I have never been able to understand anyone of the male species who purchases something for practical reasons. I imagine him to have far too much time on his hands and most likely he is wearing a pair of sandals. How can they spend an entire morning reading online reviews of washing machines? But even worse, who the sodding heck can be bothered to write an online review of a washing machine? They’re all the same. They’re white and boxy and after they’ve finished making your underpants clean, they beep, telling your wife it’s time to empty it and put it in the other white boxy thing next to it that dries the underpants so they are ready to wear for another week or two.

How did our parents ever decide what to buy with no Internet? Yep, times have changed because so many people are so very quick to write a review on everything and anything. I keep being told there are now better phones on the market than my Blackberry (Raspberry), and really couldn’t careless less. Yes, they may have better cameras and battery life and apps and I may be a dinosaur but I don’t care how many reviews there are and I don’t care that I am not a member of the Apple cult and don’t know the secret handshake. I love my Blackberry.

But online reviews are very much part of today and, of course, I include the world of cruising in that. People write reviews here and many on my Facebook page as well as on Carnival’s social media page and on places like Cruise Mates, Cruise Critic and other sites. And these reviews are important, I totally understand this. But what I hate……yes, I used the word “hate” there, not a word I often use but I really do despise reading that the occasional post I receive where someone says that they will “not ever cruise on that ship because of a review I read by someone with the screen name SeeBurp.”

Cruise reviews are so important, they provide praise and they provide a way for us to see what you think is brilliant and what you don’t and the “don’t” is as important as anything. But I ask you to always remember that reviews are personal comments, they are a personal view of the cruise and, of course, for every one negative review, there are so many, many more who had the best of times and yet do not write about it. There is concern about the legitimacy of some reviews on some sites, which I often suspect may have been written by people who didn’t actually cruise on that ship or it has been written by a supporter of a rival cruise line.

So I hope that if you do have time, you can post your review on one of Carnival’s social media sites. Good or bad, they are important to us and using your real name gives that review a huge dollop of credibility and, when deciding on what ship to sail on, I would never suggest you base that decision on just one review.

Most reviews are relevant and useful. Some are not and are as pointless as putting turning signals on cars sold to drivers from Miami.

OK, time for today’s Q and A……………….here we go.

Barbara Gray asks:
Good morning. I am a Gold cardholder and I have a couple of questions. Please forgive me if they have been answered previously. I just found your blog after someone recently told me about it while on Carnival Sunshine (which I loved). 1: Can you try an adults-only cruise. I love children and cruising but the wild kids running around are obnoxious. They take over the pool,

They push all the elevator buttons and misbehave at dinner! I would like an over 18 cruise.

2: Smoking on balconies. Can you try to designate some balconies that allow smoking? You want our money in the casino?????

John says:
Hello Barbara Grey

I guess I should start out by saying that Carnival is proud to be the world’s favourite cruise line for families and I honestly doubt that we will ever go to an adults-only ship. In fact, the only mainstream cruise line I am aware of that does have an adults only vessel is our sister company P&O. While I definitely cannot say we will never have an adults-only ship I can definitely say that the days of smoking on balconies have gone, never to return. It is the way of the world and it is the safe thing and the right thing to do and I say that as a lover of fine cigars. I know that this is not the answer you wanted but I hope we will continue to see you sail with us and one day you will hold Platinum and even a Diamond card. Best wishes.


David Newman asks:
Your Wikipedia page should read: John Heald, someone who knows nothing about cruising. Someone who panders to the cheerleaders to promote his over inflated ego John Heald, someone who, if there was a remake of Bonanza, would be a shoe-in to play “Hoss.”

John says:
Hello David Newman

I loved Bonanza; I have wonderful memories of watching that with my father whom I miss very much. Thank you, then, for reminding me of those special times. That was very kind. Best wishes.


Craig Tompkins asks:
I apologize if this is a repeat, I tried to send a message from my phone in San Juan and I have a feeling it didn’t go thru. We were on Carnival Breeze last week and had a great time on our eight-day cruise. I love the ship and Dr. E was a great cruise director. I’ve sailed with you once and I have to say the two of you are the best two CD’s I’ve had. Anyway, I do have a complaint that I feel Carnival needs to look into. My wife and I had late dinning in the MDR and were sat with three other couples. One couple showed up for only one night and one couple showed up for four of the eight nights. It’s the last couple at the table however that I want to mention. While dinner started at 8:15 p.m. they would enter the dining room between 8:45 p.m. (one night) and 9:15 p.m. (two nights) usually right at 9 p.m. I understand that Carnival wants to be as friendly and cooperative to all guests as possible, but their extremely late arrival interrupts the flow of the meal for the wait staff, guests at their table (us) and guests at other tables having the same wait staff. Their delay caused dinner to run late every night. We even missed the ability to get to the 10:15 p.m. shows on time on two nights. 10 p.m. comedy show? We only made it one time and since we could not get in line early we had to stand at the back. The other times our only option was to enter after the show started or skip it. I really wish that after a certain point (maybe 8:30 p.m. – 15 minutes after scheduled dinning) the hostess would not allow guests in. Give them the option to go to anytime dinning or to eat at any of the other locations on board. There are plenty of them for sure. Or maybe let them in the first time and let them know what time dinner starts and the second time move them to anytime dinning. I understand there are a lot of logistics with just moving guests to different dinning times (or anytime) but there has to be a better way than to allow them to disrupt the wait staff and all of those staffs tables.

Craig Tompkins

13 Carnival Cruises

John says:
Hello Craig Tompkins

Thanks so much for the kind words on Dr. E — or Everson as he is sometimes called. I will pass this on to him and he will be thrilled indeed. I have to agree with you. Unless there are circumstances that are unavoidable, being that late for dinner and thus affecting service is something that should not happen. I will apologise to you for that, I can understand your frustration and it will be addressed I am sure by the hotel director to whom I am sending your post. Thank you for letting me know and I hope you did, this problem aside, have a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.


Lynn Corbyn asks:
I need to get the mini bar emptied for our Carnival Magic cruise on the linked booking number ******. DH is a recovering alcoholic. He cannot and must not have any alcoholic beverages that easy to hand. We have 4 cabins booked on this cruise and I am PLATINUM and so are the Colespears in ****.!!!!.

John says:
Hello Lynn Corbyn

Yes, of course, please do not worry, I am happy to help and understand the importance of this. I see you are not sailing with us until September, so can I ask that so I do not forget to send me this request again to my Facebook.com/johnheald page or here on the blog again two days before the cruise and I will ask the ship to make it so. If there is anything else I can do please let me know. Best wishes.


Marsha Kirby asks:
Can you help me…just wanting to know who the CD is for November 21 Carnival Glory cruise out of Miami….read it thru the grapevine it could be you? I best get my John Heald fan fans made with the spam can. Hahahaha! Thanks for the gifts for the Facebook group cruise a few weeks ago…..everyone appreciated getting them! You rock!

John says:
Hello Marsha Kirby

You are most welcome and I hope you and your Facebook friends all had a brilliant time together and that there will be a reunion cruise soon. I am afraid the grapevine was wrong. It will not be me who has the honour of being your cruise director. I actually cannot say who it will be just yet because of the changes that are ongoing. However, a new schedule is just around the corner and, the moment, I have it I will post it here. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you and hope to see you soon. Best wishes.


Mayte Cardenas asks:
Hi: We have cruised with Carnival and I don’t think we will ever change. I lost a baby seven years ago. He was born four months too early and passed away. I have my baby’s ashes with me and, since we started cruising in 2013, I have wanted to let my babies ashes go into the sea. My question is does Carnival do a small ceremony before we let go of the ashes into sea? And if it’s permitted? And, if so, what are the requiredments? Thank you. Hope to hear from you soon. We plan to book for next year in April 2016.

John says:
Hello Mayte Cardenas

I write this with a heavy heart full of condolences for the tragic loss of your little one. My thoughts are with you. Please know that I am ready here to make all the arrangements should you wish to scatter your son’s ashes. You do not have to worry about anything, just let me know closer to the time and I will make sure all is ready for you. If there is anything at all I can do please let me know and I will be here for you. Once again, my deepest condolences.


Todd Lehman asks:
This will be our seventh cruise with Carnival coming up in October on Carnival Miracle. This, however, will be the first cruise where Seuss at Sea will be offered. By reading comments on Facebook, the breakfast with Seuss is very popular and don’t want my kids to miss it. What I can’t seem to find is how you sign up for it. Can it be made prior to boarding or is it available from guest services upon boarding? Please let me know so I can make reservations for this as soon as possible.

John says:
Hello Todd Lehman

I actually spoke about this with the beards today and during the summer months with high counts of families and children we will, when needed, repeat the breakfast to make sure everyone who wants to attend can do so. I hope you all enjoy the Green Eggs and Ham and all the fun.

Best wishes.


Kathy Mara asks:
My husband and I both use a mobility scooter. Is the 24-hour pizza station accessible to get to on Carnival Sunshine because we have heard it is not .Do you deliver pizza to the cabins. Is there a charge? Our cruise on Carnival Sunshine is July 10. We would need a table, not a booth, and chairs with no arms, please. It will be my husband’s 40th birthday cruise and we are so excited.

John says:
Hello Kathy Mara

Please do not worry all of our restaurants and food areas are accessible to you. Plus I have asked the maître d for a table, not a booth as you requested. We do not though deliver pizza to the room on this ship, although we are testing it on others. I wish you both a great time together and loads of fun. Best wishes.


Tim Hennessey asks:
Hello John. My wife and three children have one of the new family rooms booked on the Carnival Vista from Athens. Today I read a post on Cruise Critic. The author, SeeBurd, says the Carnival Vista has been seized by the Italian government and no work is being done on her and the ship will not be ready in time. Does this mean our cruise may change? This is making us nervous. We have saved hard for this cruise. Can you let us know what is happening, please, John.

John says:
Hello Tim Hennessey

Please don’t worry. I posted on my Facebook.com/johnheald page just yesterday photos of your Carnival Vista leaving her dry dock and sailing to her wet dock where the work is continuing. The cruises are as scheduled and I am sure you will enjoy this ship, she is going to be totally brilliant. Best wishes.


That’s all we have time for today and my thanks to everyone who has commented and posted questions here. The blog now has 20 million page views since its inception…more than most washing machines review sites, I think.

I would like to say a big hello to a young lady called Adison. She is just six years old and recently sailed on the Carnival Paradise. Her Mother wrote to me here on the blog and told me that she was sailing to celebrate her birthday. Adison is has a rare condition that means she has to inject medicine four times every day and have a blood transfusion twice a month. She never complains, never cries and is very brave. Her Mum’s post really touched me. Her Mum did not ask me for anything except a private table because of the difficulties Adison has eating, however I spoke to my colleagues on the ship who made the cruise so very special for her and I thank them so very much for all they did. This kind of thing is one of the reasons I am so lucky to have this blog. It is a way for people like Adison’s Mum to let us know about a special person who is sailing and allows me to set the wheels in motion to make their Carnival cruise vacation even more fun and even more memorable. Please do let me know if there is ever anything I can do for you or your family.

In a recent blog, I wrote about our commitment to improving our selection of live music and I wanted to give you a quick update on what has happened in the last three weeks. Unfortunately the beards did not like my idea of putting Peruvian Pipe Bands on Lido and instead we have started to add Caribbean duos. We have them on five ships already and more are coming soon. I know many of you will applaud the return of the sounds of the Caribbean, the sound of the places you are going to as you sit in the sun and listen to Yellow Bird, I Shot The Sheriff, Red Red Wine and I Like Big Bottoms, or is it I Like Big Arses, or I Like Big Buttocks or I Like Kim Kardashian?

Anyway, Caribbean music is definitely coming home to Carnival. There are more party bands than before and, by the way, if you are heading to the Carnival Ecstasy you will see Mambo Magic……..a seven-piece…..yes, seven-piece Latin Band with brass, drums and a female singer who is definitely going to provide some Latin heat. So here I am back on the Carnival Glory, a ship I delivered back in 2000 and something and where the assistant cruise director was a young lady called Heidi Heald.

It is always superb to be back on a ship after a few weeks at home and, again, I am, so lucky to be able to have the best of both worlds spending time at home and time on board. The ship looks great and just two weeks ago Carnival’s President Christine Duffy presented the captain and crew with an award for being rated as the “happiest crew” in the fleet, the second year in a row that Carnival Glory has won this. This tells you the caliber of the crew here and it is evident to me just why they have won that award again.

I will be hosting my Marriage Show tomorrow and then a Morning Show and a Q&A at the end of the cruise. I cherish the times I can get the microphone in my hand and entertain again, I do miss that very much.

Regardless of what menu our ships have, one thing that remains constant is that you, our guests, love the brilliant service and fun provided by the waiters in the dining room. And you know, I noticed something last night that I haven’t noticed before, when you order from one of our waiters, they write what you ordered down on a piece of paper. I say that because I have seen a trend recently in restaurants on land where this does not happen and it drives me stark raving bonkers.

Instead they just stand there, going: “Yes. Yes. Yes. Do you want fries with that?” I always say to myself, “Are you going to remember all this?” Then I worry about what they’re going to tell the chef. If they had written it down, they could give the chef the piece of sodding paper, which he or she could refer to thus making sure that I get my steak well done and not waved under a candle for a few moments so when I cut into it me, table mates and I feel like we are in the middle of a Walking Dead episode.

Waiters should have pads or, if they want to be modern, I guess they can have eye pads but Oh FFS, please Mr. and Mrs. Waiter……… write my order down like they do on the ships.

My diet continues here on the Carnival Glory and I am ignoring the delicious Guy’s burgers and saying “bugger off” to the honey glazed rack of pork and “hello” to the salmon and chicken.

I don’t want to look like an underpant models or Matt Mitcham. I know that my bulbous thighs will never look like theirs again. I just don’t want to carry this overhang of fat, this awning of flesh that my wife grabs with both hands and say “so cute” in her baby voice. I yearn for an end to buying pants and having to make the calculations about under or over my stomach. And so every day I am here on the ship, I will go to the gym and face the horror of a room full of mirrors.

There is an unforgettable moment when every man realises he hates mirrors and never looks at one while breathing out. If I ever get surprised by a sudden appearance of a mirror and I am not prepared with my stomach in……I suddenly see a grey blotchy, lumpy, hunched stranger, who seems to be collapsing forward like a hunchbacked yak. When I was home, my wife suggested that this weight loss and gym obsession was worrying her. She said I was having a mid-life crisis………………I was so shocked by that statement, I almost fell off my skateboard.

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.