July 3, 2013 -

John Heald


We start today with some room service.


Sent: Sunday, June 30, 2013 7:08 PM
Subject: iCare Case Follow Up Required – Stateroom: **** Guest unhappy with room service being late


Good day, Mrs.______ stated that in the ports of St. Petersburg and again in Tallinn that her room service order which she put on the door the night before was 15 minutes late each time. I explained that we say that it is an approximate time but guest would like to speak to someone.

Thanks and kind regards

Guest Services Associate, Carnival Legend
Carnival Cruise Lines

Room service is very busy on port mornings, especially in the Med and even more so in the Baltic with the long, all-day excursions we offer. Now we do our best to get those room service pre- orders at the time scheduled but it is not always possible and we do, of course, allow for this as it states on the door hanging thingy. I also add this in the Fun Times.


            Room Service

            Room service breakfast will be very busy this morning so please allow extra time for           delivery. We suggest you enjoy a full breakfast in the dining room or on Lido deck.


I have never understood room service but for many I know in hotels and at sea, it is an important part of the guest experience. Maybe there is something special about hearing the room service trolley rattling down the corridor of the Intercontinentalhyattarriot or the footsteps approaching down the corridor as Ketut brings the BLT with extra chips. Maybe I am over hotels because I have stayed in so many and have grown to dislike immensely how the waiter lifts the silver-domed top to reveal two strips of bacon and an egg that I/Carnival have just paid $37 for.


But there is one more thing about this whole room service thing that puzzles me. Do you usually let strangers into your bedroom to see you in your underpants lying on the floor? Would you let the Domino’s pizza guy into your bedroom with you while wearing a bathrobe that really sodding well doesn’t fit at all? Of course not. So why, then, do we allow Ketut and his mates into our hotel rooms and our cabins to see all of the above and from some stories I have heard from the crew over the years…..much, much more. One has to feel sorry for our room service waiters. Think of the smells they encounter. Walking into a cabin to deliver breakfast the morning after a guest has eaten four lobsters and a double helping of chocolate melting cake.


Eating in bed really isn’t something I enjoy. I know I am a fat bastard but munching on a BLT with cheese, in bed, is pretty disgusting, isn’t it? One last thing. If you do order room service on our ships, please remember to tip the server. A dollar or two is fine because seeing a server carry a huge tray of sandwiches and drinks to cabin 7237 and have him place it on the dresser ignoring the smell of farts and the sight of a hairy arse disappearing into the bathroom is bad enough. To have the door slammed in their face with bugger all tip is far, far worse. Thanks, then, for looking after our room service waiters, it is much appreciated.


Time for today’s Q and A…… we trot.


Crystal asks:

Hi John,
I just want to start off saying that I love reading your blogs. My family and I are cruising on the Carnival Dream in September and I was wondering if you have any current Fun Times that you can post just so we can see all the things there are to do and start some planning. I know our sail date is many days away yet, but it never hurts to be prepared. Thanks.


John says:

Hello Crystal,

Thanks so much for the kind words and I am glad you are enjoying the blogs. Please check out this link which has some of the fleet’s Fun Times on it at I will update the Carnival Dream’s info later this month so you have a more recent one. I am sure you will have a brilliant time and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.



Mark Foakes asks:

John, what’s the longest we can leave our kids at the Camp Carnival. My wife and myself both have stressful jobs and don’t get to spend time together so we want the twins to have fun at camp so we can chill and relax. We have anytime dining so I need to know if we go to eat at say, 7 p.m., what time would be the absolute last time we had to pick the twins up. This may sound harsh to some but it is time we both need together, trust me!!!!!!!!!!


John says:

Hello Mark Foakes,

It sounds like you really do need some “we time” and provided your twins are aged over two years old we can look after them until 3 am. This is because we have what we call our Night Owls program where they are entertained and looked after by our professional youth staff until 3 a.m. There are charges for this and the youth director will explain all of this at the orientation meeting which is held on embarkation day and which I would suggest you attend. I am sure all of you will have a fantastic cruise and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.



Mitchell Vanderberg asks:

Please please stop the dancing in the dining halls. This is so annoying and so disruptive. Your passengers should be able to enjoy conversation with family and friends and not be reduced to having to cover their eyes. We are just off the Carnival Conquest and by the fourth day we demanded our waiter serve us quickly so we could eat dessert and leave. I saw many other passengers do the same. This needs to be STOPPED!


John says:

Hello Mitchell Vanderberg,

I am so very sorry that you and your family found the parades not to your liking and I suppose there may be some others who may agree. I respectfully, though, have to say that the very vast majority do enjoy the dances and parades and they are definitely part of Carnival’s culture of fun. It really is a shame that you felt you needed to leave and therefore rush your dinner and I would hope next time that you can pause your conversation just for a few short minutes while they take place. You deserve to relax and enjoy dinner and conversation so hopefully this will be the case next time we see you on board. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns

Best wishes.



Donald Capozza asks: 

Mr. Heald: I’ve been reading on the Carnival forum that the current Platinum cruisers logo gift is a baseball-style cap. Please tell me that this is not true. I can’t imagine that Carnival would consider this an appropriate memento of a Carnival cruise. From our perspective (my wife and I) this is not something that we would get much use from since she in particular has never worn a baseball-style cap. Many of the past gifts have been very useful, the over the shoulder bag, the small portable cooler bag and, of course, the Tervis tumblers. May I offer a suggestion that Carnival provide Platinum guests with a voucher that each one could take to the onboard shops and use it to purchase what they felt was a useful and meaningful item to remember their current voyage. I would be willing to place a small wager that it would not be for baseball caps. As always, thanks for listening, thanks for your most entertaining blogs and, of course, thanks to Carnival for wonderful cruising experiences — Happy cruising.

Mr & Mrs C from Florida


John says:

Hello Donald Capozza,

I read many other comments like this over on my Facebook page when we announced this. The caps are actually very nice and I think that lots of our VIFPs will enjoy them. However, I understand that the ladies may not which is why I received permission from the beards that should someone receive the cap and not want it, they can go to the guest services desk and change it for a Tervis tumbler if they are in stock which most of the time they should be. We will change the gift again in the fall and it will be a superb bag that I have no doubt everyone will love. Thanks so much for your loyalty and hope to see you soon. Best wishes.



Lionel Agress asks:

Does the crew have religious services on the ship? I ask this because I know that on my last cruise our waiter who was from India and a Catholic, said that he missed going to church. Can’t something be done for them?


John says:

Hello Lionel Agress,

One thing I have learnt to understand over the 26 years I have been on the ships is that religion is important to many of our crew. Whether it’s Catholic crew from places like South America or Hindus from India or the many Muslim crew we have from Indonesia or Christian, Jewish crew, etc, their religion is a very important part of their lives. While we take wonderful care of our crew in many different ways I am afraid we don’t have a specific place for each religion to practice their beliefs. However, this does not deter them and most will hold their own services or prayer time in cabins or crew lounges. And in various ports of call, they will go ashore to pray. So thanks for asking this very important question and please let me know if you have anything else you would like to ask. Best wishes.



Kevin Mowery asks:

Just got off the Carnival Dream and loved every minute, I was planning a cruise in Europe next year but carnival is not going to be there, can you tell me when they are going back ?


John says:

Hello Kevin Mowery,

I was also disappointed that next year we won’t have a ship sailing anywhere in Europe, Kevin, but my fingers are crossed in hope that in 2015, we will be back. I promise of course to keep you informed. Best wishes.



Kelvin N asks:

Regarding a Cruise Critic meet and greet. We have one planned for approximately 80 people to attend on the Carnival Dream on 8/17/13. I have paid for a one-hour cocktail party with food but need Carnival to provide wrist bands so that only those who have or will pay me can get in. Also, I heard from others who have arranged a meet and greet that you give us door prizes, so I would like to have some too. The party is at 2 pm in the piano bar on the very first sea day. My booking number is ****** for Carnival Dream on 8/17/13


John says:

Hello Kelvin N,

Thanks for putting this group together and I am sure you will have fun. I will be very happy to make sure you are provided with two bottles of champagne and two trophies should you wish to use them for raffles, etc., and they will be delivered to your party. I am afraid we don’t have or provide wrist bands for this event so may I suggest that you send a personal invitation to everyone who is invited by email then you can collect at the door to the piano bar. Please can you remind me of this on my Facebook page three days before you sail so I don’t forget? I hope this helps you and I wish you all a brilliant time. Best wishes.



Lucy McNulty asks: 

Hi John
With Wimbledon fever gripping the nation here in the UK, I was wondering if the men’s final will be shown on Carnival Sunshine. I am due on the Sunshine on 7 July the day of the men’s final so would love to watch it especially if Andy Murray is in the final. Hope you can find out for me. Although once I get on board I might be too busy having FUN to watch it! Thanks & Regards.


John says:

Hello Lucy McNulty,

Yes, indeed, it will be, Lucy, and we Brits can watch our beloved Andy Murray cry again after he gets his bottom kicked by…….well, whoever he plays in the final. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that we do have it and to wish you the most fantastic cruise. Best wishes.



Nadine White asks:

I need to know two things before our cruise on 8/20/13 on the Carnival Miracle (our eighth cruise with Carnival) and they are when the formal nights are and for a table for two to be blocked for us on the late dinner assignment which our travel agent has told Carnival we want. We cruised with you on the Carnival Glory when we had two extra days at sea because of a hurricane and we could not get back to Port Canaveral. It will be our wedding anniversary so maybe you can send us some sweet treats to celebrate.

Nadine and Rusty White


John says:

Hello Nadine and Rusty White,

Thanks so much for cruising with us again and I am sure you will love this Alaskan adventure. I remember that cruise on Carnival Glory very well and I think, if I am not mistaken, it was Hurricane Jean that kept us at sea. Please, would you remind me about your table for two request four days before the cruise on my Facebook page at or three weeks before, here on the blog and I will ask the maître d’ to assist you as best he can? The elegant nights are the Wednesday and the Sunday. Hope this helps and please let me know if there is anything else I can do. Have a great cruise. Best wishes.



And that’s all for today.

So today we had one heck of a busy day here in Dover. I was hoping to be able to drive my car to the Tesco’s supermarket but, instead, myself and the crew spent the day with the British Coast Guard as they ran drills for the crew and technical departments that are involved in emergency procedures. We, of course, passed with flying colours but their inspection delayed the start of embarkation and stopped me from getting ashore to buy some cheese, pot noodles and hemorrhoid cream.


Anyway, off we go on a new cruise and let’s, as always, see where we are going and who is sailing with us on this our second Baltic cruise.


TOTAL GUESTS                                           2,355

USA                                                                1,216

BRITISH                                                        456

CANADA                                                      279

FRENCH CANADIAN                                 41

ISRAEL                                                          55

AUSTRALIA                                                 45

JAPAN                                                           26

SPAIN                                                              25

LABRADOR DOGS                                     1

GUESTS UNDER 18                                     321


And this is where we are going and here are the main show acts and shows and then the comedians for the Punchliner Comedy Club, as well.


 Wed. July, 3rd


Welcome Aboard Show


Thursday, July, 4th

At Sea

Jazz Hot

Comics – Lance Montalto & Dean Ester


Friday, July, 05

Copenhagen (8:00am – 4:00pm)

Siboan Philips – Piano Comedy

Comics – Dean Ester & Lance Montalto


Saturday, July, 06

Berlin (6:30am – 11:00pm)

German Deck Party – Oompah Band


Sunday, July, 07

At Sea

Justin Illusion

comics – John Laury & Austin Knight


Monday, July, 08

Helsinki (8:00am – 5:00pm)

Philip Browne – Vocalist

Comics – Austin Knight & John Laury


Tuesday, July, 09

St. Petersburg (7:00am – Overnight)

Movie – Life of Pi & Activities


Wesdnesday, July 10

St. Petersburg (overnight – 7:00pm)

Jonathan Stamp – Juggler


Thursday, July, 11

Tallin (7:00am – 4:00pm)

Guest Talent Show – Liars Club


Friday, July, 12

At Sea

David Hall – Hypnotist

Comics – Mark Simmonds & Lowell Sanders


Saturday, July, 13

At Sea Big Easy

Comics – Lowell Sanders & Mark Simmonds


Sunday, July, 14

Amsterdam (10:00am – 6:00pm)

Carnival Legends


We learned some valuable lessons last cruise regarding Lido eating times and gangway operation and I think all of us feel more prepared this cruise and I am sure it will, as indeed it was last voyage …….be a huge success. I am, though, at some point, expecting the two guests from last cruise to take their comments further because both told me they would. I am speaking about the chap that did not like the Punchliner joke and the man who did not like the German deck party celebration. However, the rest of the guests loved the crew and their brilliant service and, of course, the ports which, in the Baltic, are quite sensational. The excursions we offer are superb and I highly encourage our guests to take one of our tours, especially in St. Petersburg. I saw lots of independent guests looking for buses and getting annoyed because they couldn’t find them and some from a company I would love to be able to mention here (but the lawyers said I couldn’t) who sent out the wrong official invitation letters which meant some guests had two days in St. Petersburg ………..spent on the ship.


Carnival does indeed have a very select process when it comes to choosing our tour operators. These companies are vetted very carefully to make sure that their descriptions will mirror the guest experience. The tour operators’ equipment is checked and double checked to make sure that they are operating in the safest way possible. It is important to know also that when guests take a tour, organized through us, that they also get peace of mind. By this I mean that not only do we continually check that the tour operators continue to meet their contract obligations but also that they have been pre-briefed by Carnival as to what to do should something go awry.


Yes, our tours may be a little more expensive than some found on the Internet but booking an excursion from the ship means that you have peace of mind, knowledge that Carnival only promotes the very best tours available. These tours are run by people who strive to provide our guests the very best time ashore and that we have a dedicated shore excursion department on board who are there to help you with advice before you book and, after the tour, should you have any concerns……..which surely….is priceless.


My travel talk last cruise lasted more than an hour and I have to try and trim that down this time. Now, with the greatest respect to my colleagues, hosting a travel talk about certain Caribbean ports, and hosting a travel talk about St. Petersburg are two very different animals. You can pretty much cover the history and places of interest in some ports in 15 minutes. Whereas the Hermitage Museum alone took five minutes to talk about and what, with the tsars and the tsarinas and the Church of the Spilled Blood and the immigration laws and etc., etc., etc……it was a talk that required my total concentration.


Anyway, there I was, a room full of 1,400 expectant, knowledge, hungry Carnival Legend guests hanging on my every word when from the middle of the theatre, I hear the unmistakable sound of static from one of those intolerable cheap walkie talkie radios. The chap using it was on the fifth or sixth row, talking to his wife on her radio and guess where she was? She was in the balcony section of the theatre…….oh, FFS! I had a bit of fun with them but I really couldn’t do what I wanted ………I don’t mean shove that walkie talkie up his rusty sheriff’s badge….I mean bring them together, etc., because I needed to crack on with the talk. Finding the right blend of serious information with a sprinkle of comedy is not easy for me and I have been doing this a long, long time. Anyway, let’s see how tomorrow’s talk goes.


OK, time for me to go to the bridge and do the guest safety briefing and then head across to Copenhagen, Denmark. Guest here love the sailing away experience from Dover. You know, places like The Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, The Eiffel Tower and The Statue of Liberty have all come to symbolise the spirit of their nations and are landmarks that are on most people’s bucket lists to see. And then there are the White Cliffs of Dover.  These huge chalk cliffs have many memories for me personally. When I was a teen we had a school trip to France on an old Sealink ferry reeking of diesel. The seas were really rough and the White Cliffs of Dover meant home and release from throwing up the cheap wine that we had smuggled into our hotel room the night before.


In World War II, brave RAF and American pilots see the cliffs and know they would live to fight

again. And on a happier note, the guests of the Carnival Legend will stand on the open decks in an hour or so and enjoy the sight of the White Cliffs of Dover slowly disappearing on the horizon knowing that 12 days of amazing ports and brilliant Carnival fun await them.


Wish you were here.



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.