PIANOS, SEAGULLS AND SCHEDULES

May 1, 2014 -

John Heald

Carnival Miracle was built in Finland and, let me tell you something about the Finnish, they really were brilliant ship builders and, although once quitting time came around, they might like to hoist a pint or two (or three) but when they worked, they were as dedicated as anyone I’ve ever seen to become superb builders of sea going vessels — and indeed still are.

 But as I walk around Carnival Miracle and admire their work, which has stood the test of time here for sure, I can’t help but remember the difference between how the ship builders were during the week vs. how they were on the weekend (which you could probably say the same for a lot of European nations not to mention the U.S.). Their motto seemed to be that it was no use drinking the odd glass of beer now and then, it was too expensive and a waste of time. So why not wait until the weekend and drink 10 beers and a bottle of vodka and so that is exactly what they did.

 The men and women who built the beautiful Carnival Miracle were fantastic. Their work was faultless, but come the weekend, it is another story. They would fill Coke bottles up with vodka and Coke……and that was to drink on the bicycle ride home. Some were so pissed (that’s the British pissed) that they rode home on their bikes….backwards. After the Ukraine, Mr. Putin should think about invading Finland. I would suggest he do so between November and February because no bugger is awake…………….although you could also invade in June as well because everyone will be on holiday and too drunk to care.

 The one thing that really makes me laugh here is the elevators. On the Fincantieri-Italian built ships the voice they used is soft and welcoming but here on the Carnival Miracle, the voice that they use to tell you what deck you’re on is a voice owned probably by someone from Germany called Frau Dickov who shouts that you have arrived at “DECK SEX.”

 But the ship looks great and some of the ship’s lounges show Joe Farcus at his madcap best.

Yesterday I spoke about the wash cloths and, no, we will not be taking them away as was suggested on some of the comments. It was just my observation for living in a guest cabin that I obviously do not often get a chance to do. I also noticed I have more chargers and adaptors than a Rolling Stones roadie – is one power point not enough?

 The Carnival Comfort Bed was far more comfortable than the bed I just slept in at the Vancouver Hyattintercontinentalmarriott. People who slam cabin doors should be forced to walk along Promenade Deck wearing the Fun Ship Freddy head…..nothing else, just the Fun Ship Freddy head. It is the little things that they do in hotels that really get on my nerves and one of those has now been adopted on the ships. Why do we push the garbage bin in the cabin all the way under the stool and under the dresser? This means because I am incapable of bending down, I have to literally sit on the floor, pull the bin out and then heave myself up again. And when I come back to the cabin at night, my stateroom steward, Ketut, has put the sodding thing all the way under the stool and the dresser again.

 OK, enough of my moaning. Time for some Q and A………….let’s see what today brings, shall we? Off we go.

 Jennifer Wyss asks:

Jennifer Wyss

First of all, I have only been on one cruise, Carnival Liberty, and LOVED it. However, I did find it odd that the ONE water slide they had was closed so early every night, by 6 or 7 if I remember correctly.  I will be taking my sons and the rest of my family with me on Carnival Sunshine in September and was wondering if SportSquare and WaterWorks are also going to shut down early?  I have been told on FB that these usually close around dark.  If that is true, why?  They offer so much entertainment for people and does not make a whole lot of sense to shut down entertainment venues so early as there is not a ton for people to do at dark, especially the kids or

young at heart adults.  Also, how come Guy’s Burger Joint and other Lido deck dining venues close by 6?  Is it like this on ALL this ships?  A lot of people eat later than 6 pm and it seems that even 7 or 8 pm would be a lot more reasonable, especially on port days.  I am not trying to be one of those annoying people that just like to bitch, but it just seems like some of the most popular activities/dining areas, close so early. Is it possible this could be changed even an hour to two later?  Maybe it was just the Carnival Liberty and I will be in for a pleasant surprise on the Carnival Sunshine (keeping fingers crossed).  Thank you for reading this and have a great day.

John says: 

Hello Jennifer Ways

I am so glad to see that you have enjoyed your cruise on the Carnival Liberty and are looking forward to the Carnival Sunshine which has so much to offer you and your family. Now you mentioned the opening times of the water park which on the ship are from 9 am – 6 pm. We really cannot keep this open any later for operational and manning reasons as well as safety when climbing the stairs at night. Hopefully, the nine hours that these brilliant slides will be open will be enough for you all to enjoy. As for Guy’s burgers, we also have them open from noon – 6 pm and there are many more great dining options available at night as well already. It should be noted as well that our crew can only work a certain amount of hours as per maritime labor regulations. I can assure you that you and the family will have the most fantastic time on the Carnival Sunshine and the fun will be non-stop. Please let me know if you need anything. Best wishes to you all.

John

 Patricia Liefield asks:

Hi John,

Were you the cruise director on the Carnival Fantasy in July 1991 (over the 4th of July)?  That was my first cruise.  We were on our honeymoon. 

Regards,

Patricia

 John says:

Hello Patricia Liefeld

Yes, indeed, I was. That was a long time ago and I hope you are both doing well and that one day we will cruise together again. Best wishes.

John

 Linda Suren asks:

 So no veggie burgers on the Carnival Breeze. Did you know meat makes men impotent? It does, you should check that fact out. I’ve been to some fab places where vegetarians are welcomed. The Carnival Liberty ship is not one of those places

 John says:

Hello Linda Suren

I think had I read this some years ago, I may have had to agree with you because back then, vegetarians were not exactly spoiled for choice. But even though we do not serve a veggie burger option at Guy’s Burger Joint, we have many different choices for our vegetablists to enjoy and, for the very most part, I hear nothing but positive comments about this. As for meat making you impotent ………….wow, I had no idea and I have eaten lots of burgers so now I am worried. Hold on; let me pop on over to www.nakedlatvianladies.org………….back in a moment. OK, I am back and I can confirm that despite eating meat for many years, everything works just fine. Thanks, Linda, hope we see you soon for another wonderful cruise. Best wishes.

John

 Ted Caffyn asks:

John- A bunch of us are sailing on the Carnival Liberty August 30. Any chance you can sneak on and hang with us for a couple of days? I get a kick reading your posts and am impressed how well you keep your cool and you sound like a fun guy to BS with. Your first round will be on me. But you got to cover your own cruise cost….. LOL!

Ted

 John Says:

Hello Ted Caffyn

I wish I could be there with you, Ted, and I am sure you will all have the best of times. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.

John

 Alana Blake asks:

Carnival Pride will be coming to my home port of Tampa.  It is listed to go to dry dock for 2.0 upgrades in 2014.  Can you tell me the dates?

 John says:

Hello Alana Blake

Carnival Pride will be in dry dock from October 19 until November 9 and the ship will get a host of Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades like Alchemy Bar, Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Rum Bar among others. Best wishes.

John

 Kelly Ems- Wood asks:

John-

I have two questions:

1.  I have a cruise booked on the Carnival Sunshine Feb7, 2015. Every time I try to go to book shore excursions, nothing shows up, no ports, no excursions. Is there something going on with that sailing?  I have two other cruises booked on the Carnival Sunshine prior to then and one on the Carnival Victory in May and the shore excursions show up, no problem. I asked my PVP and she has no idea why either.

 2.  Another question my PVP couldn’t answer is why the full cruise schedule isn’t out past April 2015?  I’d like to book a cruise while on my May cruise, for next May but since you got rid of the Future Cruise Certificates (extremely disappointed, plus it’s taking business away for the shoreside PVP’s) I need to see my options and decide prior to getting on the ship, so I’m ready to book when I see there is no line at the desk.

 PS – Carnival Sunshine is the best ship yet!  Sailed on her in January, now have 3 more booked on her,(possibly more if you’d release the schedule!)  Please get the schedule out soon, I made Platinum VIP in 4 years, would like to be Diamond in the next 4!! I’m pretty excited about that since I live in Nebraska!!! Thanks!

Kelly Ems-Wood

 John says:

Hello Kelly Ems – Wood

Let’s start with question number 1– the shore excursions for your cruise will be up by the end of October at the very latest. We are working on new excursions and finalising everything for 2015, so please don’t worry and also do let me know if, after they are posted, you have questions. There is no news of the Future Cruise Certificate returning, I am afraid. The beards are very much aware that they are missed, so we shall see if anything changes in future days. The full schedule for all the ships in 2015 will be available by the middle of May and I will keep you informed. Finally, I wanted to thank you for your loyalty and congratulate you on reaching such a high status in such a short time. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

 Noel asks:

Hi John, I’m going on the Carnival Breeze in June and was going to try to get Faster to the Fun but it’s sold out. I notice suites get VIP boarding and we have a premiere vista balcony room which are very much more expensive than a normal balcony. We should be able to get quick boarding. Is there any way to even get Faster to the Fun?

 John Says:

Hello Noel

Thanks for asking. We only sell approximately 15 cabins on this program but please do keep checking back just in case we have some cancellations or we may add a few more spots. I hope you have a brilliant time and please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.

John

 Neil Weiser asks:

While on my vacation cruise on the Carnival Sunshine, I attended the Friends of Bill W meeting which I was astonished and angered to discover was being held in the Library Bar. Yes, Heald, your people held a meeting for Alcoholics Anonymous in a frigging bar. The cruise environment is challenging enough without this!!!!!!!!!!! There is evidence that people who really stick to the AA program do well and the sanctimonious idiots who planned our meetings there obviously have no experience or care for those of us who suffer this disease. I have another cruise booked on the Freedom in August!!! Can you get it right this time!!!! Booking # Freedom ******

 John says:

Hello Neil Weiser

I can see just how upset you are by what happened and for that I sincerely apologise. I realize, as does Carnival, just how important these meetings are and, certainly, we always do our best across the fleet to provide places and times to meet. The problem with this is that just about every single guest lounge and space on Carnival Sunshine has a bar or drinks service there. We don’t have the conference room or chapel on this ship as we do on others and the Library Bar is an excellent space much enjoyed by our guests but, obviously, not the best place for a Friends of Bill W meeting. Unfortunately there is nowhere else to do this on Carnival Sunshine but, on the Carnival Freedom, the meetings are in the conference room which does not have a bar in it. Please let me know if you have any other concerns and I will be here to help you. Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.

John

 Kimberly Wright asks:

Hi John,

We are going to be on the Carnival Valor April 27, 2014, and this cruise will mean more to me than any other cruise I have been on because, just four weeks ago, I had colon cancer surgery (they got it all, caught it in time). The thing I looked forward to the most through my journey was to be able to go on this cruise. I was wondering if I could please have a ship on a stick for memories BOOKING NUMBER ******/ CABIN NUMBER 7330. Cheers.

Kim Wright

 John says:

Hello Kim Wright

I just saw this and am so glad I did and will send this to the ship. Many congratulations and I wish you many years of health and happiness. Best wishes.

John

 Wayne Kuppblatt asks:

Evening, John. Thank you for coming back to us and confirming Carnival will not be returning to the Med in 2015. After spending two weeks on the beautiful Carnival Sunshine last summer, we found this news heart breaking as we had the most amazing cruise in our 10 years of cruising and only our first with Carnival. We have now set our hopes on returning to the Carnival Sunshine next summer and are willing to fly to meet up with her. Do you know where the Carnival Sunshine will be sailing from August 2015 and when the cruises will be going on sale? Thank you for your time in reading this and hopefully you are able to shed some light on things.

 John says:

Hello Wayne Kuppblatt

Carnival Sunshine will remain in Port Canaveral in 2015 and will enjoy cruising in the Caribbean. Cruises will be available to purchase from the middle of May and I will keep you informed. I totally understand your disappointment about us not being in Europe; I feel the same but let’s see what the future brings. Until then, I am here if you have any questions and I hope to see you soon. Best wishes.

John

 Hattie Marek asks:

Loyola High School in Los Angeles has a very special lady who celebrates her graduation and her acceptance into Jacobs School of Music, Lawrence University, New England Conservatory. Her name is Grace Ann Marek and you will be pleased to know that we have decided to celebrate her graduation as a family on your Carnival Breeze ship 8/15 in room E73. I would like to request your kindness be bestowed on us and, to complement this celebration, that she be allowed to sing at one of the shows on the big stage. She will bring an hours’ worth of music for all generations to enjoy and experience and I promise Grace Ann will be the talk of the ship after she has performed. Can you expedite an answer so we can discuss her sound and music requirements which I hope can be with the live band players? I can be contacted at ___________ Thank you, you will not be disappointed and neither will be the Inspiration passengers who will hear a star with a voice sent to her from the heavens.

 John says:

Hello Hattie Marek

You must be so very proud of your daughter and I am sure she will have a wonderful future bringing music to others. Unfortunately, our shows are all pre-designed and entertainers booked ahead of time so I really do not have a space for her to perform. We do have karaoke which may not be what you are looking for but, with this activity being so popular, I am sure she will have a big audience to sing to. I hope that is OK for you and I wish you all the most fantastic time.

Best wishes to you all.

John

 Karen Latendresse asks:

Hi John, I have just booked a cruise on the Carnival Valor for next February. I have heard two different stories about Carnival Valor and any possible 2.0 upgrades. Is Valor scheduled to get these upgrades before we board? My husband loves Guy’s burgers and the Alchemy Bar so he will be disappointed if they aren’t there…..As I said to our PVP, it isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but it is nice to have. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer.

Karen

 John says:

Hello Karen Latendresse

At the moment, there are no plans for the Carnival Valor to have a dry dock. Now, this could change for next year and, if and when it does, I will let you know. Carnival Valor is, regardless, a terrific ship with an incredible itinerary from San Juan. Thanks so much for writing to me and please let me know if you need anything. Best wishes.

John

 Frank Lutz asks:

Can you tell me who the cruise director for the pacific crossing to Australia will be on Carnival Legend? On Carnival Spirit, we had Stuart Dunn and he was excellent. Is he with us again?

 John says:

Hello Frank Lutz

Most of the CD schedule is not yet complete for the later part of this year, however, I can tell you that the CD for this voyage and in Australia will be the very talented Eli Sharplin who is from New Zealand. Have a great time with him and on this wonderful voyage. Best wishes.

John

And that’s your lot for today

 I thought it was time we updated the piano bar schedule so with thanks to the beards in the office for sending it to me……..here it is;

 Carnival Breeze

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

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

8/16/2014        11/16/2014       PianoBar     Adam Sayer

 Carnival Conquest

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

6/15/2014        10/26/2014       PianoBar     Jason Buckalew

 Carnival Dream

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

6/15/2014        9/14/2014         PianoBar     Kimberly Krohn

9/14/2014        12/14/2014       PianoBar     Barry Meijer

 Carnival Ecstasy

7/14/2014        10/10/2014       PianoBar     Elizabeth Setzer

 Carnival Elation

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

7/26/2014        9/25/2014         PianoBar     Zdrazko Spassov

 Carnival Fantasy

3/25/2014        6/27/2014         PianoBar     Anthony Crofoot

6/27/2014        8/18/2014         PianoBar     Peter Zwerver

 Carnival Fascination

4/24/2014        9/18/2014         PianoBar     Jonathan Thompson

9/18/2014        11/13/2014       PianoBar     Hailey Morgan Wiebe

 Carnival Freedom

5/3/2014          8/3/2014           PianoBar     William Seth Gibson

 Carnival Glory

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

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

9/13/2014        12/13/2014       PianoBar     Edmond Holz

 Carnival Imagination

7/10/2014        11/13/2014       PianoBar     Daniel Satterberg

 Carnival Inspiration

4/21/2014        5/5/2014           PianoBar     Richard Weinman

  5/5/2014        8/29/2014         PianoBar     Christine Hetfield

 Carnival Legend

2/16/2014        8/17/2014         PianoBar     Todd Fugate

8/17/2014        9/24/2014         PianoBar     William Seth Gibson

9/24/2014        12/16/2014       PianoBar     Gary Pickus

 Carnival Liberty

4/12/2014        7/27/2014         PianoBar     Barry Meijer

7/27/2014        10/18/2014       PianoBar     Milburn Dumas

 Carnival Magic

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

6/8/2014          9/14/2014         PianoBar     Robert Berhalter

9/14/2014        12/7/2014         PianoBar     Ben Gentry

 Carnival Miracle

3/1/2014          7/1/2014           PianoBar     Adam Sayer

7/1/2014          11/2/2014         PianoBar     Bistra Mileva

 Carnival Paradise

3/31/2014        8/18/2014         PianoBar     Tom Grable

8/18/2014        9/15/2014         PianoBar     Steve Burks

9/15/2014        11/15/2014       PianoBar     Gustavo Garcia

 Carnival Pride

3/30/2014        8/17/2014         PianoBar     Roger Concepcion

8/17/2014        11/16/2014       PianoBar     Reynold Senn

 Carnival Sensation

4/3/2014          7/13/2014         PianoBar     Milburn Dumas

7/13/2014        7/27/2014         PianoBar     Bradley Dean Alexander

 Carnival Spirit

4/20/2014        5/18/2014         PianoBar     Geoffrey Davies

5/18/2014        6/25/2014         PianoBar     Natalie Carboni

6/25/2014        7/23/2014         PianoBar     Timothy Mitchell

7/23/2014        8/29/2014         PianoBar     Andrew Pobjoy

 Carnival Splendor

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

 Carnival Sunshine

4/9/2014          8/16/2014         PianoBar     Sophia Robbemont

 Carnival Triumph

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

8/16/2014        10/16/2014       PianoBar     Alan Sheppard

10/16/2014      2/5/2015           PianoBar     Robert Berhalter                                                                                                                                 

Carnival Valor                                                                                                                  

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

5/11/2014        6/22/2014         PianoBar     Greg Alcock

6/22/2014        9/7/2014           PianoBar     Edmond Holz

9/7/2014          12/14/2014       PianoBar     Greg Alcock

 Carnival Victory

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

9/25/2014        12/8/2014         PianoBar     Jordan Peterson        

Thanks to all of the above for the entertainment they provide and to Laura aka Divetrash for looking after them on their own piano players page. As always, I ask for your comments and input as to which of the above really gave you the best of times in their piano bars during your last cruise.

 As the days continue here and as I continue to learn I have realised two things. One and probably the most important, is that the cruise director does, for much of the cruise, take second place to the naturalist and understandably so. The guests here are excited, anxious even to drink in all the information on mountains, glaciers, whales, birds, bears and other wildlife and, Michelle, our resident expert, has a huge vat of knowledge to share with them. My job is to complement that information on the excursions, daily dollops of fun and maybe an announcement every time I see a piece of drift wood floating by.

 Secondly, I have also noticed that the people are not (as I was informed by others before boarding) in bed by 9:30pm. So I am looking at the shows and how to schedule them. Let me explain. You see the vast majority of the guests want to eat early. This is based on their age and because they want to get up early for excursions, I would imagine. The breakdown this cruise is:

 784 guests on early sitting

902 on Your Time Dining

420 on late sitting

 So to accommodate all of this, the managers here decided to move early sitting to 5:30pm and late sitting to 7:45pm, all of which has been welcomed by guests with zero negative comments recorded. I can also tell you that, of the 902 on Your Time Dining, most tend to come between 7 and 8 pm. So Brent, the fantastic cruise director here, and the office beards tried show times to accommodate that and they were as follows

 –        Late sitting guests see the show before dinner at 6:30pm

–        Early sitting guests see the show after dinner at 8:00pm

 This worked really well and, then again, it did not. Yes, the 8pm show was packed but the 6:30pm show was certainly not. Now I have to take into consideration that there were only 500 people on late sitting and not everyone comes to the shows. Sad, but true. But I think in peoples’ minds there was a feeling that 6:30pm was just too early, especially with it still being so light outside and with so much to see on this Alaskan cruise.

 And with so many on Your Time Dining eating between 7pm and 8pm I need to have a late show option for them as well, so I will be going with 8:15pm show times for early sitting and 10:15pm for late sitting and YTD…..after they have had dinner. Now, this may not work either and the late sitting show may still not be as full as I would like but I really want to give this a try.

I also have to work on the Punchliner Comedy Club times, music schedules, etc. but it is my intention to keep the music and events going as we do on Caribbean itinerary ships and keep the ship full of fun until late.

 It’s all about Alaska. I am, as I said, understanding that more and more and it reminds me so much of the Baltic cruises I did last year on Carnival Legend. But from what I have seen in Alaska so far, I absolutely made the right choice in coming here. It is beautiful, unspoiled, and in my opinion, so far, is that Alaska represents one of God’s finest hours and she/he must be very proud.

 But it’s certainly different than the Caribbean in some respects based on the following that we have to bear in mind when sailing the Last Frontier:

 Alaska

–     No announcements to outside decks in ports – except Skagway.

–     No music on outside decks in Tracy Arm Wilderness Area– Thursdays 10a.m. to 6p.m.

–     No announcements to outside decks in Tracy Arm Wilderness Area – Thursdays 10a.m. to 6p.m.  (Exceptions: a few mapped out areas in the Fjords where it’s OK – call Naturalist Michelle if you want to know when we are in those allowed areas for such announcements).       

Glacier Bay

–     No announcements or music as per park instructions.

–     Focus is on nature and the park – Rangers provide programs, displays, and sales from Visitor Center store on Lido Deck by pool throughout most of our time in the Bay.

 Birds

–     Gulls may mob the decks and balconies or seemingly beg for food while in Victoria as the ship docks. They will make a mess and can be aggressive.

o    Naturalist and CD will make announcements about not feeding the gulls.  

o    Ensure the food is cleared from the Lido tables.

–        Crows will come to the ship in Juneau – looking for food on any open decks (Serenity in particular) – Guests get the idea to feed them – remove food from the tables. Encourage guests not to feed crows (it’s not a good protocol for birds or environment).

–     Do not feed the birds (this can result in fines by the National Park Service) – gulls may come close to the ship when at the glaciers.

–   Good idea not to feed the birds anywhere along our route.

 Bloody hell, all those birds flying over us and crapping over the ship. In a way, it makes me kind of wish we still had trap shooting like back in the day.

 Your friend,

John

 

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46 Responses to PIANOS, SEAGULLS AND SCHEDULES

  1. Martha says:

    I can’t step on Miracle in September.
    One power point is not enough. For instance we will have CPAP machine and phones to charge. Plus I have to charge my camera, our little video camera, my laptop that I upload all pics and videos to. Not to mention our Kindles. On sea days it isn’t too bad, because you can come and go and shuffle it around. But, on port days it really is a PITA.
    I love that you are in Alaska now and it really makes us anticipate our trip reading about it.

  2. Becky P says:

    John, I am also a “friend of Bill W,” and I can tell you that it really shouldn’t matter where the meeting is held. If meeting in a CLOSED bar with LIKE MINDED people causes someone problems, then I would think that the entire cruise environment would not be the best for that person and perhaps he ought to rethink his vacation plans.

  3. Ralph says:

    Hattie Marek,

    I hope someone gives the Breeze crew A “heads up” …that the cruise you’re on…is gonna be “challenging”!!!

  4. Tom Head says:

    Tell Neil he needs to work his program a little better. No drinks were being served during the meeting. A closed bar is a great place for remembering the problems they once had. Pay attention to the principles of the program… 1 day at a time. I expect you are new…. Easy due it fellow. Life is good.

  5. Mike Kane says:

    Great blog John!!

    I’m a huge fan of your FB page and I love the frequent updates, but I missed the blogs.

    The blog (IMHO) really allows you to shine, your wit and personality come through in a way that the shorter FB posts just can’t capture.

    Thanks John, and I’ll see you in 40 days!!

  6. Lisa Beshears says:

    I wanted to say something about the comment on the AA meetings being held in the bars. I have been to meetings on all seven of our cruises and most of them were held in the library, with the exception of one in the chapel and one in a bar. Unfortunately the meeting that was scheduled in a bar on my cruise was actually open for business during the time of the scheduled meeting so I left quickly because of the reactions I got from the patrons in the bar. I really would not have a problem with a meeting in one of the bars as long as it was not open for business. I think if a meeting in a bar was a problem for me, I should probably not be on a cruise.

  7. Donna says:

    In for there to only have one plug. And my pet peeve? Where are the bedside tables for a book or glasses or a glass of water?????

    • Kathy Preis says:

      Donna, I use the little “cubes” that aren’t quite high enough for bedside tables but work okay holding my glasses, flashlight, book, etc. next to my comfy bunk. I always do a little moving of furniture when I first embark as my nesting ritual. Home sweet home!

    • Dominique says:

      Donna – Seriously…??? Ever heard of an extension cord? SMH The things you people find to complain about. Can you NOT go on a wonderful Cruise and JUST BE HAPPY and positive. Dang!

  8. Linda ( Mom of DJ ) says:

    John:

    Thanks for the piano list.

    We had an amazing cruise with Anthony Crofoot on the Carnival Fantasy in the Piano
    Bar. He is brand new with Carnival and we would love to have him on a ship in Galveston (closer to us)…instead of all the way in Charleston!

    He is only 22 years old and has the true heart of a showman!

    And I agree with the cabin door slamming. Perhaps a reminder on the back of the door would help? The worst issue we had with this was on a cruise where Mom and Dad were in an OV and kids were in an interior cabin across the hall.

    For an hour ( I am guessing while Mom and Dad were getting ready for dinner)….the kids ran out of the interior cabin letting the door slam…pound on the parents door…when the parents open the door, they would run in and then back out again slamming the door. They played with the doors so much, I was afraid the younger little girl was going to get her fingers slammed in the door. Sadly the parents were right there.

    On another musical note, I am sad that I missed Doug Trask on the Fantasy. He started his vacation a few months before we sailed. He is my favorite solo entertainer. While a whole list of solo entertainers ( like the piano bar) would be to much work, I wish there was a link on the Carnival website where we could find that information. Doug is definately someone that we would book a cruise just to sail with.

    Linda ( Mom of your friend DJ)

  9. Wendy Brewster says:

    John if the trash bin under the chair is hard to reach just use the one in the bathroom as we do. We would love it if the one under the chair was removed altogether.

  10. Mike Tarayos says:

    Hi John I hope your doing great I always follow your blogs on a pretty much daily basis as we always enjoy cruising on carnival and no matter how many times we have been are always thinking and planning to go again we just returned from our 19th carnival cruise onboard the Sensation our favorite Funship it my be a little old school but we like it that way we enjoy the way you post the schedules for the piano bars but just wish you could post the schedules for the live lounge bands such as Music Power who we really enjoyed on our last cruise thank you very much hope to cruise with you soon Mike and Elnora

  11. Carolyn F says:

    Great comment about the trash can John. Many of us would sing your praises if you could stop it being put under the stool and under the dresser!!

  12. Rick Williamson says:

    To Hattie Marek, Sorry I just don’t understand people like you on here from time to time asking that question of John. Please stop ask to do this. We are going on vacation not a tapeing of The Voice.

  13. Mike Ballash says:

    Hi John,
    Thank you so much for all the talking points about Alaska. My wife Laurie and I will be taking our 16th Carnival cruise and 3rd on the Miracle, joining you on the last Alaska cruise Sept 10th. We can’t wait, and reading your blog is getting us more anxious.
    We have been told by lots of friends that we needed to book a balcony so we booked cabin 5107. My question for you is, will we see enough from our cabin or will we be better off on the Lido Deck near Michelle, the naturalist?
    Thanks for all you do and we look forward to meeting you in September.

    • Kathy Preis says:

      To Mike Ballash asking about balcony vs Lido for viewing of the splendor of Alaska, having taken our 18th Carnival cruise on the Miracle last season for our 5th Alaskan cruise, I would say there’s nothing quite like the comfort of the private balcony. You’re protected from rainfall but still outside to enjoy the brisk air and hear the quietness of it all. However, there is a camaraderie that occurs with fellow passengers on Lido deck that should also be experienced. I guess “both” would be my answer to you.

    • Rick Drake says:

      We will also be on the September 10 cruise. Your balcony is on the side of the ship, which means that you will be able to see half of what the naturist is reporting. Your best view will be on Decks 10 and above.

  14. Becky Parkinson says:

    I took this cruise June 2013 and the only place we noticed the birds being bad was going into Victoria and it was mainly because someone was feeding them !!

    Alaska is a magical place John enjoy your summer there.

    • Mary Lou says:

      Spit out my coffee with garbage can complaint. We have been on 17 cruises and every day we move the can out and every day our steward moves it back. It has become our daily game. Have fun in beautiful Alaska.

  15. Fern says:

    Hello John, you asked, “Why do we push the garbage bin in the cabin all the way under the stool and under the dresser? This means because I am incapable of bending down, I have to literally sit on the floor, pull the bin out and then heave myself up again. And when I come back to the cabin at night, my stateroom steward, Ketut, has put the sodding thing all the way under the stool and the dresser again.”

    No, it’s NOT the most important thing about cruising, but I keep moving the “wastebasket” (aka the “garbage bin”) out from under the dresser and put it at the left end of the sofa. It never stay’s there :)! The next day it’s back under the dresser (which, like you, I can’t reach very well!)

    The Room Steward and I play this “game” all through the cruise. When I asked, I was told that when the Steward’s supervisor check’s their work, having the trash bin in the “wrong” place would be BAD! I’d think having it where the cruise passenger wanted it would be the “right” place!

  16. Betty Norman says:

    John, I love your blogs and would like to meet you on our cruise to Alaska July 15th 2014.
    We were on the inaugral cruise of the Breeze from Venice to Barcelona in 2012. We so enjoyed you and Calvyn. We are joining you in July for the Alaskan cruise. My husband and I are celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary. My husband is sooooo excited to be visiting Alaska. I hope to meet you.

  17. Brad Harzman says:

    Dear John,
    Thank you for all of the wonderful things you do. I’m cruising on the Carnival Magic this Sunday, May 4, in Cabin 9244. I booked the cruise a year ago when my children, my mom and I enjoyed a cruise on the Magic. I wrote you about the amazing service we had, and was able to give you everyones’ name so they could be rewarded as highly as possible.
    This time, my cruise will elebrate me earning my Masters’ degree and turning 52. I wonder if it might be possible to request something special from Carnival and the Magic to help commemorate these special occasions?
    Thank you in advance,
    Brad Harzman

  18. Marilole says:

    Linda Suren, never heard that meat makes men impotent. I think veggies turn some women like you, bitchy.. Live and let live. Why do you have to care if other people eats meat?

  19. Leon says:

    John, I’ve sailed 4 times this year and ready to book several cruises out of Miami, but the ships out of Long Beach have not had a future cruise desk. How do we take advantage of booking onboard when you don’t have a person to take our reservation? First the certificate goes away then the onboard booking. I just got off the Inspiration last Friday and want to book more with OBC.

  20. Hi John, just spotted we are both shortlisted in the Cruise Mag Best Cruise Blogger Awards so came over to say congrats! We met on Carnival Legend and we went on to become Carnival Uk’s funnest family. We’ve loved Carnival Sunshine and Breeze and I am really interested in an Alaskan Cruise next! Will beware of gulls!

  21. Jeanne says:

    We were just on the Miracle for our first ever Hawaiian cruise. We love this class of ship! I share your strong dislike of the trash can being shoved way under the stool. However, this isn’t a recent issue. I have battled the room stewards for the last several years on this. I move it so that I can dispose of the mountain of paperwork left all over my bed throughout the day. The next time the room steward is back in the room they shove it right back. I gave up on the fight on the Miracle.

    I wanted to take a moment her to mention a great young man on staff on the miracle. Benjamin was a joy to be around in various parts of the ship. He always made us laugh. While others who worked some of the same activities that he did, at times got a bit snippy with the guests, I never saw Benjamin get snippy even when it might have been deserved. His quick wit in handling situations was a joy to watch. He really seemed to know better than many how to talk with the guests and yet keep things moving. Whether he was directing an early morning craft time, hosting karaoke time in the evening, leading a trivia time on the ship, or overseeing a bean bag toss in the main lobby, it was a joy to be involved in the activities when he was around. I’m hoping that he stays with Carnival for many years to come and is recognized for how well he does at interacting with the guests. He is the first staff person in years that has really registered on our radar as being an individual that really stood out and made our cruise so much more fun. Carnival needs more people like him. Please, while you are on the same ship with him, would you take the time to let him know how greatly appreciated he was by our group. I personally enjoyed his daily dose of wit and humor enough that I might even brave another airline flight to be able to sail with him again.

  22. Cindy56 says:

    To Karen Latendresse: We were on the Carnival Valor in February and the places you listed are not there, however, it is a beautiful ship and you will have fun on it. Be warned, there are 5 ports and you will have a very jammed packed week except for Tuesday the only sea day so rest up and have a fabulous cruise!

  23. Julie says:

    To Hattie Marek,

    While I admire the obvious pride in your child, I can’t understand why you would think a ship of 5000 passengers would prefer seeing a high school student rather than professional trained performers. You expect Carnival to assemble a live band and go over “sound and music” requests for your child ? My daughter competes in horse jumping events and might I add is quite good at it (gold medal in her division finals). Carnival has had the pleasure of having her on board (LOL) several times. Never once have I requested they clear out the deck and set up a jump course so she could enthrall the passengers with her mad skills… Maybe I should request this next time… You can’t expect us all to have the same level of enthusiasm for your daughter. That’s a mamma’s job !

  24. Belinda Ray says:

    Hi John, I was told by a fellow cruiser recently that bar servers do not actually receive the tips that are automatically added to your bill when you order a beverage. Can you please tell me if there is any truth to this? My husband and I appreciate the hard work the entire crew do to provide us an enjoyable cruise. We show our appreciation through above standard gratutiies but would be disappointed to know that those we meant to show appreciation to we’re not the recipients. We will cruising on the Victory on September 11th. (Cabin 7399) and would like to know the answer before we go. Thanks so much!

  25. Bryan Cozzaglio says:

    Hi John,
    I just wanted to send you a note about our recent cruise. My wife and I were on the April 19th cruise on the Carnival Sunshine in cabin 7104. This was our 16th Carnival cruise. I loved the new Marketplace layout. The food service area never seemed crowded as other ships can be at breakfast and lunch. Overall the ship did at times seem to be more crowded than past cruises, possibly because of all the added cabins, but also probably due to kids being off for Easter break. The serenity waterfall is really a nice touch. The crew was very friendly and helpful.

    I want to give a big thank you to our room steward, Joey. He did a terrific job. He always addressed my wife and I by name whenever he saw us in the hallway, addressed any concerns we had (except for the sewage smell in our bathroom, which he said couldn’t do anything about) and always kept our room spotless.

    We had YTD and our wait team, Pornsawan, Nantana and Ketut made dinner an enjoyable event. We asked for them every night and there was only one night we weren’t able to sit in their section.

    Our cruise director, Jamie Dee – what can I say? She was phenomenal! I don’t know where she gets her energy, but she was, without a doubt, the most energetic and engaging cruise director I have ever sailed with!

    Although I have never won a genuine gold plastic ship, we did win at trivia in the Red Frog Rum Bar twice and thuroughly enjoyed the 100 oz Thirsty Frog!

    I am now waiting for our Legend Panama Canal crossing.

    Cheers,
    Bryan Cozzaglio

  26. Karen Clawson says:

    Hi John,

    We’ll be on the Miracle next week with you! Can you tell me if Carnival is doing anything special for Mother’s Day (we’re sailing with my in laws)? I know it’s elegant night but wasn’t sure if anything else is planned.

    See you in 4 days,
    Karen

  27. Debbie Moore says:

    So I saw in today’s comments that the Pride is going to Tampa after dry dock– is that correct? What ship will be sailing from Baltimore? We have sailed on the Pride, oh, 6 or 7 times (and have another coming up in September,not b/c it’s the Pride, but b/c we can drive to Baltimore. We have, however, come to feel as though the Pride is our ‘home away from home’ so we will miss her :( I just hope she’s being replaced in Baltimore!
    Thanks!
    Debbie

  28. Cliff Switzer says:

    Funny about the cabin doors slamming. Ypu have to remember to hold on to them as you exit, which is I’m guilty for nor doing so to let it close easy. Unledd it’s after 2300. I am programmed to thread lightly as usually the boss had beat me to bed! !

  29. J.B. Kelly says:

    Hi, John. I know the Carnival Elation is scheduled for a dry dock later this year. You mentioned previously that it will be getting new shows as well as Hasbro the Game Show. Can you share whether Elation will be receiving any 2.0 upgrades — specifically Guy’s Burgers and Blue Iguana Cantina? Thanks for any information you can share.

  30. Ken says:

    Friends of Bill W meeting in the library bar – should not be an issue. On the Sunshine, the library bar area is quiet, comfortable and very well decorated. If you are truly accepting the AA program, it will not matter where you meet. If you feel the temptation will be too much, then it is time for you to restart the program.
    Isolation is not the cure – only you can effect the cure.

  31. Susann says:

    John,
    You cracked me up about the trashcan drama. I thought all these years that I was the only one driven crazy with this. I’d pull it out and place in a convenient place for me, only to find it back under the stool twice each day.
    Happy to know it’s just not cranky me!

  32. William Holcomb says:

    John – as I write this, I am in my cabin on the Sensation. My wife and I took this trip on short notice, and as always the carnival team delivered. Please make sure that everyone on board knows what a tremendous job they do and how much it is appreciated. This was for my wife and I, a little getaway without our kids, and I could not imagine a better, more relaxing, fun way to spend some time together. Thanks for everything, and I am already counting down the days till we sail the 8 day sailing on the Sunshine this October.

  33. robin says:

    I am so proud of being a VIP of Carnival. I “use” Carnival..shhh. I have the pleasure of using Carnival for our Christmas/New Years, and Jason’s birthday which is sons Spring Break, this yr ( same week April 1st/14 we got married in Belize, Dream).Oh yeah, Halloween is just pleasure. So Thank You Carnival. You make our life easy and relaxing…Now here May 24/14. Will be our 8 day Honeymoon, Breeze..
    You see a trend! I making Carnival our tradition for everything I can.. Yes john,
    I lost my father 3 yes ago past in January, 1 yr this June lost my mother.. So I need Carnival

  34. Bruce Smoke says:

    I just had a quick comment about late seating clients going to the show before dinner – this sucks! I know that most cruise lines have made this change but it sure has messed up cruising for me! Before dinner is when I go to the martini bar for my one (1) martini before dinner, then it would be to the show afterwards. Now my evening is really messed up – I want my shows back after dinner please. I want my martini before dinner at the bar not at a show. Somehow the martini gets me ready for a great meal in the dining room! Just had to make a comment on the show changes – wish more cruise lines would keep the shows after dinner for both early and late sittings. I hope to be on the Pride out of Baltimore at the end of this month – can’t wait.

  35. Dan Wernery says:

    John,
    We will be sailing on the Miracle, Sept. 2 this year. Will you be on board? We hope so.
    Is Guy’s Burgers and the outside bar b que place (Jimmie’s???) on board? Didn’t see them on the Miracle page.
    Just curious, why are there no Alaskan cruises in July/August? A lot of poster’s were saying that Ketchikan wasn’t on the iteneraries during the summer. After looking, I didn’t see any cruises either….maybe I just wasn’t doing a good search.

    3m, 3w, 4d and counting. Yahoo!

  36. Robert says:

    John, the Friends of Bill W meeting is often scheduled DURING the evening dinner times. This should be scheduled BEFORE dinner so that ALL of the AA members may attend.

  37. Steve Elliott says:

    Hi John – We have booked a cabin on the Glory for Jan 2015 and so far there are no Excursions appearing. Can you tell me how far in advanced you allow us to book excursions?
    Also, when will the CD schedule for 2015 be available? We’re hoping to have you as our CD. If you are I’ll bring you a hand made wooden bowl I make as a gift .

  38. PEG says:

    Hello… was hoping that you can tell me when the 2014 cruise director list is coming out for the Glory in September? I have asked in the past and just got It should be soon.

  39. Larry Howell says:

    Hi John my wife and I just completed a fantastic cruise on Miracle to Alaska. We are seasoned travelers and really enjoyed your leadership and sense of humor. Sorry that we won’t get to have a fantastic dinosaur (lol)as our CD in sept. on our Hawaii trip. Keep up the good work and hopefully see you again soon.

  40. Jimmy Tedder says:

    hello, on the conquest the pianist was
    Debby Mac and i think she is there until october 2014.
    She was such a great entertainer and her piano playing is better than I’ve seen on cruise ships in the past.
    we made many visits to the piano bar just to listen to her play and she is good in so many different styles.

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