid, but of course if you are that adamant that Pepsi is better, I kindly remind you that we do allow you to being 12 cans of soda on the ship per person so hopefully that will help you. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you and hope to see you soon.

Best wishes.

John

 

Adrine Millar asks:

I had a good time on our first Carnival cruise on the Carnival Breeze but I had one complaint. I am a vegetarian and I think Carnival needs to look seriously at their vegetarian offerings. Your menus are designed only for meat eaters and the fact that this promotes heart disease and other serious illnesses is one thing but the vegetarian choices you offer are laughable, John. Vegetables can be as tasty as meat or fish if they are cooked properly and the one offering of a vegetarian main course per night was a shock to me and my husband who is also a strict vegetarian. We are from San Diego and restaurants there have had seen a large rise in the number of diners asking for vegetarian dishes and if you had a better selection I think you would see the same on your ships. I have read your blogs and know that this may be a source of amusement for you and that you and vegetables have never met but many of us take this seriously and so I hope you will pass this to your chefs and directors who can change this terrible offering you currently have for the millions of vegetarians like me and my husband.

 

John says:

Hello Adrine Millar,

I know looking at me, you would be right to think that vegetables were not my friend but the truth is I really do like peas, potatoes, parsnips and Brussels sprouts. It’s just that I love them surrounding a huge slab of roast beef. Seriously, though, I do know that many of our guests are vegetarians and that we have more and more offerings on the menu that are meat free. Can we improve further? Yes, absolutely we can and we will. I have sent this post to the executive chef and let’s see as we design the menu changes for this summer what they will add. I know that I do have fun with vegetablists but I also want you to know that I am here to listen and help and respect your choice. I will keep you informed as to any additions we make and if you have any other questions, please let me know.

Best wishes to you and your husband.

John

 

Michael and Alicia Salvino asks:

Just off the Carnival Imagination and we want to give a huge shout out to out room steward, Zaida, who in 12 cruises was the best we have ever had. Every time we would open our cabin door, she would appear as if by magic and welcomed us with a big beaming smile. I went to put my shirt on for formal night and the top button fell out so I could not put my bow tie on. I went out of the cabin to go to the shops to see if I could get a new one when Zaida asked me if everything was OK. I told her and she insisted on me giving her the shirt and the button and, 15 minutes later, she was back with it sewn on and just perfect. This is why we love Carnival and now we love Zaida and wish she was with us for our next cruise on the Freedom.

 

John says:

Hello Michael and Alicia Salvino,

This is a perfect example of what our Carnival Service Values are all about and bravo to Zaida for exceeding your expectations. I will make sure that she sees this and that a copy is sent to senior management so that they know what a treasure we have in her. Thank you then for taking the time to write and I hope you will let me know if there is anything at all I can do for you before you sail again. What a brilliant story.

Best wishes.

John

 

Kaitlin Jepsen asks:

Hello John!

I have a question for you! My husband and I will be cruising on June 29 on Carnival Freedom.  We are both very excited! It’s going to be my husband’s first cruise ever and I can’t even tell you how excited he is.  This is a big cruise for us. Not only is it our five years later very late honeymoon, But it’s also my husband’s welcome home present! He has been gone the last nine months serving overseas.  I want to do something super special for him, but I’m drawing a blank on what to do. I was wondering if you could give me some ideas that are available on the ship.

 

John says:

Hello Kaitlin Jespen,

I am sure you are both very excited about this cruise and the honeymoon you never had. Please have a look at carnival.com/funshops as there is a big selection of things you can surprise him with and if you can, please remind me on my Facebook page at facebook.com/johnheald the day before you sail, I will see what I can do as well. Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes.

John

 

Christopher A. asks:

Hello John,

This isn’t much of a question, it is more of a thank you. I am 15 and just took my first cruise (3/10/13) aboard the beautiful Carnival Conquest with Gary Brierly as the CD, great guy. We joked as I was leaving the ship about how I was just going to take a nap and join him for another week. He told me I was welcome to the sofa in his stateroom.  My mom is actually cruising on Carnival Conquest next Sunday, the 21st, although I have told her about Gary, she wishes you would be the CD. I think you are a wonderful CD, John, and I hope you will be aboard the Sunshine upon completion. I am very excited about this ship. Essentially, I wrote this to say you are an awesome person and I enjoy your blog. You are an amazing human for what you did for Zoe aboard the Carnival Legend. Not many people would do anything like that. Thank you for being a great person Cheers.

Christopher

 

John says:

Hello Christopher,

What a very polite and very kind person you are and you should be very proud of that wonderful post you have written. I will make sure I pass this on to Gary who is indeed a superb cruise director and I know he will enjoy reading this. I am sorry I am replying late to this so your Mum has already sailed and I do hope she had a great time and I hope that even though I won’t be with you on the Carnival Sunshine that we do sail together one day soon. I send my best wishes to you and your family.

John

 

That’s all for today.

 

Well, I didn’t think I would be able to write a blog this week because of my handover to the new CD Brent who will cover the repositioning cruise to Dover while I am on Carnival Triumph. However, I wanted to mention that after a lot of thought I have decided to sign up for the Alaska season as CD on Carnival Miracle in 2014. This was a tough decision because while it is something I have always wanted to do, it does take me further away from my family than I have been in a long time and so it was important that I discussed with Heidi, of course. But it makes sense. It will be a new challenge for me and after 26 years at sea, it is new challenges that keep me going. I won’t be doing the Hawaii cruises before the Alaska season starts as I hope to spend a few weeks on different ships as a fly-on type of CD and news on that soon. But from May to the end of the Alaska season I do intend to be the cruise director and so I hope that some of you will come and join me as we explore that last frontier and have fun while doing so.

 

I have been thinking about a question I answered earlier in the blog today. No, not the one of me in a row boat with one whore…..oops……I mean one oar…….I mean the one about vegetarian food because I know I have to work harder to lose weight and maybe giving up eating anything with a face would be a good start.  I face a similar problem with my cigar smoking. I realise that lung cancer and other health conditions are a possibility so I should stop then. But what if I go through all the depression of giving up the one thing that outside of being with my daughter really and truly relaxes me and then on the plane back to the ship, a man reaches inside his underpants and then blows the plane up? I should imagine my last words would be something like, “Oh, FFS!” There are many things I should be doing to avoid an early appointment at the pearly gates. I should spend more time in the gym. I should not eat anything but lettuce and drink only water. These things would help me live longer and maybe extend my time as an energetic cruise director.

 

But what I can’t help but think of is that I only want to live until I am really old and I can still do all the things I do now. And that isn’t going to happen, is it? I could pack in the cigars and say no to beef. I could deprive myself of all the things that make my life fun — but life later on will not be the same as it is now. There will be arthritis and incontinence and pain and scooters and one day I will walk into a supermarket and forget why I am there. I am diabetic and even though my blood pressure is excellent I often wake up in the morning and am amazed to find that another day has dawned. I think sometimes about my life when I read some fitness wanker’s miracle diet cure and finally come to the conclusion that I should stop listening to the bollocks from someone who says that I will live forever if I follow their fitness plan.

 

Yes, I have to lose weight and will keep trying but at some time or other, I must leave this world, I would sooner do it with some semblance of dignity and without the wet underpants. So just for today can you raise a glass of something with me and make a toast to bad habits, whatever yours may be. Oh and here’s to Alaska, as well………..hope to see you there.

 

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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