LANCE, PETER AND CHARLIE

January 16, 2013 -

John Heald

Occasionally, I get to use this blog to write my own personal opinions, not just about cruising but about what’s happening in the world. Last night I had quite a heated discussion with some guests who are bloggers and have booked a back-to-back cruise here. It wasn’t about food or Faster to the Fun or the Cheers bar program or my underpants, but rather about Lance Armstrong who, as you know, will appear on Her Royal Highness Oprah Winfrey’s show.

The people I was discussing this with were on his side and had very firm beliefs about what he had — or in this case, had not done. To them, Lance Armstrong was simply the best. Now they admitted that this certainly did not justify what he did. Their argument was that everyone knew that the sport of cycling was rife with drug taking yet the public seemed OK with that and enjoyed watching these chaps in spandex so tight their gentleman’s sausage crossed the finishing line two minutes before they did.  A sort of hear no evil, see no evil, I guess.

Me, I feel differently to them and that’s what we discussed last night at the Ocean Plaza. This is about a sportsman who gains advantage, fame and loads of money from taking performance enhancing drugs. I read this morning that Oprah stated that, “He had not come clean in the way she expected.”

Well, if that is true and I know we haven’t seen the interview yet, but if it is what happened then I am afraid is, to me, the icing on the cake. He will then be going on Oprah to appear very much the victim as to explain his reasons for taking the drugs in the first sodding place. I am sure his battle with cancer will be pushed forward too, as a means for us to feel sorry for him and his charity work to make his wealth justifiable.

Personally, I feel he should not be given any voice whatsoever. Let his charity survive and help those with the terrible disease that cancer is but do not let someone who has gained so much, by cheating, get away with it and be seen as a victim. I wonder how many people who proudly wore his yellow bracelet to support cancer victims have now thrown it in the recycling bin?

OK, that’s me off my soap box and back in my underpants ready to answer your questions. Here we go.

Vincent Espinosa says:
Carnival is seriously lacking in providing a good cruise experience for the thousands of Spanish- speaking passengers who live in South Florida. Other cruise lines offer Spanish-speaking activities and shows and announcements about what is happening are all made in Spanish but not on Carnival. There will be soon a referendum which will make the official language in Miami Spanish and maybe that will mean Carnival will finally wake up and realise the thousands of passengers who are refusing to sail Carnival because they don’t bring anything to the Spanish speaking guests.

John says:
Hello Vincent Espinosa,
Thanks so much for voicing your opinion and I understand that there are many Spanish-speaking guests who sail with us from Miami. However, there are many who also speak English and who I think truly appreciate the product. For example, here on the Carnival Breeze, this cruise we have a Latin duo that has been most popular with many guests, Spanish speaking or not. We also offer menu translations and provide assistance in Spanish at the guest services desk. We are though an English speaking cruise line and our shows and activities are for the most part in English although we do have some in Spanish on our ship that sails from Puerto Rico. I hope you do come and join us and I am sure if you do, you will have fun.

Best wishes.
John

Kelli Parco asks:
Hello John,
I had sent you a question a couple weeks ago and never got a reply? It was regarding my fears with the negative comments from Carnival Breeze passengers on Cruise Critic? This is a HUGE upcoming trip for us (April 13) and I guess I was looking for answers and reassurance. With that said I’m holding on to my intuition, that this will be a wonderful cruise. If you find this email I sent to you, please reply.

John says:
Hello Kelli Parco,
I am so pleased you wrote to me because it gives me the chance to put your mind at ease. There are some on Cruise Critic who feel that their opinion is fact when in reality it is just an opinion. Let me tell you that the ship is fantastic and for every one negative comment, I can show you many more positive ones like this one just posted to me yesterday.

One friend packed her passport in her luggage. Carnival met me at her cabin and thankfully her luggage was already there. The gentleman took the passport and got it to the terminal. The swiftness on their part eliminated a lot of anxiety. John assured us that the partitions on our balconies would be opened and they were. Gave us a big porch to watch the activities in port and at sea. (Thanks, John!!)

The ship itself is gorgeous inside and out. I remember walking up to her returning from an excursion in Grand Turk, and we went, “Wow! She is beautiful!” She really sparkles. :-) I want to thank our cabin steward, I Wayan, for his attention and care during this cruise. Three of our people became ill when the sea was rough and he attended them like a nurse! He made a special towel animal for one. Made sure they had everything they needed. He should have special mention on the ship!

More honorable mentions: In the dining room our waiters were also fabulous! Food was never cold. Some was a bit too hot actually (not a complaint). The service was not slow. While Ken Byrne was talking to us at the table, one friend threw up. No reflection on Ken. Thankfully she was at the end – our waiters were there to assist her and the mess was quickly cleaned up. We were waited on by Kazimierz, Ivaylo, and the female whose name escapes me (she is this month’s employee of the month). The music in all areas was good, but particularly in the MDR with my new friend Ken “The Voice” Byrne. The cruise virgins with me loved it and were already talking about the next cruise before we ever left the ship. There is so much I could say but I do not want to bore anyone. Haha!

If I had it to do again (and I do) I would take this ship again, but for a longer stretch of time. My home port, however, is Galveston, and Lady Magic will do just fine until I can plan another trip out of Miami on the Brilliant Breeze.

That was one of five fantastic reviews of the ship I received yesterday alone. So there you go Keli, just one of the many, many brilliant reviews of the Carnival Breeze and I know for sure you will have the best of times.

Best wishes.
John

Diana Gatapado asks:
Hi John,
we want to thank you for making our cruise so special. I had told you that my DH had just returned from his second deployment with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan and how we needed this special time together. The table for two you arranged for us was perfect and our server Svetlana was so sweet and made us very welcome each night. The crew of the Carnival Magic is amazing and everyone was so nice and I must mention James the director who read the letter I sent you on his television show and there were four wet eyes in cabin 6340. The gifts you sent made it more special and not seeing my husband for seven long months meant this cruise was exactly what we needed. I know you get lots of rude comments and demands but I hope this shows how much we appreciated what you did for us. Thank you, John.

John says:
Hello Diana Gatapado,
Well I am truly humbled by this and I want to thank you so much for this wonderful post. My thanks to James for following up with the requests I had asked for and I am so glad you both had some quality time and some fun together. I wish you both continued happiness and hope we see you again soon.

Best wishes.
John

John Wilson asks:
Has Carnival ever considered a ship that’s kid-free? Our last cruise on the Carnival Elation was ruined by hundreds of little terrorists running, shouting and causing mayhem. It has put us off cruising so you should consider a kid free cruise for the many like me who do not want to be around them!

John says:
Hello John Wilson,
I am sorry to read this and I am sure that, for the most part, the kids were having fun. But I understand sailing with children is not everyone’s cup of tea and while we will have no plans to have an adults-only ship, there are times during the year when the kid count is low. This is usually during school terms, of course, so I hope you will consider this. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes and I do hope to see you soon.
John

Andrea Olgun asks:
Can you tell me if the maitre d’ called George the Greek is still working? We had him twice on our cruises and he made each night in the dining hall so much fun. What ship is he on and can you answer quickly so we can consider booking a cruise where he is at!

John says:
Hello Andrea Olgun,
I am sorry to say that George retired recently and we all miss him very much. Please let me know if you have any other questions and hope you get to book a cruise and have some Carnival fun soon.

Best wishes.
John

Pat Bettencourt asks:
Our cruise on Carnival Breeze is rapidly approaching and it will be our 30th wedding anniversary. Our booking number is ******and my request is for a table for two and for you to send us something to celebrate this momentous occasion. We are Platinum and will be in 7308.

John says:
Hello Pat Bettencourt,
Well this is perfect timing as I see you sail next cruise and I have asked the maître d’ to do his best to get you a table for two and I will indeed send you a little something to wish you a very happy anniversary.

Best wishes and have a wonderful cruise.
John

Sarah Reinke asks:
Hello John,
Your writing style is fabulously entertaining, and I always enjoy reading your thoughts. I am a self-employed musician and music teacher who must cruise frequently worldwide to get all of her sunning, dancing, and martinis in — plus regain her patience. Patience sometimes runs short when dealing with the general public, and yet the job (whatever it is) must be done in a hospitable manner. This seems to be effortless for you (hopefully you have a team of writers dealing with the rude/impossible questions) and I wondered if there is a book, homeopathic (or not) remedy, mantra, exercise, or something else entirely that you utilize to remain so pleasant when dealing with difficult individuals. You rock!

John says:
Hello Sarah Reinke,
What a wonderful post, Sarah, and first of all let me congratulate you on the brilliant job you do as a teacher educating the young people to enjoy the fantastic world of music. I really don’t have a book or anything as such that I go by and I guess all I ever do is try to stay calm and realise that whatever happens that, for the most part, it isn’t personal and that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. OK, there are times when I forget this and it does get to me but for the most part I keep calm………and carry on. I wish you continued success and happiness and if there is anything I can ever do for you, please do let me know.

Best wishes.
John

Elvira Jones asks:
Hello John,
We had the pleasure to be with you on the Carnival Breeze from Barcelona to Miami in November 2012. It was such a great experience to see you and Calvyn in the morning show. When you both had to go, the cruise was not the same anymore. How do we know on which ship you gonna sail in the future (so we know what to book)? Greetings from Germany

John says:
Hello Elvira Jones,
It was a wonderful voyage and I am so glad you had fun. This summer, we will both be on the Carnival Legend in the Baltic and I hope we see you there. If there is any more information I can give you please let me know and thanks, danke schon, for the very kind words.

Best wishes.
John

Georgette Ford asks:
John,
I am set to sail on my 10th cruise. I have been looking forward to being platinum since I got engaged on the Carnival Ecstasy five years ago. We fell in love with cruising! Anyway, I am swamped at work but when the platinum guidelines changed, I knew I had to be grandfathered in to the old platinum guidelines, so we booked a quick cruise on February 7 (room 6221- Todd and Georgette Ford) to make my platinum before the June deadline (although I heard that might even be extended). Anyway, when my travel agent was booking, she tried to talk to several different
Carnival representatives because no one knew how to get me on the ship with my platinum status. Finally, someone told her although I will still receive a gold card, I can go up to the platinum line at customs in Galveston and just tell them this is my platinum cruise and to let
me in. But all of my paperwork says gold member so I am nervous about this. My hubby is thinking Carnival is for sure going to screw this up for us….I don’t want that to happen…this is a big deal to us and I want this first platinum experience to go smoothly the minute we reach the port.

Please tell me what, if anything, I can do to make sure they have me as being platinum when I get to the port check in. According to my travel agent, she was also told when I got on the ship, I could go change my card from gold to platinum but they would honor me through customs. I just am worried this is not going to work. I want to first prove my husband wrong and, secondly, I want to enjoy this first platinum experience by skipping that ridiculous line! Please help me if you can!!!! By the way, we sailed with you on the Carnival Magic on its first run out of Galveston…great meeting you although I still am bummed I still haven’t gotten to see Costa Maya! Was so excited to have a new port thrown in, then those darn rudders screwed it all up!!!! Anyway, any help you can give me to make sure I am platinum when I arrive at port, I would love!!!!

John says:
Hello Georgette Ford,
Thanks for writing and please do not worry, you will show GOLD in the system but your boarding pass should say PLATINUM and you will receive a Platinum card when you board the ship. Everything looks fine. I wish you a brilliant cruise and please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope we get to sail together again very soon and thanks so much for your amazing loyalty.

Best wishes.
John

Jeff Moore asks:
Hi John,
Would love to go on the Bloggers Cruise with you but I have to ask for time off from my job well in advance. When will you announce the dates for the Bloggers Cruise 7 in 2014 if there will be one?

John says:
Hello Jeff Moore,
It would have been great to see you here but hopefully you will be able to join me next year. I will announce the cruise next week so please stand by for that and hope to see you soon.

Best wishes.
John

And that’s your lot for today. So everything is set for the Bloggers Cruise even though it was a stressful day scheduling everything I wanted to do so as not to disturb the regular entertainment and activity schedule for the rest of the ship. Here are some of the private activities the bloggers will enjoy:

• A welcome aboard party with complimentary cocktails
• A morning Q&A session with me answering all the questions they have, rather like a live version of the blog and Facebook Q&A
• A Q&A session with the captain, chief engineer and hotel director
• Three private tea times where we will have the forward dining room, upper level for tea and cream cake and some fun with me and Calvyn
• Two private performances of Hasbro, The Game Show
• A live version of the Morning Show with Calyvn and me
• A bloggers-only version of Superstar Live Karaoke
• A private photo seminar and photo contest with Mr. Radu
• Cigars Under The Stars featuring some cigar tips from me with the aft section of deck 10 reserved for us and featuring some wonderful hors d’ oeurves and conversation and long ashes.
• Comedy performances by handpicked comedians Al Ernst, Percy Crews, Mutzie and Tommy Drake who will also help me and have fun with the bloggers all cruise long
• Three different in-cabin gifts including a T-shirt at the end of the cruise
• A farewell cocktail party with complimentary drinks and food
• Performances of the marriage show and, hopefully, the bedtime story for the entire ship and daily video updates here on the blog thingy.

I will be announcing Bloggers Cruise 7 next week and will let you all know what’s happening about that and of course…………….I hope you will join me.

As you know, I am a dog owner and Breeze, the German shepherd, is now very much part of our lives. When I am home, it is my job to walk him three times a day which I actually enjoy, especially the night time one because I get to smoke a cigar along the way. I have now become accustomed to picking up Breeze’s poo but it seems many dog owners in the UK don’t bother.

Every morning, on my walks with Breeze, I encounter at least three brand new turds on my side of the street alone, glistening in the sun. One morning, just before I flew here to the Carnival Breeze it was very frosty and there were layers of turd interleaved with the layers of frost like some poo-flavored crème brulee. And the thaw brought hourly uncoverings of newly revealed hound crap, kept fresh by the sub-zero temperatures, the goodness sealed in, the scent released gradually over the days.

But the joys of dog ownership are overall something I am really enjoying and the fact that Breeze is a German shepherd whose bark alone would scare of any would be house invader it gives me great comfort to know Heidi and Kye have some protection while I am away. Yep, dog ownership is fun, interesting and you certainly do become attached to them.

We have a dog on board this week — it’s a service dog for a blind guest whose name is Peter……….. the dog’s name is Charlie. I have sailed with Peter before, in fact this cruise is his 14th with Carnival and Charlie is also a Platinum dog……….I wonder if he is the only one? I always enjoy speaking to Peter and Victoria his lovely wife of 41 years. The bond between Peter and Charlie is extraordinary. It’s not just about getting him from A to B but so much more. This can range from the most obvious, such as avoiding obstacles, to ensuring that Peter is not going to fall down steps, walk into oncoming traffic or when he is on the ship making sure he can walk safely down a busy Promenade deck. Even in the case of the most basic of these roles, however, it is impossible. I think, to overrate the value of what a dog contributes to Peter’s life.

Last night I sat with Peter and Victoria for a while in the Ocean Plaza. The band was playing and people were dancing and having fun yet none of this bothered Charlie who was fast asleep under his master’s chair. These are sad times though for Peter and Victoria because this will be Charlie’s last cruise because at the age of nine years he is going to be retiring, his legs are tired and for safety reasons, Peter knows he has to get a new service dog.

Peter told me with much emotion just how much he will miss Charlie who will be retiring to a home for service dogs in his home state of Iowa. This is not the first time he has had to do this as Peter has been blind since he was two years old as a result of a rare genetic disease. Peter has given Charlie a wonderful life and, of course, Charlie has done the same for Peter. I cannot imagine how hard it will be for Peter to say goodbye to his faithful friend……yep, in Peter’s case a dog truly is man’s best friend.

Butch the incomparable cruise director here on the Carnival Breeze and his entertainment staff threw a brilliant deck party last night……one of the very best I have ever seen. It was RedFrog’s Caribbean Beach party, one of our Fun Ship 2.0 parties and later in the cruise it will be BlueIguana’s turn. Butch was up there leading the fun, dancing in skin tight shorts that showed he had a bottom that could surely crack a massive walnut with no trouble at all. Butch is without doubt at the top of the cruise director tree and he is also the leader of the pack of metrosexual CD’s who are a little too well-versed in moisturizers and “product” for their hair.

Who can blame them, though? Look at their role models. Things have gone so far and so girly that James Bond has succumbed. Where Sean Connery was a rumpy pumpy addicted beefy playboy, Daniel Craig is a tofu-eating, relationship-loving GQ model, who at the end of Skyfall, actually cried real tears. Oh FFS!

So, I am off to fart, pick my nose, wear the same underpants I wore yesterday and the day before because I am …………..a real man.

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.

43 Responses to LANCE, PETER AND CHARLIE

  1. Elliot Hague says:

    Hi john i sailed on the canival breeze on the 14 august and met a family who we have bumped into three times cruising. There son is called Elliot Reeves and i have lost his contact details. If you could pass my email onto Calvyns mum as they are good friends they might be able to get contact with them. This would help because we would like to meet them.

  2. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    Sadly we now live in a world where “everyone is a victim” and any excuse they can think of seems to be enough to get away with whatever lie or trickery they have in mind.

    Personal responsibility and honesty seem to be a thing of the past in our Nation, as everyone wants “someone else” to be responsible.

    These kinds of individuals did not build America, but they will certainly destroy it.

    Yes, sad indeed…..

    What a wonderful story about Peter and Charlie. And how great that there is a place where service dogs can go to retire.

    I never knew that.

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  3. Ken Spahn says:

    What are the bloggers cruises and who can sign up for them?

    • The Cruzin2some says:

      Dear Ken,
      The Bloggers cruise is an event where John sets up the event and anyone who would like to sail with all of us crazy Bloggers and John can book the cruise and then sign up on the roll call for all who are booked here on the blog and then we all meet up and have a great time with John. If you haven’t sailed with Mr. Heald then you really are in for a treat. Hope to see you at one of these events.
      The Cruzin2some James and Nancy

    • JTC says:

      If you read this Blog you are a blogger. The Cruises are geared toward those who read and love this wonderful BLOG that John writes. A Bloogers Cruise has been held on the New ships of the fleet each year they come out. They had one on the Magic out of Galveston Last year and the one this year is on the New BREEZE out of Florida. And hopefully Next years will be on the Newly redesigned Destiny soon to be called Sunshine that will sail out of New Orleans later this year. I hope to be able take that Cruise with the other hundreds of Bloggers that are able to cruise with John.

  4. Judy says:

    Tell Vincent that if he wants a Spanish language cruise he should take a cruise that leaves from San Juan. Based on the passenger mix, you’ll hear more Spanish spoken than English.

    • Bill says:

      Better yet, if Vincent is so upset….then move out of AMERICA!! I am sick and tired of the Hispanic community that immigrated here and think that we owe them something. If your homeland is so great and you love it so much, then why did you leave? GO BACK!!!

  5. Vicki says:

    You are truly entertaining. We love cruising and I so hope I will eventually meet you on a cruise. You do a great job!! I tell everyone there is no such thing as a bad cruise. If you want to have fun on a cruise you will….period! We always have a blast!!!

  6. Lissete says:

    The last time I checked, Miami is in Florida which is still in the U.S. I live here and I know that many *believe* that Spanish is the official language, but it is not! Get a grip, do you go to movie theaters and demand that the film is played in Spanish? You are in the US sailing on an American owned vessel. Learn the language. Period. If I go to Cuba should I demand that they entertain me in English?

    Before anyone says that I am bashing. I was born and raised here to Cuban born parents that came to the US, learned the language, got jobs, made a life for themselves and never demanded special treatment from anyone.

  7. Bonida says:

    Hip, Hip, Hooray! Finally a subject I can get behind you on 100%! He is guilty of not only breaking the rules of the game but lying and denying repeatedly that he did not do it. What a complete waste of biological material.

    • Bonida says:

      Correction: He is guilty of not only breaking the rules of the game, by taking the performance enhancing drugs, but of lying and denying repeatedly that he did them.

      • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

        Not to mention he totally lack of moral character as he abandoned his wife and family (who stuck by his side through all this cancer) to hook up with Sheryl Crow only to DUMP Sheryl Crow when SHE GOT CANCER….

        You are correct…he is a waste of molecules!!

  8. Judi Mkam says:

    Please tell the Miami guests who request that announcements etc be made in Spanish
    that the last time that I checked, Miami was still in the USA and Carnival is an American based cruise line and that if they want a ship where Spanish is spoken to please board a Spanish owned one in Madrid. I am not anti-immigrant, quite the contrary, my husband is not American born John. He is however, proud to be a naturalized American and he learned to speak and understand English. He does not expect announcements to be made in his native language.

  9. Ralph says:

    Pat Bettencourt,

    I bet it would be a “momentous occasion” for you to say “please” and “thank you”!!!!

  10. grace says:

    Inspiring story about Charlie. As to the Spanish speaker I certainly hope the referandum is defeated.

  11. Bud & Mary Conner says:

    John, We are new to your blog and loving every word you write. We will be on Breeze on the 19th and looking forward to meeting you and the rest of the gang of crazies.

  12. Bud & Mary Conner says:

    @Jose…hear, hear. To Diana’s “DH” thank you for your service, Marine…Sempher Fi… and to Diana, thank you for supporting him. As my Bride, Mary will tell you the hardest job in any military is being the faithful military spouse. Bud C. E-9, USN (Retired)

  13. Luis R says:

    My first cruise was back in 2006 on Carnival Destiny out of San Juan. I don’t know if things have changed since, but I don’t recall announcements in Spanish except those given by the captain Angelo Los which were usually given both in Spanish and English. The cruise director announcements were only in English as far as I can recall. And I don’t remember any activities specifically in Spanish although latin and hip hop music were played most of the time in the dek parties. Since I am native Spanish speaker (I live in Puerto Rico) I would have specifically remembered if there were any activities in Spanish – that’s why I remember the captain giving his announcements in Spanish.

  14. Jeanette says:

    Please make the next Blogges cruise for Late september or early October 2014 *BG*…

  15. Thomas says:

    Jose, perfectly stated.

    If Miami does go ahead with Spanish as an official language, I will make sure I never visit that city or sail from her port and Carnival and all other cruise lines will lose my business from that port.

    Carnival, don’t give in to the political correctness of America.

    When Mexico provides English speakers at their ports, then we will provide Spanish ones. Oh, that’s right, we already do.

  16. Thomas says:

    Kelli, realize that Cruise Critic translates into Bash Carnival.

    Can you ever find a negative review about other cruise lines on that site? I can’t. That’s why I read them for entertainment value only.

  17. Rita Presnell says:

    Pat Bettencort….you can request but have you forgotten the words “please” and “thank you”?

  18. Dear John,

    This is to Vincent. Why does the Spanish population in Miami think that just because a ship sales from Miami, it should be Spanish speaking? By that rule, if it sales from Barcelona it should also be Spanish speaking or from Rome, Italian speaking? This is not the first time I have heard this. Doesn’t he know that people from all over the world sale from Miami??

  19. John, I’m so excited for this Bloggers Cruise because it’s my first. Looking forward to seeing you my friend.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  20. marsha.breen says:

    I couldn’t have said it better.

  21. Brenda says:

    I agree that anyone living in AMERICA should learn English! You are not in YOUR home country, so why do you EXPECT us to cater to your language? If you don’t like us speaking english, then go back to your own home!!!!

  22. Toni Vitanza says:

    I think it’s all well and good to tell folks like the writer above, John Wilson, to book a cruise when the kids are in school. But I think the real issue that he, and others, raise needs to be addressed fully. We all know Carnival welcomes families. But we also all know that too often the cruise ship staff members don’t feel empowered to enforce bona fide rules of the ship and common-sense rules of safe, mannerly behavior. Just because kids and parents are on vacation too doesn’t mean that they can behave any old way they wish. Kids need to be kept OUT of adult-only areas. They need to be STOPPED when they are running ANYWHERE on the ship, but particularly in areas that might be wet or slippery and up and down hallways, around the outside perimeters of decks. They need to be told to be quieter, not shout, not splash, etc. Kids will be kids, yes; as a parent, stepparent, and stepgrandparent and a person who dearly loves kids, I get that. But adults have a right to be adults, too. And when parents fail to discipline and teach their kids, then it up to cruise staff to do so.

  23. Tess says:

    I think it is ridiculous to expect carnival to offer activities in Spanish. If you live in the US, or UK or Australia.. learn English. If I go to Mexico or Spain to live, I would (and did) learn the language. I’m sure you have all sorts of nationalities aboard your European cruises. do you offer activities in every language of every country in Europe. I doubt it.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    Kelly Parco,

    We took our 1st Platinum cruise on the Magic last week. It was amazing! Our papers were marked Priority, we went thru a special line into a special room where we picked up our PLATINUM cards and then onto the ship. Carnival had it worked out. Why are you worrying so much?

  25. EasyCruiser says:

    Vincent: This is the U.S, as in English is the official language, why should the rest of the population bend over backward to learn Spanish/
    A little self centered aren’t we?

    Pat Bettencourt: Did you really just demand JH send you a gift?

    God how self entitled some people are.

  26. Sharon Franks says:

    Hi John,
    This will be our first cruise, we will be on Carnival Ecstasy in March. Just wondering what they have on board to do. I noticed that it doesn’t have what the other cruise ships have. I guess they are bigger cruise ships. This is our 38th wedding anniversary.
    Just hoping that we will have a really good time, so my husband will want to keep going back. Thanks

    • toni alexander says:

      We went on the Ecstacy Oct 8, 2012, and the Dream Dec 8,2012, and the difference was interesting. Ecstasy has been refurbished so Hasbro the Game is offered and it’s hilarious. It also has the Comedy family offerings and Brunch and all the mad cap stuff you come to expect and love from Carnival. It is a smaller ship which for us was a plus since at 65 who needs extra walking. My 21 year old son was involved from morning to morning (since he hit the kareoke and nightlife big time and thought the adult comedy was the greatest) and became well known to staff and passengers alike. The private island was great fun and he parasailed above the ship so great memories. It was easy to find our way around and the Serenity Deck was my husband’s favorite haunt since it was really tucked away from kids. The Dream was 50,000 more tons of fun but it was also more congested and harder to navigate. We loved it too, but I had come prepared with my Scootie Jr. so it was doable but actually not as enjoyable as the Ecstasy. And it didn’t have Hasbro the Game. Bottom line; each class in Carnival has it’s own perks but as a Platinum member sailing with them since 95 I have always had the greatest time on all of them. Most important thing I found is read the Carnival Capers and plan what you like everynight and don’t rely on those silly announcements that you can’t half hear and you’ll have a great tims. Happy sailing.

  27. BarB says:

    For Kelli Parco.

    Oh, my…can I relate. The WORST cruise of my life was on one that belongs to the Mouse. There I was, with no casino, not much adult nightlife…and abou 900 darlings…who were EVERYWHERE. The ship was beautiful, food excellent and everyone was uber-friendly….but by the 2nd day, I’m ready to go “man overboard” and swim back to port. The only saving grace was my 9 year old grandson who had the absolute time of his life for those 4 days. I had fun watching HIM have fun…and dodging curtain climbers. I vowed then I’d never, ever patronize anything having to do with the Mouse again…..

    A frequent cruise, and mostly solo (except when that fine young man accompanied me once a year for 9 years–growing up in the Camp Carnival clubs)…..advanced planning is very important.

    First off, the shorter the cruise, the more kids are going to be there…so avoid them if you can. I never, ever cruise when schools are not in session…and never over a holiday of any kind. I take 7 day cruises with an occasional 10 or 15 day. On my last 15 day…there were only 8 on the entire ship….bliss.

    My next piece of advice is the best….I was a member of that “forum” you mentioned for about 5 years. It was a good place to meet with seasoned cruisers and other travelers and to assist “newbies” when I could. Then, suddenly, here came the morons, the malcontents, the compainers, the inexperienced but very opinionated dullards whose only vacation was camping out in Jellystone. It took about 3 years for that group, which was growing ever month, to turn me (and some others) completely off..and I cancelled my membership.

    It seems too many believe that their travel should always be trouble free, that hurricanes and bad weather is a “conspiracy”..that their steak was undercooked and had to be sent back or their common complaint that the “drinks are watered down”….and they want “compensation”..all the time, freebies, personal attention from the VP or President ..and insist that person return his letters of complaint.

    Many on that place are simply fools. Your best bet is to look for other places for your information. Like here…or some of the other forums patronized by real people, real travelers and real cruisers. Leave that place alone…most of them don’t know what they are talking about anyway.

  28. BarB says:

    Vincent..dear.

    On most occasions, the official language of a cruise ship is the language of it’s home port. I’ve been cruising Carnival since their 2nd ship went into the water…and they have always been able to accommodate just about any language.

    Sometimes, you have to make choices. Sailing from PUerto Rico will probably have more spanish speaking activities…or cruise on Carnival from Barcelona…..

    For the most part, most spanish speaking Americans do have some English….and many speak it very well. It’s nothing personal.

    Heck, I spent a week on the Volga in the old USSR where everyone spoke Russian and other of the cyrrilic languages of the region..and had a blast. It’s all in your attitude..and how you address travel. The purpose is to learn something, see something new, appreciate other cultures, other ways of doing things.

    Loosen up.

  29. Denis Desautels says:

    We are first time cruiser with Carnival and are leaving Feb. 2nd on the Splendor from Long Beach to New York (48 days). Our question relates to the VIFP program. The G & A states “VIFP Club members will automatically move from one level to the next level based on their VIFP Points, and will receive the benefits of their level on each sailing. Guests graduating into a new level during a cruise will receive the benefits of the new level they are graduating into from the beginning of the cruise.” Our cruise is 3 segments. Will we qualify as GOLD members from the first day or not until we begin the 3rd segment? We have paid for the whole cruise and we consider it one cruise. Thank you for your response.

  30. Matt says:

    Dear Vincent,

    Congratulations on your mastery of two languages which is an accomplishment indeed. I wonder though why you did not make your request in your “official” language. I’m also sorry to disappoint you, but there is no pending referendum in place for any “official” language in Miami.

  31. Damara Allen says:

    Dear John,

    I just wanted to write to you to express how much I ENJOYED our cruise on the Carnival Liberty in November. My husband and I were married in July and this was our Honeymoon Cruise. Neither of us had ever considered a cruise to be our “dream vacation” but once there at the ship, the magic of it all overwhelmed us. The first 2-3 days were spent with a stomach bug and sea sickness (for both me and my husband)so we felt, unfortunately like we missed out some of our 7 days cruise. But the rest of the trip was amazing. The staff was great, the food was AMAZING, the dinners in the Dining Room were quite an experience, we were just tickled every time our waiters and housekeeping staff called us by name, our head waiter Jean was GREAT…it was just such an amazing experience.

    We caught a couple shows, saw a comedian, relaxed, took advantage of the hot tub and pool, ate, ate, and ate. My husband and I have been on a mission to find burgers and pizzas as good as what we had on the boat without much success!

    Before we even left we were trying to figure out how to make this happen again, but next time with our 3 children! We just know that they would have a wonderful time and what an adventure it would be for them. We, unfortunately did not pay for our cruise and our means are meager so we’re not sure if we’re going to be able to make it happen, but we sure showed them what it was like through pictures and videos.

    I just want to applaud the “machine” that was the Carnival Liberty and to thank you for the experience we had. We are still, even three months later, going through cruise withdrawal. I hope we can someday find our way back to Carnival and bring our mothers and children with us!

  32. John I
    Just wanted to let you know that you truly have a gem aboard the carnival Legend. Your cruise director James is top knotch. It was truly refreshing to having someone my age (younger) running the show and I truly feel that he brought the FUN to the cruise. ( on past cruises we’ve had older cruise directors who were a bit more stiff) thank you so much for sharing him with us!
    Is there a way to book future cruises knowing that he will be the cruise director on them?

    Thanks
    Drew

  33. Mark says:

    Jose,
    I don’t want to take sides in this debate, but I felt the need to point out one error. English is not the official language of the U.S. We actually don’t have an official language at all.

  34. Hugh R Stuk says:

    John I guarantee we will meet in 2013 Cheers Mate

  35. 'len says:

    I’m with you, John with your comments about Armstrong.

    During the fracas, I remonstrated the media, not because they were attacking an Icon, but because of the generalized comments against him, without published backup proof.

    And even after the Oprah interviews, I still think that the media has the responsibility to show proof in addition to generalizing ‘You’re a Cheat!’

    That said, to Mr. Armstrong I’d say: You think you DESERVE to compete in sanctioned events again?? Not only did you admittedly cheat, but you labelled those who were telling the truth with unrepeatable names, you sued them and the media who tried to uncover your deceit, you attempted to ruin lives of truth tellers, and you brazenly lied to government officials who were trying to clean up the sport. You DESERVE nothing but derision. Go away and try to repair the damage you’ve done to the image your children had of you.

  36. Karen says:

    Hi John,

    I just wanted to let you know, with so many bad or negative comments about
    Carnival there are still a few of us (lots)
    who are pleases. And to prove it, my Hubby Tom and I have decided to spend his birthday on Carnival Freedom this year.
    Hope this note brings a smile to your face!!!
    Karen

  37. Mike says:

    I sure agree with you about L.A. John… and I’ not talking about Los Angeles

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