So it would be silly for me not to start today’s blog and mention what happened on the Carnival Liberty. First of all, I would like to thank each and every guest for their patience and understanding and thank those who were on the ship at the time of the fire for listening to the ship’s commands to calmly make their way onto the pier in St. Thomas. A big thank you also must go to the crew for their outstanding efforts over the past few days. I am sure you will have read on my Facebook page the comments from guests on the ship who saluted Carnival for the full refund, the 50 percent future cruise discount and the $150 onboard credit we gave each and every guest. This praise was echoed by hundreds of people on Facebook as well.

In speaking to the senior officers on the ship and the Carnival shoreside beards who flew to St. Thomas to support the crew and be there for the guests, negative comments were few and far between. The vast majority of guests probably felt that, although their vacation had come to an unexpected end, Carnival made sure that they were looked after, taken care of and, by giving the full refund, credit and discount, gave them massive encouragement to sail again and….I am sure most of them will.


Time for today’s Q and A, away we go.

Sherrie Friedman asks:

Hi John, I was wondering, I will be going on my first Carnival cruise in December and I know hotels have music on different channels; does Carnival have music in the rooms via TV or stereo? Thank you!

John says:

Hello Sherrie Friedman

Thanks for writing and, yes, indeed, on the in-cabin TVs, there are four music channels played through the cabin televisions with different genres of music. I hope this is a wonderful cruise for you, the first of many and if there is anything I can do for you, please do let me know. Best wishes.


Paul Owen asks:

Despite your attempts to ridicule the millions of proud members on Cruise Critic, it remains the potent force in the cruise community. When fire raged on the Carnival Liberty, Cruise Critic members were being told first hand by a poster actually on the ship. The poster was pauleydm. He kept us all updated — a great job done. The CC site seems to get the most news first. Even people on your page, Heald, were calling this not true and other names. But that is what your page is–TRASH. pauleydm deserves a free cruise, his forthright reporting meant the truth was heard. Other Cruise Critic members agree and get this done, Heald, and you may get back some of the credibility you lost with members.

John says:

Hello Paul Owen

I join you in thanking “Pauleydm” for explaining what was happening. I am sure he told you how quickly the crew acted, that nobody was injured and explained the full refund, 50 percent off the next cruise and $150 onboard credit he and all the guests received. I am sure he told you how wonderful the crew had been. Please thank him for me, let him know if he needs anything, I am here and I hope we see him again very soon. Best wishes.


Mia Coffey asks:

Hi John: My family and I are booked on the Carnival Dream in December. One of the reasons we picked it is because of its size, thinking bigger is better. But when I keep going to your “most up-to-date CD schedule,” I can’t help but notice that it’s not yet booked for a cruise director, and it doesn’t even rate an entertainment director!!??? Please tell me why do the other Dream-class ships get one of each? I cruised with Eversen Bevelle on the Carnival Glory in January and he was AMAZING!! He is scheduled on the Dream’s sister ship, Carnival Magic. Is the Carnival Dream going to get a wonderful, seasoned CD like Eversen? When will you know who is going to be the CD? Thank you so very much for your time.

John says:

Hello Mia Coffey

Please do not worry — you have picked a fantastic ship with a great crew. The CD will be Brandon, a young energetic and very funny chap who I am sure, like Eversen did on your past cruise, will give you the best of times. Please do let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


Ian Loudrey asks:

Something has been bothering me since my wife’s birthday cruise August 14. As a present for her, I went to the shop on the ship and bought a XXXL shirt. It was $5 more expensive than the smaller sizes. I did some checking and discovered this was the same for all the clothing there. In America, this would be classed as discrimination. Plus-size people like myself and my wife are kind of fed up with being treated like second-class citizens by Carnival who should also carry 4X and 5X shirts as well but don’t. Maybe we will vote with our feet and not cruise with you guys until you get this sorted!!

John says:

Hello Ian Loudrey

Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. I know first-hand how challenging buying larger sizes are and you will see more variety and bigger sizes across the fleet very soon. I am afraid I have no control over pricing but do know that when I was at my biggest, often I paid more for clothing on land as I always understood more material had to be used. I do truly hope we see you soon on another cruise with us. Best wishes.


Nancy Jean asks:

Hi John: I love the Carnival Cloud 9 Spa balcony rooms, but someday want to treat myself to a grand suite, however, I don’t understand why that wouldn’t include access to the special spa rooms that the Cloud 9 Spa balcony rooms do given the cost. It would be a great idea to have Grand Suite Spa rooms. Can’t wait to be on board the Carnival Breeze again. Best wishes and thank you, Nancy Jean

John says:

Hello Nancy Jean

The idea behind the Cloud 9 Spa rooms is that, because they are adjacent to the spa, they have exclusive access including a private elevator to the facilities there. I can understand how you would like a grand suite, they are simply amazing cabins and I hope one day you do get to stay in one. Meanwhile, if there is anything at all I can do for you, please do tell me. Best wishes.


Jan Margheim asks:

We are going on our first B2B in September on the Carnival Glory. We are so excited about our trip. My question is how can I carry on my allotted bottles of wine (one per person/per week). Can I carry four bottles on at the beginning of week one and keep them with me? Do I have to leave two bottles and collect them for week two? I just want to do the right thing.

John says:

Hello Jan Margehim

I see you are sailing next week so I am glad I got to answer this before your cruise begins. The answer is yes, you may carry on the one per person per cruise when you board. Please make sure though you have your boarding pass for both cruises printed to show security. I wish you a brilliant time and loads of fun. Best wishes.


Cate Baczewski asks:

On my Carnival Glory cruise, I went to the Emerald steakhouse and I was so disappointed and angry at the lack of choices for vegetarians. I have been to steakhouses in Chicago and other places and they have more than one choice for the main dish which was some sort of mushroom pie which was tasteless. Maybe when you recommend the steakhouse, you should have the common decency to add that Carnival does not cater to vegetarians because it was the worst $35 I have ever spent!!!!!!!!!!!!

John says:

Hello Cate Baczewski

I am very sorry to read about your disappointment with our much-applauded steakhouse. I do realise that, outside of the many side dishes, there is only one main course choice and maybe we should look at adding at least one more. I will bring this to the chef and see what we can do. Please also make sure next time you cruise that you let the steakhouse hostess know the day before that you are going to be eating there so they have time to prepare something that hopefully you will really enjoy. I hope despite this, you had a great cruise and that we see you again soon. Best wishes.


Ashley Westbrooks asks:

Hello John!!! I am wondering if the social media package will be available on the Carnival Fantasy by Oct. 1. I am blind and normally use a guide dog. I will not be traveling with him. A dear friend of mine will be looking after him while we cruise. I must say, though, I am extremely anxious to leave him and would love to be able to stay in touch. The social media package sounds perfect for this. I realize some may say, “He is JUST a dog” but he is much more than that to me and being able to get updates on him at a fair price would be more than wonderful. Thank you! I hope you are having a wonderful day!

John says:

Hello Ashley Westbrooks

Thanks so very much for writing. Yes, the new Internet package is due there later this month. I totally understand how much you will miss your best friend and all the joy and comfort he brings you. I also want you to know that if there is anything at all I can help with, please let me know and I will be here for you. Have a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.


Barbara Rogers asks:

Good Afternoon, John. My family and I sailed on the Carnival Magic back on June 14 and I am just now getting around to writing you. We had a great time. It was mine and hubby’s third Carnival cruise and the first for our 19 and 16 year old. We all had a fantastic time. The ship was nothing that the kids expected it to be and they had a better time than they thought they would. My question today – which I am sure is an odd one. We toured the spa on embarkation day but did not purchase anything this cruise but loved the aroma of the big hot tub- like thing that they have. Well when we would go up to the Serenity deck and sat on the right side of the ship, we could smell the wonderful aroma of that spa. Is there any way you can tell me the scent that they use in there? My massage person here in town told me, if I found out the scent, she would have it for me when I get a massage and I could feel like I was back on board. Thank you very much for your help!!! We look forward to our next cruise to be either an Alaska or southern Caribbean.

John says:

Hello Barbara Rogers

I am so glad to read that you and your lovely family had such a great time and so much fun.  What a good question about the spa. They use, I am told, something called Elemis Quiet Mind Room Mist. I use bacon. I hope that helps and I do hope we see you all soon and I am here if you need anything. Best wishes.


Frank Walters asks:

Good day to you John: My question to you and the staff at Carnival cruise– why is it not mentioned just as a quick thank you to all branches of the military during dinner and/or shows just as a gratitude? And to say we’ve not forgotten you. Because without any of our service members, there would be no Carnival Cruise Line. I thank you very kindly for your time and effort.

John says:

Hello Frank Walters

Let me start by thanking you for your service and, indeed, anyone reading this who may have served or who still serves now because, you’re right, we would not be able to cruise without you to protect our freedom. While we don’t do this at dinner, we do host a veterans meeting on every ship to say thanks and to give our brave and respected service men and women who are sailing an opportunity to meet. Plus often at shows the cruise director will mention military personnel. I hope we see you soon. Best wishes.


Laura K asks:

Good morning John: My boyfriend and I are sailing on the Carnival Sunshine in November. We chose this trip because of the amount of ports it offered, specifically St. Lucia. He has been trying to get to this island for a while now, and the opportunity presented itself! We are very excited about this trip! I am here to ask whether additional excursions will be added as we get closer to sail day? So far, I cannot find an excursion sponsored by Carnival that includes the Pitons and a good amount of time at the volcano. It seems like our choices are currently one or the other. We have searched trips not sponsored by Carnival, and found one we really liked, but after reading about the guests who were left behind in Roatan, I am TERRIFIED of something going wrong! This will be cruise three for me, but only the second where I am responsible for planning the excursions. Our cruise in February of this year was very easy to plan, but we had booked either in late December or early Jan. My guess is that all of the excursions were fairly solidified at that point. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

John says:

Hello Laura

St. Lucia is a brilliant island full of beauty and culture, you will both love it. I checked with our shore excursion office and most of the tours to the Pitons are already posted. I do always encourage guests to take an excursion from the ship and I hope you can find one that you both like. Please take another look and then let me know if you have any questions either here or on my page. I am sure you will both have a brilliant time. Best wishes.



That’s all for today. I will continue to answer as many questions as my time allows and will be back three days next week on my page to answer questions quickly and help as many people as I can. For those regular readers of this blog and of my page, you will know that I don’t drink and that alcohol has not passed my lips since 1997. Yet, in my everyday life and my travels, I am surrounded by people who do drink and by people who think drinking in vast quantities is absolutely hilarious. Alcohol makes people fall over and it makes some fall out of their clothes. Alcohol removes fears and it calms the nerves. And here in Italy, where I am writing to you from, where the skies are blue and the scenery is stunning, everyone around me is drinking at lunch time. The cafes are full wine of all colours. Italy, it seems, continues its love affair with the lunchtime drink — there is no “grab and go” cafe here, that’s for sure.

Yet, while I am surrounded now by people enjoying alcohol, I am finding that more and more people I know who are around my age, are saying that they are stopping and becoming teetotalers. Maybe they went to see their doctor and he sat looking at their test results sharing white haired head and adopting one of those serious faces that doctors do so well. Maybe they’ve realised that time is catching up with them and soon they’ll be six feet under. Whatever, the fact is, I have seen both on land and on ships that the people I have grown up with in this company are suddenly not drinking a thing except water, soda and, if they are metrosexual sandal-wearing vegetablists, kale juice.

I do not drink, as I said, and I have no problem with that but it has had an effect on my social life. As you may know, on September 21, we have the cruise director conference in Miami and, along with the hard work, there will be some fun times, as well. In fact, on the Sunday before the conference starts, one of my colleagues has arranged a night out on South Beach with some fun places (for them, at least) being visited. I heard about this second hand and asked the cruise director responsible for arranging this why I had not been invited. He told me: “I thought you’d find it boring as you don’t drink, John.” And, sadly, I understood what he meant. He and the young, good looking, fun loving, craft beer and martini-sipping cruise directors did not want to spend the evening with a miserable old sod sipping a Perrier.

And, sadly, I also realised that I am really not one of “them” any longer. My job has moved on, I am “something else” and, in some ways, I wonder if I even should go to the cruise director conference. I can offer guidance and make everyone laugh but I can’t help but wonder if they, the other CDs, think of me as a beard and not one of them. Still, on the flip side, when I am out with people who are drinking and having a good time and when people are getting “happy,” I just want to sit in a corner and post something on my Facebook page.

But when I sit here, as I am now, in the piazza in beautiful Trieste, having spent the day filming on your Carnival Vista, I watch the Italians here at the cafes enjoying a glass of wine on this lovely sunny day and I wonder, should I be doing the same? I am no better than a yak by refusing a glass of Pinot Grigio……. and ordering yet another tedious glass of H2O? But since I stopped drinking all those years ago, I have realised some important things. I am a morning person. I am not the best dancer ever. Most of my friends aren’t that funny. And, it turns out, there is nothing I did while I was drinking that I cannot do sober. I am still overweight but drinking is not something I miss. I am not ever going to be one of those teetotalers who tell you they love kale smoothies before skipping off to a sodding Yoga class.

Anyway, despite the allures of Italy and the cold wine sitting on every table, I shall not partake and stick to my bubbly water. As I said, I haven’t had a drink since I stopped in 1997 ……well, that is almost true. In 2003, during my stag party in Amsterdam my best man Alan and assorted friends bought me a pint of lager with a shot of whisky in it followed by them force feeding me a pair of edible strawberry sugar flavored panties……..the following week, I was diagnosed as a diabetic. Oh FFS!



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.

63 Responses to Not Invited to the Party………………What a Liberty

  1. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    I have to say I am always curious about the IQ of someone who would follow the page of an individual they detest???

  2. Barbara Miller says:

    Hello John, I have really enjoyed reading your blog. My question is , how often do you change the gifts for the platinum or diamond cruisers? We cruise at least 2 or 3 times a year and receive duplicate gifts. The gift we would like to receive is a Carnival Tervis Cup as I guess this has not been available on any of our cruises. We are willing to buy 2 of these cups but do not no where they can be purchased . Can you help with this situation? Thanks ! We love Carnival!!!

  3. Katherine says:

    I don’t know what rock Ian has been under over the years, but plus sized clothing has ALWAYS cost a few extra dollars for items such as t-shirts. Other items are more than a few extra dollars more. They justify this by saying there is extra fabric (which is bull when comparing an XL item to a XXL or even XXXL item). This is standard industry practice, not discrimination.

    • Kim says:

      You are absolutely correct!!! I thought the same thing when I read his comment! Geez!! But I do wish they would sell more larger sizes!!

    • MJ Wright says:

      As a 400lb man myself if Ian wants to be treated like everyone else then LOSE WEIGHT! There are stores that cater to us big folks who have prices that are reasonable. I have been big all my life and have NEVER felt bad because someone didnt carry clothes that didnt fit me! Deal with it!

  4. Suzanne Bambrick says:

    Is there any way to find out if a specific Carnival employee will be on our upcoming cruise in January? We met Rasa V on our first cruise in 07 (Celebration)and by a miracle she was on the ship we cruised on in 10(Liberty). She is the most delightful person and a great bartender. With employees like her no wonder people have such a great time on your ships! I’ve tried to contact her on Facebook but no response. We would be out of our minds with happiness if we were to encounter her again! She has made each cruise so very special! We will be on the Glory on January 9th.

  5. Michelle Higgins says:

    I have never posted on your blog although I follow it religiously! I feel I need to comment on this blog about drinking. My husband does not drink at all and I rarely do but we go to a bar with friends almost every weekend. You can still have fun without drinking but drinkers don’t understand that. Go to CD party and show those youngsters how it is done!

  6. Hi,Would like to know who the will be the Capt. On the mighty Triumph on theBB/B in Oct ? Hope it will be the same one. That we had in Feb. He was great

  7. BIG Ed Konefe says:

    Ian Loudrey,

    If you go to an on-line large size site or catalog like Women Within, Romans, King Size etc. you will see their prices go up by size on almost all items.

    • Maria M says:

      I have to agree, even Walmart charges $2 more for the big man sizes. How much more American can you get!
      I do hope they do offer 4x

  8. Linda Cole says:

    To Ian Loudrey … ALMOST EVERY STORE IN AMERICA CHARGES EXTRA FOR LARGER SIZES!You should maybe take your feet into WalMart and see for yourself.

  9. Hey OWEN !!!!!!!!!!!! His name is not Heald. It’s either John, John, Heald or Mr. Heald and not called by his last name. That is very disrespectful. But I guess that is to be expected from a lot of Cruise Critics Members. I miss the old days of CC,it changed so I dropped out several years ago.
    John, please don’t feel left out because you do not drink. You are a very nice, very fun fellow who does not need the booze that other’s need to give them the courage to laugh and make jokes.
    We all love you the way you are.

    • Calvin says:

      I’m so glad someone else has noticed CC is NOT what it use to be! I just had an email exchange with them about this very subject. I told them it just isn’t fun anymore. Their moderators have turned into paranoid neo-Nazis! They are running it like a concentration camp! They are injecting their interpretations of whats being discussed and deleting more threads then what is getting posted!

      • Marsha Breen says:

        I agree with you guys. CC started out being a place to share information. Now it’s more of the bullies wanting to plant rumors and false information. Add that to the ones who get a diverse pleasure in criticizing anything someone posts and it all adds up to a free-for-all for those who think they know all. I feel sorry for the new cruisers who go there thinking they are going to get their questions answered respectfully. Gotta love the “I belong to Cruise Critic therefore I am superior” folks!

  10. Michael Cohan says:

    Hi John,

    I just wanted to say that when Ian Loudrey complained about being charged a few dollars extra for his XXXL shirt because in America that would be “discrimination,” well, he obviously has never been to Walmart, which charges extra (usually $2) for big and tall sizes and always has. If it takes a lot more fabric to make the product, why shouldn’t it be priced accordingly?

  11. Joan says:

    I must be feeling really crabby today after reading comments in the blog.

    1 – To Paul Owen: if Cruise Critic members thinks pauleydm deserves a free cruise, why don’t you all chip in and pay for one?

    2 – To Ian Loudrey: did you send this same letter to Walmart, which also charges more for the extra, extra large sizes?

    3 – To Cate B. : You have inspired me. The next time I’m in a vegetarian restaurant I’m going to complain about the lack of options for meat eaters.

  12. Josea says:

    Ian Loudrey, Only you can control the cost and size of your clothes. Self control and willpower!! You chose who you are. No one discriminated against you. Best of luck!

  13. Daniel Webb says:

    Greetings John: Last July, my family had a fantastic time on the Freedom with a group of friends (15 people in all). This was my family’s first cruise on Carnival and we enjoyed every minute of it. Our group has grown to 17 and we will all be enjoying the Dream next July out of New Orleans.

    There was one thing about our cruise that I would like to know if CCL has ever considered. As a “family friendly” cruise line, it seemed a bit odd to have my 11 and 14 year old kids go up to a smoky bar to order a soda. Has Carnival ever considered a soft drink station on their boats that is not connected to one of the bars?

    I look forward to your feedback.

  14. Christy says:

    John – Boy – so much to say on this one. I think your assessment of whether to go to the conference because you’re not one of them would be a huge mistake. I get that it is time to pass the torch, but I for one and those I cruise with (will not speak for all passengers) prefer your style. We are your age and appreciate the style of humor and class you portray as well the overall fun you like to have. Not everyone wants a metro-sexual or females dressed like it’s Halloween every night. It’s very unappealing and unprofessional to represent the company that way. Carnival, I think, is making a mistake by creating a robot CD crew. Look the same, talk the same, act the same, etc… It’s boring, mundane and no individuality. They are all so full of themselves it becomes tiring to just see them walking towards you. I am sure many are talented in terms of doing what they’re hired to do, and I know you wouldn’t say otherwise. But – they do it because of the job and money, not the pride, passion and loyalty to the brand, they’d jump ship in a heartbeat with an offer from another line. I guess my message is, folks look up to you and for those that wouldn’t, it is their loss in every sense. You are the leader of the CD’s that brought Carnival where they are today. Not giving them the guidance and mentoring would be a mistake. This isn’t meant to be a “cheering” as some would say, this is my opinion on what made the company, ships, entertainment what it is today as a guiding principal. It’s a shame that much of that will be going away as this torch is passed. Carnival was a classy funship. It seems to be moving in a horribly wrong direction for your loyal cruisers from a CD perspective. Maybe not so with the up and coming generations but quickly, very quickly, the up and coming will not be able to afford to cruise and Carnival will have lost loyalty, which in the end will tank the company. Keep doing what you do and don’t ever stop trying to mentor those behind you. There’s nothing wrong with being deemed a suit if that’s what it is. There’s a lot to be said for moving up through the ranks and looking back to appreciate what you helped to build. BUT – I can fully understand why they would choose to not extend the invitation. Social media does a lot of damage with perception of what is being seen. One wrong look or action only partially captured, and you’re toast… Think of it as a blessing. It has nothing to do with drinking, a lot of us have fun without drinking. But, for what it’s worth I sure would be the first one telling them / warning them / the camera is always rolling. Especially since you’ve announced their plans on Facebook. They are also directly in the public eye and will be recognized. Thanks again John for all you do.

  15. Renee says:

    Pauleydm did a great job on Cruise Critic explaining what happened as it happened on the Liberty. He didn’t sensationalize things, he was to the point and yes he did explain the refund and everything to a tee. Wish all CC members could be like him.

    • Jennifer says:

      Pauley was a class act on CC and never once asked for anything for free. I am sorry he was treated so poorly. I am also getting more turned off by CC daily. Civilized discussion is lost over there on many occasions.

  16. Stephanie Roane says:

    John, I don’t drink either and I commend you on your choice!! It sad that some people, who you thought were your friends, will dis own you for not drinking !!! You know who your TRUE friends are!!! Thank you for all you do!!!

  17. Barbara Burns says:

    With regard to the passenger who commented about extra $$ FOR XXL+ shirts, don’t know what American stores he shops. BUT every store I by clothes from or online or from magazine retailers there is always a surcharge go for Xtra large. It might be just because more material is needed full for the garment. Whatever. Carnival is following standard trade practices.

  18. Mitchel Sellers says:

    I am sailing on the Liberty in January is there any expectations on time to repair, or what might happen to future cruises?

  19. Val says:

    Sorry Ian ,you are wrong. Plus size clothing always has a higher price tag. Not discrimination, more fabric.Go to Walmart,Kohls,Macys,and any other retail store whether discounters or not. In case you were wondering ,I wear plus size clothing too. They probably receive the larger sizes and sell them quickly. If the lack of t shirt in a certain size would keep you from cruising,well that’s just plain sad.

  20. Thomas O'Hara says:

    In response to the message from Ian Loudrey, is he even American and if so, has he shopped in the US?!? XXL and above clothing is ALWAYS priced higher, at least in any clothing store I had ever shopped. Tell him to get a grip!

  21. Ian Hart says:

    Hi John, regarding the letter from Ian Loudrey about being discriminated against by CCL charging extra for XXXL sizes, obviously this person has NEVER shopped at WalMart, Target or Meijers stores, because they ALL charge extra for those sizes. You are right they are more because of the extra material and the extra work it takes to make them. Sorry, but if I have to pay more for my normal size clothes to cover what is legitimately your expense then that is what is discriminating against me

  22. Rob says:

    When will Carnival tell us why yet another engine room fire occured? What caused it, and what will be done so it does not happen again? My guess, never, but I will allow you to elaborate.

    Thank You

  23. Cyndi MacFarlane says:

    They say third time is the charm. I will be on the Sunshine in October. We recieved a upsell from main deck to deck 6 after we booked it we found out the Liquid lounge turns into a night club after the shows. We are right above the lounge and I was wondering how long do they normally play the music.
    thank you

  24. Pat Stokes says:

    Dear Mr. Heald,

    My husband and I are traveling on the Carnival Valor in October. We have a group of 100+. We are getting together for several activities as a group, in addition to the Carnival arranged activities. Would it be possible for Carnival to provide some small “winner” trophies/medals, key rings? Anything would be very much appreciated.


    Pat Stokes

  25. Cynthia Ravenscraft says:

    Great stories John. My husband and I would occasionally have a drink when we first got married and for the first few years but when my mother’s alcoholism got really bad we both decided to not drink. An glass of wine here or there perhaps but rarely. I think neither of us had a sip of alcohol for more than 20 years when we went on our first cruise for our 30th anniversary. We brought a very special bottle of prosecco (Italian Champagne, our was from the Villa De Carlotti Winiers, my family) to share with our friends that were also celebrating their 30th anniversary. My husband also had one beer and I had a strawberry Da’quari. On our next cruise I misplaced my medicine so due to spasms I had two Da’quaries and tasted the alcohol during the sales. However, at home we never drink. I think it is funny that for those of use that don’t drink at home Carnival somehow gets us to drink.

    Ian, I am glad you and your wife had fun and that you were able to find a 3X shirt but paying extra for plus sizes is not exclusive to Carnival. Every article of clothing I buy on land or sea seems to come at a higher price tag (even at Walmart). Unfortunately it is the way of the fashion industry. There is of course more fabric and it takes more time to make. My complaint about clothing costs is not plus size. Have you ever priced baby clothes. Now that is where the complaints should be. Most baby clothes cost more than most adults clothes and there is way less fabric. The motivation for all companies that sell baby clothes must be that the parents will pay more for their cute little babies and they need to buy more clothes more often because kids grow so fast. So please don’t complain about extra on a ship because it is extra everywhere.

    ONE LAST THING……. Carnival did such a good job with the whole Liberty incident. I applaud each and every crew member, management and the passengers. It seems everyone worked well together and made the most of their interrupted vacation. I only hope if I am ever on a ship that has a similar situation the outcome is a good as this one was. KUDOS TO EVERYONE.

  26. Ellen Watkins says:

    To Ian – it is quite common for companies to charge more for plus size clothing. I am actually impressed that Carnival Cruise Lines is able to hold the cost at a reasonable amount for the price difference. I am a plus size gal and I am not bothered or offended by this. Quite simply there is more material in a 2x and up clothing. I am in a profession where I am in charge of ordered t-shirts for events – pricing is always provided for up to XL and larger sizes adjusted as needed. We have two prices for event shirts and the people
    In our organization do complain. I think you need a reality check!

  27. Kathy Preis says:

    John, I welcome the new role that you identify as being one of the beards. They make important decisions that effect your beloved guests and it is reassuring to us that you are among their ranks as our advocate. Thank you, John Heald, for continuing to look out for us.

  28. Ruth Drummond says:

    John, I read your blog today with great interest. Gone were all the stupid complaints, and in their place many compliments about cruises people have been on! What a refreshing change! I would also like to congratulate Carnival and the Liberty’s crew for a spectacular job that they did this past week. I hope that Carnival will recognize the crew in a very special way. They certainly deserve it. Now, as far as you not drinking, kudos to you! I also and gave up smoking this past December. I can relate so how you feel being at parties where everyone is drinking. I am also uncomfortable going to those type of affairs, not because of the drinking but because of the incessant amount of people that keep asking me, “you’re not drinking?” I prefer to stay home and books and more cruises. Lol! Enjoy your time with your family, I look forward to your next blog.

  29. Rita Presnell says:

    Ian Loudry….even at Wal Mart plus size clothing is about $3 more than regular size. NO, t s not onside red discrimination, it happens at all retail stores.

  30. Marianne Gilmore says:

    First of all, I applaud you for not drinking. My husband and I have not had a drink for over 30 years (each) and we get tired of refusing drinks on a cruise.Perhaps a “code” could be established with waiters and bartenders for ordering the John Heald Cocktail….water with a bit of lemon served in a non clunky glass. It is almost embarrassing to walk around with a plastic or heavy water tumbler at a cocktail party

    We would also love to purchase the special glasses but we are told that with or without a cocktail the price is the same. Also, having already purchased the bubbles package, we can’t substitute an unopened can of soda to have in our cabin.
    Rest well….we love reading your posts

  31. Sue says:

    And, while you’re at it, what about my 28 years of service educating nurses who will care for you and your loved ones…. We support the military, but come on people LOTS of us do jobs for which we deserve recognition too!!

    • Jerry says:

      I agree Sue. Getting out of hand everyone wants accolades for doing their job. It’s the job you signed up for. There are thousands of mom’s out there with kids working for minimum wage. How about them?

  32. Frances Vickerstaffe says:

    Not blaming you Jacinta but has the policy of emailing Johns blogs been stopped. Not received any since the last PA left. Just asking not critizing. Its just I use to receive everyone by email and then forward it to a couple of people not on facebook but like to read his blogs.


  33. Bruce Press says:

    Dear John, My wife has suffered a major loss in that her father has passed away last month. She can be setting here and start crying. We are going on the Conquest starting on 9-26-15, I am hoping that a cruise will help her get over the Grieving time. If there is anything that you can have the crew do to help it would be appreciated. Thank You in advance. Bruce Press

  34. Ruth Gould says:

    Hi John:

    I am glad to see that Carnival is now offering the Bottomless Bubbles and Cheers package for advance purchase. I would like to make one suggestion. Would it be possible for the program stickers to be placed on the sign and sail cards at embarkation (like the FFTF stickers)?

    The last time I was able to purchase the Bottomless Bubbles online, we had to find out what bar to visit to get the sticker after boarding.

    Just a suggestion that I think will streamline the program. Thanks for all you do to make cruising with Carnival a great experience.

  35. cinnamon says:

    Hi my mom is gonna be celebrating her birthday…on the breeze we are gonna board 12.13 so if there is anything you can do for her that would b very nice of you…THANKYOU ..

  36. Maria M says:

    I kept up with the situation on the Liberty by reading posts from pauleydm and since you won’t be reading any of his posts, you should know that he kept people posted about every 30 to 60 minutes of what was occurring since he was on the ship when the alert was sounded.
    He was a wonderful reporter, very positive and sang the praises to the Carnival crew the entire day.
    I don’t think he deserves a free cruise but you might have one of your assistants take a look at his posting. It just might be an opportunity to recognize him.
    Please don’t lump all of us that read cruise critic as terrible people. We love the cruise industry.

  37. Melissa Layman says:

    I guess we can think of you as “The People’s Beard”. 🙂

  38. joyce says:

    Hi there!
    Many years ago we were sailing to Hawaii on the Spirit. The refrigeration went out as we had just begun cruising the islands. What a memorable, fun time we all had! Carnival gave us all a generous compensation package, put us up in a fantastic hotel in Honolulu, and even gave us free drinks til we got there. That still remains my favorite cruise of all time! So I say to those lucky Liberty cruisers, this is what great memories are made of!!

  39. Julianne Eaker says:

    John It amazes me what people will complain about. Of course 4x and 5x clothes are more expensive. Look on any website that sells clothes. You will see they cost more because they have more material as you said.

    John you should not feel awkward because you do not drink alcohol. You are so wise not to since you are a diabetic. You are taking responsibility for your health. My husband and I drink but in small amounts and you will never find us drunk any where.We are very upset about the policy of the purchased alcohol not being given out until the morning of debark. We have gotten bottles back to our room before that were purchased on shore and we never open them until we get home. Carnival knows WHO drinks too much by the bar bills and I am certain these are the ones who have spoiled it for the rest of us. We will no longer purchase any alcohol from Carnival and we usually purchase quite a bit for every trip. We can not worry about boxes when we do self assist. This was really a bad policy change.

  40. Julie Tyler says:

    Ian, I’m a retired band director which means I have bought a lot of band t-shirts. Tens of thousands of t-shirts. Custom screen printed t-shirts. The bigger sizes cost more not only because of the extra fabric, but because the designs have to be resized to be proportionate on the shirts. Usually there’s not a lot of those ordered so it’s expensive. They do things by volume. It’s not discriminatory at all, it’s economics.

  41. Jerry says:

    Hey John,
    I went to a vegetarian restaurant and was very upset that they served NO STEAKS!!! Can you imagine? Never going there again. Also saw a comment you posted a while back that a lady was mortified that the steakhouse displays the meat for passengers to see. I wonder how she gets thru the grocery store. The meat display there must send her into a coma.

  42. JTC says:

    Cate Baczewski as a vegan WHY eat at a STEAKHOUSE. Have read that it Serves STEAKS and not much else. Think you need to re-evaluate your places to eat at. Guess you would goto IHOP and order Pizza, then complain as to why they only have kid size of only cheese & pepperoni. But guess I think differently.

  43. Rick says:

    for the Vegetabalist – that went to the STEAKHOUSE, and was disappointed in the Vegetarian selection….REALLY – and I mean a Seth and Amy REALLY???? – Get grip – next you will complain that there is not enough FISH in the STEAKHOUSE – REALLY??

  44. Tom Conrow says:

    Standard practice indeed. I don’t like it but I’ve been paying extra, in America, for larger sizes. BTW discrimination is choosing one over another, everybody does it everyday. I it’s only illegal if there is a law against it. i.e. sex, race, etc.

  45. Laurie Slawson says:

    Really Ian, you can’t understand that it costs more to make shirts in the excessively large sizes? It takes more material to make those super large sizes and so it costs more. Pretty simple economics.

  46. Betty says:

    I was one of the passengers on the Carnival Liberty last week. I want to thank the crew of the ship for making a hard situation bearable. The day of the fire, the captain evacuated the ship and we were outside for several hours. The crew brought everything we needed from the ship and ordered pizza and sandwiches to feed us. They responded to our every need and went beyond. My husband and I will be cruising again, on Carnival. Tell the crew that we appreciate them so much.

  47. Ken Graham says:


    Several years ago my wife and I had the pleasure of sailing with you on the Conquest. You should never apologize for giving up alcohol. Most people who drink to excess have a greatly inflated opinion of how much fun they really had. My wife and I tend to be the designated “sheep dogs” when we cruise with others having rounded up our drunken trip mates numerous times to avoid leaving them stranded in port. Our biggest fear is that if we were ever to get into that state nobody would rescue us.

    We are sailing on the Liberty on the 20th, so Pauley’s posts were very important to our peace of mind regarding our upcoming cruise. We would have like to get some official word of the state of the ship. It seems that your marketing department has my email address. It would have been nice to get some updates regarding the state of the ship from a better source than the CNN crawler and a passenger posting on a message board. A message board for the upcoming cruises or even a pop up window when I log into the Carnival site with some news would have been welcome. Just a thought.


  48. Frank Shade says:

    My wife and I both want to thank you for the guidance and information you provide on her birthday cruise this past February on the Dream. We booked our next cruise on board and are counting days until we sail on the Sunshine this February for 13 days. It is a BIG birthday this year and as we get closer I may be asking for your expert opinion. Thanks again for providing a wonderful service for us.

  49. Ronald B. Smith says:

    Carnival support for veterans – we were BTB on the Freedom when it relocated to Galveston. We thought we would have to disembark and spend the night on shore since we arrived a day before departure. Jen said “that’s stupid” and arranged for about 60 of us to stay on the ship overnight instead if leaving. Then we saw how much Carnival supports our military!! They opened the ship to wounded vets, local military and families, and others (not knowing their selection criteria).
    There were multiple free bars set up all over the ship, the lobster menu was on for dinner, a stage was set up over the pool for a Martina McBride concert, the new Pres of Carnival presented a check for $100,000 to a veterans organization (forgot which one) then the honorees could spend the night on the ship. My wife sealed it – she said, after that support for our vets – I wouldn’t consider cruising with anyone but Carnival.

  50. Brenda Corry says:

    John, I love your comments and understand your mvoving on but the CD’s could learn from you don’t forget experience is the best teacher. My husband and I just finished our 14th cruise and had a great time as usual, but one thing happened that I think really needs to be looked into by the BEARDS the all inclusive shore excursions – there was a guest on the Elation that over indulged, was brought back by the excursion so sick she had to be removed from the ship and taken to a hospital for alcohol poisoning. I know it is not the companies fault, but there are some people who will not view it that way. The bar tender on board, or on shore is responsible for cutting someone off when they are inebriated. I believe that the company needs to discuss this with the vendors for safety, we know those on vacation just want to party and throw caution to the wind.

    On to a happier thought Marvin and I are booked back to back on the Vista from Athens next year – How’s it looking, I am so ready for 23 days of sailing!!!!!

  51. Sandra Covello says:

    January 17,2016 I will be on Carnival Imagination with several members of my family.I am very excited because what started out as a cruise for my sister and I now includes four generations! I am asking if it is possible for any recognition for this fete??? (I had to play the “old age” card to get my family signed on).
    Thank you in advance for your consideration,

    Sandra Covello

  52. Jennifer Ford says:

    Hi John – I’m sure you realize this, but you are certainly lucky to have your job. How do I get one like it?

  53. Arlesia says:

    When in San Juan the first night will there be dinner in the dining room?

  54. Kristy says:

    Very excited for our family to going on our 3rd cruise on the Sunshine April 8th..Is there any truth to the fairy upgrade phone calls? Also when you sign on to your account why doesn’t it show your past cruises?

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