July 15, 2013 -

John Heald


Yesterday while the Carnival Legend was bobbing about in the beautiful harbour of Tallinn, Estonia, I headed up to the spa for a haircut. Actually, that’s bollocks. Because in today’s metrosexual world, it is impossible for this cuddly cruise director to have a simple haircut. Nope, what I have to do in the Carnival Legend Spa……… is have my hair “styled.” Actually, that’s not true because I could go to the crew barber. As I mentioned in a blog some weeks ago, each ship has a crew barber who after he has finished doing his real job – be it a waiter, cook, captain, etc. — he will go down to a small room below deck and cut hair. Now when I was on Carnival Breeze, the chap who did this was excellent. He got the clippers out and, five minutes later, you looked all clean and tidy and with a haircut that looked good.


That is not the case here on the Carnival Legend because I have seen some of the work that the crew barber has done and let’s just say that a colleague who went there a few days ago now has a haircut seen only on the parade ground at Annapolis or Sandhurst. It looked weird, it wasn’t straight and there was a tuft thing at the back, I am not sure who the crew barber is here but I have a feeling Stevie Wonder may have found a new profession. Anyway, that meant that the crew barber was out of the question and off to the spa I went


In the old days, I would go to our local barber in Southend. It was a little Italian place for men only and I miss his haircuts and not just because it was over in 10 minutes. Nope, despite the fact that I would walk around in a permanent cloud of talcum powder for days afterwards, I loved going to see Giuseppe……..because while you waited for him to finish some other chap’s hair ……..I could read his vast collection of rumpy pumpy magazines. Giuseppe had, it seemed, every copy of Big Jugs ever printed and as a teen I looked at the pictures of young women exposing….well, by today’s standards……. bugger all really.  These were women’s bodies were in proportion to their size and used white gloves to cover up their bosoms.


Anyway, back to the point of all this. There I sat in the chair waiting for a young English lady (I have underpants older than her) to start cutting my hair. Remember that film Commando with Ah-nold? Remember the bit when he spends 40 minutes clamping bits of military hardware to his arms and legs? Well, it’s like that. Tracey who cut…… bugger……… “styled” ……. my hair had at least three different sorts of clippers and various serrated blades that look like something a ninja would use. She also had a huge container that dispenses “Eucalyptus oil mixed with camel urine” and a hairdryer that looks like it was designed by NASA! Anyway, there I was listening to the snipping sound and talking with Tracy about her dog called Dusty who she missed so much when suddenly I noticed torrents of grey start to fall gently onto my lap and I realised yet again ……… really old I am now.


I think it was the Carnival Destiny launch that turned my hair grey. The pressure of bringing out the then largest ship in the world started me off with a splash of salt and pepper. I am now as grey as concrete. Oh FFS! So what should I do? Dyeing your hair has always had a bit of a joke, hasn’t it? I look at some men who dye their hair jet black and think, yep, I should do that but my wife Heidi thinks it looks unnatural and that I should keep it as it is. I explained to her that I didn’t want to look younger than my age. I just wanted to look my actual age because guests think I am 58 or 87. So, should I dye my hair? What do you, my faithful readers, have to say? There is of course 50 Shades of Grey which promised men with grey hair lashings of rumpy pumpy……………….what a load of bollocks that turned out to be


Time for some Q and A………let’s get cracking.


Angela Nunes asks:

John, on a recent cruise on Carnival Liberty, our cabin steward Joy would always move everything from our balcony. We would leave our swimsuits and towels out to dry there and when we would come back to the cabin she had moved them into the cabin. I did not like to say anything to her as she was so nice and sweet but it has been on my mind so I thought I would ask you, John. Why did she do this please? We did have an awesome time and are excited now about cruise number 10, our platinum cruise, in August on the Imagination.


John says:

Hello Angela Nunes,

First of all, let me thank you for your amazing loyalty and many congratulations on your Platinum status. Thanks also for bringing up an excellent point about the balconies. You see, Carnival allows smoking on the balconies and so we ask that when guests are not using them, that they remove all personal belongings from them in case some hot ash blows back into the ship and onto a towel, etc., which of course could cause a fire. The cruise director mentions this in his safety briefing and also reminded smokers never to flick lit cigarettes over board or flick hot ash over board for the reason I just mentioned. I hope that explains this and if there is anything else I can do for you before cruise number 10 please let me know. Best wishes.



Robert Lipka asks: 

Mr Heald;

Just wondering if April 27, 2014 is Carnival Valor last cruise out of San Juan? Have looked for more sailings but only see November 2014 and then Carnival Splendor in 2015… We are booked on the April 27, 2014 sailing and were hoping that they would not be starting any upgrade work while we are sailing… Enjoy reading your posts and someday hope to meet you!!! Thank You for any information you could give!!!


John says:

Hello Robert Lipka,

Thanks so much for the kind words and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog. Carnival Valor home ports in San Juan now and will remain there for 2014 with the Carnival Victory now sailing from Miami. Carnival Victory has a dry dock scheduled for September next year but I don’t have a date yet for the Carnival Valor’s dry dock. Please let me know if I can help with any other questions and also I do hope we sail together one day soon. Best wishes.



Mark Hewer asks:

I had read on Cruise Critic that some passengers were forced to share The Chef’s Table with drunk people. I paid it little attention and booked to go for myself and my DW for our anniversary cruise on the Carnival Magic. I should have listened. The food was good, not as good as you have hyped it to be but good all the same. But what ruined the meal was that the other passengers spoke about and how they acted and dressed. There were loud Hawaiian shirted men talking loudly about what they had done in port, one used bad language. One lady had too much wine and was visibly drunk and amongst all of this was my wife and I trying to celebrate our anniversary. Maybe it was because we are not from Texas as all the other diners were that we find drunken and loud behavior unacceptable but that is what we found it and it ruined our night. I suggest that The Chef’s Table have the option of a table for two or at least have a Carnival staff member there to moderate conversation and to put down the guests who misbehave. We will not book this nightmare again and thought you and the people who read your blog should be made urgently aware.


John says:

Hello Mark Hewer,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write about this and let me start straight away by apologising that The Chef’s Table was not as you had hoped. This is a very unusual comment because the usual comment is, in fact, that the food and service were unparalleled and I don’t think I have ever seen a comment in ages if at all about people not getting along during the dinner. Now, I may be mistaken here as I answer hundreds of questions a week here and on Facebook but certainly this is not commonplace. I feel very sorry for you that you were made to feel uncomfortable but I don’t think that we need to have a staff member at the table to act as a moderator. I may be wrong here and it will be interesting to see what others think of this too.

The most important thing is that you know that I am sorry that this happened and I do hope that you will try The Chef’s Table again and this time. I hope you will meet people there whose company you enjoy. Best wishes.



Heather asks:

When we sailed on Carnival Legend, we dined at the Golden Fleece twice. Both times during the bread course, we were offered three types of schmear for the bread, one of which being the most delicious tapenade I’ve ever tasted. I’ve looked high and low for the recipe, but to no avail. Not even anything remotely close to it. How can I get the recipe straight from Carnival themselves? I’d love to have this for my own personal cooking arsenal. Thanks!!


John says:

Hello Heather,

I am so glad you enjoyed the meal at the steakhouse and here is the recipe from the chef which I hope you are able to recreate in your own kitchen.



  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 lemon – juice only
  • 3 tbsp of capers chopped
  • 6 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 250g/9oz black olives pitted
  • small bunch fresh parsley chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Best wishes,



Michael Hooton asks:

Hello John,

Just wondering when the 2014 cruise director schedule will be published?


John says:

Hello Michael Hooton,

I will have this ready to post in September and the moment it is ready I promise to post it here on the blog. Please let me know if there are any other questions I can help you with. Best wishes.



Lionel Hicks asks:

You should have the ability to post photos here, Heald, so I could show you my swollen black and blue ankle, thanks to the crazy ***** driving the motor scooter on my Carnival Elation cruise last week. These things should not be allowed. Why can’t they use wheelchairs? This big woman drove around the ship like she was the queen of the ship and drove her friggin’ scooter into my leg and just laughed and carried on driving. I bet people will think of me as ***hole for saying this but I don’t care because they have not seen my ankle!! I am 77 years old myself, I am not fat and obese and have to have a scooter and people much younger than me need to get off the couch and exercise and then they wouldn’t need one of those scooters! Yes, I am angry!


John says:

Hello Lionel Hicks,

I can see how upset you are and while, of course, you and I both know that we must allow mobility scooters on board it would have been the courteous thing to do for the lady to have stopped and apologised. Obviously, this lady is in the minority because I know many people who use the scooters to be polite and aware of people around them and who use the scooters because of serious mobility issues. I can absolutely understand how and why you are upset and I hope your ankle is better now. I do hope despite this that you had a great time and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.



Cara asks:

Hi John,

I wrote you a while back and told you about my mom who was going with me on the Carnival Fascination Dec.5. Well her cancer came back and she will not be able to make it. I am still going in her memory and it will be a bittersweet trip. She looked forward to it so much but death waits for no one. My travel agent Andy has been a godsend with all the arrangements we have had to change. Well thanks for your time. I hope to meet you in person sometime because I love your blog.  Carnival’s faithful traveler.


John says:

Hello Cara,

I am so very sorry to read this. I am sure this cruise will be bittersweet and full of emotion so if there is anything at all I can do for you, please make sure you let me know. I am glad to see your travel agent has been so wonderful and I do hope that despite everything, you will try and have some fun. Best wishes.



Rory asks:

Good afternoon sir, I was speaking with one of my best friends about taking a cruise and he showed me a video of a cruise he took with you as the cruise director. He highly recommends booking a ship with you as the cruise director, so much so, in fact, he has decided to book one with me. We are looking for information regarding what ship you will be on in June, July or August of 2014, but I cannot find that information on the website anywhere. Please let me know how I can get this information so we can book our cruise. I hope to hear from you soon and look forward to seeing you in the year to come.



John says:

Hello Rory,

I am always very humbled by comments like this and after all these years it’s great to see that people still enjoy having me as their CD. I am in the process of arranging my 2014 schedule. It looks like I will be in Alaska in the summer of 2014 on Carnival Miracle and I will let you know this for sure when we release the CD schedule in September which, by the way, will be posted here. I do hope to see you both there and, meanwhile, thanks again for the wonderfully kind words. Best wishes.



Kim Happner O’Connell asks:

John: I can’t seem to find the spot on the website to submit a commendation letter for staff. I understand why they moved away from the paper forms a few years back, but I’m a firm believer in affirmations and I like to praise great service. How do I do so now? I sailed on the Carnival Dream May 4-11, 2013 and absolutely loved the energy and humor of Jaime and Gumby. They are the best CD/ACD I have sailed with, and as a platinum cruiser, I have a lot of great experiences to compare them with. Marcelo was also great. He was coming onboard to relieve Gumby while on vacation. We had a great chat the last night at the show and I gave him some feedback about not appearing to be as approachable during the morning show. He took those comments very well, and we laughed about it the next morning during debarkation. I just wanted to ensure SOMEONE knows how valuable Jaime, Gumby, and Marcelo are to the Carnival customer experience. Hopefully, these comments make it to them and their leaders. Best regards, Kimo


John says:

Hello Kim Happner O’Connell,

Thanks for telling me as this is the right place to post such comments. I promise to make sure all the right people see this and I will make sure that Jaime and Gumby get the praise they deserve. I am sure Marcelo appreciated your words of advice and it made him a better CD. Thanks, then, for taking the time to write and I do hope we shall see you very soon. Best wishes.



Sandee miller asks:

I realize you are not CEO or president of CCL, but as their spokesperson, I really wish you would comment on the question that’s being asked time and again. What about Baltimore?? If this has already been addressed elsewhere, I apologize. Baltimore welcomed the Pride with open arms and all five of my cruises on her we sailed with a full ship. Moving the Pride is one thing, not stationing another ship there makes me sad and mad. Thank you for your time.


John says:

Hello Sandee Miller,

Repositioning a ship to another homeport is never an easy decision to make and we always know that when we do this that there will be those who will not be pleased. You see, we routinely evaluate our itineraries and make adjustments as needed based on guest preference and overall financial performance of different itineraries.  As a result, Carnival has decided not to deploy the Carnival Pride from Baltimore for the period November 2014 through April 2015. We have a great partnership with Baltimore and many of our guests enjoy cruising from there.  I know that the beards will evaluate all viable options to return to Baltimore in the future. I hope this helps and while I know you will continue to be disappointed, I truly hope we will see you soon on another Carnival ship. Best wishes.



And that’s all for today.


And so we start with another wonderful voyage around the Baltic and let’s see who is with us and where we are going.

TOTAL GUESTS                                           2,241

USA                                                                1,216                          

Great Britain (UK)                                          628

Canada                                                                        307

Canada(French)                                              81

Australia                                                          42

Mexico                                                            53

Israel                                                               56

Spain                                                               29

Japan                                                               17

Guests with the Last Name Smith                  41

Guests Under 18                                             389


Jul, 15


Welcome Aboard Show



dep @ 5pm

Jul, 16

at sea

Jazz Hot




 Jul, 17


Katie Satterfield – Impressioninst




 Jul, 18


Oompah Band Bier fest




Jul, 19

at sea

Justin Illusion Magic Show




Jul, 20


David Knight – Hypnotist




Jul, 21


Movie – Skyfall




Jul, 22


               John Udry – Juggler




Jul, 23


Guest Talent Show




Jul, 24

at sea

Big Easy




Jul, 25

at sea

Joe West- Multi Instrumentalist




Jul, 26


Brett Cave  – Piano Entertainer






Wonderful entertainment yet again and we really are setting the bar high here. It is my hope that we can bring some of these extraordinary performers to the Caribbean and Alaska next year. Big Easy remains a favourite and because the shows here on the Carnival Legend are the same as those on the Carnival Spirit and with both ships in Australia next year, this ship will get two new shows during her dry dock. What shows? Well, that’s not definite yet but I will let you know as soon as I can.


When you look at an itinerary like this one, it makes you think why anyone would see Europe like this on anything but a cruise. If you did these destinations in one go you would have to book seven hotels and seven flights or seven car trips. You would have to unpack and pack seven times and you would have to check in and check out seven times. On a ship you check in once, unpack once and, of course, you stay in the same room and most importantly you don’t have to fly and this means you don’t have to go through airport security seven times either.


Yes, I know they are doing a job and, yes, I know I moan about them all the time, I just can’t help it. Their frisking techniques suggest that they are working as an airport security person only because they failed their proctology exams. Certainly, they have an important job to do but given the choice of experiencing the shoes on, laptop out seven times to see these great places or to relax after a wonderful day seeing St. Petersburg without the thought of all that flying entails ……..well, in my opinion, there is no choice.


I guess the best way to sum up the difference between taking a cruise and flying is this. The best part of flying is when it’s over and you have landed, the flight is over. The worst part of a cruise is when the annoyingly cheerful cruise director tells you the cruise is over and please disembark. Anyway, I hope one day we return to Europe so some of you can enjoy these fabulous destinations. Talking of which, have you seen the repositioning cruise for this ship, the Carnival Legend, from New York to Tampa? I see the occasional request for longer Caribbean cruises and here, then, is one I think looks totally brilliant:


10/10/13 Thu LEGEND NEW YORK, NY

8:00 AM

4:00 PM

10/11/13 Fri LEGEND “FUN DAY” AT SEA

At Sea

At Sea

  10/12/13 Sat LEGEND “FUN DAY” AT SEA

At Sea

At Sea


9:00 AM

5:00 PM

10/14/13 Mon LEGEND “FUN DAY” AT SEA

At Sea

At Sea

10/15/13 Tue LEGEND ARUBA

9:00 AM

6:00 PM


8:00 AM

5:00 PM

  10/17/13 Thu LEGEND “FUN DAY” AT SEA

At Sea

At Sea


8:00 AM

5:00 PM


8:00 AM

5:00 PM

  10/20/13 Sun LEGEND “FUN DAY” AT SEA

At Sea

At Sea

10/21/13 Mon LEGEND TAMPA, FL

8:00 AM

4:00 PM



Great ports and again…………no flying required to see them all.


I may be flying home later this cruise, according to one guest. Last night I hosted the final show of the cruise and headed through the lounge to get back stage. I was stopped by someone I had mentioned at the very start of the voyage. He had wanted to have a private room and one of our staff members to lead him and his group of 30 something people of the ship in every port ……… before every other guest. I had declined this, respectfully, and had given him options of a room to meet but could not help with the other two parts of his requests. He was mad… mad in fact that half way through telling me how mad he was he suddenly got so worked up, he started shouting at me in another language and it took 10 or so words before he realised I hadn’t got a sodding clue what he was saying


So, I saw him again as I headed for the show. I won’t bore you with the conversation, but the bottom line is that my mistakes of not letting his group off first accompanied by one of the staff members is indeed “going to get me fired”……..yep……….according to the man with a whole bag of chips on his shoulder, I will be fired and forced to become a hit man in Michigan.


So, any upset housewives who don’t fancy a messy divorce and whose husband has been peeing on the toilet seat and because he hasn’t stacked the dishwasher properly you want him whacked …………..for $100 and a bucket of KFC………..I’m your man.


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.