So during the show last night, I took some people from the audience for some pre-show fun before the Divas revue. It included a young couple who, when I asked for their names and where they were from, they replied they were from Denver, Colorado. I then shocked myself by instead of saying, “Are you having fun?” or “What’s your favourite port so far?” or “Bugger me your wife is gorgeous, are they real?” I went straight into the, “I am so sorry, how dreadful, it’s awful, I hope they cut his bollocks off and shove 50,000 volts through his arse.”

As I was saying my words of deepest sympathy, I sort of got the impression that this couple just wanted to escape the pain, the memories and the intense feeling of sadness and they chose to achieve this by getting on a Carnival ship to have fun and to sail away from the intense feeling of sadness that the city must be feeling. So I felt guilty by even mentioning it, I shouldn’t have and so I am now on a mission to make sure they have the best of times. I know this is not like the usual start to one of my blogs but I wanted to share this moment with you as I really think I was wrong to mention it. My brain and, if I may say my heart…………raced ahead of me. Bugger!

Time for today’s Q and A……………..off we go.

Bethany Salzor asked:

Carnival must have the only bars in the world where free bar snacks are not included. I love sitting in the piano bar straight after dinner and will stay until closing because it’s my favorite thing to do but why is Carnival so cheap that they don’t have bar snacks? I will have to resort to bring bags of Chex Mix and Doritos when I cruise next on the Carnival Valor in September. I hope you guys get your act together as many of your passengers tell me the same thing that other lines have them and you don’t.

John says:
Hello Bethany Salzor

We used to have bar snacks like Goldfish, etc., but now we have, indeed, for the most part, stopped serving them. We have added the pigeon peas and black eyed peas as free snacks at the RedFrog Pubs but, for the most part, we have done away with them, as you said. I will certainly pass along your comment and see what the feelings are about bringing them back. Until then, I wish you a wonderful cruise and enjoy many happy nights in the piano bar on the Carnival Valor.

Best wishes.

John

Norman Clement asked:
Hi John.

It is interesting, as Big Duck pointed out, that with so many people on Carnival’s Facebook and who click on carnival.com, that you only have 26 thousand and change likes on your Facebook page. You seem to ram down our throats how popular you are but if you look at the big picture, then actually, it is not the case based on percentages. I am ready to be flamed by your sick little group of followers but I am retardant to their gibes so if they are reading this, I wouldn’t bother, peeps. Oh, and before you think I am a troll, I have four cruises with Carnival, check me out!

John says:
Hello Norman Clement

Thank you for taking the time to write and since you posted this comment, I have actually reached the dizzying heights of 28,000 likes. However, you are right, Carnival’s FB page has two million followers and they set the tone, of course. I don’t think I have ever tried to “ram down our throats” anything except that I am here to help and provide you with some fun and insights as to what goes on here at Carnival. I thank you for your four cruises and hope there will be many more with us. I do also appreciate all the people who read my writing both here and on Facebook and to call them “sick” is pointless and I shall treat that with the contempt it absolutely deserves.

John

Greg Pearson asked:
John,

We recently got back from our second cruise on Carnival Liberty. Our first was with you in the Med. All 11 of us really enjoyed the cruise. The 2.0 was great! We all loved Guy’s burgers, some more than others, our son-in-law had at least one a day, if not more. Just wanted to say KEEP IT UP CARNIVAL!!! By the way, as an ex-staffer on ships, I wanted to tell you something that made me proud to be a Carnival faithful. Wilaiwan in the coffee shop (on Lido) told me how she and basically all the crew love working for Carnival! Wilaiwan is from Thailand and really deserves a thank you from you and the beards! What a great recommendation for Carnival for one of your crew to make that kind of a comment. We’ll be back as soon as we can!!

Thanks, John

John says:
Hello Greg Pearson

What a wonderful post and well done, Wilaiwan, for those wonderful words, words I am hearing more and more from our wonderful crew. I am so glad you had fun and that you all enjoyed those amazing burgers and that this means we will see you all again very soon. I will send this to the ship and I know they will be thrilled.

Best wishes to you all.

John

Burgess asked:
Hey John!

Seems to be a pretty crazy amount of comments on your Facebook page and on certain blogs today…I wonder why!?!?! Everyone must be debating the Euro 2012 matches… Anyways, me and my family are planning on going on the Carnival Breeze Jan. 13, 2013! We are so pumped…will you be the cruise director on that one or do you know yet? I sure hope so! It’s one of the reasons why we are booking it!

John says:
Hello Burgess

Another bit of proof of how behind I am here as obviously the Euros are over. Spain won. England was crap. Same old story. I won’t be the CD on your cruise but I will be there to prepare the Bloggers Cruise and get everything ready so I will see you for sure. If there is anything I can do, please let me know.

Best wishes and see you soon.

John

Sharon asked:

When will I be able to book spa & excursions for a 03/2013 cruise?

John says:
Hello Sharon

The website is updated constantly and you should see the excursions and some spa appointments available by year’s end for sure. If you have specific questions, please let me know what ship you are sailing on and I will do my best to help you. Have a great cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Paul Quentaro asked:

Why do you insist on defending smokers? They are killers, each and every one of them and not just killing themselves but others around them as well. I am on the first cruise on Carnival Breeze when the boat gets to Miami and have eight days with my family which I paid lots of money for. Why should I be forced to be spending the cruise worrying if I might live with lung cancer! Carnival should make all their ships non-smoking and ban those who would kill a generation.

John says:
Hello Paul Quentaro

I see that you have very strong feelings on this and I am glad you have taken the time to write to me. Carnival Breeze has only one area of the casino where smoking is allowed and, that aside, the rest of the inside of the ship is non-smoking. Smoking is only allowed on the port side of the Lanai and on deck 11 and on all balconies except in spa cabins. This means that, for the most part, you will not come into contact with smokers. It is not easy to keep both smokers and non-smokers happy but we continue to try to do so. And I should point out that most of the major lines realise we have to provide for smokers in some areas of the ships which is why none have 100 percent non-smoking ships. You will love the ship and I know you will have a brilliant time. If there is anything I can do for you and the family, please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

William Cassada asked:
Hello John,

I have a question about the Carnival Loyalty Program…not so much a question about the new changes but more about a specific issue. I am a Platinum cruiser… (89 cruise days under my belt!) but my wife is a fairly new cruiser. Under the new system, she is in the “red” category. So here is my question: When we cruise on the Carnival Breeze Nov 24, I know I will receive an invitation to the Red/Gold/Platinum VIFP cocktail party, but she will not. How does this work, will she be able to attend as my guest (spouse) or not? Thanks in advance for addressing this question.

John says:
Hello William Cassada

Yes, indeed, please feel to bring her if she is in the same cabin as you. It will be a pleasure to have you both there and if there is anything else I can do for you before you cruise, please let me know.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Lucille OConnor asked:

We have a group of seven going on the Carnival Conquest at the end of August. Some reviewers have stated that it is foolish to book the Carnival Conquest because it is going into drydock soon for improvements and no real maintenance is being done on it. I am concerned about the quality of these ships directly prior to refurbishment.

John says:
Hello Lucille O’Conner

Simply, please ignore the few. The end. Lucille, you will have a great time, you deserve this vacation and you will have the best of times on a great ship that is in perfect order and that has a dedicated and friendly crew ready to serve and entertain you. Opinions are just that and I will be talking more about this in a moment. The most important thing is that you go ready to have fun because if you do……that’s exactly what you will have.

Best wishes.

John

That’s all for today and now it is time to meet another one of our cruise directors. She is someone who has made the Carnival Fantasy her home for the last few years and she is ……. Risa Barnes.

I was born in Columbia, Missouri, but raised my entire life in South Carolina. I started with Carnival Cruise Lines in November of 1996 on Carnival Destiny as a coffee girl and found my following and desire for the entertainment department by watching John Heald. After one year, John helped me join the entertainment team and life was great. I learned so much by watching not only John Heald, but also amazing hosts and other cruise directors and when I realized there were no female cruise directors at that time, I was determined to get to that position one day! I was promoted to cruise director in November 2003 and it’s has been a dream come true every day since. I love what I do when it comes to getting people to smile, relax and get involved in the fun. There is no better feeling than helping people truly enjoy their time away from home and make them feel like they are part of our family. It is true what they say that if you do what you love you will love your job and I am happy to say I DO!

Risa is one of the kindest people you will ever meet and her personality is such that by the end of the cruise, you will feel like she is your best friend. Thanks, Risa, and congratulations on all you have achieved.

Obviously I have been concentrating on the Carnival Breeze and the ports she has been visiting but slowly my attention is turning to 2013 and my schedule. I have the Bloggers Cruise 6 (have you booked yet?) and the some weeks to decide where I will be before I head to the Carnival Legend and her 2013 European season. I am obviously looking forward to returning to the Baltic and I am very excited to cruise around the UK but I am equally looking forward to Carnival’s first voyage to the Norwegian fjords. I have always wished that Carnival would send a ship to the Norwegian fjords ever since my friends, the Bentleys, did this on a Seabourn ship a couple of years ago and said it was simply stunning. And indeed that is exactly what Norway is. And while I have never been to the fjords, I have been to Oslo and that was a brilliant place to see.

They say that Norway is one of the best places to live in Europe with one of the highest standards of living in the world. However, it is cold and you spend all winter being frozen to death and all summer realizing that you live in one of the most jaw droppingly awesome places on earth. In the world we live in, there are many uncertainties, but one thing we all relay on is that without fail, the sun will set and day will become night. But in Norway, from the end of April to the middle of September, night is like turning your living room dimmer switch down a wee bit and in the month of June, it doesn’t happen at all. It’s the most bizarre feeling to have it as bright at 4 am as it was at 4 pm. Then, in the winter, well, blink and you will miss daylight which lasts just two hours. That means there is nothing to do but drink…..and boy can they drink.

But the Norwegians are not the biggest drinkers, no, for that you need to go to their next door neighbors, the Finnish. Their motto is that it is no use drinking the odd glass of beer now and then — it is like it is in Norway, too expensive and a waste of time. So why not enjoy 30 beers and two bottles of vodka? Finnish people are the nicest most professional people in the world, but come the weekend, they turn into binge-drinking nutters who would fill Coke bottles up with nine parts vodka and one part Coke…and that was to drink on the bicycle ride home ……. some were so pissed (that’s the British pissed) that they rode home on their bikes…. backwards.

The Norwegians are different than us in other ways. Take the sauna. Norwegians love the sauna and most of them use saunas every day and not just at home. Most companies provide a café maybe a vending machine and a water cooler but in Norway, most companies ignore these and instead make sure every office has a sauna and instead of starting the day with a skinny crapafrapacino and a bagel, the average Norwegian office worker starts the day naked, sitting in a sauna talking to Mr. Thor Bigthingyven from accounting and, yes…..they are naked. Some of you are for sure going “yuccckkk” right now and some of you are planning your immediate move to Norway. Anyway, it’s going to be brilliant sailing to Norway and have a look at this itinerary which you have to say………….looks absolutely brilliant.

September 1, 2013 – Carnival Legend
London (Dover), England
Fun Day at Sea
Alesund, Norway
Bergen, Norway
Stavanger, Norway
Fun Day at Sea
Oslo, Norway
Fun Day at Sea
Hamburg, Germany
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium
Le Havre (Paris), France
London (Dover), England

There are other exciting voyages on Carnival Legend and I will be talking about them over the coming weeks. I hope some of you will be joining me.

Back here on Carnival Breeze, it continues to be a challenging cruise. At 4,515 guests, this is the largest passenger count we have had and, for the most part, the ship and her crew are handling this extremely well. In Europe, with mostly late departure times from port, we usually have the majority of guests wanting to eat either on late sitting or on YTD so they can enjoy the maximum time in port and not have to rush back for dinner. So this cruise we have 1,604 guests on YTD (Your Time Dining or anytime dining, as some call it) and it is very busy indeed. Our maître d’s were telling me that out of the 1,604 on YTD at least 50% come to the dining room to eat at what we call prime time which is 7:30pm – 8:30pm. This means that there are longer waits then you will ever find in the Caribbean or on shorter cruises but with 800 or more guests coming in at that time, there is going to be some wait time for sure. This cruise, so far, it is between 10 and 30 minutes which is not what we want and not something as I said that is usual. But this month is the busiest month of the European season with kids out of school and families vacationing together and at the end of August, the guest count drops to 3,800 and the wait time at YTD will return to normal with very little or no wait time.

One thing that is disappointing this cruise is since we sailed, the Thrill Theatre has been out of service. The last people to use it were Carnival Corporation Chairman and CEO Micky Arison and Miami HEAT President Pat Riley and their lovely wives. They had a brilliant time and after they left we closed it again and when we came to turn it back on for the guests later that day ……..we didn’t even get 1D let alone 5D. I am not sure what they did in there but they broke it…….I am blaming Coach Riley as he has a beard! Seriously, the problem is electronic or something and we are waiting for a spare part which was flown in yesterday so, this morning, we should be back to full working order and I am waiting for word on that from the engineers. The Thrill Theatre has been a huge hit with the guests and it will be good to have it back.

Obviously, we have had complaints from guests about this but that has come as no surprise and just before I continue with this next bit of the blog, let me say this. Carnival Cruise Lines is not a perfect company, we make mistakes and we work hard to improve. But each and every week on our ships, people complain. And they do on Royal and NCL and Princess and Seabourn and and and and….. Yep, having spent 26 years at sea, I think I am in a position to say that some of our guests will always find something to complain about and, when they do, we listen and we learn and help.

But in the cruise industry, I think it’s fair to say that people tend to complain a bit more. Again, not just at Carnival, but industry wide. I know this because I see it live on the ships and yet that’s a small fraction, isn’t it because now we have the Internet. The average guest may still be reluctant to talk about a complaint face-to-face with someone on the ship, but social networking, Facebook, Twitter, Funville and this blog have made complaining easy and sometimes I think the complaining is out of control.

The fact is there are situations where complaining is pointless and inadvisable. For example, last cruise, I saw a guest having a right old moan at a bartender about the walk from the ship to the Vaporetto station in Venice. Yes, it was a bit long due to where we docked but why give a bartender a hard time when he is obviously powerless to actually get anything changed? It’s pointless! Look, I used a “!” and I never use a “!” unless I really want to stress a point.

Moaning at the bartender about the Vaopretto service in Venice is as pointless as me complaining about rude service to anyone at the airports who works for US Immigration!

In our new world of complaining, I think the most successful companies will continue to be those that respond to customer feedback in a expedient and efficient manner as we are now doing both on the ships with our new guest resolution program and from our newly energised guest service department in Miami. Granted, we can’t please everyone but my concern over complaints is because of comments like this one:

Tina Bagnato asked:
John,

I am booked to cruise on the Magic for our first cruise ever. I have read lots of reviews on ____ ____ and there are so many complaints about the food and slow and unfriendly service. I also read a lot about the ship’s captain refusing to put the stabilizers on and that the ship rocks more than others and now I am worried I will be sea sick. Have I made a mistake in booking this celebration of our 10 years together?

Tina and Michael Bagnato

John says:
Hello Tina

Please don’t worry, you have not made a bad decision but, indeed, you have made a brilliant decision. Carnival Magic is constantly in the top three rated ships in our fleet and has a fantastic crew who will serve you excellent food and provide you with a superb dining experience. As for the question about the captain refusing to turn on stabilizers……..well, that is total nonsense and should be ignored. I wish you both a very happy and fun cruise and many more wonderful years together.

That is one of many like that. Not just about the Carnival Magic and not just from one cruise site either. People are fee to write what they like these days and that’s a good thing because freedom of speech is something I strongly believe in. But with the Internet giving us all the ability to complain even more these days, I do ask that all of us who read reviews on other sites about Carnival do so with an open mind and remember while we are not perfect most reviews are written using anonymous usernames on sites populated by people you would have nothing in common with if you met them. We have continuing improvements to make and yet I am glad that this blog exists and Facebook, too, so that while I can admit to our mistakes and listen to people using their real names tell us what they like and what they didn’t during their cruise ……….I can also help reply to people like Tina Bagnato who I hope now feels better about the cruise vacation she and her husband will soon be taking.

I remain here and on my Facebook page to listen to your reviews, comments and concerns and I promise, if you have signed them using your real name, I will give each and every one of them my full attention backed up by our brilliant guest service departments on board and ashore.

Oh, I do have one complaint, actually, before I go……and that’s about the cost of keeping Breeze, our dog. I now pay a ridiculous $90 a month on dog sodding insurance, that’s nearly as much as it costs to insure my car per month. I will tell you what, if Breeze has to go in for surgery, I would bloody well insist on him having a private room with flowers and chocolates, a Latvian nurse and doggy-porn TV channels.

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

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. If it is something that's unrelated, please use the Ask John tab 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.

74 Responses to Carnival’s Social media sites and this blog have made complaining easy

  1. Maribeth Kring says:

    Don’t worry about Norman Clement’s comment, since he obviously reads your blog and follows your FB, then he must be talking about himself as well.

  2. Pingback: Dana's Thoughts

  3. Kathy B says:

    Hi John – I’m very happy to say that we’re booked on the July 3, 2013 Baltic cruise on Carnival Legend as a family of 5. We’ll be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and our oldest son’s college graduation. We haven’t figured out all the details of our trip, but we’re hoping to spend a couple of days in London and visit Canterbury on the way to Dover. Really looking forward to the cruise and getting the chance to meet you in person!

  4. Maribeth Kring says:

    Paul Quentaro, stay away from the EXTREMELY limited smoking areas and you shouldn’t have a problem at all.

    • Richard Taylor says:

      The areas may be limited but guests do smoke on the non smoking side and as all balcony cabins (except spa) allow smoking on the balcony it does drift down. Several times sitting out on the Plaza Cafe deck was spoilt for us by the smell of smoke.

      Also I would never book a balcony cabin as I wouldn’t know if those around me smoke! Better here, surely, to have only the port side balconies as smoking?

    • Barbara says:

      One wonders why Paul purposely exposes himself to smokers venues….

      There are several ships where smoking is prohibited anywhere.

      And yet…….he’s on Carnival…..

      Obviously cost is more important to him than his health and fear of “lung cancer”.

  5. Sarah Misiuk says:

    Hi John,

    I really enjoy your blog and your FB page! We are booked for our 4th Carnival cruise for the Halloween cruise on the Triumph (oct 27-Nov 1), will there be trick or treating for the kiddos that day? My 6 year old is SO excited and I have yet to let the cat out of the bag that she will indeed be missing Halloween here at home! My other question is this, we are also traveling with our 16 month old who’s schedule right now is a bit off and I wondered if there’s a way to request anytime dining? is that available on the Triumph? We were her earlier this year and don’t remember hearing about it. Thank you for all you do!!

    Sincerely,
    Sarah

    • Rick Williamson says:

      Sarah, as for your second question. You or whom ever booked your cruise should have picked it then. If you used 1-800-Carnival, a travel agent or even signed up on line at Carnival.com you are ask which dinning time you would like. And you have to chose from 600 pm, 815 pm or anytime fron 530 pm to 900 pm. Hope this helps.

  6. jgeraci says:

    John,
    Life is way too short to complain! Every day that I wake up is a good day. And what better place to wake up than on a cruise ship?
    JoyceG

  7. lisa wiggs says:

    Wow, I am only paying $32.00 a month for doggy insurance in Tennessee, USA. Maybe your dog has better coverage than mine, lol. Seriously, though, you will be glad of the insurance if you ever needed to use it.

  8. Jewels of da Sea says:

    My question: How long does each ship stay in a port of Call… like how many years?

    Hi John… I sail in 10 days Aug.4th on the Fascination (Our 28th Anniversary).

    • Brandee says:

      Hey Jewels! We will be on the Fascination going out on Aug. 4th as well! 9 days til Sailing! It will be my 3rd cruise with Carnival. This time I’m bringing my kids and I know they are going to have a blast!

  9. Betty Norman says:

    I agree with you, it’s terrible all the complaining about the ships and crew, we were on the inaugural cruise of the Breeze, everything was wonderful, the crew were superb the excursions the best and the food absolutely delicious. The only complaint we had for the whole twelve days was people saving seats on deck and we were unable to sit outside for an hour. It was the best vacation we have ever had and we have been singing Carnival’s praises since our return.

  10. eugene goings says:

    John,the wife and i will be sailing on the Sensation on sept. 9,2012 this will be our 6th cruise with carnival, now i find out that this is one of three ships that i can’t buy a future cruise certificate that i think is not right when you can buy them on all other carnival ship.they should sell them on all ships. just not fair. thank you for your time.

    • Karen says:

      Eugene,

      We were in the same situation on the Paradise, all you need to do is call Carnival within 7 days of leaving the ship and you can buy them at that time. Worked beautifully and we are now using ours for a wonderful trip on the Breeze. Enjoy your trip!

      • kiciaski says:

        That practice has been stopped and you cannot buy the certificates after your cruise even if it is on one of the ships that do not sell them. It changed earlier this year.

  11. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Lucille OConnor

    If I might add to John’s comment….we have cruised on several ships just before they headed into drydock and had a wonderful cruise each and every time.

    We were on the Triumph last year. The day we got off the ship was the day it headed to drydock.

    In fact, we will be on the Conquest after you (but before the drydock) and I have no doubt that we will have an excellent cruise.

    Hope you have a great time….

    Linda (Mom of DJ)

  12. Snoozeman says:

    Woo Hoo…thanks for mentioning the Legend Norwegian intensive cruise. The Snoozemates will be there!!

    • Richard Taylor says:

      We’d love to do that cruise on a Carnival ship. But why are those cruises more expensive than similar length Meditteranean ones on Legend?

  13. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    Absolutely love Risa. Sadly we have only had the privilege of cruising with her one time and it was years ago.

    But the impression from that one cruise, as I personally witnessed her attending to a guest with some physical challenges, was nothing short of amazing.

    She is indeed remarkable.

    As wonderful as social media can be, I have to wonder where the responsibility to be honest fits in.

    Legitimate complaints about any company are a healthy way to make the needed improvements and should always be welcomed.

    However, when the “complaint” turns into the irrational rantings of an unreasonable tourist or worse, blatant lies …

    thank goodness most intelligent people can see through the person and instead of damaging the company they are complaining about; they only damage their own reputation and make themselves look utterly foolish.

    These are the “starfish” who exxaggerate, generalize, make ridiculous demands and basically act like an unreasonable tourist with a starfish strategically placed up their bottom.

    And whether anonymous or real names, thank goodness they can be ignored.

    Now if we could just get the folks ( who claim to love Carnival, but do nothing but chronically complain the entire cruise from embarkation to the last step off the ship) to hush … we would have it made!!!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  14. Tom says:

    John, it seems to me that you have a “high maintenance wife” that spends a lot of money on unnecessary things…..$90.00 a month for dog insurance????$100 for kids shoes. Tell her to come down off her pedestal and go to Walmart for the kids shoes. Really good shoes there for $19.99 a pair.
    Just saying.
    It would be cheaper for you to hire a Lativan to take care of your needs sometimes than to put up with that woman of yours,

    • Jacqueline says:

      There is no Walmart in England ……

    • Marsha Breen says:

      Crawl away troll…… It’s obvious that you are just trying to rile people up with your inappropriate comments about Heidi. If John said something about your wife like this, you’d be demanding his head. That’s the difference between the likes of you and John. Of course….we would have to assume that you have a wife but I can’t imagine anyone putting up with someone who could say something like this to another human being that has done nothing wrong to you personally.

    • Janey Winford says:

      Tom, your comment is perhaps the most astonishingly rude thing that I have ever read on this blog.

      I feel sorry for any woman in your life and can only hope that you have not poisoned any of your offspring with your condescending attitude towards women.

    • Barbara says:

      I’m always amazed at the rudeness of so many.

      What sort of person thinks his opinion is so great that he spouts it at others.

      What sort of man would attack a woman he doesn’t know; a wife and mother?

      I’ll tell ya.

      A misfit and a coward…..with no life.

    • Bill B. says:

      What a terible thing to say about a subject you know nothing about; nor is any of your business!!….Just Saying

  15. Eric Wright says:

    Hi John,
    A

  16. M green says:

    Absoutley love love love love Risa. No offense John but she is my favorite cruise director.

  17. Eric Wright says:

    Hi John,
    A quick comment concerning cruise reviews on the popular cruise websites. My wife and I were sailing on the Elation out of Galveston some years ago and like any good cruiser I checked out the reviews. The majority of them said how “run down” the ship was and that service in all areas was terrible. With much misgivings we cruised anyway. The ship was definitely NOT run down and aside from some issues with the dining room the service was among the best we have had (we take our 10th cruise in Oct on the Magic). AS you sais, it pays to keep an open mind! Many thanks in keeping your blog side splittingly funny and in keeping Carnival the only cruise line my wife and I will ever sail on. Eric

  18. KATHY MONTEIRO SHEPPARD says:

    John, Eveyone Loves Risa. She has a big heart and loves making her guests feel relaxed and enjoy their vacation. Eveyone wants to sail with her. She makes memories that cannot be erased… We love you Risa. Ralph and Kathy Sheppard in Virginia…

  19. Christine says:

    There is nothing wrong with speaking from your heart. You said what millions of people are feeling and we agree, cut them off and light them up. We are all in mourning for the families involved and can only imagine what they are going through.

    • Karen says:

      Totally agree with you Christine!

    • mike ceglio says:

      This post is for tom, I was waiting for a LOL, or a “just Kidding” at the end of your post, but there was none. Who the hell are you to come across and talk about John’s wife like that. This has to be one of the most mean spirited, hurtful post I have ever read, and I have read a lot of them. I was going to ignore it, but it made me sick to my stomach. Mind your own business. You must have a lot of free time on your hands to resort to crap like this.

  20. John, I just wanted to let you know and have a smile on your face because last week at Port Stanley, Ontario, I met a man who saw my hat which was the Carnival Freedom’s hat and sat and informed me that he had cruised 50 + times on many different types of companies and he stated most wholeheartedly the best cruises were on Carnival. He told me that the food was the best, the ports were great ( he’s sailed the Caribbean and Europe ), the workers were so polite and would help you anytime. Even though I’ve cruised 6 times I told him that I agreed. I hope that this note will help you smile and feel much better.
    I’m looking forward of seeing you on the Carnival Breeze in January 19, 2013 on the Bloggers Cruise so my smiles can be continued. See you my friend.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  21. cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    I would like to agree with you about the complaining. Carnival cruise lines always give their passengers a chance to experience the goodlife. Where else do you get to be treated like you are a CEO or the Donald himself for half the price it would cost to fly somewhere and stay in the roach motel and eat at a one star dump with bad service. I am so glad that Mr. Arrison built the best and biggest cruise empire by giving everyday people the chance to experience what just fifty years ago would be out of the middle classes reach. So far we have seen Humpback whales breaching off of our balcony, the Mayan ruins of Tulum. Gone snorkeling off of Grand Cayman and horseback riding in Jamaica and Half Moon Cays. Ate meals that a five star restaurant would have charged a small fortune for at no extra cost and had the best meal anywhere for just a couple of bucks extra. The knuckleheads who say we are cheerleaders for Carnival are absolutely right. Iam proud to tell people how great they are and how good they will be treated when the sail with number one. When they come back and tell me I was right and listen to them become cheerleaders too. Quit complaining and enjoy the best vacation you will ever have. James and Nancy Enslow the Cruzin2some.

    • robert says:

      I totally agree with you i have been on 6 different carnival ships and they all have been great. never a problem. i cant wait till cruise the breeze next august. only 400 more days have a great day

  22. Barb Shugart says:

    John, I would like to complain here and now about all the complaints I have to read on your blog and Facebook page while I try to rev up my excitement in anticipation of our Feb. 2013 cruise. I want to be able to read what you have to say without the complaining.

    Oh, wait; am I complaining to the right person? ;-)

  23. Becky says:

    When will the Conquest be going into dry dock, please? I am booked on it in Nov.
    Thank you in advance.

  24. Judith says:

    Yes, smoking does kill… But so does alcohol!!!

  25. Luis R says:

    I have some simple rules when reading reviews of anything, be it an ink cartridge or a cruise. First, I go for the negative reviews. Second, I see how many negative complaints are there compared to the positive ones. Third, look for any repeat complaints and see if the others are valid or just petty things that most people wouldn’t care about. Most of the times, the negatives are just small things and only once I have decided to go against a majority of negative reviews and the reviews were right. All other times the positives have been right.

    And speaking of complaints, last year on Carnival Magic I filed a complaint about a shore excursion in Croatia. I did it mostly to let Carnival know about the issue we had. When I filed the complaint I went straight to the shore excursions desk. I didn’t go to guest services or the cruise director (you John) for this. People should learn a few things: only complain for valid reasons, not for any stupid smallest thing; if you WILL complain, go straight to whoever is directly in charge and do so in person as soon as possible. Don’t wait till you get home to moan in a social network page.

  26. Richard Taylor says:

    Me again!!
    With regards to the comment about seat hogging, on the last sea day (20th July, my wife’s 60th birthday) on the 9th July Breeze cruise we went up to Serentity at 0645 and every pod had someone either sleeping in it or “marked”. And some marked pods had no-one go near them for a couple of hours.
    Why not book 4 hour slots and charge say $5 which goes to St. Judes?? Same for loungers.

  27. Bill Heck says:

    John:

    I have never understood why it costs more for the dog’s annual physical than for our checkups. They are very similar. Biggest difference is the vet doesn’t feel his prostate.

    Does your insurance agent drive a DB9? He/she should bring your bowser some treats.

    My dog smiles at the vet every time he sees her. But he is too polite to growl. I used to read him your blog, he liked the part about how you hate latex gloves and your border experiences. I no longer read it to him because he said the complaining put him in a bad mood.

  28. Yvonne Buchanan-Coutts says:

    Hi John,
    We have just returned from our very first Carnival cruise (9th-21st July). Before our trip, I had a few questions and sent an email to Carnival, but have yet to receive a reply :( Is there somewhere/someone I can contact to voice both my praise and air some of my concerns without them becoming public for all to see, but also where I may get a reply?

    Many thanks
    Yvonne

  29. Daniel Grief says:

    John, I have to agree with Bethany Salzor regarding snacks being served at all bars while drinking. It is a shame IMO that Carnival chose to do awaay with this. It certainly cannot cost THAT much.

    I have booked 3 cabins for the Sept 15 Liberty sailing and since this is part of a larger RE-UNION Cruise, *(we met onboard via CC on Liberty in 2008, and have stayed in touch since then) My question is… (humble request) is… is there anything you or Carnival may provide as gifts? We have approximately 26 booked (I realize it’s not one of your larger groups). We are called the Crazy Cruzers. You already know several of our group as they have become fans and several, me included sailed on your ‘Bloggers Cruise’….

    Thank you in advance….

    Daniel ‘DOC’ Grief

  30. Barbara says:

    John and Bethany.

    I noticed the lack of bar snacks a long, long time ago. I missed them. One night at the casino bar (where I love to hang), I asked the bartender if she had any. Here is what she said….

    Carnival did away with the snacks after all the cases of norovirus that had been happening on several ships…on many lines. It had to do with bare fingers dipping in and out of bowls and such..which could easily spread this illness. People digging in, licking their fingers, returning to the bowl, etc.

    Made perfect sense to me.

    • kiciaski says:

      That’s what we’ve been told too. We like the little snacks at the bar and think they could be put in little bowls for each individual or couple and then not have to worry about passing of germs. I agree with eliminating the communal bowl.

  31. Barbara says:

    John, ignore boobs like Norman. HE is exactly why I ended my membership on the famous cruise forum whose name we cannot mention.

    Anonymity allows the low information people to flap their jaws, make personal attacks, and attempt to rake others over the coals. They are called cowards.

    Face to face, he would wet his knickers before he’d say anything.

    Notice that, in spite of his disgust, he comes here to read your blog and obviously is involed with your Facebook page frequently.

    Perhaps he’s lonely.

  32. Barbara says:

    Oh, Paul, the rabid nonsmoker.

    Nobody forces you to go where smokers go. None bind you with duct tape and carry you forcefully into harms way. There is no law requiring you to expose yourself to those who enjoy the legal activity of smoking…

    YOU choose where you go. YOU make the decision to hang where smokers hang.

    Stop blaming others…put on your man pants, Find another vacation or join with one of the many ships where smoking is completely prohibited….there are lots of them.

    • robert says:

      believe it or not you have just as much chance of getting cancer from over prossessed food chemicals as from smoking.

      • Jas says:

        I personally have known more smokers that died of auto accidents than of all smoking related illnesses. The number dieing of second hand smoke decreases exponentially as well. I can’t speak for anyone else, but get tired of people outright lying to make a matter more dramatic that it really is.

  33. Erin says:

    Norman made it way too easy for us when he described himself as ‘retardant’.

  34. Rick says:

    Great post again John, as always it starts my day off right.

  35. Judy Galliher says:

    John, complaining to bartenders is an age-old tradition. No one expects them to do anything more than nod sympathetically and keep pouring drinks.

  36. Laura Brown says:

    Norman, There are many of us out here who LOVE John and his blog. You will not see all of us on Facebook. I faithfully read this blog but although I have a Favebook account I almost never get on it. I am sure that there are many others like me. According to you the fact that I only have 9 freinds on Facebook means that I do not have any friends. That is not so. I just do not choose to let the whole world know what I am doing and I don’t think you can judge a persons popularity by their Facebook numbers.

  37. Ponce says:

    John,

    The family and I a total of 8 of us will be joining you next week on the Breeze. This is our third cruise with you. We get to go to Europe on the new breeze and having you as our cd is the cherry on top. Keep up the great work. Remember the Greek.

    Thanks

    Ponce

  38. Karen P. says:

    John, I don’t know how you do it; dealing with so many who complain and gripe over the smallest details! I have to wonder if your skin is as thick as an aligators! You deserve a holiday, or a cuddle, or something!

    What do you do to relax? Considering your work revolves around other’s vacations, do you take holidays or just sit at home in a fetal, position wondering why you still try to make so many happy when they don’t want to try themselves?
    I feel for you and I think you are brilliant! Love reading your blog and kudos to you for being so understanding when people are not giving you the same consideration!

  39. Bob McAdoo says:

    I have one major Complaint John., by the middle of Oct 2012 I will have 15 cruises under my belt. Ever since I sailed with you on the Triumph in 2003, I have only sailed on Carnival. With a cruise in Sept and another in Oct this year, it will make numbers 7 and 8 on Carnival. I am extremly upset that I haven’t made numbers 9 and 10 yet and must wait until next year to complete this task. It’s your fault John, so Bugger that Mate! (and yes I used a !, so there)

  40. Alex says:

    Unfortunately social media in general has made complaining easy for everyone but I do really enjoy your blog and FB updates. It’s hilarious to see how ridiculous people can be.

  41. Thomas O says:

    As of this post, you now have 28,261 Likes. I have never hit the like button before but now I did because of Norman. Thank you.

    • Thomas O says:

      But a day later I hit the unlike button. I don’t need a bunch of updates coming to my Facebook. There are probably others, who like me, just enjoy reading everything, but don’t want to be bombarded by updates and therefore don’t hit the like button.

  42. Denise Cernansky says:

    I was thrilled yesterday to receive a call from my Carnival travel consultant offering us an upgrade on our Paradise cruise next Thursday, 8/2 out of Tampa. The price was fantastic and a will be a great surprise for our son’s birthday cruise. We are once again looking forward to a wonderful time. Thank you to you and all those who provide excellent guest services.

  43. Elaine Stephanson says:

    Hi John: I am wondering if you will still be on the Breeze in Oct. I am taking my first cruise to celebrate turning 50 this Oct. and am very excited to celebrate it with Carnival and on the Breeze. So I’m hoping you’re still going to be around as I would dearly love to meet you. I enjoy your blog tremendously as it is always enlightening and very entertaining. Keep it up!!

  44. Hector Rivera says:

    I have cruised 3 times in the past and 2 times with Carnival. My last cruise was on the Liberty on July 14th. We had a terrific time and Guy’s Burger Joint was awesome.

    However, there was a lot of room for improvement in other areas. I am most disappointed in Cranival’s lack of response to all my previous emails and lack of appreciation to a group which booked 11 cabins last year and 17 cabins this year. The group is guaranteed to be larger next year. Unfortunately for Carnival, we will have to take our business where it is appreciated.

    Hector Rivera & Group

  45. james mcclellan says:

    I was on the first cruise out of Galveston on the Magic. We has one night of rough seas. I did not even notice any rocking on the shaip. It took some of out other party members to tell me and my wife it was rough. So dont worry about the captain not putting the guest and crew into un-needed discomfort due to rough seas.

  46. Cybill Garbo says:

    I agree with the others,you cant complain about the ship and the crew, but above all, on the first place why would let them complain if you can provide better fleet management.

  47. Orlando says:

    Hi John,

    Blog and Social Media complaining are very good forums for expressing concerns (minor or major) or would you rather people sit at your door step with huge neon signs?

    I recently posted on this site before heading out on the Miracle on July 25th. I never got a response, and that’s fine with the volume of posting you receive. Several issues came up during our cruise, none of which we submitted formal complaints. As I stated in my previous post there are very few things that would hinder our vacation, and we (my family) are not bothered by small stuff. I’d thought I’d just let you the following about the Miracle:

    Entertainment was poor. Any cruise ship that promotes a party environment and that leaves out of NYC should include live music, and/or at least, a Latin band.

    Cruise director – I can’t say that I spotted the cruise director at all during the cruise. I must give him credit for the one-man show he put on. That was probably the only night he earned his money.

    Food and house-keeping Service – I must say service at the MDR was great. Our steward was also great, but it was obvious that there have been cutbacks with respect to staffing. Many of the food stations on the Lido deck were closed thus creating huge lines. Staff is clearly being over-worked. Some staff we spoke with expressed discontent.

    Ports of Call – The ports of call were great, but debarkation in Grand Turk can be compared to an apocalyptic rush of people visibly upset at the disorder and disorganization. Debarkation upon return to NYC was also disorganized

    Over all, Carnival should do more to make a cruise leaving from NYC (capital of the world) a more pleasant, memorable and enjoyable experience. I understand the Splendor will be setting sail from NYC in order to replace the Miracle. Let’s hope that ship provides a more rewarding experience than the Miracle.

    Constant complaining is annoying, and we do our very best to refrain from such behavior. I just wanted to provide my fair share of complaining in hopes you might read this post and take some of our observations into consideration for improvement

  48. Suzanne says:

    Please warn people cruising with you to avoid the one jewelry store on Isle of Pasion. I bought a “peridot” ring on a recent cruise with you and it was yellow by the time I got it back to the ship and now the stone is a light orange. I’m sure it is glass but will have it appraised when I get a minute. They are pure cheats!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. Ciana says:

    Hi John,

    We have frequently sailed on Carnival and we love the whole experience. As far as another fun workout, would Carnival ever consider adding Zumba? There is such a big craze over this, and I have seen quite a few posts. We will be sailing in November again this year and I was curious if there has been any consideration. Thank you.

  50. Rubel Bogra says:

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  51. Terrified says:

    Hi John, I am worried that I will have a nightmare on the Breeze. These reviews are horrible. They said it was extremely overbooked. The food was cold and during dining, the staff rushed serving the food. Also by the way, what is Carnival doing about the infestation of roaches. I will be cruising on this ship in a few weeks from Miami and I worried. Can you please assure me that it won’t be a disaster and that the staff are as pleasant as possible.

  52. Charlie Patricia Charles says:

    Hi John: My name is “Charlie Charles, (Patricia). I’m a RN from Little Rock, AR and me and my family are booked for our “Friends and Family” cruise on Carnival Magic for Sept. 1, 2013. We will be coming from AR, GA, and TX. None of us has cruised on Magic and some have never cruised before. We are so excited and can’t wait to board your ship. I hope the Magic lives up to all I have heard about it. I hope I get a chance to meet you. you have given me so much info on carnival site. Thanks for tips. Keep them coming.

  53. We went on the Magic the last 7 days in Sept. and went back again in November because of 3 people on your staff. 6’3″ is incredible, always up and happy and seems willing to do anything to keep the guests happy. She even remembered myname when we returned 5 weeks later!! 2 of your dancers , Juan Gonzales from New York and Liam Flanigan were sooo nice and danced with me on the floor when I couldn’t get on stage. They made my tripS very special. I love to dance and they made me feel young and able to dance again!!Everyone on Magic went all out to make this a super cruise!! The food was great and we had no problems with motion sickness even though the waves had big white caps on one of the trips. This was our 4th trip on Magic and have always had a wonderful time.

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