It’s not like me to start one of my blogs by being serious and not mentioning my dangly bits or moaning about the state of the world but today I feel I need to.

There have been a lot of comments on my Facebook page about our decision to have bottles of alcohol purchased from the shops on board or in the ports of call returned to guests on debarkation morning. The reason we’re doing this is pretty straightforward. Since we are not able to monitor the consumption of alcohol on the last night of the cruise – which can potentially impact the safety and well-being of all of our guests – we will distribute liquor purchased ashore and from the Fun Shops on the last morning of the cruise. While this may feel to some like an action we are taking to generate more revenue, the reality is just the opposite. Our overall changes to our beverage policy are not expected to result in any additional revenue in the end.

Now don’t get me wrong, I totally understand your concerns because, after all, debarkation day is a day that everyone already dreads. The cheery voice of the cruise director who tells you it’s time to say goodbye. The line to get off the ship and then the line to present your passport to U.S. Customs & Border Protection and then that sad journey home as you cling to the memories of fun, food and brilliant friendly service. So to add an extra step to go through on debarkation morning has some of you upset, and I get it, I really do. And the beards get it, too, believe me.

But please, everyone, let us at least try this first. Let the crew work as hard as they always do and let them make the collection of your liquor go as smoothly as possible. If it does, tell me please. If it does not, tell me that, as well, and I will pass your comments and concerns along to be beards. Either way, we have to try this first to see if it will work. I know change is difficult for some and I am happy to remain your pin cushion, glad to have you vent to me and happy to receive the harshest of comments.

Time for today’s Q & A, or as it should be called today, “John Gets A Bollocking” ……………. away we go.

Beverley Munn asks:
I read that Carnival intentionally keeps lines long, tendering processes slow, and rooms unavailable to keep demand for Faster to the Fun high. Is this true?

John says:
Hello Beverley Munn

Ahhhh, conspiracy theories, you have to love them. This is absolutely not true. We only sell approximately 15 cabins for Faster to the Fun and they sell out virtually every cruise weeks in advance. So please, wherever you “read” this, would you let the author know this is incorrect. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.

Susan Ellis asks:
John: I researched information on my 11-day cruise on Carnival Dream, about room 8475. Only thing I could find, was a negative post about the black soot on the balcony, and how it covered the chairs and anything else out there! Also, the carpet was dirty due to the soot! Please let me know if this is an accurate problem with the room I have chosen!



John says:
Hello Susan

I am glad that you have written to me so I can set your mind at ease. The cabin you have chosen is a wonderful cabin on a superb ship. I have no doubts you will have the most wonderful time and please do ask me if you have any other questions or need my help. Best wishes.


Troy Powell asks:
Hi John: My family and I are sailing on Carnival Legend in late June.  Any idea when the Hub App will be rolled out onto Carnival Legend?  Thanks!!

John says:
Hello Troy Powell

All though the Fun Hub app is doing brilliantly and proving very popular on the Carnival Breeze I am afraid it won’t be on Carnival Legend in time for your cruise. I do wish you the most super time cruising Alaska and, if there is anything I can do for you please do ask me. Best wishes.


Claire Grogan asks:
I so agree with Paulette when she says you have a vendetta against us vegans. You need to realize that there is a trend towards making more compassionate food choices, as people realise they can thrive nutritionally on a plant-based diet. A study showed the number of vegans doubled in 2014. If this trend continues, along with the environmental pressures and human health interests, our food industry is quickly heading in a new direction. The damage animal agriculture is doing to our ecosystem, and the rate it is depleting our supplies of fresh water and other resources is causing some scientists to predict the world’s population will have to switch to a plant-based diet by 2020 as a meat and dairy diet is simply unsustainable. Studies show that animal agriculture is responsible for 50 percent of global warming as well as deforestation, soil erosion and oceans so polluted with billions of tons of animal feces pouring into them that large dead zones are appearing where nothing can grow. I want Carnival to start expanding your range of choices suitable for the hundreds of vegans who cruise your ships and maybe then this will encourage more of your customers to do the right thing and become vegan too!!

John says:
Hello Claire Grogan

I truly have no problems with people wanting to be vegans but to me I think there’s still room for all sorts of diets, both vegan and non-vegan alike. Carnival respects, as do I, the choice to be a vegan and we have certainly improved our vegan options in recent times. If you have suggestions on other ways we can improve with specific menu items please do tell me and I will make sure the chef sees them. Thank you for speaking your mind and allowing me to do also. Best wishes.


Jenna asks:
John: I’ve been sailing with Carnival for a while now. I think my first cruise was… well, I know we did the Big Red Boat, and I remember in 1999 we did the Carnival Sensation (I think), but I honestly couldn’t tell you which the first one was. I was really only a kid – maybe eight or nine. But I’ve been very blessed. My parents loved to cruise, and sometimes they even liked to take me along – they took me on nine cruises as a child, up until I was in high school. I wasn’t able to join them in college, as those years weren’t great with the economy, and money was tighter than before. But now, I’m a proper adult with a proper job, and I can afford to take my own vacations.

I was able to convince my partner, my terrified-to-swim girlfriend who was convinced the best vacation was a very dry one, to go on a quick four-day cruise in 2013 so I could catch up with my mom and dad and finally be Platinum before the rules changed on me. (They are probably on their 30th Carnival cruise by now!) I’m so glad we did. We had such a good time, and the little touches of love and appreciation shown by Carnival were such extra cherries on top of a delicious ice cream-y good vacation. (Tell the beards! We love the priority boarding – we’ve decided that, as long as that’s a perk, we’ll never cruise with anyone else. It makes us feel safe, as young adults traveling alone, and very, very special and appreciated.)

Our next cruise is longer, an eight-day on Carnival Sunshine. It’s a special cruise for me. The Carnival Destiny was my parents’ honeymoon cruise, and Carnival Sunshine is where I want to propose to my girlfriend. (I’d ideally like to marry her on Carnival Vista in Europe, but, hey, she has to say yes first!) John, I am just a girl who wants to ask her princess to marry her. I’m not a millionaire, or a celebrity, or even a Diamond cruiser… But I know you care about people, and I hope maybe you’ll care about love. I don’t even know what I’m asking for here, but I’m hoping maybe you can help me in some little way… make this cruise unforgettable. Do you think you could find it in your heart to help me make her dreams come true??

John says:
Hello Jenna

What a wonderful story and it would be my pleasure to help you with the proposal and make those dreams come true. Please would you contact me on my page two days before the cruise and I will speak with the cruise director and, between us, we shall see what we can do. Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you both many years of happiness together. Best wishes.


Linda Bailey asks:
Hi John: I recently spent 33 days on Carnival Triumph in February and March.  I noticed that in the casino, the smoke was not as bad as other ships I have sailed on even during the 12-day Premier Club cruise. Carnival Triumph casino had several air filters that were filtering and recycling the air. It really helped keep the smoke level down.  I mentioned how helpful they were to Carlos, the senior executive casino host, and he was going to pass on the positive feedback. That said, with all the controversy on the smoke in the casino, are there plans to put these filters in all the ships casinos? I, for one, would really appreciate it.  Thanks for looking into this or passing it along to the beards.  And thanks for all that you and your brilliant staff of cruise directors do to make every sailing an enjoyable one!  I appreciate your consideration.

Linda Bailey

John says:
Hello Linda Bailey

I hope you had a wonderful time on the ship and may I thank you for spending your valuable vacation days with us. I agree that some of the ships have better ventilation in the casinos than other ships do, so this is very useful information. I will be passing this to all the right people and hopefully we can duplicate what the Carnival Triumph does. Thanks again and I do hope we see you soon. Best wishes.


Chad Lee asks:
Good afternoon, I just came off of the Carnival Freedom May 2-9. We had Joseph from the Philippines for our waiter in the main dining room. I wanted to give this individual a compliment. He went above and beyond to make sure that we have the best experience possible. He took out the time to get to know us and remembered our names. People like this make the vacation even more enjoyable. Please make sure this gets back to management. Thank you.

John says:
Hello Chad

I will indeed and thank you so much for taking the time to write. I will make sure that not only Joseph sees this but his managers do as well. They will all be thrilled. I hope you had a brilliant time and that we see you again very soon. Best wishes.


Robin Ellis asks:
Dear John: I am a Platinum cruiser (in the future, but I always wanted to write that! No complaints at all. I go on vacation to have fun, not to worry about what other people wear or do! I do need some advice, though. My daughter will be getting married on Carnival Triumph in June. We’ve all cruised before, and we are blessed that she has invited all of us to cruise along with them! Carnival’s wedding coordinator and information is very thorough, and it seems like everything will be taken care of. As a mom planning her daughter’s wedding, though, I want to make sure it goes off as smoothly as possible! Do you or your fans have any tips for Carnival weddings? What can we do, think about, plan for, or bring to make this the best day of her life? We’ve been on several Carnival cruises as a group but not for such a special event! Oh, and we’ll try not to bother other people, but if we do, they should either join the party or vacation in their closet, away from everyone in the world! Thank you!

John says:
Hello Robin Ellis

I want to thank you for sharing this most important of days for you and your family with us at Carnival and I know my colleagues on the ship will make sure it all goes superbly well. Please let me know the happy couple’s cabin number the day before the cruise on my page if you can and I will be sending your kind words to all the right people. Thanks so much. Best wishes to all.


Georgie Marino asks:
Hi John: OMG. I have not chatted with you in a while.  I’m a little confused.  I’m getting occasional emails with questions directed to you, but never see a response.   Should I assume that you are no longer answering questions/doing your “bloggy” thing???? Please let me know

Love and kisses.

Georgie Marino

John says:
Hello Georgie Marino

It is good to hear from you and I hope this reply finds you well. I have been away from the blog for a while but it’s good to be writing again. Now, I am guessing you opted in to receive notifications, so you are seeing the comments people post to the blog. If so you can choose to cancel that on your notifications. I am back writing blogs twice a week and answering as many questions as I can, so I am here if you need me. Best wishes.


Kelli asks:
Could you tell me if Carnival Triumph is getting the new menus, and, if so, when?  We are sailing on July 9 and I am curious what menus I should start salivating over 🙂

John says:
Hello Kelli

Right now the ship doesn’t have the American Table/American Feast menus just yet but we will let you know when they do. Please let me know if you have any other questions and have a wonderful cruise. Best wishes.


Kim asks:
Sailing on Carnival Conquest June 13. Will the new Wi-Fi package be available on Carnival Conquest by then? Are the new menus on Carnival Conquest?

John says:
Hello Kim

The ship is not scheduled to get the new Internet programs until July, I am afraid. Please don’t worry, you will have the best of times I am sure and let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.


Anthony Redwood asks:
As a platinum cruiser I am in a state of shock. Carnival has banned us from bringing our own water on the ship. Are you kidding me? Carnival is making money from us who have spent thousands of $$$$$$$$ to get to Platinum. There should be a rule that allows Platinums to still bring their water. I know you give us free water but my wife and I only drink the Dasani brand of water and you don’t sell that. Your records will show that we are cruising again on Carnival Victory in September and again twice in 2016. You need to re-think this one and make a quick change before your passengers do!!

John says:
Hello Anthony Redwood.

The most important part of my reply is to thank you for your loyalty and I am sure despite the disappointment of our new water rule, you will continue to look at the fun you have had and the fun that is still here waiting for you. Although there is a perception that this is being done to make money, the reality it’s being done to enhance guest safety and avoid delays in embarkation. With the new water regulations we do not anticipate any increase in revenue as a result of this policy change, particularly given the significant reduction in price we have instituted for 12 packs of bottled water. Plus, as you mentioned, as platinum VIFP you get free bottled water from us anyway. So I hope that gives some perspective on what this is all about and I am here if you wish to address any other concerns. I do hope we see you soon. Best wishes.


And that’s all we have time for today. Thank you all for your comments and questions

It is good to see that, as we unveil more entertainment options and new shows that there is one area of entertainment that remains so very popular. I am, of course, talking about the piano bar and the brilliant entertainers who work there. Here is their latest schedule.

Carnival Breeze

6/14/2015        6/28/2015         Jeremy Ray Borders

6/28/2015       8/23/2015         Jonathan Thompson

8/23/2015       9/20/2015         Robert Berhalter

9/20/2015       11/15/2015       John Gregson

11/15/2015      1/10/2016         Jonathan Thompson

Carnival Conquest

5/10/2015        7/4/2015           Tom Grable

7/4/2015          8/31/2015         Milburn Dumas

9/5/2015          10/31/2015       Jeremy Ray Borders

10/31/2015      12/6/2015         William Brawner

12/6/2015        2/6/2016           Kenneth Giordano

Carnival Dream

4/12/2015        8/23/2015         Barry Henricus Meijer

8/23/2015        9/20/2015         Michael O’Quinn

9/20/2015        9/27/2015         Ron Passalacqua

9/27/2015        10/25/2015       William Brawner

10/25/2015      2/7/2016           Matias Nahuel Sanchez

Carnival Ecstasy

5/4/2015          6/29/2015         Jorge Ramirez

6/29/2015        8/24/2015         Matias Nahuel Sanchez

8/24/2015        10/19/2015       Stephen Dooks

10/19/2015      12/14/2015       Roger Concepcion

Carnival Elation

6/13/2015        8/13/2015         James Steven Finn

8/13/2015        10/8/2015         Patrick Duffy

10/8/2015        12/3/2015         Zdrazko Spassov

Carnival Fantasy

4/27/2015        6/20/2015         Elizabeth Setzer

6/20/2015        8/15/2015         Deborah Macaluso

8/15/2015        10/11/2015       Robert Crucilla

10/11/2015      12/5/2015         Kenneth Giordano

12/5/2015        2/1/2016           Reynold Senn

Carnival Fascination

3/28/2015        7/18/2015         Roger Concepcion

7/18/2015        9/17/2015         Tom Grable

9/17/2015        11/12/2015       Tom Grable

11/12/2015      1/7/2016           Christopher Porcelli

Carnival Freedom

5/16/2015        6/20/2015         Timothy Lyles

6/20/2015        7/18/2015         Robert Berhalter

7/18/2015        11/16/2015       Anthony Ward

Carnival Glory

5/16/2015        7/11/2015         Daniel Christopher Schnatter

7/11/2015        8/1/2015           John Gregson

8/1/2015          9/5/2015           Martin Lucas Vince

9/5/2015          10/3/2015         James Steven Finn

10/3/2015        11/28/2015       Elizabeth Setzer

Carnival Imagination

4/2/2015          6/18/2015         Mark Johnson

6/18/2015        9/3/2015           Todd Fugate

9/3/2015          11/19/2015       Timothy Lyles

11/19/2015      1/10/2016         Mark Skowronek

Carnival Inspiration

4/27/2015        7/13/2015         Patrick Duffy

7/13/2015        9/28/2015         Elizabeth Setzer

9/28/2015        12/14/2015       Hailey Morgan Wiebe

Carnival Legend

5/18/2015        6/30/2015         Christine Hetfield

6/30/2015        8/25/2015         Adam Sayer

8/25/2015        9/15/2015         Mark Johnson

9/15/2015        12/1/2015         Adam Sayer

12/1/2015        12/20/2015       Christine Hetfield

Carnival Liberty

6/14/2015        8/30/2015         Jordan Heppner

8/30/2015        11/15/2015       Peter James Thompson

11/15/2015      1/10/2016         Jorge Ramirez

Carnival Magic

5/10/2015        6/28/2015         Jeffrey Abbott

6/28/2015        8/16/2015         Timothy Lyles

8/16/2015        11/1/2015         Greg Alcock

11/1/2015        12/13/2015       Michael O’Quinn

Carnival Miracle

5/16/2015        7/11/2015         Peter James Thompson

7/11/2015        8/29/2015         Jeremy Ray Borders

8/29/2015        10/17/2015       Roger Concepcion

10/17/2015      12/13/2015       Benjamin Tyler Gentry

Carnival Paradise

5/30/2015        8/13/2015         Hailey Morgan Wiebe

8/13/2015        9/28/2015         Gustavo Garcia

9/28/2015        1/14/2016         Robert Berhalter

Carnival Pride

4/26/2015        6/21/2015         Anthony Ward

6/21/2015        8/16/2015         Christopher Porcelli

8/16/2015        10/11/2015       Andre Mieux

10/11/2015      12/6/2015         Todd Fugate

Carnival Sensation

4/23/2015        6/18/2015         Gustavo Garcia

6/18/2015        10/8/2015         Agustin Villarin

10/8/2015        12/3/2015         Gustavo Garcia

Carnival Spirit

5/27/2015        6/30/2015         Kristilee Ransley

6/30/2015        8/16/2015         Jade Leonard

8/30/2015        10/14/2015       Benjamin Tyler Gentry

Carnival Splendor

6/17/2015        9/6/2015           Edmond Holz

9/6/2015          11/22/2015       Christine Hetfield

Carnival Sunshine

5/29/2015        8/21/2015         James Sullivan

8/21/2015        10/10/2015       Craig Quiter

10/10/2015      1/24/2016         Agustin Villarin

Carnival Triumph

4/25/2015        7/9/2015           Michael O’Quinn

7/9/2015          9/26/2015         Scott Casey

9/26/2015        12/10/2015       Barry Henricus Meijer

Carnival Valor

6/6/2015          7/25/2015         Martin Aucoin

7/25/2015        9/19/2015         Reynold Senn

9/19/2015        11/14/2015       Mark Johnson

11/14/2015      1/9/2016           Robert Crucilla

Carnival Victory

6/4/2015          8/22/2015         Zdrazko Spassov

8/22/2015        11/5/2015         David Lovett

11/5/2015        1/9/2016           Tom Wolf

As always, I hope you will send me your feedback and tell me which of the names above made your cruise even more superb with their mixture of music, song, audience engagement and, of course, fun. My thanks to all of them for their dedication.

I am getting very excited about my visit to the Carnival Vista on June 24. On June 25 I will be hosting the coin ceremony with a special guest and I will have a video here for you that night so you can see your ship and the ceremony itself.

This will definitely whet my appetite for our return to Europe and, even though I will not be the cruise director, (we will announce who that will be soon) I will be on the ship a lot and will also host the first cruises travel talks so I can share my knowledge of the ports that I have gleaned over the seven seasons I was there. And in the weeks and months ahead, I will be talking about the glorious wonders of the ports of call that make these destinations some of the most incomparable in the world. However, one subject that I want to stress is that, as we discovered on previous Europe seasons, is the so-called “pirate” excursion industry that has manifested itself in Italy, Spain, Greece and other ports of call. I remember a tour operator who had parked its buses on the pier in Civitavecchia (Rome) and picked up some guests who had made arrangements via the internet to provide an excursion around the city.

Just as guests were boarding, the police arrived and escorted the buses and the guests to the police station where the company involved was fined thousands of euros. Of course, the guests lost their excursion and the money they paid to see the Vatican and other sites. The police asked the guests to get off the buses, but some of them refused to do so. The officers then escorted the five busses to the police station, with the guests who had refused to cooperate, so that further investigations could be made. The guests were asked to give their personal details and explain how they had booked and paid for the tour. The police brought charges against the tour operator on account of their failure to comply with port security regulations and false advertising.

And that was their day in Rome completely ruined and there have been similar concerns in other European ports. I know there will be skeptics that think that I am saying this just to get you to buy shipboard excursions…..well…….bloody right I am! European laws are massively strict about what companies can come on to port property and it is very important we get the word out to everyone that it is our recommendation that you book your excursions through the cruise line.

The companies we use have been completely vetted and have all the necessary documents to avoid what was a distressing day for those guests whose excursion buses were escorted to the police station. There is no better word for these companies than pirates and trying to save a few dollars by using one of these companies will no doubt result in a day to forget……rather than a day to remember. You have flown a long way to get to Europe so why not have the same comfort and assurance that you feel from the crew of the Carnival Vista extended to your full day of seeing some of the most amazing places in the world? The European tours for your Carnival Vista will be available on line very soon and I will always be available here and on my page to help answer any questions you may have.

And now a trip down memory lane. I still remember that when I was a cruise director on the ships and I used to smoke my Monte Cristo Edmundo in the cigar bars, I would get looks of pure hatred and utter amazement from guests as though I was sitting there naked with a baby yak on my lap. And this brings me to my hero. While Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama may be thought by some to be excellent politicians, they are somewhat boring, just my opinion, but that’s what I think. Imagine then if we had someone like Winston Churchill in power today. A cigar smoker. A big, big drinker. A man given to saying what he felt in parliament with great quotes like, “I may be drunk, miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.” Brilliant!

But sadly a politician like this, under the glare of the paparazzi and the press…he wouldn’t last a week. But if he were running for office today, in 2015, he would never be elected and would probably be arrested for speaking his mind as he did back when he gave those epic speeches.

It is so easy these days to upset someone as you will shortly see in today’s Q & A session. You can be ostracized by your neighbors for putting your refuse in the wrong-colored trash can, you can have your car vandalized if it has four-wheel drive and doesn’t have the word Hybrid on it, and yelling at your child after he has super-glued his sister’s face to the television is guaranteed to get you 10 years hard labor and a spot on Dr. Phil’s show.

As senior cruise director and brand ambassador, I have to not smoke my cigars in public and watch what joke I write here and on Facebook in case I offend anyone of any age, any sex, any religion, any creed, any color, any nationality, any height, any weight, of any …… well …….. thing. It’s bloody hard. That’s why, when I am on vacation, I smoke a cigar every day and tell all the jokes I could never tell on the ship to my wife and my friends.

There is, obviously, a time and a place for it but I do worry that naughty behavior is being erased from society, and that, unless the trend can be reversed, somehow we’ll all have to go through life like those Stepford Wives……..robotic and all programmed to do the right thing all the time. But I will not give in; I will fight on in the name of fun because laughter is a brilliant antidote to the stresses and worries of everyday life…..suddenly, I feel all Churchilian

We shall go on to the end, we shall laugh on the ship, we shall laugh on the seas and oceans, we shall laugh with growing confidence and growing strength, we shall defend our right to laugh, whatever the cost may be. We shall laugh on Carnival Fantasy, we shall laugh on Carnival Breeze, we shall laugh at ourselves and with others, we shall laugh when we want to about what we want to. We shall never surrender the fun.

I wrote that in my underpants and with a large cigar in my mouth, just like Winston Churchill.


Your friend,


Comment Policy

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

53 Responses to Alcohol Collection, the Piano Bar Schedule, Pirate Tours and some Churchill.

  1. Marianne says:

    John, We usually bring refillable filtered water bottles to the ship so we can drink the ship’s water. Will those have to go in the packed luggage or can we still bring it empty in our carryon? I also bring travel mugs for coffee. Can I still bring the aboard?

  2. Big Ed Konefe says:

    John, please make all Carnival Ships a PC FREE ZONE. Thick skin required. Sit in the front row and you know your in for it and love it.

  3. Julie Tyler says:

    Dear Claire,
    I’ll say a prayer for you and your vague, unsubstantiated study and ‘some scientists’ as I dine at the Steakhouse on the Conquest. Are these the same scientists that predicted New York would be underwater by 2015 due to global warming? Ah well, just more ocean for Carnival to cruise. BTW, you really should tone down the harshness and militantsy of your letters to John. “I want Carnival” is not conducive to getting anyone to change their point of view; it only goads people to push back.

    Julie Tyler

  4. Pamela Wade says:

    Dear Mr. Heald,
    I did not want to start this letter with a Dear John, lol. I promise I am not parting with you or your company.
    However, three of us, my brother and his wife plus myself are taking this cruise to celebrate their 35th anniversary and to hopefully celebrate his beating cancer. We booked the 15 day Hawaiian cruise from Los Angelas sailing January 16, 2016. Catagory 8K Balcony, cabin 7285. While we thought we booked a larger cabin with an extended balcony that would comfortably hold three chairs and more, and we were assured this was the case. Now we find out our balcony is a little deeper, not longer, but the room is smaller, reduced by the size of the balcony. We are three adults and definitely in need of the three closets and larger balcony space for the longer cruise.
    My complaint is that we should have been told all of this when we were on the phone with Carnival and searching for the perfect cabin. Our booking agent is very nice and we have used her in the past but….. We booked in March and really had our pick of cabins so to speak.
    Now it’s to late to change cabins.
    Please let the agents know that it is important to explain the difference in cabins and balconies, not just tell us what they think we want to hear. This is a dream trip for us and its tainted by the misinformation passed along about our cabin.
    Sincerely and forever a fan of yours and carnival!

  5. Pamela Wade says:

    How do we pack our alcohol for travel if we don’t get it till morning and the luggage has already been collected?

    • Nancy says:

      I just read what the new policy will be with alcohol being distributed on debarkation. How can we have time to pack it in our luggage if we must go catch a plane immediately after debarkation. We do plan on buying several bottles of rum cream in St, Thomas as this is the only port we have found them. We have to pack them in checked luggage for the trip home. When do they think people will be able to do this, as they are walking down the gangway.

  6. Tim Kriebel says:

    Oh John: I have known you for over 23 years and you have this uncanny ability to pee on our heads and convince us that it is raining. Not about revenue my arse!

  7. Jim says:

    John your new alcohol policy makes it near impossible for us that like to leave our luggage out the last night and fly to purchase alcohol. Very disappointed in Carnival. Thought you were the fun ship. You are acting more like our government.

  8. Mallary Moran says:

    Several years ago, a group of ladies took a cruise to celebrate one of us turning 50. It was such a great time, that we decided to continue the celebration, by sailing every year to celebrate all our birthdays (after all, everyone has a birthday each year!). This February will be out 10th Annual Birthday Cruise – our Diamond Celebration. The “Diamond Diva’s” (there are usually between 30 and 40 ladies in the group) will be sailing on the Triumph Feb. 18 out of Galveston.

    We are a fun, fun group, and definitely help put the “fun” in Funship and are easily identified by our Tiara’s and matching shirts! Perhaps you could get CCL to help us celebrate this special annual event by doing something to add to our celebration!

    Thanks in advance! Hey – maybe you could even join us and celebrate your birthday with us too!

  9. Donna Alexander says:

    John, I absolutely LOVE your blog! I LOVE everything about Carnival Cruise Lines! Thank you for taking time out of your day to satisfy the needs of your fans to read your FB page and your blog! We will be taking a Valentine’s Day cruise in 2016 from Galveston, our 8th cruise, and we hope to have many more! Thank you, for being YOU!

  10. Dave McGregor says:

    John, I am sure that the decision to hold liquor until the morning of debarkation was one of the most negative ideas that Carnival has come up with.
    Are they reconsidering this decision after all the negative response? Especially the ability to pack it in a suit case just kills it for most of us. If not what will they put in the space that the bottle shop use to be in?

    • Brahmani says:

      They won’t rethink this idea until they see how much the revenue from the sale of alcohol is down. There’s no way I want another task to have to take care of before debarkation or another thing to carry off the ship. I can’t imagine what the line will be like trying to get the alcohol we have purchased. No thanks, I’ll pass on the alcohol I usually purchase on board. It’s not worth the hassle. I’ll still enjoy my cruise and will come home with a little more money.

  11. Lorne Kay says:

    I found your explanation about the alcohol collection totally in adequate. I and several others will stop buying liquor in the fun shops so I am sure the lineups on the last morning will be manageable because fewer people will be buying. If it really were a huge safety issue then Carnival would not be delivering the alcohol purchases to some (Luggage Express) and not to everybody else. How totally hypocritical to provide this service only to those who are paying extra and tell us that this changes for the sake of safety and not revenue.

  12. Tommy Gayer says:

    Dear John,
    Our first cruise was in 1993 out of San Juan on the Ejaculation. We cruised to Caracas, Aruba and St. Thomas. I hate having to smuggle whiskey into the room and I really like the new policy where you can buy a bottle ahead and have it in the room for a week.I like the buy ahead water and “bubbles” for the non drinker. I really think CCL is trying. We are platinum cruisers and always try to drive to the port. Our next cruise is on the Freedom from Galveston and we are looking forward to some of the new things on the ship. i.e. Guy Fieros, Tacos, Fish n Chips etc. We have sailed other cruise lines but Carnival is definitely first to the fun. I enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work… Tommy

  13. Karen Waranowicz says:


    I must start off by saying how much I love Carnival cruises. Our first cruise with Carnival was on the Festivale in 1995. We just got off the Splendor last week. We had such a great time!

    My son and his fiancee will be getting married next June. They got engaged during our cruise on the Valor this past December. As a surprise, I wanted to book their honeymoon cruise. I called the 800# on Friday and I told the person that no emails should go to either one of them. I want everything to come to me. I wasn’t going to tell them until after I paid the cruise off and hopefully, it would be closer to her bridal shower.
    As it happens, my future DIL logged onto the Carnival website yesterday to look at honeymoon cruises. Because she logged in and not just browsed the website, it generated an email to both of them saying their cruise countdown has begun. They both called me within 10 minutes of each other asking if I knew anything about a booking in their names. Well, surprise ruined! I called the 800# again and they explained that because she logged in using her VIFP#, that’s what generated the email to them.
    There must be some other way to book a surprise cruise for someone without it generating an email and ruining the surprise. I’d hate to see someone else’s surprise get ruined like mine was.
    Just a thought. Georgette from the 800# was so patient and sweet. She offered to send a bottle of champagne to their cabin.
    And since I’m writing, I’d also like to express my disappointment that the Panama Canal itinerary has been removed. Like I said, we just returned home from the Splendor and my husband and I were looking forward to doing the Panama Canal trip. Will it be reinstated in the future?

  14. Bob Dennard says:

    Bollocks!!! Bull!!! Do you really expect us to believe that you are not allowing us to have purchased booze the last night of the cruise is for safety? Do you really think that your fans and Carnival fans are that gullible? I say safety has nothing to do with it. It’s Carnival’s bottom line the policy is about.

    Why insult our intelligence? Why not just say to keep the cabin prices low, we are going to try to make as much revenue we can in other ways. We, the consumers, would much rather have the truth rather than some “smoke screen” in the guise of safety. After all, who can argue against safety? Well… I say, BULL!!!

    Folks will still drink with or without the bottles delivered the night before. The only difference is that they will be paying Carnival for those drinks instead of drinking from the booze they purchased during the cruise. Now does that make any difference for safety? I think not. If you think so, then explain exactly how. Not some double talk… explain exactly how the last night part of the new policy has anything to do with safety.

    Next you will be telling us that you need to charge us for floor polish because you need a special brand for safety. And where does it stop… automatic drink gratuities even if the service is poor. Wait you already do that. Ummmm… Let’s see. More automatic gratuities so that a happier staff is a safer staff. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    I can just hear it in the Carnival board room, “Our Carnival customers will believe anything we tell them if we pass it off as safety.” Well, this time I think they’ve pushed that too far. We are not the stupid lot the Beards take us for.

    Now John, I don’t blame you personally. It’s the beards that have you as their brand ambassador to try to sell this. I just wish you could really just tell it like it is… FFS

  15. William Greene says:

    What bothers me about the return of purchased alcohol only on disembarkation morning is that I can no longer use Luggage Express since my purchases must be in the checked luggage and cannot be brought through airport security.

  16. Robert says:

    Hi John
    Been on 2 Carnival Cruises in 2015 and 2 in 2014. Every one of the ships had about 1 night some 2 party’s at night in the lido deck not 1 had a white party theme. Did Carnival do away with them. Also why is it no 2 ships have the same party’s. Not counting the Red frog and Blue Eguana bar party. Also the pastry deserts are different on ships is due to the pastry chefs. Thank you

  17. Wendy Powell says:

    Where will the Thalassotheraphy pool be located on the Vista. I do not see it on any of the deck plans that I can locate.

    Loved the Cloud 9 Spa on the Dream and Splendor.

  18. Robert says:

    John as you know a lot of people will not be buying any Liquor until you prove that this morning thing works. Good Luck??????? Maybe you should have a mockup, of how it will work, possibly on the first night to sell us on this new process. Also a T.V. in the Liquor showing the new process.

  19. Sandra says:

    I love your blog and Facebook post. I am so tired of the thin skinned in our society. Humor is supposed to be funny not taken so seriously. Live, love and keep us laughing.

  20. Lisa Hinckley says:

    Hi John,
    Just wanted to say hello and tell you how much I enjoy your blog! My husband and I are platinum cruisers and have a booking on Glory on October 17. We are doing an experiment of getting a cabin with a upper and lower bunk on the Rivera deck we typically get an inside cabin and have had balconies in the past and wanted to have a new experience. Is there any difference really between the typical inside cabin and this one other than separate sleeping arrangements? Thank you for keeping us entertained over the last 15 years.
    Lisa Hinckley

  21. Judy Myers says:

    In response to Linda Bailey she must have been on the ship long enough to get used to the smoke because when I was on the Triumph right after the new rule about smoking the whole ship stunk of cigarette smoke especially by the casino. Never had it smelled so bad before and I have sailed her several times.

  22. Barbara Phillips says:

    Hi John,
    I so enjoy your writing and humor..I get a good laugh every day!
    I was wondering if you had any word on Wee Jimmy? He was our CD on the Sunshine in March
    And we had so much fun with him…hoping his health is improving!
    Hope to sail with you some day .Will be going on the Conquest next month then a Journey cruise next April and whatever I can squeeze in before

  23. Byron Todd says:

    First of all, thank you for your blog and all the information you post here and on Facebook. I frankly don’t see how you can stay calm with some of the……um……unusual questions you get.

    My question for you today is, my wife and I are cruising on the Miracle out of LA Nov. 28th to Hawaii to celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. We would like to be seated at a table for two because this is a special time for us. What would be the best way to try and make this happen? I’m sure they get quite a few of these requests but I want to throw my hat into the request pile.

    Again, thanks for all you do.


  24. Jim says:

    John I has never been a fan of taking my own luggage off the ship, I prefer to set mine outside my door on the last night. Your new alcohol policy makes it almost impossible to purchase alcohol if you set your luggage out and fly. I wish you would reconsider this for us pampered cruisers that fly.

  25. Margaret Alletson says:

    To the lady who has a daughter marrying on the ship..Just to let her know my daughter married in Key West and had her reception on board as we sailed.(Destiny) everything from the women having their hair done in the salon to the food and drink served,D.J,Wedding Cake.everything was perfect.It was an awesome day.We had 55 people in the party,12 coming from England.They will have a memorable time..

  26. Paul says:

    I loved it on your closing talking about being able to be yourself and having fun AND smoking your cigar. On our upcoming cruise (the Dreams Oct 15th Journey cruise) I would consider it an honor to sit out one of the evenings and smoke with you. (that is as long as you are NOT in only your underwear!!!) til then “Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. ”

  27. Cheryl Rosenthal says:

    Hi John. Of course it’s obvious that Seth Gibson’s name is nowhere to be found on the PB schedule. His loyal followers have heard from him that due to contractual issues with CCL he will no longer be on your ships. I hope you know just how big a disappointment this is to so many, many people. Seth brought joy, laughter, comraderie and most importantly, hours and hours of unrivalled entertainment to each and every sailing we and countless others shared with him. I was so hoping he would be on the Vista TA. Did the “beards” not see how he fared on the list of best PB players? People have already commented on how they will follow him to other ships. So many other issues raised by people are silly and trivial, as you are well aware, this is not and this is sad. If money was the issue, a huge wrong doing and error in judgement was committed to what end, to save a few pennies? Very, very disappointing.

  28. Barb Hoffman says:

    Claire need to realize that all of her precious veggies are probably grown with fertilizer made from animal waste or fish guts, needs precious short in supply water to grow them, and have chemical pesticides sprayed on them to keep the bugs off. I like vegetables, but am certainly not going to just eat vegetables all my life. She needs to stop pushing her agenda on other people.

  29. Mike Shier says:

    Cheers John;
    I am writing this to you because I so enjoy your blog and facebook postings. Your sense of humor and how you never take yourself too seriously only makes you more endearing to those of us who follow you. Unfortunately being the Brand Ambassador and the “Face” of Carnival, you also tend to be the “Whipping Boy” of the disgruntled general public who don’t seem to understand that while you REPRESENT the company you do not RUN the company.
    I’ve written the following to hopefully put people in perspective:
    You know what? I like….no….make that LOVE? Cruising! You know why? Because it is an escape. An escape from the everyday work and responsibilities and stressors that if tolerated constantly could lead to an early grave. I love that I can get up when I want, go to bed when I want. I can eat whatever and whenever I choose to. I can lay in the sun, float in a pool, walk on a beach or participate in a trivia game with others or an uninterrupted conversation with my wife and/or kids. I can read a book in peace, marvel at a beautiful sunset and take a few reflective minutes for my own thoughts or (to the other extreme) gamble and dance the night away. Now, if at times I have to wait in line for something, SO WHAT. If something isn’t done the first time I ask, SO WHAT, ask again. We can’t dock at a port because the weather makes it a safety issue? SO WHAT (and thanks for putting my safety first), I’ll enjoy another day by the pool. If someone isn’t dressed to “code”, SO WHAT I’m pretty sure they weren’t charged any less for the cruise than I was and my being upset is not going to ruin THEIR meal . I can’t bring water on board, SO WHAT, make it more affordable for me so I don’t have to carry it on – OH WAIT – you did that – NEVERMIND. The beauty of cruising is that it is all your choice and like a fingerprint, no two cruises (even if it is the same ship and/or itinerary) are exactly alike. A cruise is WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. I thank god that I can afford to cruise, always keep in mind that the crew on the ships are trying to earn a living just like we all do the other 51 weeks a year when we are not cruising and treat others as I would like to be treated. Also keep in mind that when we have a bad day at work (no matter how bad it was or how badly we were treated) we can go home to the sympathy and understanding of our loved ones and family…….the crew on these ships won’t have that opportunity for months. I am platinum with Carnival and have sailed on 18 cruises and to be absolutely honest, there were times that I may have had an issue or two, but you know what? Carnival has always resolved or addressed them and never once did I have to rant and rave, insult anyone or throw my “platinum” status around. They did it because it was good customer service and it has always been my experience that it is how Carnival treats its customers.
    Keep Doing what you do John because for every 1 Critic you have 100 fans out here.
    By the time you see this I will probably be on my cruise on the Sunshine (leaving 6/27) for 8 days to Aruba, Curacao and Grand Turk……………..
    Mike Shier

    • diane says:

      Very well said!

    • Brenda says:

      John, many on here have made some great comments, but Mike Shier, mad the best comments of all. It is how you make your crises and you have to take the good with the bad. Just keep up the good work you are doing & people will settle down about the alcohol & water. We all love you John!

  30. Jeffrey Rotz says:

    John, I am onboard the Carnival Legend and was talking to the gift shop staff. I asked the how did they plan on handling the liquor policy next month. They told me they have not heard about it yet. I find this very unusual because this will be a major change in policy. They asked me where the guests would pick up the liquor? I guess everything is not been decided yet.

  31. Colleen Davis says:

    You keep writing and joking about any and all things John, and I will continue to laugh right along with the many thousands who love your style of writing and who understand your sense of humor. I will live longer by doing so, and so will everyone else who laughs as well. Have a great day smoking that cigar!!

  32. Audrey Besserman says:

    Dear John, My husband and I have cruised with Carnival since 1986, 42 cruises in all. After all the hype and advertising, we booked a 12 day Journey Cruise for November 27, 2016 on the Breeze. We were so looking forward to it because we were going to ports that we hadn’t been to in a while. On Tuesday, June 16th, my husband was reading your Facebook post and discovered that that cruise was now cancelled. We did not get any official notification from Carnival about this. That is no way to run a business. In your post you stated that passengers on that cruise would be transferred to the Splendor. The Splendor does a 7 day cruise in the Western Caribbean and ports we have been to numerous times. We called Carnival to transfer our deposit to the Vista instead and we were treated very poorly by the representative who handled out call, which took almost an hour including 45 minutes on hold.At first, the rep did not even want to give us the $50 per person on board credit that you mentioned in your post. We have been loyal guests of Carnival since 1986. We are extremely disappointed in the way this whole thing was handled, from the cancellation without notice to us to the rude manner in which we were treated by your phone rep. Carnival made a big production about the Journeys cruises and then goes and cancels one of the major ones. We still don’t understand why it was cancelled when my husband asked the rep the reason why it was cancelled, the answer was “because it was”. After this, we have to seriously consider whether or not we want to continue our cruising relationship with Carnival. John, please don’t think we are blaming you, as we know you work for the suits and beards. You don’t make policy, you just follow the rules and make apologies when they screw up. Communication and customer service skills need to improve or a lot of your loyal cruisers are going to go to the competition. Even if you have the best product some people will not tolerate being treated poorly and will accept a lesser product just to make a point.

    Audrey Besserman

  33. Tommy gayer says:

    Dont buy any liquor on the ship and you wont have to hawk it home. How stupid to put your bags out on Friday and they give you 10 bottles of liquor on Sat. Morn.

  34. Judith says:

    If only the cruise line excursions wouldn’t be so expensive…

    In 2008 we did a nice cruise-line excursion on St.Thomas. And in 2011 we did the same tour (same route, same kind of open bus, same stops, same time) on our own. We paid half of the price from 2008….

  35. Peter Zilch says:

    I have been on over 30 cruises with 3 more booked at the end of the year. I am confused and not happy about the new no bottle policy. When I go on a cruise, I like to buy local items in the markets. Most of these items are only sold in bottles such as vanilla, horchata concentrate and mole concentrate. What is Carnival’s policy regarding bringing these items back on board from the ports?

    • Jeffrey Rotz says:

      I am onboard the Carnival legend and last night at dinner I spoke to the Customer Services Manager about the Alcohol policy. He was under the impression it will not effect alcohol purchased onboard, only alcohol that is purchased during port visits. Which is the correct policy? Thanks, Jeff (cruise # 32)

  36. Jeffrey Rotz says:

    Good morning – I am onboard the Carnival Legend and at dinner last night I spoke to the Guest Services Manager. We discussed alcohol collection. He said alcohol will still be delivered to cabins that purchased it on the ship. The only pick up will be from Alcohol purchased in ports of call. What is the correct answer?

  37. Bob says:

    I am still waiting to hear about my liquor that was not returned in March

  38. Robin says:

    Oh, Claire, give it up. Anthropogenic global warming isn’t real, and the dead zones at river mouths are mostly caused by chemical fertilizer runoff…fertilizer that is used to grow…crops. You know, plants. Plants that make up your diet. I guess you’re just as responsible for environmental damage as we carnivores are.

  39. Neal says:

    I don’t have a problem with the new liquor policy. We disembarked the Elation yesterday. What I have an issue with is being told when I dropped the liquor off, I was told it would be delivered to my room, as was the norm. My room steward, which was great by the way, asked me to sign a form on the last night saying that he dropped off the liquor in my room. We were in the hallway. I signed it, went in our room and it was candles that we had purchased. We had a form that told us that we were to pick them up on disembarkation morning. We tell the steward. He didn’t know what the answer was. I go to guest services, they tell me to pick up the liquor in the morning from the Jekyll and Hyde dance club. Ok, so I go as instructed and they tell me that was for only confiscated items from staterooms and to go back to guest services. Really??? So I go back and they have my purchases. Very frustrating. No one knew what was going on. From the stateroom steward, to the guest services attendant., to the person who took my items in the beginning.

  40. JOE FICEK says:


  41. John says:

    John Heald,
    I just came off the 8 day Breeze cruise from Miami on June 14th 2015. While on the cruise I and many others totally enjoyed every minute of our time in the piano bar with SETH GIBSON. Being a long time Carnival cruiser, lately even more frequently, I was totally dismayed in finding out that this was Seth Gibson’s LAST cruise on Carnival. He was leaving and in speaking with him and seeing his web site I saw that Princess has hired him for some cruises the next cpl of months but NO more Carnival.. Ive heard about every piano bar player Carnival has had- and Seth is probably the BEST player, singer and overall entertainer.. I cant believe that whoever does the Entertainment arrangements for the piano bar is letting this guy get away! I booked this last cruise because of the reviews I had read on him and he totally went above my expectations and of every one I spoke with,. Please pass on to whoever does the contracts with the piano bars that they are really messing up not booking Seth Gibson and that I and probably many more will most likely be following him to other cruise lines and venues.. I also know that he was very sad to be leaving Carnival as he made so many friends and could tell by talking to him after the last nights show was over..we all were very sad also- Carnival has some other good piano bar entertainers and some “not so good” that I have heard and Seth Is One you all really need to go after and get back on Carnival ASAP.. I met several others on the Breeze who also sailed because he was on the ship and would not otherwise have gone and losing the best ones is not a good strategy when it could have been avoided. Please get info to the right person that they need to get to work and make a deal with Seth he’s worth every dime you all pay and you really need him as he’s one of the best.

    • CruiseNole says:

      Seth is a heck-of-a performer. I thoroughly enjoyed the Trans Atlantic with him a while back.

      • John says:

        Cruise Nole–
        Yes Ive spoken with quite a few people who are saying that Carnival has made a serious mistake in not resigning– Seth Gibson– to some cruises as the piano bar player. I wish some of them would write the cruise line emails and or letters attention to the talent-entertainment coordinators etc to get this to their attention. Hes not booked any more this year on carnival and if he was I already would have booked my NEXT cruise- and I spoke with quite a few his last nite in that one cruise alone said they are going to cruise on Princess or wherever hes playing.. pls pass it on-=– write Carnival and lets get SETH GIBSON BACK ON CARNIVAL CRUISES IN THE PIANO BAR- on some cruises.. I don’t know whats wrong with them..

  42. Jim says:


    I find it comforting that Carnival staff is looking over me and keeping me safe form too much alcohol consumption. I was just wondering who is watching over me when I attack the minibar in my room? Or is that safer alcohol?


    • Lorne Kay says:

      Of course it is safer alcohol. It’s purchased at a premium price from Carnival so that you can consume as much as you wish. It is the less expensive duty free alcohol from the fun shop that is dangerous and must be withheld until the time you leave the ship (for our own safety, of course)

  43. J T says:

    I must seriously object to this “new” Internet plan shtuff. I’ve nearly always spent only about $30 for the 45-minute deal, sufficient to check email and a forum or two about every other day on a 7 or 8-day cruise, with some cushion for idle randomness (not to mention the typically sloooow connection). But now, on my next cruise (Glory in the fall), checking email every other day will cost me $45-60? Seriously? What gives on that??

  44. Rick Nolf says:

    Hello John, I just want to acknowledge Steve Dooks for a great piano bar entertainer. We enjoyed his show on the Victory in
    April and when setting the March 2016 schedule would be grateful if he could find his way to the Carnival Sunshine when his contract comes up ( hint, hint,). Have had some lousy piano players on some of our cruises with absolutely no personality (no fun). Have a great day mate.

Copyright 2011 John Heald. All Rights Reserved