Steak stories

May 27, 2016 -

John Heald

Good morning from Rhodes, Greece, where Carnival Vista sits in glorious sunshine and at 11am only 303 of our 4,000-plus guests remain on board. The old walled town is just a 15-minute walk away and the traditional must-see village of Lindos is the top-selling excursion.

I want to thank you for all the comments and posts yesterday and especially those who wrote in support of Chantelle and I will let you know how she is doing later on this cruise. I mentioned that I had treated her and her husband to a dinner in our fabulous Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, something they both appreciated and enjoyed so much. As indeed do 99% of the guests who eat in our fabulous steakhouses, currently on 15 ships. Now you may have noticed that I said 99% of guests enjoy their steakhouse experience because a few — just a very few – who do not and I met one of the few last cruise.

Yep, last Saturday, I had dinner in the steakhouse with our Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine, our President Christine Duffy and her husband Andrew and the captain, chief engineer, hotel director and Shahnaz Kashanipour, Carnival’s director of hotel operations. And a glorious fun time it was. However, while they all sat down, I was called over to a table who had wanted to have a photo with me and then, with one of those hand-in-the-air “come here” signals that make me want to set fire to the person’s dangly bits, a man summoned me to his table like a naughty cocker spaniel. The next five minutes was spent telling me how “ordinary” the cowboy steak he had eaten was and that, if we wanted to learn how to cook what he called “the perfect steak,” then we  should take a lesson from a restaurant where he lived, which I can’t remember now except it was somewhere in New York.

He then said his steak was overcooked and “chewy” and that he expected not to be charged for it. Now let me say this, had the steak been sitting on his plate while he said all this, then I may have spoken to Karina, the fantastic steakhouse manager and seen what could be done. But let me say this and – this may be considered unprofessional in my role as brand ambassador — it takes a very particular kind of wanker to complain about it being such an awful steak when he had eaten the whole sodding thing. Yep, there he was moaning about how awful it was but not a morsel remained on his plate, nothing. His plate was as clean as nuns’ knickers. Anyway, his request for a refund was denied by me and later by the hotel director who he demanded to speak to the next day. Bloody hell fire, how can he justify eating the steak and expecting to pay sweet bugger all?!

But this chap is the exception because so many people who eat in our steakhouses absolutely love the food, ambience and the service and not once, not one time, have we ever had a complaint that there is no tablecloth. There is something special about these places where our guests surrender to their inner caveman by the sizzle of a perfectly cooked steak over an open grill. I have no idea what makes our steaks so good or what the chefs marble them with that keeps the fat running through the meat that keep it moist and give it such superb flavours. What I do know is that a good steak makes me happy and fulfilled perhaps like no other food and I hope you get to see what I mean for yourself in one of our steakhouses soon.

As we are talking about steak, I have to say that I hate any redness in my meat and, while Heidi is happy to have her steak waved in front of a candle for a few minutes and call it cooked, I have to have mine well…..burnt. The thought of cutting into a steak and that looks like an episode of The Walking Dead makes me heave. I know there are foodists out there who will tell me that this takes away the taste but they can …….. with respect………bugger off. Yep, eating should not be a blood sport. Some, therefore, may say that I should consider becoming a vegan? Short of shaving The Hog Riders bottom, I can think of nothing I’d like less. Eating a plate of food that contains no animal product of any kind makes me a yak.

I respect vegetarianists, I really I do, but eating only vegetables is like deciding to talk using only consonants. You need vowels or, in this case…. steak. Of course, there are certain weeds I like very much, Brussels sprouts and asparagus, particularly. But these are an accompaniment to food, useful only for filling up the plate and absorbing the sauce. The idea of eating only a cauliflower, without even so much as a cheese sauce, is unfathomable. There are wider implications, too. Let us imagine that the world decided today to abandon its appetite for sausages, prime rib and roast lamb. The fields would be full of millions of cows, presumably, and, unless we reintroduce wolves and lions to the fields of Texas then surely, the bovine creatures of the planet would eventually take over the world and rule us all.  So please, next time you are on a ship, eat a steak and save the world.


Cheers, have a brilliant day and wywh.



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.