April 29, 2014 -

John Heald

I am staying in a guest cabin this cruise here on the Carnival Miracle, so I want to start today’s blog with an observation, if I may. In the bathroom the stateroom stewards (or “stewarts” as they are sometimes called – FFS!) place three sizes of towels for us to use. There are the big ones used after a shower and there are the medium-sized ones that we use to dry our hands and faces after a wash or a shave and can also be used to wipe away that stubborn toothpaste mark from around the sink. And there are the two little squares of towel that can be used as a wash cloth which is what I want to talk about with you and ask, does anyone still use a wash cloth? Now in the UK, we call a wash cloth a “flannel,” don’t ask me why because in the same way as fanny means a lady garden in the UK but bottom in the U.S. I have no idea why we call these tiny bits of towel such different things.

But, regardless, people of my generation all had one – that square of cloth sat festering on the side of the bath or shower. In the UK these flannels basically gone. Thanks to sponges and those disposable wipes, etc., they are becoming a thing of the past, at least in the UK. My rule is never wash your face with something others might have used on their arse. I learned this from my wife Heidi who caught me scrubbing my dangly bits with the wash cloth she used nightly to clean her face and she was not pleased. Heidi’s reaction has since then made me think about this time and time again so I always travel with my own blue thingy to wash with – just to be on the safe side.

 Well, after a few months away, it is time to bring back the blog Q and A……………here we go;

John Allen asks:

John – after we complete the two cruises we have planned for the remainder of this year, I will have completed 24 cruises on Carnival consisting of 172 days at sea. At one point in time, the 25th cruise was a landmark so to speak. Is there any significance still given to 25 cruises?

John says: 

Hello John Allen.

It is always wonderful to hear from you and, of course, I want to start by thanking you so very much for your amazing loyalty. Our milestone recognition program denotes a guest’s 25th, 50th 75th and 100th revenue cruise with Carnival. Guests will then receive a special milestone Sail & Sign card on their corresponding milestone cruise. We want to distinguish guests on their milestone sailing with a unique card so that we can make his/her milestone experience extra special and memorable. After this milestone cruise, they will revert to the card that corresponds to their VIFP level. Guests will receive the full set of benefits according to their VIFP level.  

In addition to a special Sail & Sign card, the guest will be granted the opportunity to redeem a future on-board credit equivalent to 25%, 50% or 75%, corresponding to the milestone reached.  A letter will be sent to the guest advising them of this earned benefit that they could redeem for any sailing in the next 18 months.  This letter will include a redemption code and redemption instructions on what to do. I hope this helps clarify and answer your question and if there is anything else I can help with, please let me know. Best wishes.


Lance and Tanya Mayer ask:

Lance and Tanya Mayer

Will be in cabin 6319 on Carnival Victory 5/22. Special cruise for wifey and me because it is our 10th anniversary. Need some help with some stuff. Wifey and me are big folks so make sure no arms on the chairs for us and no BOOTH. Table with other Americans aged same as us – early 40s. Need an extension cord for our CPAP machines. Have been reading that there is a wait list for this so need to get one reserved for us both in cabin 6319. Need a total of 6 pillows for the bed. If you can send wifey some chocolate goodies and champagne too for our anniversary. This is cruise number eight and we will reach platinum by years end.

Lance and Tanya Mayer

John says: 

 Hello Lance and Tanya Mayer

Thank you for spending this special milestone with us and I am sure you will have a wonderful cruise. I am sure I can help with all your requests. I will speak to the maître d’ and although I know he cannot guarantee the age of the people you will be seated with, I know he will make sure you are not at a booth and have the chairs as you requested. All your other requests are fine and I will work with the ship to make sure you are comfortable. I wish you a brilliant time together. Best wishes.


Annie asks: 


When is the 2014 cruise director schedule going to be published on this site please?  Waiting to book when we know who the cruise director is on the Carnival Miracle to Alaska this summer. Thank you.

John says: 

Hello Annie

The schedule will be out soon actually. I had thought I would have to wait until July but later this week, or next at the latest, I will have the schedule. The answer to your question is that your CD will be a fat, ugly, boring and not very funny chap called John Heald and I know he will do his very best to make sure you have a great time. Best wishes and see you soon.


Melissa Rosson asks: 

Melissa Rosson

Hi John: We traveled last August on the Carnival Elation and were thinking about doing the same this upcoming August. The only concern that no one can answer for us is will the entertainment be the same? We enjoyed the shows and they were a highlight of our cruise, however, we would like a definitive answer if the shows will be different…same comedians? Thank you for an answer ASAP we are waiting to book our suite until we can get this answered.

John says: 

Hello Melissa Rosson

Outside of the comedian line-ups and the variety acts, the entertainment will remain basically the same since your cruise last August. However, in September during her dry dock the ship will get two new shows and Hasbro, The Game Show, as well. I do hope that helps and I do hope we see you very soon for more brilliant fun. Best wishes.


Gabriel asks: 


The bar service on my cruise was the worst. Never mind getting a drink while laying in your lounge chair, no one comes by to take your order. Also there is no table or anywhere to put it. This ship is aimed towards making lots of money; they even charged kids for popcorn and cotton candy. So many extra charges for things that should have been included in the all-inclusive price. Too many rooms and not enough of fun areas on the ship….BORING….I can’t say enough about Merick our waiter and Ary our stateroom attendant…They were the best… I made the best of this vacation, but disappointed with the ship. By the way, I’m 48 years old. My husband is 53.

John says: 

Hello Gabriel

I was about to start my reply when I read again these words “charged kids for popcorn and cotton candy.” Now, as far as I know, we don’t sell cotton candy on any ship and we certainly do not charge for popcorn which is free on Lido during movie nights. As I do not have your surname to look up your cruise history, I wonder if you could tell me what ship you were on so I can help you further. Best wishes.



Am I missing something here, everyone……………..cotton candy?

Paul Redmond asks: 

Paul Redmond

John sir, please can I ask who the comedians will be on our next cruise which is number 14 for us? We are on the Carnival Conquest May 25. Last cruise, I found the comedians to be the best ever with a lady called June stealing first place. Thanks, sir. You are a good and decent fellow.

Johns says: 

Hello Paul Redmond

Thank you for the very kind words and for your amazing loyalty. You are, I think, talking about comedian Just June who is indeed very funny. Here are your Punchliner comedians for your next cruise who I am sure will have you laughing out loud. They are: Tim Walkroe, Lowell Sanders, Derrick Eason and Mike Lukas. Have a brilliant time. Best wishes.


Brandy S. asks: 

Brandy S

Seems like my question is rather simple, but impossible to get an answer over the weekend. …I am a lesbian, been with my partner for almost 10 years!  I finally received the proposal I have

been dreaming of, time to set the date.  We are past and future Carnival cruisers……have another one planned for August!  So…….why not do a commitment/wedding ceremony on our favorite Fun Ship?  I am able to find information on weddings but nothing on gay ceremonies…..not even by calling the 800 #.  I’m simply instructed to contact the wedding planners.  I know, I know it’s the weekend.  So I am unable to speak with the wedding planner people, but a very simply “yes” or “no” is all that I need.  I do hope that in this day in age, Carnival is not exclusive to heterosexual couples.  I am aware that I cannot have a “legal ceremony” at sea but my question is do you do these types of ceremonies at all?  My extensive internet research this weekend tells me no, via the boards I’ve found… BUT the most recent posts on public cruise forums regarding this are from 2010…a lot has changed.  Carnival is my favorite cruise line and it is my hope that it is now inclusive of GLBT commitment ceremonies……otherwise, I suppose, I’ll have to sail Royal Caribbean, because they are happy to welcome my family aboard for our special day!  I really want to have my event on my favorite fun ship.  Besides, what’s a wedding without a carnival bon voyage deck party?!

John says: 

Hello Brandy S

I am very happy to read that you are finally able to get married and wish you both many wonderful years together. The simple fact is that we are ready and willing to help you and, providing it is legal in the state of whichever port you choose to get married in we will make it a very special day for you. I hope that gives you the simple answer that will enable you to proceed and, if I can help with anything else, please do let me know. Best wishes to you both.


Rickie Alexie asks: 

Ricky Alexie

Hi John, glad we were able to meet you on the Bloggers Cruise 7. Here is a question for you. We’re planning an Alaskan cruise within the next 24 months. The reviews on Carnival’s Alaskan cruises seems to be far lower than on other lines. Please give me some info on why this may be. I am devoted to Carnival and plan that Alaskan cruise on Carnival. I know you’ll be on an Alaskan cruise in the future. Maybe you can give us hope with some good news! 



John says: 

Hello Ricky Alexie

It was great to sail with you on BC7 and I hope you will think about joining us on BC8 on the Carnival Breeze on January 31 next year. I can’t answer for reviews I have not seen but I have read so many reviews on people’s experiences in Alaska with Carnival that I have absolutely no doubts that you will have a wonderful time there. I have been writing about Alaska and people have been posting their reviews about it because I am there now and will be the CD for the season. So I do hope you will join us for this incredible adventure and I will be here if you need anything. Best wishes.


Barbara P. asks: 

Barbara P.

Hi John, was wondering what happened to the European cruises?  It’s been awhile since I’ve been on here, so you might have answered it before.  I have done three past sailings with

Carnival to Europe and wanted to do it again, but couldn’t find them anywhere on this website…

Let us know…

John says: 

Hello Barbara P

Unfortunately, we will not be returning to Europe next year but we will see what the future holds as these cruises provide such a wonderful experience for our guests. I will keep you informed when and if I hear anything. I do hope we see you soon. Best wishes.


Tim O’Neill asks: 

Tim O’Neill

I have taken 11 Carnival cruises and paid for another 60 or so for my family – we are all platinum members and lifers. Just shuffling along in a relentless pursuit of Diamond Status. In the meanwhile, here is what I would like: I would like to be able to say “thank-you” to each crew member in his or her native language. We enjoy thanking our hosts every time they do something for us. If they had, say, color-coded badges that corresponded to phrases published in

the Capers, I could have a lot of fun learning to say “thank-you” all cruise long. I know that a big part of the crew’s advancement is based on learning English (learned that on the Behind the Fun tours) but let’s see if we can give this idea a try. Once per cruise, just insert a sheet in the Capers (Fun Times if you must) with a list of all the ways to say “thank-you” and then couple that with a way to match the phrases up to the corresponding crew members. Thank-you.

John says: 

Hello Tim O’Neill

I am sure you will make diamond status soon and, of course, I thank you so very much for your amazing loyalty. I think this is a great idea and let me see if I can get this going. In fact I may start a trial with this on the Carnival Miracle next cruise. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks so much for the great suggestion and for thinking of the crew. Best wishes and hope to see you soon.

Beverly Hoffman asks: 

Beverly Hoffman

Why doesn’t the Carnival Pride go to other ports from Baltimore? We have been on the Carnival Pride twice and went to the same ports each cruise. Now aren’t there other places to go to out of Baltimore? We like going from their cause it’s close to home. In five years we have gone on seven cruises but this year, sorry to say, we are taking the Royal Caribbean out of N.J.  Please try to change some of the ports. 

John says: 

Hello: Beverley Hoffman

We will be returning with the Carnival Pride next year to Baltimore after some time away and I do hope that we will see you there for some more great fun. Let’s see what ports the beards send her to and I will be here if you have any questions. Best wishes.


Peter Vestergaard asks: 

Peter Vestergaard

I need to know what ships have the American table new dinner menu because I want to make sure it’s on our next cruise, so need URGENT reply!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John says: 

Hello Peter Vestergaard

I am sorry that my reply was anything but urgent as I see this was posted three weeks ago. The American Table menu is currently being served on the Carnival Glory, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination. And in June we will serve it on Carnival Freedom as well. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.



And that’s all for today. Well, after a long time, I am back here on the blog and back on a ship as a crew member and ready for my time again as CD. I have not been a cruise director since October last year on the Carnival Legend’s transatlantic cruise. A lot has changed since then. I have lost 40 pounds and I have lost my Dad.


I can’t begin to describe how it felt to lose him. Those of you who have lost a parent will understand and those of you whose parents are alive will not and I hope it is many more years before you experience the loss of the people who brought you into the world and are responsible for the person you are today. I miss him; I miss his smile and his sensible shoes. I miss his brilliant craftsmanship and his sometimes annoying perfectionism. I miss his advice and I miss his very British way of always looking on the bright side of life and that stiff upper lip that got him and his family through tough times. Yep, I miss my Dad and I always will.

 I also missed this blog which has always been about my life at sea and really does not translate to me being at home. And with 52,000 fans on Facebook now, it has become harder to manager that page so we shall see how I do with that, the blog and oh, yes, running a cruise ship.

 But it is brilliant to be back and the crew here who have worked with me and the crew who recognise me from the various videos on the ship’s television have all been so welcoming, they are as always a blessing and a joy to work with. I will though never ever get used to the term “team members.” I understand that “team” is appropriate to what we do and what they are but its old dog, new tricks here and so the word “crew” often escapes my lips when it should be “team.” Regardless of what you call them, it is an honour to be one of them and I look forward to taking the microphone and trying to remember how to be a CD.

 But that is next cruise, this cruise I am in the background despite so many guests recognising me. Here, then, is a staple part of the blog which tells you who is sailing with us and where we are going.



Guests:                                    2,102

Platinum:                                147

Diamond:                                11

Children                                  101 under the age of 18.


USA                                        1,459

CANADA                               195

TAIWAN                                91

AUSTRALIA              89

UK                                          25

BOTSWANA              1


What a brilliant cruise and it is already obvious after just one day how important the naturalist is here. That means she knows about nature, not that she walks around the ship naked. I will be writing a lot more about Michelle in future days and as we left Vancouver just now it was fascinating listening to her talk about the lighthouse and the history of Vancouver.

 Tomorrow, as we are in the Inside Passage, I am sure she will have her eye open for wildlife and will be able to give the guests far better information on what they are seeing than I ever could. I mean, me saying “look, a huge sodding bird on the port side” or “on the starboard side we can see two sperm whales having rumpy pumpy” just isn’t going to cut so I am very glad she is here.

 Over the last few months, there have been a lot of changes with our shows on the ships and so I thought you might like to see an updated list of shows on each ship, so time for me to show you shows.

 Carnival Fantasy :      

The Brits                     Motor City

Carnival Ecstasy:        

The Brits                     Motor City     

Carnival Sensation: 

Far From Over            Curves

Carnival Fascination:

Divas                           Motor City

Carnival Imagination:

Epic Rock                   Divas  

Carnival Inspiration:  

Studio VIP                  Motor City

Carnival Elation:        

Win                             Just Rock

Carnival Paradise:      

8 More Seconds          Shout  

Carnival Triumph:      

Wonderful World       Big Easy         Magic Show                            Kiss Goodnight

 Carnival Victory:        

Livin in America        Vroom

Carnival Spirit:                       

Big Easy                     Jazz Hot          Singing with the Big Band                 Magic Show

 Carnival Pride:          

Wonderful World       Vroom             Jazzin 

 Carnival Legend:       

The Brits                     Motor City      Studio VIP      Epic Rock

 Carnival Conquest:     

The Brits                     Latin Nights    Divas               Studio VIP

 Carnival Glory:           

Latin Nights                Motor City      Divas               Epic Rock

 Carnival Miracle:      

Ticket to Ride             Generations    Singing with the Big Band                

 Carnival Valor:                       

Far From Over                        Nightclub Express      Magic Show   

 Carnival Liberty:        

Wonderful World       Just Rock        Singing with the Band                       

 Carnival Freedom:      

80s Pop to the Max     Getaway Island           88 Keys           Heart of Soul

 Carnival Splendor:     

The Beat                     Vroom             Fiesta Latina  

 Carnival Dream:        

Dancin in the Street    Get Ready       8 More Seconds

Carnival Magic:          

Destination Unknown            Groove Line    Win     Kiss Goodnight

 Carnival Breeze:         

The Brits                     Motor City      Divas               Latin Nights

 Carnival Sunshine:     

Latin Nights                Motor City      Studio VIP      Epic Rock


 One of our shows recently won a very prestigious award and thanks to those of you who voted for Epic Rock to win. Here is the link that will tell you all about it and many congratulations to all those involved both on and off stage. It really is an epic show and I hope you get to see it soon.


 As mentioned before, Carnival Elation will get new shows during her dry dock in September.

 So back here on the Carnival Miracle, I have a lot to do in scheduling shows, music, activities, events, talks and more, plus, I am told there are some periods of time when internet coverage is down due to the Alaskan fjords and whales humping, etc. My biggest decision is when to perform the shows. You see as I mentioned on Facebook today, the management here have moved the dinner times to 5:30 pm for early seating and 7:45 pm for late with Your Time Dining from 5:30 pm – 9 pm. This was done as so many want early seating and moving the late back 30 minutes seems to have helped. I am not a fan of early shows so am thinking of doing 8:15 pm and 10:15 pm performances……………..what do you think about that?

 Yep, it is going to be a hectic time for me but, regardless, it is my intention to bring you as many blogs as I can each week, plus answer your questions on Facebook, starting on May 6 and I will include as usual comments from happy guests and those few that are not. I hope you will join me. The ship looks great, she really does and it is interesting to see that they have the air conditioning set really high as to combat the colder temperatures outside.

 I have to be careful as well when I see something that I think needs changing because I don’t want to come in like a hurricane and try to change things that really don’t need changing. But I had to say something this morning. A guest was at the coffee shop and I was in line behind him. He asked the lovely Thai baristar…….barresteer……….barstardier……..coffee maker for something called a “dry cappuccino.” The young lady did not quite understand and said, “Sorry, please say again your order?”

 “Dry cappuccino,” he barked

 Now it was obvious that she did not know what a dry cappuccino was and she wasn’t the only bugger because neither did I. The guest was getting upset now.

 “Don’t you know what a dry cappuccino is – are you serious?” Yep, those were his exact words and, just as I was about to introduce myself and ask for instructions on how to make a sodding dry cappuccino, he turned on his heels, waved his hands in the air like he was praying to Jesus ………………and stormed off. And so, Lila, the coffee shop lady, and I stood there not knowing what a dry cappuccino was and wondering why this guest was so upset at her.

 Should she have known how to make one? Possibly, but the crew are not perfect and for me to suggest otherwise is ridiculous. But Lila, like so many of our crew, would have loved to have helped, to have learned what he wanted and then she would have made him this mysterious cup of coffee. But, instead, he left her feeling guilty. Dry, my arse.

 So it’s Monday night and my jet lag is getting the better of me and my bed is calling my name. I wanted though to get this blog sent into the office as I hear that tomorrow as we cruise through the Inside Passage that internet can be slow to non-existent. I am very much looking forward to seeing what so many have told me is simply stunning and Mr. Radu will be taking photos for me to post here and on Facebook.

 One of our most popular excursions, I am told, is The Deadliest Catch where guests can go on boats and as in the TV program catch crabs. It is apparently a brilliant experience but we do warn guests that they need to be good sailors as the conditions may get a little bumpy. If that’s something that worries you, don’t worry because depending on who you meet, you’ll have another opportunity to catch crabs somewhere down the line!

 Seriously, though, it is going to be a brilliant Alaskan season and I look forward to sharing it with you here on the blog.

 Goodnight and 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.