“It’s too loud — are you trying to kill people in there?”……..and with that a very upset elderly British lady waved her hand in my face as I tried to talk to her and stomped out of the lounge. Hello, everyone, from a beautiful morning here in St. Petersburg, Russia. Yep, that lady I just told you about was not happy and I did my best to appease her and followed her down Promenade Deck away from the show room trying to apologise, trying to get her to talk to me. But her British lip was stiff and defiantly in the upright position and she waved me away again like she was swatting a mosquito with a rolled up newspaper.

 The show she had left was the brilliant Justin Illusion magic show. This features very impressive and dramatic illusions which are made even more impressive and dramatic by stirring rock music that builds to the finale of each illusion. The music complements the performance. For example Justin makes a proper full size motor bike disappear live on stage and does so to Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n’ Roses. It just would not be the same if he made a motor bike disappear to the sounds of Celine Dion warbling on about her heart going on and on and on.

 

Believe it or not, though, we have regulations set by the beards as to what volumes we can run shows, music, movies, etc. And yes, sometimes they are full in their volume and, yes, I know that some people don’t appreciate that very much. I am fully sympathetic that as you get older your hearing becomes more sensitive or in my case, disappears. I say disappears but that’s not really true. What I will say is that it seems to me that movies and TV these days are made in such a way that many of us have no idea what the heck is being said. I was on a flight last month from London to Houston and decided to watch an in-flight movie: Die Hard 107 starring Bruce Willis and lots of dead Russians. But even though I was using an expensive pair of those noise- cancelling headphone thingies, I could not make out a single word that anyone said. They whispered everything

 

I gave up and turned to my eyepad and started watching something called “Spartacus Blood and Sand” which I had upsidedownloaded. But again, I could not hear a sodding thing or understand why Spartacus didn’t want to have rumpy pumpy with that beautiful girl or why he decided to cut everyone else’s head off. Yep, it seems to me that these day actors mumble. They get all moody and dark in films and that means none of us will have a clue what the plot of the movie is.

 

However, while I am struggling to hear what actors are saying the lady who left the lounge because it was too loud must have been very uncomfortable and that makes me sad as she has now missed the show. We will monitor the sound levels as we always do and put a lot of effort into making sure the volume respects the performance and those watching it. Meanwhile for “Spartacus” season 2……………….I shall be using sub tittles.

 

Time for today’s Q and A – here we go.

 

Bethany Schutte asks:

Greetings John,

I cruised on the Carnival Magic the week of June 9, 2013 and I just wanted to comment on how spectacular our two assistant waitresses were in the Southern Lights Dining Room. Siyka Nikolova and Oleksandra (don’t know the last names) were absolutely the best waitresses we’ve ever had the privilege of having. Their kindness and conversations were one of the best things, if not the best, about our cruise experience. I wasn’t sure if there was a way to write to their “upper staff” but I see that many people have written to you with praises. Please be sure to let the appropriate people know of their amazing work! I cannot wait to book another cruise and am desperately trying to figure out the finances! Thanks to you and your staff.

Bethany S

 P.S. – Our table number was 589 if that might help specify our waitresses :)

 

John says:

Hello Bethany Schutte,

This was a joy to read and I thank you so much for taking the time to praise the staff like this. It sounds like your dining room team truly made an impact on your cruise and I shall as requested make sure that the senior management on the Carnival Magic see this. I know that Siyka Nikolova and Oleksandra will be so proud and again thanks for making their day. I hope we see you soon and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know. Best wishes.

John

 

Jeff Therrell asks:

John, My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Splendor a few years ago which was 1 week before it caught fire. I sent you a Dear John letter on that cruise and you read it the day of our anniversary

and I again say thanks. Will you be on the 2014 cruise with the Duck Commander Family? If so we will also be sailing and would love to have dinner with you. Cheers and have some safe travels.

 

John says:

Hello Jeff Therrell,

I only just discovered these Duck Commanders and I have to say I find the whole concept of the show and the fact that so many are sailing with them totally fascinating. I am in the process of locking down my 2014 schedule and I will see if I can fit this in. If so, it will be great to see you both again. I hope to see you soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Alissa asks:

John I am very upset because I went on the Carnival Conquest for my high school graduation and they would not let me tap dance on the stage because my tap shoes would damage the stage which is total BS! I am telling my friends that Carnival does not care much about us and ruined my chance to be in the show and the people who they did let in were terrible and sang badly out of tune.

 

John says:

Hello Alissa,

I am very sorry that you are upset and I can understand the disappointment you felt about not being able to perform in the talent show. The stage manager or the cruise director must have looked at the taps on your shoes and decided that maybe they would damage the wooden stage which our dancers have to perform on. I am sorry that this decision was made, we really do care and I do hope you realise that and it’s just the disappointment talking. I truly do hope you had a fun cruise. Best wishes.

John

 

Ruby Desmond asks:

Hello John, I have a question that may be very unusual and one that I have since seeing your blog some months ago yet to be written about. My family and friends just got off from a cruise on the Carnival Liberty and what fun we had but there is a concern that I wanted to address with you and the higher ups. The captain was introduced to us the passengers as master. John, this term has not been used since slavery was abolished and some of us on the boat thought this title the captain was presented with was not respectful and in some ways it was disturbing. Please can you address this for us John and I can tell you it was a big talking point and an uncomfortable one we should not have had to experience.

 

John says:

Hello Ruby Desmond,

May I start by saying that I am so glad you had fun on the ship and that you enjoyed the cruise. I have to say that in my 26 years at sea I have never had this comment before, not that I don’t understand but I just wanted to say that it is something I don’t think has ever come up. The term master of the vessel is a centuries-old nautical term and has been used through history when talking about seagoing vessels and certainly I have always introduced the captain using that title and never gave it a thought but in hindsight perhaps I should have.  I’ll pass along your comments to the beards and I sincerely apologise if this offended you.  Most importantly, I hope that the fun you had will be the outstanding memory of the cruise and that we will see you again soon. Best wishes.

John

 

James Porritt asks:

Hi John,

I’ll be cruising on the Carnival Legend in August and was wondering what time they’ve been starting embarkation at Dover? Really looking forward to my first Carnival cruise! Cheers.

James.

 

John says:

Hello James

I am glad I saw this before you sail with us. We star embarkation at 10:30am and it is a very quick and easy process in Dover. I hope you have fun and that this will be the first of many cruises with us. See you soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Ralph Jordan asks:

John,

We just booked our 10th cruise on carnival and we are under the old the old VIFP system which says “Close to advancing to Platinum in our old program? Complete a total of 10 or more lifetime cruises by December 31, 2013, and you’ll automatically advance to Platinum in the VIFP Club.” Will we receive the Platinum benefits on our 10th cruise or will we have to wait until the 11th cruise?

 

John says:

Hello Ralph Jordan,

There is good news because you will indeed be Platinum at the start of your 10th cruise and thus get all the benefits on that voyage. Thank you for your amazing loyalty and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Have a brilliant time. Cheers

John

 

Terry Baldwin asks:

Hey John I guess some would call me a Carnival cheerleader. After 25 plus cruises and never a bad one why wouldn’t I be one. I do wish they would bring back the FCC. I don’t really like waiting to book on board. But I like the OBC. I have been using the name PVP (Derrick Hanes) for a many years and enjoy just talking to him. Booking on the ship takes that away. I’m sure a lot of others feel the same way and would like to see the return of the FCC. Not only for the OBC but a chance to talk about our cruise with someone I consider a friend. My PVP. Also I would love to be on a ship and have you as are CD.

 

John says:

Hello Terry Baldwin,

I have seen many comments about the Future Cruise Certificate and how much it is missed. As someone who has cruised 25 plus times your opinion deserves to be heard and so I will make sure this is sent to the right people. I will also make sure that Derrick sees this and that his supervisors do as well so thanks so much for taking the time to praise him. Maybe one day we will return the Future Cruise Certificate and until then I hope we will see you many more times. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and thanks again for taking the time to write. Best wishes.

John

 

That’s all for today.

 

Here is the latest list of piano bar entertainers who are currently on board and when they will disembark.

 

Carnival Breeze

Ben Gentry

11/03/13

Carnival Conquest

Larry Maconaghy

10/13/13

Carnival Dream

Rick Yerkes

11/02/13

Carnival Ecstasy

Martin Aucoin

08/12/13

Carnival Elation

Darrin Isaacs

11/07/13

 

Carnival Fantasy

Jerone Howard

09/16/13

Carnival Freedom

Martin Gast

11/10/13

 

Carnival Fascination

Robert Cozma

10/18/13

 

Carnival Glory

James Quigley

08/10/13

 

Carnival Imagination

Hrvoje Knezevic

09/16/13

 

Carnival Inspiration

Tom Grable

11/04/13

Carnival Legend

Bruce McGhie

10/10/13

Carnival Liberty

Jim Morris

11/23/13

Carnival Magic

Bob Berhalter

09/15/13

Carnival Miracle

Douglas Ross

07/30/13

Carnival Paradise

Angela Johnson

09/16/13

Carnival Pride

Roger Concepcion

12/08/13

Carnival Sensation

TJ Kuenster

11/03/13

Carnival Sunshine

Billy Reid Zimmerman

08/18/13

Carnival Splendor

Hailey Wiebe

09/22/13

 

Carnival Spirit

Andrew Pobjoy

08/17/13

Carnival Triumph

Augustin Villarin

12/02/13

Carnival Valor

Dana Honey

12/29/13

 

Carnival Victory

Joe Nagy

10/19/13

       

 

There are some new names there and, as always, I would like your opinions on those who have impressed you. I would also like to thank Laura aka “Divetrash” for running a Facebook page dedicated to these great and very popular I might add entertainers and I am sure she will post below with the address of that page. Meanwhile I would like to thank all of our piano entertainers for the great work they do and the fun they bring each and every cruise.

 

So in a few days’ time I will have a 12-day break where I will relax, play with my daughter and enjoy the company of my family and friends. Before coming home I received two instructions from her who must be obeyed…………..or Heidi as she is sometimes called. The first was to steal as many boxes of Lucky Charms as I could.

 

The second instruction was to go to the Fun Shops here on the Carnival Legend and buy my wife some perfume. Now before doing that I made sure she told me what brand as buying perfume on a whim is ridiculous. There are so many celebrities she can smell like. Beyonce, Paris Hilton, Judge Judy, etc. Luckily though she told me she wanted some Tresor and that was that so off I went. I rarely head to the shops perfume section but when I did I was surprised that such a large space was dedicated to men’s perfume and you won’t believe this, there was an entire shelf dedicated to……oh my, I feel faint just writing this……men’s creams, potions and all sorts of grooming stuff.  I asked the ship manager about this and he told me that it’s “big business” and that men are “really into the cleansing and moisturize creams.”  Yep, personal grooming for men is apparently the in thing. Bollocks. Men’s beauty regime should consist of two words “soap and water.” OK, that’s three words but you get my meaning. Grooming is for horses and dogs, not men. Honestly what happened to the world where men were men, and their armpits and groins were chemical weapons.

 

You know by now that I hate shopping and I would rather bury myself upside down in the sand on Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach with just my arse sticking out with a sign next to me saying “Please thrash my buttocks with a large pickle” than go shopping, but there I was, doing just that in the Carnival Legend’s Fun Shops

 

Anyway, as usual I digress. The reason I am boring you with this story is because while in the shops I met lots of guests and there were the usual hellos and having a great times etc. One of the groups I was talking to were all from Scotland. In fact, I think half the ship this cruise is from Scotland. You know, when I hear the Scottish accent I think of two things. The brilliant and much-missed Scottish cruise director, the late great Malcolm Kennedy……….”you can kiss a nun once you can kiss a nun twice but you mustn’t get into the habit”………..and our now-retired Scottish Senior Vice President of Operations Brendan Corrigan. And specifically with Brendan what happened to me many, many years ago.

 

It was 1992 and I was staying at the Marriott Hotel on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard. I had just completed an eight-month contract on the Carnival Fantasy and was being transferred to the Carnival Ecstasy the following morning. I was in the middle of watching a movie (Latvian rumpy pumpy most probably) when the phone rang and when I answered it was the unmistakable Scottish accent of Brendan. Brendan told me that plans had changed and instead of going to the Carnival Ecstasy I would instead be going to the Tropicale as the ship needed a cruise director desperately as Gary Hunter who was on their had to leave suddenly. He told me to be in the lobby of the hotel at the wonderful time of 5 am and a driver would come and collect me and take me to the ship which was at the time sailing out of Port Canaveral.
I remember thinking to myself “FFS” or words to that affect not because of the 5 am thing but because the Carnival Ecstasy was the at the time the newest ship and I had felt proud that I was going there plus there was a dancer there call Tay who had breasts like the Swiss Alps. Anyway, I went to bed, set the alarm and that was me and my suitcases standing in the lobby at 5 am. By the time 6 am came around I was starting to worry, had I misunderstood Brendan, was I supposed to meet the driver somewhere else. I considered calling him at home and it was I was trying to make this decision that the front of house desk person shouted over “Are you Mr. Heald?” Ummm, considering she had just checked me out an hour ago and I was the only bugger in the lobby at that time………anyway, I told her I was and she said there was a phone call for me.

 

I took the phone and it was Brendan again and he began telling me that there had been another change of plan and that I was going to the Carnival Ecstasy…….now I really wanted to say, “Make your bloody mind up you kilt-wearing, haggis-eating, tight-fisted sod” but considering I liked my job I just said………. “Ummmm………yes, sir” ………and it was then that I heard a laugh on the other end of the phone.

 

It was then that I realized what had happened. You see, it was and never had been Brendan.

“Tim?” I said……. “Is that you?”…… “Yes,” he said … “Gotcha,” he said ….. and hung up. It was Tim Harkelroad.….one of our comedian impressionists who was famous for his Brendan Corrigan impression. I couldn’t believe I had fallen for that. What a total and utter bastard.  I spoke to the check-in girl and asked for my room back but she said that I would have to pay the full day rate as I had checked out…..so that was me…….and my three suitcases ….. sitting in the lobby …. waiting until 10 am to go to the Carnival Ecstasy.

 

Well, it’s nearly time to go but before I do I want to leave you with his comment (I do realize that this comment is a few weeks old but I felt compelled to answer it given that I was aboard the Carnival Triumph when it went back into service and the ship looks awesome and is being very well received by our guests). 

 

Cruzinman

I see you are going to the Carnival Triumph. Even with all the lousy Fun Ship 2.0 downgrades you wouldn’t get me on there. Expect nervous passengers and more problems as more cutbacks result in more problems. Lipstick on a pig – Carnival’s answer to everything. Maybe they should try that on you ROFLMAO.

 

Now before I answer Mrs. Cruzinman let me say a few words. I will admit that I am tired. I have been going flat out since April here on the Carnival Legend setting up Med and Baltic cruises and, like the rest of the crew here, I have given it my all. I have a cold still and I miss my family. So with that in mind I apologise for my rather different answer than the usual “best wishes” reply you are used to here on the blog thingy.

 

Dear Mrs.Cruizinman

It may interest you to know that people who have actually cruised on Carnival Triumph these past weeks rated her among the best in the fleet – yep, she sits there near the top of the list as per the guests who have completed an on-line survey. So how do I reply knowing how wrong you are in your comment?………….Oh, I know …………..and if anyone who has recently cruised on the Carnival Triumph would like to join me please, feel free:

 

STEP 1………..Place the tip of your right thumb on your nose
STEP 2……….At the count of three, move the fingers of the same hand up and down rapidly while at the same time sticking your tongue out of your mouth making a huge gaseous explosion sound.

 

Best wishes

John

 

Just as I am writing this I see an email from the shore excursion manager about the tours in our upcoming ports of Tallinn and Amsterdam. And surprise, surprise, just as it has been the last three cruises the Red Light District Walking Tour is sold out. Now I have been there myself a couple of times as I will mention in a moment as have I expect many of the 1,000-plus Brits who are on the ship this cruise. But this tour is sold out and that means guests are ignoring the tulips, clogs, cheese, art, history, windmills and museums to see near-naked ladies standing in windows and while being surrounded by the port’s coffee shops. Speaking of Amsterdam, here is a completely true story – I was in visiting Amsterdam on my stag party and since I was almost passing out by the overwhelming smell of marijuana, I decided to light up an expensive Cuban cigar outside one of the coffee shops. I was immediately told by some scruffy zit ridden youth to leave as my cigar was spoiling the ambiance of his shop. FFS! 

 

As for the Red Light district, there is little to tell. I know bugger all about it except the oldest profession in the world is legal in this one section of town. The ladies stand in windows offering their services and all pay tax to the Dutch government. The area is well policed and therefore is very safe. And that’s all I know about prostitutes and the red light district……and anyone who says otherwise is a liar……… honest, Heidi.

 

And so that’s that the last blog for 12 days as I am off on my vacation next week (Thursday). I will be on Facebook until then and as always my thanks to you all for joining me here. I have now committed to the Carnival Miracle for her Alaska season so I do hope to see you all there. I will also be on the Carnival Sunshine in November for the naming ceremony and, of course, for Bloggers Cruise 7. I will also visit three of four different ships in March and April as a sort of fly-on CD and more on that soon.

 

I am 48 years old now and still passionately enjoy what I do. I say this only because I found myself thinking again these past weeks that it may be time to retire and that being a cruise director in 2013 is a young man’s game.  But I want to carry on, I love my job and noting could make it more enjoyable…..except maybe an Aston Martin….oh, and a 2013 NBA championship ring…..oh, and a Latvian cabin stewardess (sorry, Ketut)…..oh, and for Carnival to provide me with new underpants to blog in maybe with a picture of a pickle on the front.

 

Actually they could give me a pair of underpants with the name of one of the ship’s on the front.

 

I could have a pair that says “Legend”…..or a pair that says “Conquest”…..or even “Magic.”

 

But if I am realistic, mine would say the name of any ship that is in dry dock. But hold on, I just remembered, I am going home in six days……… and that means it’s time come out of my own proverbial dry dock and take Heidi ……….on a three-minute cruise to nowhere.

 

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

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50 Responses to THE NEW PICKLE BAR SCHEDULE….BUGGER…. I MEANT THE NEW PIANO BAR SCHEDULE

  1. Terry says:

    Hi John,

    I just got off the Carnival Legend the cruise before last and YES the music is FAR TOO LOUD ! I am 40 but could not take the volume and left. It hurts your ears. PLEASE turn it down.

  2. Carolyn Perkins says:

    John, I would like to second the comments about bringing back the FCC. My husband and I are Diamond guests with 30+ cruises on Carnival. We like to book our cruises as soon as they open for booking so we can pick our cabin. For example we have already booked the Legend in Aug 2014 thru the Panama Canal. We will join you on the Legend on Sept 1 2013 but we didn’t want to wait that long to book the 2014 cruise. For guests who book like we do, booking while on board will not work. We really need Carnival to bring back the FCC.

  3. Nancy says:

    3 minute cruise to nowhere!!! You are so funny.

  4. Robyn Anderson says:

    John,
    We just got off the Breeze (July 20-28th) and had a fantastic time. I wanted to recognize our on board wedding hostess, Alexandra Craciun (I am not certain of the spelling of her last name but she is also a restaurant hostess) for making our wedding and honeymoon seemless. She went above and beyond any expectations we had to ensure our week was to our expectations and beyond and that our on board wedding and honeymoon was flawless.

    On another note, I have a question. Why is it that room service will not deliver pitchers of water but only small plastic cup fills? I realize there is water in the mini bar but when we requested a pitcher they said they could not do so…so we ended up ordering 6 glasses of water instead to go with our late night sandwiches…just wondering why such a rule is in place?

  5. Jo Myerly says:

    Thanks John for an early evening chuckle. Have a great 12 days. Dave and I will see you September 1. We will help you take the Legend to New York. Jo

  6. DrDeany says:

    Love ya, ya sick bastard!!

    See ya on the Carnival Sunshine for the inaugural. And while you are on vacation, empty the dishwasher without Heidi asking you to. You might get a chance for more 3 minute cruises to nowhere.

  7. Kathy B says:

    A note for Ruby Desmond – While the term “master” for a ship’s commander may seem unusual to the layperson, it is widely used in the merchant mariner community. The US Coast Guard license for a merchant marine commanding officer is called a “master’s” license. And those with the license pride themselves on the title. It is difficult to obtain and very respected.

  8. David says:

    John
    we will be sailing the dream over helloween do you know if there will be any dress up partys

  9. Charlie Dyer says:

    I’m with Terry Baldwin. FFS bring back the FCC ASAP so me and my PVP can remain BFFs.

    TTFN

  10. Ralph says:

    Ruby Desmond,
    C’mon…lighten up a little! I guess we can’t say Master of Ceremonies, Master Electrician, Master Plumber, Master of Disguise anymore because you’re looking for a reason to complain. Pretty damn pathetic!

  11. Carol Kaczerowski says:

    Hi John,
    Thanks for posting the Piano Bar Entertainer list. I do have a question. Is there another list that is more current? The list you provided for the Piano bar entertainers contract expiration dates have dates that already past or is within a few days or a month from the end of their contract.

    I would also like to comment that we sailed on the Panama Canal transit on the Miracle and Dave Filsinger was the PB entertainer. I cannot say enough on what a wonderful person Dave is. He made sure he got to know the people who came in the piano bar. He had maracas, tambourines, bells, and other fun musical instruments for everyone to play and get involved. He also had several music contests throughout the cruise. He definitely went over and above to make sure everyone had a good time. It was so much fun we opened and closed the piano bar every night. Thanks for hiring such great entertainer.
    Sincerely,
    Carol

  12. Dave Myerly says:

    John et al:
    I agree whole hearted ly about bringing back the Future Cruise Certificates (FCC). I think they are needed and used by many and need to be reinstated and made available IMMEDIATELY TO BE PURCHASED ON LINE.

  13. grace says:

    Love the blog. Like the underwear comments. To Ruby Desmond really we still have the Master of ceremonies. It is not just associated with slavery. maybe we should do away with the word slavery and just use people held without their consent. Sometimes political correctness just goes to far. Enjoy your time off John and yo u are too young to retire. If I can’t you can’t. Take care.

  14. Kathleen Freiman says:

    So glad to read that you’re committed to the Alaska cruise 2014. Just booked for 9/10/14 and so looking forward to meeting you. Calvyn too. Love the blog. Have a great vacation with your girls.

  15. Chris Jacobs says:

    John,

    If you are like me, you should have a pair of underpants that say “Breeze” on the backside!

  16. Phil Hale says:

    I’m sorry John, Heidi had all of your shorts named Miracle! :) have a wonderful vacation my friend. What are your on-off dates for Miracle? as I’ve never done Alaska I want to to it and sail with you to celebrate surviving to age 65!

  17. We are going on the Carnival Legend–12 day Northern European cruise and then the 15day transatlantic cruise.We are so hoping to see John on at one of these cruises. We last saw him a few yrs back on the Splendor. We are so excited to be going on these back to back cruises in Europe–esp flying into London–

  18. Greg Lyte says:

    RE: Comments on calling the captain “Master”
    I am ever amazed at how people can find ways to take offense. Ruby chose to be offended when the Captain was referred to as “Master.” I understand this is a title in reference to his training and skills as a certified “shipmaster.” It has nothing to with slavery. I suppose we can’t use the title “Mister” as it is a derivative of the word “master.” Please, people life is to short. Don’t worry. Be happy. Take a Carnival cruise!

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Good point.

      Even young men under the age of 18 are addressed as Master in formal settings.

      I say if Tiger Woods can handle playing at the “Masters”, then this person can handle hearing the Captain called Master.

  19. Uncle Cheek says:

    After reading your blog of Aug 2, I figured I would finally toss in my 2 cents.

    I too would be a supporter of the Future Cruise Certificate program! More feedback from more cruisers would probably pursuade the powers that be to return such a popular program.

    Also I appreciate the efforts to inform people of the entertainment in the piano bars across the fleet and the scheduled entertainers in those bars. I realize it would be quite a tall order, but could it also be possible that the names of performers in The Punchliner clubs on those ships with the comedy club be listed somewhere?

    I greatly appreciate the effort you put into responding to as many comments as you can but it has to be damn near impossible. So if you do not find the time to respond personally, I won’t be offended. I will just sneak into your cabin on a ship in the near future and short sheet your bed. Thanks and enjoy your short but well-deserved vacation.

  20. If and when the time that you decide to retire I know that you will be missed especially me. As I have said many times John, you are the one that has made me feel great and the thought of continuing cruising. I hope that I will have an one last opportunity to see you before you leave. After you retire please if you and Heidi ever come to Canada please visit MaryLou and I in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada. I will give you the best BBQ in your life.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  21. Lise McKay says:

    Enjoy your time off John. Spend as much time as you can with Heidi and Kye. You deserve this short break, as you work so hard to make our cruises so memorable.

  22. David Grampp says:

    Ruby Desmond needs to let off the PC stuff a little. The Master of a ship is a term that has been in use for centuries. It has nothing to do with slavery. We cannot remove words because someone has another meaning for the same thing. American slavery was a terrible thing and it took way too long to abolish it. Another shame that was/is almost as bad a slavery, was the time, pain and blood it took for civil rights to come about. I understand that there are small pockets of society that still harbor racial feelings, and unfortunately, I think there always will be. But there are racial people of all races, and all of them need to back off and learn to get together. Again, the Master of a ship is a term that has been around for centuries and, God willing, will be around for many more.

  23. Thomas says:

    Can’t believe you will be on the Miracle. We are here on the Miracle now and what fantastic scenery here in Alaska. Weather has been clear and beautiful. Just heard the CD utter the name “Vista”. We’re signing up for 2015. Hope you’ll be there!

  24. Nigel (Manchester) Searson says:

    John, I think this must be our 6th cruise, I am sure the wife will be able to tell you exactly how many we have done, where we have been, how many nautical miles we have covered blah, blah!!!

    Please do not even think of retiring, you are by far the best cruise director we have come across! These youngsters do not have the experience you have and are not half as funny!! It has been a real pleasure listening to you and at one point being the brunt of your comedy! Really my toes are not that big and I am not that hairy!!

    Just one favour though, any chance my daughter who will be studying sound production in September, can see how things are done behind the scenes?

    Thanks John

    Nigel, Janet & Vicky

  25. Barbara Johnson says:

    The shows are LOUD, I usually sit near the back, and I too, find the music loud, I think it’s my age. I didn’t grow up with those ear buds in my ears, and I understand kids today, including the people who run the shows, they have a lot of hearing loss, they don’t hear the music as loud, to them it’s normal. So I go to the shows, and when I can’t tolerate it any longer, I leave, usually about 1/2 way through, been there, done it a million times, and beat the mass exodus. A loyal Diamond member piping in. Love your blog!

  26. Ken DeBold says:

    Sorry, Ms. Desmond, I cannot agree with you. The connotations associated with any word are strictly within the control of the hearer. If you are offended by the use of the word “master”, are we to change hundreds of years of nautical history and call him/her the “leader” of the ship?. Or for those who progress beyond a bachelors degree to obtain a “Masters” degree need to be silenced on their achievement? Or, do the great artists over the centuries who have written (whether in word or music) works of art cannot have their achievements referred to as “Master”pieces? May I suggest less focus on the word? Their are many other valid opportunities toward which you can direct your sensitivities.

  27. Daniel says:

    I sure do hope to see the FCC back soon. Booking onboard is next to impossible since we always book with other groups. We actually have booked less cruises since the FCC we taken away since, just like less platinum guest incentives, it takes away yet another incentive stick with carnival.

  28. Terrie says:

    Alissa needs to grow up, take off her tap shoes and put on her big girl panties! She will learn in life you cannot always have your way!

    As for Cruizinman, please ignore him. He spends all his time on Cruise Critic on the Carnival page doing nothing but criticizing something he has never experienced! He has not even cruised on Carnival.

  29. Eileene Plummer says:

    John, I hope you & the beards leave the term “Master” alone. The writer who complained is overly-sensitive & obviously uninformed about nautical terms. We miss the nautical terms like “purser.”

    As for the perks for being Platinum / Diamond: I appreciate the perks, being Platinum, but I don’t feel I’m better than anyone else – which is what the complainers are implying. I resent them making the rest of us look snobbish & ungrateful.

    That’s it, John – keep up the great work!

  30. Andrew Nutter says:

    Dear John, well we are nearly at the end of our 13th cruise (not bad for a couple of humble Brits) and it was great to meet you during the trip. Have a great break – I am sure you deserve it – and if you are ever in Whitstable give me a shout. Best wishes, Andrew and Diann’s (the Nutters)

  31. Hannah says:

    Hey John! Love the blog as always. I am a 15 year old cruiser and this is my 6th time on a Carnival cruise. The Legend is absolutely fantastic and it’s because of you. And as others say, the music for that Justin Illusion show almost made my ears fall off! My friend and I were looking at each other in disbelief at how loud the music was. We plugged our ears and hoped it would stop. It was quite an interesting show though (and I’m not just saying that because the male dancers had nice abs).

    Anyway, thank you so much for making this one of the most memorable cruises I’ve ever been on. I’ll be sad to leave this cruise tomorrow.

    Cheers,
    Hannah

  32. Bob Neighbors says:

    Too Loud? Based on our last sailing on the Dream in April, I have to agree. I was actually embarrassed that I had encouraged several first time cruisers to take in the production show in the main lounge. The band music was so loud that the lead singers were SHOUTING the lyrics in an attempt to be heard over the band. This is the first time I have experienced this phenomenon on any of my 17 other sailings. The first timers were indeed impressed with the shows, but I was disappointing that they didn’t really experience just how awesome a Carnival production show performance can be!

    On another note, the whole George Lopez punchliner thing. As a stockholder, I think the JUNIOR beard that thought THAT was a good idea should be keel hauled and fired. A live MC added a lot to the shows. A scratchy video of Lopez warning “This is an Adult show, so if you are under 18, GET THE F@*$% OUT” is lame and low class.

  33. Darlene T says:

    I agree with Terry about the FCC. We have used it and loved having it. I hope they will consider bringing it back.

  34. Janet Westrich says:

    Hi John,
    I was so happy to see some conversation about the music volume onboard. Now we are by no means elderly and we do enjoy rock and most other forms of music. We are going on our 10th. Carnival cruise next month so we have seen all the shows, etc. on many different Carnival ships. If Carnival asked us for ONLY ONE suggestion that would immensely improve our cruise experience, it would be to lower the volume at all the music venues. When we go to the shows in the main theater, I wear earplugs so I can enjoy the music – no kidding. We have never been able to sit in any of the bars or areas where there is music so we can enjoy it due to the ear-splitting volume. Many other people we have met onboard have complained about the volume so I know it’s not just us. But don’t take our word for it. Put the question on your after-cruise customer survey. I think you may be surprised at the size of the group wishing for a lower volume. Thanks for listening, John and see you on the Legend next month!

  35. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    I have to agree with the volume complaint in general on the almost 60 Carnival cruises I have been on.

    It is the one thing that consistently from ship to ship seems to have been an issue.

    Music should not be so loud that you have to scream at the person at the table to have a conversation.

    On the Magic, one morning the music was blasting in the Ocean Plaza at 7AM and I nicely asked them if they could turn it down…which they did.

    Louder is not better…it is only louder.

    Thanks for listening….

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  36. Terry says:

    John,

    Your underpants could be labelled “Miracle”!! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. And I wanted to personally give a shout out to Piano Man Dave Filsinger, who will be on the Glory starting August 10. He was on the Miracle during my last cruise and I have purposely booked my NYE cruise on the Glory, just to hear/sing with him again! He is absolutely the best! No nasty after-midnight ditties, just good, clean, talented music that we can all sing along to!! Love him!!! Will you come on the Glory for NYE? I’ll buy you a pickle. Or a drink, if you’d prefer.

    Terry Poff

  37. Judy says:

    Hi John,

    My husband and I cruised the Imagination in August for my 39th birthday. We were a bit disappointed with the alcoholic beverages offered. We found them to be watered down and overpriced. We stayed in our room the majority of the time. I have always loved Carnival but have come to the unfortunate conclusion that maybe we have outgrown cruises. And the staff sang happy birthday to me on the wrong night!

    Disappointed and Bored,

    Judy and Marcus

  38. Elizabeth says:

    Hi John…Just got home from a 12 day cruise on the Carnival Sunshine. I wanted to give a big shout-out to BILLY REID in the piano bar. He was Ab Fab!!! Funny, creative and entertaining!! And very nice to look at! We retuned night after night and had a blast!! Would love to sail with Billy again on another Carnival cruise!!!

  39. Matt says:

    Just returned from the carnival spirit had the best holiday ever, all the staff were brilliant big shout out to Dennis, Darmah, Michael and Ni from the Empire dinning room they were amazing, Thanks to Yassa for all his towel animals. Andy Pobjoy smashed it in the shanghai piano bar 10/10, we had a great time on the spirit.

  40. Luke says:

    Hi John!

    I just got off the Carnival Spirit with Andy Pobjoy performing almost every night in the Shanghai Piano Bar. He is definitely one of the most funniest characters I have come across at sea (and I have been on a few cruises) – not to mention he is an amazing singer.

    He often performed over-time even though he wasn’t getting paid for it, and made everyone feel happy and get involved in the sing alongs.

    The highlight of my cruise for sure (not to mention he got me hooked on Billy Joel).

  41. Belinda Ryan says:

    My family and I have just returned from a 12 day cruise aboard the Carnival Spirit, best experience we have ever had. I’ll be honest it would have been a great time regardless but having Andy Pobjoy in the Shanghai Bar made our holiday so memorable, that I would just like to say Thanks! Amazing musician yes, but what set Andy apart was his interactions with the crowd, that man can work a room, from the obnoxious to the groupies.(like me) My only complaint would be that one night on the Big Stage wasn’t enough!!!!!!

  42. Rennae says:

    Andy Pobjoy and his piano skills absolutely made our cruise! His ability to read and interact with the crowd was incredible. Walking into the Shanghai bar every night just felt like home. There are very few people who have managed to get me to throw caution to the wind and sing into a champagne bottle, but well done Andy! You brought out the fun side in everyone there. :-)

  43. Ann-Marie says:

    Hi. I was on the Carnival Spirit from 27 July to 5 August & the entertainment was amazing! Andy in the piano bar was just the best (but don’t tell him, cos we don’t want his head getting bigger) and Krystal coordinating the entertainment voice is so good she should be centre stage. They are the reason we want to cruise on this ship again.

  44. Wendy Batty says:

    Hi John,
    We have just been on the Carnival Spirit in May this year for our 15th Wedding Anniversary. We have done 5 cruises and must say Carnival Spirit has just got the edge on other ships we have been on ! Food, staff and entertainment and the fun !! One of the biggest highlights of our 10 days was Andy Pobjoy in the Piano Bar ! We had so much fun and laughter and he is such a talented musician he makes everyone feel special. We became groupies going everynight and so did many other guests. He plays wonderful songs that we all know and we just have the biggest singalong he is a awesome entertainer and just all round nice guy !! We have booked our next cruise for April 2014 to take our 2 children . As they have to experience this talented, funny and wonderful man! We know that they will enjoy him as much as we did !!! As we listen to his CD everyday in the car to work we feel like we are back on the Carnival Spirit. He is going to be famous one day !!!( I can feel it in my bones lol lol ) I hope he is on the cruise again next April as that would be super ! He is a great asset for Carnival Spirit and hopefully will be on the Legend when it arrives too !! Thanks John just wanted to pass on great positive feedback on musician in the piano bar Andy – On Carnival Spirit. Cheers !! Wendy and Mark .

  45. Amy Williams says:

    Hi John, I was on the Carnival Spirit when it departed Sydney on 5 August. The staff were all fabulous. It was apparent they have a great deal of pride in making the guests comfortable. But the best, best part of the cruise was Andy in the Piano bar. He absolutely made the trip for me. He is talented and his unique takes on popular songs was impressive, but the best thing was that he was so genuine and really made contact with his audiences. The Shanghai Bar was a little haven for my partner and I every night and he just made the whole trip!

  46. Linda Connor says:

    Great to see Andy’s name on the list of performers in the Piano Bar.
    We sailed on Carnival Spirit in July and he was one of the highlights of our cruise.
    I’m a veteran of many cruises and think the piano bar is a great concept. It was so hard saying goodbye to all the great people we met on the last night and a big thanks to Andy who performed brilliantly despite it being his “day off”

  47. Jason Preston says:

    Hi John,

    Just a quick note to tell you how thoroughly impressed I was with Billy Zimmerman on the NEW Carnival Sunshine.
    Billy really had the crowd going. He remembered everybody’s name, did his best to get to everyone’s requests, and made my experience in the piano bar the best I have had in all my sailings (7 with Carnival).
    I think it really shows his talent when you see so many other of the entertainment staff popping in to the piano bar when they are done their shifts.
    My only criticism is that there were to many unaccompanied minors in the bar (all the way until close).
    I look forward to seeing billy again on another cruise.
    I think I will base my next sailing on what ship he is on at the time I can sail. (am I crazy or what?)

  48. LC says:

    HI John, I am a first time cruiser in June 2014, I have searched many websites, and you have been a pleasure to read. Thank you. I am a single 56 woman and am so excited to go on the Triumph. I have friends who have been twice on TI and they always have fun. They are telling all the things I need to do. I was a teacher to two of their sons. They tell me I will have a blast, as they all know me. I am going with a group who are all married, and I will have friends, can you tell me some things I might like to do while on the cruise for the 1st time? A massage is the top on my list. Any suggestions are appreciated. I hear the staff are all amazing. Thank you.

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