August 3, 2015 -

John Heald

We start today with this comment:

Robert Lang
I have always felt that after tip night, we were treated like second class citizens and made to feel like you no longer matter and the way you are pushed off the ship by the endless announcements is degrading to me. My cabin steward could not wait to get us off the ship. He knocked on our door TWICE!!

Thanks, Robert, and although I absolutely disagree with your suggestion that service from our brilliant crew diminishes on the last night, I can sort of understand what you mean by the announcements and the whole debarkation process…………..oh, by the way, the gratuities you so graciously leave our crew via your Sail & Sign card are not paid on the last night of the cruise but collected by the crew two days after the cruise is over.

But I can see Robert’s point about the announcements. Usually the cruise director will get on the PA system as early as 7 am, earlier if you are in Europe as your Carnival Vista will be. Now let’s face it people. You are not in the best of moods on debarkation morning. You have to fly which means facing the joyless security check as you get a bollocking for having a tube of hemorrhoid cream in your carry-on. You will then be searched by people with iron-on badges who are so busy checking you don’t have any other creams or gels or that deadly pair of nose hair scissors that they will miss the chap with wires sticking out of his underpants.

You are in a mood because after the brilliant and fun service that you had on the ship from Alena your waitress, Jacinta your bar waitress waiter and Ketut your cabin steward, you know that once on board the plane you will be met with a growl from the premenstrual flight attendant whom if you attempt to joke with or look at the wrong way will have you handcuffed and dragged off the plane for a spot of waterboarding.

You are in a mood because for the last seven days you have stretched out in a hammock on Serenity deck and enjoyed the luxury of the Carnival Comfort Bed and now have to look forward to sitting in seat 45C which would be a tight fit for an anorexic hamster. And, of course, the man next to you will smell like a Frenchman’s jockstrap and want to be your best friend. You are in a mood because you have to go back to work on Monday and because instead of the Guy’s burger and Warm Chocolate Melting Cake you have dined on each day, you have nothing to look forward to but your wife’s cooking which you find as appetizing as eating deep fried yak testicles and it won’t be served by a friendly smiling Filipino waiter but by your wife who is angry at you for peeing on the toilet seat and not having Ketut there to wipe away the stain.

So you are in a stinking mood and what happens at 7 am? Bing bong, “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, what a beautiful day it is here in Miami. This is your Cruise Director Matt Dee here and it’s time to wake up, rise and shine and make your way off the ship. Don’t forget your customs card and let’s wish Lisa from cabin 2269 a very happy birthday. We look forward to seeing you again on another Fun Ship cruise. Woohoo.”

And you are all thinking………………”Woohoo, my arse.” Yep, I can well imagine that hearing a CD’s bright and cheery announcement at 7 am when you don’t want to get up and go home because you had a few too many ThirstyFrog Reds last night. I can understand why these announcements do get on some guests nerves and even tempt a few to scream, “SHUT UP YOU CHEERY BASTARD.”

But the announcements are necessary and, after our Q&A session, I will tell you why they are.

Beth Smith asks:

Hello John: I just wanted to let you know how excellent our service was on Carnival Breeze. We were on the Carnival Breeze for the May 19 cruise. Let me start with Dr. E. He is the best cruise director I have ever cruised with. I would also like to mention my cabin steward Ryan he was very friendly and attentive. Now for our MDR staff, the only thing I can say is that they are the most hard working, wonderful people. Our head waiter was Fahmy – he was the best I have ever had. His assistants were just as great. I hope you can pass along my good words to the beards and let them know how great and hardworking they are. I would gladly cruise with all the people I mentioned any time. Thanks!!

John says:
Hello Beth Smith

This is the perfect way to start today’s Q& A. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this wonderful review and I am going to make sure all those you mentioned see your kind words. They will be thrilled. I hope their superb efforts mean we will see you again very soon. I am here if you need anything. Hope to see you soon. Best wishes.

Anne Robey asks:
John my whole family are mega fans of yours. We cruised back to back with you on the first cruise of the Carnival Magic in Europe from Barcelona and we will never forget the fun and laughter you gave us. Our next cruise is back on the Carnival Magic during which mom will be celebrating her 95th birthday. She is an inspiration to me and my sisters and brothers. I know you occasionally make people’s celebrations with a surprise or two. Her name is Norma Bonis. We will be on the Carnival Magic on August 9 and Norma will be in cabin 62**. I wish you could be there with us. Thank you John for all you do for so many people.

John says:
Hello Anne Robey

I too have wonderful memories of our time in Europe on the Carnival Magic and how super it is to see that you will take Mum on the same ship to celebrate this extraordinary milestone. I wish I could be there with you too but I will do all I can to make sure Mum has the best of times and an unforgettable birthday. Best wishes to you all.

Barnacle Bill Castellano asks:

Will you be sailing in the Carnival Dream for the Halloween cruise departing New Orleans, October 25, 2015? I will have a small group of senior funsters on board to participate in all the Halloween activities. The group would like a photo opportunity with you in your latest underpants.

John says:
Hello Barnacle Bill Castellano.

I am so sorry that I will not be there for your group and that photo. However, please do let me know if there is anything at all I can help you with and please send me your cabin number the day before the cruise on my page if you can. I wish you all the best of times. Best wishes.

Steven Caragolis asks:
I will be on the Carnival Sunshine with 14 friends and family. The cruise leaves on September 6 but the important date is September 10. This is the first NFL Thursday night game of the season. We are all big Steelers fans and they play the Patriots that night. It would be criminal of Carnival not to have this on the giant screen. If this is not played the passengers will riot because this is a tradition that Carnival — an American company — must not refuse us!! I hope Carnival does the right thing and puts the game on. We will all be very vocal if this does not happen.

John says:
Hello Steven Caragolis

First of all let me say that I am grateful to you all for booking this wonderful cruise and I am sure there will be many highlights from the service and fun on the ship to the superb ports of call. Unfortunately I have to tell you that we will not be showing this game or most of the NFL season on the Dive In Movie big screen, which is reserved for our blockbuster movies which we feel the vast majority of the ship want to see. However, if this game shown on the major networks there is an excellent chance it will be shown in the sports bar and on the cabin TVs. Have a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.

Cyndy McKee asks:
Hi John: I know other cruise lines reciprocate with their other lines (sister companies-RCI with Celebrity, etc.) That is if you are platinum on RCI, you are platinum on Celebrity. Why doesn’t Carnival do the same? I am platinum on Carnival but I am stuck because if I try any other Carnival line- Princess, etc. I have to start over to gain any perks. We have just about exhausted all itineraries with Carnival, some twice. So now we are looking for different ports or different 
itineraries but the only way to do that is to go to another cruise line or a sister company of Carnival and start over to get perks. Carnival may be the only cruise line that does NOT allow the same perks company wide. I have 15 or so cruises with Carnival, I just don’t want to start over. So while Carnival is revamping things, maybe Carnival should think about revamping this too. 

John says:
Hello Cyndy McKee

Thanks for writing to me and I am afraid at the moment that there are no combined loyalty programs between Carnival and the other cruise companies within the Carnival Corporation. Their loyalty programs are vastly different with some based on cruise days, and others the numbers of cruises. However, never say never and we are certainly not discounting this in the future. I want to thank you for your loyalty and really hope we will see you soon. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Best wishes.

Hendrik van Loon asks:

I recently took a cruise on the Dream. I did two things that I have never done and wanted to mention them. The first was The Chef’s Table. I can’t describe how wonderful that experience was. The food was five star and the information that was given was really superb. The other special thing was Behind the Fun. It also was excellent. I am a platinum cruiser but didn’t find out about this until recently. Why is this not an option as an excursion on the carnival website. I also wanted to mention on this last cruise that I lost my iPhone. I had left it on deck. I went to guest services with little hope of its return but happily it was there. I asked who returned it and it was a crew member name Randy. I went to my cabin to get some cash to reward this employee and was assured he would receive this token of appreciation. While on my Behind the Fun tour I noticed near the crew quarters a bulletin board with this crew member as the employee of the month. I also noticed that they post for the crew to read some of the comments that cruisers make on the survey that we fill out post cruise. Good job, Carnival!

John says:
Hello Hendrik Van Loon

You have highlighted two of the options we offer on all of our ships and they are two brilliant ones as you mentioned. I am so glad that you highlighted them and indeed Randy who obviously exceeded your expectations. I will be passing all of what you have said to the ship and your feedback will be wonderfully received. I do thank you and I do hope we will see you sail with us again very soon. Best wishes.

Jeff Seymour asks:

Hi John: We want to book the cruise from Galveston to Puerto Rico, and rather than fly home we thought we would do what we love to do and book the return cruise from Puerto Rico back to Galveston. When we do book we obviously would like to book the same cabin to and from, but my questions are: What are Carnival’s policy on debarkation when we get to Puerto Rico if we are booked on the return Cruise in the same cabin? Can we leave our luggage in our state room if we are getting off and right back on? Do we get another Sail & Sign card? If you have any insight or steer me in the proper direction it would be appreciated.

John says:
Hello Jeff Seymour.

Yes indeed you can. The guest services will speak with you before the end of the cruise and explain the debarkation system but you can, once cleared through U.S. Immigration, go and explore beautiful Old San Juan and leave everything in the cabin. Have a brilliant time and please let me know if there is anything else I can help with. Best wishes.

Hector Ramos asks:
It is ridiculous that Carnival does not put what pier number or address the ship docks at, Heald. I have friends who want to meet us when Carnival Elation docks in Cozumel. They are staying in a hotel there but it does not say what pier the ship is on for our cruise. The ship is in Cozumel August 15. I have called Carnival and spoke with someone and after being put on hold for a stupid amount of time was told that they did not know. How can this be the case?? What pier is the ship at?? Why can’t anyone tell me!!??

John says:
Hello Hector Ramos

I am so sorry that this has you so obviously frustrated. In the defence, though, of the person who you spoke to at Carnival that information is not given to anyone but the ship’s captain and often given just a few days or even hours in advance. The Cozumel port authority controls this and often pier availability changes so to publish this information months in advance would be pointless. There is a good chance that the ship will dock at the Puerta Maya Pier but that could change to the International Pier or even the one directly downtown which is called Punto Lagosta. The best thing is to tell your friends to tell the taxi driver to go to the Carnival Elation, the drivers will for sure know where to go. I wish you a wonderful cruise and I am here if you have any questions. Best wishes.

Tyna Redmann asks:
Why does Carnival keep toilet brushes in the staterooms, John? The sight of toilet brushes makes me feel sick. I bought those clip on flushable toilet brush thingies which I think are more hygienic and pleasant approach to getting rid of the marks at home. There is no need for a toilet brush to be put in the cabins. It is the cabin attendant’s job to clean them, not the passengers. Toilet brushes are vile, germ-breeding things and should be removed from the staterooms IMHO

John says:
Hello Tyna Redmann

Interesting. I thought over the years I had covered all the possible toilet issues but here is a new one. I guess I had never really thought about this much and it will be interesting to see what others feel about this. For now please when you cruise again let me know on my page a couple of days before you sail and ask for the brush to be removed I will make sure it is. Thanks so much and thanks for sharing an interesting perspective
Best wishes

Maureen Reffkin asks:
Hi John, I cruise on Carnival all the time. I have enjoyed just about all of your cruise directors. One in particular is not that entertaining and seems so full of themself. While at the CD Q&A 
they had to mention to us about five times how Carnival wants them to stay on the Carnival ____ and he is the best of the best! REALLY? You never see them out and about and the way they signs off after any announcement is so annoying! Even the bartender at the Alchemy Bar says it’s annoying. I’m back on the Carnival ________ in September but would like to know when this CD will be replaced.

John says:
Hello Maureen Reffkin

Although this particular cruise director has legions of fans – you’re not one of them, obviously – I will forward this along to let them know your thoughts. I do hope that we will see you again soon and I do appreciate you taking the time to write. Best wishes.

William Gunn asks:

Can you organize a Shriners meeting for August 22 Carnival Glory cabin ****. I want to meet other people who are Shriners like me. Can you provide me with the email address of the captain so I can get this organized? Will Carnival provide free drinks for us as we do such great works? I would expect 100 plus to come as we are all over the US.

John says:
Hello William Gunn

I will certainly ask our groups coordinator and the cruise director to help with this and arrange a time and location for you to meet. I am afraid that we cannot provide free drinks but I am sure you will enjoy meeting fellow members. I wish you a brilliant time. Best wishes.

That’s all for today and many thanks for all the comments and questions, they are such an important part of this blog.

So what were we talking about…………ahhh yes, debarkation. Well, ask any crew member which day is the most stressful for them and they will for the very most part tell you it is homeport day and here are a few of those behind the scenes moments that I wanted to kindly point out to you.

The Debarkation Process
Let me start by saying that whatever we do once the ship ties up at the homeport we do under with permission from the agency that is in charge and that is of course our good friends from United States Customs and Border Protection. We cannot take anything off the ship — crew, guests, stores, luggage, anything at all without the guest services manager getting permission.

So we plan debarkation, we start debarkation when CPB because at the end of the day, just like they do at airports, it is their job to keep everyone safe and make sure the borders are indeed protected. We need to make the debarkation process as comfortable as possible and the buck for that stops with the management and their teams on board and there is no doubt also that some ships do this better than others and we have to keep working hard to be more consistent here I think.

But it is a long day for the crew and let’s be a little more specific here shall we and concentrate on the work that the stateroom stewards. On home port day Ketut your cabin steward will wake up at 5:30am. After his shower he will grab a quick breakfast in the crew mess which is open from 5:30am on debarkation morning. Then it is straight to his section where he hopes, truly hopes, that you will all be on self-assist and have leave the ship as soon as Jaime Mitchum says that CBP has given permission for guests to disembark.

That’s because he has anywhere from 15 to 22 cabins to clean and only one assistant to help him and when I say clean he has to:
– Deep clean the cabin, bathroom, toilet and storage spaces.
– Change the sheets, duvet and pillow cases
– Clean the shower curtain
– Check the safe has been emptied and left open
– Check everything is working properly
– Place the new Fun Times and shore excursion sheets in the cabin
– Make sure the previous guests did not steal the remote control or the toilet brush.

And Ketut has to do that to every cabin and finish by 1 pm at the very latest…………and if Ketut has some Diamond/Platinum cabins or Faster to the Fun, he has to do those first because they now have express cabin service. So do the cabin stewards want guests off the ship as quick as possible? Absolutely they do. But not because they are not grateful for everything you did for them but because they want to be able to give the next group of guests the same Carnival service that are based on delivering that feeling of “family” that only a Carnival cruise can. Oh and they also want to finish because they hope to have an hour to rush to Walgreens, call home or simply sleep………..ready go again later that day when they are back in their sections ready to say “welcome aboard” to their new guests.

In future blogs I will tell you about luggage collection, stores and other factors that make a turnaround day such a hectic one for so many of the crew.

So I understand Robert’s point, debarkation morning is not one full of smiles and laughs. We do need to continue to work hard to make it as easy an experience as possible and I should also mention here that we are monitoring the liquor return policy very carefully as I know this has added to an already bust morning for you.

Do we want you to leave? No. Do you have to leave? Yep, you do and please if you can, spare a small thought for the crew who have to prepare the ship ready for the new guests who want to find the ship as welcoming as you did days earlier.

I want to finish by going back to the post from Anne who wrote about her mother who would be celebrating her 95th birthday while on the Carnival Magic. I will, of course, be doing all I can along with my colleagues on board to make it the most special of days for her. I also can’t help but think about my own old age and if Kye can’t look after me what will happen? I hope I poop off before Heidi because without her or a cabin steward like Ketut, there is no way I could look after myself. I don’t know how to cook, clean, operate a washing machine or where the new roll of toilet paper comes from. I also don’t want to go to the type of retirement home where you’re left to marinate in your own urine, while the “helpers” stand around texting their boyfriends, waiting for you to die but preferably not on their shift. I am sure everyone here dreads ending their days in a home for the nearly dead wearing someone else’s false teeth. If I am lucky enough to reach say……80 years of age I think I may hasten my departure. Because if Kye says “Dada, we have found you a nice spot at The Sea View Retirement Home,” I will start drinking again, smoking 20 cigars a day and eating nothing but animal fat and raw yak meat. Maybe, on all of our ships. we should have a have a happy hour for only those over age 75 where with pints of ThirstyFrog for $1 and free shots of Slippery Nipple. You may spend the rest of the cruise in bed but surely that’s better than ending your days wasting away on a wipe down chair wearing a diaper ……………..right?

Your friend,

Comment Policy

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  1. Amy Fisher says:

    Agree 100% with Cindy McKee:
    Ridiculous that the Carnival corporate brands don’t share at least some of their loyalty programs!
    Also agreewith Tyna – the toilet brushes eek me out a little, too! Hotels don’t leave them in your bathroom!
    Thx for the job you do!

  2. Terry Tamborello says:

    Oh John! This blog was brilliant! I can just imagine what home port / turnaround day is like for the staff onboard that have to clean her up and ready for a new set of customers. And yes sir, you hit the nail on the head. I hate that last morning. I want to squeeze every millisecond out of it and savior it before going back to My Reality. Thank you for all you do and the tidbits you share about life onboard as a crew-person.
    You really need to join the BC9 crew at Olympia Grill in Galveston the Friday nite before we sail! I will by you a virgin bloody mary 🙂

  3. Richard Taylor says:

    Thank you for the insight into de-embarkation, John. Very interesting and I look forward to the further relevations!
    With all that going on, it really means something that all the staff remain so positive. Thank them!

  4. Betsey says:

    John: Last things first – when your contract is up for renewal, get a guaranteed clause in there for a cabin on the ship of your choice cared for by Ketut and constantly surrounded by showgirls. Should make the departure a little easier.

  5. Sam says:

    I have booked my cruise for Dec. 10 on the Carnival Fascination on the Main level. This is my first cruise. Is there a certain deck you would recommend for the first time cruiser? Main level vs. upper or Empress level…etc. I want to be sure I have made a good decision. Help!!!!!

  6. Kim Wilczynski says:

    John – I recently filled out the survey for Carnival for our last cruise on the Dream. I mentioned the wonderful people who worked so hard to make our cruise as great as it was. However, I left one out and would like to bring him to your attention so that he gets the recognition he deserves. Lucien, on the Future Cruises desk is incredibly helpful and exemplary employee. We met with him a couple of times and got all the information we needed to book not one additional cruise, but two! Please make sure that whoever he reports to, hears about how great he is. Thanks so much.

  7. Gail Cooper says:

    Dear Mr. Heald,

    My husband and I will be sailing for the third time on the beautiful Carnival Sunshine on November 13, 2015. We have chosen this particular ship for many reasons, one of which is the absolute amazing Jamie Dee. During this cruise we will be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary. My question is, does Carnival do anything to help celebrate this occasion? We were on the Imagination for a special birthday a few years ago and Carnival decorated our stateroom, left a very nice bottle of wine and on my birthday a beautiful cake was delivered to our stateroom. thank you for taking the time to answer my question as you are a very busy chap.

  8. Rita M. Elliott says:

    I want Carnival to offer special deals to seniors who want to make one (or more) of their ships their retirement home. Kye can get you and Heidi a cabin for months at a time and send you both out to sea with a bunch of us. Special drink prices and of course, healthy meals will give us many, many happy sailing days to look forward to.

  9. Ana Malave says:


    I do not agree, since we do not fly anywhere after our cruises. On our last two cruises from San Juan we left our stateroom early since we know this would help in a great manner our stateroom steward and also we had Faster to the fun. We were told at 7:30am to wait in the dining room and someone would come and let us know when to disembark. As the hours kept passing we asked a couple of times and we kept been told to wait. Keep in mind we were at that point a big group since all the FTTF people were sent there and also other folks. At 10:30 we decided to just go on our own since they had called on a lot of numbers to disembark already including ours. At no point were we notified like we were told on letters they left on our cabins the night before. You can understand how this can be aggravating. The process down at the port was easy considering the amount of passengers but the part of getting of the ship was madness. This was the same routine twice on the Valor and once recently on the Liberty. This has a lot of opportunity John since considering how quickly surprisingly the port authority cleared the ship to disembark. San Juan is a great port and can handle the volume. But it needs more structure on the ship side of things. People are very understanding on the waiting part. But instructions are very confusing and contradictory at times. And considering the volume of people you move weekly on this port for the life of me I can not understand why you would change the ship to a smaller one next year. We are all baffled.

  10. Nancy Hands says:

    Good Afternoon John,

    Does Carnival have an emergency number for its cruise clients? My husband and I both have an elderly parent and would like a number to leave with other family members so they can reach us on ship if needed.
    Thank you,
    Nancy Hands

    • Fern says:

      Nancy, here’s the info I found on the Carnival site:
      “Carnival’s Travel Hotline – Our travel hotline — 1-877-TVL-HTLN (1-877-885-4856) or 1-305-406-4779 — has representatives available 24 hours a day to assist with any travel questions or emergencies.” There also may be a phone number included in your cruise documents. Have a wonderful cruise!

  11. Another excellent blog, John. Wish Carnival had a “retirement ship” where seniors could just live and cruise and have fun. If I could afford such, I’d be the first to apply. Just returned from the Carnival Sunshine and certainly appreciated all the splendid staff, especially Denis, our steward. Let me just say, he did everything just right with style.

  12. Tanya Wells says:

    Hello John, I agree with Cyndy McKee, and felt that if you had more than one person requesting, that the beards might actually consider the option. We love Carnival, however, we would also like to try other itineraries that are offered through the Carnival owned companies (Princess, Holland America). I feel that being able to use the loyalty program Carnival Wide would be option to consider. Thanks for your time John.

  13. Joe Molina says:

    John u are so riht concerning retirement homes. Good idea about the ovr 7t crowd geting $1 drinks. Love Carnival.

  14. Dana Tee says:

    OFFS, Robert maybe needs to put on his big boy pants–Getting off the ship is unavoidable. We all have to deal with it. No use whining about it. Maybe try imagining how busy that day is for the crew rather than thinking only of yourself and that might help your understanding.

  15. Patty Estill says:

    Debarkation day is the worst part of the cruise, not because it is a bad process but rather because we feel like a 10 year old at Mouseland, wishing we could ride just one more time. I always wondered how they could turn around the ship in such a short time, because the staterooms are sparkling when we arrive. Thank you for giving us this interesting glimpse into how this is accomplished. As for Hector, having a question is one thing, but there is no excuse for being rude and disrespectful in the asking. To address you as “Heald” instead of John or Mr. Heald is just that -rude! I, as always, admire your ability to field and answer him professionally despite his unsavory approach. I would say you deserve a cookie, but I wouldn’t want to blow your diet 🙂

  16. Raymond Corethers says:

    Hi, John.

    I was just wondering, We will be on the Breeze, December 5th, cruise and I would like to know who is the CD and also who the Comedians will be?

  17. Bob Jones says:

    With the comment that crew does not get tips until two days after the cruise, my question is…when do they find out when someone has removed their tips? I would like a straight, true answer on this please. There is a related question I have on this, but will post separately so this the answer to this question doesn’t get “missed” in the overall answer, if you have the yakbags to answer it. Thanks.

    • Chuck says:

      My goodness, sir, what a rude message! “yak bags”?! Wow, I’ll bet your parents are proud of how you turned out. (“Honey, how did we raise such a total asshat?!” “I don’t know, Martha, but somehow he turned out to be inconsiderate, coarse, AND a cheapskate. I hope he won’t call us asking for money again.”)
      And what a surprise your question concerns how to remove the tips for the crew! I assume you want to make sure you can get off the ship before they know you did this. Is that true, Mr. Jones? Can we please get a straight, true answer to that one?
      I am pretty sure I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait for your follow up question!

      • Bob Jones says:

        The answer is simple…I tip who I want and when I want…if staff are notified prior to the end of the cruise it could cause hard feelings, as it would create some uncertainty of whether he would get the total or not, even if I end up giving more than he would have gotten, which is usually the case. Spare me your opinion of this and sorry if I hurt your tender little feelings with something you have no business responding to since you didn’t know the answer.

  18. Sharlena C. says:

    I would also like to shout out Dr. E on my last cruise in the beginning of December. Is there anyway he could switch ships Dec. 5 and be the CD on the Breeze. Just for 1 week and then he can go back to his regular schedule. That would be awesome!!!!!!!!!! If not my husband and I our celebrating our anniversary on this ship. I am not sure what the company does for anniversaries but anything would be appreciated.

  19. Colleen Davis says:

    Hi John,
    I have to agree with you on the retirement home comment. I’ve told both of my kids that if the doctor gave me a short amount of time to live that I would start smoking, start drinking,eat any and all foods that I have been denying myself, and I’m going quit taking all my medications. As far as a care center goes, I will only go into one if I don’t know up from down – period. Have a great day.

  20. colin thomson says:

    I am thinking of booking the VICTORY in SAN JUAN.Iwonder,if after checkin, you can get off the boat & explore for awhile THANKS& CHEERS

  21. I wonder if we are related!! There are a number of John Heald’s back when!! I was told when I was young our family came over on the Mayflower…but not sure.

  22. sharon hewitt says:

    Dear John,…I hope your tease of Matt Dee is not in the correct order for the final vote. I’m sure Matt is a great person but IMHO Jaime epitomizes the term Cruise Director!I hope I am not disappointed in my golden years….again!

    • Don, the Diamond says:

      Jaime Dee is far and away the best CD in the fleet! Her support of military veterans is outstanding! Her charm and graciousness is incomparable. (and she is fun, fun, fun!!!) Have loved her since the Sensation! and again on the Dream, and the Sunshine. By the way, we have adopted her!

  23. Julie Tyler says:

    Regarding the retirement homes….I was playing poker with a Diamond status member on the Conquest and he was telling another poker player of a Carnival retirement package. It was available only to people who had achieved the status of Diamond level. They paid into it so much per month and at a certain age and certain amount, they could go and live on a Carnival cruise ship of their choice for the rest of their lives. It did not include medical care, he said. If you fell and broke your hip, you were SOL. But if you were reasonably healthy and didn’t want the attachment of maintaining a home on land then this was the way to go. He said he was paying $170 a month. The other poker player asked if there was something on the Carnival website and the guy said that it was only made available when one made Diamond status. I wanted to know if this was true or if this guy was just shooting his mouth off, trying to be the Big Guy at the Poker Table. (Because he basically monopolized the Poker table the entire cruise.)

  24. JT says:

    Just a thought, Robert. It could be your steward knocked on your cabin door because you were taking an unconscionably long time to get out of there and that particular cabin was going to be the next cruiser’s FTTF stateroom.

  25. MAM says:

    Good Morning John,
    Just wanted to say that I’m truly enjoying being educated on the up-front and behind the scene day to day run aboard the cruise ship. On Oct 31st, I will be traveling with my 85 year old mom. I’m a little nervous, because of her age and the fact she has not cruised since 2011. She still lives by herself, although I do check on her a few times during the week. Anyway, Mother will be turning 86 in November. What is the protocol for having the staff sing “Happy Birthday” to her during dinner? I really, really do not wish to spend any additional funds.

  26. Melissa says:

    Hi there just getting off the Elation this morning (6th cruise with Carnival since 2000).
    I am so sad with so many things this morning.
    First off FTTF package… I bought gifts for my daughter to receive when we got into our cabin that were supposed to be ready for us… Well instead we got… “Your room is half ready and your gifts aren’t there! ” 🙁 Oh and the drinks you order for your parents well the wrong flavors were sent to their room and the alcohol comes warm.
    Next, all the fun things like Win a future cruise from Bingo games are gone, the past cruisers gathering with drinks and appetizers are gone (now I get a bottle of water and one free drink on the last night), the little items like Cashews in Carnival logo’ed glass gone, even the chocolates on your pillows at night are gone! But let me tell you, you pay lots more for everything though, Bingo, Candy, alcohol and sodas!
    Loved the new Hasbro, game but obviously you had to know the cruise director by name to get him to look at you…. But if he knew you he knew everything about you and everyone now gets to hear about those guest now.
    We were on the Empress Deck and literally starting about 10pm every nigh it sounded as if the roof was going to fall in… Sounded as if their was a work shop above us literally!
    Then let’s go to back to getting to your room…
    And all ready asking for a refrigerator for your child’s medicine when I booked the cruise… Oh wait that didn’t happen … So I went to the “special FTTF guest service line”, they tell me it will be in by cabin that evening the next day when it’s still not there I call and finally it was delivered.
    Also… Whomever decided that putting the candy store next to a smokey Casino… Bravo… GREAT idea!!
    Also Progreso… What a a disappointment. Beautiful place but literally you can’t move without getting someone selling you something! Oh and the guys “selling” you the excursions when you get off the boat tell you Carnival charges $80, we will charge you $45 , then the next move the guys lower the price, by time you get to the bus drop off zone it was down to $25! Really???
    I could go on and on! I am so sad, I fell in love with Carnival as a young single girl, went on my honeymoon on a cruise and now have my family going and now I would say “no thank you”!
    How about giving the “big guys” a pay cut, bring back some better “perks” back to previous cruisers (that you don’t have to pay for FTTF) and pay the workers more!!!!

    I really could go on and on.

  27. We had no complaints about anything, we are unbelievably ecstatic every tie we cruise and would love to be on one with you..!!!!

  28. Lee says:

    Hello John,
    My family and i just debarked this am from the Carnival Breeze. This was our fourth Carnival Cruise and we had an excellent time as usual. My question/comment for you deals with the photo’s printed on board. Every cruise I have had the same thought as I did on this one, but I finally decided to make a comment on this. It seems such an extreme waste to print all of the photos taken, a waste of paper, waste of time and in no way can be an environmentally responsible way to conduct business. Is there a thought to converting to digital photo/display’s or is there a strong reason not too? When you go to Disney, they hand you a card with a unique identifier on it to give to any photographer taking your picture, photo’s are uploaded daily and you can log in at your leisure to view and order pictures. You could do this on the ship or after your return home. I am sure many would appreciate the ability to do this after coming home from a cruise, it would let us relive the moments again. I for one know that I actually try to avoid the photographers as much as possible just so they don’t print out so many pictures!

  29. Doris Blatchford says:

    Awesome cruise on Carnival Miracle last week. Can’t believe that anyone would ever complain about anything. Staff is so hard working and accommodating. Our 6 year old granddaughter Sophia is a child with very special needs. She was treated with such kindness and respect, it warmed out hearts. More than 3 people approached our daughter to make sure they were accommodating her in her in her daughter’s food needs and the staff in Camp Carnival were extremely kind and encouraging. None of us wanted to leave the ship. We treated our kids and grandkids to this cruise and our 13 year old granddaughter wanted to stay on the ship and do dishes so she didn’t have to leave. The only thing we found negative were the passengers who were disrespectful of cruise staff, complained about food (it was fantastic and I certainly don’t cook anything like that at home). We bought fast to the fun passes for every stateroom and boy was that fun. We heard some people waiting in line complain that the ship left at the same time and why pay more for Fast to the Fun. Of course, we were able to walk right past them when checking in and then when going on shore, we were escorted right past long lines waiting for the tenders. Brought a smile to our faces as we waived at the complainers. Again, the only negative were the rude passengers. Folks, you let people off the elevator before you try and cram yourself into a full elevator that is trying to exit. I wonder how many of these people were brought up in a barn. I finally started telling people about manners. Hopefully it will sink in but I doubt it. The food was outstanding in both Horatios and the dining room where our waiter Oleg gave us excellent service every evening at 6 p.m. We couldn’t wait for the next evening’s dinner to chat with him and the rest of the table waiters/busboys/wine stewards. They were all great. The cruise director Cory was great and did a wonderful job of trying to motivate people, get people to dance, get people involved. My husband and I were the only ones that had been on cruises before (many of them) and we couldn’t wait to show the kids and grandkids what a wonderful way to vacation it was. Like I said, they did NOT want to leave the ship. Saturday was a very sad day. Please extend our thanks to all the crew for their fantastic service and we can’t wait to do this again!!! Whoo Hoo…what a wonderful trip. Jim and Doris Blatchford

  30. Sue Marzonie says:

    American Girl Dolls on 8/12 Steals and Deals Today show 8:00 hour. They say it will be best price ever.

  31. William Taylor says:

    John, when will the American Table menu be implemented on the Dream? We sail on her on Sept 27th and was hoping to try the new menus. This will be our 21st cruise!

  32. Tiffany LS says:

    Dear John:

    I found your facebook page and blog a few months ago and see so many people demanding and complaining. ARGH, most of us appreciate the work that goes on to make our vacations great expereiences. I just got the survey in after 8 days on the Conquest on 8/2. It was a great time!
    Here goes: Our room steward Hilda was simply amazing. She anticipated our needs and made sure to have little things like ice filled up all the time. Beautiful personality and warm spirit. Wait Staff member Ida was a Team Waiter but I can see him being promoted up the ranks quickly, nothing against our head waiter Jan, he was great too, but Ida, took it up a notch! Tendai on the Behind the Fun tour, I could tell in just 5 minutes that she had experience with children/young adults. She told us she is a former teacher and camp carnival employee and her passion for her job shone through! Carnival is soooo lucky to have her! Not one person we encountered on the tour made us feel like we were imposing or interrupting, they were happy to tell us about their work. This was one of the BEST experiences on any vacation ever! My husband and I were absolutely amazed. I was so excited the night before to get to see all of the people that work behind the scenes to make our vacations memorable. Lastly, the chef’s table–another great experience! Chef Buiu crafted an experience of a lifetime within my dietary needs. By the last course, we were all about to burst with deliciousness! His assistant Agus did an amazing job as well and Vlad performed magic tricks that made me ask my husband 36 times, are you sure you weren’t in on this beforehand?! The comedians BT and Spike Davis were great as well! So sad to leave and my first day at work was absolutely tragic when I think of melting cakes, towel animals and blue seas. The Conquest staff was great.

  33. Sherrie Smith says:

    Dear John,
    I am needing to arrange transportion from the pier to our hotel in New York City on the day of deparkation. I need the latest time we are allowed to be on the ship that day. We will be staying an additional week in NYC and our hotel will not be ready until the afternoon. Any suggestions on a time to have the limo service arrive at the pier? I believe they have a 15 minute grace time upon arrival. We will be traveling on the Splendor in October.
    Thank you!

    • Dave says:

      Maybe when you reach that decrepit old age you were referring to, that Carnival would award you with a permanent room aboard one of its finest ships, and you could spend the rest of your days sailing the world. And, perhaps rather than your insurance paying for a very expensive nursing home, they will allow you to bring a healthcare nurse aboard to see to your needs. 🙂
      We were with you aboard the Magic in Europe, 2011. Never had a better cruise director since. We will be aboard the Vista for its inaugural cruise from Trieste. I have heard that you will also be aboard, is this true? Can’t wait to see you again.

  34. Scott Edson and Lisa Morrison says:

    Dear John,
    I just read your final comments to my wife. It was the perfect ending to our hectic evening. We just started cruising last February and have had the fortunes to take two cruises since. We are so thankful to the staff and directors of these cruises, these people are so kind and make everything about these adventures memorable. I never though playing bingo or hanging out at a casino bar could be so much fun. Embarkation day does SUCK…..but you have to leave before you can come back. Lisa and I spend the two hours it takes to get from Miami to Naples talking about how awesome the cruise was and where we want to go next. As soon as we get home we call Manuel,”Our Cruise Guy” and schedule our next cruise. Yes, Carnival is that awesome. So, thank you all for all the fun and the adventures we have had and the adventures yet to come.It is truly the people who make Carnival and the people are the best. Thank you John and thank you Carnival.

    • Don, the Diamond! says:

      We always purchase our future cruises on board ship! You get the ONBOARD credits, and you can your vacation planner can get credit. And it gives something for the onboard future cruise person to do! And the vouchers for the ONBOARD credits are great to get friends and family to go with you on a cruise!

  35. willard sheffield says:

    Hello John, I noticed on my last two cruises one in Oct.2014 to hawaii and the last in May to Jamacia. No mint on the pillow and no toiletries in the bathroom.Come on ! We had a blast as we always do in Hawaii I have cruised with Princess to Hawaii and I wasnt impressed so back to my favorite Carnival.OUR CD wasn’t as expected full of himself.I have cruised with you and there is a reason you are the Carnival poster boy.Ihave sent many people I know or work with to Carnival and all have enjoyed themselves. I will always use Carnival but those two items troubled me thanks for reading this, Dale Sheffield

  36. jim adams says:

    going to try something different this time.after arriving home from port of tampa which is only half hour away im going to go home and repack for a couple of days at the beach…try to come down off that carnival high gradually.

  37. jim adams says:

    hi john.just a quick question for you.i will be cruising with my wife on the paradise sept.19th and it will be our first time as platinum guests.what should we expect that will be different from our previous cruises(by the way,they were all great or we wouldnt keep coming back.)ive heard something about the captains lounge…what is it?

  38. Trish Ross says:

    Hi John:
    You are so right. Debarkation is the roughest of all days for everyone. Wouldn’t it be nice if Carnival could hire a local crew at homeport to assist the cabin stewards with the deep cleaning and cheer-up of passengers awaiting debark?

    Perhaps they could also help in delivering luggage and basic on-boarding tasks?

    I know this would entail challenges and scheduling issues, but if they worked several ships it could be more days/hours for them.

    Just a thought.

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