KEEP ON GROOVING, PLEASE

July 13, 2012 -

John Heald

This week, there have been many great articles from the brilliant Gene Sloan, the esteemed writer from USA Today, and other writers who wrote about the Carnival Splendor and her being the…well hold on, rather than me waffle and badly paraphrase his brilliance, let’s all have a look at the following post from our friend Vance.

http://carnival-news.com/2012/07/11/carnival-splendor-earns-unprecedented-sixth-perfect-100-score-on-most-recent-united-states-public-health-inspection/

United States Public Health examiners are tough — really tough — and to get the scores our fleet consistently gets is as easy as finding the words, “I love John Heald and want to see him naked” on one of H82Seaugo’s posts so congratulations to the Carnival Splendor and all the ships for their extremely high scores and, in many cases, perfect 100 out of 100 scores.

We were talking about cleanliness on Facebook the other day as well if you remember and the subject that was mentioned was the thing in hotels that carries the most germs. No, I am not talking about the toilet seat, but indeed it was mentioned that the winner of this award was in fact the TV remote control. And I agree because many of the hotels I have stayed in have had ummmm…sticky remote controls and some have been really evil. And not just because they harbour more bacteria than the inside of my underpants after an evening of eating spicy tacos from the BlueIguana Cantina, but because the sodding things never work and this is deliberate. The management doesn’t want you to steal them, so they buy old remotes, then disable the buttons ensuring that the TV gets stuck permanently on the hotel’s own “info channel,” a looped film in which a ridiculously good looking couple clink glasses in the restaurant or have massages to porn-style music. So you hurl the remote against the framed print of a vase of flowers and learn that it didn’t work because the bloody thing didn’t have any batteries in it.

So the question was asked about our remote controls and were they clean? And I will answer this in a moment. But first I have to wonder why our cabins need TV remotes at all? At most you’re only ever five feet from the screen. Why do any of us need them? They are complicated things and turn us all into lazy bastards because we can’t be asked to waddle the few feet to turn off that obese cruise director and his sidekick Calvyn. Anyway, we do indeed fully sanitise the remote controls on all the fleet as they are wiped and cleaned properly according to strict regulations we put in place. On one or two other ships, we are testing new self-cleaning remote controls and if that’s not enough, then may I suggest you use a remote control condom…or a shower cap, as it’s sometimes called.

Time for today’s Q and A…off we go.

Tina Hormel asked:

Loving your blogs and your Facebook postings as well, John. I am heading out for cruise #12 on Carnival Elation July 19 cruise. I love the new Punchliner Comedy Club shows and wondered who the comedians will be. Thank you, John.

John says:
Hello Tina Hormel

I am glad I caught this in time as I see you are sailing very soon. The comedians who will make you laugh out loud are John Wesley Austin and Kenny Miller. I hope you have a brilliant time and thanks so much for your loyalty.

Best wishes.

John

Tanya Wells asked:
Hello John,

I haven’t had any luck with emails to the shore excursion dept.; therefore I thought I’d go to the person who knows it all :)  We are sailing on the Carnival Liberty, Jan. 05, 2013. We’re trying to plan our shore excursion for St. Thomas — the St. John Champagne Catamaran Sail shows up when looking on the main website under Experiences & Excursions, however, not when requesting our sailing date?  Is it going to be available and just not loaded into the site yet?  Or just not offered? It had great reviews and we’d love to book it. Thanks for your help.

Tanya

John says:
Hello Tanya Wells

I am sorry that we have not replied yet and thanks for letting me know. The excursion will be happening on your cruise and it may not be showing online just yet. Please check back in October and it should be there, I am told. If you have any other questions, please let me know. Have a fantastic cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Remi Sanchez asked:

Can you help me, John, with a very special request for my son? He is young man of 17 that has some difficulties in socializing with others. I won’t go into more details here but I am hoping that on our cruise with you on Carnival Breeze 8/14 that he will be OK to attend the club for teens and that the workers there will be able to ease him into the activities. This would make a cruise we are all really looking forward to even more exciting. Please let me know what you can do. We are a family from Costa Rica but my son speaks very good English.

John says:
Hello Remi Sanchez

Thanks so much for letting me know and of course we will help. I have sent this to the youth director and she has agreed to meet you and your son the day you board the ship so that she can chat with you and your son about how we can help. I am sure he will have the best of times which means you will too. So please let me know if there is anything else you need and I will see you soon.

Best wishes.

John

Kevin Paice asked:

Hello John and I am asking for you to please send this to the beards as I did not get a comment card after my Carnival Magic cruise and it was magic — thanks to the room steward. His name is I Wayan and he made the cruise for me and my wife.  My wife has some severe challenges and needs to sleep virtually sitting up plus using a CPAP machine. I Wayan made sure right from the first day that she was comfortable and when we discovered we needed an extension cord he took care of it immediately. He always asked how she was doing and always made sure that on our way to dinner, he would help her onto her scooter. He should be recognized for his amazing hospitality and hope, John, that you make sure this happens. Thanks.

Best regards,

Kevin Paice

John says:
Hello Kevin Paice

Thanks so much for this fantastic example of an outstanding crew member. I have sent this to the ship and the beards and they will be thrilled as I am sure will I Wayan will. Thank you again for writing and I hope you will let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Best wishes.

John

Sami Ramperkash asked:

My family and have booked a cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines on board the Carnival Pride. We are a party of eight and are strict vegetarians. I have read elsewhere, sir, that the chef de cuisine on the ship is an Indian fellow and I am asking if he would be able and willing to prepare special Indian vegetarian meals during our time on your glorious vessel. I will await your kind instruction as to if or not you can do the needful.

John says:
Hello Sami Ramperkash

Yes indeed, as of now, the head chef on board the Carnival Pride is from India. I am not sure as I write when you are sailing but, yes, this is something we can do and, in fact, something we often do for our Indian guests. We have a wonderful nightly offering of a vegetarian curry on our menu and when you are seated at your table, please ask the maître d or your team head waiter to speak to the chef and he will oblige you. I hope you have a wonderful time together.

Best wishes.

John

James McDonald asked:
John,

My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Magic on March 25, 2012 and had a great time but I had a question concerning the tipping policies for the room service staff. We left a tip on the ticket for the first couple of staff members and got charged for them but then about the third time we used room service (which we used for breakfast only) we were told by the person who brought the order that we could not leave a tip on the ticket but would need to give him cash. If this is so then why didn’t the other members tell us the same? Can you please clear this up for me because from what I have seen on my past cruises was completely different and we are scheduled on Nov. 11, 2012 for a cruise on the Carnival Conquest and want to make sure which is the correct method of tipping these employees. I was under the impression that Carnival wanted everything on the Sign & Sail account.

John says:
Hello James McDonald

I am so sorry this happened because this is not the practice and the crew member who insisted you tip in cash was wrong, 100 percent wrong. The rules are simple that you can tip in cash or leave it on the receipt you sign and I thank you for bringing this to my attention. I do hope you have a great time on your next cruise and if there is anything I can do, please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Danny Daniels asked:
Hi John.

Are you going to be the cruise director on every new ship when it is first being sailed with paying guests?  If so, for how long? I have booked the Carnival Sunshine for 1/26/14, will you be our C.D.?

John says:
Hello Danny Daniels

This is the 14th new ship I have delivered for Carnival and I have been so proud to do so. But I won’t be the CD for the Carnival Sunshine I am afraid. I wrote a few weeks ago that delivering new ships is a young man’s game, especially with my blog and Facebook responsibilities, as well. So I will be there to film and write about this new ship but the CD will not be me and I will announce who soon. I hope you have a brilliant time.

Best wishes.

John

Brent Slater asked:
Hi John,

I know that Bloggers Cruise 6 is still a while away but since I live in Australia I have to sometimes put my application for leave in quite a bit in advance. I was wondering if there are any plans in the works so far to let people know when is where Bloggers Cruise 7 is going to be as I would love to cruise with you again.

Cheers

Brent Slater

John says:
Hello Brent Slater

I will be giving serious consideration about BC7 for sure and, obviously, you coming from Australia and having to travel that long distance it is understandable why you would like to know. Please allow me a bit more time and I will work on some possible dates. Until then, I thank you for thinking of joining us and I truly hope that this happens.

Best wishes.

John

Delilah asked:
John,

I got back from our family cruise on May 19 on Carnival Destiny. I had the most fun I’ve had in my whole 24 years alive and I just wanted to let you know that. I had so much fun that I got me and my girls another cruise booked for December on the Carnival Destiny again! We’re super excited to go…but I’d just like to know if Noonan is going to be back on the Carnival Destiny in December. I know it’s still a ways away, but I don’t know if we’d like anyone else as our CD! I don’t want to get all excited that there’s a possibility he might be the CD and then find out that he isn’t. He’s just a lot of fun and a great guy! Hope to hear back from you soon!

Delilah

John says:
Hello Delilah

My, my, my Delilah, what a great post this was and sorry for the obvious joke there. I am so glad you had such fun on the Carnival Destiny and with Noonan as your CD. We are currently working on the schedule and I hope to have it ready in the next few days to post here on the blog but I think you may be very happy. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Best wishes

John

Taylor Benninghaus asked:

Your iced tea sucks the big one. As someone proudly from the South I was disgusted at the free tea you served on Carnival Fantasy and many other passengers were all saying that they wouldn’t come back as the tea was undrinkable. Serving tea like this is a slap in the face to Southerners and if you are going to say you are going to offer cruises for Southerners, then having iced tea that tastes good is a no brainer and until you get better tea, then don’t expect many customers to come back.

John says:
Hello Taylor Benninghaus

I have heard before from iced tea connoisseurs that the recipe we serve on Lido and in the dining room is not how they like it. I have never heard though that this would be the basis of whether or not someone would return to Carnival or not. It is really hard for me to understand this because I have never had iced tea. For me, tea is served hot but I will for sure let the chef know that you were not happy. I do hope that you will look back on your cruise and remember the fun, food, service, shows, ports of call, friends you met, the brilliant crew, the cocktails, the activities, the sunrise, the sunset and the fact that you didn’t have to work, or clean anything or cook anything and you got all of this at a brilliantly affordable price and that these factors, not how the iced tea tastes, will decide if you come back for another fun cruise.

Best wishes.

John

And that’s all for today, except I want to talk more about the iced tea comment above. I quite understand why people choose to get tattoos or stand up for the rights of the lesser spotted Mongolian dung beetle. I may not share your opinions, but I know why you have them and I would fight for you to be able to express them in public. Obviously, not to the death, though. There’s no way I am going to die so that we can protect the dung beetle from becoming extinct.

However, while I understand why H82SEAUGO would like to see me fired as brand ambassador and replaced with a baboon or why someone would vote for a certain politician or not eat anything that moos, baaas, or clucks, I do not understand why people continue to drink iced tea. I guess this is because I am British and iced tea drinkers in the UK are as rare as deodorant users in France. Asking for an iced tea at my house is highly dangerous because if you come round to my house and ask for a glass of cold tea with ice in it, I will insert a pepper mill in you. Herbal tea is even worse. At best, it is pointless. At worst, it is a a cup of snobbery designed for the sort of people who spend half an hour deciding whether the wine they’ve been given is all right. And chai tea? Have you tried that? Well, don’t because you can achieve exactly the same effect, for a lot less, by drinking your own urine.

Hot tea is my drink and the drink of a nation and also the drink favoured by the American Indian. Yep, that’s true, you know, the American Indians were huge tea drinkers. There is of course the true and tragic story of the chief of the Apache tribe, Chief Running Deer, who in one day drank 347 cups of tea…yes, 347 in one day. This amazing record had a sad ending though because the next day the tribe woke up and found their chief dead…he had drowned…in his tea pee.

Time to meet another cruise director albeit a very, very small one. Here is my good friend Ralph Valente, aka Wee Jimmy.

My life with Carnival: In 1999 I was hired by Carnival Cruise Lines as a DJ, yet when I arrived at the ship they were in need of a social host. Back then, my ship was the “Jubilee” and the social hosts were also groups coordinators, backstage managers, karaoke hosts and activities hosts so that gave me a true understanding of the overall job that I was to later fulfill as a well-rounded cruise director (around the waist, LOL!).  A huge part of getting to where I am today comes from a lot of supportive friends in the Carnival family. Throughout my journey through the various positions I have held, I have met the most amazing crew members and guests.  What keeps me going in my job is that I know I am making an impact on people’s lives.  I am so thrilled to be a part of this team and have the opportunity to share our passenger’s vacations with them.  I LOVE MY JOB!!  I constantly feel so thankful that I am in a position to express my creative side, perform, and to manage an incredible, talented group of individuals who are friends as well as outstanding performers. People always ask where I got my name “Wee Jimmy” — John Heald (another amazing cruise director, besides me…hehe) started calling me that based on a comic character from the UK called Wee Jimmy Krankie… the name just stuck and now everyone calls me Wee Jimmy! I am currently on the Carnival Sensation and recently got married and I am as happy as I have ever been and am so fortunate to do what I do. I hope to sail with you very soon. I wear a kilt on elegant night but please don’t lift it up because it’s true, we don’t!

Wee Jimmy

Let me explain how he really got his nick name. This happened back in 2002 when we delivered Carnival Legend and we were doing the same Baltic and British Isles run that she will do next year, in fact. Anyway, Ralph had tried a few harmless jokes on me which had mostly backfired so I decided to teach him a lesson. I had the carpenter take off his cabin door while Ralph was hosting an activity. He turned the peephole around. This meant that Ralph could not see out but everyone could see in. Ralph did not discover this for days and wondered why every time he left his cabin there was a line of people outside. I won’t tell you what they saw through the peep hole but it was no big thing and now we know why they call him “Wee Jimmy.” He is incomparable on stage and a more dynamic and friendly CD you will not meet and I am very proud of him.

We have a very special young man on the Carnival Breeze this week here courtesy of the brilliant Make-A-Wish Foundation and we are spoiling him as much as we can. He and his family will be visiting with the captain, taking a photo with the cast and he will have a private showing in the Thrill Theatre and many other treats. He is a wonderful kid and I hope and I pray that he will have many more cruises and a life full of fun and full of happiness.

Kids have been very much in my mind these past few days with me missing Kye, of course, and also because of a phone call I had with a senior beard. As you know, Carnival continues its wonderful partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and our quest to raise $3 million for pediatric cancer research and treatment continues and is going very well. This is, of course, thanks to your amazing generosity and I thank each and every one of you who have taken part in the Groove for St Jude event and the Carnival Cuddly Bear activity. As we approach our third year working with the hospital I asked the senior beard if I might go to Tennessee again with our film crew Peter the Hair and Jay the Recently Married to film a new in-cabin video for the fleet. So plans are being looked at for me to go there in December after I disembark the Carnival Breeze. I will be honoured to go there again and this time I will be better prepared as the first time I went I was not.

Where sick children are concerned, everyone wants a fairy tale with a happy ending, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is justifiably famous for producing more than its fair share of them. When I toured the hospital two years, ago I had no idea what to expect and let me start by saying that it is an extraordinary place. Given its role as the “hospital of last resort,” St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is almost perversely full of people laughing; not bravely or falsely, but just because children, even sick ones, are funny. The walls of the wards are full of stories in the children’s own words. Some tell how scared they are, some have written about how they have made Best Friends Forever with the kid in the next bed and one that I remember was written by a young boy who wrote how he played a trick on the doctors because he devoured a secret bar of chocolate half an hour before he was due to have surgery and they never found out. To work in such a place must provide one with a whole roller coaster of emotions.

When I was there two years ago, I met with and spoke with some who work there and I was touched deeply by their compassion and their sense of total hope and belief, yet also I could see that they had to always be prepared for the cruel realities they have to live with every day. I have to be honest that after my visit to St. Jude and after seeing what I saw, I found myself counting my blessings that Kye, my daughter, was healthy but it also gave me clear determination to do all I could to help the children there and to keep them laughing…and living. St. Jude is a place of dash and drama, used to flashbulbs as celebrities lend their time and money to the cause as have many major corporations and private donors. And today, Carnival is proud beyond all measure to be continuing to help the children there today…and the children there tomorrow. And in advance, I thank those of you who while you’re having fun during your cruise for also contributing your $10 and proudly wearing those Groove for St. Jude T-Shirts.

Goodnight

Your friend

John

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65 Responses to KEEP ON GROOVING, PLEASE

  1. Phil Imbesi says:

    You know I saw that tea pee joke coming and there was nothing to do about it.

    John I’m posting live from the balcony of cabin 5182 aboard the Carnival Pride and I can assure you that the tea is just fine both hot and cold! Honestly there is very little that couldn’t taste fine when taken in with this view.

  2. Connie says:

    Regarding the iced tea – it may be more of a pain, but at least you’ll have a flavor you like. Bring your own tea bags – steep the tea bag – pour over ice cubes and Voila ! Iced tea.

    I’ve been doing this for many years – way before iced tea was available year ’round.

  3. Kate Daley says:

    It is indeed true that every glass of Iced Tea I have tried on my 17 Carnival cruises was horrid. But hope burns eternal as does the hot water, ice and a Lipton tea bag. Make your own. And then add a splash of lemonade…

  4. Mark Rosenthal says:

    John, Love the blog, I have many british friends who still make faces when I order Iced tea, they just can’t fathom it by any means, but it is my drink of choice. I am from California but surely know how southerners favor their sweet tea on a hot summer day. Love the blog, off on the Splendor in 9 days for a wonderful week and a chance to say goodby before she leaves us, we will miss her.

  5. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    I am thrilled to say that when you return to St Jude in December, Tex’s (and the Carnival Triumph’s ) brick will be on place.

    The unveiling is in October.

    Followed by the Gary B’s (and the Carnival Elation’s) brick a few months later.

    Perhaps a picture of the brick in the video would encourage others to award their favorite ships or CDs with one!

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have an entire “Carnival sidewalk”!

    We will be sending Tex a picture as soon as it is laid.

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

    • MARY says:

      Linda, can you explain more about the “brick”? How does one go about awarding one to the ships?

      Mary

  6. Barb says:

    I am a northerner and not a southerner, and I would agree that the iced teac on board leaves something to be desired. So, I make it myself. There are plenty of tea bags available on the lido and I make myself a cup of hot tea. When it cools a little, I then go to the ice machine and dump the ice and tea in a glass, sweeten to taste with sugar. So, quit whining people and make your own if you don’t like what is served.

  7. Jim Pogue says:

    Just back from a “brilliant” cruise on the Magic. Several things stand out on this cruise, we took the same cruise in January and the total experience has improved greatly. The boarding process at the port seemed to me to be much smoother. The staff in general seemed to be much more “at home” on the ship, be assured there was nothing wrong with the service we received in January.

    One thing (of many) that was truly impressive, I was traveling with a group of 23 celebrating two young ladies Bat Mitzvah on board. We had requested the Captain or a representative to attend the ceremony on the first sea day. We were so impressed when the Captain and the Guest Services manager not only came to the ceremony, but they stayed through it and afterword spent time with us, allowing photographs with them. They both were so genuine and ready to give us their total attention during this time. I really did not expect the Captain to be there, it really made a great impression on our entire group. Also, the ships photographer assigned to our group took so many photographs that turned out really great. During the rest of the cruise, every time we saw her, she spoke with us to make sure we were still having a great time.

    The Main Dining Room staff was truly great, there were 9 children between the ages of 8 and 14, Acer took such good care of them during each evening meal. This allowed the adults the chance to have great conversation while enjoying the always wonderful meals.

    With one exception, the main showroom entertainment was top notch. The show band was really great, the singers and dancers gave it 100% effort through each show. The only down show was the “juggler”, I must say that his show was not to my taste. My wife and I went to the show expecting a juggler and we got a guy telling not very good jokes while not juggling very well. Perhaps we just didn’t get his humor. Again, this probably is an issue of personal taste and he may be very popular with others on the cruise.

    One of our most entertaining evenings was when JoJo sang with the band on the Ocean Plaza. She really put her heart into the performance and the band maintained their reputation of musical excellence.

    Perhaps the highlight for me personally was the Legends show on Saturday night. On a lark I tried out and was chosen to be Frank during the Legends show. Melvin really had his work cut out for this group and really wanted each of us to have a great time and performance. We arrived for the rehearsal and were introduced to our escort dancers for the show; Chante was brilliant the entire time with me. Got to the dressing room, while I’m not British, I certainly have characteristics of a certain British fellow. Thanks for the use of your “bedazzled” tux. Again, the band was great, the back stage and technical crew showed once again the “Carnival Spirit” and were totally professional when working with the rank amateurs that were available. How wonderful to be able to perform with this group and be welcomed as a part of the show. One small favor, I missed my connection with the entertainment staff and did not get my photo or DVD, is there any way it could be sent to me? I understand if it’s not possible, but it would be another highlight and remembrance of a great week on the fabulous Carnival Magic.

    Jim Pogue, stateroom 6286, June 17-24.

  8. Maggie Gates says:

    John, I loved your comments about St. Jude. I too was given the opportunity of a lifetime to visit there. I am a hospice nurse and I got to spend time with those amazing nurses who care for the sick precious ones. I have no idea how they do that day after day but I am still so moved by those that I met. I too left St. Jude’s reminded of how blessed I am to have 3 healthy daughters. I can’t wait to see your new video there.
    Thank you for bringing even more light to a very important cause.

  9. Mig says:

    I liked it

  10. Maren says:

    My husband and I are getting married on the Carnival Splendor on 09/09/12. So glad to see this ship is doing so well. Congratulations to the staff and crew and carnival.

  11. Charlie says:

    Taylor, you just have to know the proper way to ask for iced tea. Two words: “Long Island”

  12. Carol Ciongoli says:

    Hi, this is my first blog ever anywhere. I went to Canada from Boston on the Glory June 18th-23rd. I am in my 50′s & had the time of my life. I also use a walker & every crew member that I came across wanted to help me. What a crew, we were lucky enough to stay in a Jr suite on te Ledio deck. I didn’t get our cabin stewart’s name but he bent over backward for me & my sisters who have taken this cruise several times. I needed extra pillows & yes no problem same with ice, I never had to ask & when he knew I was in the room knocked & asked if I need more. I enjoyed every activity I participated in even if it was from my chair. The best was the Liers Club, I thought I was going to pass out I laughed so hard. Josh & his gang, John from NYC & Jason/jaosay/Betty Wilson, had us going from begining to end. I was also fasanated by the way some of the crew got their jobs. Josh was an outstanding CD, he met my sisters once remembered them & took us personaly to meet the Captian. I’m sure they do that for a lot of people but no one can say being singled out isn’t thrilling. Now I have to say a VERY BIG THANK YOU to our waitstaff in the DR, table 355 6pm, I want to make sure they get a major shout out. Rantlo{sp?}, Dejan, & Lino. We had the best time with them & they also treated use like Queens. Dejan also did the buffet in the morning & always checked on us & offered to get me food, drink anything I needed so I didn’t have to go far. All of the buffet staff did that for me. The family plans to have a big party on a Carnival cruise in 2014, but I am looking for something reasonable for my husband, maybe daughters & myself sooner. I also have to comment on the iced tea debate. My family came to the states from Scotalnd over 55 yrs ago, big, big tea drinkers. When I moved to VA my mom brought her own tea bags, had to be Lipton of course & asked for hot water because they keep bring her Iced tea, she learned fast. Now I love iced tea, I din’t have any on the ship because I enjoyed the lemonade, which I don’t really like at all. The coffee was so strong I made iced coffee with it, yum. The fries could be improved also, but I would never not cruise Carnival because of that, I just stoped ordering fries. I don’t think I would try another cruise line because when you have very few dollars & you spend them on a trip of a lifetime you go where you know you will get value & fun for your money & that’s Carnival. Thank’s to everyone on the Glory for evrything, hope to see most of you again. Love the blog will keep checking it out. Happy cruising everyone….

  13. Ed says:

    Oh my, did you miss the boat [pun intended] on this one, John. In the U.S. Iced tea is a major staple, and available in every restaurant and fast food joint year-round. Just because you personally don’t care for the stuff is no reason for the rest of us to be neglected. I truly look forward to a strong glass of the stuff at each meal, and on board I have to make hot tea, and pour it over ice each when I want a cup. Not really the kind of activity I look forward to while on vacation. Would it be THAT hard to get the beards to spend a few hundred dollars and fix the problem for all of us who LOVE iced tea?

  14. Kathy Anderson says:

    Hello! My question is about laundry. Are there washer and dryers I could do a wash if need be? Is so where are they and how much does it coast? Thank you I hope you are feeling better:)

    • Rick Williamson says:

      yes they do. I don’t think there is one on every deck. Just ask your cabin person where it is. They also have irons and ironing boards there.

    • Marsha Breen says:

      Kathy – there are self serve laundry facilities on board. I believe it is $3 per wash and $3 per dryer.

  15. Lindsey says:

    I wear my “Groove for St Jude” t-shirt proudly! In fact, I wore it last night running some errands. I’m proud to have been able to give to such an amazing charity.

  16. Phil Hale says:

    Two ways I defeat the powdered paper shavings that are your instant Iced Tea…1. make hot tea and pour it over Ice and cut with water. Bring Crystal Light or Snapple tea packets. One per liter bottle. I refill the bottle with water from the melted Ice bucket each morning. (Can’t drink soda, or booze)gotta limit myself to one red frog per day. (AAARRRRGGGGHHHH!) Ralph Congratulations on your wedding, we’ve sailed together three times, I love you man. I may go back on Sensation only because you’re there!

    • Leber says:

      The only thing I have found wrong with the tea on board ship is it is extremely strong.

      The easiest way to make the tea on board: Half a glass of Carnival tea, half a glass of water, add ice, and lemon or sweetener to your taste.

      • Ed says:

        If you find that swill too strong, it must be a problem with inconsistency, because it’s been my experience that it’s made from a powdered instant mix, and has little resemblance to actual tea. It must vary from ship to ship, and I hope it’s better on the rest of the fleet than the two ships I’ve been on.

  17. Sue says:

    I drink iced tea (usually sweet tea with lemon, but also unsweet) all day everyday at home, but when I cruise, I buy a soda card because I can’t drink the liquid cruise ships call tea. I don’t let that bother me, because I love cruising. It may be the brand of tea you use that we are not familiar drinking. I keep trying, but haven’t acquired the taste yet. We have four cruises scheduled for 2012 so you can see it hasn’t stopped me.

    • Rick Williamson says:

      My wife works for a trucking company and she says they mostly are buying it in bulk consintrate. And may not be putting the right amount in to make each gallon of tea. But these people are right the socall tea isn’t very good. And it’s fleet wide.

  18. Cruiser dave says:

    Carnival carries Coke products. Coke makes Lipton lemon iced tea, which tastes like iced tea should. Please Carnival, ask Coke to provide you with the Lipton flavouring for your iced tea, and all will be well.

    • Cruiser dave says:

      Sorry, that should be Nestea, not Lipton.

      • Mark Feola says:

        I think the problem is that The Iced tea on Lido is Not Lipton or any other brand for that matter! Its called Vitality Tea and Vitality Lemon ade. There maybe be a contract with the Vitality Corp. But it sounds like when its contract is up it may be a good idea to try and get Snapple Tea Especially The Peach! Its made form the best stuff on earth! Look at the label!

    • Marsha Breen says:

      Sorry but not everyone likes lemon in their tea or like Nestea. To each their own.

  19. Dave Kirkpatrick says:

    John – Where do you get the St. Jude’s shirts?

  20. Barb S says:

    Alas, to my suspicion and chagrin, you will not be the CD on our February sailing on the Carnival Breeze as I had home you would be. :-(

  21. Clark Bearden says:

    John, I can understand why the nice southern lady’s comments about about ICED tea got under your skin…your British and Brits like their tea hot! Plus, the fact that the tea thingy overshadow an overall brilliant cruise. Yes, she needed perspective; however, as a southerner who knows the heat of Mississippi summers there is NOTHING like a GOOD glass of iced tea. If you lived in the south and had just staggered in from mowing your lawn you would ask for a glass of tea, NOT a cup of tea. Trust me on this one John. It’s all in one’s perspective! Keep your brilliant blog thingy going!

  22. Sharon Abee says:

    After reading the blog, my husband and I had one question – Who married Wee Jimmy???? Just kidding, of course! We have sailed with him twice and adore him! Please pass along congratulations and many, many best wishes!

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Yes, Wee Jimmy married a lovely lady indeed.

      We were there for the wedding (via the Internet).

  23. Bill Heck says:

    Hello John:

    Your rant on the ice tea is odd. Good thing that Carnival offers what the passengers want. If I follow the logic of the do it yourselfers, you can save money on entertainment because I sing in the shower, and play various instruments. So I guess I don’t need any entertainment, I can provide my own, thanks. I can also do celestial navigation, so you can lay off some of the officers and get rid of that complicated equipment on the bridge. Maybe the do it yourself crowd can squeeze their own oranges for orange juice. Carnival has ice tea labels on the dispenser, is it unreasonable to expect ice tea to come out?

    Sometimes, at the start of your voyages, you list the head count by country of origin. Have you noticed that the ice tea drinking people tend to out number the hot tea only crowd? You shouldn’t ignore the preference of the many due to the quirks of the few. Most Americans enjoy ice tea with lunch or dinner. I have not been to a restaurant in the States that doesn’t offer ice tea as a drink.

    Perhaps some of this is climate driven. You come from a cold place, you need a hot drink to help you stay warm so you don’t have to turn on the heat. America is a more temperate place, with the South being Heaven on Earth, hot, the way God intended us to live. We like iced tea John.

    Much of the time the ice tea in the Carnival machines comes out looking like root beer, dark. Then it will be bitter and strong, not refreshing at all because you can’t force it down. And it puts your teeth on edge. Sometimes it comes out a light amber color. That is the right strength. It would not win awards, but it is satisfactory. So, we usually add at least one third water when it is root beer and we can drink it.

    John, I now have to do some of my own laundry on the ship, because she that must be obeyed says she will not do it on her vacation, and the rules changed on the complimentary laundry, I draw the line at making my own ice tea with bags, hot water and ice. Is Carnival become the do it yourself cruise line? I will bring my binoculars so I can stand watch, the dog watch will work best.

    Load all of your CD work onto Calvyn, he is strong, and will benefit by your experience.

    John, we have cruised Carnival for years and defended it against the crowd that giggle and smirks when you say you like Carnival, be careful Carnival doesn’t become what it has been accused of being.

    • Pollywog72 says:

      Iced tea is not a right or even a necessity. If you have a problem with the iced tea, and do not want to make your own to your liking, then drink more water.

  24. Shelly C says:

    I can solve the iced tea issue. Make a partnership with McDonalds and serve their unsweetened and sweet tea on board. I love that stuff!

  25. grizel robertson says:

    John, can Eric, now beardless, resolve my problems on this site. If there are 43 comments I can only read/see a maximum of 40, if 23 I can read only 20. It happens every time I access your Blog. This never happened in the past, pre-F/B in 2011, connections were great then & I received messages from 2 sources & was linked to your Blog in real time rather than being way behind North America. After all, UK is 4-8 hours ahead. I can no longer enyoy your Blog in full & it makes me so sad as I always loved to read all the comments on your postings! Even when you are in Europe, your US followers are hours ahead of me. I hope that the Carnival Technical team can improve the communication problems with long-time cruisers from Old Blighty.

  26. DMI says:

    We always look forward to your blog which is very intertaining and well written. Alas it has become redundant lately because of all the reference to H20 whoever that is, It was comical at first but it is really beneath you and good jounalism to ridicule a person or group. Even if you meant it in jest it has become old so please arise above that kind of activity and continue with proper jounalistic guidelines It’s always good to hear about onboard activies but never at the expense of making fun of passengers or Carnival clients.

  27. james mcclellan says:

    “John, James McClellan here. I gave you the small packet of spam at the meet and greet before the Maroon 5 concert in Galveston, Texas. My wife Jeanette came up with the antenna ball idea. Mike Archer was on the first trip out of Galveston. He really made the Red Frog Pub come to life. He, Mike, is one of the best I have seen on my 10 cruises. Mikes says there is an opening on the Magic now. I would like you to see what you can do the get this great preformer back on the Magic. I an booked on the Triumph in August with a friend and booked on the Magic in November for thanksgiving with the whole family, five of us. Please consider moving Mike to the Magic and also forward this to Rod KIng, head of music. This would make the November cruise a blast.

    The Magic, making all other vacations memories jealous.

    Thanks for giving this some thought.

  28. Darla Roseberry says:

    John, I have a suggestion for those who don’t like the ship’s iced tea. Make your own, I do! Just make a cup of hot tea and sweeten it, if you like. Fill a glass with ice and pour hot tea over the ice. You can make it as strong as you like it. There is always teabags and hot water on Lido!

  29. Denise R. says:

    On the topic of iced tea – well, it does leave a lot to be desired but hasn’t stopped me from cruising…14 more days until our cruise on the Destiny. I am a northerner who has lived in the South for 27 years. I get razzed for not drinking sweet tea – I like my unsweet. Good tea does not come from a carton of concentrate. That’s the whole problem, it needs to be brewed.

    I am a supporter of St. Jude. Here’s an idea for possibly raising more money…I’ve often had just a few bucks left on my sail and sign card from my time in the casino. Perhaps you can given guests the option of donating it to the St. Jude fund…just a thought…it could add up nicely.

    • Carol Ciongoli says:

      That’s a great idea Denise, I had just a few dollars left on mine & did’t collect it. I would have gladly donated it to St Jude. We all purchased tee’s & bears. When we were in Halifax they gave us american dollars back but Canadian coin. I heard someone mention, at one of the peir 22 stalls, that if the customer doesn’t want the change (coin) & leave it at the regester it’s donated to the local food bank. So if you go to Halifax leave any spare change with the merchants, they’ll make sure it get’s to the proper place.

  30. Deborah says:

    Just wanted to comment about the Ice Tea – I think it’s GREAT. I hate sweet tea like they do in the South. I like mine just the way Carnival service it… Please don’t add sugar to the tea just to please the outspoken person from the South. and who said the South knows what good tea is anyway???

    • jgeraci says:

      I’m with you, Deborah. Sweet tea is disgusting! I drink mine with fresh lemon. If the Carnival tea is too strong, I add water, squeeze in my lemon & enjoy!
      JoyceG

  31. Sue M says:

    Iced tea was only part of the problem when we were on the Conquest as All the free fountain drinks tasted “soapy” and we found that to be true on multiple sailings.

  32. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    I meant to add that Gary Brierley ( CD ) shared a wonderful idea he had.

    He suggested that Carnival auction off the paper charts that the ships use….when those charts are retired.

    He said this would be a great fund raiser idea for organizations like St Jude.

    I think it is a great idea.

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

    • Richard Taylor says:

      On a British Cruise Line ship, Marco Polo, they had a chart showing the cruise with photos of staff and places attached. This, along with autographs, was raffled off with proceeds going to their pet charity. It was a very popular raffle.
      In fact that’s one thing I missed on my recent Breeze cruise – no cruise map!

  33. james mcclellan says:

    John,and all, as far as iced tea is concerned, or any tea for that matter, as I am sure you are well aware of, is greatly affected by the water it is brewed in. The water on all of the Carnival ships I have sailed on, Ecstasy, Conquest and Magic, all have very clorinated and very hard water. This water makes tea taste terrible. Add ice that is made from clorinated water to tea that is made with clorinated water, and you have the hard and harsh tasting iced teas served on board. It would be nice if the teas were made with filtered water, but logisticly, that would seem almost impossible. Just a few thoughts on the tea issue and maybe help to explain to others.
    Thanks
    jrm

    • Richard Taylor says:

      On our recent Breeze cruise we noticed that whilst the Dining Room water had a “pure” taste, that from the Lido machines had a slight chlorinated taste. Matter of cost saving I imagine!

  34. Mark Blei says:

    Hi John,

    This is an issue I’ve always wanted to see addressed, but never had been. I’m wondering if you can say anything about it.

    I’m a platinum cruiser with Carnival, a good deal of my cruising history has been within the Carnival family of lines. When I go away, I always want the extra protection afforded me that would come through buying my air directly from Carnival .

    I know that of the flights I take through Carnival are late, you will either hold the ship or fly me to where I can meet the ship at no extra expense to me. And I want that protection , but every time I look into buying my air from Carnival, it’s always several hundred dollars more expensive than it would be for me to buy my own flights.

    I don’t mind paying a bit more for the peace of mind mate.  But when I look at flying into Miami , say from Toronto where I live now, and see that I can get direct flights for $250 per person, and Carnival is asking me for double that, with no guarantee of direct flights. It really gives one pause for thought. Before I lived in Canada, I lived in New York City, and just so you don’t think this is relegated to people living out of country , it’s not .

    The last time I took air from you guys, you first came up with indirect flights at three quarters more of the price that I could have gotten direct flights via looking at the main travel websites, the day prior to my cruise, and so I paid a deviation , only to be given direct flights that got in at 2:00am the night of my cruise. While I’m paying for a fora pre night in Miami . I ended up working it out, but there was another deviation involved.

    Why can’t Carnival settle for making just a bit of money from my air, instead of squeezing me for every cent for that peace of mind. I stopped doing booking air with you guys and I would love to do it?

    Can you explain how Carnival works it’s air pricing please?

  35. Jennifer says:

    John,

    My family and I took our fist cruise last October 29 on the dream we have always done the all inclusive resort style vacationing. The itinerary was scheduled to do western (Belize, Honduras, costa maya, Cozumel) of course we ended up getting switched due to a tropical storm and headed eastern.. We have decided to give it another try and are booked on the liberty for January 12. My question is this my kids love slushie’s and every all inclusive had these slushie machines, my kids enjoyed the cruise however they really missed the slushies.. :-( don’t get me wrong they like ice cream as well but I thought I’d ask is that something carnival has ever looked into having on board as an added special treat in addition to the ice cream?

    Thanks, Jennifer

  36. Thomas Kennedy says:

    Hi John,
    Once again I love you blog and facebook, it keeps me sane throughout the week. Reading these things keeps me off the ShipMate app on my phone and yelling obscenities at the deck cam on the Magic showing everyone swimming and having an awesome time and I have to wait til December to get back on that friggin boat! Sorry, I am just a little eager.
    Anyway I have a question for you. Last December I was on the Magic and I had a small incident in the Grand Caymons, I lost my key card. Luckly I lost it in the Duty-Free area and someone turned it in and I was let back on. My question is what if I lost it somewhere else and no one turned it in. Would I be forced to moved to that island paradise?

  37. Henrietta Lala says:

    Iced Tea: I got around the horrible iced tea on Carnival ships by brewing my own with the free tea bags at the drink station and hot water from the urn. Then I fill up a glass with ice and pour my little brew over it. One of my favorite things while cruising is to have pots of hot water delivered to my cabin in AM, plunking a few tea bags into the pots (not the cup), and pouring myself wonderful hot tea while I get ready for breakfast!

  38. Pam says:

    I want to appalaud Carnival in their partnership with St. Jude! It is wonderful to see a big worldwide company thinking of others. I used to do your walk for cancer and I did the Groove to St. Jude and had a blast. Keep up the great work.

    WEE JIMMY is fantastic!! Had the honor of sailing with him twice. He is such a friendly go getter. He was a bright spot on my last cruise which had some kinks. His Dolly Parton is so hilarious and his wedding video was classic. Hope to sail with him again as well as BIG SEXY Josh!:)

    • carol ciongoli says:

      Pam, I also had a great time with Big sexy Josh on my cruise to Halifax. What a nice guy & he never forgot who we were. His gang for that cruise was John, tall & thin from NYC & Jaoncy/Betty Wilson & can’t forget Kim Kouala. They were so funny,I almost couldn’t catch my breath from laughing. Did they do the Lier’s Club on your ship?

  39. Luis R says:

    I don’t drink iced tea or hot tea or otherwise… so I can’t comment. But I will comment on the remote controls. TV’s and most electronic devices for that matter, have become much more complex with many functions and setup menus and all that stuff. They are no longer the simple devices many of us grew up with with just a power/volume knob and one or two knobs for the TV channel. On top of that, manufacturers decided that our electronic devices don’t need many buttons and stick with just power, volume and a few other buttons on the devices themselves, leaving the zillion functions on the remote. My TV has 7 buttons on the side of its front bezel and 47 in the remote. It is virtually impossible to operate without a remote even if I am standing right in front of it.

  40. Richard Lemmon says:

    I was on the Magic on Dec 4th cruise. I actually enjoyed the iced tea with meals. With no sweetener actually. I will be on Splendor on Aug 26th. I am sure I will be enjoying Lido deck unsweetened iced tea also.

  41. David Stern says:

    John,
    I have never tried the ice tea! More of a coffee or water drinker myself. Having gone on 15 cruises, I will make it a point to at least try the tea on next cruise. Get my own opinion. Any one saying they would not return on a cruise because of “bad ice tea” probably is not a great loss to the industry. Like a person when house shopping deciding they do not like a house based on the paint on the walls or color of the carpet. Something easily changed. But you can not please everyone.

  42. Linda says:

    To Taylor Benninghaus. Yes the tea is awful because it is syrup based and is not brewed on board. As others have said brew your own and then poar over ice or do like I do, bring along the individual tea flavor packs from cystal lite or any other brand you like. My local Wal-mart also now carries a small squeezable southern Sweet Tea Drink Enhancer you can add to any glass of water. Much better than the swill Carnival tried to pass off as tea to us Southerners. :-)

  43. Erin Ristine says:

    Just off the Splendor on Sunday and had the best cruise to date. Staff was amazing and customer service was fantastic. Some stand outs were Ty who was a performer and led karaoke live and Wayne from the bar staff who had a super personality and was always cracking us up. Must say we are sad to lose the Splendor and more so to see no available Mexican Riviera cruises next summer. We took six people for our sons graduation and wanted to do it again next summer for our daughters graduation. Hoping Carnival reconsiders this soon so we can get booked.

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