Hat’ll Be The Day

October 24, 2007 -

John Heald

Good afternoon everyone and as I begin this short blog I feel a little sad. This will be my penultimate blog thingy before vacation begins. We are sailing between Messina and Barcelona and today, although a little cool the sun has shined down on our guests and after the rain in Messina …………….they deserve it.

As I said, I am a little sad especially as we hit a million readers yesterday and here I am ready to write one more blog after this one………………..I feel like I am letting everyone down.

Let me just tell you my plans for the next few days.

After disembarking the guests on tours Heidi will start the packing. Todd (the new Cruise Director) will be arriving at noon and as soon as he is onboard we will need to start our planning meetings for the crossing. I also have the usual shows and events etc as well as packing my stuff and then watch Heidi come and empty the case saying that it has not been packed properly.

After three hours on the bridge organizing the tendering ashore of guests Todd and I will continue to prepare the Carnival Capers and schedules for the crossing. This will also be the day when Todd and I meet about the ports of call for the crossing……….Livorno, Malaga and Funchal. He will not have visited these ports for some time so it is my responsibility to make sure that he knows everything so he will be comfortable presenting his travel talks.

It will I am sure, feel very strange to watch him host the Welcome Aboard Presentation. I will get to see this before I host our bloggers party and then jump on the red eye back home.

So, a lot of work awaits me and I will make sure that I write at least one more blog before I leave which by the way will include dates for you all to log up and read my vacation blog thingies.

Here are some last photos that I wanted to share with you starting with the Island Of Capri.

1. The island of Capri

1. The island of Capri

2. Inside the Famous Blue Grotto

2. Inside the Famous Blue Grotto

3. Messina

3. Messina

4. The Church at Portovenere – the 2nd oldest in Italy.

4. The Church at Portovenere - the 2nd oldest in Italy.

Here are today’s letters from the In Their Own Words Section.

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

Interesting letter about Freestyle Dining wasn’t it? I had mentioned this in my Morning Show as a guest had written in saying how much they missed the Freestyle dining choice of another cruise line. I then received many letters stating how much they disliked the “anytime dining” experience.

As you know in a few days I will be sitting in (on the back row) of a very important meeting hosted and attended by the top management from Carnival. Now, I have no idea if during our discussions the Anytime Dining subject will come up…………please don’t worry………….I am not saying it will ………….. however, I need everyone………….actually I need as many as possible to simply answer this question. Now, for those who have no idea what this is let me explain. Anytime Dining means exactly that……..during dinner you can go at anytime you like and eat. This means though that you will have a different waiter and different table companions every meal.

Bearing this in mind my I ask everyone……………especially those who don’t regularly post to answer this question with a simple Yes Or No………..there is no need to answer as to why unless of course……….you want to.


I need you all to know that this little blog thingy has become many things over the past six months and now the people at Carnival want to hear their guests’ opinions and suggestions and what better sounding board than this blog thingy with its thousands of daily readers.

Just before I go I need to share something with you all that has caused Heidi and I to have a few words of disagreement…………the subject that has caused all the trouble………………………..A HAT.

Yep, a hat.

We received our invitation to attend the inaugural ceremony of the soon to be famous Queen Victoria………….something that I am really looking forward to sharing with you all via the blog. Anyway, the invitation states the following ……………”the ceremony dress attire is business formal and will be held outdoors……….ladies to wear hats.”

Now, having read this I have been having fun with a friend of mine who is also invited to the ceremony and we have been e-mailing each other about her difficulties in finding “the right hat.” She has been shopping at the top stores in New York and has yet to find the right thingy to put on her head.

Now, the fact our friend who is one of the most charming and beautiful ladies I know cannot find a hat in New York has left Heidi terror-stricken.

What, says my wife are the chances of finding a hat in a small town in the U.K. if one cannot be found in the shopping capital of the world?

Heidi is now beside herself with worry thinking she will look out of place and that people will laugh at her if the hat she wears is the wrong type of headgear. She contacted our friend who suggested………………she goes to Harrods in London…………..Harrods, the most over priced extravagant shop in London, perhaps the world. OH, yipeeeeeeeeeee………let’s buy something that costs the same as an Aston Martin and will be worn once and then shoved to the back of the cupboard to spend its life there alongside my old pairs of white underwear and my Duran Duran album.

Now, I told Heidi that there was more chance of me walking onto a another cruise ship and scaling the stupid climbing wall naked singing “Carnival’s Got the Fun” or marrying Fatima and her plastic tube from hell then she has of spending hundreds of pounds on a bloody hat.

Now, this statement was met with my immediate relegation to the doghouse and something about having a close encounter with my wife’s high heel shoe.

Why…………….I asked with the most sympathetic voice I could muster …………. not easy when a 4-inch heel is about to make contact with your pride and joy.

Heidi’s answer is based upon the royalty who are attending. What if………says my wife……….Prince Charles and Camilla see that I don’t have a hat on or it’s the wrong style?

I pictured the Royal Couple’s Bentley driving up to the red carpet…………the ship’s Captain, Ms Carol Marlow and Mr. Micky Arison are there ready to shake the royal hands and as they step out of the car Camilla looks at Charlie in horror and says “One is getting back into the vehicle, there is a young lady on the back row next to the jolly plump man and she has no hat…….let us return to the palace.”

I said this to Heidi and shortly thereafter the promised meeting with my wife’s shoe happened and I have been talking like Pee Wee Herman ever since.

So, I guess we will be shopping for a hat……………and a new dress and a formal dress for the evening thingy and the shoes and the bag and the etc etc etc……………The reality is we will be sitting on the back row and will if we are lucky just catch a glimpse of the Royal Ears.


Your friends

John and Heidi

Comment Policy

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224 Responses to Hat’ll Be The Day

  1. Ralf says:


  2. lv2cruise says:

    Here’s my answer to your questions re anyime dining: YES!
    As for hats….trust me, it’s like finding a mate, a bad choice and it haunts you for decades, the right one, makes everything in life better.

    Good hunting err, I mean shopping Heidi!


  3. patricia says:

    I love anytime dining! Why would anyone be against it?

  4. nanetteali says:

    Difficult question John!! It would have been easy to answer before we went on the Freedom but after the food and service we had and the close realtionship we develop with our waiters its difficult…..
    I had experience Freestyle with some pros and cons and also the Princess Personal choice. I wouldnt go Freestyle but why dont you go like Princess with the choice? Or stay like you are and make the Lido cafeteria 24 hours and at night have the same food as the dining room.
    Tell Heidi she doesnt need the really expensive clothes and hat.(Im with you John in that.I wouldnt spend soooo much in this im going to use 1 time I rather use my money in other things)
    She has what they dont have, (with respect John) beauty.She is going to look great in whatever she decides to wear no need to spend so much.Dont worry sooooo much just enjoy. Heidi;You are young , beautiful you have a good, sucessfull,handsome 😉 man at your side.You dont need a hat, or you do but not so expensive. LOL
    Take care you two!! I understand and support you in your decisions but I cant hide it Im going to miss you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Love and many huggos to both

  5. tcup says:

    In answer to the question about anytime dining: YES.

    Congrats on your invite to the Queen Vic inaugural ceremony.
    About the hat, Heidi, why don’t you get John’s Mum to help you find a hat?
    You don’t need to go to Harrods.


  6. Robert Mackie says:



  7. First thing, when we cruise we never miss the dinning room, I am on vacation to be served. I also enjoy the extra attention you get with dinner having the same people serving you every night. All the activities are well planned around the set times of dinner, you never miss a beat. I also enjoy the extra that the Mater D put in with his own show. All of this could not be had with “any time” dinning. So I would vote NO for “any time dinning”

    I understand Heidi’s wish for the pefect hat, I hope this is helpful and you have enough time but I have a friend how showed me this site to a friend of hers and she makes the most beutiful hat!
    it might at least get you some ideas, I know I made the perfect outfit with a matching pill box hat that I like to wear for formal and party times, so try to relax and have fun with it all.

    And, finally have all my pictures ready, the site is posted on my blog thingy (http://heidibeth.wordpress.com/)
    Enjoy, I also have some older pictures from the Fantacy too

    Best to you all

  8. Barb Hannah says:

    No on the anytime dining!!

    I will miss your daily blog thingy, but know you and Heidi are overdue for a vacation!!

    Keep us posted about Alan–our prayers are with him.
    See you in January!!

  9. Capt Chuck says:

    Hi John,

    Anytime dining: NO

    I think I mentioned it before, but I do want to say why. We like meeting and really getting to know the folks we meet at our dining table. I’m afraid with open dining that opportunity would be lost.

    I do have a few baseball caps I would be willing to send your way, but I’m afraid if you mention that to Heidi you may have the pointy shoe aimed your way again.

    In a related story (only related because it has to do with hats and spending money on them and such). My mother once sold a car and spent the proceeds on a hat. Dad wasn’t too happy to which mom replied… “it wasn’t a very good car”.

  10. Rikki Boyce says:

    Anytime dining? Not my choice though my husband would rather do it (guess who wins?). But don’t the lines that do this have one restaurant that is and one that isn’t?

  11. Lauren says:

    *Not rushing back from an excursion to make dinner on time
    *Meeting new people each night

    *Not developing a relationship with the wait staff
    *Not sitting with the friends you made each night.

    I like the idea of having set times on sea days and ‘anytime dining’ while in port. YES, I WANT TO HAVE MY CAKE AN EAT IT TOO 🙂

  12. Rochelle says:

    NO anytime dinning!!!!!

    And, not only does Heidi need the proper hat, be it from Harrods or somewhere else, I support her needs for everything else that goes with the inaugural ceremony for the Queen Victoria. This will be a very difficult shopping trip and fiding the correct attire will be of utmost importance. Heidi needs all your support on this one. I can totally relate to what she will be going through.

    Have a great last couple of days before your vacation!!! Looking forward to hearing about your life on land.

    Continue to take care of Alan and his family and please keep us up to date on his progress.

  13. Nico R says:

    NO to anytime.

  14. jtoddinman says:

    Yes or No

    John wants to know

    Anytime Dining is way to slow

    Plus you might not make the show

    It’s our serving team that makes us glow

    For a price thats worth the dough

    It makes for a much greater flow

    With those reasons mark me as a NO!

  15. okteach says:

    No for us, but think the option of having one restaurant on board that is would be a good compromise.

    Heidi girl, get a hat! Will be missing you both on our TA!

  16. pam lettorale says:

    yes to the question reguarding free style dining.

    see you in august 2008 on the splendor..

  17. judy says:

    no to anytime dining its so impersonal!!!!

  18. "BIG" ED says:

    John, you keep saying you will be in the back row of the meeting and now in the back row at the Queen’s Party. John you may well be surprised to find yourself in a seat of honour at both. You have earned the respect of both Carnival and Cunard. So if I was you I would just hand Heidi that Harrods credit card and take another hosing from Fatima.


    Now if you don’t get my answer yet it’s NO TO ANYTIME DINING. I like having the same waitstaff for the whole cruise. They remember from the very first day the Pat will have icetea and when we get to the table the lemon is already there. I will have a coffee WITH my meal not just before desert. My cup is filled right away. I will have a VO Manhattan everyday so after the first day it comes as soon as I’m seated no waiting for an order to be taken. OH YA I don’t have spend the first 15 minutes everyday introducing ourselves to everybody at the table. “Party of eight” please step aside till we have a table ready. I will never have to wait for an open table MY table is always open for ME with my ARMLESS chair in place not a BOOTH.

    “BIG” ED
    T-87 days to the BOOTHLESS Bloggers Cruise

  19. suzanne217 says:

    Bon Voyage John S and Heidi – safe travels. Yes to the anytime dining – and regarding the hat…… how about a babushka???? (lol)
    regards from suzanne (not your sister!)

  20. mageb says:

    See you in January…..and NO. 🙂

  21. Capt Bill says:

    John 1st things 1st NO NO NO to anytime dining. I thnk it is part of the fun atmosphere of Carnival with teh Waiters and Waitress’ singing and dancing. as well as getting to meet your table mates znd getting to know them.

    as for Heidi, well …….. Good luck my friend….. I think you shoud wear a nice hat, makes a good suite look good

    CApt Bill

  22. John & Susan from Frisco says:

    Hey John…

    Susan and I have experienced the anytime dining on the other line and it is one of the reasons we do not cruise with them!

    No to anytime dining. We found that we would go to their dining room and then have to wait for a seat. Again….NO!

    Now….have a great vacation and hope to see you next year! Take care of yourself and your family and friends! Let us know how Alan is doing!

    John & Susan

  23. Sharon says:

    Freestyle dining — no!!!

  24. Nurse Katie says:

    No to anytime dining BUT YES to personal choice like Princess (my personal favorite line) uses.

  25. papanh says:

    Hello John and Heidi
    No to anytime dining.
    You 2 enjoy your vacation and our best to Alan.
    Heidi great blog yesterday thank you.

  26. tracy says:

    hi john and heidi no to any time dinning hubby says no also.have a good vacation we will miss u. im sure u will write once in a while tc

  27. As You Wish says:

    Anytime Dining? No thanks!

    The assigned dining is one reason I sail Carnival not NCL. I like to get to know the same waitstaff, and I do not like the idea of having to wait in line during the peak dining times which often happens with anytime dining.

  28. cruisingeagle says:

    Anytime dining: No

    Have a wonderful vacation. Get some rest.

    Keep us posted on Alan.

  29. cruisingeagle says:

    Anytime dining: No

    Have a wonderful vacation. Get some rest.

    Keep us posted on Alan.

  30. Nanci Brennan says:

    Yes to anytime dining. And Yes, to the best Hat Heidi can find!

  31. Lisa and Elaine says:

    Please don’t feel that you are letting any of us down. We have spent the better part of 9 months with you and at one point or another each of us has gone on holiday or vacation, so why shouldn’t you? Please, try to relax, enjoy yourself, take care of Alan and enjoy hat shopping!
    In answer to your dining question…no thank you.
    Take care my friend and be well. Will see you in 87 days.

  32. InMN253 says:


    Anytime dining – no.

    A few days ago you had some other questions I haven’t responded to yet.

    Top 3 reasons I love Carnival –
    1. Value for the money.
    2. Friendly service.
    3. The most relaxing vacation I’ve ever had.

    Top 3 areas for improvement –
    1. Provide lower price options on spa treatments.
    2. Enforce “adults only” rules in hot tubs.
    3. Longer hours for the library.

    Wish list –
    Just one thing. How about offering seated massage on an open deck?

    It’s a bit of a relief to know you’re not going to try to respond to these comments. Now I don’t have to feel guilty about being the cause of a repetitive stress injury to your two fingers. 🙂

    Please don’t feel like you’re letting us down by taking a vacation. We’ll wait. I, for one, can use the time to catch up reading all the comments!
    I hope you enjoy your time off. Rest up those poor injured fingers!


  33. Lisa K says:

    I like Nanetteali’s idea to make Lido 24 hours w/the same menu that’s in the dining rooms, but if that’s not possible I say stick w/the way it is.

    We typically travel w/several other couples, friends and extended family, and it seems to me if we had to do Anytime dining it may be difficult to all be seated together at the same time.

    On trips where it is just the two of us, it is nice to have the opportunity to really get to know your tablemates through the week rather than just having one meal to say hello and introduce yourselves.

  34. Paul F. Pietrangelo says:

    Good evening Mr. Heald and Heidi. As far as my to your question, her it is:

    WOULD YOU LIKE CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES TO ADOPT AN ‘ANYTIME DINING’ POLICY – YES – OR NO? My answer is NO. I enjoyed having the same individuals and learning about these people during my cruise. It was nice seeing the same person each night.

    It must be very difficult for you and Heidi at this time. Be aware that we are all behind you two and please only think about your selves at the moment. Don’t worry at all about us. We’ll survive.
    Have fun and please, please rest if at all possible. We all think about you, Heidi and your friend Alan.
    Ciao my friends and enjoy your vacation.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  35. Karen Tessier/Edmonson says:

    Anytime dining…No
    I like having a set time and the same staff, the Lido deck is always available if your times don’t match up. I am looking forward to the pic’s on the Queen Victoria- like everyone else I’m sure

  36. Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane says:

    Hello mate. To the freestyle dining: YES

    However, the dining hours and the menu in my jail will not change:

    Hours: When the Sheriff tells you it’s time to eat.

    Menu: Whatever is on your plate.

    Bon Appetite!!!

    Rosco P. Coltrane

  37. Cruise Fan Nan says:

    I hope you and Heidi have a wonderful vacation.

  38. Inez says:

    Sorry I’m a little late with this.

    Things I love about cruising:

    1. Best vacation value
    2. The service on the ship is outstanding
    3. The all-inclusive part of cruising

    Three areas to improve:

    Past guest perks
    New ports in the Caribbean
    Reasonable internet rates

    My Dream cruise-I think Carnival already provides that!

  39. NancY says:

    You have not heard from me, but i faithfully follow the blog daily. On anytime dining – I would like to try it. Yes, my boyfriend and i enjoyed the relationship we had with our waiters on our trip on the Freedom in August. But, I think we would have liked to have met new dining partners during the 12 dinners we had on the ship. Our assigned dining partners changed times to the later seating early on so we just had the 2 of us at a table for 4- which was great if a little lonely. A change would have been nice.

  40. Tom & Jane says:

    dining NO from Tom
    NO from Jane

    free style sucks

  41. SewingNut says:


    Heidi: Borrow a hat from Camilla. If someone thinks John can move the Vatican to Naples, build a balcony on the first deck, and call the Pope to make an appointment, then he must be able to contact Camilla. She wore an unforgettable one on her wedding day to Charles!

    Enjoy your swanky event at the ceremony for Queen Victoria. Sounds like a 0nce in a lifetime opportunity to someone like me.


  42. Jill says:

    In regards to anytime dining -No.

    We had a fantastic pair of waiters on the Liberty this summer. We enjoyed getting to know them and them getting to know us over the 8 days.

  43. Amanda says:

    Anytime Dining: No. My husband and I enjoy meeting and getting to know the people at our dinner table.

  44. Lynn and Mike Sagara says:

    The Sagara Family all four of us say NO. One of the things that we value about cruising is getting to know our wait staff and the wait staff getting to know us. It is a pleasure to be cartered to as well. Dinning anytime is like going to a resturant at home we might as well stay home. Thanks for asking. As to the hats. The type of hat you are talking about are not so much in style here in the US as they are in other countries so that may be why your friend is having problems finding one in NY. Hiedi may have more luck at home. Have a wonder vacation and take time to enjoy each other. Our best to Alan and his family. The Sagaras’

  45. lookingforwardtothenearlysmokefreecarnivalfreedom says:

    John –

    First of all, isn’t Italy the bastion of fashion? (I’m a poet and don’t even know it). I realize it is the last minute, but what better place to get a hat than Italy.

    If not Italy, then I suggest Harrod’s. It’s better than the perpetual doghouse 🙂

    Now, as to the Anytime Dining question – let me propose a third alternative. Make one dining room Anytime Dining and one dining room the current two sittings. Passengers can specify their preference on booking and, if too many passengers choose the scheduled sitting option, then you convert one half of the Anytime Dining room to scheduled sittings. Sort of a “go with the flow” mentality.

    Personally, I have enjoyed the companionship that had developed from most of our tables on our six cruises. In fact, I can only think of one that I prefer not to think about.

    Still, I can understand the attraction of anytime dining to some, but, if forced to only choose one of your ideas, I choose NO.

    See you soon, but not for long (enough)


  46. Denise Heeney says:

    NO…absolutely NO to the anytime dining. I have experienced it and I can sum it up in one word…BORING!

  47. Greg Baldasarri says:


    No, no, no, no, no, no, no… and in case you didn’t get my drift… no.


    As I mentioned in a previous reply to you, I love getting to know my wait staff and the folks at the table with me. Without the rapport that one builds throughout a cruise those friendships that just might last ages will never be formed.

    I also question if it’s fair to the waiters, waiter’s assistants and the bar waiters. One might easily imagine those folks suffering a downturn in tips as no opportunity would exist to develop any kind of relationship with the guests.

    Anytime dining isn’t a bad idea in general but it IS a bad idea for Carnival.

    On to other things… a hat. John, although I am no longer married I most certainly recall similar situations. I can assure you that the only path out of the dog house leads directly through Harrods. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200… go directly to Harrods… perhaps two never-again-to-be-worn hats might even be in order. C’mon John! It’s HEIDI!!! The whole world, or at least the world comprised of this blog thingy’s readers, love Heidi!

    Have fun shopping, my friend…




  48. Rob Bailey says:

    Anytime dinning is a resounding NO! Part of the cruise experience for years has been dinning with a certain group of people and many friendships have been made this way.


  50. PDXcruiser says:


  51. CruizininVA says:

    Well, you asked for folks to write that had never posted before and my answer is no! to the anytime dining question.

    I would like to congratulate you on the 1 million thing. I also hope that you have a great and relaxing vacation – you deserve it. Please also know that Alan is in our prayers.
    I’ve never posted before but have been reading your blog since the very beginning and enjoy it immensely – especially those crazy complaints. Sometimes the absurdity of it all really makes me laugh, but also reminds me that I am glad I no longer work in a customer service type job! Are you still taking lists of what we like or don’t like about Carnival? I was going to make my first entry there but was too busy packing this week for our trip on the Carnival Liberty leaving this Saturday! It’s our third cruise on Carnival and we know we will have a great time. If you’re still looking for input, here’s my list:
    1. the wonderful friendly staff and crew that do their best to provide great service
    2. the value for the money
    3. the entertainment and general wacky “fun ship” atmosphere

    Needs Improvement
    1. please enforce the rules – especially for the few adult areas you have but also for things such as chair hogging and dress codes as well as keeping large groups in line. There are too many instances being reported on various cruise chat boards of large groups becoming unruly, taking over areas of the ship, and ruining others’ hard earned vacations. Security staff shouldn’t be afraid of “offending” someone who is out of line.
    2. More smaller size (not 8×10) photos available and maybe an electronic system to purchase. I hate the thought of all that paper wasted on printing the photos people don’t buy. We didn’t buy any photos on our last cruise because they were all 8×10 sized – even the casual snapshots and not just the formal portraits.
    3. There is no # 3 – these were the only two areas we could think of to improve on!

    1. A ship from Norfolk, VA more than twice a year. I hate to fly and would love a close to home port with some nice itineraries. Your competition is now there 3 or 4 months out of the year with very attractive itineraries but I don’t really want to sail with them and the prices are crazy! The new terminal there is also great!
    2. A better past guest program that offers more levels of benefits. Maybe something like a semi-platinum at 5 cruises with a few more perks. It’s a long time between 1 sailing and 10 and there really aren’t that many benefits for past guests who aren’t platinum other than the occasional discount and the past guest party.
    3. More of a party at sailaway – maybe some champagne and noisemakers or something festive? There doesn’t usually seem to be much of a sailaway party that I’ve seen so far.

  52. Kim says:

    I’m definitely a no vote on the anytime dining! There’s just something I enjoy about meeting new people the first day of the cruise, and then everyday thereafter comparing stories of what each did that day in the port of call. I’ve stayed in contact with those at our dinner table on our most recent cruise. Also, we tend to bond with our head and assistant waiter (and in the case of our Freedom cruise, Jogi the assistant Maitre ‘d), so it’s always nice to see them for dinner each day.

    For those that want anytime dining….there’s always the Lido deck, room service and the Supper Club!

  53. Kathy B says:

    Antime dining: Absolutely not! It sounds great in theory – but a friend of mine related her story of a holiday-week cruise with lots of kids, and everyone wanted to have dinner at 6:30. She never got to eat in the dining room – her family ended up at the buffet every night.

  54. Dave Myerly says:

    Anytime dining: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
    We enjoy meeting people from around the world and getting to know folks at our table for meals more then a one time sitting with strangers. With anytime open dining that opportunity will be lost.

    John, I am 100% with you about the HAT THING. I think it is unnecessary, frivolous and ostentatious. Hats are a BAD RELIC of the past and Carnival is a ship of the future. Let others do as they please and pay them no attention. Have all the Carnival employees wear Carnival BALL CAPS if they desire and set the pace for others to follow.

    John also check out the new BMW LV6 done by the AstonMartin designer. It is a DB9 type car and extremely well done. Does 0-60 in 3.4 seconds and is rather costly. I saw it in an article in a Motor Trend magazine. Otherwise you should have a Bentley.

    Dave (Jo and Dave)

  55. DianeCruzin2 says:

    John….yes on the anytime dining, but make it a choice between the two types of dining. Also i would like to see Carnival offer a past guest party for Platinum members only.

  56. Gina says:


    No. I really like the personalized service that comes from the serving staff learning your likes and dislikes.

  57. Matt says:

    Hey John,

    I hope you are enjoying your final days aboard the Freedom before your vacation.

    In reference to your questions regarding anytime dining… PLEASE DO NOT impliment an anytime dining policy, and please KEEP TRADITIONAL DINING!

    I feel strongly about this opinion. One reason why we love to cruise is for the personal service and the opportunity to get to meet and know the staff (especailly the waitstaff) throughout the course of the week. We have gotten to know and become friendly with our waiters/waitresses on almost every cruise except guess which one – EXCEPT on our Norwegian cruise with Freestyle dining. Regular dining is a unique cruising opportunity that Carnival should NOT get rid of.

    Thanks for everything John, and I hope you have a safe and relaxing trip home.


  58. Maistrazo says:

    New frienships are part of the cruise experience!

  59. Msqpon - Jo Myerly says:

    Anytime dining. No. I like meeting people and getting to know them. We had anytime dining on Windstar. Every meal you had to start all over. Our name is. We live… What do you do… You get the idea. Boring. I did like the meals on Princess. If you didn’t want to go to the dining room you could go to the buffet. They had themed meals like Greman night, Mexican night etc. That was great.
    Hats? Are the nuts? I have never been tempted to try Cunard. Too formal. I would rather go to dinner in my jeans. Heidi don’t spend alot of money on a hat.


  60. Catherine Ebert says:

    Hi John. Don’t feel guilty about leaving the blog for awhile. You have a lot to do and you and Heidi need some free time together. So go out there and have some fun and relaxation as it looks as if you have a lot of work before you are able to relax. As far as free style dining, the few people that I know who have experience this have experience a lot of cons. I prefer to have my regular time, table and superior staff serving me. It is one of our highlights when we cruise. Please do not change this. Have a great time off and the best to Alan as he recovers. Catherine Ebert

  61. Cindy says:

    No to anytime dining. If Carnival does decide to adopt it I think those of us who don’t want that should be allowed to have the regular dining options.

  62. Lance and Ilda says:


    Best wishes to you and your lovely wife (how in God’s name did you ever land a beauty like her?).

    We vote NO on anytime dining. We love getting ready, planning for dinner each night. It’s like a special ocassion each night. Like dating. It is something to savor, to look forward to. We also enjoy the rappor that you develop with your wait staff. That is what makes our vacations special.

    Well, that is our input, Mr. Heald. We wish you well on your vacation. PLEASE take the time to just enjoy yourselves. You have spent SO many months taking time out of your INCREDIBLY busy schedule to keep us all up to date and informed. We all know you would never admit it, but it is a lot of extra time out of your “down time.” Thank you so much for all that you have done for us, your bloggers. Time now for John and Heidi.


    Lance and Ilda

    PS… See you both on the innuagural “Blogger’s Cruise” in January!!!

  63. Canuck Cruiser says:

    Anytime dining?
    We like knowing that we will have the same waiter and we get to know them and the service is I’m sure much better! Going from one table to another and although meeting new people would be nice I doubt that you would establish the same rapport with new wait staff each night.

    RE: the hat thing…………………Heidi you could wear a touque and you’d look great!

    BTW John…………..the COWBOYS are now 6-1 and leading the National conference of the NFL.
    It’s our year mate.

    All the best.

    B&D from Canada

  64. Dan says:


    IMO, people who want “Anytime Dining” can use the Lido buffet or room service.

    But there is something you might consider for those of us who travel alone or with just one other person: Fewer group tables. I really dislike being forced to sit with a table of complete strangers for dinner, or having to beg for a 2-top. Carnival really should look into something modular yet presentable for the dining room that would extend dining options for those of us who don’t like being shoved into awkward social situations.

  65. Nora of The Three Blind Mice says:


    Never!!! There could be an option such as Princess has but the pax should have a choice.

    We still love the blog and will miss the day to day postings. Please have a very happy and, if possible, restful holiday.

    We wish your friend a very speedy recovery. With you there, John, that is sure to happen!!!!!
    Cheers and Thanks

  66. My answer is no. We have met some dear friends who we still cruise with at the dinner table. So NO NO NO!

  67. Kevin says:

    WOULD YOU LIKE CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES TO ADOPT AN ‘ANYTIME DINING’ POLICY – YES – OR NO? BOTH!! I have to say Princess has the best option when it comes to this you can choose what you want. But if it’s going to be across the board one or the other I’m going to say NO.

    Onto hats I do know of a nice nice place in london for hats Cozmo Jenks Hat Shop 21 New Quebec Street
    Marylebone, London, W1H 7SA

    Don’t ask how man but know they are probally expensive but might be cheaper than the other places.

    Good luck with everything can’t wait to hear about Alan. Good luck packing, and keep your eyes out for a back channel commucation.

  68. cH2Olaw says:

    Anytime dining: not really in favor of it. One of the nice things about a cruise is getting to know the crew and finding out about where they are from.

    We sailed on the Freedom this summer and had the best waitress we’ve EVER had on a cruise. Each meal she was able to anticipate our needs; a different server each night will not be able to do that.

    Also, I’ve heard from those who have experienced anytime dining that the lines become problematic; there is a reason why there are two seating times.

  69. Michelle says:

    I would have to say no to the anytime dining, I was on the freedom in August and loved the experience of the seating times, you got to really know your servers and it made for a great expereince on board. However, I do agree that they should keep the lido deck open later at least one part of it, have more food later at night. If you have the early seating you get hungry late at night.

    Have a great vacation Heidi and John.

  70. Mike L says:

    I think it should be an option. There are two dining rooms on the ship and the results seem to be about 50/50. Why not make one dining room an anytime dining room and the other a set-time dining room? It would be a good experiment ans if it didn’t work out, Carnival could go back to the set-time only. I, myself, am split. On one hand it is nice to have a waiter every night that knows you and you get to know them and they always have everything prepared the way you like it. On the other hand I sometimes feel rushed if I have to be at dinner at a certain time. I really think they should give the 50/50 idea a try, and one day when it becomes a massive success, it would not hurt to throw a few free cruises in my direction, ;).
    Have fun on YOUR vacation.
    Mike L (AKA BigMike) (P.S. note new email address)

  71. Linda W. says:

    No on the anytime dining. I like to get to know my tablemates and waitstaff. If I want to eat at another time, I can eat at the buffet.

  72. Leasa says:

    Hi John,

    Anytime dining? Nope! I’m not even gettin into the hat thing! Love you guys, I hope your vacation is wonderful. Talk to youb soon.


  73. DoneThat2 says:

    Anytime Dining: I think a choice is best. On ships with two dining rooms, make one traditional, one anytime. On ships with one dinng room, make one level or one section anyytime and leave the rest traditional.

    I believe the traditional will be the preferred, but passengers will vote with their dining requests.

  74. emmick12 says:

    Yes for sure

  75. Linda Hernacki says:

    Hi John & Heidi:

    I will answer both your questions:

    Regarding the HAT issue, I for one do not like hats, and will never wear one, I think she should just not buy a hat, if she isn’t going to wear it again, Heidi girl-spend that money on jewelry instead! To hell what other people think, if you are confident in yourself it shouldn’t even cross your mind to wear one!

    About Anytime dining, I am definitely FOR it, because we have actually NOT eaten at our assigned restaurant/table every night of the cruise for one reason. On the days we are in port and we go on tours I might not want to eat at the assigned time of our dining schedule. Sometimes we have a late lunch and then want a later dinner. Being diabetic we always opt for early dining, as I am not a late night eater, but if we go on a tour, and don’t have lunch till 2pm we don’t want to eat dinner at 5:30-or 6pm. Those nights we tend to go up to the lido deck for dinner, so we aren’t at our assigned eating times those nights. IF anytime dining were to take place we could eat in the dining room when we wanted to, plain and simple! So, YES Carnival adopt that new policy.

    In any event Heidi and John, Bon Voyage and hope to hear from you both soon! We Love You! Your friends, Linda & Mike P.S. I returned to work today and feel much better after my bout with a kidney infection. I get the test results next week as to what type of bacterial infection it was. I am still on antibiotic medication for 7 days though. I see my diabetes dr. tomorrow to discuss all the medications I take, as one of them can cause kidney problems, so might have to switch to something else. Always something right? Stay young you two, so you don’t have to put up with middle/old age! HA! HA!

  76. Marlene says:

    Regarding the open style dining???a BIG YES. the “forced aponyou dining campanions may be all wrong & you are stuck with them for the whole cruise. If you do meet someone you would like to dine with you can with open dining. My husband won’t go on your cruise because of the asigned dining.
    as to the question of what I liked about Carnival…the food & value for the money.
    disliked…the entertainment in the main lounge…what does New Orleans have to do with a Mediteranian Cruise??????? or the Beatles for that matter? It would have been nice to see cultural entertainment from the countries that we were visiting. I also do not like to pay that kind of money to be entertained by the audiance (like talent night & tribute to the stars).
    How to improve???how about comp. wine, beer or soda at dinner.
    For Heidi……..I am a Red Hatter & have a ton of hats she could choose from…shoes & purple clothes to match!!!!!
    Bye for now

  77. Charles Bass says:

    No. I prefer to get to know the waiter and bus boy. Also for them to get to know me. Little things, like I prefer the whole wheat rolls and unsweet iced tea. For the balance of the cruise, these little things are remembered by them. I also prefer to get to know my table mates.

  78. cbass says:

    NO. We prefer to get to know our table staff and for them to get to know us (our preferences for drinks, etc.)

  79. The Long Tall Texan, the blogger unwilling to be renamed "JR" says:

    Any Time Dining? I like the idea of 24/7 dining. (Call me “Dagwood”). However, I also prefer the opportunity to really get acquainted with new friends, over a period of days, as opposed to “casual, one night, table-mates” and I prefer the “service” that goes with having the same wait-staff every evening.

    On the other hand, I do dislike the pressures of shore excursions that might make me late for dinner, or the feeling of rejection, or causing it, when someone chooses to eat at the speciality restaurant rather than filling their place at the assigned table.

    So, John, I vote for …

    None of the above.

    (There is no “right” answer.) It all depends on individual circumstances and expectations. If I am traveling with just myself and my wife, our expectations would be different than if we are traveling with a whole family who would occupy one or more tables exclusively to our group.

    As for hats, my Grandmother would never be caught in public without one, nor her gloves. I’m sure that she and the Queen Mother could relate.

    But, for Heidi, I recommend the “Red Hat Society”.

    I don’t know who this “Charles and Camilla” are ( 😉 ), but Heidi shouldn’t play “second fiddle” to either of them!

    Now, if YOU want a hat, there is only one source, Manny Gammage, and, if you will appear for the personal fitting, I’ll buy the hat. (But you have to bring Heidi along).

    The “wurst” is yet to come.
    Enjoy your well deserved vacation.

    See you “on the flip side”,


  80. Jenny says:


  81. Kersplott says:

    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO,!!!!!!!!!!

    I cruise as a single and really look forward to having the same table mates and waiter staff each evening.


  82. Bernie says:

    Please don’t implement any time dining. CCL dining is perfect the way it is!

  83. KirstenL says:

    John and Heidi,

    I trust that Heidi will have the perfect hat. It will be ‘her’ hat and ‘her style.’ She may create a trend. Just wear it proudly and confidently and you’ll be great!! Let the hat flatter your face and it’s the right one to wear. Evan scond hand stores are great places to find hats!

    Ahhh, to dress, to be formal, what a simple leasure that many of us have lost. To do it all the time, with a snooty pretense it not good, but on occaision, just to be proper and experience it, is great! I believe that’s why I enjoy cruising and dressing for every dinner and being formal on those special nights! How enjoyable and relaxing!

    I haven’t cruised enough to know whether freestyle dining is better or worse. I like what’s there. I like meeting new table-mates. I like building a relationship and learning about our servers. They become friends. I always look forward to the suggestions they make and the sharing of their life they give to us. I enjoy their pampering and knowing our beverage choice and salad choice and even our dessert desires… I like knowing that I will be seated and dine at a specific time, and that the show will begin right afterwards. I guess that’s not frestyle. BUT, for lunch and breakfast, that’s on my schedule..

    You blogs and stories and chapters are truly inspiring. I’m so sorry it took me so long to find you!

    Kirsten, A new devotee

  84. WENDY HAMILTON says:

    Any time Dinning…. YES.. Also we would like to be able to change tables sometimes the conversation becomes a little stale…

    We wish you good luck John & Heidi .
    We were on the Freedom for Easter, and still rave about, Disappointed you won’t be there next year as we have booked for October with friends.
    Counting down the days
    Wendy & John from South Australia xxx

  85. Kersplott says:

    Most Wonderful John and Heidi,

    God speed to both of you as you debark on your much deserved vacation. May you have a wonderful time away from the normal hectic life that you lead while on board the ship.

    Thank you for being such loving and caring people. The many extra hours you have devoted to the blog thingy are always greatly appreciated by those of us who anxiously await every new posting.

    Take care and enjoy your time together.
    Kersplott (Susan Lott)

  86. Cindy56 says:

    Three things I love about Carnival:

    1) Cost of cruise is reasonable

    2) Ports of call are always a lot of fun

    3) Service and food are excellent

    No to freestyle dining.

    Have a wonderful vacation John and Heidi!!!!!

    Cheers, mate

  87. John Friedmann says:

    NO to anytime dining. We like the getting to know everyone around us, having a set time to gather the family for dinner. I can understand why some would want anytime especially if they have excursions that affect early dinner, but I would always want the choice – and would always chose – a set dining time (early seating). Don’t let some cheesy ads by another cruise line change who you are!!!

  88. Mar-ga-ri-ta says:

    “no” to all anytime dining.
    “yes” to having a choice.

  89. the Bears, Barb & Carl says:

    Anytime Dining?….No, we have made some wonderful friendships on our Carnival Cruises at the dining table. And I love having wait staff, that knows exactly what I like, after only 2 evenings.

    Tell Heidi she will be beautiful in any hat she finds. As long as she is comfortable wearing it, it will be the perfect hat for her. Besides, she is beautiful no matter what she wears, even with out a hat!

    Our best to Alan and his family, (please send an update) and you and Heidi enjoy your vacation!!! Please let us know how envious Camilla was over Heidi’s hat!

  90. Kuki says:


    I have the perfect answer for “the hat problem”. If you recall last year on the Liberty TA crossing, it was Halloween… and some fool was dressed as a nun. ( I think I placed 3rd in the costume contest- lol)
    I can send you the costume via express! Surely Camilla and Charles wouldn’t blink at the sight of a nun at the ceremony….. and wouldn’t even notice Heidi without a hat on next to the ugly nun 🙂

    … oh.. and I think Carnival should skip anytime dining, and while at it abandon the 4 dining times, and go back to the way it used to be with only 2. (less confusion in the galleys = better service).


  91. soxfan says:

    I try to read the blog everyday and love it. My wife and I will be sailing on the Miracle on November 7th and she is wondering who is the CD? She really liked Mark Price our two cruises on the Glory and is holding out hope that for some reason he is now on the Miracle. If you can let me know I would appriciate it…she is waiting on the edge of her seat to find out.

  92. mehyder says:

    No. Anytime is avalable at Lido or Supper Club. I like a confirmed time and place…don’t want to wait in a line or as I hear Disney does move from dining room to dining room.

  93. mehyder says:

    Hats: check out maggiemae.com for hats. You have to e-mail a request for a price list but they have some beauties. I also think you should go all out with having her shop at Harrods. If you have the right credit card you can rack up enough points for first class airfare someplace…you know that commercial for mastercard….it’ll be priceless.
    Enjoy your vacation.
    Mary Hyder

  94. popcorngal says:

    I agree with Nanetteali. Having the same food as the dining room available on the Lido, would be a wonderful choice. We always have early seating, and sometimes it’s really difficult to make it back from ashore and get cleaned up, especially on formal nights. That would be so appreciated! And pleassse include the chocolate melting cake too : )

    Have a safe trip home you two! You both deserve a well-earned vacation….but know you’re going to be missed like crazy! Safe travels my friends…

  95. Susan says:

    Anytime dining: NO

  96. Amor & Lou says:

    Just d0 what Princess does.

  97. Mark & Shelly says:

    Hi John, Our family of 5 would vote for the anytime dining. Thanks! Mark PS.. Have a GREAT vacation you have earned it!!

  98. Susan B says:

    Anytime dining? NO, NO, NO…PLEASE NO!

    Keep us updated on Alan please.

    I’ll go shopping with Hedi for a hat!

    John, you will be missed, but you are NOT letting us down!!!!

    Bless you and Hedi and have a great vacaation!

  99. Mark says:


    No! The current arrangement allows guests to develop a special rapport with the staff that would be sorely missed if a freestyle option would be adopted.

    No! The current arrangement allows guests to develop a rapport with the staff that would be sorely missed if a freestyle option would be adopted.

    But…….if Carnival is thinking of adopting this perhaps make one dining room freestyle leave the other and as is.

  100. CarriefromHeidelberg says:

    John and Heidi — If one wants a break from their dinner companions or doesn’t feel like having what is on the menu, one can choose from the buffet, room service or the supper club. On our cruise in June, we once went to breakfast in the Posh dining room and sat with “new” people. It was interesting, but I am generally anti-social — er, scratch that, I mean shy, and don’t like to put that much effort into meeting new people everyday! I like the fact that you really get to know another couple, and can become friends with them.

    As for Heidi’s hat dilemma, I think she will have an easier time finding a hat anywhere in England than even in New York. Most Americans women don’t really wear hats much. Sorry, John. Heidi was quite right to put you in the dog house for that! The last thing one wants to do is look out of place. On my first trip to England, when I was in high school, I bought a hat at Harrods. In fact, I still have it. It was a straw boater. That was the 80s and hats were more in then. On another trip to England, my now husband, took me to the dessert bar in the food hall and bought me a meringue heart filled with fruit. Then he took off, and left me to shop so he could follow the bagpiper around, but really bought me a little trinket for valentine’s day. HINT HINT HINT — or in man-speak, John, you had better take Heidi to Harrods and buy her something!

  101. Sue Grohol says:

    Anytime dining: NO! The best part of the day is sitting down to dinner with wonderful new friends and sharing the days events. The service staff get to know your preferences after just a day or two. Amazingly, the coffee or cappucino or herbal tea arrive at your elbow without your asking for it. How do they do it? There are plenty of other options – – Informal dining on the Lido deck, 24 hour pizza and exquisite dining in the supper club for those other times when you want something different. If it hadn’t been for my table mates in 2005 on the Liberty when I and my luggage had separate vacations, I wouldn’t have known how kind new friends can be.

    See you in just a few days – – hopefully with my luggage.


  102. Adam says:

    Anytime Dining ABSOLUTELY NO NO NO!


    Perhaps there might be a way to have both? (Excluding the Spirit Class) One dining room is anytime dining, and the other assigned seating–you indicate which one you want upon booking or boarding or whenever dining room tables are assigned.

    Just a thought–It’s 2:30AM here and waaaay past my bedtime–so that could be an impossible thought that just sounds good in my head.

    Safe journey home y’all, enjoy your very well earned vacation!!


  103. Thais&Fabian says:

    Hi, in response to your question, we dislike freestyle dining, since we enjoy having a fixed time, table, and waiter. We have been on cruises with freestyle dining, but it seems that some of the cruise atmosphere is lost. A fixed dining time, table and waiters, is like the 5pm teatime: it’s tradition, starting another night on board!
    Heidi, a tip on the hat … take a look at the site of Fabienne Delvigne, she creates hats also for the Dutch royal family:
    Sorry John!
    Groetjes vanuit Karlsruhe, veel plezier op jullie vacantie, and our prayers are with Alan,

  104. Thais&Fabian says:

    Hi Heidi!
    It doesn’t have to be a traditional hat, but you could also wear a head piece similar to those worn by Princess Margriet, Princess Anita, or Maxima… take a look at the pictures of Princess Ariane’s baptism:
    Beijinhos en groetjes,

  105. David says:

    NO!!!!!!!! to anytime dining

  106. Julie Gantt says:

    Anytime dining —– YES

    Heidi deserves to spend whatever she wants on her wardrobe, she works hard too. Also, over here in the states there are places that rent formal wear to ladies as well, maybe that could be an option for one of the outfits she needs. Men rent tuxes and formal wear all the time. Try the bridal salons. Just a suggestion. Most importantly, Enjoy!

    Julie Gantt

  107. Scott says:

    Based on our experience on the Freedom in August, it would’ve been a shame to not have had a scheduled seating each night. Having the same table and getting to know our outstanding waiter Sergei was one of the best parts about life aboard the ship. It wasn’t like there weren’t other dinner options on the ship, but we just felt they paled in comparison to getting our usual table and being entertained by Sergei’s dancing.

  108. Dave W says:

    Anytime dining….. Yes

  109. jerry calvert says:

    anytime dining no!
    Replace CNN with Fox/Sky–yes

  110. vicki says:

    No on anytime dining.

  111. Marci Mckay says:

    Anytime dining…. No way. I love having the same servers and table mates every meal.

  112. George Perry says:

    NO to “anytime dining”. A friend was on one of those ships a few months ago, and had to wait over an hour for a table EVERY NIGHT. It seemed everyone on the ship wanted to eat at 7 pm. The whole cruise experience is having Formal Nights, assigned dining, getting to know your wait staff and tablemates. If someone doesn’t want do to that, let them book on another line.

  113. Gloria says:

    I’m not going to answer that one because I like both dining options. Have a wonderful vacation, Gloria

  114. jimh says:

    Anytime dining. YES. It can be used like assigned time but it is really flexible.

  115. Paulette's Mum says:


  116. Ivana says:

    Good Morning:
    NO on anytime dining, although, I guess two restaurants (one yes and one no) as Ricki suggested would fix the issue.
    Heidi, please do not freak out about the hat dilema, no hat is really out of fashion as long as it compliments your outfit! Just ask any one of our southern blog ladies (Bonnie is on board)! They know the best!
    Have a great time on your vacation and give our best wishes to Alan. We will miss you dearly!

  117. Myra Bushnell says:

    Greetings, John!

    Open Dining: NO

    Hat from Harrods: YES (Only a woman could understand the potential trauma of being improperly dressed anytime, never mind in the presence of royalty. Whether anyone will really notice is totally immaterial!)

    Don’t be sad, John, it’s only a vacation. I’m excited for you, as you’ll be with family and friends and eating Mum’s home cooking. Yummy! And admiring Dad’s shrine (is the baseball bat mounted yet?) Then, soon enough you’ll be past it and up to your neck in cruise directing again. Plus new ships and new places. And we’ll still be here eagerly awaiting any word from you.

    So…Cheers and safe travel to you and Heidi…and hello to Alan and family (still in our prayers).



  118. adias.angel says:

    Anytime dining:
    No, No, No, No, No, No, NOOOOO!!!

    Love having the same waiter at every meal, they make you feel very special/important. If you could figure out how to combine flexible timing with the same wait staff then I would be all for it. 😉 Carla

  119. Longin2cruise says:

    Anytime dining……………..Yes.

  120. Dave and Melanie Myers says:

    Anytime dining – our vote is yes .

  121. terri910 says:


    “Anytime Dining”? Been there, done that, refused the t-shirt.

    No, no, a thousand times NO!

    Main reasons we HATED freestyle dining on our cruise on another cruise line that shall not be named:
    (1) never spent enough time with tablemates to develop any sort of relationship past “Is this your first cruise?”
    (2) did not like having different waiters each evening. We like to tip our wait staff over and above the pre-paid tips if their service is considered exceptional even by our Carnival standards — even if you recognized that excellence at just one meal, remembering exactly who that waiter was at the end of the cruise to tip them…well, the logistics of that don’t bear thinking about.

    Now….if the subject comes up, I do think there must be a better way to figure out dining room/time assignments. Larry & I have been on 8 Carnival cruises, now (with two more booked) and we have never….let me repeat this….NEVER been assigned the dining time we have requested. The Maitre ‘d has always been able to change us to our preference after the first or second evening, but we’ve never understood how it is wrong every time!

    And I know you didn’t ask this, either, but please do not let anyone do away with the dress code requirements in the dining rooms!

    Terri & Larry

  122. Uncle Doug says:



  124. Longin2cruise says:

    As for hats…………………………with all respect, I have to say that the British Royals wear some of the ugliest hats I’ve ever seen. Diana was the only one to have any fashion sense. Since she’s not with us any more, Heidi, without doubt, will have the best hat there.

  125. ewagma says:

    Anytime dining – No (been there – never ate in DR)

    I am sure you & Heidi will look better than the Royals!!! Enjoy – we want pictures!!!!!

  126. Cathy Pietras says:

    I am AGAINST anytime dining! I think that part of the whole cruise experience is going to dinner and having fun with your servers who give you such personal attention and make you feel so special. Plus meeting your table mates and sharing your daily experiences or stories of their home town. We have made friends from all over the world at dinner and have stayed in contact with them. Since our trips we have even cruised with some of them again or visited with them if we are in their area.

    An extra bonus is when I escort groups and arrange for everyone to sit in the same area of the dining room. It gives the folks all a chance to chat about their day. I also use this time to pass on information about the next day’s events and remind them about group photos, excursion meeting places, etc. I don’t have to waste my time running around the ship trying to find them or spending time calling their cabin. Works out great!

    Sea ya,

  127. Eqty says:

    One of the things we most enjoy about cruising with Carnival is getting to know the waitstaff. We’ve gotten some of the best tips regarding what to do in various ports from these seasoned travelers and would very much miss that experience. Therefor with regard to Freestyle Dining please count us as:
    No – as guests,
    No – as Platinum Cruisers,
    and No – as CCL stockholders.

    As for hadgear for Heidi, I wouldn’t be too concerned. I recall watching bits of Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding and wondering why some of the women in attendence had opted to wear live fowl on their heads.

    Bob & Gay

  128. Boston Cheryl says:

    No no no to anytime dining. I would have to change cruise lines! I like sitting with the same people and getting to know them as friends. We still keep in touch with some. I have met too many crazy people ( at breakfast buffets) that I couldn’t wait to get away from.
    The other option is do like Princess. Having the choice is good. I have friends who will never sail again on Norwegian because of this- everybody wants to eat at the same time and they ended up eating too late for them.
    I have been on at least 5 other cruise lines and Carnival is the best!
    Keep up the good work and enjoy your vacation!
    PS: I feel just like Heidi- I wouldn’t go without a beautiful hat!

  129. lisa wiggs says:

    I have experienced both totally Freestyle Dining and Princess’ Personal Choice and much prefer the Princess way. By offering guests both a set time/place dining as well as anytime dining, you would truly be giving the passengers the best of both options. You can please everyone.

  130. Eugene Ray says:


    I would not like anytime dining. I like to have the same staff serving me in the dining room. I get to know them and they always tell me what is good and what is not so good. I have found there recommendation priceless

  131. Edwin & Zanda says:

    Dining anytime is a good idea, although you loose the opportunity to meet other people while dining but , what the heck. Sometimes that’s even better, ha
    Enjoy your vacation

  132. Brian Stagno Navarra says:

    Hi John, I was on a cruise with my wife with the Freedom which departed from Livorno on the 17th of August. We are from Malta. It was our honeymoon and we had an amazing time which we will never forget, obviously part of it is thanks to you, as we beleive you are the best cruise director a guest can have.

    As regards to the Anytime Dining thingy, well I do not agree. We used to love dinner time, at our table, with our best ever waiter Norby and we got pretty close to the guests who were on our same table as they too where from Malta and we are still in contact.

    I hope you have a great vacation as you and Heidi really deserve it!


  133. Ruth Jamison says:

    John and Heidi,
    This is probably my last response for a while since you will soon be leaving. Gosh, this has really become a part of my daily routine.
    Hubby and I have been cruising for thirty years.
    There is something to be said for the traditional dining situation. I say things stay the way they are. We enjoy going at a specific time to a specific table consistently throughout the cruise. The wait staff becomes familiar with your likes and dislikes.
    (On one cruise the wait staff went to the crew area if chocolate ice cream was not on the menu because hubby was passionate about his chocolate ice cream.) I feel that if people want to eat at different times, there are certainly choices available. The Freedom Restaurant became a mainstay for our grandchildren because we wanted to enjoy a nice, quiet dinner with their mom. I noticed quite a few people eating there nightly. I do not advocate the system of eating any time between certain hours.

  134. PA Dutchman says:


  135. Domenic Ciancarelli says:

    We have never sailed on a ship with anytime dining. But I do know what I like. I always say that one of the best parts of cruising is all the interesting people you meet. I truly enjoy having dinner with the same people who quickly become your cruise “friends” who you meet with every evening. It then grows into real friendships which continue after the cruise.

    If you want to enjoy the freestyle experience, do it at breakfast or lunch. We have done that and it’s fun, too.

    But please don’t switch to anytime dining. It’s really enjoyable as it is, and enhances the cruising experience.

  136. Tim Kriebel says:

    Yes, Yes. Yes!!!!

  137. kiciaski says:

    Anytime dining: No

    We like to get to know our waiters and besides having a set time gives us a goal to get ready for dinner. Otherwise we might just keep putting it off and miss it altogether.

    Have a safe trip home.


  138. Phil & Cheryl says:

    Anytime dinning?
    No, Thank You

  139. Bob Hickly says:

    No on the anytime dining.
    Good luck with the hat.

  140. Lindsey B says:

    NO NO NO

  141. Patti Kriebel says:

    No, No, No!!!!

    I guess my husband and I have different opinions on this topic.

  142. RBGates says:

    Regarding anytime dining: I have to say no although on Princess you do have the choice. When we sailed the Golden Princess we chose anytime dining. It was OK but I would not do it again. My strong preference is to have the same waitstaff every evening along with the same tablemates.
    Heidi, good luck with your search for the perfect hat.

  143. crusinsue says:

    Anytime dining: NO!!

    I prefer getting to know my wait staff and it is difficult to organize dinner if you are travelling with a large group if you have anytime dining.

    I hope you have a wonderful vacation and Heidi, I am sure you will find just the perfect hat. Keep us posted on how Alan is progressing and take care of one another. See you soon again, I hope!

  144. DisneyDavid says:

    Yes to anytime dining. And while you are at it, how about formal dress optional? I don’t want the extra clothes, but prefer to eat in the main dining room every night.

  145. A-non-E-Moose says:

    No 🙂

    Beste Heidi, Amerikaanse vrouwen draagt zeer geen hoeden. NYC zal vele hoedenwinkels niet hebben. Ik denk u meer geluk in het UK zult hebben. Het gelukkige winkelen.

    Vertaald met hulp van BabelFish. Droevig voor fouten. 🙂

  146. Wanman says:

    Anytime dining … No. Please No.

    Actually Carnival already has it… The Pizza station.

  147. Jim Z. says:

    Anytime dining? No, thank you. My children (who are now in their twenties) still remember quite fondly their waiters and Maitre D’ (HALLOOO Yusef!) from each of 5 cruises. It is a special part of cruising that should be retained.

  148. Peanuts says:

    Good Morning John and Heidi,

    As to the question of “Anytime Dining” NO, NO, and NO!!

    Tell Heidi to check the UK’s business listing in the phone book for hat shops. I love hats and am sorry to see ladies hats not in fashion any more. Better yet do a “Google search” for hat makers in the UK. Hope this helps I can sympathize with Heidi about what to wear to a gala event. I would be babbling and drooling about now. Take lots of pictures.

    By the way, John, Pistons finished off the Washington Wizards by 20+ points in the last pre-season game. Now it’s off to Miami!! whoo whoo. Game is now on! I want “my” solid gold plated ship on a stick. ;D

    Have a wonderful vacation and see you soon.


  149. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    NO…. to anytime dining.

    I have far to many horror stories, on “the other cruise line” that does this, of people waiting an hour for dinner.

    As the Mum of a child with autism, this can be disasterous.

    If we were talking ships that hold 700 folks, that would be one thing.

    But 1,000’s of people deciding on a whim when they want to eat … you get the idea!!!

    Besides, Carnival already offers “anytime dining”…it is called the Lido Deck!!!

  150. sharon says:

    Do both, like Princess. Two seating times in the main dinning room and several dining choices thru out the ship. We have done both, I like anytime dinning my husband like fix time dinning. With anytime dinning it lets you go off the ship without worrying about the time to get back on for that fix dinnig time.

  151. George Perry says:

    No, No, No ! ! ! Part of the whole “Cruise Experience” is getting to know your Waitstaff, and them getting to know you and your needs. We’ve met many great tablemates over the years, and that helps make the cruise more enjoyable. Formal Nights are all part of the experience as well.

    Some friends went on one of the Freestyle cruiselines a few months ago, and hated it. It seemed that everyone on the ship wanted to eat at 7 pm, and they had to wait over an hour for a table every night of the entire cruise. You may as well go to a buffet in Vegas if you want to wait in line that long.

  152. mjs125 says:

    Hi John….I’m a long-time lurker and only posted a few times (questions about European cruises for 2009), but I felt the need on your penultimate blog to post. I hope you and Heidi have a fantastic vacation! Best wishes to your friend Alan…I am sure all will go well.

    Also…good luck to Heidi on finding the right hat. I completely understand the stress!

    Take care!

  153. Dennis K says:

    Anytime dining? YES YES!!!!!!!

  154. Paul F. Pietrangelo says:

    Good morning Mr. Heald and Heidi. You could never let anyone down my friend. You’ve down more for this blog , Carnival and everyone than you can believe. So don’t you ever feel that way again. As far as your question, here is my answer:


    Heidi, you can wear anything that you want. You would look fantastic in anything.
    Mr. Heald and Heidi, please enjoy your vacation and give yourselves a necessary rest. You need not worry about Carnival, the blog and us. We will still be here when you get back. Also, keep us in tune to how Alan is making out. Ciao my friends and rest,rest,rest and more rest.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  155. Teresa C. says:


    ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! No explanations needed.

    Heidi, no need for a hat. Just get yourself a knock-out dress and no one will know you don’t even have a hat on!!

  156. Lauren says:

    Set time on sea days
    Anytime on port days (so you don’t feel rushed to get back)
    Best of both worlds!

  157. Kathy Leblanc says:

    I say yes to freestyle dining….a good compromise is the “as you choose” dining introduced by other lines where you select if you want to do things the traditional way and have assigned dining (which is in one dining room) or if you choose to have open seating (in another dining room) where you choose when you are ready for dinner. Just a thought.
    All the best John and Heidi…I look forward to hearing about your adventures on land for a while!

  158. Ray McTeague says:

    Anytime dining….maybe for some….but NOOOOOO!!!! for us. Ray & Deb

  159. girldoc says:

    NNNOOOO (thats NO) to anytime dining.

  160. John:

    I figured most men would say “no” to optional dining, why you ask …. because they like their dinner served by the same person, you know their “wife” or I mean waitor, yeah, yeah thats it, their waitor.

    But seriously on this one I would also say no ~

    As for the hat, I love to watch British things just to see the hat ~ as for me, give me a baseball cap any day of the week! I am sure Camilla would flip over that one.

    Enjoy the time ~ remember this is the time to enjoy each other ~

    Love Vikki and Mat

  161. dmw13 says:

    Anytime Option – Yes but still keep set times for those that prefer it. Sometimes I don’t want to be stuck with the same table mates all week. Not everyone is compatible. And I find that if I can’t get the late sitting that I never make it to dinner in the formal dining room.

    As for Heidi, if the invitation says ladies should wear hats then Heidi needs a hat. I agree Heidi is a beautiful woman but the fact that people on here feel that makes her abovethe dress code is wrong. Don’t I constantly hear some of the bloggers complaining about Carnival not enforcing the rules of “formal” night? Isn’t this a similar situation?

    Heidi go find a nice hat so that you feel comfortable at this event.

  162. Mary Scotto says:

    Dear John, Greetings for New York City, no one wears hats anymore (at least not in the Big Apple) but I believe Heidi can wear anything–even a paper bag she is so beautiful! Geez, i can picture it now Heidi standing proud and gorgeous next her main man and in comes raggedy Camilla with a million dollar hat/wardrobe…sorry no comparison. Heidi gets the beautiful hat award hands down! Heidi pls spend your precious pounds/euros on lingerie! now thats $$ well spent…dont you think John? Enjoy your vacation and regarding the Anytime Dining…its an excellent idea espec after days touring the gorgeous ports at least you can take your time showering/dressing without the worry of making your standing reservation. Bye for now from Midtown Manhattan – Mary (Angela’s mommy–remember ‘FREEDOMLICUOUS’ RAP! (:

  163. jkloni says:

    NO, NO, NO to anytime dining.

    It is a royal pain in the a*$ when you are with a group of 30 of your closest friends and family. Try to arrange evening dining – a nightmare.

    We love Carnival just the way it is. –
    (Well the way Bob Dickinson had it, jury’s out on the other guy.)

    On the Crown Princess there were people on a waiting list for traditional dining because they were forced into anytime dining.

    Anytime dining may be fine if you are just one or 2 couples. Other than that, it’s crappy.

  164. Meghan E says:

    NO to the anytime dining….

    BUT… more options for dining, like on that other cruise line that won’t be named, would be nice 🙂

  165. mrs.missingthesmokefreeparadise says:

    Sounds like me trying to find out what length dress to wear to the Vatican. And are hats required in the Vatican?
    Please be assured that in a country where properly attired respectable women of every age and all that malarkey wear hats, i.e. not US but UK, you can find something darling.
    Over here….you can have this hat. It comes in any color you want as long as it is black. No, that was Mr. Ford regarding the Model T.
    There are about 5 styles of hat, mostly ugly. The couple that are becoming are everywhere.
    The really great place to shop for a hat would be of course, London, and when my darling daughter goes to Great Britain my anticipated present upon her return will be a Queen Mum hat.
    Over here, along around the end of April, the stories begin to surface regarding where to go to get a hat for The Kentucky Derby. Some are outrageous. Some are really nice.
    So, tell your Mr. that if he really objects to the price of Hats in Harrod’s, that you can always fly over to Louisville, where his bat was made, to get a lovely hat from Kentucky.
    The good news is, it doesn’t have to protect you from the sun, it only has to let you be your pretty self.
    Have fun shopping for it!
    There was a movie with Burt Lancaster who bought blue hats for his wife because she had blue eyes and she liked hats. He died with dozens he hadn’t gotten around to giving her. I do wonder about the poor lady who had to develop her wardrobe around Alice Blue Hats. Moral of the story: Men who love their wives buy them hats.

  166. Justin M. says:

    I would say “no” to anytime dining. Not that it’s a bad idea per se, just not necessary. I’ve only cruised once, on the Pride for my honeymoon last month. We enjoyed dinners in the dining room very much, and appreciated having a little structure to our otherwise carefree day. Those who want to eat “anytime” have numerous options for this; it’s not like there’s a shortage of places to eat on a cruise ship. Judging from how full the cafeteria-style eating areas are around mealtime, it seems that those who want “anytime” dining, already have it.

  167. Melissa says:

    NO! i loved our waitress…..we email all the time, i am coming on the freedom again mainly to see her again. my family also loved her; she knew my order before i said it….it was great!

  168. Francis says:

    NO NO NO 🙂 Thats for the Anytime Dining!!

  169. Diane says:

    YES to anytime dining!

  170. MAT & VIKKI TILL says:


    I. Why we chose Carnival:
    1. Value;
    1.5. Size does matter – we wanted to be able to choose our type of entertainment, not be limmitted by the number of clubs smaller vessels can hold;
    2. Ports; and
    3. Balcony vs. Window/port hole.

    II. Things to improve:
    1. First time cruiser knowledge – It hasn’t been that long since we took our first cruise, and, in retrospect, we feel we missed a lot. Don’t get me wrong, we had fun, but no one mentioned things like the cruise directer’s port talks. Here we go into it thinking these talks just take us away from time enjoying the boat, and, after reading your blog, it turns out our experiences in port could and probably would have been better. – And we sailed w/previous cruisers who never took advantage of this.
    2. Enforce semi-casual vs. casual. When the sign says “No shorts in the dining room” enforce no shorts in the dining room.

    III. Next generation of ships:
    1. Bigger is better – as w/RCL, you can stuff more activities into larger boats.
    2. Fresh water pool.
    3. More standard port options. For instance, keep the Northern European destinations.
    4. This is the most important, SUNSHINE ALWAYS!

    IV. Dining options – Changing companions nightly sounds interesting, but I think we’d miss our waiter. Lunch times on the Imagination were often spent in the formal dining room, and were enjoyed much more when our nighttime waiter served us. I guess I agree w/Vikki in saying no.

    Finally, V. Don’t forget to tell Heidi bigger is better. The larger the brim on the hat, the more shade for you, thus no burn on that fair brittish skin…Bigger is better (so what if she looks like Bozo the Clown:).

    Have a great vacation! I know we’re looking forward to ours, Mat.

  171. MAT & VIKKI TILL says:


    I. Why we chose Carnival:
    1. Value;
    1.5. Size does matter – we wanted to be able to choose our type of entertainment, not be limmitted by the number of clubs smaller vessels can hold;
    2. Ports; and
    3. Balcony vs. Window/port hole.

    II. Things to improve:
    1. First time cruiser knowledge – It hasn’t been that long since we took our first cruise, and, in retrospect, we feel we missed a lot. Don’t get me wrong, we had fun, but no one mentioned things like the cruise directer’s port talks. Here we go into it thinking these talks just take us away from time enjoying the boat, and, after reading your blog, it turns out our experiences in port could and probably would have been better. – And we sailed w/previous cruisers who never took advantage of this.
    2. Enforce semi-casual vs. casual. When the sign says “No shorts in the dining room” enforce no shorts in the dining room.

    III. Next generation of ships:
    1. Bigger is better – as w/RCL, you can stuff more activities into larger boats.
    2. Fresh water pool.
    3. More standard port options. For instance, keep the Northern European destinations.
    4. This is the most important, SUNSHINE ALWAYS!

    IV. Dining options – Changing companions nightly sounds interesting, but I think we’d miss our waiter. Lunch times on the Imagination were often spent in the formal dining room, and were enjoyed much more when our nighttime waiter served us. I guess I agree w/Vikki in saying no.

    Finally, V. Don’t forget to tell Heidi bigger is better. The larger the brim on the hat, the more shade for you, thus no burn on that fair brittish skin…Bigger is better (so what if she looks like Bozo the Clown:).

    Have a great vacation! I know we’re looking forward to ours, Mat.

  172. catmama044 says:

    I have mixed emotions regarding dining options. I vote for “fixed-time” on sea days and “anytime” on port days. I don’t like being rushed if I’m out on an excursion.

    Heidi, I am sure you will find the perfect hat, the perfect dress and all the perfect accessories. I also think the UK is a much better place to find a hat..definitely NOT New York.

    Good luck and enjoy your much deserved time off.


  173. mrs.missingthesmokefreeparadise says:

    Anytime Dining:
    I rather think that staggered ordering and serving would be more efficient for the kitchen. The one consistent thing that has made me feel bad about the dining room is the initial hurry up to place the orders and then the waitstaff return with meals for two dozen or more people stacked on a tray they carry single handedly alongside one of each of the waitstaff teams in that dining room. I get the distinct impression that it is a small scale warfare to get in first with orders to impress the supervisors. Which is good for us as diners when we have the spearhead of the assault on the kitchen serving us, and a long dragged out night when we don’t.
    So, if anytime dining would relieve the pressure placed on the waitstaff to provide quick service along with how many are there? if there are 300 tables then there must be 200 waiters and waitresses and assistants who together take the orders for the better part of 1500 people all at the same time…
    You, as in Carnival fleet wide, have made it work, but I should think a system that flows and works without having to force it would benefit everyone.
    The part about anytime dining I have heard about is that parties who have arrived to dine are put on a waiting list which could be 45 minutes, or one could wander from restaurant to restaurant in hopes of getting in before that long, usually without success and then being tired and hungry, or having the barbecue menu when the day long anticipation had been for the french restaurant.
    However, if reservations are accepted for the duration of the cruise, your early seating has always sounded too early for us and the late seating just eats into my playing time, neither of which have food down when we get there, but we have to wait while all the orders for us and the other guests are taken and sorted out and then returned and then presented…it will actually just be the same only different and we can still get the sunset with the hot tub AND fine dining AND trotting off to trip the light fantastic on the dance floor.
    Just as a note, in the real world, there are people who go to the restaurant at 4 in the afternoon when it opens for supper at a reduced rate. When in an office setting and many other jobs, lunch is at a specific time every weekday. It would be nice for people to keep a semblance of regularity in their schedules by having a dining room that adapts to the whole rest of their year.
    We did get anytime dining of a sort with breakfast and lunch on Carnival Liberty in January. I could get used to that real fast.
    What do the waitstaff and kitchen crew think about breakfast and lunch as/like on the Carnival Liberty? Happy counselors make happy campers.
    Like my daddy always said, Call me anything but late to supper.

  174. Bob Murta says:


    My wife and I took our first cruise this past spring and had a fabulous time. Anytime dining was the primary factor for us choosing the Diamond Princess. The four themed Anytime dining rooms were great with the Savoy being our favorite (spelled correctly). We are not anti-social but we truly enjoy each others company best and wanted to dine at a table for two. Our trip firmly confirmed the correctness of that decision for us. The good news is that anytime dining will keep us in the family with Princess when we head for the Caribbean later this year (even though I am very intrigued by the new Celebrity Solstice). I regret I won’t be sailing with you you and Heidi. I would suggest that you offer both and keep everyone happy!

    I truly enjoy your blog thingy.


  175. mrs.missingthesmokefreeparadise says:

    PS on maybe
    We absolutely adored the waiters we got at breakfast one day, and from then on for breakfast and lunch we asked for a table with them, and got it!

  176. Susette Loewenstein says:

    I have mixed feelings about anytime dinning! We did a translantic on Norweigen Dream and they didn’t tell us that one of the engines wasn’t working so instead of taking us 6 days to cross it took us 9 days and we missed out on 2 ports of call. Their food was horrible, it was the first time that on a cruise that I actually lost weight. We will NEVER sail with them.
    As for poor Heidi of course Heidi you have to have a whole new outfit and hat, John imagine how long you will be in the doghouse if she feels out of place and embarrased because she is not properly attired, especially if the royals will be there. Open the purse strings John, this is such a special occasion. Yes Heidi us girls have to stick together. Good luck with your shopping Heidi! Sorry John just trying to save you from a lifetime of Heidi reminding you if only I could have had the right outfit and hat.
    You both have a wonderful vacation which you more than deserve. Your friend Alan is always in my prayers, my grandmother died of a brain tumor so I can sympathized with what they are going through.
    Thank you so much for all the wonderful blogs, they make my day, I enjoy reading them so very much!

  177. Susan O. says:

    A resounding NO to anytime dining. Did one cruise with ‘freestyle’ and swore we wouldn’t do it again. No relationship with wait staff or tablemates, if you went early or late to avoid crowds, the dining room was sadly empty. Just too much like any other restaurant if you don’t have your special likes taken care of. Best to you and Heidi, John.

  178. DWA76 says:

    Hi John/Heidi:
    Wow…A lot of posts today.
    I say No to the Anytime dining. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
    Looking forward to keeping in touch,

  179. Julie Gantt says:


    As a “yes” to anytime dining, I was surprised to see the number of “no’s”, but pleased to see that one reason for many of the no votes was that people love their wait staff. You’ll have to be sure to pass that on to the wait staff, they all work so hard.


  180. Adrienne says:

    No way to Dining Anytime!

    You lose all the a Carnival cruise possess which is the excellent and personal service in the dining rooms and the great quality of the food that Carnival has worked so hard to get.

    Just so you know my favorite on Carnival is the Indian Pumpkin Soup that is served on the first formal night. I just love it!

    I hope you have a wonderful vacation and looking forward to your updates.

    Adrienne Colon
    New Jersey

  181. GO says:

    Anytime Dining is fine as long as us same-time folks are also accommodated; they did this well the last time I cruised Princess. More choice is always better – at dinnertime the supper club, the bistro, even room service or pizza – so why not A.D.? It probably wouldn’t be my choice though.

  182. Teresa and Paul B. says:

    Hi John,

    We are saying “no” on anytime dining.

    Even though we don’t have the experience, I’m pretty sure the set times will be good for us. Creatures of habit, I guess!

    See you in April!!! Enjoy your vacation!

  183. shellyp says:

    Hi John and Heidi,

    No freestyle dining, please. This is where Carnival can really bask in the glow of their impecible
    customer service. I like the pampering from the same wait staff every night. I am also rather shy and I would be stressed if I had to worry about making new friends every evening.

    As far as hats go, bite the bullet. How often does one get to breathe the same air as royalty? Make sure Heidi gets one with at least one feather- and I want a picture!

    One more thing- I am now, as of today, gainfully employed for the chief purpose of doing another Grand Med cruise or two before my kids go off to college.

    Have a great vacation and congrats on the million mark!
    See you soon!

  184. Jayneen Casbarro says:

    NO NO NO
    From each of us who cruise

  185. tracy says:

    hi john i got an idea have the dinning rooms open all day but in one resturant still have the desiend seating when people book their cruise u are asked reg time or late dinning u can always ask also desinated seating or not make everyone happy. i love seeing the same waiters/waitress when i eat its nice. but always sad when time to go home u miss everyone. still miss a few people from my first cruise the imaganation and my 2nd cruise the glory and of course some i wont miss on the destany some i will miss. tc john and heidi

  186. Robin in New York says:

    Like I’ve said before, I’ve never cruised Carnival and don’t know your dining room experience. If you get good dinner companions and great wait staff you can have a wonderful time at scheduled seatings. However, we’ve cruised that other line with Freestyle and I have to say we loved it. We could be flexible with our shore excursions, no worrying about being a certain place at a certain time, and if you met people on the ship (or on Cruise Critic boards beforehand) you could dine with them. Both methods have pros and cons. I think you have to do what you feel will maintain the integrity of your cruise line, and what your cruisers have come to expect.

  187. Cheryl says:

    NO to anytime dining! We look forward to dinner everynight and knowing that our servers have everything we like already on the table when we get there!

  188. Inez says:

    Anytime dining-My vote-NO!
    Love the fabulous waiters & the newfound friendships that are made.

  189. TXLADYDI says:

    Hubby votes NO! NO! NO!
    I vote NO x one-thousand!!

    Again, we like to get to know our tables mates, and having a waiter bring your favorite drink before you ask for it makes me feel like royalty!

    Speaking of Royalty, Heidi MUST wear a hat, being invited to an occassion with the Royals. Look in magazines or papers for pics of what they are wearing. Keep this in mind, you want something that can be secured so it won’t blow off in the wind around the ship – you know how windy it is. Try the re-sale shops, in the US many affluent ladies wear outfits once then take them to re-sale shops – you can find the very best labels at astonishingly low prices. But you could waste months looking for this type of ladies hat in the US.

    Wishing you a happy vacation on solid ground!
    Still keeping Alan in our prayers.

    See ya’ later,
    Diane from Mesquite, TEXAS

  190. mphil53757 says:

    No anytime dining! HATED IT ON NCL! So impersonal and the quality of food was BAD! No Way!

  191. Kathie says:

    Anytime? One never should give a woman a choice and expect it to remain the same. So choice instead of yes or no.

    Heidi needs a proper hat. To go with the proper pearls……………. Imagine, Thursday with just a hat and pearls?????????????????



  192. mrs.missingthesmokefreeparadise says:

    Please remember in tallying your votes that those who submit the Supper Club as a viable alternative for Anytime Dining have not considered that there are a max of something like 80 diners per night to be accommodated out of a total population on only a percentage of the fleet, of about 3000 cruising enthusiasts. Ok, about 2500 cruising enthusiasts and 500 professional grumps and complainers per Supper Club per night, reservations pretty much required, with a per person whatever nice word for payment you choose to use.
    in very small letters, i might be one of them from time to time

  193. Dawn says:

    I say NO to the anytime dining. I enjoy getting to know the wait staff and seeing them every day at dinner. This is something that won’t happen with Anytime Dining. Also waiting in line, not cool!! So I say again NO NO NO NO to anytime dining!

    Congrats on reaching the MILLION mark!!

    Heidi will find a fantabulous hat that will make the royals pull you from that last row and bring you up front just to inquire where she found the hat!

    Enjoy your vacation! You deserve it!!

  194. migz says:

    NO to freestyle dining !!!!
    Heidi, you deserve only the best !!! YOU NEED A HAT!!! This QUEEN insists you wear one!! lol !!
    love you both…….and miss ya’

  195. Cindy Bruce says:

    No to anytime dining

  196. MaryKay says:

    🙁 No, no,no,no,no,no,noooooooooo! To anytime dining – some of the best friends are made at dinner!
    However I am with Heidi on the hat…I’d rather miss the event than to not be dressed correctly and feel uncomfortable and out of place…men have it so easy! 🙂
    Have a happy and safe holiday!

  197. J-John says:

    John & Heidi,

    First, enjoy your upcoming vacation and safe travels..well deserved.
    I believe you will be returning to the Splendor (if this past years experienced haven’t scared you away..WOW some of the stories..yikes!!) and I am curious if you plan to be on-board for the So America itinerary in 09? If so, looks like you will be seeing us then as well.
    Quick comment on FS Dining..sounds great in concept but likens to crossing the street in Rome (the larger the party the more likely to lose one).
    Unless Carnival has a creative solution…don’t go there!
    Safe travels boss…..cheers

  198. Bryan says:


    I’ll have to say “no” to anytime dining. Keep it scheduled so there’s a little bit of order for both guests and the crew onboard in terms of dining times…


  199. EsmeeK says:



    Or better yet: Offer a Choice. Just ask what the guest prefers. And then reserve some tables for the “scheduled” dining guests, and open up the others for the “anytime” dining guests.

    But I know my groups like schedules. They want to know who they’re dining with each night.

    There’s my two cents’ worth.


  200. Sing4Joy says:

    John, I’m a longtime “lurker” on your blog, but this is my first comment.

    Regarding freestyle dining: NO!! I find that dressing for dinner and being present at the assigned time helps maintain the civility intended for a formal dinner. If Carnival adopts freestyle dining, soon it will be casual, come as you are, bring your pajama-clad children to dinner at the time when they are most crabby and whiny. Keep the formality! If someone wants to eat outside of their assigned time, they can do so on the Lido deck or order room service.

    Regarding your blog, I just love it. It’s actually uplifting to read about cruising from your perspective! You do a fabulous job of combining humor with the touching, human side of every situation. My husband and I cruised with you last February on the Carnival Liberty, but didn’t have the pleasure of meeting you in person. However, being on your ship is a prerequisite for our next cruise. I hope to meet you next time – we’re HUGE fans of yours! Have a wonderful and safe vacation, and give our best to Alan. You’ll all be in our prayers!

  201. Scott says:

    Anytime Dining – NO

    Some answer from a previous blog question.

    Love about Carnival

    1. Overall service and friendliness. PVP and cabin stewards are GREAT along with everyone else.

    2. Quality at a good value.

    3. Best relaxing vacations.


    1. Less aggressive photography. Sometimes it seems to be too much, can’t walk along deck without tripping over photography set ups.

    2. More of an EVENT type of Sail Away Party from port of Origin. After all Carnival is the FUN ships.

    3. Internet – Reduced internet prices. Better package plans. Wi-fi throughout.

    PIE in the sky idea – A dedicated Movie theater. Seats, screen and all the trimmings.

  202. Mary says:

    Yes to Anytime Dining. Have it like Princess. Part traditional and part anytime.

    Enjoy your vacation!

  203. No on the dining.
    Yes on the hat!! I don’t think most men understand how a woman feels when she is wearing the propper, and probably expensive, clothing. How many times is she ever going to meet the Royals??? Time to splurge. And don’t get it from a website! The hat has to fit, most hats are too large for me, and you want to see how it looks on you.
    All our very best, and thank you for the blog thingy.

  204. Susan says:

    Yes Carnival should consider an anytime dining but like Princess where you can have a choice.

  205. No on the dinning. It is so much fun to have the same staff every night. They get to know you and what you want by the second meal. It was the one time during the cruise with my family that we all sat down and discussed the days events. If it was anytime dinning the children would not know what time to meet us.

  206. Judy says:


  207. Carolee says:

    For Heidi – please tell her that American women don’t wear hats much for formal occassions, but it’s a big part of British culture, so hats are much easier to find in the UK. My favorite way to wear a hat is get a broad-brimmed one without an upturned edge; a lot of hat pins or bobby pins; and a feather boa to match my outfit. Wrap the boa round and round the crown and brim and stick in place with pins or whatever. The actual hat can hardly be seen, but it makes a fabulous, original, floaty creation, which seems to work well against all the Ascot-type hats (Royal Enclosure?) you will see at the Queen Victoria event. I did this when we were invited to attend Prince Edward and Countess Sofia’s wedding* and felt perfectly in form.

    Best wishes – and post a picture!


    *We joined the hoi polloi gathered on the grass outside the cathedral, listening to the service on speakers. Rather a fun party!

  208. Jodie says:

    Am I understanding correctly that you will not be on the June 3rd sailing? I was told you were the REASON to take this cruise, so I certainly hope you are! We are excited for the cruise and excited to meet you!

  209. Jenn&Meyer says:

    Anytime dining…NO!!!
    One of my favorite parts of our cruises is getting to know our tablemates and our wait staff. As for the argument about rushing back from an excursion…a few minutes late doesn’t seem to phase anyone, and you know what…there’s always the lido restaurants…it wouldn’t be nearly as “Formal” with people pushing past you to sit down or leave all through your meal. Nope…don’t like it.
    As for the Hat…just a thought…often some millner’s will “hire” quite exquisite hats for special occasions. Kind of like hiring an Aston Martin for the weekend…no one has to know it goes back next Monday…right?
    Enjoy your well deserved break.

  210. Jane says:

    YES adopt any time dinning!

    I cruise Princess and NCL. I would love to try Carnival, but why would I want a cruise line telling me when I should be hungry?

  211. Carol Schoenberger says:

    Hi John & Heidi,

    Anytime Dining? Only if one dining room is traditional and one set aside for anytime. It’s possible to be “stuck” with undesirable dinner companions nightly, and not every ship has a Supper Club, so it could be an option. But I love it when my waiters know that I want Iced Tea or a Decaf Cappucino.

    As for the hats, it has to be a lot easier to buy a hat in the U.K. than in NYC. I’m sure Heidi will be able to find something that is not outrageous. Give Camilla some competition?

    Both of you please enjoy your vacation, and what an honor to be invited to the inaugural ceremony.

    I now have my tickets & packet for my cruise – A little more than a month away. Yippppeeee.


  212. Judi says:

    I have to say that the one thing I do not like about Carnival is the dinning experience. I have cruised on the line that has Freestyle Cruising and I really did prefer it. Has for having different dinning mates every night, well sometimes that’s a good thing.

  213. David&Stephanie says:

    NO for anytime dining! Why? Because we love to get to know our waiters!

  214. WildWillie says:

    Absolutely NO to the anytime dining. Getting to know our tablemates and our waitstaff is always one of the highlights of our cruises.

  215. Phillip Kloot says:

    Dear John,My wife and i were on the cruise on that left Italy on the 16th March.Wwereboth impressed with yourself ,Heidi and the wonderful crew,so impressed that we have now just startyed to organise another cruise on the Freedom in May 2008 and have just been notified that you are not going to be our cruise director for this trip.we will endeavour to enjoy ourselves and we are sure that your replacement will be equally qualified.We live in Mornington in Victoria,Australia and have toured the US.We thoroughly enjoyed the company of the” yanks”we met on the cruise and look forward to meeting more this time
    Regards Phil & Michele Kloot

  216. Rachel says:

    I just got off the Emerald Princess and tried anytime dining and I will never do it again. Service was spotty at best! You always had to wait at least 20 mins for a table for 2. We missed so many dinners because we didn’t have that time to plan around and we missed almost every show because we didn’t plan the timing right. It was awful. It took away half the reason I enjoy cruising so much to begin with. WhenI’m on a cruise I don’t want to have to plan anything, when I get on board I want all my planing to be done. Tell when and were to show up so I don’t even need to think about it anymore. I have been on 26 cruises on various cruise lines and I will never do anytime again. If Carnival changes to only freestyle dining I will never cruise on Carnival again. Its already a shame how bad service has gotten since tips have become a automatic charge on most cruise lines I would hate for the levels to drop even more.

  217. Bob S. says:

    Anytime dining NO

  218. Bob S. says:

    Anytime dining? NO

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