Fun Times Are Just Around The Corner

February 2, 2010 -

John Heald

The entertainment techs here on your Carnival Dream along with a splattering of musicians and others within my department extremely excited. I saw some of them gathered around a laptop backstage yesterday and judging by the “ooohss and ahhhs” they were I thought looking at close up photos of Megan Fox’s bottom. But they weren’t.

Because on closer inspection their sounds of lust were because Apple had launched another sexy must-have product thingy……… the Eye Pad. I don’t bother finding out what Apple things do any more. I just know they’re shiny and anyone with a beard has to have them. I stood and watched the circle of beardies backstage watch a video of the launch of the Eye Pad by the distinctly un-shiny and unexciting Apple big boss, Steve Jobs. As it appeared on a screen behind him there were whoops from the assembled geeks, and one of my musicians even let of a wolf-whistle………..what a load of bollocks.

I realize I know bugger all about anything technical but I just don’t get it. You see, I asked the techs and musicians what the Eye Pad does and they told me that it was a “tablet” which in English means it’s a portable screen that is the same size as a laptop but doesn’t have the protective top to cover it. To me it looks as fragile as I would be wearing high heels. But the beardies insisted this was a huge breakthrough in the geeky world because “You could surf the net on it, read newspapers, play games and write e-mails.” ……ummmm……….now I may not be Bill sodding Gates ………..but isn’t that what I can do on my existing lap top and my raspberry thingy? So then ………isn’t the Eye Pad an Eye Phone on steroids?

I don’t have an Eye Phone. My friend Nick has one and watches basketball games on it and has an app that tells him where the nearest Latvian lap dancing club is. I would buy one if it had a built-in Star Trek phaser which would allow me to stun the guest who yesterday sat with her bare feet up on the stage while I hosted my new What’s My Line game. I also noticed that so many people have Eye Phones now that they don’t talk to each other and that the art of actual conversation is all but extinct.

However, I am sure in the weeks ahead I will be surrounded by Apple Heads telling me how brilliant this Eye Pad thingy is and that’s what gets on my bloody nerves. You see ………people with Eye phones are never content just to enjoy the product. They have to spread the word. They are Apple missionaries, determined to convert the PC savages …………… it is slowly becoming The Planet of the Apps!

Time for today’s questions………….lets crack on.

Angela Guptill Asked:
John please reply:

Love the new advert and appreciate the slide shows/pictures/videos etc. All of these things help us decide where to go next year on our Carnival Cruise! However, in Canuck land, we do not see the Carnival adverts. Also you wanted me to remind you re: our friends (their first cruise) that we convinced to go cruising with us, that it will be their anniversary on Feb. 16th. Would it be possible for us to just have a table for 4 by a window? I know this is a huge request to expect and if it cannot happen, we certainly understand. We have the 6pm seating. Also, haven’t heard from the lady (sorry can’t remember her name) re: my husband sending his CV in for doing chaplain duty with Carnival. Thank-you and all the crew at Carnival for making memories for my husband and I 🙂
Angela Guptill

John Says:
Hello Angela

Can you remind me of their names and the ship they are sailing on as I can’t remember? I will then ask the Maitre D to try and help with their dining request. I realize that in Canada you are not seeing these commercials and that is a real shame. I am not sure what the plans are for that but I will certainly find out as I know we have many, many faithful Canadians who love the Carnival product.

Please send me the names of the guests and I will also ask Mary to get back to you regarding your offer of hosting religious services.
Best wishes to all

Mount Sinai Cruiser Asked:
Please Reply

John, Happy & Healthy New Year to you & your family. I reviewed the piano bar list of entertainers. What happened to Ron Passalacqua?

John Says:
Hello Mount Sinai Cruiser

Ron P……oh how we miss him. The last I heard he was playing at a major resort somewhere on the Mexican Riviera but I am not sure, maybe blogger Laura (Divetrash) knows. We all hope he will return to the fun for all ships soon as he certainly was one of the very, very best.
Best wishes

Ken Stevenson Asked:
John – (please reply),

Perhaps others would be interested as we are to know the ultimate fate of the former Carnival ships that have been retired from Carnival’s fleet. Do you know if they have become scrap, were used as passenger carriers or what? Thanks.

John Says:
Hello Ken

That’s a very good idea. Let’s start with the Mardi Gras which was a ship I never had the fortune of working on. She was originally called the Empress of Canada before the incomparable Ted Arison bought her and named her Mardi Gras. She left the Carnival “Fun Ship” fleet in 1993 I believe and was sold to a Greek shipping company called Epiri …… Epiri ……….something Greek….anyway, I can’t remember the name. I do know that after giving thousands of passengers the cruise vacation of a lifetime as the corner stone of the fleet she was sadly scrapped in 2003.

Then there was the ship I served on as Assistant Bar Manager and my first ever ship as Cruise Director…the Carnivale. She was originally called the Empress Of Britain and was the sister ship of course to the Mardi Gras. I had so many fun times there and although she was small compared to today’s mighty vessels she had a tremendous feeling both amongst the passengers and the crew. She joined the fleet in 1976 and sometime in the early nineties (not sure of the exact year) we changed her name to Fiesta Marina and marketed the ship for Spanish speaking guests for a short period.

She was then sold………..I think in 1995 but I could be wrong and I think she went to that Greek line I mentioned earlier. However, unlike the Mardi Gras which I never saw again after we sold her, I did see the Carnivale again because the Greeks sold her to British tour operator Thompson and when I was on the Carnival Triumph and during our Millennium cruise to Barbados…………there she was……….my old gal the Carnivale……….now called the Topaz. She still looked fantastic. After that …………I have no idea what happened to her. I think someone told me she was a hospital ship or a mercy ship for a charity but again, I am not sure.

Then there was the Festivale. If you talk to many of the long time Carnival employees both shipboard and shoreside they will tell you that their favourite of the older ships …….. was the Festivale. Again, I never had the honour (spelt correctly) of serving on her but from what I heard she, more than any other of our older ships…….felt like a true ocean liner. There was lots of creaking wood and lots of brass and….well……you get the picture. She was named the Transvall and I think I am right in saying that she came to the fleet in 1977 but again…….people with beards may correct me of course. I do know that she was sold to Thompson and then to Premier Cruise Lines and now ………… sadly…………..she has been scrapped. She was by all accounts………..a magnificent lady.

Next up ….the Tropicale which was the first purpose built brand new ship for Carnival. Once again she was a ship that I never served on and after wonderful service to Carnival she was sold to P&O Australia where she became the Pacific Star. I think I am correct in saying that she now sails under the Pulmantours flag but again I am unsure of her new name.

My first ever ship was the Holiday which I boarded in August 1987 as a young and devilishly handsome bar waiter and because she was my first ever ship and because I returned to be her Cruise Director in 1992 …….she will always be one of my favourites. Of course she was the first of the Holiday class ships and joined the fleet in 1985. This 46,000 ton ship summed up all that was good and all that was fun about Carnival and I loved her. I remember sitting at the bus stop bar eating the late night bacon and scrambled eggs served from inside a bus on Promenade Deck as a 24-year-old CD and feeling on top of the world. She was retired from the Carnival fleet last year and is set to join the Iberocruceros line sometime this year as the Grand Holiday.

You know, until very recently I always thought that the Jubilee was the same size as the Holiday. However, I learned that in fact she was a little bigger with a tonnage of 47,000 and change. My service on the Jubilee was also a lot of fun. It was the ship where I worked as Social Host under Gary Hunter who was and always will be the greatest Cruise Director Carnival has ever had. I never got be CD there though but I have wonderful memories of that ship. ………..her name was Sara………she was a massage therapist.

The Jubilee is of course now the Pacific Sun and she is having even more fun now sailing as part of the brilliant P&O Cruises Australia line.

Finally, we have the Celebration. I was Assistant Bar Manager there and a Social Host where my Cruise Directors included Eddie Capone and some nut job called Gene (won’t write his last name) who believed he was Elvis Presley. He was fired mid-cruise for something I can’t write about here but his quick and sudden departure gave me my first opportunity to be a CD even if it was just for three days when Gary Hunter returned.

Somewhere in the annals of this blog thingy there is a blog about my visit to the Celebration in Genoa. She had just completed her re fit and was now called the Grand Celebration. The old aft lounge had been turned into a fantastic Spa and under the Iberocruceros line and she is in great hands.

So, there you go. Some of the dates may be wrong but I think most of that information was correct and I hope you enjoyed that trip down memory lane.
Best wishes

Melissa Asked:
John (Please reply)

I hope you get this in time to answer before we leave. We will be joining you on the Carnival Dream in 36 days!!!!!!!!Yeah!!!! A few months ago I asked if you could give us an approximate count of kids on board for the Feb 13, 2010 sailing. My 6 and 3 yr olds are both excited to be coming and I would like to know that the are going to have plenty of new friends on board 🙂 . Thanks John and I hope we get to meet when I am on board in Feb.

John Says:
Hello Melissa

You will be sailing here on your Carnival Dream with 351 children. I don’t have the breakdown of the ages just yet but I am sure your kids will make loads of new friends. This is such a superb ship and the facilities for our junior cruisers are extraordinary.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Best wishes to all the family.

Joyce geraci Asked:
John, please reply

I’ve been working with some wonderful people over at one of your sister cruise lines, Costa. One of them is Debbie in reservations (I don’t have her last name). The other is Angela Caicedo in the deviation department. Thanks to both of them, my GD & I have a wonderful trip planned for this summer on Costa in the Med. How do I let Costa know what a great help they have been to me? Could you either forward this on to the appropriate people at Costa, or let me know how to do it? As you might remember from previous postings, I was a bit leery going outside Carnival for this cruise. I’m glad I took your advice, as they have been excellent.

John Says:
Hello Joyce

I wanted to take the time to say thank you for telling me about my friends over at Costa Cruises who right now are celebrating the launch of their new ship the Costa Deliciosa. I am so glad that you found their shoreside service so great and I know that you will find the same onboard when you take your cruise with them late this year. I will send this onto a friend of mine called Maurice who works at Costa and whom I know will be thrilled to read your words of praise.

Have a great time and I am very happy that my suggestion for you to cruise with them has been worthwhile.
Best wishes.

Chris Asked:

My brother and I are sailing on the Carnival Triumph with our parents next month for winter break and the last two years we’ve had a table in the dining room in the corner where we couldn’t see the “entertainment” or much of anything else.

My mom said you might help. I was hoping you might send a request for us for either a window table aft or a table on the main floor in the center. Our booking numbers are 44MH16, 44MH11. It doesn’t really matter if we are with others, or not.
Topher (ChrisTOPHER Webb)

John Says:
Hello Christopher Webb

Thanks for writing to me and I have in turn written to the Maitre D on the Carnival Triumph to see if he can help with your dining request. Have a wonderful time and best wishes to all.

Ducky Asked:
John please reply

“But there’s something so disheartening about showing up at a restaurant and seeing the empty drum set and microphone set up in the corner”.

I know exactly how you feel John. It is exactly how I felt when I discovered, to my horror the jazz trio in the Destiny cigar bar had been replaced by a salsa band.

I realize that this is probably more of a revenue earner, but I really missed sitting with friends and enjoying a fine cigar and beverage in relative serenity.

Not all “Fun” need be loud and boisterous. Is there any chance that this trend will be reversed?

John Says:
Hello Ducky

Sometimes decisions are made here at Carnival that I don’t agree with but such is life of course. One of those was the cancellation of the Jazz Trios and the decision to replace them with the Salsa Bands. Now, I understand why they did this. Latin music is as popular as Jazz if not more so and the Latin trios are much more flexible in the mood they can create around the ship. But being a cigar and a jazz lover……well…….I was sorry to see this change and I don’t think we will be changing it back anytime soon. Hopefully though one day we will get to enjoy a cigar together. By the way, smoking a cigar out on the Lanai here on your Carnival Dream is absolutely superb and the delights of the fresh air, the stars and long ashes are something every cigar lover should experience.
Best wishes

Carla S Asked:
Please reply

John, words fail me when it comes to the terrible service I received from Carnival following the Dream missing San Juan. I had expected 25% off a future cruise as I had received once from Norwegian but all I got was a letter saying how Carnival regrets what happened. This does not make up in any way for this situation and I think I speak for everyone who was on that cruise when I say we should get money back or a discounted future cruise. Missing the port ruined the entire cruise for me and hundreds of your passengers.

John Says:
Hello Carla

I was onboard during this unfortunate incident and I know how disappointed many of our guests were that we did not call at San Juan due to our error. And while I certainly understand your disappointment I was surprised to read your statement that it “ruined the entire cruise” and certainly the many, many guests I spoke, while disappointed yes …….. certainly did not allow it to spoil 9 wonderful days onboard their Carnival Dream.

Anyway, once again, please accept my apologies and I hope you will forgive our error and join us again onboard one of our fun for all ships very soon.
Best Wishes

Janet Sammons Asked:
Hi John,

Well it’s almost Feb. 20, 2010! That’s when me and 137 of my closest friends, along with the other passengers will get to finally experience the Dream in person!! We are so excited!!
I sent a message to you a couple of months ago and asked if you could attend our Cruise Critic meet and greet on Feb. 21st. And you told me to remind you in January.

Well, it’s January, and I am reminding you!! LOL

We have our meet and greet all set up for Feb. 21st, at 10 am in the Burgundy lounge. We would really love it if you could come by and say hi. We will be there until probably 11:30 or noon because we have lots of fun things planned. We should have an attendance of about 100 people or so, and we would love to get a group photo with you.

Thanks so much for your time!
Janet Sammons
Cruise Critic group leader.

John Says:
Hello Janet – Group Leader from Cruise Critic

As I have the memory of a piece of Swiss cheese, please could you leave me a note when you board at the Guest Services Desk and I will be honoured (spelt correctly) to come by your gathering. You will love this ship.

See you soon
Best wishes to all

anita barringer Asked:
hi john, would love a reply..

my sister and I are booked on a cruise for jan 15th. She became very ill and I was informed today that because we chose to buy our tickets so early we would NOT be allowed to do a name change for her ticket. I don’t know why this would ever be a part of the rules that if you buy your ticket TOO EARLY that you would not be able to take someone different. Carnival got the money for the ticket… plus the 50 extra dollars to change the names so why this be a problem for carnival?
sincerely anita barringer

John Says:
Hello Anita Barringer

I just wanted to take the time to say thank you for letting me know about this and I have sent this directly to our CARE Team who will be in touch. I hope that your sister has made a full recovery.
Best wishes to you both

That’s all for today and I will be back with more tomorrow. By the way. I understand that our friend and long time blogger Linda – Mom of DJ has not been well. Does anyone have news on her and I ask you all to please remember her in your thoughts.

Last week my mate Tim Cabral was sailing on the Carnival Inspiration with none other than the great Lynyrd Skynyrd band who were part of our fantastic continuing relationship with Sixthman (

I thought you might like to see these photos taken by Sixthman’s Will Byington of what looks like a truly fun for all voyage.

There are more photos and information on future events on And thanks to Tim for sending me these shots and for all his hard work.

As you may know the latest Fantasy class ship to get her new upgrades was the Carnival Fascination. Our friends Stephanie Leavitt and Peter the Hair went along to film some behind the scenes footage and I think you will love what they came back with. Here is the link thingy:

Once again Carnival continues to invest in the fleet and once she comes out of dry dock I will post photos for you of the new……….Carnival Fascination.

Carnival Cruise Lines continues to help some of the neediest people in the world and has sent over the first shipment of supplies to the people of Haiti.

Here is our friend Vance to tell you all about it.

Carnival Cruise Lines Ships 2,000 Pounds of Relief Supplies to Haiti

Thanks Vance and thank you to everyone involved and let’s keep the people of Haiti in our thoughts and prayers.

Well, it’s been a fantastic few days here on your Carnival Dream. The weather has been beautiful sunshine wise although yesterday while at sea high winds forced us to cancel one or two events. This included the barbecue which unfortunately had to be canceled because the Lanai was windy and then I got this e-mail:

Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 10:19 AM
Subject: “Twister & Drainpipe” slide closed.

Good Morning to All,

Please, be advised that big slide is closed due to strong wind (38.6 mph) until further notice. “Racers” and Kids slides are open.


Olena Ginzhelyuk

That’s a shame but understandable of course. The Twister and Drainpipe slides are very high and with nearly 40mph of wind up there obviously it becomes a safety hazard. We are in St. Thomas today and the slides are all open. By the way, I have to tell you that an extraordinary amount of people have told me that they saw the video in which I kicked our President and CEO Gerry Cahill’s arse in a race on the slides and how seeing us do it inspired them to have a go. And indeed I have seen people of all ages having a go…. and that’s just brilliant.

OK, let’s take a break and show you some letters. For the new bloggers amongst you I should explain what these are. During the cruise, I host live morning and afternoon shows. These are shown on channel 6 of the stateroom TV’s as well as live on the Seaside Theatre Big Screen. The show allows me to share special letters of dedication of which I usually get 50-100 per seven day cruise. Anyone who sends me a Dear John letter gets a gift for doing so plus hopefully the thrill of having their dedication read out… The show then loops all day on the cabin TV.

So, now and then I get letters which are truly inspirational and occasionally I get ones that basically tell me that I am an idiot. And so I like to share some of these with you now and then. Today, I want to share just two letters, both of which I know you will enjoy reading.

So, there we have a lady who has lost an incredible 190 pounds and a man who has waited 14 years to take his wife and the mother of his children on honeymoon and having read that letter it seems nobody deserves a cruise vacation more.

I will share more letters with you in the days ahead.

As I said we are in St. Thomas today and we are not alone. We are sharing the port with the Costa Atlantica, The Norwegian Pearl, The Carnival Freedom and the Monster of the Seas. How many passengers is that…..ummm……ummmm……I make it…….. ummmm ……….thousands. There is no doubt that St. Thomas has the infrastructure to handle so many cruise ship visitors and I guess it is testament to the popularity of cruising that each ship is here today.

The guests are having a great time and there have been very few issues. I did get a comment from a guest saying that the Comedy Club was too small and there were no seats. Well, we do perform these shows in the Burgundy Lounge which seats 425 and we have 5 shows a night……that’s three PG 13 shows and two uncensored shows.

This means there is plenty of opportunity for guests to see the superb comedians like Al Ernst and Lewis Nixon who are here this cruise. They then leave today in St Thomas and Marvin Bell and Mike Macy will join us and perform 5 shows per night for two nights. The other point here is that if you place the comedy club in the main lounge you lose that comedy club feeling which I believe is really important.

Well, it will soon be time to say goodbye to a Carnival icon…… ……not the solid gold plastic trophy…….no…..not the hairy chest contest or Fun Ship Freddy …………. nope ……. I am talking about something that has been with us from the first cruise on the Mardi Gras . I am of course………….talking about the Carnival Capers.

I am proud to announce that like many aspects of today’s Carnival they have been modernized, streamlined and some of the content has changed for the better. Tell you what …………rather than me waffle on, why don’t I let you have a look at the new Carnival Capers ……or as they are called now………….Fun Times.

As you can see they are cleaner, easier to read and overall I think you will all agree they represent today’s Carnival brilliantly? They will be introduced on the Carnival Liberty, Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Sensation this week and should be fleetwide in the coming weeks. Please let me know what you think.

Meanwhile I will tell you what I think about the wonderful British government …………. they are nuts……..totally nuts. Every morning I plod from the bedroom into the office section of my cabin………….in my underpants…………and make sure the curtains are closed before sitting at the computer and reading the news from the great BBC.

This morning the Beeb (as they are known back home) informed me that the British government has announced new guidelines about sex education. From now on, children at primary school will gain “a basic understanding” of where babies come from and learn “the correct names for parts of the body.” Seven……seven years old. That means in less than six and half years my daughter Kye will know what a “thingy is”…….no way is she getting a Ken doll.

Oh by the way……..and I am not making this up …….check with Uncle Google …………… our Education Minister……… called…………Ed Balls!

Honestly…………how crazy is this idea. When I was seven I had just learnt to poo in the toilet rather than my underpants. It’s bad enough getting seven year old children to do their math’s and biology homework…….but teaching them about rumpy pumpy? Maybe this will be explained by a game on their Nintendo BS thingies Super Mario Penis ……. or something like that. I don’t actually remember sitting through any kind of rumpy pumpy education when I was at school. The closest thing was a biology lesson on rabbit reproduction when we were about 14. The class was taught by Miss Melling who had breasts bigger than my head…….and we honestly didn’t care about the damn rabbits when she was teaching a class.
No way am I letting teacher do this………..nope………….I am going to teach my daughter myself.

Where do babies come from……..well Kye, they come from 5 minutes of exercise when Daddy does press ups on top of Mummy…….and then a baby will pop out of Mummy’s tummy…….and that’s where babies come from……unless you are Madonna ……. in which case they come by mail order from Africa.

Your friend

Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous, unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

53 Responses to Fun Times Are Just Around The Corner

  1. Frank and Bridie says:

    John, I do like the new layout of the paper but call me old fashioned. I still think they should be called the Capers. What happens when they want to modernized, streamline and change some of the content of you for the better? Hope we can still work out a meeting date.

    Oh by the way in reference to wally or ed balls, here is a funny English news broadcast done by a show here in the us.

    Big Fans as Allways,
    Frank and Bridie

  2. having fun as cd john? i know you are! wish i was there. but no, i am here on land looking at the ipad and wanting one! yes, i’m an apple gal!

    smiles, bonnie and prince charlie

  3. Msqpon - Jo Myerly says:

    Hi John, I like the new Fun Times. Good job. Have you heard anything about the Transatlantic cruise of the Carnival Magic? Please let us know about that as soon as you can. I booked the October 16, 2011 sailing of the Magic in Europe with the intention of staying on board for her sailing to America. Many of us are anxiously awaiting news of her homeport. Please ask 007 to find out for us.



  4. hostmach says:

    OK… first the Supper Clubs and now the Capers. Sorry… they will ALWAYS be Capers to me. FunTimes just doesn’t work for me…

    The Carnival Inspiration looks wonderful! She was my first Carnival ship and I’ve had the pleasure to sail on her a few times since. Looks like they had a brilliant time!

    The Fascination looks wonderful as well! Can’t wait to see more of her.

    I’ve got to say, John, that it’s good to see you back in your element. You look great doing your morning show!

    All my best to Heidi and Kye!!


    Host Mach

  5. Ashley says:

    The new Capers are really nice! Very streamlined. Can’t wait to see them in person.

  6. LadyJag (Laura) says:

    Dear John,
    I love the look of the new Capers, but I have to agree with Frank – “Carnival Capers” is a much better name than “FunTimes”!

    I just can’t imagine hearing “Join us for Triva in the main show lounge. Check the FunTimes for times,” or “…times listed in the FunTimes.” ?????

    Also, and this is just my personal outlook, “FunTimes” is too much like “Good times,” which is an expression that my boss and I use sarcastically to express our exasperation when faced with a difficult project or situation. (e.g. – “The server is down, the deadline is today, and now my laptop won’t connect to the Internet. Good times!”)


  7. Lisa says:

    HI JOHN!

    You don’t need to reply, just a little help:

    Please, please post some pictures of the Fascination soon!!

    We are FINALLY booked on her for December, a long time to wait, but we are excited!

    Any chance I can talk you into posting a picture or 2 of an Aft Balcony cabin, indoors and out? I booked E225 for our trip and am wondering just how large the extended balcony will be?

    Thanks for all you do here at the blog to keep us updated on all things Carnival, we all appreciate it!

    Lisa in sunny (for now) Missouri!

  8. jetskier says:

    Hi John,
    The jokes about the new iPad are already “flowing”. If the iPad is updated it is going to be iMaxiPad.

    All the ships that have retired which Carnival has purpose-built are still sailing. The Tropicale is now sailing as the Ocean Dream. Celebration as the Grand Celebration and soon the Holiday as the Grand Holiday. The Jubilee as the Pacific Sun.

    The three original ships that Carnival converted are all scrapped. The Carnivale was scrapped in 2008. Festivale sold for scrap in 2003. Mardi Gras was sold for scrap in 2003 also.

    Fixing to go on our 21st Carnival cruise in 11 days on the Carnival Triumph Feb 13th. Looking forward to traveling again.

  9. Cathy K says:

    Thanks for the history of the ships! Love it. I sailed on the Carnivale back in the day – and will never forget the fun times. In fact, I found a few “Carnival Capers” from the Carnivale the other day – my how they have improved. Fun Times looks amazing – but I still like the Capers name.

    Thanks for the memories…..

  10. John please reply: oops! Sorry John, I forgot to tell you what ship/sailing we are on re: our first time cruising friend’s anniversary. We sail on Feb.13/10 on The Dream. You’re our CD I believe and I thank you ahead of time now. Our friends names are Scott and Shari Prime and we are Dennison and Angela Guptill. We have the 6pm seating and our request was for a table for four at a window if possible. If this cannot be, we certainly understand. Oh, and their anniversary is Feb. 16th.And thank-you also for forwarding our info to Mary re: my husband sending his CV in for the religious services. Thanks again for all you and your staff do. Awesome job!

  11. Rachel the Librarian says:

    Hi John: (please reply)

    I must say, I like the new design of the fun times. But is the time to be back on board going to be printed on it when we are at port? With the emergency number to call just in case? Maybe I am just not seeing it. Thanks for answering…102 days until I sail on the Dream!


  12. Margaret (Peggy) Taylor says:

    Carnival still has Jazz groups, yes? Just not in the smoking lounges? Salsa is great, but to relax to…hmm, maybe not.
    Great letters today. I had forgotten I liked that part of your blog, good to see them again.
    I do like the replacement for the Capers. I found the small type hard to read in the original Caper style – I think they used serif type. This new typeface is much easier to read. The 4-color is cheerful. Not overdone on text pages. If the new FUN TIMES is 11″ x 14″ as some other cruise lines (a friend showed me her Alaska cruise daily digest – don’t remember the name, just that it was much larger than the Capers), that would be even easier on the eyes. The Looking Ahead section seems a new feature. Useful for checking with fellow cruises their opinions on the events coming up. And they kept the TEAR OFF section. We found that cheat sheet very helpful on my two cruises. Carried it around every day.
    I confess I read every line in the FUN TIMES in your blog. Made me want to cruise Carnival again very soon.
    Peggy T

  13. Love the new layout of the FunTimes. As far as the sex ed being taught to 7 yr. olds, it’s happening here in Canuck land as well. When are we going to let children be children? Most of our lives are spent as adults. Why not just let them be kids and watch clouds float by in the Summer and building snow forts in the Winter? I could go on but thanks for letting me share the platform on this subject John. Cheers to all and see you on Feb. 13th on The Dream.

  14. Amy Lauren says:

    I love the new design of the “Fun Times” although I remember it as the Capers from when I cruised. I work as a writer so I’ve done publications like that before and it looks really great in my expert opinion (eh, not really an expert, just employed as a writer for a company). So kudos to Carnival with the redesign! I do hope the little list of activities still pops off though because that is very convenient.

    It stinks that schools have to teach sex education so early, but they really have no choice. Several of my friends teach in middle school/jr high and there are already girls there who are pregnant. It’s very sad and tragic, but hopefully by teaching kids younger, they will know and understand the consequences of their actions…

  15. The Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    FIVE MINUTES………………. you big liar!

    The FUNTIMES are ready to roll off the presses and they look great. I did indeed appreciate the walk down memory lane to know where all the ships have gone.

    The Carnival Fascination is going to look great after all of the updates.

    Keep the curtains closed!
    The Cruzin2some
    James & Nancy Enslow

  16. April Z says:

    Dear John, (please reply)

    I am excited to tell you that we just booked the Fantasy on May 3rd, and according to your schedule you will be the cruise director on that sailing! I am so excited to meet you! I know you have a lot of readers and get a lot of comments, but maybe you will remember that I was the reader who requested the trophy from the Holiday to give to my great-grandmother who had a trophy from the first year the Holiday ever sailed.

    Anyway, don’t have any real questions or requests, just hoping that you will have some free time so that I can buy you a diet coke!

    Oh, and what is Kye’s middle initial? I have a friend who makes pretty baby things and I would like to bring you something for her. 🙂

    See you in May!

    April Z.

  17. Peg Dunbar says:

    Fabulous blog today John. Loved your stories about the ships you have been on and where they went. Our first cruise was on the Carnivale in 1988, next one was 1993 on the Holiday. Both of those ships hold a very special place in my heart. Those two ships were very special to me.

    I love the new Fun Times ala Capers. I guess it is time to do away with the old, on with the new. I like the name too. It does seem easier to read.

    The pax that had her entire cruise ruined because they did not go to the port, please. And then to lie to you and say EVERYONE thought the same thing. There is always someone out there that wants to get something for free.

    Keep smiling John; you truly are one of the good guys.

    My best to Heidi and Kye.

  18. retirementman says:

    Hello John. I do like the new paper and the new title. Unfortunately it will take me a year to finally see one in person. Ed Balls, wow, and he is going to assist this new sex curriculum. Amazing. It has been two days since I have left the Carnival Dream and I feel like I have missed an old friend. I’m really getting into this cruising thingie thanks to you my friend. See you again someday.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo
    ( retirementman )

  19. Lynn and Mike Sagara says:

    Hi John

    I like the new layout. Does it come as a tri-fold? That would be easier to carry around. I really like the “looking ahead” section. But I don’t much care for the name. It sounds a little too fake to me even forcing the image of the fun ship. I would suggest something like “Today’s Happenings”. Lynn Sagara

  20. tracy says:

    i dont like the new paper i like chnage but sometimes it just hard to get used to like the persers not called that anymore crazy and now the paper uggg. i know it 2010 but some things need not to be changed . what next. tracy

  21. KC says:

    Dear John,
    I’ve recently started reading your blog, and I’m already hooked. I love reading about the new developments on ship and the unique cruisers that give each cruise with Carnival that extra something. It helps make the time until the next cruise go faster.

    As a 23 yr old female, there is one improvement that could make my experience with Carnival more enjoyable. When I was younger, I punched a hole in my Sail and Sign card and wore it around my wrist. On my most recent cruise, I was 21 and had to carry my driver’s license as well (and therefore a purse as much of my evening cruise attire doesn’t have pockets). One of my favorite parts of cruising is that I don’t need to carry my phone, keys, wallet…and about a dozen other things…in a purse. How difficult would it be to put birthdays and photos on a sail and sign card or just in the computer to check age at purchase? Even just stick on Polaroids? Wouldn’t this provide security to older people too who are much less likely to be asked for ID to purchase alcohol?
    Obviously this is a very minor thing, but it sure would be nice to not have to match a purse to my formal dress and shoes.
    Thanks for any insight, and keep up your great work on the blog!

  22. Clair says:

    Hi John,

    The layout of the new Carnival Capers…opps…the FunTimes looks nice!


  23. TJ H says:


    I like the new layout but think that doesn’t mean that the name should have changed!

    Can’t wait until March when I get to start cruising again, now that all the cancer and all that jazz is gone!

    I bet that man looking in your window got a surprise addition to his vacation. Thanks fo rthe laugh(s)!

  24. flipflopcruisequeen says:

    My thoughts go out to Linda, Mom of your friend, DJ. I was wondering why there haven’t been any recent comments from her as she usually comments every day. I hope she is back up to par and blogging again soon!

  25. divetrash says:

    Re: The whereabouts of Ron P.

    Yes, Ron Pass is currently the featured entertainer at El Pianito Piano Bar in Puerto Vallarta. He will be there through the high season at least until April. You can keep up with his doings and his whereabouts on his website

    You may see him again on the high seas on Carnival. Who knows what the future holds?


    Laura (aka divetrash)

  26. Vivienne Paige says:

    Dear John,

    The layout looks good, but I still prefer the name Capers. Change is good, it’s just me.


  27. Beth Flynn says:


    I do like the new layout, but I too, like the name Capers better. Carnival Capers sounds like a paper to read The Carnival Fun Times just sounds contrived. but the look is great.

  28. Danno says:

    RE: the Fun times

    Format change: OK
    Name Change: Noooooooooooooooo

    I think “Capers” is as much an icon of the line as the Stack or Freddie.

  29. André says:

    Hi John,
    the new “Fun Times” look great!
    I really like it better than the old “Capers”.

  30. lruss71 says:

    Thanks for sharing the new “Fun Times” I am all for updates and making changes. However, It will take awhile to get used to the new name. I just love Carnival Capers…its part of the history.. I would love to see one for a day at sea. So does this mean no advertising?


  31. Susanne says:

    I also like the new format but think the name should remain as Carnival Capers.

  32. Cheryl in FL says:

    Hey John!!! I absolutely LOVE the new name and the new layout of the old Capers! So much brighter and not as congested looking!

    Can’t wait to get my first FUN TIMES on our cruise in May on the lovely DREAM!!

    Happy Sailing, John!

  33. Big Ed says:

    John, some change is good but like Obama I think Carnival is trying to go to far. The new CAPERS looks good but to me it should and will always be called CAPERS.

    Looking forward to reading my CAPERS on the Carnival Dream in just 24 more days.

    BIG ED

  34. Stacey says:

    Those pictures are great, especially the last one.

    LOVE the new look of the “Fun Times”. Every time the word “Capers” came to mind, it brought back visions of “The Great Muppet Caper” movie, LOL.

  35. Ellen says:

    I agree that I like the name “Capers” better. The new layout is fine but I wonder if it still has the “tear-off” section that gives you the entire run down of the day by times so that you can tear it off and carry it with you, rather than taking the entire flyer. I really liked that feature.

  36. I must agree with those individuals who lament the demise of the Carnival Capers name – every one knows that it is Fun Times on a Carnival ship. No need to name the newspaper after your theme.

    Keep the new format and the old name.



  37. Big Ed says:


    Along the side of the “HAVE A GREAT TIME:” section you will see “TEAR HERE”. So the answer to your question is yes.

    BIG ED

  38. auntsaras says:

    Hi John,

    A reply would be appreciated :).

    This is my first time responding to your blog though I’ve been reading it for a couple of months. I like the new design of the old “Capers,” but like most everyone else, I am just not sure I like the name change. There’s a sense of continuity that’s lost – in my business, we say that if you make a big change, you have to keep something from the original so that people don’t lose that continuity. But no matter! It’s not gonna keep me from using it to plan my days! And like another blogger, I *really* hope it’s 11″ x 17″!

    So, the real reason for writing you… My mom turns 60 in April and has never been out of the southern US – literally, never farther south than Georgia or farther north than DC! She just got her very first passport! Well, being the marvelous daughter that I am, I am taking her on the Legend’s April 18th sailing at no expense to her. It’s a week after her birthday but as close as our schedules could get. I’ve purchased room decorations for our extended-balcony stateroom from Bon Voyage but was wondering if you could arrange just a little something special for her? It’s just the two of us as my dad died when I was 14 and she’s been a single mom to me for the past 17 years.

    Thanks for always keeping us up-to-date on the goings-on at Carnival. AND, thanks for the personal attention you seem so willing to bestow on all of us!


  39. Janey - OKGIRL says:

    I like the look of the new “Caper’s”, but as Mach and others have said, it will always be the Caper’s to me, along with “Purser’s Desk”, “Formal Night” and “Supper Club”……I’m having to change too many things in this fast paced eyepodphonepadtwitterfacebookskype world !

    I do hope that the paper is small enough to fold and carry around in my little hip pack thingy……the tear off section doesn’t have quite the level of detail that I prefer to have with me. (specifically, who to call if you miss the ship!!!)

    Thanks for the review of the old ships. My 1st was in 1983 on the Festivale in a Demi-Suite. My sister and I thought it was huge, yet just a baby at only some 37K tons. Great memories.

    BTW, I was on the 9 day Dream missing SJ and believe me and many others who expressed ourselves to you at the time. This in no way ruined our cruise. I was disappointed as I had not been to SJ as a port of call since my cruises on the Festivale, but to expect a future cruise credit is ridiculous.

    I’m sorry that I’ll be missing you on my favorite ship in the fleet my Carnival Conquest. I’ll be back on her for the 5th time 2/21 and I understand that you won’t be arriving until March. I’ll just have to muddle through somehow, maybe pestering Kyle Post again………….lol

  40. KAT says:

    I have to agree with the majority.. Capers should stay! The new format is great but the name “Capers” is a true classic !

    “Fun times” I’m sorry to say just sounds dorky and desperate.

  41. JUDY SHARUM says:

    We are scheduled to travel on the special Itin of the MIRCLE that starts in Oct of this year. I know its an older ship but can you give us a little run down of what the ship is like and what to expect on it???
    Also! WHEN is Carnival going to start going to places the OTHER cruise lines go??? Like GREECE??? We had to book our trip on NCL because Carnival doesn’t go there. Those of us who have been to Italy,Spain,France,Croatia,Germany,Norway,Denmark,Russia,Estonia,Amsterdam and so on would like to see different areas????Your favorite ships RCCL goes there some but not too far. Please talk to the powers that be and tell them we need different Itins!!! You can only go to the Carribbean sooo much!
    Judy S
    (Its IPAD JOHN!)

  42. dwa76 says:

    Hi John!
    I can’t believe that the Capers are going away. Though its a cleaner layout, I was always a fan of the Capers and the way it was laid out. I’m sure that in time this will be very successful as well.
    Hopefully the wind has calmed in your neck of the woods.
    Take care and have a good day!

  43. Jeri Green says:

    I, like many others, like the new layout but the old name. Carnival Capers sounds so much – I don’t know what -I just like it much better.
    Please let us know about Linda,mother of DJ. Hopefully she is not seriously ill.

  44. joyce geraci says:

    Just want to weigh in on the new Capers. I like the Fun Times name. I really am most concerned that it be in a print large enough for an older lady to read. I’ll be on the March 7th sailing of the C Splendor, so I’ll critique it then.

  45. Susan V says:

    Hi John:


    I am glad you are enjoying being the Cruise Director again and look forward to having Heidi & Kye join you on board!

    I need your help! My daughter and her fiance are looking at getting married next year on the Dream. They are a little concerned since it doesn’t have a wedding chapel as to where they hold ceremonies. Could you check for us and let us know. I see they have conference rooms on the ship and wondered if that is where they are held. They want to have about 60 people with over 1/2 sailing. Would it be better to have our PVP Charlene Reisler take care of the bookings for the cruise or should we deal directly with the group department? My BIL got married on the Legend but that ship had a chapel and it was a beautiful ceremony. Our daughter wants it to be a very special day and with our love of cruising as a family, what a better place than aboard one of Carnivals beautiful ships!

    I know you mentioned it before but are the prices for the spa passes? They are considering a spa cabin just for the use of the spa but we would really like to put them in a suite for their honeymoon.

    Any help you can give us would be highly appreciated!

    Thanks for all you do to make our lives better by having your wonderful blog to enjoy!


  46. Tom-n-Cheryl says:

    BIG ED…. you are on the 2/27/10 Dream?? !!

    We will see you (AGAIN) there!


  47. soxfan says:

    John, please reply if you have time.
    I am not sure Carla S should be speaking for everyone who was on the Carnival Dream when we missed San Juan. There were eight of us in our party and not one person complained, they were disappointed yes but got over it pretty quickly when we all realized we were still on vacation on a brand new ship having a great time. It’s not like the port was cancelled and we woke up at work or something equally unpleasant, we woke up in our cabins, which someone else was going to clean, to go eat good food that someone else was going to cook. I am baffled to think that could have ruined the whole cruise. It was a great cruise with one hiccup. If it hadn’t been the San Juan incident that “ruined” the cruise it would have been something else.

  48. Carol R says:

    I do like the new layout and style. It does seem better organized and easier to read…but why, why why did they change the name?? It’s always been Carnival Capers….that’s CARNIVAL. Are they planning to change the funnel anytime soon too?
    Sorry, but some things just shouldn’t get messed with. And the other thing about the TIMES name it reminds me too much of a back home (with all the bad news) newspaper.
    Glad Kye and Heidi are joining you soon. Kye’s gonna love the sea!

  49. Tom Sawyer says:

    Hi John,thanks for all that you do.I am not sure where you find the time.
    I have a personal issue with Carnival and hope that you can point me in the right direction.
    Please email me.
    Thank You

  50. Lawrence N says:

    Hello John,

    I noticed that a cruiser by the name of Ken Stevenson asked about the fates of the former ships in the Carnival fleet and raging geek that I am (no surprise to you, of course) was reminded of a video that a guest gave you last year on the Splendor that I managed to get a copy of for myself. It’s called “On The Road To Alang” and it’s a documentary on what happens to ships after they have been retired. It features several of the old Carnival ships which have become part of the “Alang Fleet” and is a very interesting watch.

    All the Best,
    Lawrence N (….still Dreaming)

  51. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    I am slowing catching up with the Blogs.

    I will withhold my opinion of the layout of the newsletter until I see it in person.

    However, I do think that Carnival Capers is an icon that should remain.

    By the end of the year, David will have cruised on every Carnival ship (except the Carnivale). Since the Carnivale was doing shorter than 7 day cruises when David started cruising, he never sailed on it.

    And by the end of the year, DJ will have cruised on every Carnival ship that was sailing at the time he started cruising. Sadly, the Mardi Gras, Carnivale and Festivale were “retired” by the time DJ started sailing.

    Enjoy being back in the “big chair”…..

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  52. Joko Joan says:

    Hi John: Loved the new layout of the Ca . . . sorry – Fun Times. I think it will be much more helpful to have like things grouped together so as to be easily found. With the Capers we used two colored highliters to mark the paper up according to what we had an interest in doing that day. I’m hoping that this will eliminate duplicate postings.

    I’m starting to like the new layout but I’m still hoping for a compromise for those who have vision problems. Anyone have any suggestions???

  53. Amy Davis says:

    Help! My husband won the hairy chest contest on the Carnival Triumph on the July 15th-19th, 2010 cruise. We bought the video, but it wasn’t on there as they promised….How can I get a copy of the footage? I am so proud of my hairy guy!!!

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