September 12, 2013 -

John Heald

Sometimes we make mistakes………….embarrassing ones……………like this:

Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 7:09 PM
Subject: Schedule Friends of Bill W


Good evening John,

Mr_________from cabin _____ called about the Friends of Bill W meeting which in the Fun Times says it will be at 5 pm at the Atlantis Bar. Mr._______feels that it is not appropriate to have this meeting at a bar and would like to discuss this with you.

Thank you & kind regards,

Guest Services Associate, Carnival Legend
Carnival Cruise Lines

And he is absolutely right and so that will be me apologising later today, an apology this guest totally deserves.  However, let’s look at how this massive mistake happened, shall we? Most cruise directors, actually, all cruise directors do their own Fun times now with the exception of ummmm………..embarrassingly……… It’s not that I am better than my colleagues or deserve special treatment, it’s just that with this blog and Facebook and my other brand ambassador duties, I simply don’t have time to do them. Oh and there is another reason………I haven’t a sodding clue how to do them. I could in days gone by when we all used a program called PageMaker but now PageMaker has been thrown in the garbage along with 8-track stereos and laser discs and instead we have a program, called In Design. This may as well be written in Klingon and, while all my colleagues are experts in this program, I am an expert in the same way Stevie Wonder is an expert at golf and Calvyn is an expert about the Die Hard movies.

And so the beards created a position called media coordinator and I have an excellent one here who does all the Fun Times for me. Now I give her the schedules for activities, music, shows and other areas that I need to be in your daily program but Leanne does all the hard work and does it very, very well and I would have been lost without her. She has had to do many new Fun Times with 12 day-Mediterranean, 12-day Baltic, 12-day Norwegian and 12-day British Isles cruises plus two trans-Atlantics – she has been a very important member of the team. And the fact that I still call the bloody things Capers should show you that I am defiantly out of touch when it comes to making the FTs.

It is my job to proofread the Fun Times and I do and, occasionally, I miss things and that’s nobody’s fault but my own. You may have seen a comment recently on the blog by someone who had found mistakes in another ship’s Fun Times and was a bit put out that he did not receive the proper thanks for doing so. Should there be mistakes? No. Are there mistakes occasionally? Yes, as indicated in this comment from the Friends of Bill W clearly shows. I missed in the final check and so it is 100 percent my fault and that’s why I will be saying “sorry” to him in person. But I am not sure this will be enough. As a word, “sorry” is a useful get-out-of-jail-free card when you’re having an argument with your wife and there’s only 10 minutes before your favorite television program starts: “Yes, I know I’ve accidentally pissed all over the toilet seat. I am a useless husband on every level and I’m sorry. Now can I watch the football, please?”

Sorry works when you stand up and accidentally fart in front of the captain and senior officers at your weekly meeting………..oh, the memory of that one still haunts me. Sorry is for minor indiscretions, like being a bit late when you need to squeeze past someone in the Follies Lounge to reach a seat. But sorry is not good enough when you have scheduled a group of recovering alcoholics to meet…… a bar. Elton John once said that sorry seems to be the hardest word to say and I shall do my very best to apologise to this guest and send him loads of fruit and a whole fleet of solid gold plastic trophies. It was a stupid mistake and one I sincerely regret.

Time for today’s Q and A…………… we go


Steve Fitzgerald asks:

Thanks for the updated CD schedule. Always nice to know who the CD is on our upcoming cruises. How about including the incomparable Ken Byrne on the schedule too? We love cruising with him, and would love to know where he will be. Thanks.


John says:

Hello Steve Fitzgerald,

I was just talking about another crew member who is one of a kind to the poster above and here we have another one in Ken. He is currently on vacation but will return to the Carnival Sunshine for the Trans-Atlantic cruise and will remain on the ship through the New Year and indeed for our bloggers cruise on February 16, 2014. He truly is superb and he will appreciate your very kind words. I hope you get to see him again soon. Best wishes.



Shawn Lucas asks:

I asked you a while back about getting me and my cousin plus size shirts. You asked me to email you back around July 21, 2013. I sent you that email just emailing you again. I asked you about getting us one 4X and 6X Carnival T-shirts as you already know we are large people LOL and, as you know, it is hard to find plus-size things. We are hoping you can help us get a Carnival shirt so we can show it off to our friends and family. Like I said before we are not asking for a free hand out, we will be glad to pay the tent maker that we make us the shirts.LOL. You asked for are info so here it is Booking #****** sailing on Sept 21, 2013 on Carnival Fascination room #E195 just like to see if you can get something done for us so we can have them to wear on our cruise. If not then thank you for your time. Be safe.


John says:

Hello Shawn Lucas,

Well I have to apologise because I have let you down. I asked the people we work with who run our ships and so far the biggest size they will do is 3XXX. Yep, not good news and despite my request and my mention that you are happy to pay, they have not been able to do a 6X shirt. I won’t give up, I will keep trying and until then, I wish you a wonderful cruise and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes.



Kathy asks:

Hi John, I have been a member of Cruise Critic since 2009 and here recently I have come to find out that Cruise Critic is become more monitored and several of my friends have gotten several notifications for someone else’s comments and actions so therefore I have decided Cruise Critic isn’t for me anymore but your blog and Facebook have become my source for cruising.  I love to read your comments so keep up the good work.  Hope to cruise with you someday …..Any idea where you may be in September of next year?  I’m going on the Carnival Sunshine then and would just love for you to be on her then, hint hint….



John says:

Hello Kathy,

I am very glad you enjoy my blog and the Facebook page and I hope that you will continue to do so. I remain here to help you and to provide you with information and some silly fun. I will be in Alaska from May to the middle of September on Carnival Miracle. It will be my first time there and of course it would be wonderful to see you there as well. If you have any questions, please let me know and I will be here to help you.  Best wishes.



Jeff Lutz asks:

Hi John

First I would like to say thank you for taking the time to write this blog I find it interesting and helpful. Now on to my question, we’re cruising on the Carnival Miracle in January to Hawaii, 15 days can’t wait.  My question has to do with entertainment. We love the shows and hit Punchliner every chance we get so, being a 15-day cruise will we be watching a lot of the same entertainment over or do they have different shows? Thanks again



John says:

Hello Jeff Lutz,

I am so glad you like the entertainment. I will post the full schedule for this great cruise in the weeks ahead but I can tell you that you will see different shows every night from specialty acts as well as the cast of dancers and singers. There will also be six different comedians as well for you to enjoy and laugh with at the Punchliner Comedy Club. Have a brilliant cruise and please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.



Gerry Gerber asks:

On Carnival Fantasy 9/26 booking number is ***** party of three. No table with others this time because last time on the Carnival Fantasy (this will be our 3rd on Carnival Fantasy) was the cruise from HELL and the people we were forced to eat with ruined our cruise. Not going to mention details here because will be flamed for sure. This time want to make sure we have a private table party of three. Cruised with you in 2007 on Carnival Freedom!!


John says:

Hello Gerry Gerber,

I am sorry that your last cruise was not what you had hoped and I have asked the maitre d’ to do his best to seat you at a private table and I know he will do his best for you. I wish you a wonderful time and I am sure this cruise will be the best cruise yet. Best wishes.



Jennifer Price asks:

Hello John,

I wanted to write this to bring a staff member to your attention. My husband and I took our three children on their first cruise on the Carnival Dream this past April.  While on the plane, my eight-year-old began talking to the young woman next to us.  Imagine our surprise when we learned that she was an entertainment host on the very ship we were headed to!  Alyssa Ramont went out of her way, starting on the airplane, by showing my daughter pictures of the ship and different ports and telling her about all the fun things in Camp Carnival. Alyssa knew our entire family’s names and room number before we even landed.  She went out of her way the entire week to say hello and to involve our children in the dance parties and other activities. Alyssa is one of the reasons that my children now want to go on a cruise more than going to Disney World! She is also one of the reasons that my husband and I will be taking our fourth Carnival cruise on the Carnival Liberty as an anniversary present on August 17. I hope we can meet more outstanding employees on that ship!


John says:

Hello Jennifer Price,

I am so sorry that I missed your latest cruise before I answered this and I do hope that you had a great time. Thanks so much for these precious words for Alyssa and I will make sure she sees this and indeed that her supervisors do as well. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and I do hope you all had fun on the Carnival Liberty and that we will see you all soon. Best wishes.



Tom Pippen asks:

John, please, please, please stop the ridiculous loud and demeaning dances the waiters do during the meals. Having spoken to at least 100 other passengers on the Carnival Splendor which I am just off. I can tell you that 90 or so agreed that there should be no entertainment in the dining hall and that passengers should be able to have good conversation with their families and friends. I am from New York as were many of the passengers on this cruise. New Yorkers love to talk and you would never find a top restaurant interrupting conversation with juvenile dancing by the waiters. As I said, so many of the people I spoke to agree with my assessment. If this is what the passengers want, why is Carnival not listening?


John says:

Hello Tom Pippen,

Respectfully I have to say that the vast majority of guests that I have spoken with on board love the entertainment, songs and parades that the waiters perform. I do realise that, like anything, it may not be for everyone but the response and cheers from the guests do show that they remain a very popular part of what we do on the ships and are very much part of the “fun” we advertise. There are no plans to stop this but I certainly do understand your point of view and I apologise for the interruption to your meals. I do hope you had fun, though, and that we see you again. Best wishes.



Michael Delvento asks:

John, please tell the beards that, for the first time in eight cruises, the coffee on the Carnival Valor’s Lido was not just drinkable, it was very good. Is this a new recipe just on the Carnival Valor or all ships? Thanks.


John says:

Hello Michael Delvento,

We have changed the coffee recipe and the way it’s brewed on all the ships now and that’s wonderful news that you noticed. I will pass this to the beards and I know they will be very happy to know that you enjoyed a good cup of coffee. Hope we see you again very soon. Best wishes.



And that is all for today. Many thanks, as usual, for all the comments and questions. Tomorrow we start another cruise.  In fact, this is our last cruise of the European season and the last before our trans-Atlantic crossing. And what a brilliant itinerary it is, have a look:

9/14/2013 Sat “Fun Day” at Sea
9/15/2013 Sun Stavanger, Norway



9/16/2013 Mon “Fun Day” at Sea
9/17/2013 Tue Edinburgh (Leith), Scotland



9/18/2013 Wed Invergordon, Scotland



9/19/2013 Thu “Fun Day” at Sea
9/20/2013 Fri Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland



9/21/2013 Sat Belfast, Northern Ireland



9/22/2013 Sun Dublin



9/23/2013 Mon “Fun Day” at Sea
9/24/2013 Tue Le Havre (Paris), France



9/25/2013 Wed London (Dover), England



And this is who is sailing with us.

TOTAL GUESTS                                                                   2,135

Guests on back to back from last cruise                    188

USA                                                                                        1,436

CANADIAN                                                                          412

BRITISH                                                                                90

FRENCH CANADIAN                                                         57

GERMANY                                                                           19

RUSSIAN                                                                              15

ISRAEL                                                                                  32

AUSTRALIA                                                                         27

JAPAN                                                                                    11


We have four clock changes to stay on local times and I have organised both Scottish and Irish entertainment, plus we will have the grand sights and sounds of the bagpipes playing us into and out of Scotland. I do, though, have some concerns about the weather as there are some low pressures creeping around the North Sea, something we will have to keep an eye on for sure.

Let’s quickly change course and show you the latest piano bar schedule which, as always, is subject to change:

Carnival Breeze Ben Gentry
Carnival Conquest Larry Maconaghy
Carnival Dream Rick Yerkes
Carnival Ecstasy Milburn Dumas
Carnival Elation Darrin Isaacs
Carnival Fantasy Robert Crucilla
Carnival Freedom Martin Gast
Carnival Fascination Robert Cozma
Carnival Glory David Filsinger
Carnival Imagination Michael O’Quinn
Carnival Inspiration Tom Grable
Carnival Legend Bruce McGhie
Carnival Liberty Jim Morris
Carnival Magic Jordan Heppner
Carnival Miracle Justin Abrams
Carnival Paradise Shea Duncan
Carnival Pride Roger Concepcion
Carnival Sensation TJ Kuenster
Carnival Sunshine Seth Gibson
Carnival Splendor Frank Glenn
Carnival Spirit Tim Mitchell
Carnival Triumph Augustin Villarin
Carnival Valor Dana Honey
Carnival Victory Derrek Robertson

I will have another schedule soon with the dates these great entertainers will leave and who will replace them but this is current as of today. I have been asked by the musical beards to please post your feedback on the last piano bar entertainer you experienced so please feel free to do so here. My thanks, as always, to all of you who support them and to Laura aka “Divetrash” who continues to be such a help to them all.

What’s in the news? I have to comment on the extraordinary sight of Dennis Rodman in North Korea to meet with Kim Chubby Chops – now that is world diplomacy in the making. Now, there may be a method in his madness but as I watched his visit on TV, I had to laugh out loud. The former Chicago player who has Office Depot’s entire stock stapled in his face then said he would organise a basketball game between North Korea and the USA. After many years of starvation, I would guess that most North Koreans are shorter even than their neighbors in the south. What sort of basketball game would that be against LeBron and his mates? You can bet that the tallest children in North Korea have been taken away from their families, placed on steroids and will be trained for months, ready for the big match.

And then we have the new iPhone, or Eyephone as I like to call it, only because I know it annoys the crap out of the Apple Disciples when I do. Yep, the world is waiting for the new Eyephone that will have fingerprint recognition and will be called the Eyephone ummmm………actually I haven’t got a clue what it will be called but I seem to be in the minority. I am a dinosaur, I have something that will probably end up in the same pile as the Laser disk, Betamax and Vanilla Ice …………..yep, I have a Blackberry.

Everyone else here on Carnival Legend and most of the beards at Carnival have Eyephones. Honestly, I think it’s just Gerry Cahill and I who still have a Blackberry. Even our chairman tweets using an Eyephone. Ask anyone with an Eyephone and they will tell you it is the biggest jump forward for mankind since the invention of fire. You can choose from a billion apps including ones that tell you how large your thingy is by actually measuring it. Have you ever been out for a meal with someone who has an Eyephone? Sure, they’re in constant contact with the office, tweeting, downloading apps and holding the phone under the table to see if it’s grown another inch during dessert, which is great for them, but they’re not in constant contact with you.

Every time you get to the interesting part of a story, the Eyephone disciple will have a new app to look at or a Facebook message to reply to and you can see they’re not listening any more.

Go out with someone who has an Eyephone and you’ll not get a single word out of them unless you have an Eyephone too and so you can sit in a huddle discussing the latest attributes of the eyphone77FFS.

Anyway, time for me to go and plan the final schedules for our cruise to Norway, Scotland, Ireland and Paris………it’s almost the perfect itinerary.  All have wonderful things to contribute in the world of food and beverage. Reindeer, haggis, Guinness and garlic.  All have wonderful things to contribute in the world of amazing beauty spots. The fjords, Loch Ness, Cooley Mountains and the Eiffel Tower. All have had great warriors, Vikings, Mel Gibson, Bono and Napoleon. And three of these countries will show the Carnival Legend guests amazing hospitality and will be as friendly as a Labrador puppy, while one country will show the Carnival Legend guests a welcome as warm and as friendly as a constipated baboon. I will leave you to decide which one.



votre ami


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.