Making Home Work – Work

June 30, 2015 -

John Heald

That great English tradition has started – no, I’m not talking about the weather. I am, of course, talking about Wimbledon, arguably the top tennis tournament in the world. Are you excited? Some of you are and many definitely are not because, for some, tennis is about as exciting as reading 50 Shades of Grey with all the rumpy pumpy bits taken out. Wimbledon takes it to a whole new level. Hundreds of elderly English people with their sunburn and their emergency wet weather gear sit there eating their cucumber sandwiches and applaud absolutely everything.

They clap for double faults from anyone who is taking on their beloved Andy Murray (who is actually Scottish and has posters of Mel Gibson in Braveheart on his bedroom wall) and when the umpire asks someone to turn off their cell phone, the applause reaches new heights.

Unfortunately, what you have to remember is that Wimbledon attracts enormous television audiences from all over the world. I often wonder what these sophisticated people from abroad are going to think of England when they see some hysterical women applauding and cheering because a sodding pigeon has just landed on center court just as Djockitch is about to serve.

The ladies favourite is, of course, Nadal, who most girls belive to be, “a hunk.” That’s why I rejoice anytime he is beaten by some lanky Ubesikkasistahnian. Then there is Federer who although he has won numerous championships I think is as boring as boring can possibly be.

I often wish that tennis players would lose their tempers more and move into the realms of ice hockey where if they lost a point or the other player hits them in the bollocks with a tennis ball, then they have the right to jump over the net and bludgeon the other one with their racket. And, of course, with Wimbledon will come the multiple requests to show tennis on the big screen which, the two finals aside, we are not going to do. Instead, they will be shown in the sports bars and in other areas of the ship.

I had better go empty the dishwasher as I have promised my wife I would do this for the last three hours and, if I do not do it before she gets back from her grocery shopping, I will be in my own tennis match shouting “new balls, please.” So while I do that, you have a read of today’s Q&A, here we go.

Tori asks:
Hello John: There was a contest on Facebook and the link is down about giving free vacations. Was this true? I wanna know how the names would be published for the winners.

John says:
Hello Tori

I am sorry to say that this was a faux Carnival page and not affiliated with us. We have reported it to Facebook. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.


Erik Dobusin asks:
Looking at the photos of your daughter christening Carnival Vista makes my skin crawl and such is the depth of my resentment I am not sure if I can ever cruise on Carnival Vista. Why was this once in a lifetime opportunity given to a child who deserves it like one of the children at St. Jude’s – a charity your company supports? That would have been the right decision. It would have been a decision that would have gotten you far better press than the daughter of some egotistical cruise director with a small insignificant social media page. I am shaking my head in disbelief that Carnival allowed this — disgusting all around.

John says:
Hello Eric Dobusin

That really makes me sad and I hate so much to make any of our guests feel this way. We already do so much with and so much for our charity partners at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and maybe in future days we can look at including someone who has benefited from the extraordinary facilities there. In fact, the godmother of Carnival Magic was Lindsey Wilkerson whose inspirational story took her from a patient at St. Jude to an executive who christened the ship so wonderfully. The photos, videos and my posts on my blog and on my Facebook page of the coin ceremony attracted over 300,000 views and I am sure there were thousands more who watched and read on other news outlets and saw what I think was the brilliant job Kye did ………. and she is only six years old. The actual godmother of the Carnival Vista has yet to be announced and she will actually christen and name the ship officially. What Kye did was just for the coin ceremony and float out. I hope this explanation helps calm you a little a bit and I hope that we will see you on your Carnival Vista, our best ship ever. Best wishes.


Peter Manzi asks:
Heald: Lots of us are on Cruise Critic and the topic of today is about the steakhouse and tipping the servers. It was suggested that an extra tip not be given in cash because it is supposed to be pooled and the servers cheat each other if actual dollars are given and keep the cash. There were also questions why Carnival will not be upfront and clear on what tip is included in the $35 charge if this is indeed the truth Heald. I eat at least once maybe twice on each cruise up at the steakhouse so I deserve an answer, don’t I? Just like the other Cruise Critic members who were asking.

John says:
Hello Peter Manzi

Thanks for thinking of the servers at our brilliant steakhouses, you are very kind indeed. The $35 does include a gratuity. I am not going to disclose how much but there is a gratuity involved in the $35 charge plus the servers are given salary, of course, by Carnival. As for not tipping in cash because “servers cheat each other if actual dollars are given and keep the cash, “that is simply incorrect in every way. The servers work in pairs and as a team and would never do that — it is a job requirement. But it is also just as important to note that when the bill comes and you pay that the wine steward or bartender or the steakhouse manager is the one to bring the check and punch it through, not the servers. So I thank all our guests who do think that the food and service at our steakhouses deserve an extra tip and, most of all, I hope you enjoy many more great experiences at our steakhouses. Best wishes.


Stewart Hicks asks:
Need to know the comedians on our Carnival Dream 7/12 cruise. Who are they?!?!

John says:
Hello Stewart Hicks

You will be brilliantly entertained by Arvin Mitchell, Steven Quezeda, Mark Simmons and Tim Cavanagh. Have a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.


Laura Sergent asks:
Hello, do you have any more info on what ship Kevin Donahue will be on after November?

John says:
Hello Laura Sergent

Thanks for asking, I am sure he will be thrilled to know someone was asking what ship he will be on. We have not yet completed the CD schedule for 2016 and, when I do have an updated one, I will post it here on the blog so please, stay tuned. Best wishes.


Michelle jones asks:
Hello….would like to find out the name and location of pier for my January 2016 Carnival Pride cruise that stops in San Juan…THANKS. Happy sailing to you!!!

John says:
Hello Michelle Jones

I am afraid that docking information is not released this far in advance by the port authority. However, for the most part, she docks at the San Juan cruise terminal north in Old San Juan. I hope this helps somewhat and let me know if I can help you further. Best wishes.


Lainey Adelstein asks:
I am not an experienced Carnival cruiser but I am told you are the man, John – the big cheese, the big kahuna!! Please then can you help me with something because I am trying to repair a friendship so if you can hear me out and hopefully help me out. I want to tell you about my best friend __________. We went to college together at Texas A & M and became firm friends and it stayed that way after we both graduated. Some weeks ago we were texting. I asked her how her boyfriend ———- ————- was doing. Her reply said that he was not her boyfriend anymore.

Without much thought I told her that I was happy he was not her boyfriend anymore because he was self-centered and obtuse. Her reply text said he is not my boyfriend anymore — he is my fiancé!

She has barley spoken to me since and I am devastated. I have tried to repair our friendship but it has been one-way traffic. Her mom told me that on July 5 they will both be on a Carnival cruise on the ship Carnival Magic. She also told me about you and how you helped her John with a problem she had on her cruise and she suggested I write to you with the idea we talked about because she really wants our friendship to get back to the way it was. The idea is that I send a video apology you can play it on the jumbo screen. Is this possible? What format and how do I get it to you???? I feel such a schmuck and am heartbroken. Can you help???

John says:
Hello Lainey

I can imagine how awful you must feel and I think it is admirable that you are trying to fix this situation and rejuvenate your friendship. A video message is not possible and not something we really should as a cruise line get in the middle of, I am sure you will understand why. However, I will send her a bottle of champagne and some chocolate strawberries with a note that simply says: “Sorry, your friend always – Lainey.” Fingers crossed that she will use this to toast what I truly hope will be a friendship reborn. Best wishes.


Jacinda Collymore asks:
Hello, John. Back in 2001 my sister and I cruised on Carnival Triumph and met you and you picked my sister, Jade, to be in a skit with you. She was asleep, remember John? If not see it here because someone filmed it and put it on YouTube. You made my sister so famous that in the islands she was having photos taken. Jade has completed her 10 years in the United States Army and to celebrate our families are cruising on Carnival Fascination on July 9. Thank you, John, for the laughs and for making my sister who will still call Mary a star something she will never forget we wish you were cruising with us.

John says:
Hello Jacinda Collymore

What a wonderful memory and what a star your sister was. Please would you thank her for the service she continues to give and I will make sure I send her something to reflect that. I wish you all a brilliant time together and loads of fun. Best wishes.


Anna Hoult asks:
Bringing to your attention the dissatisfaction on Cruise Critic message boards of giving beggars and cheerleaders ships on sticks when they are not earned. This was recently shared on the Cruise Critic message boards. Who cares if it is a birthday or a graduation blah blah. I am platinum I play by the rules and try and win a trophy, not beg you for one. I guess those of us who play by the rules are punished. Really wanted to win one for my collection on Carnival Sensation cruise but won nothing. But my head is held high because I refuse to beg you for one. You need to stop handing these out because it is upsetting loyal customers!!!

John says:
Hello Anna Hoult

The trophies are still so popular and, after all these years, this is great to read. I do send trophies to people who are celebrating a special occasion and who ask me and it really does no harm in doing so, there really isn’t. It is the little things like this that really can put the icing on the cruise cake, so I will keep doing it because simply, it makes people smile. Please know you can always ask me for one and I want to thank you also for your loyalty and long may that continue. Best wishes.


That’s all for today and thanks so much for all the comments and, of course, for reading my musings here on the blog.

It is actually easier for me to write blogs when I was a proper cruise director, living on a ship for a few months at a time, not just material-wise but because on the ship I have a pattern, a time plan. I used to write early in the morning while most guests were still asleep and dreaming of their next chocolate melting cake. Then I would write after midnight while guests were in the casino, at the Punchliner Comedy Club or gyrating in the nightclub trying to impress young men whose pants are down by their knees and who in turn were being drooled over by herds of cougars. Yep, I found a way to balance writing my blog and keeping up with thousands of people on Facebook as well as making sure I had lots of stage time and I was accessible to the guests.

Working from home is not so easy. It really isn’t. Yes, on paper it sounds good. Some think it is a license to take loads of time off to watch Game of Thrones and The Real Housebitches of Plastic Surgery County. Yep, the boss cannot see what you’re doing so you do what you want, have a two-hour lunch break, take a nap and have mid-afternoon rumpy pumpy. Trust me, that theory is total bollocks.

I think I work harder and for longer from home than I do when I was on a ship. However, as I sit here in my underpants which, of course, if I did in the Miami HQ offices, wouldn’t go down too well with Bianca in accounting. I can’t help thinking if working from home is the future for many jobs, yes, even yours.

With Eye pads and lap tops in most households these days, it means people can work from anywhere, so does location really matter if the job gets done? If Carnival had everyone work from home wouldn’t more work get done?

There would be no being stuck in traffic on I-95, no lunch breaks, bugger all water-cooler gossiping about how Mark in hotel operations has terrible flatulence. And most of all, there is no getting ready in the morning. I get out of bed and waddle in my underpants straight to the computer and not having to dress for success each day would produce another hour’s work for the men and three hours or more for women.

“What about meetings,” I hear you cry? Working from home, you couldn’t attend the meetings. “Bloody brilliant,” I say because the world, including the world of Carnival, has gone meeting mad and if you do insist in having meetings then we have Skype, of course.

I guess though it all comes down to whether your boss trusts you to get the job done from home or not. One of the problems is that changing to working at home does mean agreeing to rules on interruptions. There have, therefore, been no high heels and suspenders moments but it wasn’t for want of trying, but my wife, Heidi, said the suspenders didn’t suit me, and the high heels were a health and safety issue and frightened our dog.

Anyway, on Thursday I will leave the bosom of my family and off I go to Miami and join the Carnival Glory for the July 4 cruise and then onto the Carnival Paradise to see, help, advise and have fun with my good friend and Cruise Director Calvyn Martens. I will be writing some old style blogs from these ships and sharing with you what the guests are enjoying and maybe what one or two are not. So please join me here on my blog and on my page.

I will be sailing a lot more over the coming months with some Carnival Journeys to host plus of course, more Carnival Vista filming, a cruise director conference on September 25 and maybe one or two other ship visits. Meanwhile I will be working on my blog and, of course, on my Facebook page from home and I really do encourage more of you to work from home too. If you decide to do this, here are some of the guidelines I suggest you follow.

 You must do the following

  • Ring your boss from bed as soon as the alarm goes off — all the better if you wake him or her up.
  • Continue to email and Skype your boss at least three times a day, even if you have bugger all to report.
  • Mute the TV before answering a ringing phone. Your boss will not appreciate hearing “winter is coming John Snow” or “and this stunning set of Ginsu knives is yours for only $44.99 if you call now.”

You must not do the following –   Boast that you’ve just watched all five seasons of Game of Thrones in three days

  • Make your six-year-old daughter act as a secretary. It may help you feel like an executive, but she will not be ready for the job.
  • Stand up during telephone conferences — your mostly white underpants will become visible to all.

The other good thing about working from home is you don’t have to worry about what to wear. And although I am often found writing wearing only my underpants, when I do get dressed, I tend to wear whatever happens to be nearest to the bed and don’t really care if my socks don’t match. The other day, by mistake, I went took Kye to school wearing odd sneakers.

That’s it for another blog; the next one will be live from the Carnival Glory as we celebrate the 4th of July and eight days of fabulous cruising together.

First of all, I have to renew my ESTA Visa to allow me travel to the United States. This means I have to state I have no convictions for drug smuggling, that I am not wanted by any known law enforcement agency and that on my trip to Miami that I am not going to be carrying any snails.

It doesn’t mention lions or scorpions or rabid yaks……….just snails. I wonder why? The problem is that it is summer here in the UK and we have lots of snails in our back garden. My daughter loves anything that is an animal and keeps bringing the snails indoors in a box and feeds them bits of fruit. This morning one of her snails who, for some reason, she called Rosie escaped and its whereabouts are unknown. So if you read about a chubby grey haired brand ambassador of a cruise line being arrested at Miami airport by a guns-drawn, anthrax-protocol biohazard suited Defcon 1 lockdown SWAT team…………… will know that Rosie has been found.


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.