September 3, 2013 -

John Heald

These days, most TV game shows like Who Wants to be a Millionaire or Jeopardy tend to have celebrity versions where Z-list celebrities are people who came 28th on American Idol or have been in a soap opera or a reality show with Mr. Trump or who starred in a rumpy pumpy tape that their boyfriend filmed without their knowledge. Instead of us watching regular members of the public on a TV game show, sweating nervously as they try to win enough money for a Carnival cruise or a new car or to buy a bigger thingy, we have a celebrity who most of us have never heard of trying to win lots of money for the charities that often involve donkeys or the protection of a rare bird that has been sighted off the coast of Michigan.


Anyway, it seems that quiz shows, where people like me and you can win stuff, are on less and less and that’s why when I am on a ship, I always host the ever-popular Carnival game show. Now, I know some of our ships have the brilliant Hasbro, The Game Show, which involves throwing large balls at things, playing Connect Four with basketballs, etc. That’s all well and good but there’s also a place for a good old fashioned game show that involves general knowledge questions where participants are given a clue to the answer by a sound clip we play from a very cheap and now outdated CD player.


Yep, we have been doing this for many years and yet it is still very popular and when Calvyn and I host this together, it is also can be unpredictably funny.  Calvyn and I give out lots of crappy prizes but yet lots of people sign up to play by writing their names on a scrap of paper using a golf pencil that is two inches long. We then pick three names from the bucket and invite them to stand behind their console and the game begins and everyone has fun. Except on occasion they do not.


Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 8:16 AM
Subject: Guest________- comment about the game show


Good morning John,

This morning I spoke to Mr. _____- who says his wife was chosen to be in the game show and that because she did not get answers correct that you humiliated her. Guest says that the questions were too difficult and had she known she would not have entered. Guest has asked for the show to be taken off from channel 17 guest TV station and that you apologise. He also is expecting some kind of “gesture” and wants a dinner for two at the steakhouse for embarrassing her. Please can you contact him John?

Thank you regards,

Guest Services Supervisor, Carnival Legend
Carnival Cruise Lines


OK, so reading this and before I even spoke to the guest I asked the technicians to remove the game show from the guest TVs – the last thing I wanted was to upset them even more. I remember this lady because she was from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and she had a wonderful southern accent that I obviously had fun with. Anyway, the game began and I asked questions on entertainment, music, famous people and more all backed up with a sound clip for the clue. The winner would be the first of the three people whose names I had picked out of the bucket to answer seven questions correctly and obtain the lucky 700 mark and win the crappy prizes.


But as the other two contestants’ scores raced along, Mrs. Chattanooga’s did not. She just stood there, shaking her head every time I asked a question. Obviously as the game went along and she had not even attempted to answer one of the questions, Calvyn and I had fun with her ………… that’s had fun with her and not “made fun of her” and after 26 years of doing this, I think it is safe for me to say I know the difference. Anyway, at the end of the game show the winner had 700 points, the second place contestant 400 and Mrs. Chattanooga’s score remained at 000. Calvyn then presented her with her prizes of a medal and a trophy. OK, the medal was just the ribbon (no medal) and the trophy was just the stand (no trophy) but she smiled and laughed and off she went back to her seat. So I was then shocked to see this comment and called the guests immediately. The husband did the talking. He felt that we had made fun of her, we hadn’t but that didn’t matter because to him, we did. He felt the questions were unfair and really let me know what a bastard he thought I was.


Anyway, I apologised and obviously while politely refusing their request for a steakhouse dinner for two, I did send them some chocolate strawberries and a fully intact trophy. I wish these gifts had been well received but I am afraid they were not and on Sunday they left the ship forgetting about the wonders they saw in the amazing Baltic ports and the brilliant service they enjoyed from the crew, choosing instead to think of the game show and how humiliated the lady felt by her 000 score and the antics of Calvyn and I. And that I can assure you makes me very sad indeed.


I have been thinking about this a lot and realised now something I missed when I was speaking to them. You see, most of the questions were on entertainment and culture and, while many of the questions were about the Brady Bunch, Die Hard, George W. Bush and The Temptations maybe because this lady had not grown up watching TV and listening to music, etc., maybe the questions were not as easy as I thought. The reason I have been thinking this is because I have put myself in her position and if I was in a game show like this. Yep, while I could answer questions on the Syrian Crisis, the economy and who was voted Miss Latvian Big Jugs in 2009, I would have bugger all clue about modern pop stuff, etc.


I love reading news but I’ve no idea what’s now defined as popular culture – I have no idea who 90% of those appearing on TV are. For example who the sodding heck is Kim Kardashian? Why is she famous? It was a long time before I realised that Paris Hilton was a person, not a hotel. I eventually grasped that it wasn’t a hotel but a lady had been in a rumpy pumpy tape but she’s still someone who I have bugger all interest in. So, I do now sympahise with this lady and I will make sure that when we choose the people to play, from now on, that we empathise that this, like all things we do at Carnival…….will be fun.


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


Sherry Kissel asks:

Just returned from a great cruise on the Carnival Liberty this past Saturday. Our wait staff and room steward were excellent! However, there is one thing I was really disappointed about. On our last cruise (Carnival Dream 6/11), we purchased future cruise certificates and used them on this cruise.  When I went to the future cruise desk (and I fully intended on purchasing two for a cruise on the Carnival Breeze for 6/15), I found out they are no longer available. So upset about that. Yes you can book for what is open now but not everyone can afford to cruise every year. I feel Carnival is really missing the mark with this one.  You had two years to use them which I thought was perfect. So you aren’t giving any incentive for everyone to come back – other than those that are going to book on cruises that are available.  If you could book and move the dates without a penalty might be an option. Just really bummed about that. If you at least buy the FCC, you have something to look forward to use your OBC for.


John says:

Hello Sherry Kissel,

I am so glad to see you had such fun and that you enjoyed the cruise. I know that the cancellation of the Future Cruise Certificate was something that many were disappointed in and, so far, there are no plans to bring them back, I am afraid. I will make sure that the right people see this though and that they are reminded once again just how popular they were. I do hope we will see you again soon and many thanks for taking the time to write. Best wishes.



Bettina Warman asks:

Must your comedians use such disgusting language and base their comedy on the lowest of subjects? I am open minded but the comedians on the Imagination used profanity and one comedian spent 20 minutes of his 30-minute comedy routine only talking about sex. A clever comedian can make you laugh telling jokes and not having to resort to gutter humor and profanity. Shame on Carnival for allowing this.


John says:

Hello Bettina Warman,

Judging by the show you described you attended the uncensored comedy show which is advertised exactly as that, uncensored. This is where we take the leash off our comedians and they are allowed to talk about anything they wish. This, I realise, may not be for everyone and I apologise if you were offended, of course, but I would hope you would have seen how the show was advertised in the Fun Times and heard the clear statement by the host at the start of the show. The adult shows are very popular indeed but again, I know they are not for everyone and I apologise to you for any offence caused. Hopefully, you will enjoy the family-friendly shows next time which we always make sure the comedians understand must indeed be suitable for all ages. I hope you had a great cruise. Best wishes.



Brian Henderson asks:

Can you tell me where Carnival is building the new ship not named yet? It was reported on the cruise boards on the Cruise Critic page that it would be called Splash and that it would be built in Singapore. Is this true?


John says:

Hello Brian Henderson,

Brian, the new ship will be called Carnival Vista and she will be built in Italy by the Fincantieri shipyard and debut in 2016. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.



Bud Conner asks:

My wife and I took our two daughters and five of our grandsons on their first cruise aboard the Glory out of Boston. We all had a FANTASTIC time.  We would like to book another trip out of Boston but discovered the Carnival Glory is going to be homeported out of New York as of August.  PLEASE tell us what ship will be taking its place in Boston and when it will arrive.  Thanks again and Mary and I will see you at Bloggers 7.


John says:

Hello Bud Conner,

I am very pleased to read that you had a wonderful time with the family and I will let the ship know just that. I am though sorry to say we have no more sailings from Boston planned at the moment but let’s hope we will have them in future days. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.



Henri Fernandez asks:

I read the question today from Paul and I agree, tipping should be included in the price of the

cruise and Carnival should pay their workers salaries and not depend on their customers to do that. I remove my gratuities each time I cruise and I am positive other passengers do this because they think like me that it is disgusting that Carnival expects me to compensate the workers. Put the price of tips in the cruise ticket or pay them more.


John says:

Hello Henri Fernandez,

Thanks for taking the time to write and expressing your opinion which I have always asked people to do here. Carnival does pay each employee a salary but, yes, we also ask our guests to recognize the service staff with gratuities if they have received service that warrants that. This policy, of course, is no different to many cruise lines and most restaurants etc., on land. It is a shame to see that you have removed your gratuities and I hope that next time you sail that you will consider the excellent service you will no doubt receive and therefore look after the people who have served you. Tipping is a personal thing and that’s why we won’t be adding gratuities into the cost of the cruise.  Best wishes.


 Grace Mendelay asks:

Hi John

I am sailing on Carnival Dream over Halloween. Will we be able to have a costume party and do you allow your passengers to wear the costumes at dinner times in the main dining hall? Thank you, John, me and my DH love your blogs and your facebook writing and Carnival has a great asset in you.


John says:

Hello Grace Mendelay,

Thanks so much for the kind words and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog. You will indeed be able to wear your costume to the dining room on Halloween night, Grace. And I am sure many other guests will do so. Have a great time and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes.



Cindy Bergholtz asks:

Dear John,

Our dear friends, my husband and I will be sailing on the Carnival Sunshine Jan. 26, 2014. We were probably one of the first people booking on her. I am very excited to see the new style Serenity deck! I am hoping this will sway our friends to keep sailing Carnival. They have sailed twice before on Carnival, but say this will be their last, preferring Princess. As for my husband and I, we are fun loving people who like the less “stuffy” Carnival atmosphere. Speaking of that, will the Cheers program be offered on Carnival Sunshine? Looking forward to drinks on the balcony watching the sun set, toasting you!

Cindy Bergholtz,


John says:

Hello Cindy Bergholt,

After a challenging start the Carnival Sunshine is now receiving brilliant reviews from guests and I am sure that this is exactly what will happen when you all sail on her next year. We do offer the Cheers program on Carnival Sunshine and if you have any questions about this or anything else, please let me know. I wish you a fantastic cruise together and I am sure your friends will be new Carnival converts after sailing with us. Best wishes.



Helene Machado asks:

I have been elected the leader and organizer of our Cruise Critic meet and greet. There are 70 of us signed up for the meet and greet and we need a place reserved just for us only. I have sent messages to the ship maitre d but they have NOT returned my e mails. We are on Carnival Breeze 9/22 and need you to reserve a room for us preferably the piano bar on the first day we are at sea for 2 pm. I have seen that you provide door prizes and, along with those, can we have the captain and cruise director stop by for a question and answer session? This was a big hit when we had our NCL meet and greet. I know unlike NCL that you do not provide free drinks but if we could have nibbles, this would definably help make this group of regular cruisers and people with a large presence on the cruise boards happy. How will I know if this is done? There are 70 of us and I would book us a room for 100 because the group is sure to have grown by then


John says:

Hello Helene Machado says,

Thanks to you all for sailing with us and also to you for helping organise the meet and greet for the group. I have sent a message to the ship and asked that they reserve a room for you. I have asked for the piano bar and while I can’t promise that particular room, I have asked that if it’s available that we give you the room. I will be happy to provide you with two bottles of champagne and two trophies for a raffle or how you wish to use them. I am sure if the captain and CD are free they will stop by but their sea day schedule is very busy so this may not be possible. I wish you all a wonderful time and the meet and greet will be listed in the Fun Times. Best wishes.



Linda Krause asks:

Hi John…This is rather lengthy, so I will apologize in advance! I hope you will take pity on my sister and try to make her feel better. Here’s our story…My husband and I took our first cruise back in April 2007. My sister was so jealous, she took one with us in December 2008. She has gotten as hooked with Carnival as we are, and we three have cruised since then, August 2009, Feb 2010, back to backs in Dec 2010 and Oct. 2011, and another five-day August 2012. We had booked another cruise in April 2013, but delayed it due to Carnival Triumph’s problems, by two weeks. Then we were notified she was out of commission till June. We do not cruise anymore during summer because I just honestly cannot take the heat, but we were not deterred.  We scheduled the next one for October 21 and 26, another back-to-back because we’ve waited so long to get back on the whale-tail!

Now comes the poor pitiful story for you. My sister broke out in a rash and figured she was bitten by something outside. The rash got progressively worse until she went to the doctor. The first doctor couldn’t ID, so she went to a specialist, who did blood work and a biopsy, saying my sister’s condition was “an enigma”….…when the results came back, she was told she has a condition called pleva, which occurs in about one in a million. My sister is so special! Haha ……..anyway, she just had to pay $197 for a month of pills, on top of the doctor bills, and was told that the rash will eventually go away, but could take months, and possibly a year, and that it could come back at any time.

My sister has been looking forward to this back-to-back especially because the first leg she is adding our 86-year-old mom to her room, and the second leg, she is taking her oldest granddaughter. She was especially looking forward to the second leg because she was taking her granddaughter for a beach day and parasailing. With this rash, she’s really feeling depressed, because, well, honestly, she looks like a leper!  Her rash is from her ankles to above her waist, and on both arms. It looks like severe chicken pox….…I mean, John, it’s nasty looking. She’s afraid she won’t get to do the beach day with her granddaughter, much less lay out by the pool on the boat.

The second leg of the trip, she will be platinum, and I wanted her to really be happy…but this is really upsetting her. Is there any way at all you could send her something cool to her room to maybe soften the blow of this mess? It would make me so happy to make HER trip a little better. Everyone of her cruises, she has invited a daughter-in-law, or her daughter, or a close friend, to give THEM a special treat, not to mention she always makes sure to bring me ‘happies’ to make ME feel special. She’s one of the best women I know and I love her so much, this is breaking my heart.

Can you help? If so, her booking number is ******and her room number is 6314. She lives in Louisiana, and we always sail out from Galveston. She drives down the night before, just so she can Carnival with us. Please, PLEASE, let me know if you would be able to make her trip a little more memorable, other than this stupid illness she has!! My sister’s name is Terri Hunley and I’ve already given you her booking information. Thank you in advance for anything you can do to help me out here.

Linda Krause


John says:

Hello Linda Krause,

My goodness, your poor sister and I am so sorry to read about this awful condition that she has to endure. I hope that it will go away quickly and that she will be healthy and happy. Please tell her not to worry, she will be able to enjoy the ship and the beaches and all that the cruise will offer and maybe her relaxing will help the condition go quicker. Please can I ask that you remind me on my page the day before you sail? Just mention “my sister’s condition” and include the cabin number, ship and sailing date and I will know what you are talking about and what to do. I wish you a brilliant time and enjoy together the ship and her crew. Best wishes.



D.Clark asks:

Heald! – Are you not sick and tired of having people beg you for stuff? It is obvious also that you love the drama and the attention. Why do you keep pandering to the beggars of this world if not because you want people to say, “Look how kind he is.” Your ego is off the charts!


John says:

Hello D.Clark,

If sending a little something to people who are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, graduation or another special event or indeed celebrating just being on a Carnival cruise, well why shouldn’t we send them a little gift?  The gifts cost us very little but the sentiment I hope is invaluable and what I don’t understand is why it bothers you that I do this……….explain that to me, please, as I just do not understand. Best wishes.


And that’s all for today.


So our first Norwegian cruise is underway and I am writing to you in my underpants while looking out of my window in the beautiful port of Alesund, Norway. The town was devastated by a huge fire in 1904 and, according to the Norwegians themselves, it is considered to be Norway’s most beautiful town and from what I can see, I agree, it is absolutely stunning and I am sure that tomorrow when I post Mr. Radu’s photos that you will agree.  The weather was surprisingly lovely with the forecasted rain not arriving and instead we had a crisp sunny day which the guests really appreciated. I have lots of bloggers and old friends sailing this cruise as well and amongst them are a special group of people. Here are some of them:

 dinner 1


The guests featured here are all cruising back to back to back to back – bugger…..I have lost count of the backs. Anyway, they were on for the last Baltic cruise (12 days). They are here for the Fjords cruise (another 12 days). They will be here for the British Isles cruise (another 12 days). They will be here for the trans-Atlantic crossing (yet another 16 days) and, finally, they will be here for the New York to Tampa cruise (11 days). And that is an amazing 63 days in total.


And so I took them all to the steakhouse and I enjoyed listening to their stories of their best cruises to date and just why they love Carnival. And later this cruise, I have another eight guests to host there who also will be with us for 63 days and I am sure that I will hear the same from them and that Carnival continues to give them superb fun and at a brilliantly affordable price. I thank them for their amazing loyalty and I agree with their thoughts that they would like to see a Diamond Plus category on our loyalty program and I will suggest this for sure to the beards.


Talking of Diamond guests we have 52 of them here this cruise. Normally the captain will host an intimate reception on the bridge but obviously, with 52, we won’t be able to do this. And so I suggested we host a special lunch for them all at the Steakhouse on one of our sea days and the chef agreed. He is preparing a special menu and the captain and I will host this which I hope all our Diamond guests will enjoy.


I went for a pee in the Deck 2 aft public bathrooms yesterday after checking on Ed, the new guitar soloist here on the Carnival Legend, who, by the way, is a brilliant entertainer. I have complained before about how small the cubicles are and how even smaller the spaces between the urinals are but today I have another complaint – this time about those bastard turbo hand dryers.


Yes, yes, yes, I am sure that somewhere a bearded tofu-eating health and safety lady will be saying that these hand driers are the best way to avoid germs and I agree but the noise sure is awful. How is it that we can make silent battery-operated cars and spy planes that can’t be heard and yet these hand dryers have to sound like a 747 taking off just to dry a few droplets of water off your hands? My daughter Kye also hates them. She will put her hands over her ears and won’t put them in the dryer. On a long car journey or when she sails, Kye is now known as a human camel, for the amount of time she can hold her pee pee because of the “monster” in the bathrooms


I’m not saying that we should get rid of the turbo hand dryers – they are effective and hygienic but please at least give us a choice. Bring back the hand towels, please, Carnival Beards, or until you do, I shall wipe my hands on my pants……. or if he is close by ……… Calvyn.  Oh and for those who haven’t seen how skin shreddingly powerful these hand dryers can be …….. have a look at this video I made a couple of years ago.






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.