June 3, 2014 -

John Heald

My wife is amazing. She runs the house, takes care of my five-year-old daughter and my huge mailman-eating dog, Breeze. She does not have me in her life to help her with any of that because I am sitting here on the Carnival Miracle, in Seattle, wearing only my underpants, writing to you. Yep, she does a terrific job and some may ask how she manages without a man around the house and the answer is simply that, apart from providing a salary, love for my daughter, a walk for my dog and, if it’s November 14, three minutes of rumpy pumpy for Heidi.  There is no difference because when it comes to anything technical, DIY or repair and maintenance, I am a useless sod whose multitasking skills only involve being able to pee in the shower. This past week our heating boiler thingy stopped working and, although Heidi tried her best to fix it herself, she decided she needed help so she called my best friend, Alan, my best mate.

Friendship for me is best described when you see or say something funny and it is not truly funny until you have shared it with that person. By myself, it’s mildly amusing but with Alan, it is a laughing fit. I have known him for 20 years and he really is just a stand-up guy and has faced some pretty serious adversity in such a brilliantly positive way. It is often said by wife: “Why can’t you be more like Alan?” By that, she doesn’t mean I start listening to Cher………..nope, she means why can’t you be more like Alan around the house? You see, to Heidi, he might as well wear a cape and tights……..maybe down his favourite pub, The Cliff, he may just do ….but Heidi thinks he is super sodding man. Alan can apparently wallpaper the living room, put new tiles down in the bathroom, put up a shelf and defuse a nuclear bomb all before lunch. “Why can’t you be more like that?” moaned my wife as she told me on the phone how he had fixed the boiler and, as she said that, I imagined various different ways to murder him. To my wife, his wife and apparently legions of other women, Alan is “the man” whose tool bag is “always ready to help.”

Me…….I think he’s bloody weird. I mean……he is fanatical about the workings of everything. For fun, he will take a lawnmower engine to pieces and, for relaxation, he will take a walk down to Leigh Tip, a landfill where we live, just to see if anyone has thrown anything “useful” away. At night, he takes any new tool he has purchased to bed so he can, “look at it.” Yep he is a fanatic and anyone who does not have his abilities is looked upon as being a lesser mortal ….. someone who is not a real man……..someone who is used for reproduction only.

Alan draws outlines of all his tools on the wall so he can see immediately when one is missing. Meanwhile, I am confused by which way a battery goes in anything. Alan is organised and enjoys watching This Old House and reads Practical Woodworking and Leigh Tip Weekly. Meanwhile, I watch Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, read “Latvian Big Jugs” magazine and couldn’t give a crap about the inner workings of something that cuts bloody grass.

I drive him nuts because I don’t read instruction manuals and because my brain doesn’t compute how to get anything to work. I remember once how he watched me trying to hook a bit of bait to the end of a fishing line. Eventually he could take no more, snatched the tangled line from me and did the job for me. He also put himself through college at age 40 getting himself a degree in applied mathematics.

I spent years at school trying to understand math. My teacher’s name was Mr. Hansen. His classes were supposed to last an hour but because he was the most boring man in the world and spoke in monotones that turned his class into sloths and lasted three days. He did his best to teach me long division and multiplication but I never understood a word. I always hoped that I would and one day I would wake up to discover that I did……but I don’t ……. but it doesn’t matter because now if I need to divide one number by another I use the calculator on my computer.

It’s the same story if I go into Alan’s workshop. Heidi told me to go and watch him once so I could pick up some tips. Why? Why would I need to learn how to use a drill? If I need something drilled I will telephone for a driller man or whatever they are called.  And besides, Alan’s saws and drills look bloody dangerous, as well. So asking a big fat brainless lump like me to learn how to use a drill is like asking me a nun to tell you about lap dancing.

Yep, I am useless.  I can’t work a coffee machine. I don’t understand how to open the main curtain in the Carnival Miracle’s Phantom Theatre. Plumbing is witchcraft. The dishwasher is a vindictive bastard that wants to kill me. Yep, Alan is boring and methodical to the point where you want to use his drill on his dangly bits. But we need people like him who can weld and repair and fix and mend, in the same way as we need people like me who can….. er…….. ummmmm……… er ……. ummmmm……oh, bugger. Anyway, the main point of this piece of today’s blog is to salute Alan just a little bit for the help he provides although I am was a bit suspicious when Heidi told me that Alan always had the right tool for the job.

The main purpose was to say that there are times when I sit here and moan and complain about some of the slings and arrows that are flung at me on social media and as a cruise director. But rarely do I sit here and say thank you to my wife, Heidi, who manages to run our house, manage the finances and bills, raise my beautiful daughter and yet unlike me, never ever complains. Thanks Heidi, I would be bugger all without you.

Time for today’s Q and A……..let’s go:

Greg Hinkel asks:
My wife loves your blog and I enjoy hearing her laugh as she reads it. We want to cruise Alaska and were wondering how long you will be the CD for Alaska? Don’t know if we can make it this year due to her having surgery. Thanks.

John Says:
Hello Greg.

That is a great way to start the Q and A and I hope this reply finds your wife doing well and I wish her health and happy times ahead. I will be here for the season and it would be great to see you both here too. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


Kennedy Ehrick asks:
I read that you said that Carnival is looking at the loyalty program again. I want you to pass these suggestions to the suits.

–          Reserved seating at shows and definitely in comedy club

–          Free or discounted internet

–          Separate gangplank for returning back to the ship. The lines on our last cruise in Cozumel were intolerable having to stand in the sun with non-platinum passengers made no sense

–          Choice of VIP gift

–          Buy 1 get 1 free at the steak house or at least 50% off

–          Priority to be at Captains Table

I think I speak for all the hundreds of platinum VIP passengers that these would make your loyalty program at least comparable with other lines.

Kennedy Ehrick

VIP# **********

John Says:
Hello Kennedy Ehrick

Thank you, first of all, for your loyalty and long may that continue. The beards are looking at the loyalty program as we reach its two-year anniversary and, though I cannot say for absolute certain I am pretty sure we aren’t in a position to add the suggestions above. I should also mention that while I cannot tell you the exact amount of Platinum guests it is thousands, not hundreds as you mentioned. This is why some of your requests are operationally not possible. I can tell you that I will pass them to the beards, regardless, and I will let you know as soon as I can if and when any changes to the program are made. Thank you again for your loyalty and I hope we see you soon. Best wishes.


Johnathan K asks:
What an awesome time we are had on the Carnival Miracle with you, John. Everywhere we went we heard your name being spoken of and how funny and charming you were. It is great to see that you are the same on the blog and in real life LOL. Please, John, our cabin steward, Thavorn, was amazing. He knew that my wife had sleep apnea and each night we got back to the room he had gotten it out of the container and had it ready. One day, even one of the towel animals was wearing it. He was so kind and sincere that he made us feel like we were king and queen. We are going to book Miracle again for when she is in California as we are from Anaheim. Thank you, John, we loved every minute!

John Says:
Hello Jonathan K

Thank you for this uplifting review and I will make sure it is passed to Thavorn via his manager and he will be so proud, I am sure. Thank you again and I do hope we see you very soon. Best wishes.

Justin Ward asks:
Hi John: My name is Justin Ward. I’m just writing to tell you that I think you are absolutely hilarious. I love the blog & Facebook posts. It makes my day. So to compliment Carnival a bit we have been on 12 cruises in the past two years. This is a true testament of how awesome Carnival cruises are. We just got off our first casino premier cruise on the Carnival Sunshine. You all did an amazing job with Sunshine. We are already booked on another cruise on Sunshine for October. Have a couple questions for you… rapid fire as you would say… How did you become so funny? Two, Are we casino premier members for a period of time or was the offer just for one cruise? Carlos and Zenelly were awesome casino hosts by the way. Third, I have a soy allergy and every time we go on a cruise we have to make special arrangements with the maître d’ when we get on the ship. Is there a way we can do it in advance or at least one time for all days on the ship?  Thank you for everything that you and all of the Carnival crew do to make our vacations extra special. I also have to give a special shout out to my personal vacation planner, Torry Lunn. He is awesome, amazing and spectacular. John, please make sure to let the beards know about him.  Cheers.

Justin Ward

John Says
Hello Justin Ward

Thank you for those very humbling words and knowing that my silliness makes people laugh feels wonderful. I am so glad to see that you had fun on the Carnival Sunshine and so much so that you will be back again soon. I get my sense of humour from my Mum and she, like me, always looks for the fun in life.  I am very lucky that I had (have) such great parents. Please contact me four days before the cruise on my Facebook page and let me know about your dining request and I will, for sure, do my very best to help you. As far as I know you are premier casino members for life and just to make sure I have asked someone from Ocean Players club to contact you. If there is anything else I can do, please do ask and I will be here to help. Have a brilliant time. Best wishes.


Leonard Tomes asks:
We have heard horror stories about kids running riot on your ships so, as we detest children and certainly do not want to spend our vacation time with them, why does Carnival not have a ship for adults only as there are going to be millions like us who want this!

John Says:
Hello Leonard Tomes

Thank you for writing and, using the words “running riot,” really is not true. There are times during school holidays when we do have lots of families sailing because we are proudly a family cruise line. During these times, there will be incidents when children behave like …… well …… children. There are no plans to have an adults-only ship given our position as the world’s number one cruise line for families. Perhaps you can sail with us during school time as I think you would find that a wonderful experience. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.


Nick Buchko asks:
Hi John. Keep up the great work. Just wanted to let you know that we sailed with Josh (Big Sexy) on the Carnival Pride on May 11 and he did an incredible job as the cruise director. We first sailed with Josh on the Carnival Miracle out of NY in 2007 when he was an assistant CD. We knew back then that he would make a great CD. One night as we were sitting outside the casino after midnight, Josh happened to walk by, saw us sitting there having a drink and, on his own, stopped and spent quite some time talking to us about his career, our prior sailing with him, etc. It was great that he took to time to talk to us when I’m sure that at this time of the day he was
exhausted. He was a real pleasure to talk to. In our 19 cruises, that was the first time that we had this experience with any CD. The following day, his Q&A session was also great.  We just wanted to acknowledge what a great job he did and let you know what a tribute he is to the Carnival organization. We were also privileged to have Calvin on board as Assistant CD for
that cruise. We sailed with you and Calvyn during the bloggers cruise in January 2013. It was great to get pics with both of you and we had a marvelous time. Just wanted to let you know. Finally. We just wanted to extend a thanks to all the personnel on the Pride. It was our first cruise on the Pride and it was a great sailing. She is staffed with some great personnel.
Nick and Nancy Buchko

John Says:
Hello Nick and Nancy Butchko

What a wonderful post and I will make sure that Josh gets to see this. He is indeed an asset and I am sure he will be rejuvenated to read this. As for Calvyn, well he is simply incomparable. Thanks again for writing and I hope we see you both again very soon. Best wishes.


Robert Warris asks:
Heald – get rid of the chocolates you put on the pillow. Have you ACTUALLY tried one, Heald? Go try one now and tell me that it doesn’t taste of paste and cardboard.

John Says:
Hello Robert Warris

Being diabetic, chocolate of any kind is one avenue of pleasure that has been closed for me. I am sure the chocolates are good, although I have read a few comments that some prefer the past recipe we had. I will pass this on to the right people. Best wishes.


Harold Larkin asks:
Hello John,
At this moment my wife and I are enjoying the Carnival Pride. I’m lying on the couch reading your blog and my bride is on the balcony taking a nap. Everyone (we have met) on the ship has gone out of their way to make this trip great. It’s amazing that Clea at the Serenity pool knew just
about everyone’s name before we left port. We are curious as to why there are no late musical reviews in the main room? After the late dinner seating, we used to go check out a show. Going to a show “then” heading off to dinner is a bit counterintuitive. Just curious and please put on a pair of trousers.

Harold & Angela

John Says:
Hello Harold and Angela

I am so glad that you had fun and, by now, you are home enjoying looking back at those wonderful memories. I will make sure that the CD, Josh, sees this as it will be interesting for him to see for sure. There is a current trend for cruise directors to schedule earlier shows so that people see the show before dinner. I am not a fan of this, personally. Call me old fashioned but I have always thought it should be dinner followed by the show. Let me pass this along anyway and, most importantly, I hope you had a wonderful cruise. Best wishes to you both.


Ron J from NJ asks:
John: Taking our third cruise with Carnival, this time on Carnival Glory (July 12). I’ve read your blog sporadically over the years, but, as a writer, I’m now totally enthralled by your wit, humor and the ease in which you seem to let things roll off your shoulders. People need to stop sweating the small stuff – maybe the woman was mad that you weren’t gawking at her attractiveness, or lack thereof, and that’s what she took offense of. And the “platinum” cruiser with the cowboy/baseball hat issues, should maybe take one of those boutique river cruises to cater to her sense of prim and proper. Keep up the good work!
Ron from N.J.

PS: Do you know who the cruise director is on Carnival Glory July 12 and anything we should know about him (hopefully humorous) so we can be prepared to mention it when we meet?

John Says:
Hello Ron J from NJ

Thank you for those words of praise. You are very kind and it is always gratifying to know that people enjoy what I write. I see you will be on the Carnival Glory in July and your cruise director will be Eversen who is one of our most very talented people. I have no doubts you will enjoy him so very much. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know and I wish you the best of times. Best wishes.


Jeannie Leinweber asks:
I am a Cruise Critic charter member. There are some Cruise Critic members who seem to have been stiffed by getting zero points for Cruise Critic group cruises. We have one coming on Carnival Elation and need to know that Carnival will not stiff us and give us what we deserve. People are saying that Carnival does this on purpose which, if true, I will be making a big fuss about. Trust me on that one on the boards!!!!!

John Says:
Hello Jeannie Leinweber

Please forgive me if I say I really do not understand what you are referring to. If you book and pay for a cruise, it counts toward your VIFP points and being a member of Cruise Critic does not change that fact. But what I would like you or anyone else who has a specific example where this has happened to please send it to so that my colleagues can take a look. I am sorry I can’t help further but my colleagues most certainly can. Have a great time on the Carnival Elation. Best wishes.


James McLachlan asks:
I am going to be on the Miracle June 16 to Alaska. I have had several abdominal surgeries that have left my waist line very tender. This causes me to have to wear size larger pants than usual,
can’t wear a belt, and have to use suspenders. I am concerned if I will have problems with dining, especially on elegant night. Would prefer to make arrangements ahead of time to avoid embarrassment when I go to dine. Is there going to be an issue? And if so, who should I
contact to let them know of the issue?

John Says:
Hello James McLachlan

I hope this finds you feeling well and please don’t worry. Wear what is comfortable and can I ask that on June 14 you contact me on my page and ask for a table for two and I will work with the maître d to make it so. Have a wonderful time and please let me know if I can help further. Best wishes.


Tonia Del Rosario asks:
My son is allergic to eggs, wheat, nuts, tree nuts, sesame, lentils, chickpeas, green peas and broccoli. If he comes into contact with these foods he gets a red, itchy rash. If he eats any of these, then his tongue and throat swell, breathing becomes difficult, blood pressure plummets and unconsciousness and worse will happen. I read that Carnival discourages anyone with these kinds of allergies not to cruise and that Carnival will not offer any assistance. This is disgusting — why you would not do something to offer help! I guess idiots like you do not care then I will take my business elsewhere.

John Says:
Hello Tonia Del Rosrio

I am so very glad that you decided to write to me because I now have the opportunity to tell you that what you read or whoever told you this was the case, was completely and totally incorrect. I do understand how frustrated you are because you only want what’s best for your son and, as a father, I do sympathise. So please do not worry because we are very used to allergies like this and making sure that people, like your son, have a wonderful, safe and carefree cruise. When you are ready to sail, please contact our special needs desk in Miami or indeed contact me here or on my page. I will then make sure the ship is informed and that a staff member speaks to you on board and he or she will take care to insure your son enjoys healthy food. So come sail with us and I hope you will let me help you along the way. I promise you will all have a brilliant time. Best wishes.


Denron Gibbs asks:
On the Carnival Breeze in August for big family reunion. Need to know where I can light up my cigar!

John Says:
Hello Denron Gibbs

There is a wonderful area on Deck 5 called the Lanai. It is probably the best smoking area on the ship and the port side has tables and chairs and undercover area just for that. Enjoy the reunion, your cigar and the cruise. Best wishes.


Aron Vannoy asks:
John:  For your attention, please. I had the pleasure of cruising on the Carnival Liberty and on a separate note to you, I will send glowing messages of affection and admiration for the people who made our special family reunion cruise so wonderful. But and, yes, John, there is a “but” which has to do with my electronic cigarette. John, I tried to use it in various areas of the ship. including the karaoke lounge and sitting at my favourite spot at Alchemy Bar and, each time, I was either ridiculed rudely by passengers or asked to put it away less rudely by Carnival employees. John, I know that this is probably a subject that like a minefield you want to stay away from but I hope you will hear me out.  E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco.  There are no gory health warnings on the pack with pictures of rotting, cancerous gums or lungs. I started to use one four months ago and have completely kicked smoking. I use it the same way I used to use gum when I tried to give up but this is more fulfilling because it fills the mental gap left. I have found that I use it less and less frequently. At the end of the day, if it reduces my chances of getting cancer then it is still a triumph! Yet it appears that Carnival does not want me to give up smoking because the only place I can use it on the Carnival Liberty is where John, yes sir, the smoking lounge. I am sure John that your non-smoker readers will not understand what a battle it is to give up and trot out patronizing comments like “it’s only a matter of willpower.” Giving up was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done even though my heart consultant told me that the next one might be the one that killed me (on leaving the hospital I automatically lit up to get over the shock, smoked half of the cigarette, realised what I was doing and threw the rest away).  I wish that e-cigarettes had been available at the time so that I could have given up without the bad temper that upset my family. I had wanted to pack in for quite some time and would possibly have packed in earlier if I could have weaned myself off on e-cigs. There are hundreds more like me who cruise on your vessels every day, John, and so I would ask that you educate your “beards” and allow at least one area on the ship where we can use these wonderful and possibly lifesaving alternatives, somewhere that is not full of smoke. You wrote in a blog recently that putting your AA meetings in a bar was “a silly thing to do,” then is not putting me, a 65 year old man trying to give up smoking in a smoking lounge the same thing? Thanks for your time, John.

John Says:
Aron Vannoy

I am sure many of you will have different ideas and opinions about this and, certainly having seen 3,000 comments on my Facebook page about this I can see opinion is divided. I think Aron brings up an excellent point as I know people do use these to stop smoking and I will be interesting to see what the beards decide to do in future days regarding electronic cigarettes.

I guess I have to ask myself, would I allow someone to use it in my house. I think the answer is yes, certainly based on my limited understanding of them. Obviously they in turn would have to let me enjoy a cigar at their place. Lighting up a cigar at someone’s house is a bit like whipping your gentleman’s sausage out and asking someone to measure it with their eyephone app

I have no will power, I can’t give up. The idea of walking past a cigar shop with nothing but my head to stop me going inside and buying a Montecristo Edmundo is as ridiculous as asking Pine Bluff to become a Carnival PVP. And I wonder, in a more serious vain, if asking people who are trying to stop smoking to use electronic cigarettes only in a smoking lounge, is just as ridiculous?  I’m looking to you, the jury, for your valuable input, as always.

And that’s all for today. And so we start another fabulous Alaskan cruise, so let’s do the usual and see who is sailing with us.

TOTAL GUESTS                               2,282
USA                                                    2,150
CANADA                                          20
FRENCH CANADA                         5
UK                                                      22
AUSTRALIA                                     13
CHINA                                               6
WYOMING                                       2
UNDER 18                                         224
PLATINUM MEMBERS                  120
DIAMOND GUESTS                                    3

And all of us are looking forward to another cruise to amazing Alaska.

Oh FFS – here I go again talking about……………smoking.

Your friend,

Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous, unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.


  1. Mary Snyder says:

    Hi John! Love the blog and love Carnivsl. Most if my carnival cruises are charters as I work with a charter cruise company. I’ love my carnival people and love chartering these ships. I just stepped on board the Miracle and I’m here on vacation ! With all the cruises under my belt, I missed being grandfathered into Platinum by one day!! Oh well, such is life! Hope to meet you onboatd!!

  2. Nadine says:

    Wyoming -2


  3. Lisa Dekle says:

    Hi John!
    Good job saluting Heidi! My hat’s off to her for going it alone with a 3 year old.

    Sitting here wishing my husband and I were sailing with you in Alaska, it is on our bucket list! Just noticed that you listed the nationalities of the cruisers and you have 2,150 from the US and 2 from Wyoming. Too funny!

    Bon Voyage!

  4. Nick Palermo says:

    Why is it that people who belong to some silly website think that they should get special treatment, demand it even. It’s the most ridiculous thing ever, 30 some people out of over 3000 and Carnival is supposed to drop everything and cater to you only, get over yourselves, and then to stoop to blackmail FFS.
    And to the lady whose son has allergies, if my child were that allergic to that many things I would never go on a cruise, there are too many uncontrolled variables to worry about and you are hours away from real medical staff. You cannot control what others do, what if someone drops a peanut from the salad bar in the soup. Carnival cannot control every move of every person on board.

  5. Ralph says:

    Jeannie Leinweber,
    Take off the tinfoil hat..and take a deep breath. Stop believing everything you read on Cruise will rot your brain!!

  6. Charles White says:

    Dinner and then a show. Don’t schedule the shows too early!

  7. Charles White says:

    I am glad he is quitting smoking. I did it. I did it without an e-cig. Nicotine? Just stop. It actually is ‘a matter of willpower!’
    A balcony or a smoking area is where he should go. Not where the majority of us are…

    • Jim Wirth says:

      Hi John
      Just wanted to drop you a note in regards to e-cigs or vapors. I have smoked for years and I also have gone to them for health reasons. The Juices that are vaped do not cause others to have health issues and are not a tobacco item. The juices that I vape are made here in the U.S and are safe to use. It has become a issue for us smokers and we feel as if we have become second class citizens because of it. I pay taxes just like non-smokers and pay the same price for everything just like they due so why is it they act superior to us? While on a ship I don’t understand why there are designated areas to smoke and then we have non-smokers taking up the area. The ship is moving and the air is blowing the smoke away do what is the issue with smoking outside. Does smoke seek out non-smokers and force its way into their air ways?

  8. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    I am probably more sensitive about smoking than most people having lost my oldest sister in her mid 50s to cigarettes and watched two other sisters battle cancer from smoking as well.

    In addition, I am “irritant reactive” which is a fancy term for that fact that prolonged exposure (1 hour or more of active smoke ) will result in ulcers in my throat and bronchial tubes.

    So yes…I am over sensitive….

    And even I would allow an Electronic Cigarette in my home.

    They do not contain the irritants that cause my issues and do not contain the 3,000 toxins of regular cigarettes including the carcinogens.

    I do understand that in the beginning Carnival limited ECigs to smoking areas only to prevent the massive amount of man power it would have taken to police which were ECigs and which were regular cigarettes when a staff member saw smoke.

    And folks who use ECigs also need to understand that sadly if a smoker sees an ECig puff of smoke…they will assume it is ok to smoke a regular cigarette. Until this can be managed efficiently, the folks using ECigs are the ones penalized. ( just like polite smokers are penalized by the rude smokers who do not follow the rules…which means MORE rules)

    I think if ECig folks are discreet …. they will have an easier time smoking in most places.

    I would totally vote to allow ECigs everywhere….except the Main Theater since all those twinkling lights could be distracting.

    Linda ( Mom of your friend – who is excited about the move but also stressed about the move- DJ)

  9. Nancy Boatright says:

    John-I just wanted to let you know we will sailing with you next Tuesday (June 9) This is our second trip to Alaska with Carnival and our 5th Carnival cruise. I am excited that we will hopefully get to meet you! I have enjoyed reading your blog and I can’t imagine how you can keep from throwing some of the rude guests overboard? Why can’t people lighten up a bit? Anyway, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog-I feel like I already know you!

  10. Brenda Glenn says:

    John, after 31 years of smoking cigarettes, I was FINALLY able to quit with the use of e-cigarettes in February of 2013!!!! The ONLY time I have caved and smoked again was during my last cruise in September, when I had to go to the smoking area to use my e-cigarette. I do hope Carnival will review their rules on this subject. Thank you John, for all you do!!!

  11. John, you will never convince those radical non-smokers that E-cigs are not the same as real smokes. Even when you show them proof they will come up with a different reason. Their usual last thing they come up with is kids seeing you puff on a E-cig is going to make kids start smoking. With that reasoning then you better ban drinking so the kids don’t become future drunk drivers.

  12. John Mattingly says:


    I always cringe when I see people say mean things to you and ask for everything under the sun on their cruises. Then I smile when you respond cheerfully and do your best to make things right.

    So just let me say this, you idiot of a sexist woman-ogling, cowboy hat wearing limey from Pine Bluff, who probably passes massive gas every time you are in the dining room and reeks of cigar smoke wherever you go while sweating heavily due to your girth:

    I will send by separate message my many requests for copious gifts, free steakhouse meals, prizes and treats in my cabin each evening, special meeting places for my group of 3 with accompanying Champagne and strawberries, a special dining room seating area where only the most refined people wearing the finest clothes are allowed, a guarantee that no off-duty crew member will ever come within my sight, and a scheduled daily meeting with you to air my many new complaints which surely will arise, and during which I shall request compensation for the many slights I expect to encounter. I insist that you will accomplish these demands for me.

    Seriously, John, you are a prince among men, and I truly admire the way you handle your job with dedication and humor. I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you one day. Cheers!

    • Jeanie says:

      Me, too! And, what’s more, I want you make sure I never encounter any children, old people, fat people, ugly people, smokers, inebriated people, farters, oglers, cowboy hats, baseball caps, people in thongs, people with hairy chests, or people who disagree with me in any way. Since I am a Platinum member, I also want to be brought to the front of every line, and never have to wait for anything, ever. I want only music I like to be played everywhere, and I want to win all the trivia contests. If all of my demands aren’t met, it will completely ruin my vacation. After all, I am paying for my cruise unlike the other passengers, right? 😉

      Keep up the good work, John.

    • Carroll Cox says:

      Love your post, so true LOL

  13. Pat Davidson says:

    I read your blog and as usual love it – I do want to comment – even though you say you can’t even work a coffee machine, you have one thing that not many people have – the gift of laughter – you make people laugh, and feel good about themselves, and actually forget all the problems in the world when attending one of your shows. Please keep up the good work, and thank you.

  14. Cathy says:

    Geez, Tonia! Way to shoot first and ask questions later. Maybe you should find out the facts and get an answer to your question BEFORE calling people names!

  15. Rick Drake says:

    I agree with the Carnival policy treating E-Cigs and cigarettes the same. People using E-Cigs exhale water vapor from their mouths. Growing up, we called that spit.

  16. Stormy Bailey says:

    Hi John, to comment from Aron’s about smoking e-cigs, although I never thought about from his point of view I think his point is certainly valid. I have never been a smoker but unfortunately my husband has been since he was a very young teenager. As a young person he also got into other shall we say “bad habits”. I think a testament to his willpower is that he was able to quite all of his bad habits simply by making the decision that he wanted to stop with one exception… cigarettes. He has tried to quite 9 times since we married 20 years ago but the longest he has lasted was 9 months. He has tried various ways of quitting but none have stuck. I believe it is truly the most addictive habit a person can have. Although I am not convinced that e-cigs are the great invention everyone wants to believe they are, I do think they are at least a better alternative for someone trying to quit smoking. So it does seem that making someone use the e-cigs in the smokers area could sabotage their efforts. Maybe Carnival can find a separate area on the ship that people can use e-cigs only. I hope the beards do take this into consideration, meanwhile I will continue to gently ‘nag’ my wonderful husband to work on giving up smoking once and for all 🙂
    Thanks for all you do

  17. Linda Barker says:

    I’ve had this conversation with you several times in the past about the use of electronic cigarettes on the ships. As a former 2+ pack a day smoker who hasn’t had so much as a drag off one in the past 5 years thanks to e-cigarettes, I’m dumbfounded by Carnival’s stance on them. Why would a non smoker want to put themselves in a smoking area to use their “non-smoke-creating” e-cig?

    Although I’m diamond on Carnival (with about 250 days), I’m finding NCL much more tolerant of e-cigs. Unfortunately they’ll be getting most, if not all, of our business until Carnival begins doing what another one of CCL’s lines does….Princess allows them in all but eating areas and Carnival really should also.

    I’ll miss Carnival as we’d been cruising on Carnival at least 5 or 6 times a year and drag friends along with us. But for the sake of my lungs I won’t be forced back into smoking areas…..

  18. debbie reid says:

    booked on the miracle out of alaska sept 10, and trying to decided to stay another day in vancouver the day we finish the cruise. we can get a flight 1145am out of vancouver to orlando. 20 minute drive to airport? that looks like a tight squeeze to get off the ship, taxi to the airport in time vancouver airport? the airport checkin suggests 3 hour before fight checkin, that would be 845. if we take a later one, we get back to orl after midnight. that’s why i’m thinking we should stay overnight, so we can get an early flight in the morning, or can we get to airport in time for 1145am flight?

    • Rick Williamson says:

      debbie, they ALWAYS let people with early flights get off the ship frist.

  19. tess says:

    “having to stand in the sun with non-platinum passengers made no sense”

    Again with the entitlement attitude. What is UP with that? That’s 11 or more cruises depending on length of cruise. So what?

  20. I totally agree with you John Without my wife MaryLou, I wouldn’t know what to do. Since my stroke, physically I can do some things like cooking & baking and help around the house but outside like cutting the lawn, do anything that needs a ladder and trimming I’m unable to do it. Read an instruction memo, I’m lost. Yes, thank God He sent my angel ( wife ) to me. This July 13th, 2014 it will be 40 years since we became husband & wife. Thank you Mary Lou for saying yes to me when I asked you to be my wife. I got an angel, you just got me. Thanks John for allowing me to write this comment. Say hi to Heidi and a big thanks to her. It’s wives like Heidi & MaryLou, that make us look good. Thanks ladies.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

    • Fern says:

      Paul, I’ve been “following” you for a long time 🙂 (NOT stalking, just enjoying your post’s)! I’m sorry that you’ve had some medical issue’s, but I’m SO happy that your sweet Mary Lou is there for you :)!

      I wish you both many more cruises,


  21. tess says:

    wyoming? lmao

  22. tess says:

    I’m not sure what the solution is to the ecig issue, but a very valid point. I’m a smoker who is seriously considering switching to ecig, and I would hate to be stuck having to use it near real cigarettes. On a cruise, if that happened, odds are I’d end up just buying a pack.

  23. Fern says:

    Hi John, I was married to a guy like your friend Alan for four year’s (a long, long time ago). He could take an engine apart and put it back together in an hour.

    My DH, whom I’ve been married to for almost 40 year’s can replace a light bulb, pot a plant, or make me a drink :)! He love’s cruising and let’s me plan everything (he does the airline reservation’s!).

    I think I’ll stick with him, just like Heidi will stick with you :)!

    You don’t have to be “handy”. There’s always a “handy person” to take care of things.

    Wish you were going on the Legend with us at the end of August.


  24. Julie Wagner says:

    My husband has breathing problems. I used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. Thank God for my ecigarette! I now smoke 2 cigarettes a day. I use my vape in the house and in bed while watching TV. It does not bother my husband because it is just a vapor. So many smokers are getting healthy now, although it is hurting the tobacco industry. Instead of dissing us…celebrate with us for our achievements! I for one am proud of myself.

  25. Mary Dagostino says:

    Heidi is the best!!! And, it’s good to hear that you got your sense of humor from your Mum…hoping that sense of humor helps her a lot now as she is alone.

    Smoking Ecigs…if that’s how you say it….they don’t bother me any.


  26. Nancy McQuarrie says:

    E-cigs – Recent research has shown that these have 200+ chemicals in the vapor, most of which are carcinogens. The vapor also contains nicotine. Please, do not expose Carnival guests to this vapor. It has bad health effects on users and second hand exposure victims. I understand the point these folks shouldn’t be with smokers (although they are putting many of the same chemicals as cigarettes into their bodies). Perhaps a small area aboard could be designated for vapor only on same side of the ship as smoking areas?

    • Debra Suhadolc says:

      Nancy I agree with you. I’ve never smoked but was exposed to it growing up with my Dad’s habit of 2-3 packs daily. As an RN I was compelled to do the research on Electronic Cigarettes as many smokers are now using them. The aerosol or what most people call water vapor is full of carcinogens, some of the same ones found in tobacco. The only safe thing for smokers to do is quit period. Don’t trade one unhealthy habit for another. I realize this is a very difficult thing to do. My Dad told me quitting tobacco was harder for him than quitting alcohol. It’s been 3 years since my Dad’s death due to lung cancer, too many years of smoking too many cigarettes. Please, Carnival don’t expose your non smokers to these carcinogens I had enough of it growing up when I couldn’t make a choice what conditions I lived under. Now I have that choice. I would not go on another Carnival Cruise if people were allowed to use these cancer causing products where they want on the ship. Giving them their own special area away from regular tobacco smokers is a great compromise. I did use the Carnival Paradise when it was smoke free then that option was taken away. My cruise on the Freedom we had the wrap around balcony AFT, while leaving Fort Lauderdale the lady in the cabin a deck higher threw her cigarette and it landed on my arm still warm I yelled to her no throwing cigarettes overboard, which she did apologized. We are nonsmokers yet there were butts on our deck most days. I sure would hate to see a fire at sea. So as you can see smokers can harm us in other ways not just second hand smoke or aerosol vapors.

      • Jim Wirth says:

        I hope you don’t eat meat or French fries because they contain carcinogens also and I hope as a RN you don’t use any cleaning chemicals at home because they have what you claim to be harmful to non-smokers also because carcinogens are in almost everything.

        • Debra Suhadolc says:

          In regards to your response on my comments. I eat a little bit of red meat from a local farmer who has a few cows which are all hormone free. Mostly I eat wild caught fresh/frozen fish and seafood. As far as French fries goes that is a only a few times a year cooked in canola oil from my potatoes. I have a large organic vegetable garden in my yard and all my fruit bearing trees and bushes are also organic. I tend to use cleaning products at home that are all natural you can do a lot with vinegar. If I have to use something with fumes or store bought a good respirator is always handy and I always wear gloves when cleaning.

          As far as the claims you made against Nancy I too also agree with you and wish everyone would investigate things before they speak. I can’t speak for her but I can say with confidence you need to do the proper research not pick and choose what you want to read. Read everything not just the pro electronic cigarette stuff put out by the people who are selling an unhealthy product. Years ago the cigarette companies led people to feel there was no harm smoking their product or for non smokers around them this is just a smoke screen or should I say water vapor screen extension of that. Smokers often tend to talk about all the other carcinogens around us to lessen the blow what they are causing to themselves and those around them breathing their aerosol vapors or smoke. Nonsmokers are well aware there are other carcinogens in our life, smokers are on a mission to keep reminding us of this to keep their sympathy plea going.

    • Jim Wirth says:

      Hi John
      This is in response to Nancy’s response about carcinogens she claims are in the vapor juices. She talks about a medical test showing that it is in the juices. Sorry to let her know but she is mislead in her statement. I just wish everyone would investigate things before they speak. You are more likely to get it at work, food, and other chemicals you use in your home. It states smokeless tobacco which is chew not the juices.

  27. Norm Cole says:

    I have been using e cigs for a good while now and have not returned to tobacco in any of its forms. To classify vaping as the same as smoking seems incorrect. Nothing is burning. There is no tobacco. No smell. And, for all intents and purposes water vapor is what the user is exhaling. I have successfully used my ecigs in a number of hotels, etc. that have posted no smoking signs in their rooms and have never had a single complaint from housekeeping or management. Vaping really is causing a shift in the smoking world and, instead of treating ecigs the same was as tobacco products seems misguided. Princess and Regent currently allow vapers mostly free reign of their ships and I think that is a great move. Carnival would be well advised to have a second look at this. I detest when traveling that I have to go to smoking lounges in airports currently and be subjected to the very thing I left when I switched to ecigs. I support the posters wish for more freedom on Carnival ships and think it would be great move for Carnival to adopt a more sensible policy. Thanks.

  28. Charles says:

    John, what ever happend with the cowboy hat hating lady? I may have missed your comments post her insane intrusion into his dining experience.

  29. Martha Fields says:

    John, I am most annoyed by people asking you for gifts and favors. Also, addressing you as “Heald”. I’m not sure why they can’t use John, Mr. Heald, Cruise Director John Heald or something less abraisive (not spelled correctly!). You have a heart of gold and it is wonderful you spend months away from your beautiful wife, precious daughter and handsome Breeze to allow guests to enjoy a vacation with your TLC and humor. Thank you.

  30. Richard Taylor says:

    There is current research in the EU on the health issues of e-cigarettes. As nicotine is a primary constituent it is going to get exhaled. There are other ingredients and no-one knows yet if these are harmful or not.
    But by far the biggest reason for NOT allowing them in non smoking areas is because of the effect on children. A child does not know the difference between a normal and an e cigarette. And, apart from the health issue to others of the cancer stick, banning smoking and adverts for it is to protect children.

  31. Ron I. says:

    Why are French Canadians singled out for special treatment when listing the passengers on the next cruise. There are many many countries that has more than 1 official languages:

    1. Britain – English and Welsh
    2. Switzerland – 4 languages
    3. Belgium – Dutch, French & German
    4. What about Spanish speaking Americans

    Ron I.
    PS. Or is it because you supply each passenger with their national flag – so in the case of French Canadians it would be a white maple leaf on a white back ground!

  32. Jason says:

    sometimes, when i read what some of the platinum members say, it makes me want to puke. where does this over-inflated sense of entitlement come from? so, you’ve taken more cruises than i have? big deal? that means you’re too good to stand in line with me? get over yourself… oy…

  33. Mike Kane says:

    Leonard Tomes: “Detest” children? I can understand disliking children, not wanting to be around them, being annoyed by them and so on, but “detest” is a pretty strong word. I’m trying to imagine why anyone who truly feels that way would choose to cruise on a line known to cater to families with children. I think you need to find another cruise line where you won’t have children around to “detest”.

    • Jeanie says:

      I thought “detest” was a bit over-the-top, too. I never had children and don’t exactly enjoy a lot of their antics, and especially their high-pitched voices, but I think anyone who “detests” children is some sort of sociopath. Also, their parents pay for them to travel, too.I don’t understand why so many people think their purchase of a vacation entitles them to be guaranteed they will enjoy every person, place, thing, experience, etc., that they encounter, as if the universe revolves around them.

      • Rick Williamson says:

        Jeanie, It’s not that way at all (every person wanting a perfect world). On a few cruises My wife and I have heard kids running up and down the hall outside our room and slam their door going in and out. And we were trying to sleep. And I’m not talking at 730pm, but at midnight or after. And before you ask my kids were not allowed to do this they were with us or at Carnival camp.

  34. Heather Marshall says:

    Hi John,
    First let me say that it takes two special people to be in a relationship such as yours. As hard as it must be on Heidi to run the household alone, it must be just as hard or maybe more so for you to be away from your family for such long amounts of time. It is great that she has the support of family and friends and I am sure that it makes being away a bit easier for you. But, on the flip side, you are away from your family and friends and although you meet lots of people every week, it is not the same. I would like to thank you both for the sacrifices that both of you make to allow all of us “strangers” to have amazing vacations. So, a big THANK YOU, for that.

    Secondly, I want to say how happy I was to find out that you are on the Alaskan sailing. We have been fans for a long time and have always said that one day we need to make sure we experience a cruise with you as the CD. We originally booked our Alaskan cruise for last summer (as a graduation celebration for both of our kids – one grade 8 and the other grade 12) but 8 hours before we were to board our plane to head out to Seattle, my husband had a heart attack and ended up in CCU for the week. After surgery and months of rehab, he was cleared to travel again and we re-booked our Alaskan cruise for July 29th this year. We believe everything happens for a reason and maybe having to defer our trip to this year and getting to have you as our CD is one of those things. It has made the countdown to this trip that much more exciting.
    We look forward to spending time with you in Alaska and celebrating two graduations and a clean bill of health for my husband.
    See you in 55 days (but who’s counting)!

  35. Janey Winford says:

    To Jeannie Leinweber……… is not Carnival that is stiffing the CC members on VIFP points, it is the Crucon TA that is used for CC Group Cruises that is taking a persons money then instead of distributing the amenity points across the entire group for discounted rates or cocktail parties or other perks they are giving the equivalent free berths to individuals (that have actually paid for the cruise). Normally the group host would get the free cabins but in the complaint that was on CC last week it was other members of the group that were assigned the free cabin making it a non-revenue cruise for them instead of the Host.

    Your grievance is with Crucon NOT Carnival.

  36. Valerie Blackwell says:

    My 2 cents. I’m a 63 yo female who has smoked for 30+years. On May 12, 2013 (Mother’s Day) my son gave me an e-cigarette. Today, over a year later, I have not had 1 cigarette. The first cruise I took after getting the e-cigarette was on the Magic. I used my e-cig everywhere and no one said a word. Some folks did ask about it and congratulated me for having quit smoking. The next 2 cruises (Triumph) was hell for me. They only allow smoking in smoking areas and it was so unbelievably difficult with all the smoke. What happened was I spent almost all my time on my balcony. No money spent in spa, casino, shopping, no shows, my liquor bill was almost shameful because I could not stand the smoke in the bars. I am booked on a 21 day B2B next year and will be booking something this October (my birthday month is always a cruise) And just might be on the Miracle June 24th. Always a balcony anyway, but I don’t spend near as much money in bars, etc.; mostly because of the barring e-cigs. I am not complaining. I’m a rules kinda gal. I adjust to rules, no big deal. I just want the beards to know, we e-cig users don’t like the smoke either and therefore, don’t hang in the smoking bars and casinos near as much. Lost revenue in my opinion. Hope to see you in June (I’m working on it).

  37. Chuck (Alaska Cruise 5-27 tru 6-3) says:


    My family and I that wore cowboy hats daily wanted to share our praises with the crew of the Miracle this past week. Everyone we encountered had a smile on their face and a kind work to say.

    We did not get the opportunity to speak with the chef/s for this past cruise. We regret this fact but understand they are busy not only feeding the masses but the crew as well. We want to share our praises as they accommodated my Wife’s food allergy with what seamed to be the greatest of ease. She has not stopped telling others that the food was amazing and that she was free from any symptoms of headaches after eating the gluten free food specially prepared for her. They did a fabulous job and thank you to kitchen and dining room staff for all they do!

    One comment she has is to better identify the gluten free items on the buffet. We had a hard time identifying items on the buffet that were gluten free or what was available as gluten free. Could Carnival provide a list to passengers of gluten free items available on the buffet. She brought up the point that “baked beans” could have been thickened with flour and thus not gluten free.

    We had a great time in the comedy clubs, ticket to ride show and all that we did to participate in the activities on the ship.

    okay one more comment: We missed Brad Alexander in the piano bar. His wit and humor are only matched by his talent playing the piano. We met him on the Splendor in 2012 to the Mexican Riviera.


    • Mike Z says:

      How many people from Alaska are on board?

    • John (Miracle June 3 out of Seattle says:

      Thought I should jump in on the allergy issue.
      We forgot about making arrangements before the cruise so the first time at dinner was an experience. We brought our sons along to celebrate our 50th anniversary. It was their first time on a cruise. My youngest (he’s 40) has all sorts of allergies. He ended up negotiating every meal with the head waiter for our table. The waiter (Paul) was very well informed. When there was uncertainty even after checking with the chef, he would bring up not only the dish he had worked out with my son but also one or two alternatives that could also work. My son was never disappointed until after the cruise when he discovered how much weight he had gained.

      In other words, don’t worry about it – they’ll take good care of you.

  38. Kathy Temkow says:

    Love your blog and Facebook pages. You take a lot of heat from the one or two unhappy passengers and frankly, I don’t know how you can still keep a smile on your face. Look forward to meeting you on our September 2015 Alaska cruise.

  39. Richard Perry says:

    Great job on the blog John, keep it up!Regarding e-cigs, they are far from benign. The odorless claim is false … when the vapor that someone exhales assaults your face, you will definitely find it has an odor. Recently, a research article published by the American Heart Association had the following to say about the vapors exhaled into air: “E-cigarettes do not burn or smolder the way conventional cigarettes do, so they do not emit side-stream smoke; however, bystanders are exposed to aerosol exhaled by the user. Toxins and nicotine have been measured in that aerosol, such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetic acid and other toxins emitted into the air, though at lower levels compared to conventional cigarette emissions.” As far as I’m concerned, e-cigs are just as unhealthy to me, as a bystander, as real cigarettes, and should be subject to the same restrictions as cigarettes. I applaud those who have used e-cigs to crave their addiction to cigarettes, but honestly, they are still addicted to nicotine. They really need to get off cigarettes AND e-cigs!

  40. Bernadette Garcia says:

    Hello John
    My family & I are huge Carnival fans. We have cruised with Carnival since 1999, total of 10 cruises. We have tried Disney, Norwegian and Princess and each time we see a Carnival ship at sea or at port we wished that we were on a Carnival ship instead. We were just curious to see how the other competitors were and though we had enjoyable moments, we still believe Carnival Cruise Line is by far the best of them all.
    We had the pleasure of cruising with you on June 3, 2014 on the Carnival Miracle and had a wonderful time, best surprise was having you as Cruise Director and a singing Maître’D. Disregard all the haters out there, you and all the CCL staff give 110% each & every day. Very impressed with your professionalism, self control and courtesy you show everyone even if they do not deserve it. Continue to keep us entertained, laughter goes a long way!

  41. J. Gaines says:


    Enjoyed the blog. Glad to be on another Carnival Cruise …..uh, “field trip”, had to tell the folks back home someone needed to check the condition of the beautiful coral reefs, etc. Great Job to all the Staff on every cruise and looking forward to another with the entire family.

  42. Trish Raye says:

    Hi John , we just got back 2 weeks now from Alaska , what a beautiful place, we truly enjoyed… Quetion, I read on a facebook page from Carnival cruisers that Carnival is changing the smoking rules on the Balconies as of 10/09/2013 please tell me this is not true…. I myself quit smoking but my husband has not we pay extra for the bacony so he can smoke …. please figure something out 1 side of the boat smoking or the back half smoking something… I would hate not to cruise Carnival …please let me know
    Yhank you
    Trish Raye

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