Teachers, Breeze and Simon

June 13, 2014 -

John Heald

So here we are, well into the school holidays with 481 guests under the age of 21. But it’s not the kids I want to talk about, it’s those that teach them because it’s their holiday time, too. As I sit here in my underpants writing to you, Carnival Miracle is sailing through the extraordinary beauty that is Tracy Arm Fjord and I can’t help but think about my geography teacher at Shoeburyness School, Caulfield Road, Essex who I remember teaching us about Alaska when I was a spotty 15 year old.

Her name was Mrs. Miller — or Miller the Mole — as we used to call her out of ear shot. We called her that because Mrs. Miller had a huge mole on her face with three hairs protruding from it that used to give me nightmares. I would like to say a few nice things about Mrs. Miller …….. but I can’t…..she was a tyrant who used her ugliness to scare us kids and we were 15 years old at the time. This was back in the day when teachers could, if they wanted, practice corporal punishment to advance their education. Today, a teacher just has to look at a kid in the wrong way and the teacher is immediately fired and burnt at the stake. Mrs. Miller used her chalkboard eraser to hit us over the head with when we spoke out of turn. Her biggest pet hate was yawning and anyone of us who yawned, would receive the good news with the chalk board eraser.…..I became great friends with it and can still feel her rancid breath on me as she shouted in my face “Heald, did you just yawn?” and then her huge hand would bring the eraser for a close up meeting with my head.

She was though not the worst teacher because there was one who we all feared………and his name was Mr. Wakenen–Reynolds, the double barreled bastard! He taught biology and his favorite weapon of choice was a slipper, an old leather thing which probably belonged to his great grandfather and which he used on our bottoms whenever he could. I would like to say that his strictness caused us to listen and learn more ….but it didn’t ….it just made me hate biology and it’s his fault that until the age of 16, I thought babies really were delivered by a stork.

I realise that teachers can only take cruises when the schools are out and normally that means prices are higher. So please join me in thanking them because we all have a teacher who we remember who made a difference in our lives. Yep, the mole and the double-barreled bastard were the exception because most of my teachers were simply brilliant. Teachers can, and do, change lives. They can determine the life you lead. They can influence career choices. They can inspire. I have so much respect for teachers who, despite all the issues today, endure and succeed. Teaching truly is a vocation and a really wonderful teacher can have a profoundly positive influence on the children that pass through the classroom. My dad was a teacher. I know how hard he worked and how little he was paid and at his funeral, so many past pupils came to say goodbye. I was so sad that day and so proud too.

I am sure all of us can think of one now who made a difference in our lives. I have two. Mrs. Bright whose history classes were full of excitement and whose care for her pupils was extraordinary. And then there was Miss Grover, our drama teacher……. who had breasts bigger than my head.

Time for today’s Q and A…………..let’s crack on

Pamela Montano asks:
If I have a medical certificate from my doctor in Denver will Carnival allow me to bring on marijuana which I use for medical pain relief? Please reply as my cruise is soon.

John says:
Hello Pamela Montano

The simple answer here is “no.” I am sorry, Pamela, but I am afraid that under no circumstances do we allow this on our ships. Please do ask me if you have any other questions. Best wishes and have a great time.


Julie asks:
My family and I are going to be sailing on Carnival Inspiration June 30, 2014. I hear that we should expect a large number of children on that cruise, it that correct? How many children should we expect? I myself am traveling with four children between four and 14. I was wondering if there is a limit on the number of children allowed in Camp Carnival? We are taking a cruise so that it is a REAL vacation, meaning our kids can have fun in the kids club while we enjoy some adult time (at least a couple hours a day, anyway). We would be very disappointed if Camp Carnival was closed, because it was too full of kids.  Thank you.

John says:
Hello Julie

Please, do not worry. We would not refuse any children from taking part and attending our wonderful Camp Carnival activities. I am sure they will meet new friends, have fun and meanwhile you will be able to relax and enjoy the cruise knowing this. Have a great cruise and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


Simon asks:
Today you said many people agree that a good cruise director can make a cruise even more special. As usual, you are full of yourself, Heald, because not everyone agrees!!!!


Check out how many of your passengers think the opposite. Cruise directors are overpaid sales people with their constant nickel and diming announcements. Carnival should pay attention to what’s written here and get rid of you and all of them and spend the money on steel drum music on Lido Deck or better shows. Make sure you read the comment about your ageing boring material because it shines a different light on you than the, “I am brilliant, please love me ” one you force feed us every day. Time to move on, Heald. You are one of my 10 reasons why I have never and will never cruise with Carnival.

John says:
Hello Simon

Thanks so much for writing and I agree that not everyone appreciates what we do but I think it is safe to say the very vast majority do. I did not read the entire link but amongst the comments I noticed some praise for the cruise directors, as well. We certainly do have announcements but really have tried to limit them in recent years. I hope to sail with you one day and if there is anything I can help you with, please do ask me.  Best wishes.


Celia Fairbanks asks:
My husband and I sailed with you for the first time back in June 2007 to the beautiful Mediterranean. We were very impressed with our time on your ship, Carnival Freedom. We enjoyed our lovely dinners and shore excursions, as well as our immaculately clean room. For our second cruise, we sailed with Princess Cruises. We chose them only because you had limited cruises to the Mediterranean. My question is this, “Are you discontinuing cruises to the Mediterranean?” If so why? Thanks.

John says:
Hello Celia Fairbanks

I, too, have many wonderful memories of our time in Europe on Carnival Freedom. Carnival sources most of its guests from North America and there are some issues about the cost of flights to get to Europe to join the ship. So for this year and next we do not have plans to be there. Hopefully, that will change one day as we receive really great feedback on these voyages. It would be great to see you again. Best wishes.


Kerry Landewe asks:
Sailing on the Carnival Glory July 12, 2014 cruise me and my wife and two daughters will be there. My daughter Destiny was part of the University of Minnesota Team that will represent the 2014 International Cheer Union Championship. The ship’s passengers would greatly enjoy and benefit from seeing her performance. Can you arrange this on one of the big show nights!!!!!!!! She is destined for great things and living up to the name we gave her. It would be an awesome highlight definitely!! Thank you.

John says:
Hello Kerry

Congratulations on your daughter’s achievements and I am sure you must be very proud of both your girls. The ship has a talent show on the Friday night of your cruise and so I do encourage Destiny to sign up and take part. I am sure the guests will enjoy seeing her talents and I wish you all the very best of times together on this great ship.  Best wishes.


Robert Heslop asks:
John: Please. Stop saying you have “diabetes” when you mean type 2 diabetes. Stop writing that. Type 1 and type 2 are so different in causes and treatments that merging them into one disease is wrong and shows you have a clear lack of understanding of the disease.

John says:
Hello Robert Heslop

My apologies, I am obviously aware of the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and I apologise if it caused you any offence. Best wishes.


Trish Sokoloski asks:
Hi John; My husband and I will be sailing on the January 18, 2015 Carnival Conquest cruise. I understand this cruise will have a 9 pm departure time as it is traveling from Miami to FLL. I am wondering if you have any idea if the dining times for that first night will be modified? I am also considering booking the steakhouse and wondering what time would be the best time to book on that first night? Thanks for your help John, it is much appreciated!

John says:
Hello Trish Sokoloski

While it is too early to say for sure I do not believe that the ship will alter from the regular early, late and Your Time Dining times as this is something we always try to avoid when we can. Please check back with me in December and I will have a definitive answer for you. Have a great cruise. Best wishes.


Alysia Wolf asks:
John: I cannot thank you enough for your blogs and daily postings on Facebook. I especially appreciated your hilarity this week. On Monday, June 6, I had outpatient surgery. Less than 12 hours later, while still in great pain, I was at my vet’s office saying goodbye to my sweet furry companion. My dog, Abby, was the sweetest fuzzball ever and to lose her the very day I was having a surgery… Well, it was just a horrible day.  That night, reading your blog and some of your Facebook posts, took me from just tears to tears with laughter. Today it is mostly just
laughter. Please keep up your awesome and hilarious details of current guests (the lady a couple cruises ago who called you a sexist pig for having the nerve to look at another gorgeous women cracks me the heck up) and what is going on throughout the ship. Some days reading your posts are what get me through some days. It certainly helped the night of my double whammy sad day June 2. You and your humor are one reason I love Carnival so much – of course, the rest of the Carnival staff are a big reason as well. I sure hope one day we can cruise with you as our CD. I think that would be a hilariously awesome cruise!

John says:
Hello Alysia Wolf

I am so sorry to read of the loss of your beloved Abby. I hope you are able to cling on to the wonderful memories of your friendship together. Thank you also for your kind words, they mean so very much and I hope that one day we shall meet on board one of our ships. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and I appreciate so much this lovely post. Best wishes.


Annette asks:
Hi….Our family will be on the Carnival Splendor the week of Thanksgiving. We will have my 17- month-old grand baby with us. I know the rules on no children in pools that aren’t potty trained even with swimmer diapers. I did notice in a picture I saw on the Internet that there is a little water play area for little ones but I am hearing that it is rarely open. Can you please find out the hours of operation and if it is open every day? Thank you so much. I met you briefly as my husband and I were headed into brunch on the Sunshine the week before your Blogger’s cruise. We hope to cruise with you as our CD one day.

John says:
Hello Annette

Thanks for writing. Carnival Splendor does indeed have a brilliant splash park for kids and it’s open from 8 am – 8 pm. I hope you have the best of times and if there is anything at all i can do for you or the family, please do let me know. Best wishes to you all.


Kyle Ramin asks:
John: I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for the wonderful time I had on your Alaskan cruise that sailed on May 27. It was my first cruise and I am now convinced that cruising is the best way to enjoy a vacation. I don’t know if you are the person that should be made aware
of this or not but I would like to say that my stateroom steward, Roy, the lady bartender with braces from Thailand in the piano bar, and the hostess whom directs where you sit in the Level 3 Bacchus Dining Room were exceptional in how they treated me all week. I will definitely
cruise with Carnival again.

John says:
Hello Kyle Ramin

It was a pleasure to host you here on the Carnival Miracle and thanks so very much for taking the time to write. I will make sure that those crew members you mentioned see your words of praise and they will be thrilled. I hope we see you soon and that this was the first of many cruises.

Best wishes.


Janis Doliente asks:
John: I suggest you think again before promoting the use of hand sanitizers on your ship. You made references to this during our cruise in Alaska. Hand sanitizers do more harm than good. Research by UCLA found that triclosan caused some bacteria to become resistant to commonly used antibiotics. Antimicrobial washes kill both harmful and helpful bacteria. Many experts believe that the overuse of cleaning products dulls the immune system to the point that it no longer knows how to fight bacteria!!!!! Suggestion: Read more before giving your passengers seriously wrong and harmful information.

John says:
Hello Janis Doliente

I do hope you had a wonderful time in Alaska and enjoyed the cruise. The announcements I make are obviously to help avoid any gastro illness and I do make a point of stating that the use of hand sanitisers complements the frequent washing of hands with warm water and soap which remains the best way to avoid getting sick. This information comes from our medical center and the doctors and nurses that work there and obviously I respect their opinions and advice. Thank you for pointing this out and I will pass it on to the ship’s medical center. Hope we see you soon. Best wishes.


And that’s all for today. My thanks to the hundreds of you who competed on the blog I had written about Connor. They were inspiring and gracious and I will make sure his parents see them all. Hopefully, they will help the healing process.

I really can’t get over Simon’s post. I am guessing that he is brand loyal to another cruise line which, of course, is fine. I suppose that in the days when your local shopkeeper knew your name and there were just a few makes of most things to choose to buy, “brand loyalty” made sense. Now we live in a world of huge corporations and multiple choices. It is a rare thing………no matter how many loyalty cards you have in your wallet.

It seems Simon may be brand loyal to maybe RCI, Celebrity or NCL, Princess, Costa, Holland America or another line ………….but please ……. be loyal based on the merits of these cruise lines not the possible faults of others. But I do not feel the need to defend any of Simon’s comments when he says…… “I will never cruise with Carnival.”

I guess I am a little confused as to why Simon felt the need to write this comment. I dislike Desperate Housewives of New Orange County immensely. I know this because my wife made me watch a few episodes and I based my opinion on that. Even so, I have never felt the need to write to the producers and tell them that I would rather watch a maggot crawl out of the arse of a yak in slow motion ……….then ever watch that program ever again. And why, oh why, if Simon dislikes me does he read this sodding blog? Please, can a smart person explain that to me? Still, I must not take it personally. Must be professional.

Let’s move on. After weeks of mumming and ahhhhging, my wife and I have finally decided that our dog Breeze should have his bollocks snipped……..I think the medical term is neutered, right? Not a very fetching sentence to read, I’m sure, and not particularly pleasant to write, either. Few sights are more guilt-inducing than your poor German Shepherd gazing in bewilderment and wondering why someone has put plastic lampshade around his head.

Poor Breeze, I bet it’s painful and unpleasant and it’s not cheap to have it done either. I wonder though if the vet will give me a two-for-one coupon so I can get Simon done, as well?

Bugger…………..so much for me being professional.


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.