John’s 30th Anniversary With Carnival Video

August 9, 2017 -

John Heald



Hello everyone. Here I am back again — this time to chat with you about two very special holidays which are great times to take your family on a Carnival cruise.

The first is Thanksgiving. Now I should start by mentioning that I am British and we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK. However, I have so much to be thankful for and appreciate the tradition of Thanksgiving which is a holiday intended for us to give thanks for our family, friends and blessings.  Spending this special time on board a ship is a wonderful way to explore the Caribbean sunshine, relax, have fun and let the staff serve and entertain you while being surrounded by family and loved ones and appreciating all that we have.

On Thanksgiving Day itself there are activities, movies and fun based on this special holiday and, of course, there is food……………loads and loads and loads of food. And with that in mind I thought I would share the Thanksgiving Day Menu with you for our fleet.

Duck Pot Stickers
Orange Duck Glaze

Heirloom Tomatoes, Blue Crab and Ahi Tuna
Olive Marmalade

Pumpkin Bisque
Enhanced with Turkey and Walnut Dumpling

Game Consomme
Aged Sherry, Crispy Straws

Chilled Tomato Soup with Wild Berry Salad

Thanksgiving Salad
Romaine Lettuce with Chestnuts, Tomatoes, Blue Cheese and
Sweet Ginger, Shallot Dressing

Oysters Rockefeller
Baked with Spinach and Cheese Sauce



Spinach Fettuccini with Chicken Tetrazzini
Sliced Chicken Breast and Mushrooms in a Cream Sauce, Baked with Cheddar Cheese

Grilled Black Tiger Jumbo Shrimp
Fava Bean Salad, Garlic and Herb Butter

The Turkey Dinner
Sweet Potato Gratin, Giblet Gravy, Cranberry Relish, Walnut Stuffing

Clove and Maple Syrup Marinated, Baked Virginia Ham

Apple and Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Petite Filet Mignon and Braised Boneless Short-Rib
Oven Roasted Potatoes, Red Burgundy Wine Sauce

Zucchini Fritters
Stuffed with Manchego Cheese and Eggplant

Spiced Pumpkin and Gingerbread Pie
Fig Melt and Wild Berries

Warm Chocolate Melting Cake
Served with Vanilla Ice Cream

Double Roasted Pineapple
Piña Colada Marmalade
Sugar free

Fresh Tropical Fruit Plate

Vanilla • Chocolate • Strawberry • Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Sugar-Free Ice Cream is Available upon Request


And just after you have finally digested the turkey, it will be time…………….for Christmas.

Ask anyone who has been on a Carnival Christmas cruise and they will tell you that it is their favourite time of year to cruise.

In many respects, Christmas on board Carnival is similar to spending it at home. Turkey, pumpkin pie, a Christmas show, Santa bringing gifts for every one of the kids (the kids get concerned about how Santa will arrive but we truthfully reassure them he’ll be coming in during the night via helicopter and sliding down the ship’s funnel), decorations, music, cheer and all the usual traditions.

But if I’m going to be honest here, there are some challenges with cruising at Christmas. Not only do you have to pack all the usual assortment of vacation bollocks . . . . sun cream, elegant wear, non-elegant wear, 819 different battery chargers plus power strips, but also you have to think about all the presents you’ll be handing out on Christmas morning.

How to squeeze in the roses you bought for your wife from the Citgo Station, the kids’ new toys and the 8,500 more battery chargers for the kids’ new toys. It’s a bloody nightmare. You have to go to the airport in an 18 wheeler truck after which you’ll line up for hours so that someone can X-ray your underpants and confiscate your toothpaste. You’ll get deep vein thrombosis from flying economy class and sunburn from spending Christmas Day at the beach. But you won’t have to clean, do the washing up, prepare the turkey and worry if the stuffing is cooked properly or if it will give Grandpa diarrhea.

Yes, traveling at that time of year may require some additional patience. But once on board, spending Christmas on a Carnival ship is something all families should experience. You have the best of Christmas but none of the stress and you are surrounded by decorations, the spirit of the season and your loved ones.

Hope you’ll come join us.

I Once Wanted to be a Goth

July 6, 2017 -

John Heald

There was a time when I gave serious thought about becoming a Goth. Yep, there, I said it out loud. This 52-year-old chubby Brand Ambassador gave serious consideration to the dark side.

I remember it well. I was walking through London with my mate Alan when I was around 18 years old. It was late and back then I used to have a drink or two (the legal drinking age in the UK is 18) and I seem to remember that Alan and I were both somewhat tipsy. Floating gloomily towards us were a couple — he in full-length leather coat and chalk-white make-up and she resplendent in dyed black hair, purple velvet bodice, net skirt and thigh-high boots. Alan made some comment about them and I remember making the sign of a cross with my fingers.

Of all the 1980s youth cults, Goth has always struck me as the most interesting. I only know one Goth personally. She used to be a back stage manager and worked with me on the Carnival Triumph. She was a wonderful person and a total professional…..yet……..she seriously believed that she was ……ummmmm…….dead…………and, when she would say that, I used to say, “Bollocks you’re not really dead. Here, have a Pringle.”

I, of course, grew up when vampires were played by Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and not by some Bradd Cruise type with sweeping hair, a cape designed by Versace and teeth that, even though they routinely bite into the necks of countless virgins, are always Hollywood white. Forget Dracula with his ratty teeth Today’s new breed of vampires are sexy.

There is a time though when we all reach inside ourselves and draw forth the inner Goth and that time is …………Halloween.

Celebrating Halloween on a Carnival ship is seriously fun. On the cruises that cover October 31 you will find Carnival puts a massive effort into our Halloween festivities.

Each ship has decorations and skulls and scary spiders and enough candy to ensure every kid who sails will have a chance to get the biggest of sugar rushes.  So from the Carnival Vista to the Carnival Fantasy, here is what the ships will be planning for the 31st of October 2018.

  • Camp Ocean Trick or Treat Hunt
  • Adult Costume Party – we encourage everyone to dress up and enjoy the Halloween Carnival Fun
  • Halloween Dance Party
  • Specific Movies for Halloween to be shown on the ships TVs including Dive In Movie Big Screens
  • The ships will be decorated in selected lounges on board
  • The Photo Department will have a special backdrop – along with photographers capturing some of the festivities
  • Casino – Witching Hour Tournament
  • Food Activities – Pumpkin Carving Contest / Halloween Desserts

And if you are lucky enough to be sailing on the Carnival Imagination in October, anytime in October, do I have brilliant news for you.

From Oct. 1-31, guests on the Carnival Imagination’s three and four-day Baja cruises from Long Beach will enjoy a host of fun Halloween-themed activities, everything from costume contests and dance parties to bone-chilling story time with s’mores and warm cider.   Guests can also get creeped out at the Halloween parade and enjoy pumpkin-carving demonstrations, arts and crafts classes, and classic horror movies on the big screen.   It all culminates, of course, with trick-or-treating for kids and adults alike along the Promenade. Carnival Imagination will be in full “haunted ship” mode with an elaborate “spooky tree” in the atrium and team members decked out in the scariest of costumes while leading Thriller dance classes and other frightfully fun activities.

It’s a brilliant time to bring the entire family on a cruise to celebrate Carnival’s Halloween fun together. Kids on board our ships will be doing trick or treating but it’s organised and structured. No knocking on cabin doors and no tricking allowed (actually that last part sounds boring).

The nice kids will get lots of candy. But just in case there are some brats in the pack, I will be armed with chocolate for them……….chocolate laxatives. Better not tell them Halloween ghost stories after they have eaten that.

Halloween truly is a brilliant time to cruise Carnival and don’t just take my word for it because here is what some people wrote on my page:

  • Abby Nye Lea: It’s one of the most fun times I’ve had on a cruise. We booked the cruise not even thinking about it being over Halloween. The costumes were great and the decorations and costume contest was so funny. I highly recommend going on one!
  • Cindy Sadler: For the past 3 years we have taken a Halloween Cruise, are booked on one for this year and next. Best cruises ever. The costumes are amazing, the events are fun and for a small amount of time we all get to enjoy our youth again!
  • Shell Flame Murphy: This year will be our third Halloween cruise! We’ve been planning costumes for months & love the decor & special desserts. Its my favorite time to cruise
  • Lesa Parker:  Yes! My 3 year old won her age category for a rapunzel costume and my 15 year old son won the adult costume contest dressed as Dr. Frank -N-Furter from Rocky Horror. He had a great time and we still talk about this cruise 11 years later
  • Brenda Barberee:  Yes, great cruise. Lots of fun & interesting costumes. It was great seeing guests & crew dressed up & all the fun events. My kids had the best time ever and it’s all they talk about so we are doing it again in 2018

So, there you go. Halloween truly is a brilliant time to cruise and I hope we see you and your family for some Halloween fun on Carnival this October.



Behind the Crew Only Door

June 12, 2017 -

John Heald

Here I am once again bringing you a look behind the crew only door on this blog. A lot of people ask me what it is like to work on board a ship and, after almost 30 years of doing so, I wanted to share some of my experiences.

In a future post I will tell stories of my years as the best looking and most hilarious Cruise Dir ———- OK, my years as the ugliest Cruise Director and one the guests found as funny as a stubbed toe. (more…)

Hello everyone.  I’m back again and today I want to talk about some of the destinations we sail to and obviously that means talking about the Caribbean where most of our ships sail year-round.

A friend of mine returned recently from a land based vacation in the Cayman Islands. “So how was it?” I asked, expecting to hear about the food, the hotel, the beach etc. But no. Instead he told me he’d seen something called Jay Z……..which I think is a tropical bird? Seriously, though, the Caribbean is so beautiful even the stars spend their vacations there. (more…)

Welcome back to the next installment of my blog — written by your chubby, grey-haired brand ambassador. For those who have been surfing the interweb and drooling over our ships on — and have finally decided to come and join the millions of people who have already experienced the Carnival Fizz – the fun is about to begin.

But hold on, panic may be setting in — so much so that you are reading this in a dark room while listening to the soundtrack of lonely whales. The reason for the panic . . . . (more…)

Changes to VIFP loyalty program

May 8, 2015 -

John Heald

Re-posting here for those without Facebook

(May 6, 2015 12:30AM) So here I am in Hawaii, it’s 6:30pm or 12:30am Miami time. I will try and stay up for a while but feel totally drained after two very very long flights. I will be back tomorrow with news and conversation but I wanted to share the news now of a change to our VIFP party.

As a part of our new VIFP loyalty program we have decided to make some changes to the party which let’s face it has become very challenging to service properly.

Now these challenges have come about for great reasons and that is the rapid increase of the number of Gold Card holders. Many of you have seen and indeed many of you have commented on how busy the party has been and in many cases we have had to hold two parties to accommodate the large numbers of invited guests. These numbers can, on some ships pass the 1500 mark which again makes the high standards of service you expect and the standard of service that we strive to provide quite challenging.

The party also loses that intimate feel that a party that is designed to celebrate your loyalty should have and so with these reasons in mind we will 5/15 departures change to inviting only Diamond and Platinum guests to the VIFP party.

Hold on…………..before Gold card holders start to burn effigies of me in my underpants let me tell you this.

To say thank you for your loyalty we will provide each Gold card holder with a drink coupon to the value of $9 which will be usable on the last sea day of the cruise from any bar on the ship on voyages of 5 days or more. This is along with the complimentary bottle of water we already provide. Hopefully you will appreciate and enjoy this amenity and meanwhile let me thank you for your loyalty and I hope soon you will be holding your bright and shiny platinum card and be on your way to diamond.

Now for my platinum and diamond friends, the VIFP party is being revamped ready for this change. Most of the time the count will allow us to hold the party in smaller lounges to the main theater and you can look forward to a more intimate party, details coming soon. The diamond guests will continue to receive their special event with the Captain and there are no other current changes to the VIFP program.

Thank you all for your time and your loyalty, long may that continue



Thanks Gerry

November 3, 2014 -

John Heald

I will be very sad to see our President and CEO Gerry Cahill retire at the end of this month. Now some may be thinking that it’s the sort of thing that an employee with a Facebook and blog read by many thousands of people has to say in public………… but I genuinely mean it.

During his time in the big chair, Gerry had some challenges for sure, including a leviathan of a recession to maneuver through and, of course, the incidents on the Carnival Splendor and Carnival Triumph.

Through it all Gerry was there. I remember how I personally saw him carry guests’ suitcases from deck 7 to the gangway on deck 0 when the Carnival Splendor arrived into San Diego –something he repeated on the Carnival Triumph. The anguish and care he showed every single minute anything challenging happened was absolute and anyone who says different truly does not know the man at all. (more…)

As cruise director of the Carnival Miracle, I speak to lots of guests and enjoy every moment of doing so. Even when they are moaning about me, costumes, whales, leering looks, food, air, jokes, the weather or as yesterday a British guest saying that the ship was too “American,” I enjoy the challenge of finding something they are enjoying and concentrating on that. What is far more difficult and far more of a challenge is when you are talking with a guest who does not understand that there are others waiting in line for you and that they want to say hello and speak to you or ask a question. Such was the case last night at the Captain’s Celebration party in the lobby. Last cruise, it was the scene of “sexist pig gate” and, (more…)

There are many things I regret that I have said and done in my life — actions that if I could, I would go back in time and change. Telling Heidi, while she was giving birth to Kye, that having a baby was no more painful than the time I ate a massive order of pork skin (“crackling,” as we call it in the UK) and was constipated for days and then describing the effort I had made to finally get the pork crackling out, was both stupid and painful as the fingernail marks in my hand proved. However, some people do things in their life that are just as dumb and (more…)

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.