“It’s too loud — are you trying to kill people in there?”……..and with that a very upset elderly British lady waved her hand in my face as I tried to talk to her and stomped out of the lounge. Hello, everyone, from a beautiful morning here in St. Petersburg, Russia. Yep, that lady I just told you about was not happy and I did my best to appease her and followed her down Promenade Deck away from the show room trying to apologise, trying to get her to talk to me. But her British lip was stiff and defiantly in the upright position and she waved me away again like she was swatting a mosquito with a rolled up newspaper.

 The show she had left was the brilliant Justin Illusion magic show. This features very impressive and dramatic illusions which are made even more impressive and dramatic by stirring rock music that builds to the finale of each illusion. The music complements the performance. For example Justin makes a proper full size motor bike disappear live on stage and does so to Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n’ Roses. It just would not be the same if he made a motor bike disappear to the sounds of Celine Dion warbling on about her heart going on and on and on.


Believe it or not, though, we have regulations set by the beards as to what volumes we can run shows, music, movies, etc. And yes, sometimes they are full in their volume and, yes, I know that some people don’t appreciate that very much. I am fully sympathetic that as you get older your hearing becomes more sensitive or in my case, disappears. I say disappears but that’s not really true. What I will say is that it seems to me that movies and TV these days are made in such a way that many of us have no idea what the heck is being said. I was on a flight last month from London to Houston and decided to watch an in-flight movie: Die Hard 107 starring Bruce Willis and lots of dead Russians. But even though I was using an expensive pair of those noise- cancelling headphone thingies, I could not make out a single word that anyone said. They whispered everything


I gave up and turned to my eyepad and started watching something called “Spartacus Blood and Sand” which I had upsidedownloaded. But again, I could not hear a sodding thing or understand why Spartacus didn’t want to have rumpy pumpy with that beautiful girl or why he decided to cut everyone else’s head off. Yep, it seems to me that these day actors mumble. They get all moody and dark in films and that means none of us will have a clue what the plot of the movie is.


However, while I am struggling to hear what actors are saying the lady who left the lounge because it was too loud must have been very uncomfortable and that makes me sad as she has now missed the show. We will monitor the sound levels as we always do and put a lot of effort into making sure the volume respects the performance and those watching it. Meanwhile for “Spartacus” season 2……………….I shall be using sub tittles.


Time for today’s Q and A – here we go.


Bethany Schutte asks:

Greetings John,

I cruised on the Carnival Magic the week of June 9, 2013 and I just wanted to comment on how spectacular our two assistant waitresses were in the Southern Lights Dining Room. Siyka Nikolova and Oleksandra (don’t know the last names) were absolutely the best waitresses we’ve ever had the privilege of having. Their kindness and conversations were one of the best things, if not the best, about our cruise experience. I wasn’t sure if there was a way to write to their “upper staff” but I see that many people have written to you with praises. Please be sure to let the appropriate people know of their amazing work! I cannot wait to book another cruise and am desperately trying to figure out the finances! Thanks to you and your staff.

Bethany S

 P.S. – Our table number was 589 if that might help specify our waitresses 🙂


John says:

Hello Bethany Schutte,

This was a joy to read and I thank you so much for taking the time to praise the staff like this. It sounds like your dining room team truly made an impact on your cruise and I shall as requested make sure that the senior management on the Carnival Magic see this. I know that Siyka Nikolova and Oleksandra will be so proud and again thanks for making their day. I hope we see you soon and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know. Best wishes.



Jeff Therrell asks:

John, My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Splendor a few years ago which was 1 week before it caught fire. I sent you a Dear John letter on that cruise and you read it the day of our anniversary

and I again say thanks. Will you be on the 2014 cruise with the Duck Commander Family? If so we will also be sailing and would love to have dinner with you. Cheers and have some safe travels.


John says:

Hello Jeff Therrell,

I only just discovered these Duck Commanders and I have to say I find the whole concept of the show and the fact that so many are sailing with them totally fascinating. I am in the process of locking down my 2014 schedule and I will see if I can fit this in. If so, it will be great to see you both again. I hope to see you soon. Best wishes.



Alissa asks:

John I am very upset because I went on the Carnival Conquest for my high school graduation and they would not let me tap dance on the stage because my tap shoes would damage the stage which is total BS! I am telling my friends that Carnival does not care much about us and ruined my chance to be in the show and the people who they did let in were terrible and sang badly out of tune.


John says:

Hello Alissa,

I am very sorry that you are upset and I can understand the disappointment you felt about not being able to perform in the talent show. The stage manager or the cruise director must have looked at the taps on your shoes and decided that maybe they would damage the wooden stage which our dancers have to perform on. I am sorry that this decision was made, we really do care and I do hope you realise that and it’s just the disappointment talking. I truly do hope you had a fun cruise. Best wishes.



Ruby Desmond asks:

Hello John, I have a question that may be very unusual and one that I have since seeing your blog some months ago yet to be written about. My family and friends just got off from a cruise on the Carnival Liberty and what fun we had but there is a concern that I wanted to address with you and the higher ups. The captain was introduced to us the passengers as master. John, this term has not been used since slavery was abolished and some of us on the boat thought this title the captain was presented with was not respectful and in some ways it was disturbing. Please can you address this for us John and I can tell you it was a big talking point and an uncomfortable one we should not have had to experience.


John says:

Hello Ruby Desmond,

May I start by saying that I am so glad you had fun on the ship and that you enjoyed the cruise. I have to say that in my 26 years at sea I have never had this comment before, not that I don’t understand but I just wanted to say that it is something I don’t think has ever come up. The term master of the vessel is a centuries-old nautical term and has been used through history when talking about seagoing vessels and certainly I have always introduced the captain using that title and never gave it a thought but in hindsight perhaps I should have.  I’ll pass along your comments to the beards and I sincerely apologise if this offended you.  Most importantly, I hope that the fun you had will be the outstanding memory of the cruise and that we will see you again soon. Best wishes.



James Porritt asks:

Hi John,

I’ll be cruising on the Carnival Legend in August and was wondering what time they’ve been starting embarkation at Dover? Really looking forward to my first Carnival cruise! Cheers.



John says:

Hello James

I am glad I saw this before you sail with us. We star embarkation at 10:30am and it is a very quick and easy process in Dover. I hope you have fun and that this will be the first of many cruises with us. See you soon. Best wishes.



Ralph Jordan asks:


We just booked our 10th cruise on carnival and we are under the old the old VIFP system which says “Close to advancing to Platinum in our old program? Complete a total of 10 or more lifetime cruises by December 31, 2013, and you’ll automatically advance to Platinum in the VIFP Club.” Will we receive the Platinum benefits on our 10th cruise or will we have to wait until the 11th cruise?


John says:

Hello Ralph Jordan,

There is good news because you will indeed be Platinum at the start of your 10th cruise and thus get all the benefits on that voyage. Thank you for your amazing loyalty and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Have a brilliant time. Cheers



Terry Baldwin asks:

Hey John I guess some would call me a Carnival cheerleader. After 25 plus cruises and never a bad one why wouldn’t I be one. I do wish they would bring back the FCC. I don’t really like waiting to book on board. But I like the OBC. I have been using the name PVP (Derrick Hanes) for a many years and enjoy just talking to him. Booking on the ship takes that away. I’m sure a lot of others feel the same way and would like to see the return of the FCC. Not only for the OBC but a chance to talk about our cruise with someone I consider a friend. My PVP. Also I would love to be on a ship and have you as are CD.


John says:

Hello Terry Baldwin,

I have seen many comments about the Future Cruise Certificate and how much it is missed. As someone who has cruised 25 plus times your opinion deserves to be heard and so I will make sure this is sent to the right people. I will also make sure that Derrick sees this and that his supervisors do as well so thanks so much for taking the time to praise him. Maybe one day we will return the Future Cruise Certificate and until then I hope we will see you many more times. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and thanks again for taking the time to write. Best wishes.



That’s all for today.


Here is the latest list of piano bar entertainers who are currently on board and when they will disembark.


Carnival Breeze

Ben Gentry


Carnival Conquest

Larry Maconaghy


Carnival Dream

Rick Yerkes


Carnival Ecstasy

Martin Aucoin


Carnival Elation

Darrin Isaacs



Carnival Fantasy

Jerone Howard


Carnival Freedom

Martin Gast



Carnival Fascination

Robert Cozma



Carnival Glory

James Quigley



Carnival Imagination

Hrvoje Knezevic



Carnival Inspiration

Tom Grable


Carnival Legend

Bruce McGhie


Carnival Liberty

Jim Morris


Carnival Magic

Bob Berhalter


Carnival Miracle

Douglas Ross


Carnival Paradise

Angela Johnson


Carnival Pride

Roger Concepcion


Carnival Sensation

TJ Kuenster


Carnival Sunshine

Billy Reid Zimmerman


Carnival Splendor

Hailey Wiebe



Carnival Spirit

Andrew Pobjoy


Carnival Triumph

Augustin Villarin


Carnival Valor

Dana Honey



Carnival Victory

Joe Nagy




There are some new names there and, as always, I would like your opinions on those who have impressed you. I would also like to thank Laura aka “Divetrash” for running a Facebook page dedicated to these great and very popular I might add entertainers and I am sure she will post below with the address of that page. Meanwhile I would like to thank all of our piano entertainers for the great work they do and the fun they bring each and every cruise.


So in a few days’ time I will have a 12-day break where I will relax, play with my daughter and enjoy the company of my family and friends. Before coming home I received two instructions from her who must be obeyed…………..or Heidi as she is sometimes called. The first was to steal as many boxes of Lucky Charms as I could.


The second instruction was to go to the Fun Shops here on the Carnival Legend and buy my wife some perfume. Now before doing that I made sure she told me what brand as buying perfume on a whim is ridiculous. There are so many celebrities she can smell like. Beyonce, Paris Hilton, Judge Judy, etc. Luckily though she told me she wanted some Tresor and that was that so off I went. I rarely head to the shops perfume section but when I did I was surprised that such a large space was dedicated to men’s perfume and you won’t believe this, there was an entire shelf dedicated to……oh my, I feel faint just writing this……men’s creams, potions and all sorts of grooming stuff.  I asked the ship manager about this and he told me that it’s “big business” and that men are “really into the cleansing and moisturize creams.”  Yep, personal grooming for men is apparently the in thing. Bollocks. Men’s beauty regime should consist of two words “soap and water.” OK, that’s three words but you get my meaning. Grooming is for horses and dogs, not men. Honestly what happened to the world where men were men, and their armpits and groins were chemical weapons.


You know by now that I hate shopping and I would rather bury myself upside down in the sand on Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach with just my arse sticking out with a sign next to me saying “Please thrash my buttocks with a large pickle” than go shopping, but there I was, doing just that in the Carnival Legend’s Fun Shops


Anyway, as usual I digress. The reason I am boring you with this story is because while in the shops I met lots of guests and there were the usual hellos and having a great times etc. One of the groups I was talking to were all from Scotland. In fact, I think half the ship this cruise is from Scotland. You know, when I hear the Scottish accent I think of two things. The brilliant and much-missed Scottish cruise director, the late great Malcolm Kennedy……….”you can kiss a nun once you can kiss a nun twice but you mustn’t get into the habit”………..and our now-retired Scottish Senior Vice President of Operations Brendan Corrigan. And specifically with Brendan what happened to me many, many years ago.


It was 1992 and I was staying at the Marriott Hotel on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard. I had just completed an eight-month contract on the Carnival Fantasy and was being transferred to the Carnival Ecstasy the following morning. I was in the middle of watching a movie (Latvian rumpy pumpy most probably) when the phone rang and when I answered it was the unmistakable Scottish accent of Brendan. Brendan told me that plans had changed and instead of going to the Carnival Ecstasy I would instead be going to the Tropicale as the ship needed a cruise director desperately as Gary Hunter who was on their had to leave suddenly. He told me to be in the lobby of the hotel at the wonderful time of 5 am and a driver would come and collect me and take me to the ship which was at the time sailing out of Port Canaveral.
I remember thinking to myself “FFS” or words to that affect not because of the 5 am thing but because the Carnival Ecstasy was the at the time the newest ship and I had felt proud that I was going there plus there was a dancer there call Tay who had breasts like the Swiss Alps. Anyway, I went to bed, set the alarm and that was me and my suitcases standing in the lobby at 5 am. By the time 6 am came around I was starting to worry, had I misunderstood Brendan, was I supposed to meet the driver somewhere else. I considered calling him at home and it was I was trying to make this decision that the front of house desk person shouted over “Are you Mr. Heald?” Ummm, considering she had just checked me out an hour ago and I was the only bugger in the lobby at that time………anyway, I told her I was and she said there was a phone call for me.


I took the phone and it was Brendan again and he began telling me that there had been another change of plan and that I was going to the Carnival Ecstasy…….now I really wanted to say, “Make your bloody mind up you kilt-wearing, haggis-eating, tight-fisted sod” but considering I liked my job I just said………. “Ummmm………yes, sir” ………and it was then that I heard a laugh on the other end of the phone.


It was then that I realized what had happened. You see, it was and never had been Brendan.

“Tim?” I said……. “Is that you?”…… “Yes,” he said … “Gotcha,” he said ….. and hung up. It was Tim Harkelroad.….one of our comedian impressionists who was famous for his Brendan Corrigan impression. I couldn’t believe I had fallen for that. What a total and utter bastard.  I spoke to the check-in girl and asked for my room back but she said that I would have to pay the full day rate as I had checked out…..so that was me…….and my three suitcases ….. sitting in the lobby …. waiting until 10 am to go to the Carnival Ecstasy.


Well, it’s nearly time to go but before I do I want to leave you with his comment (I do realize that this comment is a few weeks old but I felt compelled to answer it given that I was aboard the Carnival Triumph when it went back into service and the ship looks awesome and is being very well received by our guests). 



I see you are going to the Carnival Triumph. Even with all the lousy Fun Ship 2.0 downgrades you wouldn’t get me on there. Expect nervous passengers and more problems as more cutbacks result in more problems. Lipstick on a pig – Carnival’s answer to everything. Maybe they should try that on you ROFLMAO.


Now before I answer Mrs. Cruzinman let me say a few words. I will admit that I am tired. I have been going flat out since April here on the Carnival Legend setting up Med and Baltic cruises and, like the rest of the crew here, I have given it my all. I have a cold still and I miss my family. So with that in mind I apologise for my rather different answer than the usual “best wishes” reply you are used to here on the blog thingy.


Dear Mrs.Cruizinman

It may interest you to know that people who have actually cruised on Carnival Triumph these past weeks rated her among the best in the fleet – yep, she sits there near the top of the list as per the guests who have completed an on-line survey. So how do I reply knowing how wrong you are in your comment?………….Oh, I know …………..and if anyone who has recently cruised on the Carnival Triumph would like to join me please, feel free:


STEP 1………..Place the tip of your right thumb on your nose
STEP 2……….At the count of three, move the fingers of the same hand up and down rapidly while at the same time sticking your tongue out of your mouth making a huge gaseous explosion sound.


Best wishes



Just as I am writing this I see an email from the shore excursion manager about the tours in our upcoming ports of Tallinn and Amsterdam. And surprise, surprise, just as it has been the last three cruises the Red Light District Walking Tour is sold out. Now I have been there myself a couple of times as I will mention in a moment as have I expect many of the 1,000-plus Brits who are on the ship this cruise. But this tour is sold out and that means guests are ignoring the tulips, clogs, cheese, art, history, windmills and museums to see near-naked ladies standing in windows and while being surrounded by the port’s coffee shops. Speaking of Amsterdam, here is a completely true story – I was in visiting Amsterdam on my stag party and since I was almost passing out by the overwhelming smell of marijuana, I decided to light up an expensive Cuban cigar outside one of the coffee shops. I was immediately told by some scruffy zit ridden youth to leave as my cigar was spoiling the ambiance of his shop. FFS! 


As for the Red Light district, there is little to tell. I know bugger all about it except the oldest profession in the world is legal in this one section of town. The ladies stand in windows offering their services and all pay tax to the Dutch government. The area is well policed and therefore is very safe. And that’s all I know about prostitutes and the red light district……and anyone who says otherwise is a liar……… honest, Heidi.


And so that’s that the last blog for 12 days as I am off on my vacation next week (Thursday). I will be on Facebook until then and as always my thanks to you all for joining me here. I have now committed to the Carnival Miracle for her Alaska season so I do hope to see you all there. I will also be on the Carnival Sunshine in November for the naming ceremony and, of course, for Bloggers Cruise 7. I will also visit three of four different ships in March and April as a sort of fly-on CD and more on that soon.


I am 48 years old now and still passionately enjoy what I do. I say this only because I found myself thinking again these past weeks that it may be time to retire and that being a cruise director in 2013 is a young man’s game.  But I want to carry on, I love my job and noting could make it more enjoyable…..except maybe an Aston Martin….oh, and a 2013 NBA championship ring…..oh, and a Latvian cabin stewardess (sorry, Ketut)…..oh, and for Carnival to provide me with new underpants to blog in maybe with a picture of a pickle on the front.


Actually they could give me a pair of underpants with the name of one of the ship’s on the front.


I could have a pair that says “Legend”…..or a pair that says “Conquest”…..or even “Magic.”


But if I am realistic, mine would say the name of any ship that is in dry dock. But hold on, I just remembered, I am going home in six days……… and that means it’s time come out of my own proverbial dry dock and take Heidi ……….on a three-minute cruise to nowhere.



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.