I, Claudia

July 21, 2015 -

John Heald

As you know, I have just returned from the Carnival Paradise and I have to say it was so good to be on a Fantasy-class ship again. I was part of the delivery teams for Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Sensation and Carnival Imagination so I have special feelings for this class of ship. I was also lucky enough to stay on in a guest cabin. On Carnival Paradise, I was in an ocean view cabin on Riviera Deck and was a big, spacious cabin for sure. I’ve been traveling a lot recently and I’m always quite surprised by the amount of noise some guests in make when they are walking down the corridors both in a hotel and yes, even on our ships.

Yes, the vast majority of guests are considerate but there are a few who walk to and from their rooms talking as though the person they are with is 400 meters away. And they do this at all times of the night. And then there is something else…..the slamming of doors ……. Again, most people are considerate but there are others who it seems have to shut the door as hard as they possibly can. Maybe the doors are thicker in hotel rooms – thus harder to slam – and hotel guests are just bored out of their minds returning from a conference or the dreadful, overpriced food rather than returning energised from a great show or some laughter out loud moments at the Punchliner Comedy Club as they do on our ships.

Whatever the reason, having been woken a few times by banging doors at 2 am by the Waltons saying goodnight to each other I mentioned to both cruise directors on the two ships that they should consider an announcement along the lines of, “Consideration for your fellow guests, etc., please don’t slam the cabin doors FFS”…………OK, maybe not the FFS bit but you get my drift. When I was a regular CD I always made that announcement and I do think it made a difference, it really did, and I am sure most guests, not all, remembered what I had said and were a wee bit more sotto voce as they walked back to their cabins.

What’s your first act on walking into a hotel room? Me……well after I’ve checked and inspected the bed sheets for ummmmm……..“below the waist shrubbery,” I switch on the air conditioning to full. On cruise ships, air temperature can vary since we’re always traveling outside in the elements and people are constantly moving and opening and closing their doors and balconies. These past few months, our teams have worked hard to get the temperature right and that is not always easy to balance a ship’s air flow especially in these hot and humid summer months. But for the most part we have gotten a lot better and have seen complaints that a cabin or, indeed, a lounge is too cold or too hot.

I love air conditioning because I am, despite my diet, still sweat like a polar bear wearing a North Face Jacket and cuddling a hot water bottle. But Heidi, my wife, has other thoughts about this entirely because to her…..air conditioning is hell. I have heard this speech so many times over the years. “If I want a sore throat and runny nose I will go stand in the rain,” she will moan. We even argue about this in the car. I have to have some air on, especially when I am driving a long distance but this means Heidi has to sit with a vicious jet of cold air drilling into her face. After any long car journey when we have had the air on, I know that the next morning Heidi will wake up and tell me she has glands the size of a yak’s testicles. When we are in a hotel together the air conditioning battle gets nasty. I turn it down and as soon as I am gone she will turn it up. I like a temperature that means I have nipples that could hang a dozen hard hats while Heidi prefers it Amazon hot.

This battle has raged for many years and I have always won. That’s because whereas Heidi can add more layers when she is cold, my promise to remove all my clothing and walk around the room naked has meant that I am the winner supreme in AC wars. That is until six years ago. Because Heidi has a new weapon — our daughter, Kye. According to my wife we need to turn the air conditioning down because apparently a rapid movement of air may damage my daughter’s growth.

Anyway, I would appreciate your feedback on the ship’s air conditioning and please, don’t let the cabin door slam……….and yes, I will add a FFS to that.

Time for today’s questions, here we go.

Shirley asks:
I am retired and like to cruise often. My husband will only take three weeks of vacation a year. We recently moved to Houston and so we don’t have many friends yet. Is there somewhere that I can connect w/other single cruisers? I need a cruise buddy or two. BTW, I really enjoy your blog AND Facebook posts.

John says:
Hello Shirley

I hope by reading this someone will see your post and contact you. May I also suggest you have a look at our Funville pages on carnival.com? I do hope someone can contact you and you can start up a cruise friendship and that we will see you soon. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes


Missy Reynolds asks:
I am a frequent cruiser with Carnival (11 now) and my husband (eight). I was wondering if you could tell me the BEST time to do an Alaskan cruise? I was told by several that September is a good time because of the wildlife. Something about mating season and more will be out in the open to see. Is this true? I personally don’t want to go on a cruise where I need to wear a light jacket or long pants. I want sun, sand, and to come home with a good tan. BUT my husband has always wanted to sail the Alaskan cruise. He turned 40 in May and I’m looking to book one sometime this year. Your help in the planning would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much. Missy

John says:
Hello Missy Reynolds.

I have had the pleasure of doing a full season in Alaska and every single week was astonishing. We saw whales and other marine life every single week between June and mid-September so I really don’t think there is a time when you won’t see them. There is a naturalist on the ship who will tell you everything you are seeing and, personally, I like Alaska when it is colder so the early weeks in June and the last couple in September were my favourite times. I am sure regardless you will have an unforgettable experience and I hope therefore we see you soon. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.


Ian Rees asks:
Hey Heald: I feel the same way about the loud music on Carnival Sunshine. There was a rock band with two VERY loud vocalists who play in the evening at the Ocean Plaza bar. It is difficult to get away from the noise without completely leaving the area and that sucks because we want to enjoy the Alchemy Bar. Get rid of the live music there; have piped in music at low volume. Why does everything have to be so frigging LOUD, Heald??!!!!

John says:
Hello Ian Rees

I am sorry you feel the music is too loud in the Ocean Plaza. I do know the band that plays there and they are so very talented and are a huge draw for the guests but I realise that their music plays right next to the Alchemy Bar. Please allow me to address this with the entertainment director on the ship and see what she can do to look at the volume. Please do let me know if there is anything else I can do for you. Best wishes.


Cindy Larsen asks:
We have cruised with Carnival several times with a cruise director and his first name was Butch. The last time he was on the Carnival Breeze with us. Is he still with your fleet and which ship is he currently on? We are thinking about another cruise and would like to know which ship he is on? Thanks.


John says:
Hello Cindy Larsen

Yes, indeed, the great and so talented Butch Begovich. He is now a beard, meaning he works at our HQ in Miami and is a huge asset there but a huge loss on stage. I hope you will continue to cruise and enjoy some of our other so very talented CDs. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.


Chad Smith asks:
Since we can no longer bring bottles of nonalcoholic beverages on board, can we bring the NEW 4.5-ounce pouches of Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix? We used to bring small glass bottles of the mix but now can’t. Thanks

John says:
Hello Chad Smith

Yes, these are fine to bring on the ship. Let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.


Kelly Farago asks:
Carnival line is way behind current findings as I discovered on my cruise on the Carnival Valor just last week. Sales of gluten-free food have doubled in the past year in U.S. supermarkets and the number of people with an allergy to the protein found in wheat is said to be just 40 in 100. Your gluten-free products were few and far between and often unappetizing, Gluten free people are on the rise and Carnival should produce a menu for them or you will lose 40 out of 100 people who may have considered taking a cruise.

John says:
Hello Kelly Farago

I had no idea the number of people with Celiac or gluten allergies was so high so thanks for sharing that. We have come a long way with our gluten-free choices and I am sure we will get even better as more and more people request this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I will pass them on to the chef. Best wishes.


Paul asks:
Good day, Mr. Heald! I have a question that concerns something somewhat trivial. One of the friends I cruise with is rather addicted to Diet Mountain Dew. A 12-pack of Diet Dew is a mandatory carry-on item for him and his wife. Still, it’s not unusual for him to run out.

John says:
Hello Paul

I know this is a very popular drink but, unfortunately, it is not made by Coca Cola who we have an exclusive contract with. I am sorry but hopefully you can continue to bring this (cans not bottles) on the ship and maybe replenish in port. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


Breyanna Mikel asks:
I think it would be great if Carnival offered a Sips ‘N Stroke Step by Step Paint class as an activity on the cruises. Nothing would be more relaxing than painting a whale tail while cruising on the ocean. Perhaps, it could be available with an additional fee like the group exercise classes, The Chef’s Table, and Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast. The canvases could be about the size of a standard sheet of paper (8.5″ by 11″) to make it easier to pack, maneuver, get through customs, etc. Thanks for all you do!

John says:
Hello Breyanna Mikel

Yes, I agree and, in fact, someone else mentioned this and I have discussed with the beards to see if we should consider this on our longer Journey cruises. I will see what happens and, of course, let you know. Please do ask me if there is anything I can do meanwhile and hope to see you soon

Best wishes


Joe Head asks:
Hello, John. This is a request dealing with the new soft drink policy. Canned soda is not my favorite. The wife and I prefer to have twist top bottles for our stateroom so as not to waste unused portions or have it go flat. We normally bring our own (Ginger ale, diet Coke, diet Pepsi, and diet Mountain Dew are my favorites). Is there any way the beards in charge could offer us, and others, some cold twist tops for sale from one of the shops on the ship? I have seen some of the prices at local convenient stores hit close to $2 each, so I would have no problem paying around that price. It’s not that I would be drinking bunches of them; it’s just a nice option to have for that quick drink to take medicine or what not. Thanks, Joe.

John says:
Hello Joe Head

That’s not a bad suggestion. Please leave this with me and let me run this by the bar beard Eddie. The new policy is now in effect, so maybe this will help somewhat. Thanks for the suggestion and I will let you know as and when and if we move forward on this. Thanks again and best wishes.


Kristi asks:
Hi John! This isn’t a question, but a comment. I read a few comments on your Facebook post yesterday about the water bottle policy. I think it is smart that you guys are changing the policy. In all honestly, I have tried to sneak alcohol on in water bottles/iced tea bottles. I’m not proud, but I was young! Anyways… some people were saying it’s all about the money for you guys. I just want you all to know that most people don’t feel that way. There is a thread on the Carnival forums about this actually. You did what you could by dropping the price of water which was very nice! Thank you for your continued work and always keeping things fair!

John says:
Hello Kristi

It is very kind and a little brave as well to admit that you did what some others have done in the past and smuggled alcohol. Certainly we are seeing a huge dip in the number of smuggled items since the new policy came in to play. I am sure you speak for many when you say how much you appreciate the new water prices and we have just this past week changed our brand of water and I have tried it and can report that it is very good. Please do let me know if you have any questions and I am glad your smuggling days are over. Best wishes.


Claudia Crozier asks:
I have never read anyone who is more self-congratulating than you, John Heald. You are no different than ANY other Carnival employee. Your job is just visible for every one of your followers to ooh and aah over…that is the only difference. All this worship minimizes and belittles every other cruise director/hotel manager or other crew member that does there job quietly without all the adoration. I once asked you for a table for two by the window on the Carnival Dream and the table was so far from the window it was ridiculous. Stop blowing your own trumpet, nobody cares.

John says:
Hello Claudia Crozier

You are absolutely correct, having this page and my Facebook page does mean I publicly share all I try and do for all those who ask me for help. Yet the crew on every ship who helps so many guests each and every day do not have a forum like this to show off what they do. So I thank you for reminding me of that fact and I will say now a huge collective thank you to them all. Thanks for being kind enough to remind me of this and I hope you will let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


And we will leave it there for now and I will be back with more questions here soon and often on my facebook.com/johnheald page.

It was interesting reading Claudia Crozier’s post in today’s Q&A because it triggered a reaction I find myself doing often these days and that is seeing if this person is real, if they have a history with Carnival or if they are as fake as a Rolax and as real as breasts on The Real Housewives Of Orange Jersey. In fact, there is no record of her/him ever cruising with Carnival and his/her Facebook page has obviously been created to post on my page and for no other reason but that.

The Internet and, indeed, this blog and my Facebook page have spurned a few people who feel they want and the need to write under a false identity. They may be a suit-wearing stock trader and respectable person by day, but online, they dabble in yak fetish groups or write to tell me I am an idiot and that Carnival is their second worst idea of a great vacation after a camping trip to Chernobyl. ………….and they do so under a fake name.

This has had me thinking though and I am really torn by what’s right and wrong with this. One side of me says that if all posters were obliged to use their real names, it would put an end to most of the ummm………trolling……….I think is the right word. The obligation on Facebook and other sites to use one’s real name would prevent this, wouldn’t it? The vast majority of people who use false names do so cowardly and would shake and shiver at the thought of losing their anonymity that the interweb brings.

But the other side of me says that it would also prevent free and open speech. There are many reasons why people may wish to remain anonymous and some of those reasons could be very personable indeed. And indeed, with identity theft so prevalent these days, I can understand somewhat if people decide to use a fake name. I don’t care that much if they waste my time but I do care if they waste the time of my colleagues who I write to asking for help investigating a complaint or a comment only to find out that the person is a fake as is their complaint.

Yep, the Internet, how did we ever manage without it? Yep, my continuing relationship with the internet has caused me to think what it must have been like to live way back when before ……. well ……..anything was invented.

Imagine if I had wanted to wash my underpants which, back then would have been made out of a scratchy piece of sack cloth, this would have meant that I would have to walk to and from my shack carrying a pail of water back from the village well. And that’s before you’ve tackled the laundering process itself, which consists of hours scrubbing my soiled garments against a washboard and wringing it out. By the time I would have finished ……it’s dinner time…….so after a quick rat on toast, it’s time for bed. Yes, life was simpler back then and stress was a word that wouldn’t be invented for hundreds of years to come, despite the threat of dying of the plague. But in many ways, living back then would have provided a better quality of life than today.

Yes……….computers have helped us on the one hand, but introduced an equal amount of stress on the other. Oh and a quick message to Claudia, I do invite you to step out from behind your computer and shake my hand of friendship and, hopefully, we can work out why you seem to have ants in your pants about me and this great company I work for. You may be scared because some may think you are a troll but don’t worry, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.


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.