A Very Sad Day

October 13, 2010 -

John Heald

Last night at 1 am my phone rang and so did the alarm bells in my head when I heard the captain’s voice requesting my “immediate” presence on the bridge. And this time those alarm bells rang true because when I arrived I saw the ship’s powerful spotlight illuminating the sea which meant that we were searching for something………or someone.

Sadly, it was someone…..in fact it was one of our crew members who had been reported jumping overboard by several of his fellow crew members and the search was on to find him. The crew who had witnessed this had immediately thrown a life ring and a lifejacket overboard and as soon as both hit the water their emergency beacon lights were activated and were now illuminated even more by the Carnival Splendor’s emergency spotlight.

Captain Cupisti then ordered the ship’s rescue boat to be lowered and very quickly the boat was in the water and heading towards the life ring and lifejacket. We all stood on the bridge hoping and praying that the crew member would be close by…………but he wasn’t.

At this time I had to advise the guests. This is always a difficult decision to make because at 1:30 am most guests are asleep. But with a rescue boat in the water, spotlights dancing across the waves and the thrusters maneuvering the ship in a search pattern I felt it was absolutely necessary to inform everybody on board…………..and so I did.

A few minutes after every balcony had guests looking, pointing and wondering what was going to happen. The ship’s command had already contacted the Mexican Coast Guard as we were in their waters and asked for assistance. We also contacted US Coast Guard as well so they were aware of the situation……….and the search continued.

At 2 am I made one last announcement suggesting that the guests go back to sleep and that if there was any news that I would let them know immediately. And I have to say most people listened and returned to bed………….and the search continued.

At 7 am we were joined by a Mexican Navy vessel that assisted us in the rescue attempt but it had now been 6 hours since the crew member had been reported going over the side and hopes were fading more and more. Carnival Splendor was released by the Mexican Coast Guard and we’re now proceeding to Puerto Vallarta. The Mexican Coast Guard continues to conduct search and rescue operations.

At 8 am I advised the guests that we had lost a valued and dear crew member to the sea and that we would make our way now to Puerto Vallarta where we would arrive at approximately 2 pm.

I am not going to write about the fact that our late arrival meant excursion changes and cancellations and the extra activities etc we were doing because none of that matters. We lost one of our own tonight, someone who just a few hours earlier was serving the guests and who now is lost to us forever.

When you walk through a storm
Keep your chin up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At he end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.

Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.

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.

209 Responses to A Very Sad Day

  1. Cathy says:

    We’re all very sorry to hear this sad news John. Your post was a tribute to your valued crew member. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  2. Stacey W says:

    So awful John. My prayers and thoughts are with you, the crew and the man’s friends and family.

  3. MissKitty says:

    How tragic and sad.
    My prayers go out to you, crew and to the family.

  4. Lynn says:

    So sad, my thoughts & prayers are with the entire Carnival family and of course the family of the lost crew member!

  5. Linda Patrick says:

    I am so sorry.

  6. Joseph says:

    This is very sad news. The poem was very touching. Thank you for the update. My heart and prayers go out to you the crew of the Carnival Splendor and this mans friends and family

  7. Gina W says:

    Terribly, horribly sad John. Again my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the crew as they deal with the loss.

  8. JMK says:

    So very sad. I hate that someone was in so much pain that they could do nothing other than contemplate ending their own life.

    Prayers for him and his family (both his biological family and his ship family.) I’m sorry that it just seems like one thing after another for you out there, John. Bless you all.

  9. So sorry for this sad incident. A situation like this is very hard on friends and family.

  10. Ashley says:

    How sad, John. I can only imagine how all of you at Carnival must feel. The song is so appropriate, as a Liverpool fan I immediately recognized it. My sincere sympathies…..

  11. Frank and Bridie says:

    How sad john :(, I am so sorry for you and the entire carnival family! John please feel better soon.

    Frank and Bridie

  12. Loren says:

    How very sad that someone is so distraut. I always viewed the crew as a big family, always happy and dispite being away from home and family, they often had that job FOR their family. Carnival always impresses me, in many ways and my heart goes out to his crewmates and the entire staff.

  13. Jan "Peaches" Silvius says:

    I’m so sorry for this John. Heart goes out to all of his family, Carnival and his on land family…hugs to all of you. This is just so sad

  14. Seaside Sarah says:

    This is indeed a heart rendering story. However, I am more saddened that it is reported that he JUMPED. What outcome was truly expected? Where were his friends and family when he (or she) needed them most? I am most saddened that this was an absolute waste of human life. If I remember correctly, you have beautiful Cassie on this voyage? This little girl would give anything to experience a full and healthy life!!! Her parents, again, would give anything!!! So, why is life so meaningless that he (or she) threw it away! This fact is a disgrace. Now, for the record, I have been to Sea, so others can’t claim I don’t understand the “frame of mind” at sea. I have worked at sea under which I can be most positive are harsher working conditions than a cruise ship. And I do feel sympathy for the family and friends of this crew member. The aftermath of a suicide is a horrible thing. I merely point out that it is pointless… Best wishes to all aboard at this time.

    • Jennifer says:

      Try not to be so judgemental! You have no idea what circumstances lead to this. I have a family member who, by all appearences, is a nice, normal person living a nice, normal life, yet he suffers from mental illness. When he is in a very low, dark, place, suicide is in the back of every family members’ mind. Chances are, this person was in the depths of depression and was in such an extraordinary amount of pain that he/she felt that this was the only way out. So very, very sad. My thoughts are with the family.

      • Seaside Sarah says:

        I am sorry that you feel that I am insensitive to the situation on board. I am sorry that you feel you are more experienced than I on mental psychosis. However, let me inform you that I have two brothers. One is at MUSC for the REST OF HIS LIFE due to mental incapacity. My other brother is committed on average once per month. Furthermore, I have dealt with several suicides and can honestly say that it is a waste. So, now, who is being judgmental?

        I understand your point of view and I have nothing but the utmost sympathy for the CREW and FAMILY. I point out how needlessly tragic this is when people fight for their life every day because they wish to live. But people who are given life so freely can change that at their mere whim.

        The moral of the story…

        Be accountable for your own actions in life, stop blaming society.

        Heads up John and a wonderful week to Cassie!!!

      • Beth Flynn says:

        Agrees. What lurks deep inside the brain of the mentally ill cannot be heaped upon the backs of the friends and family. Sad, but no one’s fault. Just sad.

      • Seaside Sarah says:

        I am not being judgmental, I am being factual. As someone that works in the medical profession, and sees this on a regualar basis I feel pretty justified in this statement.

        I am sad for John. I am sad for the crew. I am sad for the passengers who may have to deal with this in the future. If I was on the cruise ship at this given time, I personally would wonder about the little things. Had I passed this crew member on the ship? Did he look sad? Could I have dug a couple bucks out of my pocket and made his day a little better.

        Don’t think that’s my ego talking, I am not claiming I (or anyone) could have saved him. I am simply stating that the spectrum of personality disorder is vast!

        Also, I commend you for all the effort you put fourth with your family member who suffers with this illness. I deal with this everyday, as both of my brothers suffer from this as well. One of my brothers is a PERMANENT PATIENT at the Medical University of South Carolina due to a failed attempt that has left him in a vegetative state and comatose. I also have a second brother who is institutionalized on a monthly basis for his bipolar disorder.

        I very much understand the impact that this has on someone.

        I almost forgot the number one reason that I feel allows me to be a little judgemental; TWO of my family members have comitted suicide. I have had to deal first hand with not knowing if there was something that could have been done. The stress of appointments; medications schedules; and even in home visits. But this stress is all nothing compared to the stress of wondering if I am going to get a call from aforementioned hospital that morning or if my other brother is alive in the morning.

        I am sorry if I offended you, but I find suicide a very selfish thing. So many people are not given an opportunity to live and others throw it away.

        I see families of these senseless tragedies EVERY day. They are the ones left with the pain. They are left to piece things back together.

        So I apologize that you consider me judgemental but I consider myself a realist.

        I TRULY do apologize if I offended anyone.

        Keep your head up John!!!

        Positive thoughts to the crew members and guests aboard (except the snot that complained about missing port).

        And last but far from least, HAVE A BEAUTIFUL WEEK CASSIE!!!

        • Shaneese says:

          I TOTALLY AGREE WITH JENNIFER…UNBELIEVABLE! SEEMS THAT “SEASIDE SARAH” has so much to say but is hardly saying anything. Yes everyone has an “opinion” about suicide and mental illness, however until you have gone through. To say that you understand yet use the words..however or but means that the previous comment really means nothing at all. I feel not only for the cruise members and the vacationers but most of all for the persons family that may never have an answer to their tragic lost…..PEACE AND LOVE

      • Jennifer says:

        Wow…mental illness AND suicide in your family and yet you still say, “I find suicide a very selfish thing.”


    • Cheryl Killian says:

      Painful and sad nontheless…

    • Linda Evans says:

      Linda Evans My prayers go out to all affected by this tragedy. Here is some info that may help someone dealing with suicide.

      Suicide Survivors: Family and Friends

      The death of a loved one is a painful event, but the grief felt by family members and friends is compounded when the cause of death is suicide. Some estimates suggest that around one in four people knows someone who has taken their own life. ‘Survivors’ is a term used to describe the family members and friends of a person who suicides. Despite the prevalence of suicide, the social taboo surrounding this issue often means that survivors may feel stigmatized and alone.

      Common survivor responses:
      1 Remorse over lost opportunities
      2 Anger at the person who suicided
      3 Guilt over failed responsibilities, real or imagine
      4 Isolation caused by a sense of self-imposed shame
      5 Aloneness when others keep their distance
      6 Anger toward those perceived to have contributed to the suicide
      7 Awkwardness when others don’t know how to respond
      8 Shock associated with facing the traumatic and sometimes unexpected nature of death
      9 Difficulty accepting that the death was by suicide
      10 Fear that powerful grief reactions may not be normal
      11 Difficulty making sense of the suicide.
      They question ‘why’??
      Survivors often grapple with the question of why their loved one chose to suicide. In many cases, the question is complicated and remains open-ended. Some of the reasons why some people suicide may include:
      Mental illness, such as depression or schizophrenia
      Chronic pain
      Physical disability
      Stress of certain life events.
      A person who takes their own life is in so much pain that they just know only one way out. It is easy for someone who is not sick to be able to rationalize that this is the wrong answer to the problem. It’s no ones fault. It’s an illness. Even though these people have friends and family, they are not be able to help them. If a person really wants to end their life, they WILL find a way.

      Linda Evans RN

    • Marivonne Diaz says:

      To Seaside Sarah.. depression is a very sad condition and many go through it and sometimes people feel like they are pushed against a wall and they do not know how to get out of there. It may be that this crew member was dealing with missing his loved ones or who knows? it can be so many reasons! Sometimes, when depression strikes so hard, friends and family cant do anything. We CAN NOT judge or say that he threw his life away… we do not know the circumstances that pushed this human being to end up his life. Only him and God knows. In the mean time.. we can pray for his sould and for his friends, family and co workers that are going through a rough and sad moment. My condolences and prayers to those who knew him.

    • KP says:

      You may have ‘been at sea before, but I don’t think that has given you insight into what this person was going through.

      I have someone very close to me who outwardly is completely fine, but some of us know of – although not understand – the demons she fights daily. Many times we’ve hoped it doesn’t end in disaster.

      Anytime a life is lost to suicide it is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking that their frame of mind was in such a place to not only contemplate it but carry it out; heartbreaking for all those they leave behind. I’m sure people will ask themselves ‘what if?’ questions; what if I noticed? What if I’d stopped them? What if I’d said more than a quick hello as I walked past? Why didn’t I do xxxx? Why didn’t I say xxxx?

      My father was in such a place for a while last year and commented that while he wouldn’t ‘do anything’, he was getting a glimpse into why people felt that it was their only option; why they thought people would be better off without them. It frightened him.

      This is indeed a sad day, and I feel for John, the crew and this person’s family. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • BK says:

      a bit too harsh, a bit too soon.

    • Renee says:

      These posts took a wrong turn right about here. I have experienced a personal loss due to suicide and understand how it wreaks havoc on the family and friends who are left behind.

      It is never a waste of time to try to rescue someone who attempted suicide by jumping or try to stop any suicide attempt. As for the statement about where were the friends and family when that person needed them, people who are going through a depression do not know how to get the help or seek assistance from friends or loved ones! If they did, they probably wouldn’t have committed suicide.

      Let’s remember, that DEPRESSION IS A MEDICAL CONDITION and suicide can be the result of such medical condition. Yes, it may be a choice made the depressed individual, but in the foggy haze of their mind, they see no other way out and see death as the only way to end their pain. Bottomline, those who need the sympathy are the ones left behind and BRAVO to Mr. Heald for his post!

      One CAN NOT compare any other medical illness to depression. You can not compare someone fighting cancer or other terminal disease to those battling depression. Depression affects the mind – the thinking of that person. They can’t see that tomorrow will be a better day or fight to get better. It’s just not the same and shouldn’t ever be compared. Yes, I feel for every person that suffers from any medical condition…but I will never judge anybody for their medical condition.

      Perhaps everyone needs to be more open minded to the fact that depression is a medical condition with serious consequences. If people would learn to understand the truth and consequences of mental illness and acknoledge its existence, perhaps there could be fewer deaths.

  15. Lori says:

    I am so sorry for you, his friends, family and fellow crew members.
    The song that you chose was a perfect ending to your description of losing your mate.

  16. Chris Packard says:


    My thoughts and prayers go out to you,the entire Carnival family and of course the family of the lost crew member

  17. Janet Sammons says:

    Tears fill my eyes for this crew member, his Carnival family and his actuall family. I am sorry for your loss.
    God bless and keep you all.

  18. Judy and John says:

    So sorry for the loss of the crew member. Prayers go up for the crew members and his family. Hugs to You John and all Judy and John

  19. popcorngal says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  20. Big Ed says:

    John, every year Jerry Lewis sings that song at the end of his telethone and it just sends chills.

    Will say a prayer for him and his family.

    BIG Ed

  21. Sarah says:

    That’s such sad news. I’m sure the crew must be proceeding in their work with heavy hearts. If any passengers were upset by the late night wake up call, it’s their problem, not yours. You did as you should.

  22. Courtney says:

    I am so very sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with you all. <3

  23. Nancy Trevino says:

    Oh, John, I am sitting here in tears as I write. I am so sorry that the crew member thought that everything was so bad that this was the only way. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this

  24. Dear John
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you ,the Carnival Family, and the Crew Members Family as you share in this loss. It is sad that this person chose to go this way. Hugs to all of you. Extra Prayers are being sent your way tonight.
    The Tuckers
    Arnold & Elizabeth

  25. Kay T says:

    How tragic for everyone! I am so sorry for all the crew that have to deal with this tragedy and how I wish this dear gentleman had got the help he needed so he would still be with all of you. I pray for this person’s family as they deal with their loss. Your tribute was touching and heart felt. God Bless all of you as I know this is a difficult time for all of you.

    • Denise Menara says:

      I totally agree. I was on this cruise in May with my sister and a friend just came back from this and told me of this awful news. It is so hard to fathom why someone would do this and how life must have been that bad at the time for that person. Prayers offered to all the crew and to the passengers onboard that were affected by this. May everyone know that there is always, always someone to talk to you when life gets you down. Whether you believe in God or the universe, or whatever someone loves you and is always there to listen no matter what.

  26. Jen vL from Canada says:

    My heart breaks for this crew member’s family and friends…may you all find peace and love in the memories you have.

  27. Terri says:

    Dear John,

    My heart goes out to the family of the crew member. I know how hard it is to accept the untimely death of a loved on. My heart also aches for the crew member to be so miserable as to have to make that decision. I feel bad for all on board as vacations are to be happy and care free, and to have to deal with a situation like this. I know that you and all the other CCL employees will try your hardest to help your guests through this. I’ve always laughed out loud at your blog posts, but today I cried.

    You take care of yourself

  28. Frank says:

    Our condolences to the crew of the Splendor on their loss of a member of their family, and to the family of the crew member.

  29. ladyq says:

    this is extremely sad. my thoughts and prayers go out to all of you. will you be posting a picture of him?

  30. Sandra says:

    Prayers to the family and to all who loved him and called him friend..

  31. Heather says:

    I’m very sorry to hear about this, John. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Carnival family.

  32. Our deepest sympathy goes to the family and the crew at the loss of your valued crew member. Such a tragic story to read today. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you now.
    Barb & Carl

  33. LadyJag (Laura) says:

    My deepest sympathies to all the friends and family of the crew member.


  34. Cathy says:

    That is such horrible news, John. I cannot imagine being on a cruise and having someone jump to their death. But sometimes a person is so depressed that there is no light at the end of the tunnel and no matter what they just cannot face the difficult times that life presents to them. You just feel that there is no other way out. I know….I have been there and it is only by a miracle that I am here to talk about it today.

  35. Linda says:

    As others have said so well, your blogging community members feel your pain and that of the entire crew. Please know we’re all remembering you in our prayers.

  36. Barb says:

    This is so very sad to hear about. We were just on the Splendor 9/12 and the entire crew was so very friendly. We felt as though we were part of the Splendor family. We send condolences to the all of the staff and the crewmembers family.
    Barb and Wayne

  37. Carla says:

    So sorry to hear those are terrible news, I was a crew member also on Splendor so I´m nervous wondering if I knew this crew member, any way my prayers are for him or her, the family and close friends!! Is here any chance you can please tell me the name of the crew member?

  38. Pamela Y Archibold says:

    Dear John,
    I am very sadden by the crew member jumping. In August I had the pleasure of taking my first cruise on Carnival Splendor and I must say that the entire staff was the best.
    I cannot believe that anyone could feel so lost that they would want to take their own life and in that manner.
    My prayers go out to the Carnival Splendor family, his family as well as his friends.

  39. Lorenzo Calvillo says:

    Dear John, it is always coming a terrible sens of frustation when you lost a member of your crew. I fill myself closeby to You and to Captain Cupisti. Lorenzo

  40. My prayers to the crew, his friends and especially his family. A very appropriate poem John.

  41. Courtney Ann says:

    How heartbreaking to hear this. I pray for the friends and family of that sweet employee. May God lift them up and comfort them as only He can.

  42. Can'twaitforMarch says:

    I am so sorry John.

  43. tracy says:

    wow so sorry john prayers are with his family and sea family.

  44. KathyG says:

    Condolences to his family and his Carnival family. So sad for everyone.

  45. B Helen Walters says:

    I am so sorry for your loss of a coworker.

    I keep thinking of the smiling faces of my recent dining room waiters and room stewards on my cruise on the Carnival Freedom. They were always so professional in their behavior, but hearing of such tragedies of these, remind me, that no matter how happy, or normal people appear, there is always the chance that somone who serves you is suffering.

    Even I am guilty of forgetting that these wonderful people who make me feel like a queen, are so far away from their families, and I guess that I too, take them for granted. All this said, I am still thinking often of my waiters on my Carnival cruises going back to the Triumph in 2004. And most recently on my cruise on the Freedom, my wait staff were so very very special.

    When I hear of these losses of human life, I always think back of those special folks who looked after me, and I always thinks of those memorable people who looked after me, and I hope that those who remain in my memory, were not among those who felt desperate enough to end their lives by going into the sea.

    Just know that you are not alone in mourning the loss of a coworker. I worked for 25 years in the airline industry, and have lost many friends and coworkers, for so many reasons.

  46. Lisa Divers-Nelson says:

    I’m so very sorry to hear of the sad news John. My prayers and thoughts are with the crew member’s family, you, the crew and the guests. So tragic….

  47. The Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John and all of your crew members onboard the Carnival Splendor.

    Please know that all of us here on the Blog are offering our deepest prayers for the safe recovery of your friend and fellow crew member. Until them our prayers also go out to you for your loss. No words will do until the lost is found and safely back onboard.
    The Cruzin2some

  48. Sean McGrath says:

    Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal
    “May his noble soul be at God’s right side.”

    Deepest condolences to his family and fellow crew members

  49. Amanda V. says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this news. My thoughts are with all of you, and with the crew member’s family.

  50. travel girl23 says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us so we might keep this person and his family in our thoughts and prayers. What a sad day for the Splendor and all of Carnival and all of us who love Carnival.

  51. NYSchauer says:

    Thoughts and prayers going out to the family of the crew member and the Carnival crew in this difficult time.


  52. Barbara says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this–prayers to all of the Carnival family and this person’s family for peace.

  53. Jeri Green says:

    John, We’re so sorry to hear this sad news. Our prayers are with his family and, of course, you and the rest of the crew.

  54. Linda Hernacki says:

    What a tragic loss. I have never met a Carnival Crew member that I didn’t like. They are ALL wonderful. I feel so bad for his Carnival as well as his biological family and am sorry he felt he had to end his life this way. My prayers go out to you all. What a SAD day!

  55. Richard G says:

    Very very sad. A sad end to a human life. With all respect I still do not understand why it is necessary to make a general announcement concerning this tragic event especially in the middle of the night. What possible good can come of waking up half a ship? If people noticed the lights and commotion, they should have been informed, but otherwise why not tell people in the morning.

  56. Mike mcd says:

    so sorry to hear about this. The song is the same one that was played at my fathers, and my mothers funeral. They will never walk alone. They will be with their Father and Brother and with God, as well as your crew member


  57. Ernie/cruizer4662 says:

    Our sincere sympathy to you, and the whole Carnival family. This has to be a great loss to the ship and his shipmates.
    Printing out that song was a wonderful tribute.
    Ernie & Colleen

  58. Lanie (TexasCruzrs) says:

    John my prayers go out to you and the entire crew. It must be very hard to keep a smiling face while they are so sad. My heart goes out to all of them.

  59. Melissa Jurgensen says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with the crew member, his family and everyone on board the Splendor.

    Melissa Jurgensen

  60. Robin Lint says:

    Dear John and Carnival family,
    This is very sad news. I sailed on the Splendor Sept. 5th this year. I feel a loss as well. Each and every member of the crew were outstanding! Valuable gems in a perfect setting. I am sending my deepest sympathy and condolances to you and all of the crew and staff on the splendor and prayers for the one lost and their family.

  61. Joe Kelly says:

    Our prayers are with you, the crew, and the family.
    See you sunday.

  62. Susan says:

    I was in tears reading your blog today. What a sad time for your Splendor family and the crew members family, My thoughts and prayer are with you at this difficult time.

  63. Rhonda says:

    This is such a tragic story! You never know what is going through someone’s mind, they may seem perfectly happy but inside be miserable. Depression is a horrific thing and I honestly believe most that commit suicide are depressed. How awful for this person and his family and all those that he worked with to have to deal with this. I hope this poor soul has found peace in the lord and will pray for his/her family and all that knew him/her.

  64. Susan Garoutte says:

    Words are inadequate to render comfort and yet they are all we have at times. I’m sure this is not the first time Carnival has faced this situation – I wonder what services are offered to the crew members to try to prevent such overwhelming despair? My condolences to this individual’s family and friends.

  65. James Emm says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the lost crew member and his family.

  66. Deborah Rosato says:

    How very sad. My heart and prayers go out to you, the Carnival Splendor family and his family. It is so tragic that people feel there is no other way out of their problem than to end their life. If only…is what everyone of his friends and family are saying today. The sad part is you can’t know. May God comfort all of you this very sad day.

  67. Angela J. says:

    I am in tears after reading this. What a tragic, horrible thing to have happened. I’m praying for this crew member’s family, and I pray for you John and the rest of the staff and crew as you deal with the emotional aftermath of this tragedy.

  68. joyce g. says:

    I am so sorry that, while the rest of the world is celebrating the miraculous rescue in Chile, the Carnival family is experiencing such sorrow. I will pray for you all.

  69. peggy222 says:

    I am so sorry John for the loss of your crew, what a sad day it must be for all. My prayers and thoughts are with all of you.

    Peg Dunbar

  70. Beverly says:

    So sorry, John. Thoughts and prayers to the entire crew and this man’s family.

  71. Ashley says:

    I am so sorry John. My hearts and prayers are with the Carnival family and the family of the crew member.

  72. Violet Martin says:

    Sorry for your loss. What an awful thing to have happened. The Carnival crew and family are in my thoughts.

  73. We’re so sorry, John.
    Prayers being said for all
    Carolyn and Don

  74. Steve O says:

    This is so sad John. I send my prayers to you and the crew of Carnival Splendor.

    Steve O

  75. Doug Parent says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, the crew, the guest and the crew members family….

  76. Helen Hoskin says:

    so sorry for this person’s family, the carnival family but I feel for the person who now has to tell this person’s family how it happened. That is one very tough job.

  77. Steve Kraft says:

    On a day where the world is celebrating the rescue of 33 men trapped underground for nearly two months, we also hear of a tragic event on Carnival Splendor. Just reemphasizes the fragility of life and our time on this planet. Thoughts and prayers to everyone involved, and thoughts and prayers for the rest of the world as well….

  78. Michelle says:

    This is so very sad. In my 3.5yrs onboard with Carnival as a Purser I never had to deal with such a loss. My heart is breaking for the crew of the Splendor and the gentlemans’ family back home. All I can say is lean on each other right now…I am thinking about you all.

  79. Host Mach from Cruise Critic says:

    There are no words to properly address a situation like this. I will pray for his family and friends and hope that this person has found peace and is no longer plagued by the demons that drove him or her to this.

    God bless.

    Host Mach

  80. Karen Sheesley says:

    Oh John,
    It is so sad that this poor person thought the only way out was to end his life. I pray for him and his family. I will also keep all of your ship and staff in my thoughts and prayers too. It will be traumatizing for all of you and I hope that Carnival has a good support system for everyone. This is so so sad. I am sorry for the loss of your crew member. God Bless all of you.

  81. Beth J says:

    John, my deepest condolences to all of you. I do find it so sad when someone feels their life is not worth living and they decide to take it. I wish he/she would have gotten the help they needed. I know the Captain, you, Coast Guard, crew etc… did everything they could to find and save this man/woman. I guess the only thing positive is this person is no longer suffering whatever it was that was so horrible. I pray for all their friends and family and that they somehow find peace.

  82. Julie Mendenhall (jrmende63) says:

    I am sorry to hear this news. Prayers to the Ship’s family and the crew member’s family.

  83. KJune says:

    Oh, my! My thoughts and prayers are with everyone on the Splendor. It is so hard to lose someone who is family and I know that working together that closely, you are family.

  84. Cynthia says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this tragic news. Try to find some comfort that he is now onto a better place.

  85. Lynn in VA says:

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your crew member.

  86. retirementman says:

    John I’m so very sorry to hear about this poor man. You John, the Carnival family and especially this man’s family have my thoughts and prayers for all of you tonight. How difficult it must be for the crew at this time. My condolences to all of you.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  87. Linda Evans says:

    John, My prayers go out to all affected by this tragedy. Here is some info that may help someone dealing with suicide.

    Suicide Survivors: Family and Friends

    The death of a loved one is a painful event, but the grief felt by family members and frie…nds is compounded when the cause of death is suicide. Some estimates suggest that around one in four people knows someone who has taken their own life. ‘Survivors’ is a term used to describe the family members and friends of a person who suicides. Despite the prevalence of suicide, the social taboo surrounding this issue often means that survivors may feel stigmatized and alone.

    Common survivor responses:
    1 Remorse over lost opportunities
    2 Anger at the person who suicided
    3 Guilt over failed responsibilities, real or imagine
    4 Isolation caused by a sense of self-imposed shame
    5 Aloneness when others keep their distance
    6 Anger toward those perceived to have contributed to the suicide
    7 Awkwardness when others don’t know how to respond
    8 Shock associated with facing the traumatic and sometimes unexpected nature of death
    9 Difficulty accepting that the death was by suicide
    10 Fear that powerful grief reactions may not be normal
    11 Difficulty making sense of the suicide.
    They question ‘why’??
    Survivors often grapple with the question of why their loved one chose to suicide. In many cases, the question is complicated and remains open-ended. Some of the reasons why some people suicide may include:
    Mental illness, such as depression or schizophrenia
    Chronic pain
    Physical disability
    Stress of certain life events.

    The stages of grief
    Survivors often report that the bereavement felt after a suicide is different to other bereavements. In addition to the powerful feelings of grief, a survivor may also grapple with anger, relief and guilt. Different people grieve in different ways. Family members need to give each other the space and understanding so that everyone can grieve in their individual ways. Some of the stages of grief may include:
    Shock or numbness
    Strong feelings of anger or confusion
    Emotional withdrawal from others
    Feelings of depression and loneliness
    Difficulties with everyday routines, such as eating and sleeping.
    Guilt is a common feeling
    Many survivors feel overwhelmed with guilt. They may feel they should have picked up the warning signs, or else they blame themselves for things they did or didn’t do in the time leading up to the suicide. Many survivors feel anger and betrayal. These are common and normal reactions.
    Feelings of relief
    Some people who suicide were affected by mental illness, such as depression, schizophrenia or severe personality disorders. Survivors who witnessed their suffering may feel a sense of relief that their loved one’s torment is over. This is a normal reaction and survivors shouldn’t feel guilty.
    Negative reactions
    A couple of centuries ago, people who took their own lives were routinely buried in ‘unholy’ ground outside of church-yard cemeteries, and their surviving family members were condemned by the community. Today, we may be horrified by such harsh and unfeeling treatment, but the taboo surrounding suicide still exists to some degree in Western countries. For example, some people may see suicide as a mark of failure. Others may not know how to respond to survivors because suicide is seen as a socially unacceptable cause of death. These attitudes could be conveyed to the survivors from unthinking people in their community, or else may be self-imposed. The guilt, pain and confusion felt by many survivors can be compounded by the shame they feel that their loved one suicided instead of ‘facing their problems’.
    Suggestions for survivors
    Suggestions for dealing with the suicide of a loved one include:
    Give yourself time to come to terms with your loss.
    Try not to deny your feelings.
    Remember that grief is a normal reaction, even when your feelings seem too intense to be normal.
    Work through your feelings, alone and with others.
    Support other family members.
    Be vigilant about signs of depression or suicidal thoughts in yourself and other family members.
    Be honest with children and explain the suicide in language appropriate to their age.
    If friends seem awkward or don’t know what to say, tell them what you need.
    Accept that some friends won’t be able to give you the kind of emotional support you need. Consider joining a support group in your area.
    Anticipate that important events, such as birthdays and Christmas, will provoke strong feelings.
    Seek professional bereavement counseling.

    Linda Evans RN

  88. Marty Paul says:


    Our sincerest condolences to the Carnival family, especially those closest to this crewmember.

    A large cruise ship is truly a microcosm of society and unfortunately this includes suicide.

    Marty & Jeanne

  89. Eva Bartolo says:

    John our thoughts and prayers are with you on the Splendor. It is a tragic time for you all especially since he was one of yours, it hits closer home. We wish his family well during this time.

  90. GlendaleCruiser says:

    My friends are on that cruise with you celebrating their anniversary. How sad for all but especially for all your crew and the Carnival family. Condolences to all.

  91. Sad news for Carnival today.

    Good news for the Chilean miners.

    Interesting juxtaposition.

  92. Joanna says:

    What a sad day. My heart goes out to the crew members family and friends and each and everyone of you on board the ship. I hope they have someone that they can talk to. It’s a very complicated and difficult thing to be left behind when someone you love commits suicide.

  93. Dixie says:

    John: So sorry for you and all the crew. Such a sad thing to happen. Sincere sympathy to the person’s immediate and extended family.

  94. Jill Fritz says:

    What a sad thing to happen. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you and his family.

  95. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Our hearts go out to the crew member’s family and friends.

    I can not imagine how much pain that individual must have been in to take their own life.

    Linda (Mom of DJ)

  96. Grandma Amy says:

    John, my heart goes out to this crewmember, their family, you, all the staff and all the guests. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers tonight.

  97. Kimberlee says:

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to you all and to the crew member. I hope he finally finds the peace he was looking for.

  98. Cindy56 says:

    This is such a sad day for everyone on board the Carnival Splendor. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and everyone that he loved and loved him.

  99. Juliana Barker says:

    I am so saddened by this… thank you for sharing this with us… your blog family… I speak for us all … you and the crew and the rest of his/her families are in our thought and prayers (of all types)….


  100. nanetteali says:

    Sorry John.. so sad

  101. Doug Robertson says:


    My thoughts and prayers go out to you, the entire Carnival family, and the family of the crew member lost at sea. My family and I were very sorry to hear this sad news.

    Doug Robertson

  102. Brittney from California says:

    Hi John,

    First… thank you for having the courage to share this sad story in writing with the millions that read your blog… I know typing out this post was not an easy task by any means.

    My partner and I were just on the Carnival Splendor last week for a birthday celebration (October 3rd-10th) and are so shocked and saddened to hear this tragic news. I can only imagine how this has affected the crew and those on board… our thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this time.

  103. Stephanie Martin says:

    How difficult that must be for you, and all of the staff. I know you will go on to make sure your guests have the best possible cruise even given these sad circumstances. You are a pro. We will keep you and our Carnival family in our prayers.

  104. JeniceGlassman says:

    “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee;” Isa. 43:2 May your crew member be at peace, no matter what his/her beliefs were. May the rest of your family of crew on the Splendor know our sympathy is with all of you for your loss.

  105. Bobby Frank Kruczek says:

    VERY sad news..my thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  106. Cheryl Johnson says:

    Dear John and the Carnival Cruise Family,

    Having just gotten off the Splendor a few days ago for our 20th anniversary cruise and having the wonderful opportunity of spending a few minutes with you, Heidi & Kye on Saturday after the Q & A (I’ll be getting photos to you soon)…I cannot express enough how my heart goes out to each of you, and this crew members friends and family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all and your post was very beautiful tonight.

    Unknown to you and on a very personal note, I just experienced this same tragic situation three months ago this week having lost my brother in an unfathomable way. Words cannot express how deep the pain is felt by those who are left behind.

    But I also need to say that having just experienced this, there need not be a reason to have judgemental comments written in the face of such a tragedy – please consider the loved ones who remain that live with what is said, both publicly and privately, as it can create even more pain for those left behind.

    Thank you to an earlier comment by Jennifer who said it very well that most often there are deep issues, such as depression or mental illness. That was the situation I have had to live with in losing my only sibling who struggled, despite every attempt from loved ones to get him the help he needed. And yes, as others struggle to live and are fighting for their life, this type of situation is not one that is comfortable for discussion because it seems so unfair and is unfathamable – I know because my husband has fought for his life as well having a chronic illness. All we can do is hug our loved ones closer, find compassion for others who are struggling, offer a kind word even when a situation doesn’t make sense, and know that these types of situations that for the friends and family who experience the loss of a beautiful person that you are not alone. My heart breaks for all those impacted by this and who are struggling. May it help to know that complete strangers truly do care and that this man is not forgotten. I will say a prayer for him tonight as I will for my own brother. Thank you for taking the time to read this, John. God bless you all in this time of sorrow.
    Warmest thoughts, Cheryl & Richard Johnson

  107. Ally Quinn says:

    You never know what another person is dealing with, so it’s always best to give them the benefit of the doubt and a smile- it might be the one thing that makes a difference to them on a hard day. Serving so many all day and putting on a happy face is a constant challenge in the service industry.

  108. John and Carnival Family. our deepest thoughts to you all, over this traumatic period just keep up with your dogmatic strength that you possess over this period. remember you have a lot of people to share the burdon with.
    Francis and Graham Yates

  109. Vivienne says:

    My condolences to the crew member’s family, and my thoughts and prayers to all on the Splendor. It took me back, about 3 years ags, while on the Glory, when I was told by the HD that one of the security guards was missing on the previous cruise. He was from India, and left behind a wife and 3 little girls. So sad.

  110. Nj Cruisin' says:

    I am certainly saddened to hear about the loss. The thing that makes me smile though is how everyone teamed together to help each other out to find the crew member. Passengers and crew came together in this difficult situation. Claudio is amazing in those situations. I commend all of you in this difficult situation and my prayers go out to you, the crew and the family.

  111. Patty Byrd says:

    … a permanent solution to a temporary problem. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  112. Dear John
    Our very special thoughts to you , the Captain, Officers and Crew over this dreadfull period . Keep up with your dogmatic strength that you have. Our thoughts and prayers to you all

  113. Cheryl Barcomb says:

    John and Carnival Crew, How saddend we all are with the loss of a crew member. I am just heart broken over this. Please Lord be with the family and carnival family of this dear son of yours. Hugs and Prayers are on the way. Cheryl B

  114. Pat G says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with all who feel this loss and pain. It is such a sad situation. May God bring peace to all.

    Pat & Jim

  115. Bill says:

    How sad to hear this John. Definitely thinking about you and the crew as well as the crew member’s family. Hopefully you can spend the time with Cassie this week as well as some other crewmembers to help lighten the heavy hearts right now.

  116. Larry Meador says:

    My prayers are with this man and his family, as well as his Carnival family. What a sad day….

  117. Karen says:

    Prayers to his/her family and to the Carnival family.

  118. alex says:

    Very sad news. Our thoughts and condolences to the family, friends and crew members.

  119. Cindy Wagner says:

    How very sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to the crew member’s family and friends. I can only imagine the sadness everyone is feeling.

  120. Gary Balanoff says:

    This is indeed a horrible day. My family lost two friends during one very short year through suicide, but I share this thought with you in the hopes that it might bring peace to those on your ship and others on your blog. The 15 year old good friend of my son who took his life 10 years ago was a young man who did well in school, was a football player, and popular with the girls in his class. He had everything going for him, but was diagnosed as bipolar. That day, he did not take the medication that was prescribed. My son has grieved ever since, but shortly after the funeral, I saw him wearing a rubber band around his wrist. When I asked him about it, he said it was a reminder that no matter what happened, you must remember to bend and stretch, but don’t ever break. I thought that was remarkably wise for a high school sophomore, so I pass along to you and your crew and anyone out there who shares the pain. Blessings to all of you and that crew member’s family.

  121. Kim OBar says:

    Oh What Horrible this news is!!!! Our thoughts and Prayers are with the Family of the lost crewmember and the Friends and shipmates who have lost a wonderful friend. May God give you and them the strength to get through this difficult time in there lifes. John your tribute to him was beautiful.


  122. Bonnie Hamilton says:

    My heart goes out to the crewmember’s family and also his Carnival family. All will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  123. Sharon Sorlie says:

    Hi John
    I was extremely saddened by the news. Chris and I were on the Splendor in May and to think that one of that fabulous crew in now no longer with you must be devastating to not only his shipboard family, but his/her family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all in your time of grief.

  124. a simple note through the sea of air that is the web to the sea that holds the thoughts and prayer of many, many tears will join the sea this day in memory of one that is greatly missed and the ones that miss them most

    Sorry John for this great loss to you and your crew family

  125. Dan says:

    I’m so, so sorry for the crew member and the survivors. The human condition is fragile in my opinion. We’re all one bad situation and one bad decision away from causing harm that can’t be repaired. My prayers go out to the entire crew, family and friends. This is one of life’s most difficult situations.

  126. tom & jane rachford says:


  127. michelle mann says:

    so sorr john
    our thoughts are with you all.

  128. Caryn says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you in the Carnival family.

  129. Sheri says:

    I’m very sorry to hear this news, my sympathies to the family, and other crew members

  130. Elaine says:

    It’s bad enough to lose a passenger but to lose a “member of the family” makes it even worse. From my family to yours (all of Carnival) our thoughts and prayers are with you guys…..

    What a beautiful song to remember him by…

  131. sorry to read this John

  132. Julie Gantt says:

    I am so sorry.

  133. Loissendslotsaloveski says:

    Sending hugs, prayers, wisdom, strength, and peace to you, your shipmates, and to the crew member’s loved ones.

  134. Jaime from Vacation =) says:

    Hey John,
    Just heard what happened. Kirk and I are sending our thoughts, prayers and love to the officers, staff, crew and guests of the Carnival Splendor.
    So sad to think that the crew member felt that was his only way out. There are so many resources available on board and people willing to give a helping hand that it truly hurts my heart for someone to intentionally take their life in this way.

    I have only been on board one time we had a man overboard – it was on the Splendor actually in South America.

    As a crew member – we still need to be friendly and cheerful – since that is our job. I remember that being my hardest day ever to do my job.

    Big hugs,

  135. kiciaski says:

    We’re so sorry that that the crew member chose that way to end his problems. He, his family, and the crew will be in our prayers.

  136. Ellen T Horan says:

    Dear John, It’s been a few rough weeks for you and the crew.
    My prayers are with all of you and especially the family of the lost crewman.
    How is the crewman who got sick his first day back after vacation and was airlifted to the hospital?

  137. Mike says:

    John, I guess I got a few days backed up on my reading. Please accept my condolences to the crew and family of your lost crew member. It is surely not an easy thing to go through. We lose people at work from time to time and I know how it affects everyone, I’m sure that in the living arrangements onboard ship it is even more devastating. Thank you for sharing with us though. It does tend to remind us that those folks who ensure we have such a great time onboard are people too, and suffer at the loss of one of their number. I do hope this might serve as a reminder to everyone to be just a little kinder and gentler to our servers, stewards, bartenders, and everyone who work so hard for us. I do hope there was peace for that individual to be found.

  138. Debbie says:

    Thoughts and prayers go out to all of his family…at home and at sea. God Bless

  139. Jennifer says:

    My heart is breaking. John, I am so sorry. I cannot imagine what the crew is going through. You and all the good folks on the Splendor are in my thoughts and prayers.

  140. Janet N says:

    John, I am so sorry to hear of this. We were on the Splendor making an inaugarual trip around S. America when a passenger decided to jump also. A very sad time for family and fellow passengers. My heart goes out to this crew members family.

  141. Amy Norman says:

    John, how truly sad….my condolences are with yourself and the rest of the crew and of course to his family.
    Amy & Bruce

  142. cruisin'lovebirds says:

    John, we send our prayers for the crew member and words of consolation for his friends on the Splendor and his family. Janet

  143. trip says:

    The personal tragedy of someone, who is such despair, that they take their own life, should be handled with dignity…bravo

  144. Sharon Dunbar says:

    So Sorry about your and the rest of the crew’s friend. It hurts so much to lose a co-worker but you all are like a
    family because you not only work but live together without your at home families. Will remember you all and his family in our prayers.

    God Bless

  145. Tracy Van Der Voort says:

    So sad to read this. Our thoughts are with all of you.

  146. Nancy says:

    This is so sad! My prayers go out to the fellow crew and the family of this man. Did they recover him? If possible, please give us an update. I pray they were able to recover his body for the sake of his family and friends.

  147. Dear John and Carnival Crew:

    I just returned home form the Splendor and was on the cruise when this tragic event happened. Although I did not know or meet the crew member, I am very sad. John you did a good job communicating with everyone. I prayed immediately as soon as it was brought to our attention.

    My cabin was 7206, right below the bridge and next to one of the spot lights used during the search. I want to tell you that our cabin stewardess Laddawon (forgive my spelling) did a fantastic job consoling us the days after this happened. She has cruised with you 7 years and this was the first time she had experienced something like this happening. She wished she had known the guy so she could have possibly helped him by talking with him.

    I wish you and your crew the best. I hope his friends on board and family will be able to find peace. They are to be commended to even be able to carry on with their duties with something like this weighing on their minds.

    Best wishes, prayers, and regards.


  148. David & Mari Jo Enfield says:

    John, we want to thank you for your sensitive and straight forward announcements and updates the night of the crew members tragedy. In a sad and uncertain situation, you were the voice of comfort to so many of us. We cannot tell you how much it meant to us that you took the time to keep us informed, and that you were completely honest about what happened. We are still saddened by the loss of this young mans life, and pray for those that knew him and witnessed what happened. In spite of all that you were dealing with, you were able to show all of us a fun time and still honor the life that was lost. May God bless you.

  149. Tenaya says:

    Such a sad night. And day. Thanks for making us all smile through it all, John.

  150. John,

    I saw the show Bedtime Story.

    Question? Briefs or Boxers?

    The show was wonderful.

  151. Amie says:

    I was one of the guests on this cruise. It seemed so unreal when you made the announcement John. My best friend & I got out of bed & went onto our balcony & watched the boat & lights. Im bipolar & I had a hard time ‘dealing’ with that (so to speak) & it was a struggle for me to enjoy the rest of our cruise. My heart is heavy for the crew member, his family, you & the rest of the staff. May he rest in peace!

    P.S. You & your co-workers did an AWESOME job in accomodating everyone & you still put on a smile & made us laugh. We watched the bedtime stories skit over & over again. I wish I had purchased the DVD!

  152. Ed, Emily, Sam, & Rebecca says:

    John … just made it safely back to Phoenix after departing the Splendor this morning (10/17). Found your blog when searching if the tragedy had made it’s way to the Internet.

    May I say, that you deserve a tremendous amount of praise for how you personally communicated with 3000 very worried passengers. You switched from funny to both serious and comforting. Your company should be proud of how you managed a tragic situation.

    On the humor side of things, my wife still thinks you were quite the boob, but I loved the humor. Of course, she thinks I’m a boob as well, so you’re in good company.

    Our sincerest thanks and compliments.

    Cabin 1234 (10/10 to 10/17)

  153. Stuart Katz says:

    My girlfriend and I were on board this past week in cabin 8207, 3 cabins behind the bridge, I saw the worry and sadness in all of the officers on the bridge that night. I was up until 4:30 watching and hoping for a rescue. I now the captain and crew did everything humanly possible under the circumstances. It was a very sad night and I truly did not care about being late into port the next day. The law of the sea says you go and search for the person be it a crew member or a passenger.
    I did not get to meet you on the cruise but i saw you on the bridge the next morning and saw the sadness you were feeling. It’s a shame it took the Mexican Coast Guard so long to get there and I hope that that is addressed with someone.
    The entire crew was great under the tough situation and our prayers go out to all of you. Hope to cruise with you soon.

  154. angie says:

    John, I am very sorry for the loss of your crew member. I was on board the spledor when this happened. I prayed for him, his family and his fellow co-workers. I must commend the entire crew of the splendor for working so hard to keep the passengers happy and content even though they may have felt terrible about the loss of their friend and co-worker. Again, I am sorry for your loss and will keep you all in my prayers.

  155. Stacey says:


    I was on board and up the morning this happened, and felt the ship moving “differently” before announcements were made. Your voice coming over the system was very calming for me. I was a VERY apprehensive first time passanger who actually cried if I went above the Lido (9th) deck. This morning I was in a full panic attack…and yet you were very calming. THANK GOD for you that morning. I unfortunately, was not only apprehensive, but have also experienced the aftermath of suicide in the past. This really stirred up some past, painfull memories. I will never forget, ever, these events! I will also ever forget, how you helped everyone to understand what was happening, showed empathy, and were so very calming. You, Deepak (dining room gold pearl early), Darvin (steward level 2), and Harish (server on Lido) made this cruise a great first experience for my family. I WILL cruise again, although still a little freaked out!


  156. Maria C says:

    Myself and my daughter were on this cruise, and we sat up all night praying for this particular crew member and his cruise family and blood family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Don’t worry John you did not bother anyone on the updates. God Bless You

  157. Rena says:

    We were on that cruise, It was very sad and hard to deal with. We felt for his family and friends more than anything. So what that we missed our morning port… Our thoughts and prayers are with this poor man’s family and friends. We will never forget this. I feel that John handled this horrible time very well. Thank you John….

    No one can tell when something like this is going t happen!

  158. Alan says:

    John: We were at Puerto Vallarta on shore (MS Oosterdam) when the Splendor pulled into the dock at 2pm. I asked one of our crew members about the late docking and he told me about a person overboard. The Splendor had spent hours looking for this person. I’m sorry to hear about the crew member committing suicude. Thank you for your post and the ship’s loss.

  159. Michele says:

    I was on the ship when this happened. The announcement was necessary, even if it was 1:30AM. The crew held up well. We were late but everyone was respectful and understood the situation. I think the hard part was explaining it to my young boys. We had a great trip and the crew held together and carried on. I was feeling badly for this mans family back home. He was gone but there must have been people that loved him. Even the friends that he worked with. It was a sad thing to watch. That life ring floating out there, the lights looking, that big dark ocean. It was really a shame. Thanks Carnival for being professionals and for only being human.

  160. Jessica says:

    I was on board when this happened and I have to say this was really shocking! I heard stories like this one on TV but never in a million years would I think this would happen on the same time i was on a cruise. We are all in bed and as soon as we heard the announcement we literally jumped out of bed and ran to the balcony. I guess to see for ourselves that this was really happening. This was my first Cruise and for this to happen was crazy! But I was also amazed on how supportive the guests were, I seriously thought people would blame the crew. I am sad that there wasnt a happy ending to the search. My thoughts go out to the individual and their family.

  161. Becky and Glenn says:

    John and staff…

    This was our 3rd cruise with Carnival, and the 2nd time that a crew member went overboard. The first was on the Victory when one of the entertainment dancers fell over. That story turned out to have a much better ending than this cruise, and Glenn and I are so sorry for the staff and the family of the victim. But all in all, the cruise was alot of fun and we enjoyed it very much. Cruising again in the spring with the grandkids.

    I would like to say that our Maitre D’ in the Black Pearl dining room during the early seating was probably the most entertaining, friendliest and approachable Maitre D’ that we had on all three cruises. Also, i would sincerly like to thank Mylene and Proma (spelling?), our dinner servers for all of their service. They were fantastic and we really do appreciate all of the wonderful service we recieved.

    Hope to see you all again soon.

    Glenn and Becky

    • Jaimie Tonks says:

      Glenn and Becky,
      I too have cruised with Carnival 3 times now, but fortunately have not had to experience someone going overboard until now. What a terribly sad thing it was. How awful for you to have gone through it twice in 3 cruises!. I agree with you that the Maitre D in the Black Pearl dining room is the best I’ve seen in 8 cruises.

      Best wishes if you cruise again…
      Jaimie Tonks

  162. Vanessa says:

    This was indeed a very sad day. I was on this very ship and was awake when the first announcement was made. Everyone one the ship was in shock and saddedned by the news. I would like to thank the entire crew for still making this cruise a memorable experience for us all. They were still able to put a smile on their faces and help all of us still enjoy our trip. Although this unfortunate situation was in the back of all of our minds the crew was remarkable and I will never forget what amazing people I encountered on this trip! My thoughts and prayers go out this persons loved ones and family.

  163. Kim says:

    John – My husband & I were on the ship with you when this occurred & we really felt for your crew & worked to be extra kind & offer a smile & a compliment to all we encountered to let your crew know we cared about their loss. I also wanted to let you know how impressed we were with how professional your crew was while dealing with such a horrific tragedy. This was our first cruise & I can safely tell you that our next cruise will be with Carnival. You blew us away with your customer service & good humor.

  164. Penny says:

    Well sad to say I was on the splendor sound asleep when John came on over the intercom. Woken from a deep sleep first thing that caught my attention was “man overboard” instantly jumped out of bed to look out the window and noticed the blinking lights moving free in the water and the spot light searching for that person. Next, the safety boat came into the the water and I thought for sure they would find the person. Sad to say they never did. John did a wonderful job in keeping us informed with what was going on. I kept thinking about his family and had he waited just a while longer he could have gotten off the boat in P.V and maybe just maybe he would still be alive today. John I wanted to thank you for keeping all of us informed and trying to pick the vibe of the ship up when we were all down….I wish you all the best….

  165. Mike & Lori says:


    No one knows what goes through the mind of a person. This crew member evidently put up a good front making those around him/her oblivious to the fact that their heart was breaking and their world was falling apart all around him/her. Don’t beat yourself up over this because there is no way anyone could have known. We are so very sorry for the loss and the pain you all must be feeling. Our prayers go out to you, the rest of the crew, the captain, and the family of this crew member. You did all you could to save this person. We love you John!

    Mike & Lori

  166. catherine funkey says:

    I was on that cruise and was one of many who scanned the horizon hoping to find the missing person. John was right to advise us to return to bed, because really, there was nothing we could do but pray for a successful outcome. My husband, who raced boats in his youth… a bit ago…knew this would not turn out well after an hour had passed. We did not find out it was a crew member until morning but one look at the pain and grief in the faces of our cabin steward and waiters told the story. I wish we had been able to do more for them, but John and the Captain commented on how supportive the passengers were during this stressful time. This was my 8th Carnival cruise and 11th overall and I have never experienced anything like this. John, please send our love and prayers to the family of the crew member and keep some for yourself.

  167. Pat Rigole says:

    I was on this cruise, and it was truly tragic what happened. It was sad to see the beacons from the life preserver bobbing in the water and the massive spotlights searching for this person. I’m sure everyone on board was saddened by this event but I must say it was handled well by most. The rumors ran rampant at first that it was a passenger, fortuneately they announced that it was a crew member rather quickly, so everyone stopped trying to second guess what had happened. It put a damper on the trip but I must say it was handled well by those in charge. It was a sad day for all the crew and passengers as well.

  168. Tereasa Sanders says:

    Well, I was ONBOARD the ship when this tragic event happened. I can truly say that it did indeed put a damper on my vacation. Yes, it was a sad, sad day for all of the crew as well as the passengers.
    I did not sleep very well after the announcement was made, nevertheless, I could not think of my restlessness without thinking of the pain that the family and friends of the crew member who took his own life will suffer for days to come because of this. This definitely was not the greatest vacation being onboard the Carnival Splendor….. 🙁

  169. Patty Bacod says:

    John, as a passenger on board, I was thank-ful that you advised us as to what was going on…my heart was broken for this person and his family. My praise at the courage of the entire crew who continued their duties for the duration of the cruise…I was one of those who stood for hours watching the waters as the search proceeded….I hope and pray that each and every person on board Splendor as crew members has available to help counceling, not just for times like this but for any other things that cause distress in there lives…I know it must be hard being away from family for such long periods of time. God Bless you all as a crew and this crew members family.

  170. Jaimie Tonks says:

    I and my family were also passengers on the Splendor that awful night. Each time I think about it and tell the story to others my heart breaks again for that poor soul and his family.

    I want to thank you for all you did for us on that ship during that week. It must have been a very trying time for all of you to keep up your cheeriness and smiles. You did so, wonderfully, and the entire crew was outstanding.

    All the best to you and the crew,

    Jaimie Tonks,
    Cabin 9255

    P.S. I will never forget Bedtime Story and can’t wait to show the DVD to my friends and family. I’ve never laughed so hard before.

  171. Rebecca says:


    My husband and I were on the ship when it happened. Neither one of us had ever been on a cruise before. As we stood out on the forward of deck 9, just above the bridge, there was a room steward standing next to me. I asked her, “does this happen often?” As she continued to stare straight into the water, with a somber, meek, and almost empty voice, she shook her head ever so slightly back and forth and silently said, “first time.” It was a very sad day, indeed, for crew and guests. I just want to express our gratitude for you and your courage to take on the unpleasant duty of notifying everyone on the ship. We appreciate you keeping us up to date and informed, even of the “ugly,” and for giving everyone a day to mourn, but then worked so hard, despite your grief, to make us laugh harder than we have ever laughed for the rest of the cruise. To be honest, because of high surfs and jelly-fish infested waters (and the fact that my husband forgot to bring his dive certification card, resulting in no SCUBA for us this year), the trip was a bit of a bust for us. But because of your incredible talent to make us all laugh so hard and so often, we enjoyed our trip none-the-less, and were able to relax and de-stress. Thank you so much. We have discussed whether or not we want to cruise again, and the conclusion is a firm, “only if John is the cruise director!” Thank you.

  172. Theresa Gilsenan says:

    I was on the ship dancing in the club when the first announcement came. There was disbelief and then a sense of sorrow. My condolences to the crew, captain, you, and the family. On to the excellent service….. While I am sure it was a difficult experience for all of the crew and it was seen in their eyes, they all held to the highest standard of service and professionalism. One crew member that I must give a special accolade to is Norbert Nica at the service desk. I had book a Signature Dolphin Swim through Vallarta Adventures for noon. Though I know it is always a risk when cruising, I thought I allowed plenty of time doing it myself. I simply could not afford the fare through the cruise since there was not a child’s price available for my son. The cruise was our celebration of my graduation and the dolphins were my birthday present to him. I called Vallarta Adventures as soon as they opened that morning and was basically told too bad, you lost it. Norbert Nica saw my distress and asked me to give him my information. I did and he continually called them through the day to work on it. He kept me posted by leaving messages in my cabin though he was busy with several other guests. As we were docking in P.V., he came to me with the best news!!! He got us in for a later time!!!!!!!! This was so far beyond my expectation as he could have told me since I did not book through Carnival there was nothing he could do. This shows the dedication and level of service the crew has to it’s customers. I could not be happier with the treatment!!!!!!!! I did send a letter to Carnival but want to be sure to let as many people as possible know how wonderful the crew is and how much they put into the guests. I will never be able to express enough gratitude. I do not often get to take great vacations as I am a single mother and to know that someone cared enough to allow me to give my son a once in a lifetime experience means the world to me.


  173. Jodi R. says:

    John – so sorry to hear about this. We were with you on the previous week’s cruise so this is hard to hear about someone who may have helped to fulfill a dream of our family. The loss of this individual is a loss to anyone who sailed with Carnival and can understand what the Carnival family is all about. We will always remember the love and laughter shared by everyone and can appreciate your hard work to make our stay unforgetable. Thanks so much to everyone on the Splendor!

  174. Pam Jones says:

    Heard About your blog from a friend i was amoung the many aboard the ship that night, and after the anouncement i couldn’t sleep- how tragic. I talked to a few of the crew members and they said prior to he incident seemed happy even smiling. My heart goes out to his Carnival family and his family at home! I thought that carnival was very respectful of keeping us informed on the loss and rembering him in a moment of silence.

  175. Soomi says:

    Why can’t we all just pray for the person who went overboard and his family? Seriously, do we need to bring out all of our personal issues when there is a dead person? Please this isn’t about you, it’s about the person who left this earth and people who are left behind with this massive sadness. My prayer and thoughts are with them.

  176. Soomi says:

    You were simply awesome!
    You made my vacation so much better!
    Thank you and God bless you!

  177. Vanessa and Alex says:

    Dear John,
    I just want to commend you for being so awesome through such a tragedy. Waking up to hearing that announcement, still gives me chills. My husband and I stayed up praying and hoping for the best. Not only for the individual, but for you and the whole crew, and family. And it saddens my heat that I heard people complaining about what an inconvenience it was on their trip. And I just wanted to tell you, for what it was worth, that my husband and I wouldve stayed searching our whole trip if it meant finding him.
    I just want to thank you for keeping a smile on your face, and keeping us laughing! I couldn’t image having that responsibility and delivering after everything. You are the best John! And we continue to pray for everyone!

  178. Marina says:

    My husband and I were onboard when this tragedy occured. I prayed for a different outcome, but sadly it was not to be. The pain and suffering was so evident on the crews faces the next day and I felt sad at the loss of one of their family. I thank you, John, for your updates and also for your “pep talks”, reminding us all know that we were still on vacation and “the show must go on”. I believe without your speech, a lot of passengers would not have known how to act for the rest of the cruise, for fear of offending the crew. I saw immediately that smiles and kind words were the beginning of healing for many of your crew. God bless the crew of the Splendor and again, I am so sorry for your loss.

  179. mary utsinger says:

    my husband and i were there on that dreadfull night. we were very impressed with the job u and all the team handled the situation. in show business the prase the show /must go/on and by the end of the cruise we had seen that expression over and over. this was our tenth carnival cruise, and u didnt disappoint.

  180. Kim Wilson says:

    I was a passenger on the Splendor that week and was truly saddened by the loss. I didn’t have a problem missing port because I honestly didn’t feel like getting off the ship and going about my life after such a tragedy. I spent the morning afterwards in tears knowing that someone that close to us was suffering so much, and I was incredibly upset at hearing people talk about how selfish it was of him. I even heard one person call him an a**hole after finding out that it was a suicide. I think that the majority of people probably felt like I did, but unfortunately it’s those without any empathy that will be seared into my memory.
    However, I felt that John and all of the other crew members handled the situation with grace and sensitivity and I was highly impressed with that.

  181. Joel & Irene Shankman says:

    Dear John,

    We were almost asleep in room 8292 on the Varanda Deck when you made the announcement. Although our excursion in Puerta Vallarta wasn’t canceled it was very difficult to enjoy it, knowing the crew had lost one of their own and had to cope with this loss for the remainder of the voyage. This was our very first cruise, and because of the professionalism, demonstrated by everyone in light of this tragic event, I guarantee it won’t be our last. In fact, thanks to you personally, on day 6 I put a $200 deposit down for our next C cruise which will be this same cruise, same time, next year.

    All the best, and thanks again,
    Joel & Irene Shankman

  182. Ron says:

    Through this very sad time I find it truly disgusting that people find it necessary to offer their opinions instead of kind words. To think they claim suicide is selfish! Try using twitter to argue & post negative feedback. Regardless of ones personal opinion it is always tragic when a life is lost!

  183. Teresa says:

    I was on the cruise that this took place. I must say that, You and your whole crew dealt with this tragedy in a way that only a few could. As I walked threw the dinning area the next morning my heart ached even greater as I looked into the eyes of those who had been and were still crying. Many questions of who and why? But your staff continued to be professionals in every aspect, how hard that must have been. I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to try to get us laughing once again, but thank god Mary came on the scene 🙂 Despite the tragedy, we were able to have a wonderful vacation. Please tell the crew members how sorry that I am for their loss, and huge cudos to them for the way that they conducted themselves even when they really just wanted to sit and cry.

  184. Evie says:

    I heard he was trying to get a transfer to another ship to be with his gf and when he finally got it she told him she had found somene else. He also tried calling home. Then he had too much to drink and this was the outcome. A family member was on that trip and heard it from another waiter…

    • Shaneese says:

      wow. are you serious? you really felt the need to spread he said or she said at a time like this? SMH….at this time all one should express is sympathy. WHAT IF WHAT YOU SAID TURNED OUT TO BE FALSE? even if not…..wow

  185. Sal S says:

    I was shocked to hear about this on the day that we left the cruise this past Sunday morning (10/24/10). My prayers go out to that crew member’s family as well as the other crew of the Splendor – what a devastating ordeal to have to go through.

  186. Suzette says:

    I was also on that cruise the night that persons jumped and the whole night was surreal. We had just left the Disco about 15 mins before when the alarm went off and our first responds was” Was it someone who had been partying in the disco who might have had too much to drink”. later when it was announces that it had been a crew member . We were all sadden that something so traggic had happened. My prayers to the young man’s family. May they find peace.

  187. Eileen Droge says:

    Dear John, you are one great cruise director. We were with you on the our eueopean curise in sept, 2005, what a wondeful time. Since then we have been on several carnival cruises. Would nlike to know where you will be next. Sincerely eileen and jerry droge.

  188. SEO says:

    Don´t care, be happy!!

    • Shaneese says:

      WOW…THAT WAS JUST PLAIN INSENSITIVE. I pray that you ask for forgiveness for being such a cruel human being..May God still continue to bless you and yours

  189. marion cochran says:

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of one of Carnival”s family member. I have yet to meet any staff member on any Carnival ship on my last dozen or so cruises that was a “stranger” as each and everyone always seemed genuine and very appreciative. I hope that all Carnival guest will take the time to share in conversation with the staff that are working so diligently to make one’s vacation pleasurable. Wonderful tribute from you..Prayers for the family. Leaving on the Elation Monday and so excited as my brother will be joining me. This is my gift to him as he lost his son in September.

  190. Lou says:

    Sad indeed. Sorry to hear this

  191. leonard baskin says:

    never walk alone?….please!…your insesitivity has no bounderies.

  192. Stephani Hanson says:

    So Sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you today.

  193. Alan says:

    You said it well

Copyright 2011 John Heald. All Rights Reserved