In between the two shows last night, I had a 45-minute window to race up to Lido Deck and enjoy two slices of turkey, some gravy and some mixed vegetables, a Caesar salad and a piece of sugar free banana gateau.  Saying hello to the guests who were dining there also and answering a few questions I took my now cold turkey to the back of Deck 9, found a booth and sat down.

 

As I sat there munching my food, a guest suddenly appeared and sat down. There was no
“excuse me,” no “sorry to bother you,” he just plonked his arse down opposite me and started to talk. There was no guilt shown on his face and no concern that I may have been possibly waiting for someone to join me, he just sat down and started to talk and his chosen subject ………… volcanoes. Yep, sodding volcanoes. OH FFS! As I wolfed down my food as quickly as I could, he told me about his experiences visiting volcanoes in Hawaii, Guatemala, and others and how my travel talk should have featured more historical information about Vesuvius and Etna. He had been to both during our stays in Naples and Messina and was so excited to tell me about the eruption ratio of Etna.

 

He only paused for a few moments to ask me what time we would be sailing passed Stromboli and when I told him that due to a new regulation, we would be four miles from her at the nearest point I thought he was going to burst into tears. He then started to discuss how Stromboli was on his list of volcanoes of the world still to visit and without me having to ask him he went on to tell me his complete list of yet-to-see mountains, where they were and their height and their volcanic facts and figures and when they could erupt next. You might think you know a bore. You may once have sat next to one on a long flight. You’ve probably watched one of those four-hour black and white arty French films or seen some synchronized swimming. You may even have been forced as a child to read Shakespeare. But trust me on this: you do not understand the true meaning of tedium until you’ve had dinner with a volcano fanatic.

 

You may like volcanoes but this guy loved them like he was married to the damn things and I am sure given the chance he would have rumpy pumpy (by himself) on top of one and when he passes away will want his ashes scattered on top of one. I had so little time to eat before the next show but he never once paused long enough for me to be able to say “Well, nice talking to you” before buggering off as quick as I could……After 20 minutes, I began to feel a blend of annoyance and lethargy. I wanted to lean across the table and stab him with my fork for turning my valuable dinner time into a 20-minute lecture on volcanoes……but I couldn’t because I felt all tired and drowsy………….. I had been hypnotized by volcano man!

 

It’s my job to talk to guests and I enjoy that part of the job second only to the time I get on stage. But this was different. I was trapped and there was sod all I could do about it. I guess it was the way he sat down without even the slightest worry or concern that he was disturbing me while I was eating. To him, I had a huge sign around my neck that said “Please come and sit with me and tell me about angry mountains.” And the fact that he did was weird and what was even stranger was that during the 20 minutes he was talking at me……….his wife sat on her own at another table waiting for him. He never referenced her, he never mentioned her and she never moved, she just sat there, waiting. Maybe she was used to him doing this or maybe he had given her the same speech about volcanoes during which she had died.

 

Time for today’s volcano-free Q&A …………………..here we go.

 

Samantha Rumsby asks:

John, I have noticed that the tomatoes you serve on the ship on Lido Deck all look the same. I was on the Carnival Imagination and noticed that the cut of each piece of tomato looked the same exactly so I am forced to believe that these are modified and not fresh, to save money. It may seem like a frivolous complaint but it is an important one to me. Is this yet another cut back? My next point is that someone should teach the workers to follow the rules and apply them. I stood next to someone in line for breakfast who had been to the gymnasium because his shirt was soaked in sweat and he stank. Nothing was done and often I saw people with no shoes on at the buffet line and it was like being stuck in some kind of hellish Wal-Mart commercial. The positives were our cabin cleaner Rabi and our waiters Heston and Adrienne all who were very good.

 

John says:

Hello Samantha Rumsby,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write and let me start by saying that I absolutely agree that we should and we must enforce the wearing of shoes inside the Lido restaurants and I will remind the ships of this immediately. I am not sure we can turn people away for wearing a shirt with sweat marks on it but they must enforce the wearing of a shirt, of course, which I think for the most part, we do. I am so glad you enjoyed the service of your stateroom steward and dining room servers and I will make sure they all see these words of praise. I am, though, I admit confused about the tomato comment. I have read it a few times and am still not sure of what you found wrong with them. Now, admittedly, I am one sandwich short of a picnic, so forgive me if I have missed the point. I can say that I checked with the chef here on the Carnival Legend who confirms that the tomatoes are……… ummmm………..well…………tomatoes and are grown in the usual way. Please can you clarify if I have missed the point completely which I am sure I have. I hope we see you again very soon.

Best wishes.

John

 

 Mary Holleran asks:

John, I would love to cruise to Amsterdam, Germany and such. However, due to weight and arthritis (feet), walking is hard.  Is it possible to tour, from the ship, with a scooter?  Won’t the battery run out after a short time?  I don’t want to stay on the ship and miss all the sights.  Thanks for your help.

 

John says:

Hello Mary Holleran,

Yes, indeed, Mary, the battery would run down as, most of the time, the major sites are a fair distance from where the ship docks and far too far for a scooter trip. However, in most of the European ports, we have wheelchair and scooter accessible buses that will take you on a sightseeing tour that has little or no walking at all. I truly hope you get to see these sights and if I can help you in any way, I will be happy to do so.

Best wishes.

John

 

 Charles asks:

After several Carnival cruises, we have finally booked a Half Moon Cay cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy on May 6 and just rented a cabana, which I am very excited about.  The problem I have is that I am SEVERELY allergic to horses. Is the horse excursion limited to a certain part of the island, perhaps away from the cabanas? Or are they permitted to run around all over the beach? I called the Carnival 800-number, but the customer service rep could not answer the question. I am sure you get thousands of these, but if you do get a chance to respond, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you.

Charles

 

John says:

Hello Charles,

I am glad I saw this in time so I could help you be at ease. The horses are nowhere near the cabanas so you will not have any concerns and will be able to enjoy this slice of paradise. I hope you have the best of times and enjoy this wonderful cruise.

 Best wishes.

John

 

Bob and Jane McAdoo asks:

We just booked BC7 on the Carnival Sunshine and would like to be included on your list of Bloggers.  Not sure how to do that, but like the Jehovah’s don’t want to be left out of the 100,000, we don’t want to be left out of the 600.  Please advise.

Thanks

Bob and Jane

 

John says:

Hello Bob and Jane McAdoo,

Many thanks for booking what will be, I promise, a brilliant cruise. Toward the end of the year I shall be taking registration and making sure everyone who would like to take part in the events and receive the complimentary gift is able to do so. It will be a great cruise and I am so thankful to you both for deciding to come and join me.

Best wishes to you both.

John

 

Linda Fern asks:

John, we are planning a cruise with my husband and two twin boys and are thinking of booking a summer cruise on the Carnival Conquest as we are from the New Orleans area. Before we commit, I have two big and important questions that need answering quickly. I have read on Cruise Critic that the Camp Carnival staff is foreigners and not United States citizens and that the training they have is subpar to the training Americans get. This is obviously something that as a parent of twin seven-year-old boys I am very worried about so I need to know EXACTLY what qualifications the people who will be caring for my precious boys have. My second question is equally important and that is the hygiene on the ship. This is our first cruise with Carnival although we have cruised before with NCL some years ago. I am worried that Carnival ships are linked to the norovirus outbreaks and I want to know what steps are taken to make sure my two boys do not get ill on the cruise. I want your advice before booking and so can you expedite an answer to me?

Linda Fern

 

John says:

Hello Linda Fern,

Thank you, firstly, for taking the time to write as it gives me a chance to set your mind at ease on the two important points that you raise. Secondly and with regard to the youth staff, many (though not all) may not be from the United States but all are trained to the highest standards and all have the specific qualifications we insist on and all are subject to a full background check so please don’t worry as your children will be safe, well looked after and will have fun. As for norovirus, all I can say that this is actually more prevalent on land and Carnival is not associated with this any more than other cruise lines nor have we had any recent concerns. We take strict measures to make sure that we have no outbreaks and these measures are set by United States Public Health and we adhere to them strictly (in fact, if you read my Facebook post yesterday, one of our ships received a 100 on its most recent health inspection). I hope then that has helped you make your mind up and we will see you all on the Carnival Conquest soon and please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes to you all.

John

 

Amy asks:

Dear John,

Just wondering if the Carnival Triumph is getting any 2.0 enhancements during the clean up and fix? I have searched high and low and nothing to be found. Thanks looking at taking the triumph for my 40th birthday in May.

Amy

 

John says:

Hello Amy,

I know everyone is waiting to hear about this and I can say that it is something that is being evaluated by the beards. I promise to let you know as soon as I know. I hope you have a brilliant cruise and if there is anything I can do to make your birthday cruise better, please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

 

Nick Collinson asks:

Both me and my wife are devout Christians and are taking a cruise for the first time on the Carnival Liberty. We do not drink or gamble and are aware and accept that there are bars and casinos on the ship but we have worries about the shows. We are God-fearing people with high morals so we are worried about the shows that are on board. We usually vacation in Branson, Missouri, where the shows are designed for good people like us. Please then can you let us know what shows we should avoid that may have adult material or suggestive innuendos that would make us uncomfortable.

Thank you.

Nick and Jessica Collinson

 

John says:

Hello Nick Collinson,

Thank you for writing because I am glad to have the opportunity to answer your questions. The shows are mostly family friendly. The shows that feature the dancers/singers are based on popular music and classics, as well. There may be some “showgirl”-style costuming but nothing on that ship that I think would cause you both any discomfort. We do though have a comedy club and this is where it becomes more difficult. The shows include two family-friendly shows and two adult “uncensored” shows. Obviously I would not go to the uncensored shows but the family shows should be OK for you. Now I don’t know what your limitations are as to what you find offensive but I feel strongly that you will enjoy the family friendly shows. There will be a variety acts as well and they will also be something you enjoy. That aside I cannot think of anything that you will not enjoy and if you have further concerns or questions please let me know. Have a wonderful time.

Best wishes.

John

 

Christine Fieseler asks:

John,

I cannot thank Carnival employees enough for all they did for our family on our Carnival Glory cruise on 3/3/13!!  My sister in law became very ill and was taken off the ship along with her brother in Cozumel. Everyone from the doctors to the nurses to customer service to Josh “Big Sexy” went above beyond to make the rest of us still be able to enjoy our cruise!!  Please forward this info to the entire Carnival Glory team…My sister-in-law and brother-in-law will be leaving Mexico on 3/14/13 and flying back home! We all cannot thank the entire staff enough for all of their help and information!  Sebastian and Thelma and the entire guest relations department were great with getting us updates & keeping us informed!  Please pass on our huge THANK YOU and may God bless you all with Carnival!! I cannot praise you all enough!

 

John says:

Hello Christine Fieseler,

I am so very sorry to read about your sister in law and I hope that now she is fully recovered. I will indeed send your very kind words to the entire team for their hard work and service. I hope we see you all again soon in happier circumstances and if there is anything I can do please let me know.

Best wishes to you all.

John

 

Brad Miller asks:

Greetings John!  I wanted to drop you a line about how our 1st ever B2B cruise went as well as feedback from all the first-timers and everyone in our group we brought with us. The first leg of our B2B was Feb 28 on the Carnival Victory and included myself, wife and two sons as well as four cabins of first-time cruisers! The weather was a bit chilly in Key West, warmer but windy in Cozumel, but all new cruisers say they are hooked and cannot wait to sail with Carnival again!  I would specifically like to thank Goose and entertainment staff member Hugo for their wonderful treatment of my nephew “Little Tony.”  Little Tony is 18 and is pursuing an engineering degree on a full scholarship at Michigan State University this fall. Little Tony suffers from Aspersers Syndrome and is very socially awkward.  His father, Anthony, thought this cruise would be a great experience to help Little Tony to acclimate himself to crowds as well as perhaps “come out of his shell” a bit.  Both Anthony and Little Tony entered the hairy chest competition and, John, I must tell you, it brought tears to my sister Yvonne’s (Tony’s mother) eyes to see the wonderful kind, warm and friendly treatment Little Tony experienced not only from all the fellow guests cheering him on but specifically from Hugo who was hosting the event!  Little Tony was a bit of a “Rock Star” for the rest of his time on board and, although he did not win the competition, Hugo insisted on awarding him a “Ship on a Stick” trophy anyway. I will never cease to be amazed at the true human connections and memorable moments created by some of the amazing staff and crew aboard the Fun Ships of Carnival – no wonder we just keep coming back time and time again!

 The 2nd leg of our B2B was myself, my wife and youngest son along with several returning veteran cruisers.  We were re-assigned a new table in the Pacific dining room for the second leg which was nice as we were up in the balcony for the first go-round.  In all of my nine cruises,

I have never needed the services of the maitre d’ before. I certainly hope that all of them are as FANTASTIC as Yusuf from the Pacific dining room was! We required his assistance a couple times during leg 2 and he was spot on!  Two couples from our group who had been very much looking forward to both Chateaubriand as well as The Chef’s Table were disappointed to find out that both were on the same night.  Upon hearing of our dilemma, Yusuf offered to put back multiple courses of Chateaubriand to be served on Friday to those couples so they could enjoy both The Chefs Table AND Chateaubriand in the MDR – once again, amazing, amazing five-star service by Carnival!

 I would tell you all about our experience with Villa “E” that we rented at Half Moon Cay, but it is so amazing, so incredible, so worth every penny of the $499 price that there are no words to do it justice – we will never, ever again visit HMC unless we know we can book a villa! Finally, I would like to highlight three other crew members who truly made our vacation the most memorable cruise yet: Lorraine, the casino hostess from the UK, who was funny, friendly,

helpful and a real joy to just talk to!  We chatted so much one night that my S&S card timed out on the machine I was playing – it is crew members like Lorraine that truly make you feel welcome in the casino!

 

John says:

Hello Brad Miller,

It is very hard to know where to start after that amazing and brilliantly written review. I will simply say that it made me feel very proud to work for this great company and that pride comes from reading about the fun you and your family had. I promise to make sure that everyone who sees this will feel the same pride and that goes for the crew and management on the ship and in the Miami HQ. The villa at HMC sounds stunning and I hope you do get to return there one day soon. Thanks again for this wonderful post and I send my very best wishes to you all and I remain here if you need me for anything.

Best wishes.

John

 

Harriet McCarty asks:

John, is there any way to make sure that my husband, Len, and I have five pillows each meaning a total of 10 pillows for our cruise. I need all of them!! Our booking number is ***** for the Carnival Ecstasy cruise 5/30.

Harriet McCarty

 

John says:

Hello Harriet McCarty,

Of course and I have asked the housekeeping manager if she will file this ready for your cruise. I hope you will be very comfortable and I hope you will have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.

John

 

Terri asks:

John,

Just wanted to drop a note to let you know how much we love sailing on Carnival.  We have already booked our cruise for 11/13 on the Carnival Magic. We will be celebrating my big 50, my mother’s 73rd b-day and her 30th anniversary….quite a bit of celebrating will be going on….My question is, can the doors of the cabins be decorated for these events? We are in cabins 2359 and 2363. Thanks.

Terri

 

John says:

Hello Terri,

Thanks so much for the kind words and yes, indeed, feel free to decorate the cabin doors and you can use tape or blue tack stuff for this as they are not magnetic. We don’t have door decorations ourselves but you can order in cabin decorations form at carnival.com/funshops if you wish. I will also be here if you can think of anything I can do for you. have a great time.

Best wishes to you all.

John

 

And that’s all for today

 

Here on the Carnival Legend, as it will be on the Carnival Sunshine next week, we have lots of international guests which of course gives a brilliant feel to the ship. The North American guests love meeting people from faraway lands like Australia, Holland, Japan, UK, Russia and Montana. And our staff and crew enjoy serving them as well and despite the odd “lost in translation moment” between a Russian guest asking a bar waiter from Jamaica for a “wodka” and a stateroom steward from Latvia trying to explain to a guest from Japan that the toilet is not scary and won’t suck him into the cabin below……..it’s service as usual and with lots of smiles form both parties. And it’s safe to say that whether it’s a guest from Auckland or Tel Aviv or Johannesburg or Moscow or London……..everyone is having a great time and everyone loves the Carnival brand of cruise vacation fun. There is though one area where many of the countries I have mentioned have trouble understanding and complying with ……….and that is the landmine subject of tipping.  Having been a bar waiter for Carnival, I understand the mentality of tipping and how important it is and so I am probably one of the most generous tippers there is. That’s not a, “Hey look at me and how good I am” statement, it’s just a fact. I enjoy tipping and having been on the receiving end of working my then skinny arse off and getting bugger all for it, I always take care of those who take care of me.

 

I remember once when I flew from London to New York to join Gerry and the beards to announce the 2.0 upgrades. Carnival had put me on the red eye which meant I had arrived at the boutique hotel in the meat packing district at 2 am. The porter, who looked like he had woken up from 10 hours in, insisted on carrying my suitcase on a trolley even though I could have managed it. He showed me into my room. He showed me how to turn on a light and how to open the door to the mini bar and then started to hover. I had been in such a rush that I hadn’t picked up any American currency and had used my credit card to pay for the taxi from JFK to the hotel.  I was now in the embarrassing position of trying to explain that I didn’t have a single dollar to offer as a tip. “Nothing?” said the bellman. “I’m sorry,” I said in my best Hugh Grant impression and offered to leave something for him at the front desk in the morning. He said something under his breath in a language that I think was Spanish and it definitely wasn’t “sleep well” but probably included the words “fat and bastard.”

 

I could understand why he might be put out, but I was taken aback by his hostility as he walked out of the room and slammed the hotel door .I would never have expected such hostility over the small matter of being caught without the cash for a tip. But it left me feeling guilty and I did leave him $5 the next morning and during my three-day stay, I never saw him again. It may come as some surprise to my British readers that I do consider myself to be a good tipper because tipping in the UK is still as foreign as military victory is in France.

 

But the world is changing. The culture of tipping is spreading fast and gratuities are now expected in countries where they were previously unheard of, including the UK. Russia is relatively new to tipping and our Russian guests are slowly gravitating toward the American way of things and certainly more are keeping their tips on their Sail & Sign cards.

 

Slowly, then, our international guests are starting to understand that gratuities for our hard working crew are deserved and that giving them a tip is “an American thing.” There is still one nationality that doesn’t tip as we saw so often on the Carnival Breeze last year if 50 guests sail from that country, then a minimum of 40 will, by mid-cruise, have removed the gratuities and will not give the crew who serve and take care of them anything at all. I am not going to say here what country I am talking about as I don’t fancy the swift kick in the bollocks that will no doubt follow from some.

 

Last year on the Carnival Breeze, there were a couple of cruises where we had a large number of certain guests remove all their gratuities and Carnival compensated the crew accordingly. But more and more, I see our international guests keeping the gratuities on their Sail & Sign cards and some are prepaying now, as well. Regardless, everyone gets the brilliant service that Carnival crew is famous for giving.

 

So my thanks to all of you who leave tips and to those international guests who still may not understand what this is all about, I should mention a sign that I saw hanging in a restaurant called Shorty’s BBQ in Miami that says as you enter, “Tipping is not a town in China.” Gratuities have to be earned and should not be expected by any of our service crew but I hope that if they provide you with professional service mixed with a huge dollop of fun, that wherever you are from that you will reward them.

 

So in two days’ time, the man sitting here writing to you in his underpants will be one very happy chap. That’s because my wife and daughter will come to sail with me. I really want to make the most of the time they are here so while I will continue to give my Facebook page my full attention, I will be off the blog for 12 days so that any spare time I have from being a CD on stage and around the ship and after updating Facebook, I can give to my family. I won’t see them again until July so I am looking forward to being with them so very much. Kye will spend her fourth birthday here with me and as I missed her third birthday, I want to make this very special indeed and maybe Heidi can help me dress in the mornings: Yep. Here is our old friend Minnie.

 

From: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 10:28 PM
To: LEGEND CRUISE DIRECTOR; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; LEGEND HOTEL DIRECTOR; LEGEND FOOD OPERATIONS MANAGER; LEGEND CHEF; LEGEND HOUSEKEPPING MANAGER
Subject: Miss———- comments received

 

Miss______has a new list of comments that she wants senior management to respond to. Miss _____-says that she brought a bottle of “Baba Al Limoncello ” in Naples. When guest got the bottle back to her cabin she discovered it had been broken and was leaking. Guest wants compensation as she states this happened when security put it through the scanner at the deck 2 gangway. Miss_____states she wants compensation of 25 Euros. Guest says that two beach towels were stolen from her chairs on Lido pool forward. Guest says she refuses to pay and the crew member at the towel stand was rude to her. Miss_____says that the cruise director dresses inappropriately and that like other cruise directors she has seen on Celebrity and Holland America, he should be in a suit at all times. Guest also says that her waiter is difficult to understand and that he does not speak good enough English and does not understand her requests. Miss__states that music at all the shows is too loud. Miss______is asking for a meeting with the captain, hotel director, cruise director and guest services manager

 

There is very little left to say is there. Me, the hotel director and guest services manager will meet with her and discuss the 11 pages of comments she now has in the icare report which we all think is a record and one I doubt will ever be broken. Talking of broken we will refund her the 25 Euros for the bottle which she probably broke herself or as none of us have actually seen it could be somewhere in her suitcase along with two beach towels.

 

The music is too loud. Well, that could be a legitimate comment and I will see what she has to say. Her waiter, well, he is from Honduras and has been with the company for 14 years and I know him well. He speaks perfect English and I just don’t understand why she would say he doesn’t. We will listen to Minnie again. This will be my fourth meeting with her and we will be sending all of her comments along with our report to the beards in Miami. Minnie has stated on a few different occasions that she will never cruise with Carnival again. I never like to hear that and we have all, I promise, worked hard to make her happy but have failed.

 

I have gone through many emotions with Minnie. Frustration, anger and sympathy – yes, sympathy. She seems to have very little joy in her heart and if it wasn’t for the fact that she was traveling with the friend then I might have thought that her constant visits to the guest services desk to request meetings with senior staff was because she was lonely and wanted attention.

 

But now I simply think that she is just not a happy person with very little joy in her heart. When she leaves here in a few days none of the crew will miss her and that’s a shame. Because as she flies back to New York I can’t help thinking what her life is like on a day-to-day basis. Is she like this at home? Does she complain in restaurants, shops and hotels (and asks to meet with the staff) or was this simply a case of Carnival simply not being right for her?

 

I would like to think that she has a loving family back home and that she will be surrounded by loving grandchildren and the giggles of youth. But I can’t help thinking that she lives alone and has no family who love her because they, too, like us here, just can’t wait for her to leave…… and as much as a pain in the bottom she has been………that actually makes me feel truly sorry for her.

 

One more thing……..her comment about the way I dress. Most of our cruise directors can go into any men’s wear shop and buy any item from any shelf, knowing that when they put it on, they will look great, handsome even. I am not one of those people. Trousers (“pants” as my North American friends call them) are the worst. This is because my stomach is similar in size, colour and texture of the planet Jupiter, it’s difficult to know whether my trousers should be worn above the waist or below the waist. Either case, I look like a teenager with his pants so low his boxers are out for all to see or my grandfather. This is why I have come up with my own look over the 26 years I have been at sea. It’s the look of a cruise director who has simply got dressed in whatever happened to be lying by the end of the bed that morning. Maybe though I should make more of an effort. My uniform usually consists of an open neck shirt, blue blazer and pair of trousers but according to Minnie, I should be in a suit and tie every single day…….maybe she is right.

 

Right, that’s about it for today and I leave you with my frustration caused by continuing battle with my laptop. Calvyn my friend and the Carnival Legend’s ACD and I had spent most of yesterday evening completing the entertainment staff schedules for the next cruise which is a one off to Izmir, Turkey and Athens, Greece. Well, this morning I turned Mrs. Dell on and all I got was a blue screen. I called for assistance from IS and right now they are trying to fix it but from what they are saying, “It doesn’t look good.” I am using my desk top to write this blog bit all of last night’s work and much more is on the lap top.

 

This, along with my Minnie problem, has my stress levels up and I will leave you with a brilliant piece of John Cleese in Fawlty Towers that explains what I did with the computer this morning. “Start, start you vicious bastard.”

 


 

 

 

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

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41 Responses to MINNIE………TIPPING……………..INTO A VOLCANO

  1. Richard says:

    Ms. YOU KNOW WHO needs to be
    “let go” at the next port.

    Enuff is enuff!

  2. Heidi says:

    John,

    Having been on the same side of a conversation as you on volcanos, i can honestly say I laughed, but felt your pain. My brother is a geologist, specifically studying volcanology. You never want to get into a car and drive with him for 8 hrs in the southwest desert because he will tell you about every type of rock, their formations and how they happened and the likely hood of a mountain range potentially being volcanic.

    And to Minnie….no ties during the day on a cruise ship….its to freakin hot and humid. Good luck!

  3. James Hyland says:

    Hi John,my wife and i are flying into Spain and boarding The Legend on the 16th of May and was wondering if i can have something special for my wifes birthday on the 18th of May,and hopefully we will get to meet you if you still are the cruise director,on May 16th to the 28th,looking to foward to a great cruise.Thank you for your time. Jim Hyland

  4. Lee Rayburn says:

    This reply is for Linda Fern who asked above about hygiene on the ship and camp carnival staff.
    The hygiene on the ship is what you make of it. We always carry our own hand sanitizer and we always seek out the sanitizer stations on the ship and use them. Especially after using rest rooms, elevators and hand rails, before eating, any place many hands have touched.
    Now the real reason I replied. My daughter is 7 and will take her 10 cruise this year. ALL with Carnival. We have used camp carnival since she was 18 months. She loves it. I have found the international staff efficient, and especially attentive to our daughter. I can tell you most times my wife and I feel they are more attentive to our daughter than a more domestic (US) staff would be. There are rules in place on who, what, when, where and how for the staff, children, and parents of camp carnival. You can read those prior to cruising on Carnival’s website.
    Like you, we too are very protective about our child. I assure you the international staff’s training should not be a concern. They are by far more attentive and follow the rules better than a strictly domestic staff would.
    Just thought I would tell you our thoughts and personal expirences on the issue.

  5. Ellen Knowles says:

    Dear John,

    Thanks so much for my daily giggle. Unfortunately, now you’ve made me want to sit down and watch the entire Fawlty Towers series which I have on DVD, but I have a garden to tend to since spring has finally arrived in Texas.

    We, (my mum and I) are anxiously waiting for June 17th and have fingers crossed that we will be able to sail on the Triumph. We have been twice cancelled since February, but were able each time we re-booked to get reservations at the Chef’s Table which we are especially looking forward to as it was highly recommended by our table mates on our last cruise in December.

    Keep up the good work and wear whatever clothes you are comfortable wearing.

    Ellen

  6. Martha Carter says:

    I was just thinking. I pity the poor people that are Minnie’s cabin mates. It takes only one complaining travel mate to completely ruin my trip for me. The constant barrage must be unbearable.

  7. Bill Gilsdorf says:

    Thanks for your caring efforts

    Brilliance from you can resolve your lack of US Broadcast channels!

    A daily show produced on the ship! And a channel that runs Fawlty Towers and other brilliant BBC Comedies!

    Stay patient my friend, bad customers reap what they sow.

    Happy irthday to your 4 year old!

    Bill

  8. Jennifer Hon says:

    John, in the words of Billy Crystal…you look marvelous! I see nothing wrong with what you said you wear. Enjoy your time with your family! I will miss your blogs as I never end one without wearing an ear to ear smile but I want you to enjoy your family more.
    Peace and Blessings,
    Jenn

  9. Sue says:

    Family friendly comedy club….we were embarassed cringing at sexual innuendos. Would not recommend it for the Christian person who inquired. Each to his own, offensive to me.

    • Sue,

      “sexual innuendos” are only offensive to one the understands that they are innuendos. Someone of a pure mind wouldn’t even know that. They would just see it as what was actually said. That’s the reason for innuendos. Preperation H is an innuendo.

  10. Rita Presnell says:

    People like Minnie totally amaze me. But what amazes me more are the people who bow down to people like her and give in to their every moan, groan, bitch or complaint. People like Minnie are just out for attention and to get their way no matter what and they know the more they cormplain the more people will bow down to them. It’s the quiet, meek person who gets nothing while the Minnie’s of the world walk all over them and have their demands met. IGNORE MINNIE AND EVERYONE LIKE HER!!!!!

  11. As far as Minnie, thank God we won’t be able to her anymore about her pain in the ass problems. I think that you my friend has written far to much about this unfortunate woman who seems to not find any good things about life.
    Also John, since I’m not on Facebook, and since you won’t be on YOUR blog for 12 days, it means that I will not know what’s going on in your cruise. I remember way back when you started the blog, I was reading ever evening about just about anything. I guess time has changed.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  12. John Gann says:

    Hi John. Been reading your blog for several months now. You hang in there about “Minnie”. Hopefully all the other great statements other guests are uplifting. My family and I are getting ready to sail on the Paradise on June 29th. We all enjoy Carnival immensely and have had nothing but a wonderful time. We’ve sailed when Skip was the CD on the Inspiration and Risa on Fantasy and both were a riot! Keep up the good work and looking forward to sailing with Carnival far into the future.

  13. Jeanette says:

    John, you need to ignore Minnie and all of her bull she is spouting. I can bet she does this on a regular basis FOR the attention it gets her. She is an attention seeker and looks for ways to get the attention.

    As for how you dress, well, I work in and office and would rather see everyone dressed down and comfortable in casual clothing. I detest suits and the mannerisms that some men and women give off when they wear a suit. You should be able to wear what you want. I was on BC4 and you dress just fine. I really wouldn’t want you to dress to the nines every day and night. It’s the FUN SHIP, you should be able to have some fun, and that means dressing down too…..save the suit for Formal nights…..

  14. Dennis Hanovich says:

    Nick Collinson, you’ll be happier in Branson. Cruising may be too much fun for you.

  15. Kristy says:

    John, when an unwanted sidekick joins you at a meal- it is appropriate to chew very loudly with ones mouth open. If that fails to scare them away, it may be time to turn to the big guns… and erupt a loud hacking cough without covering ones mouth.

  16. Sarah Poland says:

    Hi
    Firstly, loving your work !
    I am now beginning to believe that I might actually be off on the Sunshine next week – so excited !
    Was interested to read about tipping, as this always worries me – yes I am English and have inherited the “social awkward tipping gene”. I appreciate anything that anyone ever does for me, I ALWAYS say please and thank you and I would never even consider removing gratuities from my onboard account and I leave the room steward extra at the end of the cruise.
    What does concern me is the tipping of bar staff, should I be tipping in cash, even though I am paying a service charge on top of my drink price ? I thought the idea of charging gratuities to the onboard account was so we didn’t have to carry cash with us. But also I don’t the idea of of being thought as of as a “tight arsed Brit who doesn’t tip” !
    I know you are off here for a bit for a well deserved break, but if you could clear this up for us tight arsed Brits at some point in the future it would be great !
    Kind regards and many thanks
    Sarah

    • Suzie-Q says:

      Sarah, I think I am safe to answer here, I am 99% certain that I am correct. One does not need to tip the bar staff because CCL does not want anyone having to carry wallets around to the pool and recreation areas – that, I am assuming, is the main reason behind the mandatory gratuity added on drinks. If you frequent one particular bar often and get wonderful service from a bar tender or server, then it would be appreciated, I’m sure, if you wanted to bring a little something extra on the last day and say “thank you” but it is not necessary and you will not be thought of as cheap if you do not.

  17. Anne Seitz says:

    John your wardrobe is fine & looks quite professional & appropriate for the job. As you say you just can’t please some people. I too feel sorry for people whose glass is empty.
    Keep up the good work & enjoy your time with the family.

  18. Marsha Breen says:

    So Nick refers to his wife and himself as “good people like us” and those of us who gamble or drink aren’t?

    As far as Minnie’s personality type, I worked for several years with a co-worker just like her. Nothing made her happy and she complained about the stupidest things here at work like she didn’t like where the soap dispenser was located in the women’s restroom; she didn’t like the color of the walls in the hallway, etc. She retired last year and it has been so pleasant since she has been gone. I think people like Minnie feel they are superior to most people so they have the right to complain about stuff. I really think if you would stop having “meetings” with her and just tell her that you are aware that no matter how hard your staff tries to please her you don’t think that is possible, she may stop complaining because she doesn’t have a captive audience to listen to her. Just tell her the rest of the 2000+ passengers aren’t having any complaints and she is the only one who does.

  19. Rick Thorson says:

    John I understand where you are coming from vis a vis Minnie but she has been a hoot! Why in the world that woman would embark on a B2B is beyond me except possible it was recommended by her therapist to give HIM a 2 week break!!!! I know I will relish telling the story about the Indian food and the Indian chef for a long time to come. Enjoy the family…..

  20. Eileene Plummer says:

    John, what a read this blog was – if you weren’t so happy overall with your job, I’d say you need a long vacation! I feel sorry for Minnie for the reasons you state, but I’m glad you didn’t enable her further by giving in to her whims. As for the man who interrupted your meal – he was rude, and you were too nice… to your own detriment. Sometimes you have to take care of yourself! Don’t change your look, either; it’s part of your endearing image to people who count – your loyal fans. :-) See you on BC7!

  21. Luis R says:

    When Minnie finally walks off the ship, slam the door behind her and make sure it hits her butt on the way out. Her last “list of comments” makes me think that she is always on the lookout for something to complain about. It must have been a nightmare for her to be trapped in such a horrible place for 28 days. I would have traded places with her in a minute to ease her pain. Please please please, send her cabin staff on vacation on the next port. They deserve it. And its likely she also made her friend’s life miserable during the entire time.

    I have to comment on Nick Collinson’s question. I perfectly understand the being devout Christians part, being tolerant of the fact that there is drinking and gambling on the ship and not wanting to be on the adult shows that may offend or make them uncomfortable. That’s perfectly fine with me. However the “good people like us” was totally inappropriate. Is he implying that everyone else is bad? I don’t think so.

    About the cruise director being in suit and tie at all times… well, what works in one cruise line will not necessarily work with the other. I think the cruise director would look funny and out of place hosting the hairy chest contest in suit and tie.

  22. John and Susan says:

    Reward Minnie with a free cruise on Royal Caribbean!

  23. Karen L says:

    Something to think about, John . . .

    With more and more guests becoming Platinum and Diamond, and others being able to buy their way to priority check-in and boarding, Carnival needs to make sure there is sufficient personnel staffing that area – esp on longer cruises, which attract more Platinum and Diamond guests. It’s not much of a perk to have priority boarding, if we’re in line for a couple hours. This is especially true if there are no wheelchairs available, as happened with boarding in Long Beach for the Carnival Splendor’s trip around South America.

  24. Louis Lopez, Jr. says:

    John,
    With regards to your bore of a person who is fascinated with volcanoes I well understand your dilemma. I was humored in the end that you took so much time, and that the focus of your comments seemed to revolve around his fascination! If I was a volcanoes fan, I would say to your friend, “Mission Accomplished”. He succeeded in promulgating his adoration, and here I am… Another “messenger” for how fanatical people can be about the things that they love! A wise man once said, and it is noteworthy enough to be published in virtually every language on earth… “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. As a professional in what you are paid to do, you must simply get better at asking for equal time (as I have had to do on rare occasions when fanatics simply did not know where to draw lines), you’ll have to practice professional assertiveness at asking for some private time to catch a bite to eat between your sometimes hectic schedule, or you’ll simply have to find a more private place to eat. Being a celebrity, a star, a minister or Pastor, a leader, or the head of a public office does not come without many sacrifices. We do not always choose our audience, but we must learn how to respect them, and to love them for what they are, even if they are a pain in the arse… You’ve obviously done that much, at least (I just hope he didn’t read your blog, or your sacrifice may have been in vain, Lol). Your Fellow Labourer in service unto others, Louis Lopez, Jr. (Senior Pastor of New Life Ministerial Association & Worship Center, Band Leader and Lead Singer for Contemporary Christian Band “BRAND: New Life”, former Union President for West Coast Independent Union, and West Coast Employees Unions, Emergency Rescue Team Leader for Mobil Oil Corporation(EMT-D and HazMat Technician) and proud father of four very successful and ambitious young men who have already towered above and beyond anything I have ever accomplished in my short life of service unto others… My Legacy, Joshua, Caleb, Jeremy and Josiah… Shine On, John! and thank you for having to put up with us, sometimes…

  25. joyce g says:

    Mr.Volcano reminds me of my BIL. He is one of the sweetest men in the world. But can he ever talk! Some people just have to share their enthusiasm.
    I’m not even going to comment on Minnie, except to say that she is wasting her life, not living it.
    The subject of tips is one that reminds me of my late husband. When we’d go to dinner, I’d leave what I considered a reasonable tip on the table. As we would get up to leave, he’d reach back & snag one of the bills. I got so that I’d leave one extra just for him!

    The baseball cap gifts for platinum, diamond cruisers are a bad idea. They will appeal to a very narrow group of us. Mine will probably end up on my stateroom bed when I leave.
    JoyceG

  26. Kelly Lawrence says:

    re: Minnie

    John, This might just be one of those times where you and Carnival might have to make a tough decision.
    A cordial and professional letter stating something to the affect of
    Dear Minnie,
    At Carnival Corp., we enjoyed and valued your business,, blah, blah
    However, we have come to realize that Carnivals business model is just not a good fit for you. Therefore, we at Carnival are taking the necessary steps to terminate any future relationships with you. Please accept our sincere apologies for having to take this measure. Good sailing and safe travels.

  27. Hi John, Am Breezing along on the BREEZE, first time on this Fantstic ship. All the staff has been, attentive. The ship is truly, very comfortabe, easy to get around. A floating resort. Food has been, very good, lots of it. Off to have a Jimmie’s sea B.Q. Have loads of fun with your family and Happy Birthday to Kyle. Miss you, Brett is really fun. Hope to sail with you soon. Ann

  28. Mark Blei says:

    John,

    I think the comment about the tomato’s must be that because they are sliced with an auto-slicer . They all look identical and because they are all of the same breed of tomato, Someone *cough* cruise critic people *cough* has probably started some sort of rumour that they are some genetically modified horror show of some sort .

    I don’t think people always get when preparing food for a few thousand people, that if something can be done to make uniform slices by machine , it’s easier than having someone with a knife hand cut them.

  29. Missy says:

    With regards of you laptop. One word. “Carbonite”. They back up everything but programs basically and has saved me twice when hard drives have crashed. It’s cheap enough for the protection it gives, and peace of mind.

    To Sue in the comments section. Thanks for letting us know about the “Family Friendly” comedy show. We will avoid it.

  30. Angie says:

    I do agree that Carnival misses it on educating travelers. Yes, it’s The Fun Ship but some trips it would be nice to have some Sea Classes on the history of where we’re are going. If you want to be taken seriously offer a few activities that require the firing of few brain cells – instead of more hairy chest contests

  31. Ken DeRoche says:

    Hi John,

    I agree with you completely on tipping. I always tip additional cash to my bartenders, dining room servers and room stewards. My recent cruise on the Paradise was particularly enjoyable as ALL the staff was absolutely brilliant and made me feel like I was the King of Dubai. I tipped more than usual and to make sure no one was left out, I went to guest services on the last night and had them double the automatic gratuity. Thanks for a wonderful vacation and I will be back very soon!

    Ken

  32. gianna salerno says:

    i john i recent came across your blog becuse i have a reaserearxh report to do on some one in my future profession a cruise director!
    so if you could please answer a few of ny questions that would be great
    my first question is
    1. how do manage all the traveling or does is just get easier as u do your job
    2. do u have any collage behind you
    3.what is the most unexpected thing that has happend to you as a crusie director
    4. how did u become a cruise director

  33. brian says:

    hi john
    recently booked cruise on carnival sunshine from Barcelona June 28th, having never cruised before I find it extremely rude been told to pay for tips beforehand
    as I also work in the service industry and feel that tipping is a reward for service rendered not demanded like your New York hotel porter
    and yes John we are
    from the U.K (SCOTLAND) and will be removing your mandatory tip of $11.50 per person per day as I am travelling with my wife and 2 children and will personally be tipping at the end of the cruise to those members of staff we feel deserve it
    customer care is second to none in my job
    p.s still waiting on replies from your own customer care team on issues I have raised with them 2 weeks past ironic eh

  34. Janet W. says:

    Minnie sounds like a fruitcake. I do, though, agree that the music is always too loud pretty much everywhere onboard. We’re going on our 10th. cruise in September and have learned to bring earplugs! LOL

  35. Tanya Verbeek says:

    Hello John,
    I have just recently been introduced to your blog, and am growing fond of it. Just finishing my first cruise ever, I am glad I went the Carnival way. Carnival miracle was amazing and so was Alaska. That boat has amazing people working on board. Especially the staff that tended my table 107 Kusuma and Yoga, these gentlemen made my trip. They were so polite and fun to meet! They were really into all their shows! And even made us get up and boogie with them! I hope to cruise carnival soon!!
    Thank you!
    – Tanya

  36. Lorna says:

    Hi
    Can any one tell me what the Cheers Program costs?
    Thanx

  37. Kathleen Benziger says:

    Hi John,
    Just wondering if you will be the cruise director on the new Sunshine out of Venice on June 16th. We sailed with you on the Liberty 5 years ago and really enjoyed your humor.
    Hope we will see you again.
    Kathleen

  38. Judith Smith and Phillip Bowden says:

    Hello John
    For many years I have enjoyed your blog. I was just reading about the if you are people not tipping and or removing their gratuities. My husband and I are from Australia. We travel extensively now we are retired and have had about 20 cruises on about 5 cruise lines both from Australia and internationally. We are lucky to be on a back to back fro. 1 Sept. On thevConquest fron New Orleans. Wish you would be on this ship!!!
    I just wanted to say that I concur with you about the crew being deserving of their tips. My husband and I would never remove tips and in fact leave more to stewards and waiters in their hand at the end of each cruise. We just hope that Australians respect thecrew and do not remove gratuities! Respect and gratitude are earnt and we have never seen a crew member who was not more than deserving.
    Sorry about the volcano discussion or lecture . at dinner but it did make amusing reading. And wear whatever you are comfortable in:-)
    Judy

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