Medium – Rare

June 20, 2014 -

John Heald

It is very rare for me to get heckled. Not because I am so funny that nobody has the courage to take me on. Oh no, it’s just that the type of shows I do and the fact that most are audience participation-based, it most often never happens. So when I do get heckled it is something worth writing about. Two nights ago I came out to introduce the hypnotist and the moment I started talking about nice weather and what a glorious day it had been, the heckling started from a few rows back. It was nothing dramatic but stated with, “Stop talking, get on with the show, will ya?” The audience looked at him, some laughed nervously; most ignored him. I obviously could not, it had been loud and clear and I had no choice but to comment.

 I was on stage and standing behind the microphone stand, so I said, “Who said that?” and then continued with, “Let me move to the side of this microphone stand so you can see me.” Now obviously this referred to my size and, by doing a self-deprecating joke, I hoped it would stop him from doing any more heckles. It didn’t. As the audience laughed at my microphone stand joke, my heckler started again and took it up a few gears

 “When they put teeth in your mouth, they spoiled a perfectly good ass,” he shouted.

OK, now that wasn’t nice and so I had two choices here. Ignore him or go to war with him. I took a breath and simply said, “Maybe Jack – our hypnotist – can hypnotise you into being warm and cuddly and maybe a tad sober.”

 Giggles from the audience. But that was a huge mistake on my part because the heckler shouted,

“That’s a fake British accent,” he slurred and then he raised the volume even more and said, “Is that a fat suit you’re wearing?” OK, not a great line from him but it made me mad especially as I have lost weight since joining Carnival Miracle through diet and exercise. The audience was now turning on him and some telling him to shut up, including the lady next to him who was obviously a wife, partner or friend because she was trying to put her hand over his mouth. But she failed and now the heckler carried on.

 I was a nano-second — and I mean a nano-second — away from saying the old fat comedian joke of: “I’m only fat because every time I’m with your wife, she gives me a chocolate chip cookie.” But…….because the wife was probably sitting next to him and because of the fact that there were many kids in the room and because of the fact that the joke I made when my fly was open got me into trouble and because the audience were about to lynch him…….I simply introduced the entertainer and the show started.

 By now many of you will have realised what happens next. Yep, you’re right. He started heckling the hypnotist as he was trying to put people “under” and that was that. Accompanied by one of our security staff who I had called the moment I was off stage, I went to his seat and asked him to leave. He looked like he was for a moment going to be combative but his wife gave him no choice and grabbing his arm, pulled him down the row to the aisle and out of the theatre. Many of the audience applauded. I have not seen the guest since and no doubt he had a few too many, it’s as simple as that. I sort of live in the hope that, before the end of the cruise, he will come and apologise but so far he has not.

 Our Punchliner comedians go through far more of this than I do and they are far more skilled than I am in how to put a heckler down. Plus, they too have that uncensored rating to protect them. There are many, many good lines I have heard over the years but the most effective is owned by the brilliant comedian Al Ernst who I once heard tell a heckler; “That sounded funny when you thought it in your head, didn’t it? Thank you but I don’t need your help – I’m pretty good at this. But if I get stuck later, I know where you’re at.”

 Please don’t heckle me but it is time for today’s Q and A….here we go

 Linda Petrie asks:

 Hello John, we ran into you a few times on the Carnival Sunshine in February.  First time was in the steakhouse, first night, and you commented on “how lovely” I looked – that was so sweet of you – it impressed my husband also.  We have been married 42 years, so love those compliments. Later, during the cruise, we visited with you again and talked about the Carnival Splendor cruise a few years ago where the young lady “took you down” on stage – we often smile about that – you said you still have the bruises to show for it. Cruising again September 27 out of Fort Lauderdale on the Carnival Freedom and will hit Platinum. Thank you for all the memories you have given us.  Hope we have many more cruises ahead of us. It is our pleasure to cruise with Carnival.

 John says:

 Hello Linda Petrie

What a wonderful post. I am so glad that you have taken the time to write and I hope you had the most fantastic time on your cruise. Congratulations also on reaching platinum and I hope you will let me know your cabin number closer to the cruise so I can send you a little something. Thanks again for writing and I hope you are both doing well. Best wishes.


 Vaughn Ahearn asks:

 Check out Matt Hochberg’s RCI blog. It is how one should be written IMHO. You could learn so much.

 John says:

 Hello Vaughn Ahearn

I will have a look when time allows and I am sure it is a wonderful read and, certainly, I wish him all the best with it. Thank you for letting me know; that was very kind of you. Best wishes.


 Greg Penglis asks:

 My dream is to be one of the world’s best cruise directors. Currently I’m a tour guide in San Francisco.  Got almost six years full time on a microphone including in depth discussions of the city and ridiculous comic improvs.  I’ve also played guitar for years and hope to do so on board with the dance bands, and to join the solo guitarist at the main bar for cool duets. I had been a flight instructor for years and I’m used to handling emergencies.  So if this works out to become a cruise director, I’ll probably take the ship’s officer exams as well to be even more qualified if necessary.  And I’ve written a book on flight instruction, and several articles and columns, so yes I’d love to do my own Carnival blog. I can’t work onboard until my daughter graduates high school next year and has her life planned out for college.  Then I will have no attachments and can sail the oceans indefinitely. How best should I go about applying to Carnival?  How far in advance should I start the process?  Can I be both entertainment staff working up to cruise director, and still play guitar and sing on board with the other groups or soloists?  Thank you so much for your help.  Any other place you can direct me at Carnival would be greatly appreciated.  I’ve got the regular Carnival career website, I was just hoping to find a mentor and learn more.

Thank you,

Greg Penglis

 John says:

 Hello Greg Penglis

I want to thank you for writing and I can see how determined you are to succeed which is great. Please go to our new web site which has full information on the job and how to apply. The job will start as cruise staff so you can learn all about the job and shipboard life. Many current CDs have done this and fast-tracked to the cruise director position. So, I wish you much success and I am here if you have any questions. Best wishes.


 Theresa Leggett asks:

 Hi John: I have asked this once before here and also when I received the survey upon my return from my cruise, but have not received an answer.  I hope you can help because this made no sense to me.  I was on the May 4 Carnival Breeze cruise and will say had a wonderful time for the second year in a row.  I purchased the Cheers program, like I did in 2013 on the Carnival Breeze. What is bothering me is that most bartenders on the 2014 cruise said they were not permitted to make me a rum and Diet Coke in a tall glass.  For example, pour one shot of rum in a tall glass and fill the remainder of the glass with diet coke.  I don’t understand this.  I could order a drink such as a Frog’s Island Ice Tea which contains several shots of liquor and it is served in a tall glass, but I was not able to get one shot of liquor in a tall glass with Diet Coke.   Diet Coke doesn’t count toward the 15-drink limit in the Cheers program so I don’t know what the reasoning is.  On several occasions, I would purchase a rum and coke in the small glass, wait five minutes and go back to the bar for a Diet Coke, which was served in a tall glass and mix the two together.  Please provide me with an answer.  Thank you.

 John says:

 Hello Theresa Leggett

I’ve been exchanging emails with Eddie Allen, our VP of beverage operations, and he confirms that you can and should have been able to and apologies that you were told this was not the case. I truly appreciate you telling me and he will make sure the message is received and understood. Thanks then for letting us know and I do hope you had a great cruise. Best wishes.


 Janet Hickey asks:

 Hi John, I love your blog. We are cruising August 22 on Carnival Liberty, this will be our eighth cruise and it is for our 35th anniversary.  We are actually going to see Antonio, the bartender, before he retires.  We heard that he is retiring soon and we would like to decorate his bar for that wonderful occasion.  Can you let me know if we can do that or if that is not allowed.  Either way we will have a great time and enjoy our visit.  Keep up the good work.  You are AWESOME!!!!!

 John says:

 Hello Janet Hickey

That is marvelous that you are going on to be with Antonio for his retirement and I am sure that the management will have no problem in you doing some kind of decoration or tribute. Drop me a note on my page please two days before the cruise so I can let them know and please include your cabin number. Have a brilliant time. Best wishes.


 Chris Villanueva asks:

 You sent us strawberries and a ship on a stick for our anniversary cruise on Carnival Splendor but have a question. Have you actually tried the champagne you sent for our anniversary? You should because it tastes like s**t. On Celebrity they sent us a bottle of Prosecco. Just saying you should try it because, if you did, you would be embarrassed. We asked to swap it for a six-pack of Bud but were told “NO”!!!

 John says:

 Hello Chris Villanueva

I do hope you had a wonderful cruise and I am glad you appreciated the chocolate strawberries and the trophy. I have not tried the champagne as I don’t drink alcohol but I know many people that I have sent it to seem to enjoy it. Thanks for sailing with us and I hope we see you again soon. Best wishes.


 Thelma Bennett asks:

 Why is it as if the customer service at Carnival call center has gotten worse? You can ask the question and depending on who answers the phone as to what answer you will get. I am a PLATINUM guest and I don’t recall having as much trouble as I have had with my last

booking. My booking with canceled in error and no real explanation were given.

 John says:

 Hello Thelma Bennett

I am so sorry to read this and I will ask my colleagues to look into what happened and help you accordingly. Thank you for letting me know and thank you for your loyalty and hope to see you soon. Best wishes.


 David Endicott asks:

 This is from a thread on Cruise Critic about cruise salaries. Here is what’s written about your job Heald: The cruise director is in charge of all on-board entertainment, creates, coordinates, and implements all the daily activities, acting master of ceremonies at social activities and evening shows. Professional entertainment background preferred or 2-5 years on board working your way up from an entry-level cruise staff position. Public speaking, delegate responsibilities and strong organizational abilities required. Fluent English Language skills required. Salary range: $3,800-$7,500 U.S. per month, depending on the cruise line. Apparently years ago cruise directors kept the profits on the bingo for most of their salary but now it is a salaried position. Care to comment, Heald?

 John says:

 Hello David Endicott

Just like most companies can’t comment publicly on their employees’ compensation, I really cannot comment on salary, mine or any other Carnival employee as I am sure you understand. As for “cruise directors kept the profits on the bingo for most of their salary” I can tell you that at no time during my 24 years in the chair has that ever been true. I am very lucky to have this job and I appreciate everything Carnival does for me. Best wishes.


 Joyce Ward asks:

 My DH and I are both platinum VIP with us both spending thousands of dollars for our 14 cruises. We are both sick to the stomach that Carnival has decided to slap us hard across the face with the Faster to the Fun $50 VIP you give just anyone. These people get on the ship the same time as us platinum VIPs and have the same perks that we have spent time and big $$$ to achieve. This is so wrong on so many levels. I am outraged as is my DH and eight other couples we play cribbage with all of who are from The Villages and are platinum important people with Carnival. You will lose us all if this continues.

 John says:

 Hello Joyce Ward

Thanks so very much for taking the time to write and with much passion. It should be noted that the Faster to the Fun program is only for 15 cabins per cruise and that some of the benefits that you receive, they do not. Plus we have added the benefit of your cabin being ready upon embarkation starting and your luggage being delivered first. It really should not impact your cruise in anyway and I hope, then, that you will have many more cruises with us and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


 Jamie McCarty asks:

 Hey John! First off, let me say I LOVE cruising, and Carnival is the only cruise line I’ve been on.  I will be sailing on my seventh cruise on Carnival Magic in October, 130 days to be exact. I have two quick questions for you.  Is Carnival ever gonna serve biscuits and gravy on the breakfast buffet? Has Carnival considered adding hard apple cider to the alcohol list? That is becoming widely popular in the US, plus it’s very yummy! Thank you very much!

 John says:

 Hello Jamie McCarthy

Thanks for those very kind words and we do actually serve biscuits and gravy on a couple of ships, Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Fascination, I think, but I will confirm. I am not sure how good they are so, hopefully, someone will comment below. We have Wild Orchard and Strongbow on our ships now and as you said, they are very popular indeed. I hope we see you soon and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


 JoAnn Otto asks:

 Hi John,

Our family just got of the Carnival Liberty on June 7. My husband and I have been on a few cruises and have always had a wonderful time, this time was no exception except for a person at guest services. My son who was on his first cruise, was checking his account on the kiosk and it said to see guest services immediately. So he went over and told the guy that he got the message, this guy brought up my sons account and said…”It’s not my job to offer you financial advice but you spend too much time in the casino.” My son told him he just wants to know why he had to come to the desk. The guy told my son he needs to call his credit card company to authorize the charges and the call would be free. I was shocked when he told me this. I went down the last evening of the cruise to get more no. 2 tags and this same guy said to me, “Didn’t you get some in your cabin?” I said, “Yes but I need four more.” He replied, “So you are a heavy packer?” — which is none of his business what I pack. I have never on all the cruises had a person treat me in this way. We did have his name but can’t find it right now. I just wanted you to be aware of this and maybe address it to someone. I am thinking his name was Puji or something like that. But everything else was WONDERFUL. Thank you

 John says:

 Hello JoAnn Otto

I do apologise for this and it appears that the guest services associate was attempting some mild humour which maybe he should not have done. I do appreciate you bringing this to my attention and I will send this to the guest services manager on the ship to look into. Apologies again and I do hope you had a wonderful time and that we see you again soon. Best wishes.


 Dawn Falk asks:

 John: We are sailing on the Carnival Pride June 29 and I would like to know if we can bring our own Diet Coke on board. I have seen other guests bring on bottle water.  Thanks

 John says:

 Hello Dawn Falk

Yes you can bring 12 cans per adult. Let me know if you have any questions and have a great cruise. Best wishes.


 Marty Eastman asks:

 I read your comment about chewing tobacco which was very disrespectful to a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for many generations. I was banned from using it in the casino on my Carnival Magic cruise, so you can imagine how angry I was. I am a proud Texan and proud Texans are not to be messed with. I have a cruise booked in January back on the same boat and if assurances cannot be made that I can chew and spit my tobacco as is my constitutional my right as a Texan and as an Americanm I will take my business across the street.

 John says:

 Hello Marty Eastman

Thanks so much for writing. I am sorry that you are so upset by this and you raise an interesting point. I have checked with a few casino managers around the fleet and it seems we do not have a blanket rule about this with some saying they will not allow it and other managers saying they are not sure. I have asked the beards in Miami to see what they have to say and, of course, I will let you know. I would imagine though that we will not allow it in the casinos in future days but let me confirm this. I hope you will still join us and that you will remember all the fun you had on the ship. Best wishes.


 That’s all for today

 Before a Carnival ship can take guests on board for a brilliant cruise vacation, the ship’s builders, in the presence of many Carnival beards dressed in high visibility jackets, perform many tests. Sea trials are done, engines are tested in all kinds of conditions and each weld is checked and double checked. The result of this exhaustive testing is remarkable and by and large, cruise ships are very resilient in all kinds of conditions. You can take them through the extreme cold of Alaska. You can sail them through heavy rain and you can leave it docked in the Caribbean sun. And still, all of its things will work when the captain says, “Let’s go.” And right now work and tests are being dine on each new piece of metal that will be joined together to, eventually, in 2016 become Carnival Vista and from what I heard about her today…..she is going to be absolutely brilliant.

 In Tracy Arm Fjord I had a table for one in the steakhouse. I don’t get to go very often but, before the shows, I thought I would sneak in and have a quick meal. I say quickly because I called ahead and told the lovely hostess, Nora Bollockov, what I would like to order. She found me a quiet table upstairs and as soon as I sat down, my superb tuna tartartartartartar arrived …………. with extra wasabi. And soon after my well done (yes, yes, I know it’s dry and I should have it cooked medium but I am British and I like my meat burnt not just waved in front of a sodding candle for a few minutes) cowboy steak (minus the hat) arrived, joined on the plate by asparagus and grilled onions. No carbs again………whose a good boy then, John?

 A table for one gives you time for reflection and outside of the usual ponderings about how much of my life is spent away from the ones I love my mind actually fell to the steak on my plate. You see, I could not help but wonder who was the first person to eat a cow? Which chap holding his spear said, “You know what? If I kill this, peel of its skin and place it above a fire for a few hours, I bet it would be very tasty.” Who was the first person who opened up an oyster and thought, “Mmm. If I put that slimy dollop in my mouth, I shall be to get aroused and have rumnpy pumpy all night long.” How about cigars? How many different types of leafs were smoked before someone found tobacco? Surely someone must have tried to smoke a rose or sunflower before finding tobacco? And how did they make it into a cigar or cigarette? And who was the first person to discover that peeing on someone is good for jelly fish stings? I bet he was French. Yep, those were my thoughts last night as I ate a wonderful cowboy steak and enjoyed the excellent service that can always be found in our steakhouses.

 One more thing before I go.


Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2014 7:57 AM



Subject: Guest request for meeting with the Cruise Director

Good day John

Miss_________ of cabin **** would like you to contact her. Guest has requested because she wants to have a lounge for her to do some talk to guests. Miss_________ is a from The American Association of Psychics and Mediums, “tTat is what her business card she left for you John says and also that she is famous from TV shows. I will leave this card in your box John if you or Dee can collect and call her please

Kind Regards,

Guest Services Associate

Carnival Miracle/Carnival Cruise Lines

 Yep, here we are again. I had one of these requests some years ago I seem to remember. I have not called Miss——– yet but will do so and unfortunately I will have to say “no.” I am sure what she does provides a comfort to many who have lost loved ones but I am afraid that it just isn’t right for a “Fun Ship” cruise vacation. Can you imagine the Fun Times?

 2:00pm                                    John’s Marriage Show                                    Phantom Theatre

                                                Slot Tournament $500 prize              Casino Deck 2 Midship

2:30pm                                    General Knowledge Trivia                 Fountainhead Cafe

3:00pm                                    Tea Time and Music                          Bacchus Dining Room

3:30pm                                    Contact Your Dead Relatives             Mad Hatters Lounge


As I said, I am not knocking what she says and what she does but I have to say no for obvious reasons. Besides and I say this respectfully….. I personally don’t need a medium……I speak to my Dad every day.

 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.

72 Responses to Medium – Rare

  1. MaryAnn Bruton says:

    Dear John,

    I have enjoyed many Carnival cruises, my favorite being on the Spirit to Hawaii! I hust love the spirit class ships and I am thrilled that one sails out of Baltimore!
    Would you be able to tell me why popcorn is not available on the ships?

    Mary Ann

  2. karen says:

    Hi John
    Love your blog and admire how you handle the situations with unreasonable cruisers. I am a platinum cruiser who got there because I love Carnival and have never had a bad time on a cruise. We have always hoped to get the chance to CRUISE with you as the CD. So excited since we are finally getting that opportunity on the Miracle July 8 cruise. We are celebrating my big 60 woot woot lol. Hope you are doing well. Continue being you. It brings smiles to so many of us and you are very much appreciated


  3. kathleen schriber says:

    hello john. we just got off the ‘miracle’ the 17th of june. i can’t tell you how impressed we are with the dramatic views and lasting memories of a wonderful cruise. i was so very excited to ‘see’ you in person, (although we didn’t meet, and am disappointed in that). you are everything i expected and more! (in a good way) i love your honesty, puns and entertaining personality! THANK YOU for being everything a cruise director should be! if i were you, i would probably be fired after slapping some of those idiots that expect something for nothing and are dis-satisfied and need to complain about anything and everything. nah! i wouldn’t last long at all. they’d throw me overboard! thank CARNIVAL for a great itinerary. just sorry we missed Ketchikan!

  4. Dan says:

    I’m guessing that the main issue with Miss Medium Well Done isn’t that she wants to give a talk, it’s that she’s trying to drum up some business from an on-board, captive audience by making them rush to the ship ATM and withdraw $500 so she can tell them more about what Grammy Moon is saying from the vast beyond? You could always tell her if she wants to run a show to contact the Entertainmnet department back in Miami. 🙂

    • Mike says:

      I guess being a Physic she should have seen your answer coming and shouldn’t have bothered you with a letter or a meeting. I’m Platinum too and I don’t mind the faster to the fun program. I look at it as a value I’m saving $50 on and as you said John it’s very limited. So many are already Platinum or higher that I don’t even notice the extra. As long as it’s always got a reasonable limit I don’t mind it at all. I think my last cruise on the Sunshine had 3 hard cider choices. I remember they were all good, but that’s all I remember. I really like this addition. It would be really awesome if you got it in keg form eventually, but I’m happy with the cans. I love that Thirsty Frog Red beer you have too. I find it’s not too heavy of a beer. I really enjoy your blog John; keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to the day Carnival returns to Europe. Hopefully 2016 will see Carnival return.

  5. Jay Bell says:


    I have been on 3 cruises ( all on Carnival). My wife and I have worked very hard for our red status vifp. Our 4th cruise is on Nov 9th on the Valor. I have never once been treated as bad as these Platinum people seem to be. Am I being treated differently? Why shouldn’t I get tons of meaningless stuff to complain about? We are traveling with a friend on her and her sons first cruise, and want to make sure we get the same bad treatment the platinum crybabies are getting.

    P.s. just kidding of course.

  6. Daniel West says:

    Why is it that so many platinum cruisers seem to get bent out of shape by FTTF? Most fifth graders with even a mediocre grasp of the written word would be able to compare the two programs and see that FTTF is in no way comparable to Platinum status!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    The drunk story amuses me!! At least it all happened on-board. On my first cruise, there was a guy across the hall from our cabin who got pretty wasted at port and lost all his cash (around $2K!). We learned a valuable lesson and we didn’t even have to learn it the hard way! I felt bad for that guy at first, but less bad when he got profane at the room steward and wound up leaving with security. You handled the heckling beautifully, I think-as always. The staff at Carnival ships must have some crazy stories but they’ve never failed to be anything but courteous on every cruise I’ve been on. (just three…we’re working our way up!!)

  8. Dee says:

    I’ve tended bar for many years and, usually, when someone wants a drink in a tall glass they are going to complain to me that it’s not strong. I, too, tell guests that I cannot make them a tall drink. UNLESS they say, “Can I please have it in a tall glass with extra soda so it’s not strong?” Sometimes if I tell someone I can’t give them what they want it’s because I misunderstood what they were asking for. By clarifying that they don’t want a stronger drink, just more soda, that’s a request I can accommodate. Personally, I order mine that way. I tell them I’m a lightweight and need a weak drink. 🙂

  9. Leon Biesiadecki says:

    If she’s also a psychic you won’t need to call her, she’ll already know what you’re going to tell her.

  10. Peter Begansky says:

    John. I am also a diabetic and have some bloody bad news. Those onions are just as bad as the carbs. Sorry about that. To the individual who states it is his constitutional right to chew tobacco…its not, and the rest of us do not prefer to see him dribble it down his chin. Thank you so much for the wonderful forum and service you provide for us who are addicted to cruising.

  11. debbie reid says:

    good thing i’m not in customer service as i would have told marty eastman to take his business across the street. chewing tobacco is a nasty filthy habit, and i for one would complain if someone spitting near me. i think you would get more complaints about people using chewing tobacco than those complaining they can’t use it. let him go elsewhere. YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Patrick Clancy says:

    Hello John,

    I just wanted to say that I thought the comment by Vaughn Ahearn regarding Matt Hochberg’s blog site was very rude and condescending. At least that is how it came across to me. I too frequent Matt’s blog site and agree that it is very good, but there is nothing wrong with how yours is setup and I find it very enjoyable to read your posts. I’m just glad that you have the blog and frequently update it. Keep up the good work!


  13. Ralph says:

    Marty Eastman,
    Low IQ(like the tradition of chewing tobacco)…is handed down from father to son. Glad you’re keeping up the “family tradition”!

  14. Karen says:

    Really Joyce Ward? Someone getting FTTF ruins your cruise? Go to another cruise line – what a snobby thing to say!

  15. Mike J. says:

    Hey John, great blog today! That heckler probably was the school bully when he was young. Family and I were on the Carnival Breeze two weeks ago and had a great time. I’ll send you a review soon. So we’re back and I’m still reading about cruises! 🙂
    Cheers, Mike

  16. Marsha Breen says:

    Tell “Marty” he can leave his tobacco chewing and spitting at home. As a fellow passenger, I would find this disgusting and I’m sure I’m not alone in that opinion.

  17. Delmer thompson says:

    Dear john, I just finished reading the statement from a fellow Texan and I was dumb founded by what he said about his right to chew and spit in a public area. As a past smoker, chewer and dipper. I will say, he is trying to be political correct instead of honorable and polite. I am not bragging or anything of such thing but I learned how to swallow my spit and not expect others to smell or see my saliva concoction. I do feel that he has the right to use tobacco if he wants but he must reminded that no one else should be exposed to him or his rude attitudes. If he want to chew or dip let him do it out of the public eye. I would like to know how many times he gripes about other people doing their own thing. I am sure he will say he never complains, but as a Texan and an ex-tobacco user I, not you or any one associated with carnival, will say he is either a lier or lost his memory. Remind him that it (the spit) stinks like black sewer water, and his breath does also. Thank and God bless. Delmer

  18. Martha says:

    I am going to weigh in on chew. I personally think it should be allowed on in the smoking areas. You may have the right to your chew, but I have the right not to see it while sitting eating my lunch. It may not be disgusting to you, but it is to me. And before someone decides to take their business across the street, you should probably check the policies of the other cruise lines. You will find that Carnival is pretty lenient.

  19. Troy says:

    John you should have told him your are a magician. Watch I can make you disappear as he is being escorted out.

  20. steves542 says:

    Marty – Have fun spitting off of whatever cruise line you end up on. May I suggest the USS Constitution ?

  21. Steve says:

    You don’t need to call her back John, she claims to be a psychic, she already knows the answer is no. 🙂

  22. Rob Davis says:

    Hi John…the psychic already knows that you will say no, so why waste your time by going to meet with her?

    Best regards,


  23. Phil Hale says:

    But John if Ralph (Wee Jimmy) Vallente, she and you did a show together it could resd: 3:30 Mad Hatters Lounge…Smell Medium and Large. 🙂

  24. Bill says:

    John how is it you get all the strange people from Texas, I used to just think it was their Governor who was nuts. If they leave because they cant chew in the casino, who cares, its bad enough we have to suffer second hand smoke but the majority of your customers don’t want to sit next to or smell the spit of someone with that habit. Maybe someone can put a link up for all Texans, the Constitution doesn’t give you the right to chew or impose your habits on others.

  25. Jeff Norris says:

    Hi John
    If she was truly psychic she would already know your answer and would not have to ask in the first place!

  26. jenn says:

    Just tell those PLATINUM cruisers to pick their chins up – they EARNED their status when the rest of us had to buy it ::eyeroll:: I will never understand why people have to be so concerned with being up in strangers’ business. Come on people, FFS!

  27. Kathryn Caswell says:

    Vaughn Ahearn sorry to say but that was the most boring blog i have ever read…which goes to show how boring you must be and with no sense of humor…if you dont like John Healds blog or him why in the bloody heck do you read it and comment on it? attention maybe?

  28. Linda Long says:

    John this is in regards to Theresa Leggett’s post about ordering a drink in a tall glass. We do not purchase the Cheers package, but when we order a drink in a tall glass we are charged extra…for a CC & diet coke in a tall glass I am charged the regular price for the drink PLUS an extra $1.95 for the extra soda, my husband is charged an extra $2.25 for extra cranberry juice if he orders his vodka & cranberry in a tall glass. We do not ask for or expect more booze, we don’t like strong drinks. Carnival didn’t use to charge extra but have done so on our last two cruises…..since then we have cruised on HAL, RCI, NCL & Princess and none of them charge extra! We wouldn’t mind a small fee for extra soda or juice, but feel what Carnival now charges is a little excessive. We have 4 cruises booked with Carnival between August & November 2014, so we’re hoping they’ll reduce that extra fee by then!

  29. Michael Hawkins says:

    Mad Hatters Lounge…. great! Got a huge laugh from that one.

  30. vicki says:

    Proud Texan huh. Arrogant Texan maybe. Someone thinks they are special!

  31. Janice Robinson says:

    John , a wonderful rebuttal for a “fat” joke is “I am overweight but I am losing weight! You , however, will just be ugly forever!”

  32. Mark Kjellander says:

    John, why is it that the special needs department cannot ever comprehend the term “wheelchair bound”? I have sailed several times with a handicapped family member and every time I have a night mare dealing with those people. It is sad to say that the best line for handicapped cruising seems to be a sister line. The people in the carnival department do not seem to comprehend or care that a person has special needs when it comes to cruising. For example we recently cruised on the Freedom on the 8 day southern carribean route. While the onboard staff was for the most part great. The special needs department was notified almost a year ahead of time to the needs and placed the individual in a non HCA compliant cabin. Even our cruise consultant at Carnival Chris Silva was stumped by these people, there were several cabins available for wheelchair access and we provided several letters from physicians and was told too bad. While I do enjoy cruising with carnival because they provide the most fun for the money. The treatment by the people in the home office leaves alot to be desired.

  33. Don Lanier says:

    John since you ask for opinions on the biscuits and gravy I thought I’d let you know my thoughts. I’m from Oklahoma and biscuits and gravy is one of my favorite meals. Just about anywhere in the Southern part of the United States on into the plains you can find good biscuits and gravy. Unfortunately those I have had on the ships have been some of the worse I have ever had. My wife and I have been on 18 cruises with 12 being on Carnival. We love the ships and most of the food but not these items. Our last trip, on 2/16/14 out of New Orleans on the bloggers cruise, the biscuits weren’t much thicker than a pancake and hard as a rock. The gravy wasn’t much better. I’ve had water that was thicker than it was. I’ve never written you to complain about anything but since you ask I thought I’d let you know. B-T-W, it would never keep us from coming back. It would only add to what we already enjoy.

    Thanks for all the time you put into your blog. It’s great and we really enjoy it and you.

  34. Mary Dagostino says:

    There was biscuits and gravy on Carnival Sunshine when we sailed on the Repositioning cruise April from New Orleans to Port Canaveral. Delicious, I might add!

    So glad you can talk to your dad every day…that’s the thing about love…it lasts forever…you will never be completely apart!!

    The heckler…UGH…there was a drunk guy bothering some of us women on the Sunshine when we were up taking pictures of the moon in the middle of the night. People need to know when to stop drinking!!

    Hugs, John!

  35. Julie Tyler says:

    Wow. Just wow. I’m sorry you had to put up with the heckling. I don’t know how you do what you do every cruise–some of these requests (“I’m a PLATINUM guest!”) are enough to send me postal. I’m thinking of two sayings…

    Ron White’s “You can’t fix stupid!” and the time honored, “Never argue with an idiot. They’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience!”

    All I can say is, blessed are the peacemakers…

  36. Susan says:

    Hi John…. My hubs and I were recently on the Sunshine. We had such a wonderful cruise. You so graciously sent us chocolate covered strawberries, a ship on a stick and a bottle of the champagne. It wasn’t the best champagne we ever have but we were thrilled to be given it. It was such a nice surprise. This was our 28th anniversary cruise. My husband had such a great time, he told me to book another cruise for Jan 2015. woo hoo. We are looking at going on the Freedom this trip. My 11th hubs 6th. Someone asked about the biscuits and gravy on the buffet. Sunshine had it on theirs. The gravy was yummy. The biscuits were ok( mine are better haha) but it was good. I would like to see the ships have a little more variety on the buffets. Every day they had the same options. Every thing was good tho. The steak house was amazing. we have decided we would do this every cruise. it is well worth the extra $$. We did run into one of the waite staff that we had when sailing on Glory in 2011. That was for sure a fun thing. I saw a tee shirt I loved.. it said. “I work to support my cruising habit.” haha it sure fits me to a TEE. I hope some day to be on a cruise that you are the c.d.

  37. Steve says:

    Good for u why ruin everyone’s show because of one jerk

  38. Buck Owen says:

    Hi John,

    I love reading your blog and Facebook posts, and hope to cruise with you sometime soon. I am writing to voice my displeasure with someone who wrote to you, which I have copied below. My problem is that you were extremely nice in sending strawberries and champagne to this person, but they had the gaul to call you out on the fact that, in their opinion, the champaign tasted bad. I hope that this does not keep you from doing what is obviously a wonderful job! Just my two cents.

    Chris Villanueva asks:

    You sent us strawberries and a ship on a stick for our anniversary cruise on Carnival Splendor but have a question. Have you actually tried the champagne you sent for our anniversary? You should because it tastes like s**t. On Celebrity they sent us a bottle of Prosecco. Just saying you should try it because, if you did, you would be embarrassed. We asked to swap it for a six-pack of Bud but were told “NO”!!!

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


      You are correct.

      Apparenttly Chris does not realize that this arrogantly narassistic comment is far worse than any FREE champagne.

  39. rob says:

    To. M Eastman (proud Texan)
    That`s quite a family tradition.
    What constitutional right is it. that gives you the right to spit body fluids into an open container with a napkin in it and carry it around. or to spit into a does not matter what state your from and it has nothing to do with being an American. would you like it if i saddled up next to you with a cup or bottle of PEE (urine) it is just as disgusting. i would actually prefer a CIGAR SMOKER and i don`t smoke. who cleans it up if it is spilled ? i am sure not you. just my opinion. I don`t know of any bar or restaurant that would allow it. and i have worked as a bartender. and the local casino strictly forbids smokeless tobacco products on all of the gaming floor and only a small designated smoking area. your not back on the RANCH your on a cruise SHIP not a boat.
    Happy Cruising.

  40. b says:

    Teresa from Long Island Medium! You would probably have a packed house. Meet her if for no other reason than to see how over the top she is both in looks and personality!

  41. Damian Clark says:

    Hi John,

    Just wanted to thank you for you constant humour and tact when dealing with some of the requests you have. You have no idea how many of us out here roll our eyes and have a laugh at some of the random self absorbed things people write to you about….. IT’S A HOLIDAY PEOPLE! Relax and have a good time…. You’ll live longer!!! Keep em coming John, we need our daily dose of humour 🙂

    Damian (from Australia)

  42. Glen Halter says:

    Hi John,
    I usually don’t comment on your blog, but I can’t let this go without responding. Carnival needs to take a stand against this issue with chewing tobacco. If any responsible person thinks it is OK to spit/drool tobacco juice in public, they are nuts. I sure don’t want to see someone spitting into a bottle or cup and be carrying it around. Also if they get bumped and spill this who gets to clean it up. I would think if Carnival took a poll on this it would be close to 9 out of 10 for banning this in public places.

  43. James Bell says:

    John, I’d be alright if you or the beards instituted a ban on any post where you are addressed as “Heald”. It makes me cringe when I read it. I’m not the type that never complains, but I do believe you can still be respectful when you do.

    • Ronald Moyer says:

      I wish, when people refer to you John, as Heald, you address them back as their last name. Right Endicott?

  44. Fern says:

    “Besides and I say this respectfully….. I personally don’t need a medium……I speak to my Dad every day.”

    I enjoy all of your blog post’s, but this sentence is SO important! What other people think is not important. I speak to my Mom and Dad every day, too.

    May your memories of your Dad be a blessing to you, John.

    I wish you were going with us on the Carnival Legend from LA to Australia in the fall.

  45. Jon Ketchem says:

    John, you are a card. I am a hopeless cruise addict, although my dear bride of 22 tears and I have only been able to scratch up the fare 3 times(teachers ans nurses with college age students watchbtheir pennies). Reading your FB posts and blog help me eke out the withdrawal pain here in my land exile until we can return to our hearts home, a Funship. I want or need nothing from you, but desired to tell you how much I respect you. I also speak to my departed Daddy often. It truly amazes me how much more I respect his advice to me the longer wecare seperated. Anyway, be well, and may you always have safe voyages in God’s favor.
    Jon Ketchem, Staff Sergeant, USArmy, Ret.

  46. Cruiser Dave says:

    Any comment wherein the person capitalizes “platinum” or states that they are VIP should be completely and thoroughly mocked and discounted. Platinum is not a “very important person”, it is only a milestone for all cruisers, who on Carnival are supposed to be VIFPs – but take the Fun out and you are nothing, and certainly not a VIP. Get that snobbery and class distinction out of your head and you just might enjoy your cruise.

    • tess says:

      I agree MaryAnn. I’ve purchased FFTF for Sept on the Dream. Don’t be hatin’people!

  47. Ronald Moyer says:

    John, you don’t have to call Miss_________, from The American Association of Psychics and Mediums. As she is a Pshchic, she already knows what you are going to say.

  48. Ronald Moyer says:

    John, you don’t have to call Miss_________, from The American Association of Psychics and Mediums. As she is a Psyhchic, she already knows what you are going to say.

  49. Lynne brown says:

    Big dilemma John! Our 3 past cruises have been in Caribbean. 2 with Carnival and 1 on a beautiful yet a bit boring X ship. Booked on Breeze for Feb. We always said we were too young for Alaskan cruise and were ok with waiting until we retire. Problem is that you’ve posted so many beautiful pics that we now think we have to forego an awesome Caribbean winter getaway in 2016 and experience the glacier beauty. I’m mad at you for having such an amazing FB page! Now I have to figure out a way to afford a winter and summer vacation in one year. Thanks for having such an informative and funny FB and blog page! So glad I stumbled a crossed it. I never really knew who you were until a few months ago but you sure help to put the fun in funship. (Along with the superior Carnival crew….can’t be compared to any other!!

  50. Pam Wagner says:

    I get more and more aggravated everytime I read something by a PLATINUM guest! I’ve only been on 4 carnival cruises (7 cruises total), but hopefully will never think that, because I’ve cruised more times than someone else, it makes me a better person! Be thankful for the perks you’ve gotten, be thankful you can AFFORD to cruise that often!

  51. Nikita says:

    All this platinum status stuff is overrated. Who cares we all pay and we’ll always be treated equally…lol people crack me up!

    Enjoy life and stop complaining…perfection is not an option.

  52. Daniel Michael says:


    I just wanted to drop in and tell you how much I love reading the blogs, and some of the letters from other cruisers. My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Facination from Jacksonville, FL to the Bahamas back in April. This was our first cruise and we were celebrating our 5 year anniversary. It was all we expected and more, and the staff was more than courteous the entire time. We’ve actually made the decision that our family vacation, starting in 2015 since we’ve already paid for this year’s, will be a cruise with Carnival. When we ran the numbers it would be almost $600 cheaper to do this than stay at a hotel, then have to pay for meals, entertainment, etc. You guys have cruisers for life!! And I saw in a note above to you where someone asked about Biscuits and Gravy being added to the menu…… I can confirm they are (or at least were in April) on the menu on board the Fascination. And damn good I might add! Keep up the great work !!!!

  53. colin thomson says:

    I was just wondering when the VISTA will be ready for booking.I Booked theBREZZE 6 months before she hit water.I am looking forward to the newest wonder THANKS

  54. grizel robertson says:

    John, this is not a priority request for anything from you, rather it is an enquiry forced on me by some of my British friends who cannot understand my loyalty to Carnival. I was fortunate to reach Diamond level on BC6 and have sailed many more days since then. However, I am constantly badgered by Brits who swear by RCCL and it’s superior loyalty programme. I know you cannot quote the number of RCCL platinum guests etc. I would like to know how many Brits have Diamond status with Carnival. I suspect that there are not many and I want to change that statistic to prove that Carnival has appeal east of the Pond! Looking forward to 36 days on Legend to Oz.

  55. Ken Harrison says:

    Chewing tobacco a Constitutional right? Uh…no way. Hey Texas…better bone up on your study of the Constitution…you are way off base on this!!

  56. J. Morrow says:

    You amaze me with the genuine way you deal with troublemakers. what a wonderful sense of humor you have. Customer service is so very hard and you do it very well.

    We are sailing on the Freedom June 28th Cabin 7341. We have had a very, very rough year. This was a last minute booking to just get away from our lives for a bit. We’ve lost jobs, had to close our business we’ve worked night and day at. My husband has been stoic through it all and I wish I could help him with his hurt pride. We’re doing all we can to keep our chins up and hope this cruise will help us get through some really tough times to come.

    Thank you for what you do. Only wish you were going to be our CD!

  57. Matthew C says:

    Hi John,
    My dream since I was little and went on my first cruise was to become a cruise director for carnival and i know you must start as entertainment staff but on the carnival site there is no catagory – entertainment staff- what should I do?

    I love carnival, keep up the good work!
    Matthew C

  58. Nissa Shakocius says:

    Hi John,

    My family and I are getting ready to sail on our sixth Carnival cruise on the Valor on July 13!! My husband really enjoys your Facebook page and your blog, and says he has been inspired to become buddies with the CD on the Valor. Could you please tell us who is holding that post right now and is he as funny as you? Thanks for your great blog!

    Nissa Shakocius

  59. Todd says:

    As for the biscuits and gravy, just off of the Sunshine Saturday and they had them on the breakfast buffet. The biscuits were not that great but the gravy was really good. I do remember them on the Fantasy as well.

  60. Brandon Jordan says:

    John thank you for all you do. My wife and I just returned from our first cruise, Truimph 5 day were we met Mike the CD. He was everywere always smiling and eager to talk. The wife and I enjoyed our cruise so much we booked the triumph 4 day in july with our kids this time.

    thanks carnival for making family memories afordable

  61. Laura says:

    Marty Eastman,
    I am a Texas born and raised and I think seeing someone with a spit cup is just NASTY!! I am so happy that Carnival has the gumption to not allow this. I wish it was banned every where.
    John, I love the blog and wish you all of the best. Keep up the good work ane keep working on those carbs.

  62. kruiserkanuck says:

    As a Canadian, I am quite impressed that the US Constitution actually protects Texans’ right to chew/spit tobacco in public. Fascinating! *snicker*
    And if the psychic were real, she wouldn’t have bothered to even ask for the room- she’d know the answer. 😉

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Mr Texas is actually incorrect.

      Tobacco in America (smoking or smokeless) is NOT a right,. It is a privilege (like alcohol).

  63. Marianne says:

    John, your motto could be the Bible proverb, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” I find it hard to believe that the cribbage-playing Joyce Ward and the “proud Texan” Marty Eastman could possibly be real people, but you gives even the most outlandish poster the benefit of the doubt. I admire your patience.

  64. Luis R says:

    Chewing tobacco a constitutional right??? hmmm…. Don’t think so. Even then, the US Constitution means nothing aboard a foreign flagged ship in international waters.

  65. Tony says:

    Hey John,

    Just a quick note to say thank you for what you do. Man, what a difficult job you have! I’m a psychotherapist, and thought that I had it tough… until I found your blog. I see now that you have to deal with many more crazy people than I do on a daily basis. As a proud Carnival customer, please let me apologize on behalf of all of the idiots who give you grief on a daily basis… the rude ones, the pretentious, the whiners, the constant complainers, the drunk and sloppy, and the flat out mean human beings.

    I know you already know this — but please let me reaffirm that… those people have mental health issues, and it is not your fault. You would think that someone could go on vacation and just enjoy it, without having to find a problem… and although I’m sure you give a great deal of your time to ‘those people’, I hope you know that the majority of us love what you’re doing.

    My partner and I are sailing this Sunday the 29th, on the Magic out of Galveston. Wish it was with you so we could have a chance to say hi! Maybe sometime.

    Don’t let the stress get to you, John! Thanks for the cool blog, and thank you so much to all cruise directors for the non-stop hard work you put in to give us all a good vacation. On behalf of all of the sane humans in the world — we appreciate you.



  66. tess says:

    Dear dear Jamie McCarty.
    First of all you got something for the thousands of dollars you spent for 14 cruises and you get perks that others don’t regardless of FFTF.
    Sick to your stomach? Really? Take some immodium, a valium, and a advil for that slap across the face. “These people” are paying for the service, you still get on before them. So, you are from The Villages? FFS, whoopy f’n do da. You are platinum important people? All guests are important people. You really need to get a grip on reality and relax. I’m just shaking my head. wow.

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