POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE OF NOWHERE

October 1, 2013 -

John Heald

When planning this trans-Atlantic crossing, there were two difficult concerns I faced– what entertainers to choose and what movies the guests would enjoy.

I based my decisions on both those categories on the average age being 73 and knowing that they probably would not enjoy a Bon Jovi Tribute Band, a balloon animal act, The Fast and The Furious 27 or Saw 32, I went with entertainers and movies that were, I thought, more suitable and so far……………touch wood…………..why is there never any wood around when you need some……bugger….hold on….where’s my Latvians in suspenders calendar………..ahhhhh, there it is…………ok, that’s the wood touched…………so far, there have been no complaints about either.

OK, there have been complaints about men with Scottish accents, it’s too cold, it’s too hot and a few other similar moans, but, so far, none on the entertainment program apart from the music in the show being too loud………….phew.

We have a brilliant selection of vocalists, a violin virtuoso, a comedy magician, a juggler, a hypnotist, an opera couple who are going to, I know, bring the house down, a big band singer and six superb comedians all complementing our three production shows, Big Easy, Jazz Hot and Justin Illusion Magic and Dance.

As for the movies, well, so far, it’s been ok as well. We play a big screen movie each day in the Follies Lounge and then repeat that on the TVs along with another movie the following day. I am very lucky that Carnival allowed me to hand pick the entertainers as indeed they did the movies. Here is a list of some of the movies we are showing during this TA:

Lincoln

Robert and Frank

Men in Black 3

The Guilt Trip

The Hobbitt

Taken 2

Hope Springs

Argo

Jack the Giant Slayer (for the sake of the few teens we have on board)

Identity Thief

What to Expect When Expecting

Life of Pi

Skyfall

Bridesmaids

Trouble with the Curve

 

These are just some and, obviously, I have seen most of them, not all, most of them, and this leads me to a moan of my own. Why do movies these days have to be so bloody long? I sat through Lincoln and it was purgatory.

Look, I know it is part of America’s history but this film, like so many these days, just doesn’t know when to stop. In this case, it should have stopped after Daniel Day Lewis became a beard with a silly hat. I am surprised the camera crew, technicians and the other hundreds of best boys and grips didn’t, the moment he said, “Four score and sheeven yearssh ago,” bugger off to make a movie with immense car chases, machine guns and loads of rampant rumpy pumpy.

You see, I don’t get these big bio epic thingies. I mean, there is no suspense like there is in other movies. Who did it? Which one of the police force is corrupt? Will Arnold Schwarzenegger say, “I’ll be back?” These are the things you whisper to your wife or friends during a movie. Nobody in Lincoln is leaning over toward their wife in the movies and with a mouthful of popcorn saying, “I wonder if he will abolish slavery” or “Abe’s going to the theatre, I wonder what happens next?”

Then there is the Hobbit. I hate these fantasy-type movies but this one was the most soul destroying movie I have seen for ages and it goes on and on and on and on. I would almost rather watch that horse faced woman and her friends get their knickers off in that Sex and the City movie. And thank God I saw these on DVD and not at the cinema because, with my bladder, there is no way I can get through three hours of a movie without taking a Hitchcock sized p*ss.

Maybe kids have the right idea. They can’t be bothered with the movies anymore and, instead, surf You Tube to see two-minute films of men lighting their farts, skate boarding hamsters and Hannah Montana twerking her buttocks.

Maybe they have the right idea. Time for today’s Q and A, off we go.

Carlos De Maria asks:

John,

How can a ship that cruises from Miami where 80% of the population is Cuban/ Venezuelan and other Spanish speaking countries not have a Latin band? There was no Spanish music on Liberty and you will need to change this if you want Hispanics to cruise with you.

 

John says:

Hello Carlos De Maria,
Obviously, the Carnival Liberty, although based in Miami has guests from all over North America and beyond who sail on her each week. We do try and have as many different styles of music and entertainment as we can and I am sorry that this time, we did not include a Latin band in that mix. I do hope you will join us again and enjoy another cruise and if you would like to check with me before you book, then I will let you know what ships have a Latin band on them.
Best wishes
John

 

Leah asks:

I am reading online that the Carnival Glory hot tubs are not working. Hot tubbing was a major reason in our booking our late August cruise to Canada aboard Glory–we were looking forward to 3-4 days of
doing NOTHING but sitting around on deck chairs and hot tubs. Do you have any information and what are the chances these will be fixed by the 8/29 sail? May impact our decision of whether to make alternate
plans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also does this include all deck hot tubs or also the hot tub in the spa?

 

John says:

Hello Leah,

I know this is past your cruise date and I apologise for the late answer. I have though seen a lot of comments and questions on this subject, so I thought it best to reply so others may benefit. We did have some technical upgrades we needed to make which resulted in the hot tubs being closed for a period of time and I wanted to apologise for the inconvenience this caused our guests. The good news is that, as you saw on your cruise, they were operational again. I hope that you had a wonderful cruise and again my apologies for the delay in answering.
Best wishes.
John

 

Ella Krier asks:

Message: My partner and I are very excited to be spending a cruise on the Legend on October 10th to Tampa. The request I have is an important one , because we are both in the airline industry doing similar, if not more challenging work, even that you have to do, will you get us a private dining table for two at dinner by the windows?

 

John says:

Hello Ella Krier,

Thank you and your partner for the work you do and I wish you safe flying. I have asked the maître d’ for a table for two for you and I know he will do his best. I am afraid we don’t have any tables for two next to the windows as they are larger tables. But I am sure you will enjoy your table and I wish you both a wonderful cruise
Best wishes.
John

 

Barry Acy asks:

Has Calvin been promoted to cruise director and, if yes, what Ship? We did three cruises with you all on the Legend in April and my wife and I really liked Calvin and would like to see him again.
Thanks

 

John says:

Hello Barry Acy,

Calvin is with me here and will be leaving for some time with me and the beards to the office in November. His time is coming and he will, I’m sure, make a great CD. I will let you know when I have more news on this. Thanks for the kind words, he will be thrilled.
Best wishes.
John

 

Harry asks:

Carnival Fantasy is an EXCELLENT ship and truly EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS! My family sailed on the 8/17 voyage and we were really impressed!

With Fantasy being the oldest ship in the CCL fleet, and having sailed on the larger Conquest and Spirit-class ships, we had low expectations. That, and considering the bargain we got booking a month prior to sailing, we really expected very little. Boy, were we WRONG.

Carnival Fantasy is one of the BEST, if not THE BEST ship we’ve sailed on. She is in terrific shape, shiny and bright, and well maintained. The crew is FLAWLESS. Cabin stewards, wait staff and bartenders knew our names, the names of our children, and all our “likes” within a day. Entertainment was excellent, comedians hysterical, and a top-notch cruise director in Risa Barnes. Please send me Risa’s email as I need to send her a thank you note for the special touch she added to our cruise.

Thank you for a wonderful five-day voyage and I look forward to future cruises on Fantasy class ships.

See you on the Blogger’s Cruise on Carnival Sunshine in February… I hope Sunshine is half as good as Fantasy!

 

John says:

Hello Harry,

This really brought a smile to my face. She may be the oldest ship in the fleet but it sounds like her crew continues to be some of the best. I will pass on all your kind words and although I am unable to give out any personal or business e mails of our employees I will make sure that everyone, including the wonderful Risa Barnes, sees just how much you enjoyed their service and entertainment. I do hope we see you again soon and thanks for taking the time to write.
Best wishes.
John

 

Gail Kusiack asks:

John, you should tell the truth about what Carnival feels about supporting Cruise Critic meet and greets. “On our NCL cruises, they put together a nice event – with the captain, CD, HD, chef, F&B manager, etc. usually all there. That was the case again last week on the Breakaway. Refreshments were provided and even had chocolate covered strawberries come our way (delivered to our cabin) from the HD later in the week — everyone signed it with their names and cabin numbers upon entering the event. WITHOUT A DOUBT, NCL tries harder, at least in that regard.

What I saw on the Oasis earlier this year was also MUCH more impressive than anything I’ve seen on Carnival. I’ve set up a few through Carnival and only twice did the CD show up. Two times JH was on board and could not apparently find the time…

Carnival’s attitude towards CC seems to be on again/off again, though never really very “on.”

 

John says:

Hello Gail Kusiack,

I am guessing the fact that you have most of this post in quotation marks that this is not your statement but indeed someone else’s. I don’t have the time to worry or honestly care actually what other cruise lines do. Sorry to be so blunt but I have said over and over again that I will supply some raffle prizes, help organise a lounge to meet in but that’s it, nothing else, the end. I think it’s great that people who meet on the Internet get to meet on board but why Carnival should provide drinks and other items and why the captain should come is beyond me. Every guest has an opportunity to meet the captain at his celebration on elegant night. As for whoever wrote that I had been invited and did not attend, well, I apologise but there is a bigger picture to the job the CDs do and it is not always possible to attend despite those who think we are sitting in our cabins doing bugger all. I am sorry if I sound defensive and somewhat confrontational but I am truly fed up with these kinds of comments. So for the last time, let me kindly say this– I support Cruise Critic meetings. I will help you all arrange them as I do each week and my CD colleagues and I will arrange for two bottles of champagne and two trophies to be sent to those meetings to do so as you wish and, most importantly, I wish you all a brilliant cruise

John

 

Laurie Kamp asks:

Hi John! I just wanted to say that, ever since our first cruise aboard the Fantasy three years ago, my hubby and I are very much looking forward to our next cruise on March 16, 2014 aboard the Sunshine! (It will be our 4th wedding anniversary.) I don’t care what others say about a private table. I look forward to sharing a dinner table with other people as long as they are in the same generation as me! I figure a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet! Look forward to meeting many new friends on future cruises with Carnival. You guys rock! :)

 

John says:

Hello Laurie Kamp,

It is interesting how opinions vary on this and I do see lots of requests for both private tables (as earlier in today’s Q and A) and indeed to be seated with others. Please send me your cabin number four days before sailing if you can on my facebook page (facebook.com/johnheald) or a month before here on the blog. Either way, I will ask the maître d’ to help you. I wish you a great cruise and thanks so much for the kind words
Best wishes.
John

 

Robert Eitel asks:

Hi John! We are so excited for our upcoming cruise on the Valor, Nov. 2-10. Our booking number is 72VQS5… So, what is the least expensive way to print out our United Airlines boarding passes 24 hours before our flight home? We know that we have fee access to the Internet on board the ship but since we purchased our airport/pier transfers for $60.00 with Carnival, we were thinking that the fee should be waved. Would the ship’s Guest Services have this perk available for those of us who have purchased transfers? Thanks, Bob and Sherri Eitel

 

John says:

Hello Robert Eitel,

With so many guests on board, many who fly, we don’t, I am afraid, have a service that allows this for free. However, with the quicker Internet speeds now and the lower price per minute plans, this should be affordable, quick and easy. If there is anything I can do for you aside from this, please do let me know and I will be here or on my facebook.com/johnheald page. Have a brilliant cruise
Best wishes.
John

 

Brenda Jones asks:

Hi -
I recently sailed on the Carnival Liberty which has an awesome volleyball court on it along with a 1/2 court basketball court!!! It was amazing!!! My kids loved this and so did I. When we got home, I asked if they
would be interested in another cruise and they answered, “Yes, if there is a volleyball court on the ship like this one had and also basketball court.”

The Liberty volleyball & basketball court is aweseome. It was wonderful for everyone! My kids are 18, 15 and 8 and all of them got involved in volleyball, as well as the grandparents that were sailing with us and myself. It was nice because it wasn’t so highly physical and intense as the basketball court on the other side of the sports deck. My two oldest both play high school basketball, but said that a ship having a volleyball court was even more fun than the basketballcourt. They spent a majority of their their time playing volleyball.

When I was looking to book a cruise, I only considered ships with a basketball court. I lucked into the volleyball court, so I wanted to pass along what a great asset having both volleyball and basketball is for Carnival.

Also – can you tell me which Carnival ships have a volleyball court along with a basketball court? As I plan for our next cruise, the kids feel this is of highest importance! :)

Thank you so much!!

 

John says:

Hello Brenda,

It sounds like you all had a brilliant time and enjoyed the sports court. I think you should try Carnival Breeze and Carnival Magic next. Not only do they have the basketball court/volleyball court but SportSquare with a ropes course and of course the incredible multi slide water parks. These ships will be something that, I have no doubts in saying, will give you all even more “wow” moments. Please let me know if you have any other questions and I hope we see you soon on another Carnival ship having even more Carnival fun.

Best wishes
John

 

Richard Neumark asks:

We are considering our first cruise ever for early 2014 and have picked the ship Dream to sail on. It will be me and my wife and our two children aged 4 and 5 both of whom are adopted children from Cameroon which, John, is in Africa. We are in the final stages of this and they speak no English at the moment so I wanted to know if the staff who look after the children in what I think you call the Camp Carnival, will speak any other languages, specifically French. This isn’t a deal breaker but it would make us feel more comfortable as parents if we knew in advance if this was possible. Can you tell me the answer quickly so we can book?

 

John says:

Hello Richard Neumark,

Many congratulations on what you are doing and you will make two children very happy, providing them with a wonderful life. I have to say the chances of any of the staff at Camp Carnival speaking French are slim. It’s impossible to say for sure until I know when you are sailing so I can check the crew manifest but you should prepare for their not being. The staff at Camp Carnival though are very used to looking after and entertaining children from all over the world, so please don’t worry, this will be normal for them and they will make sure your two new family members have a wonderful time. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes and many congratulations.

John

 

And that’s all for today. Thanks so much for all your comments, questions and reviews.

Now everyone likes a good contest so here are two chances to win a cruise and enjoy rocking out to some brilliant music:
http://www.theweezercruise.com/carnival_weezer_giveaway
http://matchboxtwentycruise.com/carnival_matchbox_twenty_giveaway

Good luck, everyone, and rock on.

It has been a hectic and busy cruise but, as I mentioned, most of the guests are very happy especially as we sprung a little surprise for them of which I will tell you more of in a moment. There are some ……………well………..moaners………….yep, very unprofessional of me to say that of a paying guest but when you get complaints that a guest felt insulted at the version of the Lord’s Prayer the ship priest used and a guest shouting at me because not having a bridge instructor on board, “ruined my cruise,” gives me, I think, cause to use the word ” moaners.” This is usual for a crossing and, having done so many, I know that there will be a couple of grumpy people on board and there is nothing you can do except keep trying to make them happy.

Yesterday, though, 99% of the guests were very, very happy indeed. Here is why.

You see, we have had, since our time in Belfast, an “Ice Pilot” on board. This is someone who has experience in sailing the waters of Iceland and Greenland. The pilot we have is called Captain Fritz and he is a wonderful chap, full of stories. Anyway, we were talking on the bridge the other day, when he told me of a stunning fjord.

In speaking with Captain Fritz, he told me that other ships have navigated this stunning passage through the mountains and passed three active glaciers. In fact, he was there two weeks ago on board our sister line’s AIDABella ship and they had done this. So I spoke to our captain about this and, thanks to Captain Donato’s kind permission, we will try and do the same. This will start at approx. 9:00am on 10/3 (Thursday), the day before our arrival in Qaqortoq. Now, obviously, this is dependent on the weather and, obviously, the captain will advise should we not be able to pass through but, so far, it looks like we will be able to do so. This is the passage and a photo of where we will be going between 9:00am and 4pm tomorrow.

 

map

 

fjord

Captain Fritz then told me that, on the AIDABella, they had done something very special for their guests and I thought it would be brilliant if we did the same, so we are. At around noon, the ship will stop by a very small town/ice station called Augpilagtoq, population 200 people. There, we will lower one of our tenders and myself, ship’s photographer and an officer, etc. will go across to the town. Once there, we will hand over postcards as addressed by the ship’s guests which will be mailed from one of the most remote areas in the world.

As shown here:

postcard

There was one problem– we don’t have any postcards, at least not free ones– just the books of cards at the photo gallery and I didn’t want the guests to pay for the cards. So we decided to use a ship’s photo and print them into card size on card paper and place them in the cabins. The guests will then have until 10:00pm tonight to put them in a box we have in the lobby.

I have to say that when I told the guests that we were doing the fjord pass and then the free postcard and free mailing, they all cheered and applauded and, since then, as I have walked the ship, have received so many great comments about what we are doing.

I made it very, very clear that this was weather dependent and if the Fjord had high winds or lots of packed ice, that we would, for obvious reasons, not be going. So……………..fingers crossed.

Anyway, as I said, everyone loves this idea and is very appreciative……….well…………nearly everyone.

From: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2013 10:19 PM
To: LEGEND CRUISE DIRECTOR;
Cc: LEGEND ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR; LEGEND HOTEL DIRECTOR; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR
Subject: SR#________ Mrs______-Comment on Postcard

Hello John

Mrs______came to the desk to say it was very cheap of us to only allow two postcards in the cabin. She says they should be unlimited and that other cruise lines did that. She wants to talk to you.

Thank you

Guest Services Carnival Legend
Carnival Cruise Lines

 

Amazing, every other guest is applauding and cheering for what we are doing and yet there is one who…………………aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

So other cruise lines give their guests unlimited free postcards and mail as many as they want for free. Yep, they do that in the same way I am going to call this lady, as in, I am not. And no, she is not getting unlimited amounts of postcards or any fruit, except prunes– she can have a huge basket of prunes. I will then take all the toilet paper out of her cabin and she can use the sodding postcards instead.

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. If it is something that's unrelated, please use the Ask John tab above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

53 Responses to POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE OF NOWHERE

  1. dave j says:

    Carlos De Maria, I live in South Fla, and to possibly your shock and amazement I am, not only not of Spanish descent, but actually Anglo. Many times on Carnival cruises, there are Spanish bands. I have been on the Destiny, Latin band. Destiny was out of Miami. Freedom, out of Ft. Lauderdale had a Spanish band. Breeze also Latin singer, All very good. But not always a rock band, my preferred choice, but on a cruise I take the oppurtunity to listen to new styles of music. I work with many Spanish people, as I am in construction. Just because the ship sails out of Miami as John pointed out, does not mean only Spanish people sail on her. Think of it this way, you were on vacation. On vacation you want to experience different things. You can hear all the Latin music you want every day and night in Miami. Broaden your tastes.

    • Teresa Cooper says:

      Maybe it’s about the dancing. It’s so much fun to dance to Latin music. Perhaps that is what they miss being able to do. But they can’t expect it every cruise.

  2. BIG Ed Konefe says:

    Gail Kusiack,

    Well just take all your CC peps to NCL & RCL. Carnival doesn’t have to bribe antone to get their ships full. The rest of us don’t need the higher fares of NCL & RCL here to pay for your freebies.

  3. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Gail Kusiack:

    For the umpteenth time:

    NCL and RCCL MUST (can you read English) MUST spend money in this way because their occupancy rate runs 93% on average…..

    while Carnival enjoys rates as high as 125% with 90,000 folks on Carnival on any given WEEK.

    Thank goodness Carnival does not have to WASTE money on these silly gatherings… because that keeps my cruising costs low.

    Seriously, if the people you are traveling with are not intelligent enough to know how to tell a group of people ….”meet at this spot on Lido after the Muster Drill”… then there is no hope for you.

    It is not rocket science.

    In fact, we have a group of about 140 that will be sailing with us in November on the Sunshine that has already arranged to meet on Lido after the Muster Drill….all by ourselves AND we can even bring food from the buffet and order drinks from the bar….all by ourselves. Imagine that???

    Sadly these complaints are usually from someone with NO self esteem who is trying to make themselves “be somebody” to a bunch of total strangers …. how sad.

    Find another way to build yourself up without it costing Carnival (and ultimately me) … more money!

    • Marsha Breen says:

      Linda – couldn’t have said it better myself!

    • Liz and Steve says:

      I was just on the Freedom and we had a very large contingent of CC patrons for a meet and greet. We were going to meet at a specified time and place but due to the number we were given a room- the piano bar for a few hours. We did recieve two bottles of champagne or wine to gift. It was quite nice. No one expected anyone from Carnival to make an appearance- CD or otherwise. No one expected the special room or the ‘free gifts’. It was just a very nice gesture and it was appreciated very much.

  4. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    Looks like Minnie’s cousin is onboard…

    LOL

    Linda (Mom of your friend~looking forward to getting muddy this weekend on his UTV~DJ)

  5. D'Lane Crute says:

    This passage through the mountains looks incredible and kudos to you and Carnival for being so flexible as to give a once-in-a-lifetime experience to your guests!! WIWT! No matter what you do, though, you’ll never be able to please everybody. I remember my boss talking about a person once saying that if someone gave him a million dollars he’d complain about having to take it to the bank. Unfortunately, those people are out there but you do an awesome job of being diplomatic and keeping a positive, upbeat attitude.

  6. dave j says:

    Again my comment that was not offensive was ‘MODERATED’ out of the blog. FFS! John! I did not use foul langauge, call anyone a name, simply commented on a post based on Latin music, in a way I thought was more than acceptable, considering the blatant hostile post towards Carnival and John

    • Teresa Cooper says:

      Uh…Dave…take a look at the first comment…

    • Tonya says:

      I see it right there as comment #1.

    • CanuckKaren says:

      Just as an FYI, all comments are moderated first. It just means that someone checks them to make sure they are printable and not from a troll, etc. Standard procedure for all large blogs.

      • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

        Thanks Karen:

        I think you hit the nail on the head that when folks first see the Modification notification…they think they are being singled out.

        Thanks for pointing out that everyone goes through this process.

        Linda (Mom of DJ)

  7. diane says:

    BRAVO John, your answer to Gail was outstanding. I have been waiting for you to stand up to these whiners for a long time. You did it with class!

  8. diane says:

    Gail…..there is so much food on a cruise ship why do you need “refreshments” at your meet and greet. Isn’t it suppose to be about meeting your fellow cruisers and sharing cruising stories? Eat before or after your get together.

  9. Paul says:

    John,
    I’m not sure where to post comments about my recent cruise on the Carnival Legend around the British Isles, Norway and France. First off there is the Belfast situation, I was supposed to meet up with my second cousin Liam there, but we changed the itinerary so that didn’t happen. What a break, Liam is a right gormless twit and you saved me from a miserable afternoon, Liverpool was great!
    As far as the staff goes I want to make sure that our room steward Pappas (deck 8) was probably the best room steward I’ve encountered on any cruise!
    Our dinner staff, Juan, Christian and Suri were great and deserve recognition.
    Finally, casino drink waiter Constantin is one of the best.
    Thanks for a great cruise.
    Paul

  10. Anna says:

    I just read the statement from the CC lady who was upset over Carnivals offers vs. other companies. It truly bothers me as a Strong CC user that people can be so rude! It gives other CC users a bad rep! I have been to CC events on Carnival and on RCCL and have enjoyed them all equally for different reasons! It is what it is and one should be thankful they got anything at all, we could be all meeting in a public area lol On my last sailing this past Sept, John H you sent us our two bottles, two ships, and our CC group was very thank-ful!! Keep on doing what you do! Love ya!!

  11. Mary Ellen Ryan says:

    Love you John.
    Have been following your blog and Facebook for 6 months. Hope we get to meet someday. You are a treasure. Will be sailing on my first cruise January 20, 2014. The Fascination out of Jacksonville,FL. Looking forward to cruising often. Thanks for a job well done.
    Mary Ellen Ryan

  12. Jean Barnes says:

    John,

    I just want to thank you on behalf of myself, my husband, my sister and her husband for one of the best cruises we’ve ever had! We were with you on Carnival Legend Sept 13th – 25th doing the British Isles which could have been renamed British Isles in Reverse because of our huge change in itinerary. Nothing was going to ruin our trip and nothing did. Carnival graciously helped many people rearranged their plans and everyone I know (there were a bunch of us from Florida) had a great time. I even got to win the “Game Show” with you and Calvin. I was the “normal one” who kept trying to be less than normal.

    Anyhow, most importantly I just wanted to give a huge shout out to our room stewards who were fantastic, Vladimir (ours) and Titiporn (my sister’s) and our Your Time Dining team of Head Waitress – Viktoria, Team Waiter – Rolan and Asst. Team Waiter Dejan! From the first moment we sat down in the dining room they made every evening meal wonderful! Everyone on the ship was wonderful and friendly. Even one of the pizza chefs knew what kind of pizza my sister wanted whenever she showed up for pizza.

    This was our third cruise with you, 9/2006 in the Med on Liberty, 10/2009 on Legend out of Tampa (couldn’t resist you being so close to our home to not join you!) and this cruise on Legend. It was my sister and her husband’s first cruise with you and they love your humour too and wait until we can sail with you again! We’ve never had a bad time on any Carnival Cruise!

    John, you and your team are simply the BEST! Thank you again!

  13. Daniel West says:

    You’re finally starting to show your human side John with your comments towards CC whiners and the postcard complainer. I knew if I read long enough I’d see you snap at them…well, at least as much as you can possibly snap in a customer service position! The world does not revolve around these people and the sooner they realize it the easier your job will be!

  14. Linda Carter says:

    Congratulations on the possibility of posting cards from the remote area, I think that is amazing.
    As for the lady who thinks she deserves unlimited free cards, has she ever worked for a living and made a budget work? As the CD you have a budget to work with, I assume< and I agree with the many other guests that applaud the extra that you are doing for them, even if nature does not permit, you are trying and doing above the norm.
    As a soon to be cruiser in June 16, 2014, Triumphant, I am excited just to be going. And when I see the naysayers, I think maybe they should remember the blessing they have to cruise on a wonderful cruise line.
    As you can see, I don't take many breaths even when I am writing. So excited!!!!!
    I will be writing on my cruise about my teaching experiences with my students. And the many blessings I have from that, and I know that the sea days will be great for that chance to sit on my balcony and write. Well maybe, you know I could be anywhere. Can't wait to go.
    Thank you for your pleasant blog, I have laughed with you and rolled my eyes with you. Thanks for that.

  15. Ken says:

    Aw John, have a heart. At least leave her a Sears catalog……

  16. Gary Frenson says:

    It really bothers me being a Cruise Critic Member and hearing all the crying going on about what this and that other line does. What you do John is plenty and should be appreciated by all. Why these other CC people think they are entitled to anything more than any other guest is beside me. Your doing an awesome job…Thanks for all you do ….Gary

  17. Jerry Howell says:

    You know I enjoyed reading a lot of write ups on the Cruise Critic site but for the life of me I can’t figure out why a small percentage of people think Carnival owes them something. They seem to think they should get special treatment. Why?

  18. Teresa Cooper says:

    Ella Krier:

    No you didn’t! You are not any more special than anyone else on board a cruise ship including the cruise director. And you DON’T deserve any special treatment-no I should say any MORE special treatment as everyone on a cruise is treated special!

    And John:

    About the postcard complainer-maybe the kitchen could manage an early morning delivery of a prune danish?

  19. jaon says:

    Yes i was wondering I am 1 point away from the Gold level in the V.I.F.P club and on my next cruise will i receive my gold access since ill get the points during that cruise or will it be the cruise after that one? thanks!!

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Others have reported that you are automatically elevated to the next level ON the first day of your cruise IF you will reach that level during your cruise.

      enjoy!!
      Linda (Mom of DJ)

    • John T says:

      Jaon you will get a Gold Card when you check-in at terminal for your cruise. Happy Cruising…

  20. Joanne says:

    Maybe I’m just annoyed with the world today. :) I’m going on a Carnival cruise next month for the first time in 20 years… and very much looking forward to it! :) I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now, and I just wanted to tip my hat to you. I’ve read the CruiseCritic board a little bit for research purposes, but have watched you field comment after comment from CC members who feel entitled to the world merely for cruising often. You are the most patient man in the world. For serious.

  21. Niki Agnew says:

    John, You are amazing! You make me laugh on every blog you write. I love the part about taking all the toilet paper from her cabin! I know you will not do something like that, but it sure does keep me amused thinking about it. I don’t know how you do the amazing job you do, with everything going on, you are a special person with a great heart and have a fantastic sense of humor.
    Have a fabulous day :)

    • Lise McKay says:

      To the post card lady – you are just too selfish and egostistical! What entitles YOU to get unlimited post cards (or 15, anyway) Can you imagine the cost to Carnival if all guests got what they demanded? Sheesh, some people… This little side trip was not even part of the itinerary. Just be thankful you get to see what I can only imagine is a beautiful place. I’m sure you have a camera – take pictures and share them once you get home. Sheesh… I love everything Carnival has to offer, without this type of freebee.

    • Stuart Zaikov says:

      John Please reply
      Currently sailing on the Liberty right now and having a great time And a few comments.
      Do we wish Carnival would supply more stuff for CC meets and greets? Yes we do. However this is what Carnival chooses to do and we accept that.
      Saying that one is a member of CC and so should be entitled to more is just plain foolish and greedy and John as we have discussed before wish you didnt publish a post from the CC moron of the day.
      We do get great value from CCL and we have been cruising with you 2-3x per year and always feel we get our moneys worth.
      John on the day we left we saw your post asking for our cabin number.
      I thank you for what you have sent us in the past and do not think it is right to accept a little something on every cruise so Sheila and I decided not to respond until now.

      We have had some great service from a bunch of crew members and will post that after our cruise.

      Best wishes
      Stu

  22. Kelli Pilsbury says:

    Dear John,
    As always I love you and your comments!
    I find it interesting that some people can’t just print their boarding passes at the airport ….you don’t really need them until you get there (especially on United) I know SW passengers want to get “in line” but just pay the $12.50 already!
    Also….Because of all the rude people out, we do most of our cruise planning through FB Group pages now. I suggest people also search there instead of just on CC.

    Do we have a formal night schedule for the Valor Halloween cruise yet?

  23. BarB says:

    For Gail Kusiak.

    You are the type of poster that ran me off of Cruise Critic 4 years ago after having been part of that community practically from day 1. Inexperienced travelers who believe they are entitled to free stuff just because they dropped the money for the price of a cruise.

    I suggest you compare prices between cruise companies and then decide what is more important to you. NCL, while a decent line, provides your little party….and charges you outrageous prices for the pleasure. AND, the cruise experience is not up to Carnival standards. I suspect you should look into other lines that will give you free strawberries and a command appearance by the Captain. What’s a few hundred dollars anyway.

    Meanwhile, CC has become the Lupus of cruise forums. I joined a group that is made up of adults and people who travel…and newbies who are excited about their journey.

  24. Congratulations John for once again you have given these people an additional joy to their cruise. You are a wonderful man. Also I really enjoyed your prune basket and loss of toilet paper for that rude lady. Maybe she’ll lock herself in the bathroom and forget the key. Ha,ha,ha.
    I’m slowly getting back to health after spending time in the hospital. Thank you again for your email worrying about me. You care a great deal about everyone. Have a
    great Trans – Atlantic cruise my friend.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  25. Megan W says:

    Thanks again for another great blog post!

    I am a member of CC, but I agree that this is outrageous! John H, you go above and beyond to make cruisers happy. Thanks for all you do!

  26. Stacey says:

    I’m also a fairly frequent CC user and hate that some of the entitled brats that complain here make the rest of us seem bad! I am currently working with my roll call for February 9 on the Pride. We are deciding on whether to ask for a meeting space or just gather together. If we go with a formal M&G, and decide to ask for some prizes, we will be delighted with champagne and/or SOSs! Gratitude, people! Gratitude!

  27. Debbie Moore says:

    OMG. I do not know how you don’t blow a gasket when responding to the Cruise Critic folks. What a bunch of whiners! I am so tired of reading their requests for ‘free this’ and ‘free that.’ there were some on my last cruise, and quite honestly, ‘free anything’ would not have convinced me to hang with them!

  28. Ray Haley says:

    Hi John. Your response to the cc’rs was right on the mark. While I have posted on the site periodically to provide insight to newbies (17 sailings with ccl so far with 18 coming up on NYE on Breeze) it has deteriorated to what one would think of as the before 5 dinner crowd at Golden Corral. Killed my subscription a few weeks back for lack of continued interest. Anyway, haven’t yet had the chance to meet you on any of our sailings. Any chance we’ll see your bladdered arse on Breeze?

  29. Jeff says:

    My wife and I were on the Freedom this past August, and had a wonderful time.

    One sug

    gestion for an improvement. We had a later flight, and used the luggage express. It worked out wonderfully. However, it was impossible to find out whether our flight qualified until the papers were delivered to our cabin outlining the program. Previously. I had called both Carnival and our airline, Jet Blue. Both said to call the other for information about whether we could use the service.

    In fact after the debarkation talk, I asked a question of Brad, the cruise director. And he gave me wrong information. He said we would not get boarding passes through the program. (I was later able to see him, and gave him the correct information so he could pass it on later if anyone ever asked him again.)

    this is a useful service, and Carnival employees should have more information available to share.

  30. Tobie Gerbrandt says:

    Hi John

    I have been reading your blog regularly since the Carnival Splendor fire a couple of years ago, and love it! However we haven’t sailed Carnival since the Pride, Mex. Riv. in April, 2007. I think my wife and I are about 1 point short of Gold status. We have cruised many other ships in many lines (including OASIS OTS and ALLURE OTS)along with HAL, Celebrity, Oceania, etc. since then. We had a cruise on the Royal Princess booked for 09/02/2014 and my DW noticed an ad from Carnival for a 6 day Carnival Freedom sailing just before this cruise, sailing from Port Everglades, with a British Columbia resident’s special we couldn’t resist, so we booked it. It will be interesting to see what has changed on Carnival since 2007. We sure wish you could be our CD, but whoever it is, I’m sure we’ll have fun. Just wanted to say “Hi!”. After over 80 cruises in total, we have never had a bad cruise and trust that that will continue. :-)

  31. Peggy says:

    One Word in Response to This Post – KUDOS!!!!!!!!

    John says:

    Hello Gail Kusiack,

    I am guessing the fact that you have most of this post in quotation marks that this is not your statement but indeed someone else’s. I don’t have the time to worry or honestly care actually what other cruise lines do. Sorry to be so blunt but I have said over and over again that I will supply some raffle prizes, help organise a lounge to meet in but that’s it, nothing else, the end. I think it’s great that people who meet on the Internet get to meet on board but why Carnival should provide drinks and other items and why the captain should come is beyond me. Every guest has an opportunity to meet the captain at his celebration on elegant night. As for whoever wrote that I had been invited and did not attend, well, I apologise but there is a bigger picture to the job the CDs do and it is not always possible to attend despite those who think we are sitting in our cabins doing bugger all. I am sorry if I sound defensive and somewhat confrontational but I am truly fed up with these kinds of comments. So for the last time, let me kindly say this– I support Cruise Critic meetings. I will help you all arrange them as I do each week and my CD colleagues and I will arrange for two bottles of champagne and two trophies to be sent to those meetings to do so as you wish and, most importantly, I wish you all a brilliant cruise

    John

  32. Lynda says:

    I am surprised that you should say the entertainment was enjoyed by all on transatlantic cruise. The comedians were the best of the entertainment (Carnival doing this right with George Lopez group). The only band that were good were the asain people. The girl who sang with a group was off key most of the time and sounded like an averaqe karoke singer.
    Billy Bob needed to be shot and burried with his exwife and dog. They had him singing during dinner hours, so that in the steakhouse he could be heard. We have ate at the steakhouse every cruise but not that one due to Billy Bob’s music. No thought process over that decision – fine dining basic is to remember that ambiance is what people are paying for and expecting.
    I figured out how you get your followers on the cruise. If they are manipulated to praise you in conversation, then they are liable to get a free bottle of wine etc. The
    morning shows with the two of you were absolutely obnoxious. Boy is Carnival unwise not to pull the plug on that! The rudeness and stupid banter that goes on……does Carnival really support this? No class this act!
    Back to the entertainment for a transatlantic cruise. I was told that most of the activities were cancelled after the first night. Yes there was a younger generation on board not everyone was 70-85yrs old. You couldn’t even close the roof one day for people to sit out on deck in a closed off area. Found that really strange since that was suppose to be your call I was told. Disco was on bottom 2 story bar. So very few people even knew that. Might have had those desperately looking for something to do at night actually enjoying themselves. Transatlantic cruise has very few new to cruising. Time to be more creative to keeping the passengers entertained than the same routines of other cruises. Have the activities to do in the afternoon instead of the morning. Changing 6 different times zones should have been an obvious mindfulness
    for most activities to the afternoon. Many passengers commented how they missed this or that activity due to they were just getting to breakfast about that time.
    There is so many of opportunities how money can be gained by Carnival.( oh and the passengers benefit at the same time …. a win win) Carnival needs to contact me!

    Definitely would suggest if Carnival continues to have the same caliber of entertainment or activities on a transatlantic cruise don’t have a inside cabin. Very thankful we didn’t experience that situation would have gone stir crazy.

    • Marsha Breen says:

      Lynda – did you pass English class in high school?????? “only band that were good were the asain people”; “averaqe karoke singer”; “shot and burried with his exwife “; “We have ate at the steakhouse”, etc., etc. If you think you are so righteous to complain about all of this, then at least use proper grammar.

      • KellyB says:

        Have to agree with Marsha. —- Lynda, your rambling post with poor grammar, spelling, etc, made it difficult to read and even take seriously as a legitimate complaint. Seriously, before whining, at least make it legible.

        John, I have been reading some of your posts as we get ready for our first cruise in a couple of days. Looking forward to a fantastic adventure!

    • Lynda Ulrich says:

      Hi, just wanted to let everyone know I’m not the Lynda that wrote this. But we were also on the TA and had a very good time.

  33. Stacy Johnston says:

    I would like to thank all involved in the planning of our trip through Prince Christian Sound. It was the most amazing day trip I have ever taken. Job well done! I must say that Carnival outdid themselves. I have bragged to everyone about how we were so pleasantly surprised at what was added to this cruise. One again thank you for a wonderful cruise.

  34. Geri Conway says:

    Dear John,
    Thanks for all the amusing & helpful info.
    Re. the blog about no latin band on the Liberty…
    We go on the Liberty every month for the past year and there has always been a kickin’ latin band in the Cabinet. This is our favorite pm entertainment!
    We are booked on the Glory for April & May, but have heard that they schedule the latin band in the Casino, which is very smokey. I’m allergic to smoke and hoping that you can forward our passionate request for hot latin in the Ivory no smoking lounge a few nights to the cruise director.

  35. john says:

    On Sunshine, high deck aft. It would have been nice if Carnival had finished the re-fit before putting the ship back in service. We’re tired of the banging and drilling and smells of paint and new carpet being stuck down.

  36. Joe Watson says:

    John,

    We are getting married 31 Dec and sailing on the Sunshine 5 Jan 2013 cabin 7319. This will be our third cruise together. Each has been wonderful and we cannot wait to sail again. Love your blog and FB page and they way you are upfront and honest. We plan on booking an Eastern Caribbean next September and begin repeating the NOLA cruises with one in November and again in Feb 15. Since NOLA is more convenient for us we would love to see other cruises from there like Costa Rica! Thanks for being in contact with us passengers!

  37. helmuth neidlinger says:

    My Wife and I were on the Trans-atlantic cruse where you took the post cards by tender to Augpilagtoq. We gave ours to Guest services as a box had not been set up yet to drop them into. As of today January 20, 2014 we and our friend who was traveling with us have not received them. ( we used our address for a great memory. Have you heard if there was a problem to the mailing.

    thank you for your response in advance,

    Helmuth Neidlinger

    • Enid Henderson says:

      We were also on that cruise with 4 other friends…none of us have received our postcards…maybe they can only mail a few at a time…not a complaint…just an observation. The cruise was AWESOME!!!

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