THE RETURN OF THE BLOG

January 27, 2014 -

John Heald

No, it’s not an illusion; this is indeed a new blog. Yep, here I am, back in my underpants, ready once again to give you another average blog. I had paused from writing the blogs while I was home thinking about my book about my life at sea. And then Dad passed away …………. and …………well……..you know. But the blog is as important to me as Facebook, if not more so, because it was the blog that got me on the social media thingy and thus connected with you. And it is the blog that our seven blogger’s cruises have been named after including the one in February of which we have 688 people registered for. 

It is far easier to write these blogs when I am on the ship, not from a time point of view but for content because the blog was always about my life as a CD and the stories that happen every day on the brilliant ships of Carnival Cruise Lines. But it is my intention of getting back to writing at least two blogs a week while on land and then three a week minimum when I am back on the ocean waves. So unless I get asked to star in a Latvian rumpy pumpy movie or someone called D Clark and her mates from the Cruise Critic boards has me whacked for using the word “brilliant” then I will pledge my allegiance to this here blog.

 

So, what shall we start with today? Well, it has to be rock and roll…………doesn’t it? The announcement of our Carnival Live program is very exciting and we will chat about that some more shortly. But I will say now that having rock and roll bands performing on our stages will be sensational. And I wonder as STYX and Foreigner and REO Speedwagon, etc. rock the Seven Seas if they will or not behave like proper rock stars. It would be acceptable if you were a beard-wearing accountant or a tofu-eating professor of applied mathematics mind-numbingly dull. But in a pop star, dullness is not allowed and that brings me to everyone’s favourite Canadian ………..Justin Bieber and his alleged drag race with a model with breasts bigger than my head in a yellow Lamborghini through the streets of Miami.

 

I have been giving this a lot of thought and part of me is not surprised that an internationally famous worshipped God of rock, with groupies and millions of dollars in the bank did what he did. Maybe the reason so many are disgusted by his behaviour is because these days rock stars are, for the most part, so well behaved. I have in my role as CD and Brand Ambassador, met John Mayer, Jennifer Hudson and other performers whose abilities were just fantastic…….but bloody hell…….they were as incredibly engaging and nice as my Mum. I cruised with the New Kids On The Block on one of their special cruises and there were no signs of orgies in a lifeboat or finding one of them passed out in an elevator. Nope, they were so nice and very well behaved and had I been in their dressing room, I probably would have found some scented candles.

 

So Bieber, the boy wonder, was being a rock star, driving a sports car, drinking and having rumpy pumpy with supermodels. But then you have to worry for him as well because he could possibly be on the same road as Kurt Cobain or Amy Winehouse and, like both those much-loved performers, be dead by the age of 27? And who is to blame? Bieber, his agents and managers, his parents? It seems all of them but the easiest thing is surely to simply …………… blame Canada :)

 

Let’s chat then about Carnival Live. I will never forget the first time I bought a ticket to hear a band live. It was Black Sabbath with the incomparable Ozzy Osborne and, from there, I went on to buy tickets to see Queen, Jethro Tull, Meatloaf, Deep Purple and Barry Manilow…….don’t ask, please don’t ask. A good concert is a good night out. A brilliant live concert is a memory that stays with you forever and I am sure the memories of hearing these artists perform live on one of our ships will be just that, an everlasting memory.

 

We have to address a few things as we start to plan these. Seating is one of them. The front rows will be reserved for those who have paid extra to get them along with a meet the artist session etc. But the rest of the seating will be first come, first seated and that’s why it is my intention to make sure we have lots of staff on hand to police the no seat saving policy which we have to be strict about. This, I think, is very important. We will also have to have an area backstage for their dressing rooms which currently are used by the dancers. These areas will have to be dressed up for the concerts as I expect the artists will expect more than a cup of coffee from Lido deck.

 

We certainly have to work hard on board to make these concerts successful and we haven’t even spoken about the sound checks and bringing in all their equipment etc. But successful they will certainly be.

 

Now there may be some who are saying, “What does Carnival know about putting on concerts?” and that is a great question. The answer is twofold. Firstly, we have had lots of experience putting on shows, including with full-ship rock charters and, secondly, we have recently hired a new director of entertainment whose background is exactly this, large scale concerts featuring big name performers. So ….. on we go and wait……just wait……… we’re already looking at phase two of Carnival Live.

 

And just to reiterate, those who choose not to come to the concerts, you will be able to enjoy live music in all the lounges, the Punchliner Comedy Club shows, a deck party and, of course, extended time in the ports of Nassau and Cozumel. My most memorable concert was Queen at Wembley Stadium, an epic gig with Freddie Mercury’s ego and voice in full flight. I hope our concerts on board will give you such a memory and for those of you who haven’t seen how or where to book your tickets…………here is the answer.

 

http://www.carnival.com/live-entertainment.aspx

 

I wonder………..what was the best concert you have ever been to? Share yours here, please, for us all to enjoy. At this moment (thanks to me being away from the blog for so long), I have over 1,500 questions in my in box. Obviously, Facebook remains the quickest way for me to get back to you but, meanwhile, here are 10 questions from the blog………………….off we go.

 

Scott Izzet asks:

We’re Platinum with Carnival!!!!!!! I need a table for two by a window; we have YTD, and eat at 7:30pm each evening. Our cruise is 2/23 on Carnival Magic with booking ******. This will be our anniversary cruise as well just for your information!!!!!!

 

John says:

Hello Scott Izzet,

I want to thank you for your loyalty, first of all, and secondly, mention that I cannot reserve seats for anyone at your time dining. While I am happy to try for guests on assigned seating, it is not possible to reserve tables at a specific time on our anytime option because it would take away the principles of this choice. However, I am sure that if you ask the hostess as and when you enter the dining room, that she will do her best to seat you at a table for two. But assigning a specific time and reserve tables is not something we can do, I am afraid. Please let me know if you have any other questions and I wish you a brilliant cruise and many more happy years together.

Best wishes.

John

 

Rose Marie asks:

CONGRATULATIONS!  I am very happy to see that you finally stood up to someone (initials were G.K.) and told them how you feel about comparing one cruise line against Carnival when it comes to Meet and Mingles. I belong to Cruise Critic, sail on Carnival and attend each Meet and Mingle that I can and never once have I expected the captain, cruise director, executive chef or head of housekeeping to show up.  I attend Meet and Mingles to meet the people I have been chatting with on Cruise Critic and Facebook.  People who love cruising on Carnival do so for so many more reasons than what is being served at an hour or two long social to meet people they met on-line. And just once, I would like to tell them that if they don’t want to sail on Carnival, then leave and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  I only have one more thing to say about this, “What took you so long?”

Rose Marie

 

John says:

Hello Rose Marie,

Thank you for your kind words. I think meet and greets are a good way for people to make new friends and making new friends on a cruise is something that I encourage which in turn is why I am glad to help arrange these meetings. I think I learned to differentiate between the wonderful writers from Cruise Critic (I met the new editor in New York last week and she was so delightful and she and her team are to be congratulated on their reporting) the people who ask me for these meetings and the one or two people whose agenda is simply to persuade anyone who will listen that Carnival is the devil incarnate. These people are as pointless to me as a dull pencil and outside of me using them for a bit of comic relief, they mean bugger all to me or any of the Carnival beards. I have a duty of care to those who write to me here or on my Facebook and to those who cruise with me as CD. So I am glad to help with the organisation of these meetings and supply raffle prizes as and when needed. I hope we will see you on board soon and making many new friends so if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes.

John

 

Lisa asks:

Hi John, I’m not writing to have you arrange anything for me or send me free gifts such as a 24 karat ship on a stick or strawberry tuxedos or champagne, nope none of that at all. I just

wanted to give you a BIG FAT THANK YOU to you and all the carnival staff for making dream vacations come true. Hats off to all. Again, thank you P.S. I can’t wait till my February 23 cruise on the Carnival Legend and I hope you are my CD.

 

John says:

Hello Lisa,

What a wonderful post. Even though I am not going to be your CD for the cruise, I do know that you will have a wonderful time with the cruise director, Willie Lee, who is very, very funny. The ship will also have had her upgrade so you will get to see a new Carnival Legend. Have a brilliant time and, please, do ask me if you need anything. Best wishes.

John

 

Winona Wentworth asks:

Not sure if I am supposed to ask a question here or not so here goes:  I’m sharing a cabin with someone I met on a “find a cabin mate” page on Facebook.  I want early dining because when you have late dining, you miss a LOT of stuff I like (karaoke, for instance. My last two cruises I had a choice of eating or doing the things I wanted to do.)  She, however, wants late dining because she likes to take a nap before supper.  I don’t want any time because I want to get to know my dinner mates by spending each night with them.  Is there ANYTHING that can be done?  My last cruise was HORRIBLE and Carnival ignored my complaints for months and then said it is “too late to do anything to make up for it because it is outside our 30-day period.”  I had sent you a message about that also a while back but I know you are busy so I haven’t heard back from you about it either. I’m really hoping I hear from you about either my LAST message or this one!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

John says:

Hello Winona Wentworth,

I am so very sorry that I have not answered you so far and I hope that your cruise has yet to happen. I had no idea about the Facebook page you mentioned and it is fascinating that people are meeting this way to share a cabin on board. As you are a Facebook member please can you send me your details there and include your sailing date and cabin and I will certainly do all I can for you. I hope to hear from you soon and apologise once again for the delay in getting back to you. Best wishes.

John

 

Angela Powis asks:

I called Carnival to see who the piano entertainer in the 88 bar on Carnival Breeze on March 15 cruise would be and I waited forever only to be told that nobody knew. How ridiculous is that. customer service at Carnival is non-existent and you should take a lesson from Southwest Airlines and Papa Johns, both of who I have complained to and both who resolved my issues immediately. The piano bar is our favorite place to hang out. I was told you have the answers.

 

John says:

Hello Angela Powis,

I apologise that our customer service team were not able to help you with this particular question. I think also it is important for me to defend our superb team who help hundreds of people each day. But they do not have all the answers and do not have access to the crew schedules like I do. So, then, I am glad that you asked me and the answer is that Ben Gentry will be the piano bar entertainer from late February until late June. From what I have heard he does a brilliant job so I am sure you will have fun. Please let me know of you have any other questions.

Best wishes.

John

 

Leon Joiner asks:

John, love your blog and FB page. We’ve sailed with Carnival six times and love it. We’re sailing again on Apr 20 on Carnival Legend. The wife and I are both over 50 and will graduate from college for the first time in May. I would like to surprise her with something nice in the cabin. This will be like a graduation present to ourselves. Any suggestion? Thanks mate.

Leon

 

John says:

Hello Leon Joiner,

How fantastic is that, many congratulations to you both. Please remind me here on April 1 or, preferably, on Facebook the day before you sail and include your cabin number. I would be glad to send you a little something to wish you all the best. Thanks again and I wish you both a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.

John

 

Lynn Pavia asks:

Hey. Why is the Miracle not getting any upgrades?

 

John says:

Hello Lynn Pavia,

Thanks.  To be honest, haven’t heard anything from the beards on the Carnival Miracle’s dry dock one way or the other but as soon as I do, you and the other readers will be the first to know.

John

 

Kevin Shah asks:

Hi John, my family just returned from a cruise to Progreso and Cozumel on Carnival Triumph. I’ve been on one other cruise before on another cruise line. I was told by people on the cruise boards that Carnival would be a step down or two from other cruise lines…that is NOT the case. The embarkation went perfectly! The muster drill went smoothly. The food….AMAZING! Can’t complain about one single thing. I’m now a huge Guy’s burgers fan. The dining room service was perfect and everything was delicious. The dining room service was FAR superior than another cruise line I’ve been on and kudos to Iza, our waitress, and her assistants, Damir and Ionuts. They were funny and service was just perfect. My room was awesome….on spa deck and like all the staff on the ship Wayan from Indonesia, was a gem. We had such a great time that we booked again, this time for the Carnival Breeze. Way to go Carnival.

 

John says:

Hello Kevin Shah,

I want you to know what a joy it was to read this and I can tell you that there will be some very happy crew and very proud senior managers when they read this. I am so glad that despite what others may have told you, you went with an open mind ready to have fun because that is exactly what you will have. I am so pleased to see that you will be sailing with us again and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes to you all.

John

 

Laura & Mike Davies asks:

Hi John: We were on the Carnival Legend with you we had a great time and wanted to know even disembarkation in New York was great as far as we are concerned. Thanks to you and all the crew we had a blast hope to see you soon.

 

John says:

Hello Laura and Mike Davies,

I am so sorry that I am delayed in writing back but when I saw this, I felt I needed to reply even though it is much after the fact. I am so glad you enjoyed the cruise and that debark in New York went well as I know that it does not always go that way. I also hope you had a great time and that we will see you again very soon. Best wishes to you both.

John

 

Stacy Leo asks:

Hi John: Let me first start off by saying how much I enjoy your blogs.  They are very fun and entertaining.  We are planning our seventh Carnival cruise and fourth on Carnival Liberty.  We have always had Karl Bird as our cruise director and think he is the best!!!!  I noticed the 2014

cruise director schedule is out and I don’t see his name at all on there.  Is he no longer going to be with Carnival?  My kids are going to be so bummed.  Most of the cruise director names in 2014 I don’t even recognize.  Can you please tell me if you know anything about James Dunn?  Also, please let me know if you know anything about Karl. Thank you.

 

John says:

Hello Stacy Leo,

Yes indeed, we said farewell to Karl who has retired as of late in 2013 and he is much missed. James Dunn is from the UK and is a fantastic CD full of life and energy and has a true passion for his work. He has a big following and I am sure that after you sail with him that you will be writing to me telling me how much you enjoyed him. Please let me know if you have any other questions and thanks so much for the very kind words. Best wishes.

John

 

Larry Bayliss asks:

We are cruising on the Carnival Dream Feb 1 because, amongst other things, my daughter won the State of Idaho High School Honoree for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. I would like to have her recognized for this in some way on stage possibly. Do you have any suggestions on what can be done and given to her and how she can be rewarded for this awesome achievement? Our booking details are ******

 

John says:

Hello Larry Bayliss,

Many congratulations to your daughter who I am sure you are very proud of. May I suggest you write a letter to the cruise director on the ship once you are on board? Leave this at the Guest Services Desk and mention her achievements and I know he will be read this out loud in his live Morning Show. I will also ask him to send her a little something. I wish you all a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.

John

 

Pearl asks:

We are booked for B2B on the Carnival Breeze for Feb 9 and 15 – very excited!!! – and would like to sign up for Faster To The Fun on 9th. I check daily, sometimes more than once per day, and it is sold out. I have read on some discussion boards that it is often reopened for a few more slots, so just wonder if you know about that possibility? I emailed you a while back about the lack of response to my emails about the Chef’s Table and within hours of my email, I got two responses, so thank you for that! Hoping you can get us info for FTTF because we are ready to cruise. February can’t come soon enough!

 

John says:

Hello Pearl,

I can see how excited you are for your cruise and again I have to apologise for the lateness of my reply. FTTF is capacity controlled so if it’s sold out, the only way it will re-open is if someone cancels it. We obviously have no way of predicting when that may or may not happen. Please do not let that worry you and if there is anything else I can do please drop me a line on facebook.com/johnheald and I will do all I can for you. Best wishes.

John

 

And that’s all for now and I will be back with more mid-week. Thanks for your understanding with my lack of replies and, while I do not think I will ever catch up, I will work as hard as I can to do so. As I mentioned above to Angela Powis in today’s Q&A, the customer service team that work so hard and do such an outstanding job for hundreds of our guests do not have access to the crew schedules as I do. I should also point out that it is only since I started writing my pages that our customers have access to this kind of information. I don’t say this because I want a massive pat on the back but because as far as I know, Carnival is the only cruise line that publishes its CD schedule and answers in advance who a comedian will be or what waiter is where etc. Anyway, as we are talking about live music today, let me share the current piano bar schedule with you. Here it is;

 

CARNIVAL BREEZE

Ben Gentry                                 2/26/2014 – 6/15/2014

Jordan Heppner                       6/15/2014 – 8/16/2014

 

CARNIVAL CONQUEST

Martin Aucoin                         10/27/2013 – 3/30/2014

Gustavo Garcia                        3/30/2014 – 6/15/2014

 

CARNIVAL DREAM

Robert Berhalter                     11/9/2013 – 5/4/2014

Andrew Pobjoy                        5/4/2014 – 6/15/2014

 

CARNIVAL ECSTASY

Hailey Morgan Wiebe             28/12/2013 – TBA

 

CARNIVAL ELATION

Martyn Lucas                          1/16/2014 – 4/5/2014

Susan Erwin                            4/5/2014 – 7/26/2014

 

CARNIVAL FANTASY

Robert Crucilla                        9/16/2013 – 2/16/2014

Keith Channer                         2/16/2014 – 8/18/2014

 

CARNIVAL FREEDOM

Larry Maconaghy                    11/24/2013 – 3/30/2014

Jonathan Thompson              3/30/2014 – 4/19/2014

 

CARNIVAL FASCINATION

Jim Morris                               1/16/2014 – 5/19/2014

Jonathan Thompson             5/19/2014 – 9/18/2014

 

CARNIVAL GLORY

David Filsinger                       8/10/2013 – 3/30/2014

Jordan Heppner                    3/30/2014 – 6/14/2014

Kyle Bronsdon                       6/14/2014 – 9/13/2014

 

CARNIVAL IMAGINATION

Marty Gast                              1/10/2014 – 7/10/2014

 

CARNIVAL INSPIRATION

William Reid Zimmer             1/31/2014 – 4/21/2014

TJ Kuenster                             4/21/2014- 8/29/2014

 

CARNIVAL LEGEND

Kyle Bronsdon                        10/10/2013 – 2/2/2014

Roger Concepcion                  2/20/2014 – 8/17/2014

 

CARNIVAL LIBERTY

Jonathan Thompson                12/28/2013 – 3/8/2014

Seth Gibson                                3/8/2014 – 8/1/2014

 

CARNIVAL MAGIC

Derrek Wayne Robert             1/19/2014 – 3/2/2014

Steve Burks                              3/2/2014 – 6/8/2014

 

CARNIVAL MIRACLE

Frank Golden                          2/7/2013 3/1/2014

 

CARNIVAL PARADISE

Barry Meijer                             2/3/2014 – 2/17/2014

Alan Sheppard                        2/17/2014 – 3/31/2014

Robert Cozma                         3/31/2014 – 10/27/2014

 

CARNIVAL PRIDE

Tom Grable                             1/19/2014 – 8/3/2014

 

CARNIVAL SENSATION

Gary Mumford                        11/21/2013 – 4/13/2014

James Carter Stringfe            4/13/2014 – 7/13/2014

Mike McCabe                          7/13/2014 – 10/9/2014

 

CARNIVAL SUNSHINE

Gary Pickus                             11/17/2013 – 2/16/2014

Barry Meijer                            2/23/2014 – 4/19/2014

Ben Gentry                             2/16/2014 – 2/23/2104 (bloggers cruise)

 

CARNIVAL SPLENDOR

Tonya Scott                             12/11/2013 – 3/17/2014

Dana Honey                            3/17/2014 – 10/16/2014

 

CARNIVAL SPIRIT

Trevor Jones                            12/21/2013 – 2/10/2014

Natalie Carboni                       2/10/2014 – 6/25/2014

 

CARNIVAL TRIUMPH

Michael Geier                         12/2/2013- 2/1/2014

Agustin Villarin                      2/1/2014 – 8/16/2014

 

CARNIVAL VALOR

Carlos Marquez                       12/29/2013 – 2/16/2014

Walter Boik                             2/16/2014 – 5/11/2014

 

CARNIVAL VICTORY

Angela Johnson                       10/19/2013 – 4/14/2014

Robert Crucilla                        4/14/2014 – 9/25/2014

 

And my thanks to each and every one of the above entertainers who remain such an important part of our entertainment. My thanks also to Laura — aka Divetrash — who manages a Facebook page dedicated to them and the promotion of these wonderful performers.

 

I will have the latest CD schedule for you very soon.

 

May I take this one last opportunity to thank you all for the messages and cards of sympathy after my father’s sudden passing. I realise the last think you tune into this blog here is for sad tidings of sorrow from me but it would be amiss of me not to say something. It truly was a sudden passing. Yes, Dad had health issues, including Parkinson’s disease, but at 79 years of age, he was strong and determined and so when he passed in his sleep the morning of December 18 it was totally unexpected and nothing that my Mum or my sister or I or any of the family were prepared for.

 

You see looking back, I am astounded by my ignorance, but my only reference point to Parkinson’s was Michael J Fox and the odd visit to the E.R. I knew the disease made my Dad’s hands shake and not allow him to walk so freely but I had never bothered to ask Uncle Google or his doctors what Parkinson’s actually meant. And I think the reason for this was Dad was still at home, still being my Dad.

 

And while the disease did not allow him to make his beloved furniture or put together his model trains he could still drive, still talk, still hug my daughter Kye and play with her and well ……….. just be Dad. Yes he was older, smaller even but because he was not in the hospital but at home I never realised just how serious Parkinson’s really was.

 

There are times these past few weeks when I dream about him and talk to him. I talk to him and we laugh. I have a vision of him and how he would be in my life today. Then I wake up and remember. I need a few minutes to gather myself. It is in those moments that I let myself stop and think about what I’ve lost… Like many of you reading this, I am forced to cope with his loss, there is little else I can do. I have also learnt that when I sit with Mum and my sister Suzanne and talk about Dad that laughing is sometimes as important as crying. My Mum is being strong and although she can’t drive she is amazingly resolute and we will all support her as she starts her life living alone after 54 years of being with Dad

 

All this has made me think about……..well, me. I hope I poop off before Heidi because without her, there is no way I could look after myself. I don’t know how to cook, clean, iron, operate a washing machine, change a fuse or where the new roll of toilet paper comes from. I am glad that Dad didn’t suffer and that he never had to spend years in a home. While I’m sure there are lots of wonderful care facilities out there, I don’t want to go to the type of retirement home where you’re left to marinate in your own urine, while the “helpers” stand around texting their boyfriends, waiting for you to pass on but preferably not on their shift.

 

I am sure everyone here dreads ending their days in a home for the nearly dead wearing someone else’s false teeth. If I am lucky enough to reach 79 years of age like Dad, I think I may want to go the same way. Because if Kye says “Dad, we have found you a nice spot at The Lucinda Lace Retirement Home,” I will start drinking again, smoking 30 cigars a day and eating nothing but animal fat. Maybe we should have a have a happy hour for only those over age 75 where with pints of ThirstyFrog for 50 cents and let them smoke and have an hour of Frank Sinatra karaoke. You may spend the rest of the cruise in bed but that’s better than ending your days wasting away wearing a diaper.

 

I am proud of my family for the way in which we have managed to rebuild our lives amid the ruins and eventually we will learn to cope without a husband and a father. This will be my last mention of what has happened because this blog needs to get back to whence it came. But if I may say this before I go. My Dad was the most wonderful and, at times, infuriating man I have ever met. He influenced me, cared for me, bollocked me from time to time, but, ultimately, he taught vital truths and built a foundation for my life. Dad was inspirational and loving, passionately loving in a subtle understated way and absolutely, utterly deserving of my never ending love.

 

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

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57 Responses to THE RETURN OF THE BLOG

  1. jrk says:

    Beautiful John. Your father was a good man and raised you well.

  2. D Jones says:

    glad to see some concerts on the west coast.
    now how about a Carnival ship ported in San Francisco.

  3. Barbara Spedden says:

    Hi John,

    On my cruise on 2/16/14 I turn Platinum!! My cabin mate has never been on a cruise before and I am very excited to be sailing on Sunshine. I just returned a couple of weeks ago from Breeze, my favorite ship!!

    See you soon on your Bloggers Cruise!

  4. William (Bill) Geick says:

    Just something I hadn’t thought of till it happened. Sherrie and I closed out 2013 on our 13th Carnival cruise last month (Legend) and opened 2014 on our 14th Carnival cruise this month (Glory).

  5. Theresa Taylor says:

    Much love to you and Family. I know how you feel. If you would think of Heaven and seeing him again…whole and perfect… happy and joyful it helps.
    Now….on to concerts.
    It may seem odd to you… but an entertaining group called BLUEMAN GROUP would be of absolute fun on your ships. YouTube has examples. Offer earplugs or don’t get too exuberant with the sound team… but they are a visual…auditory marvel…and funny. Give it a thought. Hugs to you. See you on BC7
    Theresa Martin-Taylor….
    P.s…. remember the fart loading shirt? ;-)

  6. Teresita says:

    Welcome back, John!

    I would love to have seen Freddie Mercury and Queen back in the day–they were fabulous.

    Best concert ever: July, 2011. Paul McCartney at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Sir Paul rocked the house for 3 hours (no breaks, two encores) with a 100° heat index down on the field. Me and 40,000 new acquaintances had the time of our lives.

  7. Mike Kane says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your Dad. I know it’s worthless right now, but it does get easier as time passes. I lost my own dad to cancer in 2006. He was far too young, only 65, and I still miss him terribly, but the pain isn’t so sharp today, and mainly I find myself smiling wen I’m thinking about him and just feeling glad that I got to be his son.

  8. Brian says:

    I was impressed when carnival introduced the excursion guarantee, we have a family of 7 and have taken a cruise a year on carnival for the last 3 years. Most excursions are not really practical for us due to everything is multiplied by 7 and I thought this might help us do excursions we could not otherwise do. I found a competing excursion cheaper it was denied because I had to walk across the street to get transportation. It seems like they look for any reason to deny the request and honestly the arbitrary nature of the denial has made me upset. For me it would have been better if it was never offered than to offer it and look for any way to deny it.

  9. Angela Shelley says:

    I am wondering if Barry Miller is still employed at Carnival and his schedule. I also wanted to know about a photographer named Rodrigo Perez. He took beautiful pictures of my son and I when we cruised with him.

    On another note where did you elect to have your “birthday” dinner in NY…

    • Laura T says:

      Angela,

      Barry Miller is no longer playing on Carnival. Last I heard he was doing some work on Norwegian.

  10. Celine says:

    Welcome back to the blog, John… we’ve missed you.
    Yes I’m French and yes I’m Canadian, but please don’t hold that against me! Beiber is NOT my fault!! :)

    Looking forward to regular blog posts again. :)

    • Allan says:

      I agree with Celine, I too am Canadian, Please don’t blame Canada for Beiber! And if the Americans decide to deport him, We don’t want him back… That’s is all.

      Allan

  11. Melody says:

    Wonderful blog John! Mention your Dad anytime! I lost my Mom in August and she is always on my mind!!!!!

  12. Jennifer W says:

    To answer your question of the most memorable concert for me….I’ve been to SO many different ones w/ SO many different genres of music. But the one that stands out for me the most is definitely:

    CHER !! It was $100 a ticket and while I’ve never spent that much money on a concert before, it was WELL WORTH the money ! That wasn’t just a concert but a SHOW ! I was in constant awe of what was happening next. She is DEFINITELY a performer !

  13. Jose says:

    John, Welcome back as we have missed you. My son was inmate of the month at the county jail. Could I get a ship on a stick, champagne, strawberries, 2 seats by the window for dinner, reserved seating on lido by the pool?

    Not really, I am just glad your back. Not an entitlement mentality here.

  14. Melissa Dekle says:

    Hi John!
    My sister and I along with two other friends are cruising on the Fantasy on Feb. 11th to celebrate my sister’s retirement from teaching. Can you tell me if the shows have changed or will they be the same as we saw last year? Can’t wait to set sail!

  15. Marie Wolff says:

    John, it was so nice to see your blog back where it belongs. You, as always did a great job with information important to all Carnival cruisers. Welcome back!
    I also again want to send you my deepest sympathy on the loss of your wonderful father. I think your latest words in regard to the man that you loved beyond words was uplifting and beautiful.
    Marie

  16. Toby Tovar says:

    I noticed the first of the guest comments on this page was ” Scott Izzet Asks” I personally saw no asking in his note but all ” Telling & Demanding” Just because a guest is a Platinum gives them no right to be this rude. Asking and politely requesting are totally within reason but not the way this letter was put. Sorry you have to put up with B.S. like this.

  17. Tracy says:

    Most memrorable concrert Def leopard but the one I will never forget was Rick Springfield..he sure was a panty dropper.

  18. You have such a wonderful way of writing about your father. Makes me think of my own dad who is now 83. It is very touching to see this side of you–and to grapple with this life issue that I wil also face before long. Thanks for sharing with us. You know we all wish you well and send you prayers and good wishes.

  19. Cruzin2some says:

    Best Concert?
    There have been so many but the final performance of Joe Cocker with the Maddogs and Englishmen at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino, Ca. comes to mind. The swing was the venu that the Rolling Stones would start their tour of America at because the audience was right next to the stage. Bands that had never played in the US were amazed at the responce from the crowds. Like the song Smoke on the Water about how the stupid idiot with a flare gun burnt down the venu built by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. So with a sparkler thrown into the rathers strung with aluminum garland the place was burnt to the ground.

    San Diegos Charger Stadium had Jackson Brown, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles all playing together in one show.

    The list is long and diverse, and my memories of them are etched in stone. Great that Carnival is going to add some of these type memories to the list.

    The Cruzin2some
    Jim & Nancy

  20. Renee Kingsbury says:

    So glad you’re back to blogging! I’m so excited about the Carnival Live Program! Being that I’m around your same age, a lot of the bands are from my youth, which makes it even more exciting! The best rock concert I’ve attended was Van Halen’s 1984 tour. I was 10 feet away from David Lee Roth and it was awesome!

    I also wanted to mention how excited I am about the Sunshine coming to Port Canaveral! I’m booked on the Fantasy next month, but the Sunshine will most certainly be the next ship I board after that!

  21. Melody Crisman says:

    We all like to feel that we are your friends, and as your friends we will share in the hard times as well as the good times. Please don’t apologize for sharing your feelings.

  22. Teresa Donner says:

    I just recently cruised with 2 of your friends his name is Charlie and his wife I don’t recall her name though I was at their table for dinner They are getting ready to go on the Bloggers cruise. They are really nice couple I really enjoyed my cruise because of them (my cruise mate was sick most of the cruise). We cruised on the Triumph out of Galveston it was their 30th and my 4th. I would like to thank them and you we (my husband and myself) sailed with you once as well..

  23. Jane Smith says:

    Hi John,
    My husband and I are on the Dreams’ reposition cruise April 5th. Just wondering if there are only 2 formal nights since the cruise is for 9 days. This is our 9th cruise on Carnival, cruise 7 & 8 was a B2B on the Freedom last year, can’t wait for another B2B. We love cruising on Carnival!

  24. Gary says:

    John,
    I understand the Mongolian grill & Sushi bars have been removed on the Glory when they changed to the new dining. Are they going to do this on all ships? Sure hope not! Can’t wait for my back to back on the Freedom in 2 weeks.

  25. Alex G. says:

    John,

    Your dad was a great man who will always be with you in spirit. Thanks for sharing your story with us. God bless you and the family. Take care!

    -Alex G.

  26. Teresa Cooper says:

    God bless you John. You have been in my thoughts and conversation a great deal lately. I look forward to more blogs as I have missed them. :-)

  27. Elaine says:

    Let me start with saying I have been on 19 cruises with carnival and plan on may more!
    is it true that carnival will not be sailing out of Baltimore after Nov 2014? I sure hope not!

  28. sharon harrington says:

    John, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. My dad just passed away on Sunday. Although the grief is overwhelming, knowing they are in heaven is reason to rejoice. I bet your father will be watching you with pride from heaven! I am glad to see you writing your blog again. There is no one like you John, you are a wonderful inspiration to many of us! I am hoping to still go on my February 9th magic cruise….we have had it planned for a long time. Just not sure about leaving my mom. But I’ll decide soon. Take care of yourself and keep being you. You are loved John by do many of us!! Blessings, Sharon Harrington

  29. Thank you, thank you, thank you John. I’ve been waiting like a small child looking forward for Christmas. I had a big smile on my face this morning seeing that you and blog is back.
    In 4 days I’ll be on the Carnival Breeze ready for a fantastic vacation.
    When you mentioned about your dad, it reminded me about the loss of my mom whom we lost on November 7th, 2013. Just like you dad, she helped me grow to be the man I am now. But the difference is you still have your mum. My dad died in the year 2000 and with the loss of my mother, it completes the loss of my parents. I miss the a great deal but now I am the oldest of my family.
    One other question John. I’ve sent you many emails and you have never sent any sentence back. Just wondering.
    Well I’m very glad that you are back on the blog. That’s it for now my good friend.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  30. Eileene says:

    Glad to have the blog back, John. And I’m glad you mentioned your dad. Not everyone who reads the blog does Facebook, and the ones who care about you will appreciate that you shared. What you said about your dad at the end of the blog was beautiful.

  31. Cindy Hoofer says:

    Hello John, Glad to see the blog is back! We are so looking forward to our Carnival Victory cruise on Feb 13th!. We are doing the Chef’s table for the first time and I am sure it will be great (my husband doesn’t eat seafood but from the menu I saw on the different boards there is plenty of other items for him to eat). We had a very disappointing cruise on the Carnival Valor over Thanksgiving which almost made us jump ship(LOL) to a different cruise line this time but we want to give carnival another chance. I anticipate this cruise will be fantastic because if you go into a cruise thinking it will be bad I think you find reasons to make it happen. My condolenses on your loss and hope you have a great 2014

  32. Laura says:

    Welcome back! Counting the days to my cruise on 3/31 on the Carnival Victory.

  33. I agree with Lisa.
    My first cruise on the Carnival Miracle was the best vacation of my life.
    Carnival has a way of making it special!

  34. Rich says:

    Glad you are back and sorry to hear about your dad’s passing . Wonderful eulogy .

  35. Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    Condolances on your fathers passing. My Dad was the same way. At 87 years he passed after on the way back from a trip to New Mexico for some rumpy pumpy with a nice lady he had met online he fell asleep at two in the morning outside of Phoenix Az. and ran off the road and flipped the car several times. He survived the wreck and my uncle drove to pick him up but could not talk him into going to see a doctor. My niece went to check on him and he passed out so she 911ed him to the hospital. A few days later he passed away after I had to make the call to take him off life support. Nobody was ready for his passing as he was still chasing girls at 87 years young. The hardest part is realizing that you can no longer pick up the phone and just talk to him.
    All our best to you and the family.
    James & Nancy
    The Cruzin2some

  36. Fern says:

    Dear John, what you said sounds SO much like my Dad-you said:

    “My Dad was the most wonderful and, at times, infuriating man I have ever met. He influenced me, cared for me, bollocked me from time to time, but, ultimately, he taught vital truths and built a foundation for my life. Dad was inspirational and loving, passionately loving in a subtle understated way and absolutely, utterly deserving of my never ending love.”

    We were both VERY lucky to have such great Dad’s caring about us!

    We’re going be sailing on the Legend in August and are looking forward to a wonderful cruise!

    I would like to know if Jordan might be the Piano Bar player for this cruise? We enjoyed his playing so much on the Magic!

    (I’m glad you’re posting here again. I find it difficult to “plow” through all the Facebook post’s :(. ) Best wishes to Heidi and Kye :)!

  37. Lauren in Oregon says:

    John,
    Sorry to hear about your dad. Praying God gives you the peace that passes all understanding.

  38. felipe jalapan says:

    Condolence….

  39. so sorry about your recent loss. When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 47, the first thing I was told is that you “life with it” and “you don’t die from it” – Parkinson’s is complication but with maintaining med schedule, etc. people with PD usually die of other causes. I am currently on the Dream with my PD and making sure I take my meds on time to enjoy the full cruise…..

  40. We are on board the wonderful Carnival Magic this week!! We are relaxing and enjoying our spa cabin room 11238. We are Platinum Members and have been on the Magic 6 times!!!! Love it!!!!

  41. Carolyn Bickel says:

    Hi John,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. The tribute you wrote at the end of the blog was beautiful. He sure sounded like a wonderful man. Please know that you can talk about your dad any time you need to. We, your Carnival friends and family, would like to be here for you as much as you are here for us. You are going to have difficult days, and sometime chatting with a friend or thousands of them, helps. :) Take care. Hugs to you and your family. <3

  42. Linda Johnson says:

    We are going on our 3rd Carnival Cruise in the past 12 months. There are 7 in our group this time, it just keeps growing. We are on the Liberty March 1st. Can you tell me what are the shows being done on the Liberty?
    Enjoy your blog!

  43. What happened with my comment on this the very first new blog? Did I say something wrong?

    Paul

  44. Melissa says:

    I have to tell someone this. Dh and I went on our first cruise last May on the Liberty. We loved it. We were worried about the whole it’s the Walmart of cruising. Completely false. Trust me if it had been similar to walmart, my husband would have been flipping out as he hates walmart. We also didn’t find it to be nothing but a huge party cruise. So if anyone has these problems please relax. Our next cruise is in May on the Glory. This year is my 40th birthday and our 24th anniversary. Lots of reasons to celebrate.

  45. Michael Kendrot says:

    John,

    We just returned from the January 18th sailing on the Breeze, and I want to convey my gratitude to all of the employees of Carnival who made this cruise a fantastic experience. I would especially like to thank the Blush Dining Room staff, Zoltan, Jay and Putu who provided outstanding service to us. To our surprise Zoltan remembered us from last year when we took our cruise on the Glory as he was also our waiter on that cruise. Carnival for us has been a great choice for our vacations and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Again, thanks to all for a great cruise and John thanks for your great and extremely funny blog.

    Michael

  46. Cheryl Pease says:

    Sorry to hear about your Father! Glad you have a family to help you through this difficult time!

    Cheryl

  47. Tim says:

    Lovely passionate words about your dad, John. All the best. Tim & Rosy

  48. joshua rito says:

    I did not like how you had to pay for the internet but i like the clubs. I like the ps4s, ps3s but the games werent all that good. i also didnt like how you had to pay for water we need water so now we pay or we die ids that the sistuation i understand how its buiness but did it come from heaven or something what so good about this water. finally the rooms are very small i kept hurting myself. even in the internet cafe we have to pay for wifi i have friends i want to talk to back home but i can’t. the food is good but they reserved a whole area of the buffet for just 3 people. overall if i had to rate it out of 5 i wouuld give you 1 star

  49. joshua says:

    hi john so far the only thing i like about the cruise is stopping off and the teen club but the games arent even that good. plus i have to pay for water i need water to survive what makes this water so special. and the fact that is so mucch for internet makes me kinda mad i have friends back home i need to talk to and im pretty sure i speak for every one when i tell you that the rooms are to small and i wanted those carnival bags the but i had to sign up for a credit card thing i needed is to hold my things. i like buffet but i don’t like how you reserve it for the kids club so that only in instructors could sit and eat. even in the internet cafe i have to pay for internet and the only things i can do for free is look at carnival stuff. and the serenity is just relaxing whats so speacial about that. in conclusion i want to tell you free water , free internet and i cant stress this enough BIGGER ROOMS!!!!!!!!!!!.

  50. Lorraine says:

    HI John,

    My family and I are taking our first cruise ever on the Valor this Sunday and while we are very excited, I cant help reading all the miserable blogs from people who have taken the valor in the past several weeks and are not happy with the food, the ship or the staff. Am I missing something, because I read so many great and wonderful blogs about other ships through Carnival, but not so much with the Valor. Am I in for a horrible time…I will never get my husband to do another holiday again if this is not a success. Being British myself, I trust your response and hope to hear from you before we sail.

    Thanks,

    Lorraine

  51. BOB TIBBS says:

    I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET MY PAST HISTORY ON HOW MANY CRUISES I HAVE TAKEN WITH CCL, WITH COMPLETE NEGATIVE RESULTS. MY WIFE AND I JUST RETURNED FROM OUR SECOND CRUISE THIS MONTH, TODAY. CCL HAS DETERIATED, TERRIBLY FROM WHAT IT WAS SEVERAL YEARS AGO. OUR DINNER MATES WERE NOT IMPRESSED EITHER. CELEBRITY IS LOOKING BETTER AT THIS TIME.

  52. Jennifer Pavlica says:

    Just wondering something about the Carnival Live concert series. On my sailing the concert starts at 9pm. I am late dining. Are they going to adjust dining times for people attending the concert or will we be shuffeling through the buffet on concert day?

  53. Louie Alers says:

    We had such a great time on the Carnival Sunshine,that I went book another trip on the spot !
    This time we book a suite on the Carnival Valor out of Puerto Rico looking forward for more fun !!!

  54. Paul says:

    Hi John, my wife and I along with several friends cruised with you on the Triumph back in 2000 and had a great time. I was wandering if you remembered the play you put on ? We laughed so hard our side ached ! The line was ” I’m going to kill you” and it was just read with no emotion. You said say it again but with venom ! So he said ” I’m going to kill you with venom !”
    Anyway it was funny, but you had to be there ! We were and it was fun. Thanks so much, you were I great cruise director. Also , sorry to hear about your Dad. Dads are special, sounds like yours was and you only get so much time with them but you have the great memories. With regards …Paul

  55. Olivia says:

    John, What will the elation get for funship 2.0, also.. What month will she get the drydock? My family has sailed the elation 4 times. We might sail, only if it gets most of it.

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