We are Family

February 15, 2010 -

John Heald

I haven’t been off the ship in the three weeks I have been here apart from my trip to Wal-Mart to buy diapers, baby food and nipple pads. I just have not had the time to disembark the ship in the ports of call. However, I knew I would be meeting Heidi and Kye on Saturday morning and that I needed to pay for the car that was bringing them from the Hyatt hotel to their Carnival Dream. And so I went to the ATM machine onboard because I had spent my last few dollars on those dam nipple pads…….oh……and some Preparation H for me.

If you had been onboard you will have heard some fat git shout “Bugger” in an English accent. That was me…….and my shouting was because the ATM outside the Gift Shops seemed to take great joy in telling me that my card “had been declined and to contact my bank.”

Now, I knew this had happened for one of two reasons. Either Heidi had spent all our savings on hiring the Chippendales for a private show ……or……..it was because I had forgotten to call our bank to tell them I would be traveling to America. Obviously it was the latter because why would Heidi need a Chippendale when she has me and my washboard stomach to keep her warm at night.

And so, because my girls would be here the next day and I needed to pay for their cab …………I had to phone my bank.

This meant I had to spend two hours on the ship’s satellite phone to a man in Mumbai who needed to take me through a list of security questions. So, three hours later after I had told him my name, my date of birth, my Mother’s maiden name, my 4-digit memorable number he then asked me for my telephone banking password. Now…. I think I had a good old moan about call centers before on my blog thingy but honestly…..this was ridiculous. I wanted $100……..that’s all…….$100 of my hard earned money which foolishly I had deposited into my bank in my home town.

Yet, sublimely, here I was, on a cruise ship, calling my bank in Southend On Sea and talking to a chap in India who probably has a few cousins who were down in the galley here making the sodding chocolate melting cake. 25 minutes later…..25 minutes….. Mr. Banker had agreed that I was who I said I was and that I had $100 in my account and that I should be able to take the money out. And so after the 10:30 pm show I went back to the ATM outside the Gift Shop put my card in…….and it was declined yet again. This time I was sure I saw a smiley face appears on the screen.

That night, the fury in my heart was so vibrant that it has become an all-consuming entity. It was like having the winner of The Smelliest Frenchman in the World contest living my head. Even thinking of Megan Fox’s bottom as a cushion didn’t help….

All I could think about was what I would do to the boss of Barclays Bank, were I to encounter him in the street one day. Last night, in my mind, I spent two hours poking him in the chest asking how in the name of all that’s holy he ever thought a problem with my card issued from my bank in Southend On Sea could possibly be fixed by an uninterested man in India.

And then I think I might have given him a close up look at your Carnival Dream’s propellers while she is doing 21 knots.

Of course, we have this rage and frustration in so many other areas of our everyday lives as well. Bought a new toothbrush recently? Tried to get it out of the packaging? I have and there is nothing I would like more than for the chief executive of Colgate to come round to my house and show me how it is possible without cutting all his fingers off.

I think I was upset because Heidi had told me that while the flight was great (more later) the security folks at Gatwick were not. Why subject someone to a humiliating strip search when they are a blue-eyed 9-month-old baby girl.

Heidi had to take her out of the baby carrier thingy that’s strapped to her chest…..OK…..that’s fine……..but they also made Kye take of her warm fleece thingy because it needed to go through the X Ray machine….. and then……….then they patted both Heidi and Kye down. OK, Heidi ….but Kye…. really ……….is the world that ludicrous a place to live in. Surely they realize that Kye isn’t a terrorist. My fear is that they are too busy checking the ridiculous that they will miss the chap with wires poking out of his underpants.

I called the bank again early on Saturday morning and went through all those security questions again and this time I was assured that the card had been activated and all would be well. And so after debarkation had finished I went to the ATM machine with joy in my heart that the girls would soon be here and that I could be a good husband and Dad and pay for the car and tip the luggage guys.

But I have no idea if my card works because when I got to the ATM machine outside of the Gift Shops I was greeted by a screen that said “Temporarily out of Service”……….. BUGGER!

So I got $100 from my assistant Craig. It was easy…….I said “give me $100 or you’re fired.”

So he did.

No security questions either.

Now that’s my kind of bank.

Time for today’s questions……away we go.

John Friedmann Asked:
or many a Stephanie can help!!!
We booked a cruise on the Spirit for February 7th. We mentioned this at church and people thought it looked good, and now there are 6 couples going. It will be fun, but our greatest joy would be sitting down at dinner and sharing our day. However, we are not all seated together. We are early diners and the original group of Friedmann and Konecny are probably together, but I don’t know about anyone else.
Is there some way that you could forward this to the maitre d and see if there is some way we could either sit together, or sit in two adjacent 6 person table. Where we could rotate seats. It will make a good trip into a great one!
Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated. We are looking soooo forward to getting out of this snow and freezing weather. Thank you!!! Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!

John Says:
Hello John Friedman
I saw that you are already on the Carnival Spirit and luckily one of the 343 Stephanie’s alerted me to this and so I sent your request to the maitre d of the ship with your dining request. I only hope I got it to them in time and if I didn’t….well please forgive me. I hope you are having a brilliant cruise or had a brilliant cruise if you are reading this at home and please send us your review if you have time.
Best wishes to all.

GarettsNana (aka BobsNana) Asked:
John Please Reply
Happy birthday John!!! Garett (aka Bob) will be so excited to know that the two of you share a birthday. He’s 15 today.
He is getting his learner’s permit soon and we’re looking for a polar bear killing tank for him to drive. However, I think he’s going to balk at the helmet, goggles, and racing driver seat belts that I’m going to install 🙂 .
His birthday surprise is a cruise next summer on the brand new Carnival Magic! I don’t think he will mind that (because of the cost!) it will be his birthday present for two years!
Please, please tell me that you will the cruise director in June 2011. He will be excited about the cruise, but it would be a dream come true if you were cruise director.

John Says:
Hello Garrett’s Nana
And a very, very happy belated birthday to Garrett (AKA Bob) whom I will indeed be seeing when we cruise together in June onboard the brand new Carnival Magic. Europe is a fabulous destination and as we get closer I will be writing more about the ports and the ship herself. Until then I hope you continue to enjoy the blog and best wishes to you and Bob…………..and good luck to Bob with the driving test.

Flynlo Asked:
Hey John, please reply.
Just a quick question. What’s the reason for no locks on our bags? Is Carnival looking for my smuggled booze or my pics of Megan Fox’s “bottom”? Neither of which I would want to lose. Keep up the good work!

John Says:

Hello Flyno
We have indeed stepped up enforcement of our existing prohibited items policy and like many other cruise lines we are doing this for safety reasons We do therefore suggest that you keep your bags open so that if anything is discovered it can be reviewed more easily without having to delay delivery of your bags to your stateroom. As well as alcohol we are, of course, looking for objects that could cause damage to the ship. Since we started the stepped up enforcement a few weeks ago we have, for example found 42 irons. These could easily start a fire and that is one of the reasons we are doing this. So yes, this is an effort for to keep prohibited items from coming on board. I will be here if anyone has a follow up question.
Thanks for the posting and the kind words
Best wishes

Kathy M. Asked:
Dear John,
Please Reply,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY FRIEND!!! This day will be very easy for me to remember, since it was the Anniversary date of my parents, who after only knowing each other for 5 days when they got married, they enjoyed 58 years of happiness together. They were so much in love that after my dad died, my mom died 22 days later of a truly broken heart. She just could not survive without him.
John, do you remember last month when I asked you if you could set up a meet and greet and have it announced in the Capers (and I had also asked if I could get a picture of you) well, I just have to tell you, what happened. On my way to catch the ship, I took sick half way and had to have emergency surgery, so I was not able to go on the cruise, but other members of the meet and greet said that there was nothing announced in the capers and that Carnival does not do that. They do not post private meetings in the Daily Capers, so my question to you is that true, because in Oct 08 I went on a group cruise and our doings were posted in the Daily Capers. Is it the decision of the Cruise Director or someone else on what gets in the Capers and what does not. Just thought I would ask. The one thing I was the most disappointed in was not getting a picture of you, but that is ok, I am hoping to be able to cruise with you when you are on the Carnival Spirit.
Please give my love to Heidi and a hug to Kye.
I will keep you in my prayers for a safe trip back to the states.
From your #1 Bloggy Thingy Fan
Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M
It’s strange getting all these birthday wishes so long after the event but how kind of you to think of me Kathy. I had no idea about your illness. Are you OK now, please let me know? I am sure you were bitterly disappointed and I feel so bad for you.
As for the Meet and Greet, well, every time I am asked to arrange one I send the request to the Cruise Director of the ship in question. I ask him or her to block a lounge and to place a “CC Meet and Greet” wording in the today at a glance section in the Carnival Capers. I apologize that this was not done. It has been done many times though as my member friends of Cruise Critic will tell you but on this occasion……..someone dropped the ball and I will follow up on this to make sure it does not happen again.
Most importantly I hope you feel better and I send you my best wishes for a quick recovery

Jennifer Asked:
(I’m not sure this posted the first time I tried it, since the moving circle thingy never disappeared [on the mobile version of this Blog].)
Hello, John Heald.
I’m writing to remind you three weeks before my cruise, as you requested when I asked for help several months ago. My cruise begins three weeks from this Sunday; it begins on February 14.
I’m sailing on the Carnival Glory with my service dog for my disabilities. For her canned food and my own disability-related items I need a refrigerator in my cabin that is set to regular refrigerator temperature (not warmer, or her meat/fish will spoil when the cans are in there for up to four days and my items won’t be palatable, and not overly frigid or her royal dogness will refuse to eat the too-cold food [and I have no way to quickly warm it on the ship, of course]).
I’m in cabin — (with the A Matter of the Heart group) and if you could pull some strings to be sure this happens for me, I’d be forever grateful.
Thank you very much! I hope you have/had a lovely time with your family.
This guest wrote awhile back requesting a regular temperature refrigerator to store her service dogs food and her disability items? You asked that she email you three weeks before the cruise; she did but she is sailing on Sunday 2/14.

John Says:
Hello Jennifer
I have emailed the ship and they are expecting you. I hope you and your best friend have a wonderful cruise and may I ask a favour from you. There is always an opportunity to learn when it comes to having service dogs onboard so please let me know your thoughts and if you see any places that we can improve our services in this area.
Have a wonderful time.
Best wishes

Ken Stevenson Asked:
John – Please Reply
Just returned from another Carnival vacation and wanted to pass along a few comments.
We left Tampa in sunny Florida – at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Great start to a Caribbean cruise. Then the weather turned nasty, as though 40 wasn’t bad enough. Then in Cozumel on Wednesday it started raining. About that time we realized what was going on. Not that we’re superstitious or anything but this was our 13th cruise with CCL and Wednesday was the 13th!! Had it been Friday I’d have been on the veranda looking for icebergs!
O.K., that was the part that Carnival can’t control. The part they can control? Well, we have two more cruises booked in 2010 and can hardly wait, we enjoy each one more than the last. Since getting around is something of a problem for us we restrict our on-shore activities and naturally all the on-board activities were unaffected by the weather. These activities included two terrific musicals using some 15 singers and dancers along with the ships orchestra plus other performers – singers, jugglers, magicians, comics – in between. How can you beat it? And how ’bout Mahogany Bay on Isla Roatan? Sure looks like a winner to us and I mean that literally. It was a joy even sitting on the veranda looking at the neat, new community carefully laid out and landscaped and the ’ski lift’ over to the beach and cabanas. We certainly won’t be surprised to see something similar show up down the beach from the present Belize port.
And then there’s the food. What can I say? “So much food, so little time”. There are still things we haven’t gotten around to at lunch what with the salads, the rotisserie, the deli, the International station, the pizza, the grill, ice cream dispensers and the choices at each station to boot. We don’t use the Asian station much but my wife has learned that Mulligatawny can be pretty tasty. Not satisfied yet? How about the 24 hour room service?!! And if even that’s not enough, for the lucky Platinum cruisers, one evening they’ll knock on your door with canapés and another evening with petit fours!!
Speaking of all that food and all the choices – are we shortchanging the Brits? How can you have a Full British with neither beans nor kippers? Would the Queen be happy with my wife’s favorite, a toasted bagel with cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly? Something tells me that when she snaps her fingers at Windsor she has a Full British before you can say “Gordon Ramsay”. For Yanks like us it’s very hard indeed to think of anything we could possibly want for breakfast that isn’t available. That’s just breakfast and already we’re overwhelmed by the choices.
Note: SCUBA diving? No problem. Taking the dive in the miniature sub? Forget the beans!
It’s easy to start rambling when on the topic of Fun Ship cruising. A final remark, John. When we had our initial chat with Yusuf he knew our name and our requirements and mentioned the magic word, “blog”. Thanks. It made the cruise even more enjoyable for a couple of Gimpy Geezers.
Ken and Lorrene
Platinum Cruisers
P.S. When will CCL update their paper products, they’re way over due?!

John Says:
Hello Ken and Lorrene
What a brilliant review and so well written. It sounds like you had a great time and those Platinum extras really do add the icing to the cruise cake don’t they? There is nothing more frustrating for a Cruise Director then bad weather because it is the one thing that you can do absolutely bugger all about except plan more activities and entertainment. I will certainly make sure the ship gets to see your words of praise. When we were sailing in Europe we had a lot of Brits as we do on the Carnival Victory due to the pre-cruise stay in Barbados. We do have lots of my fellow countrymen we provide a full English breakfast for them which is:
Eggs – always fried never scrambled
British Sausages
Baked Beans
Fried Bread
Black Pudding

OK, that’s not fair. I had a cracker and some cheese for breakfast and writing that has made me drool over myself. I hope one day we will be able to have a similar breakfast together………maybe next year on the Carnival Magic…what do you think?
Thanks again for the great review and best wishes to all

Wyn Asked:
Someone on the cruise critic board recently posted the following exchange between you and someone on your blog. It went like this:
Kathy Asked:
Hi John, Please, Please Reply.
I have been wondering about something and I think that you will be the only person who can give me the correct answer. When a person cruises solo as I do, why is it when the Early Saver Program only gives us the OBC for one person when we in fact are paying the same price as two people. I feel that is discrimination against solo cruisers. Why can’t we get the same credit as if there were two people in that cabin instead of one? I just don’t feel this is fair to solo cruisers. Maybe you could ask one of the men with the beards what the reasoning is behind this.

John Says:
Hello Kathy,
This is a good question and so I asked one of our VP’s for the correct answer and I am happy to say she told me that if a single guest books they should get the OBC based on double occupancy since he paid two cruise rates. So, I will have someone contact you next week and we will adjust accordingly and if anyone else has a problem with this please let me know.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
Best wishes,

We are in the very same situation for my grown son who is sailing on February 27, 2010 aboard the Liberty. I alerted our travel agent and she said that the folks they talked to at Carnival did not know who you were (!!) and would not budge on the OBC being offered to him. Is there anything you can do on our behalf? I can supply any contact info, booking #s, etc.
Thank you, John!

John Says:
Hello Wyn
Thanks for taking the time to write. I wanted you to know that I have sent your information off to our CARE team VP and she will ask someone to clarify this and contact you directly. Please let me know if I can be of further service to you.
Best wishes to you and your son

SCarlow Asked:
(Please reply)
John, I have had my share of cruising (all Carnival of course). I was on the Liberty last year for Super Bowl. I cannot put the words together to describe the ultimate party experience at Sea with about 500 of my new best friends. I still talk about it to this day. It was my best cruise ever until I did the Maiden Voyage of the Dream.
I do not see any problems with showing a large sporting event out on the Lido deck. Super Bowl, Daytona 500, NCAA basketball. These happen over the course of time. Most cruises are 5-7 days and there is plenty of time to enjoy the music on the Lido Deck. As much as I enjoy listening to the music, sometimes it does get a little redundant… Same music over the course of the week and sometimes it gets a bit annoying and a bit loud. For those Sundays where there is a large sporting event, could the music just start earlier and possibly move it to another location? Just an idea.
I am getting ready to book two cruises and one will be on the Liberty again for next year’s Super Bowl…… I think that people need to just experience it once to know what it is like to be a part of such a great experience.

John Says:
Hello S Carlow
Well that’s great timing because we just had the Super Bowl shown here on your Carnival Dream’s big screen and it was a huge massive success. Did you see the photos on the blog?
The secret of success when it comes to the Seaside Theatre is to show as much a mix as possible including movies, concerts and sporting events. What is important though is that we keep the poolside tradition of live music and I think that on our ships we have a pretty good balance.
I hope you do indeed book more cruises on the Carnival Liberty and if there is anything you need from me please let me know.
Best wishes

Deby Asked:
Hi John (please reply if you get a chance)
As a reader from day one I am very confused about the post from the Lady who was upset they had to associate with other people and did not get their table for two. I have never, never understood the purpose of the blog for you to be the reservation agent for people who read about it on cruise critic and never read the blog at all. I have always thought it was to tell us about what goes on behind the scenes on the ship and keep us all up to date on the ship and its happenings. I dearly love to read about the fun and crazy stuff that goes on. Keep on doing the great job you are doing! Deby

John Says:
Hello Deby
I appreciate your words of support and I truly enjoy helping people. However, it is rather frustrating when people do ask me for assistance and do so in a rather ummmm ….. flippant way. Oh well, the good thing is that for the most part I know that the people I do help truly appreciate it.
Thanks for the kind words and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.
Best wishes.

Karen pee Asked:
Reply please
In response to your question regarding the no sound on football. I agree with your decision. If you are on a cruise and want to watch sports– go to the bar or your room. At family events at our home even we watch without sound if family is trying to visit. Make both groups happy. If you don’t like to watch it, watch and listen on a radio, or go to your room.
And remember– can’t please everyone. I would make a wager, most people were happy with your decision.

John Says:
Hello Karen Pee
Not long now until your cruise on the Carnival Triumph where they have a Seaside Theatre Big Screen. I am sure you will enjoy that a lot. Please let me know what you think of the movies etc. Please let me know if you need anything at all.
Have a brilliant cruise.
Best wishes.

Marty Paul Asked:
Hi John (Reply, if you want/have time),
Welcome back onboard our Carnival Dream. I like what the crew is doing with the cooking on the Lanai…there’s plenty of space out there and a nice addition to the Ocean Plaza area.
Regarding lines at certain stations in Gathering, of course there are lines at certain stations-> ever been to an omlette station at a hotel Sunday brunch? No different. One word for line complainers- “patience”.
Regarding the NFL playoffs being shown on the Seaside Theater without sound, in my opinion, with so many customers that you have to please; I would say it is all or nothing. I think it would have gone better if Todd would have announced that the NFL playoffs would be shown in multiple places; namely at the casino bar and in the staterooms and that live music would be outside. Keeps it simpler and doesn’t give lazy football fans who don’t want to get off their “arse” and leave their pool chair, something to complain about (picture without sound). Just my 2 cents…
Thanks to Carnival Corp and the Carnival fleet for all they are doing for the victims of the earthquake tragedy in Haiti. Hopefully, eventually Haiti (Port-Au-Prince) will be rebuilt much, much stronger & better for their people.
Unfortunately for the “Swofties”, there’s also a group of men over the age of 50, who have the unfortunate habit of forgetting to take their Viagra, who also go by the same name.
Happy Birthday again John!
Marty & Jeanne

John Says:
Hello Marty and Jeanne
Thanks so much for the kind birthday wishes. I just wanted to say a big thank you for taking the time to comment on those different subjects. I happen to think that if we are going to show a sporting event then it should be with sound or not at all. That’s just my opinion though and I know some Cruise Director’s thing differently.
The scary thing about your Swoftie comment is that in 5 years time……..I will be a male Swoftie………….bugger!
Thanks again for the posting and especially for the supportive words for Carnival Corp and their charitable work for the people of Haiti.
Best wishes

David Asked:
Hi John
Please reply if possible.
First of all Happy belated Birthday, and I hope you enjoyed some time off with the family.
We are sailing on our Carnival Dream in March and are very excited. Now I was hoping you could address the 300lb Gorilla in the room. The smell issue. From all accounts I have read it’s not something that would keep us from sailing, but we are a little concerned. We have an aft wrap booked, and most comments have been about the smell towards the aft of the ship. I would hate to have something like an odor keep us from enjoying the view. What is the cause, and what if anything can be done?
I understand your position w/ CCL may limit your ability to address this situation but anything you can add would be appreciated.
We enjoy your blog, and I hope you will continue to do it as long as you can. It is a tremendous source of information and glimpse into the life on board the ships. Keep up the great work!

John Says:
Hello David
Thanks so much for the birthday wishes and please do not be concerned. In the 3 weeks that I’ve been on the Carnival Dream, I have not experienced this problem at all.
The ship is beautiful and you have a gorgeous state room and I will be here waiting for you and the family
Best wishes to you all and see you soon.

Arpie Asked:
Dear John –
Hope you had a good birthday. I have a request. My son is a cruise fanatic! He is almost 14 so our cruising schedule is tied to his school schedule. Two years ago I went back to school (masters program) and still work full-time. He has been very supportive and why I want to do something special for him. We are sailing on the Dream May 22 (we will say for his 8th grade graduation) and I was wondering if you could do something for him??
He is such a cruise nut, he asked for Christmas for two cruises in cheap rooms instead of one with a balcony. I just laughed.
We hoping to book a couple more for this year and would love to sail with you before you retire. (We would do Fantasy w/ you but already had Dream booked when dates were announced) Hopefully your July – Oct schedule will be out soon!
Thanks for your help. He loves Carnival and everything they offer. He spends most of his time in the Circle C so he loves getting to know the staff. Arpie

John Says:
Hello Arpie
You sound very proud of your son and you should also be proud of yourself for going back to school to get your master’s degree…………fantastic. Please can you remind me one month before you sail and I will have the Captain sign something for your son and send him a little something which I hope he will enjoy.
Thanks for the kind birthday message.
Best wishes to you and the family.

Jerry Calvert Asked:
John I know you recently were the CD on the carnival Legend so maybe you can help us?
In Belize, the Private (Bannister) island beach break has been eliminated. This leaves quite a gaping hole in the shore ex’s for us beach people.
Are there plans to re-instate or get a new tour?
We will be on the 4/25/10 sailing.
Best Regards!

John Says:
Hello Jerry Calvert
Good question. I know there were some changes over at the island which meant it was postponed for a time. Please let me check and I will get back to you on this ASAP.
Best wishes
Jerry – just heard that the island is closed for now as it is under new management. The only excursion that does go to the beach is the Barrier Reef Snorkel & beach Break which is highly recommended by our Shore Excursion department

Eric Thayer Asked:
**Please reply**, Hi John,
Just left the Carnival Splendor. Very good cruise, but rough weather last day and a half. It delayed our arrival at Long Beach and we, along with half the passengers, missed our flights. Anyway, I was very pleased with the service and food, both of which I thought improved greatly, (even though I though they were excellent before). I am very disappointed though in that it seems as though the gym has ended all aerobics. I remember my first cruise on the Imagination back in 96 when they offered classes, at no charge all day, (e.g. stretching, step, etc.) Now it appeared that all the gym staff do, is offer a few seminars and then stand around the rest of the day. What a shame since those classes I spoke of seemed to be so popular in the past. A few years back Carnival started offering specialty aerobic classes for a fee, and now not at all. I really hope the day does not come when Carnival will start requesting a fee to use the main gym. I was also surprised (for my knees) to find out that the ship did not have a cork running track, ouch! Carnival will always have my loyalty but I just hope they do not nickel and dime everything to a ridiculous degree. Eric

John Says:
Hello Eric Thayer
I am sorry to hear about the bad weather and the effect it had on your flight home. I will be talking about the weather in a moment and although it is something we cannot control I do apologize for the obvious inconvenience it caused you and others. I am sure the Captain slowed the ship down to provide a better and perhaps safer journey back to Long Beach.
You know, I never thought of this before but you are right. We have Pilates and spinning which are held in something called “a gym”……and while I don’t what that is or where that is I do remember typing the word ” aerobics ” into the Capers for many years ……… but not these days. Is it not fashionable anymore? I don’t know so I asked the Spa Manager here. She told me that yes indeed, aerobics classes have for the main part been replaced by Pilates and other classes both on land and at sea……..shame………..I was going to get my leg warmers out again.
I am sorry to hear about the running track; hopefully you were able to use the treadmills in the “gym” instead. I never quite understand the words “nickel and dime” because I truly believe that the cost of the cruise is so affordable and the product we give is amazing value for money. I hope you agree.
Thanks for taking the time to write and maybe one day you can show me how to find………..” the gym.”
Best wishes

Just Cruisin Asked:
I need a gift sending to my daughter who will be sailing on the Valor on February 20th for her graduation. She will be in cabin —.
Can you tell me what it is she will be getting
Just Cruisin

John Says:
Hello Val
I will be sending your daughter something made of real gold………plastic.
I hope she has a great cruise
Best wishes

SoBelle129 Asked:
Dear John: Please reply. John, I’m trying to complete my Carnival Cruise Lines Ship Pins collection and I need the following pins. I called Carnival’s customer service number and I was told that they won’t give me these three pins because I haven’t been on these ships. Can you help me get them? I need the Ecstasy, Miracle, and Victory pins. I don’t know if they ever made ship pins for the original Carnivale, Mardi Gras or Festivale (I was on the Festivale), and I was on the Tropicale (need that pin also). Please let me know what if anything you can do to help me get these seven pins or at least the three current ship pins. Thanks. Hope you had a happy birthday. Regards, Leslie

John Says:
Hello SoBelle 129
You are one of many who have asked me on the blog for pins and obviously as you know we now sell them in the onboard shops as well as giving them to our Platinum guests. The problem is that we don’t have the facility to at the moment to sell them online which I think we need to change. I can’t send out pins either as once open that door I would be at the post office every day. I am currently working on a solution to this as well as asking the gift shops to produce pins for the older ships you mentioned as they were never made.
I will get this done as I know how important these pins are to you and many others.
I will be back with more news on this soon
Best wishes and thanks for the kind words

Semper Fi Asked:
(John please reply)
Well Hello my Friend.
It’s been a while since I have written. I won’t go into the reasons except to say we had to have some very serious surgery and an extended Hospital stay, however I am back up and almost back to 100% even if I have some funny looking scars (kinda looks a little like Miami’s street map)
I just finished reading 3 months worth of Blogs trying to get caught up on all the action.
Loved the Carnival Dreams Naming event. The video of you with the bottle had me laughing so hard I actually popped a stitch.
Talk about time flying, it’s hard to believe that Key is 8 months old already, damn I am getting old.
Look , I know that you are busy getting ready to take over the Carnival Dream so I wont tie you up, Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that Cindy and I are back and getting ready for a much much much much need Carnival Fun time.
We just finished talking with Jose and booked 3 cruises for this year.
I really need to just get away from doctors and hospitals and just have some fun for a while.
Cindy and I will be on the Carnival Liberty on March 6th… booking —- cabin —.
The Carnival Spirit on July 20th to Alaska
And finally we get to cruise on the Carnival Dream on Oct 21 can’t wait.
Both Cindy and I we heartbroken to miss our Carnival Dream Bloggers Cruise but we probably would not have cleared port security with all the damn tubes that we sticking out of me… lol
But this year, I have a new lease on life and Cindy and I have vowed to make up for lost time.
Great to see that you are back at the CD job and we were really happy with the Europe announcement. Cindy and I will be re joining you for the 12 day grand Med cruise. lol Lets see what evil we can plan for you …
In any case my friend, just wanted to update you and let you know that we are still with you and Carnival. We can’t wait to see you in person in the Med.
Love to Heidi and Kye

John Says:
Hello Bill
It’s great to hear from you especially after your wife told me how ill you were. I am glad that you are better enough to have booked your cruise on the Carnival Liberty and I will be dropping you a get well note there.
We missed you on the bloggers cruise but the fact that you are well again is far, far more important.
Wishing you continuing good health and happiness.

That’s all for today and as we are talking about good health with Bill let me also say that I understand our friend Linda, Mum of DJ, is on the road to recovery as well which is great news.

I will be back tomorrow with more questions answered.

Let’s do the news and we start with terrific story from of the sea as told by our man in London and Cunard’s top man………..Mr. Peter Shanks.


Not sure if you have seen this. It is a story to warm the cockles of your heart – and one I thought your bloggers would like. It made the BBC News here in the UK last night. What do you get if you take a an excited couple on the Queen Mary 2 – a camera lost overboard – a Spanish trawler fisherman – and a lot of luck – I’ll tell you what you get – you get a blog …..

Best Regards


Picture This!
Fisherman in Spain nets lost camera with pictures of QE2’s final tandem crossing with Queen Mary 2

12 February 2010 – When standing on the deck of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 in October 2008, Mr. and Mrs. Gregory from South Africa were enjoying the spectacle of sailing alongside QE2 and capturing the view on camera when disaster struck as the camera was accidentally dropped into the Atlantic. At the time, both ships were off the south coast of Ireland over the Continental Shelf and the Gregorys understandably thought their holiday photos were lost forever.

That was until Benito Estevez, a Spanish fisherman who was trawling the ocean last month, discovered the lost camera in his net! While the camera itself was damaged beyond repair, the photo memory card was amazingly intact.

The fisherman contacted both Cunard and the BBC and the BBC managed to locate the couple in South Africa. The Gregorys have since been reunited with the camera and their photographs.

“In all my years in the travel industry I have never heard of such a heart-warming stroke of luck and we at Cunard are delighted that Mr. and Mrs. Gregory have been reunited with their photos,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “The images are even more poignant as they depict the last transatlantic crossing of the great QE2 and can never be taken again.”

Peter, what an amazing story on so many levels. Thanks so much for sharing that with us. I have some extraordinary photos of the time I spent with you in Southampton when the Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria were together so I can imagine these photos were of the two Queens………….truly remarkable

I am looking forward so much to Kye, Heidi and myself sailing on the Queen Victoria in July, a trip that I will be reporting on throughout the voyage.

Before I talk about this cruise I want to talk a little more about the last voyage. As I mentioned during Friday’s nervously written “Hope Heidi and Kye are OK” blog, I think that first cruise was a big success. I think I prefer the Eastern cruise though, not from a port perspective but from the fact that the day and half at the start at sea at the start of the voyage and the two days at the end of the cruise mean that I can be on stage more and on TV more and out with the guests more. Anyway, the mood from the guests seemed good and my two new promotions worked well.

The first of those was the brunch.

I love the menu and I added live music to the event which means that the number of people who attended increased a lot. I don’t have the figures yet but I think it was about 450 – 500 on each of the sea days. I have added this to tomorrow’s lunch options, as well. This is because of our short stop in Nassau with all guests having to be back onboard by 1:30 pm. Many of the guests come back at the last minute and I thought that this would be a nice option. Obviously the idea is to help reduce waiting time on Lido Deck and that’s my job, to promote this superb menu. Tomorrow’s Caper has a dedicated space widely promoting the brunch, the menu and the music………..and free Mimosas!

Oh yes………I have asked the Chef to add the barbecue on the Lanai to the Nassau lunchtime as well ………..I hear the “sliders” are yummy.

The second area that I tried to promote was the Chef’s table and in fact it is pretty easy because after one mention at my Fun Onboard/Fun Ashore presentation all three evenings with the Chef in the galley…..sold out. Oh and just a word of advice to anyone sailing here on their Carnival Dream……both Behind the Fun tours have been sold out before the ship leaves Port Canaveral.

The last evening of the last cruise was dominated by the weather. It was about 7 pm when the wind really started to pick up and at one point the ship was battered by a 70 mph gust of wind across the port bow. This unfortunately caused the water from the overhang Jacuzzi’s on the port side to flow out across the Lanai and into the Ocean Plaza. It’s extraordinary how just a 130,000-ton ship can be bullied by the wind like that. There was no damage and most guests didn’t realize what had happened……..unless they walked into the Ocean Plaza and discovered our new indoor swimming pool. The sun did make a wondrous appearance in Nassau yesterday though and the temperature was a very pleasant 73 degrees.

And so it was throughout the night as the wind buffered the ship right up until we arrived into Port Canaveral. We usually dock next to the Disney Magic and I noticed she wasn’t there. We later discovered that high winds had buggered her new cruise because the ship was unable to leave their private island despite Mickey and Donald’s best efforts. The Carnival Pride was late back into Baltimore and it truly has been a weird few weeks of weather. It was only 51 degrees in Port Canaveral on Saturday and yesterday in Nassau ………….it was a ridiculous 57 degrees when we arrived at 8:30 am.

And of course the fact that much of America is covered in snow as is Europe has meant that Al Gore is keeping a very, very low profile. GWMA!

Let’s see who is sailing with us this cruise

UK – 61

Under 2 Years 14
2-5 Years 84
6-8 Years 148
9-11 Years 183
12-14 Years 230
15-17 Years 189
18-20 Years 67

So, lots of kids but if there is one ship more than any that can handle a high count it’s your Carnival Dream as the facilities at Camp Carnival, Club O2 and Circle C are all superb and in separate areas that will not affect the rest of the vessel.

Oh, by the way, did you see the new feature there? I will be including the number of guests who have sailed 10 times or more before and which guest has sailed the most times with Carnival.

Oh and just back to the subject of eating again and I also suggested we open the dining room at lunchtime on embarkation day. As the state rooms are not ready until 1:30 pm the Lido can get very busy. And so we opened the dining room for the first time and I made a quick announcement about this suggesting guests may enjoy the menu and service. It was just a light push……..here are the results:

11:30 am- 12:00 pm -104
12:00pm- 12:30pm – 133
12:30pm- 1:00pm – 108
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm – 148

Not bad and taking 450 off the Lido Deck on this busy day was a good thing.

For the last few years Heidi and I have not celebrated Valentine’s Day as five years ago, in the night of February 14 2005, Heidi’s Father Joop passed away suddenly. It seems we are not the only ones though because last night in the show I met a lady called Dee Dee who is from a place called Indian Head, MD ……..I am writing MD because I have no idea how to spell Maryland. Dee Dee has been married to Robert for 40 years and I asked her if she expected Robert to be romantic this Valentine’s Day. She told me and the 1,500 people in the Encore Theatre that he had never once bought her a Valentine’s card and the only time he had ever bought her flowers was in 1980 on her birthday. She described him as “the world’s most unromantic man.” And so……as I love a challenge I decided to have this man do my Yaba Daba Doo skit. This is something I do now and then when the chance comes along. For those of you not familiar with this, let me explain.

Every time I now say the words “Indian Head” this cruise Robert needs to run from the audience as quick as he can onto the stage. He then has to do three leaps of joy in the air which the audience counts off 1 – 3. Then he does a 10-second sexy dance to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance. I use this as it’s happy and the audience can clap along.

Then he goes down on one knee with his arms open wide in a huge posture of love and repeats the same speech every time.


Now, every time he does this successfully I will put a prize in the bag which we will present to his wife at the end of the cruise at the debarkation talk.

And it’s part of the deal that if I mention Indian Head over the PA system………..he still has to do it.

As I have said, I have done this skit over the years and I know some of my blogger friends have even been the subject of this piece of fun. However, last night was a little different. I had never met Robert before and when he eventually came on stage I knew I may have to change one or two things.

Here is Robert

Now he couldn’t jump and he couldn’t go down on one knee but…….he was absolutely hilarious and his sexy dance was……..well………indescribable……..everything moved and shook……I mean everything! He brought the house down and what a brilliant sport he was. Oh and one more thing……Robert is a tow truck driver and like his son he is a volunteer fire fighter and……he is the most famous man on the ship……and we have only just begun.

One comment to share with you before I finish today’s blog…………….here it is.

Guest: Mrs. ———–Ref: ________Owner: (DRSHEXMGR) Dream Shore Excursion Manager
Cabin: _____ Booking#: _______Added-Changed: 02/14/10 – 02/14/10

Guest came to the GSD to say that there was no information on the ship. GSA asked guest what she meant and guest said that on Royal Caribbean the elevators have information on the time and the date. Mrs. ____ also said that she had been to Nassau 17 times and was not happy that the Dream was going there.
No further action

I don’t need to say anything about this comment do I……..I don’t think you need me on this one do you?

Well, it’s extraordinary to be sitting here ……..in my underpants………at 6:50am with my daughter playing in her crib and my wife snoozing the morning away. Yep, the girls are here. The flight was long but during the nine and a half hours she only pooped three times and cried twice……..and so did Kye.

Seriously though, she only got a little restless during the last hour but for most of the time Kye was playing and being treated like a little princess by the British Airways cabin crew.

Heidi was though exhausted by the time the plane landed and she was therefore surprised and very happy to see that two bloggers Tom and Jane Rachford were there to welcome them both to Orlando. They should be private detectives because I don’t think I mentioned her flight details. My thanks to them for the wonderful welcome.

They have been made welcomed by the ship’s crew as well and no more so than the Hotel Director Stewart. The ship is completely sold out as per usual and therefore I could not get Heidi an extra cabin.

Although the CD cabin is bigger than most it is too small for Heidi and Kye to live in and for me to work from…….remember it’s my office as well. On the other hand the Hotel Director’s cabin on the Dream class is huge with a massive living room which my cabin doesn’t have and Stewart, a family man himself, has swapped cabins with me for three weeks which is truly a marvelous gesture and one I am very thankful for. Heidi said she and Kye would visit me more often on the Carnival Magic if I had this cabin……… and so I shall start my maneuvers for this cabin in the next few weeks……..my chances are about as good me posting a photo of myself typing today’s blog…..in my underpants !

Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

Comment Policy

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

59 Responses to We are Family

  1. Host Mach from Cruise Critic says:

    John, that is,without a doubt, the WORST job of Photoshopping that I have ever seen but none the less it’s hilarious! Thank you.

    Don’t be stingy with the hugs for your girls… Stitch and I are passing along a bunch!!!

    All the best, my friend!!


    Host Mach

  2. Frank and Bridie says:

    John, So glad heidi and kye made it safely on board. I think someone should call that lady with the Information issue every 10 minutes and tell her the time and date. 🙂 Wow what to say about that picture!!! Maybe they should put that up on the Giant TV?? Ever thought about doing a fundraiser calendar? I LOVE the idea of opening up the dining rooms for lunch on embark day that is a BIG help.

    One other thing I don’t know how you could implement it or inforce it. But to allow us to drop off our carry-on luggage on embark day at our cabin then leave before they open up, at 1:00 is it?

    See YOU soon,
    Big Fans as Always,
    Frank and Bridie

  3. John…. I think you were the director on our first ever cruise… It was the Inspiration from New Orleans. If this is you… and I think it is… you hooked us on Carnival. We have been on many Carnival cruises since then, but none were as fun as that one. We are on the Dream next week, (Western Carib, 2-20-10) If you are the CD this week will be the best ever. We will never forget the Inspiration from years ago and the Beatles in the candlelight lounge with you!

    Larry and Melissa

  4. nanetteali says:

    Hola John!!!!!!
    Still here… always will 🙂 I’m glad Heidi and Kye are there with you. See? No problem with the plane. I knew it. Kye is going to be a traveler. She will be no trouble now or never. Is good to start young. Have a great time this week with your girls and take time to go outside with them. Many blessings. Love you!!! Muchos huggos for the 3 of you.

  5. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Dear John:

    Yes, I am back among the land of the living. I must say how thankful I am for the medical technology that we are blessed with.

    I am healing well and should be good as new in a couple more weeks.

    Please tell Hotel Director Stewart that we all applaud his generous gift.

    What a joy to read that you are there working, Kye is playing and Heidi is napping….all is right with the world.

    It was good to hear that Semper Fi Bill is healing as well. We are also looking forward to the Med cruise on the Magic in 2011. (our oldest son’s college graduation present)

    Btw, I got the same thing for Valentine’s Day that I have gotten for every other Valentine’s Day for the past 20 years…. nothing…. romance is not David’s strong suit.

    Enjoy the next 3 weeks with your precious Ladies.
    What a wonderful thing for Tom and Jane to do for you….your family is truly blessed with the best friends ever!!!

    We don’t cruise again until May and can’t wait for that day to come!!!!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  6. PennyB says:

    Hi John,
    It’s me, PennyB, from New Orleans, now Lafayette.
    So sorry you weren’t wearing your Royal Writing Underwear for the pic – also very interesting tatoos. Are they recent? I’m sure Heidi will be very impressed with them.
    Please tell Craig I’m impressed that he was able to loan you an extra $100. We really enjoyed meeting him on the Dream and hope he remembers all he learned about cougars!
    Kisses to your girls XXOO

  7. I dare you to call CruiseDaddy05 to the stage next week. My better half lost her job last week and could use a laugh at my expense! I hope we can make the welcome show. Go John…. you da man!

  8. Eduardo Peraza says:

    Dear john,
    I have a huge favor to ask you and understand if you decline- Me and my family will be taking a cruise on the carnival liberty on march 27th and this will be my last cruise in a while with them because i will be turning 18 and joining the military…. so here comes the favor- being 17 at the moment and not owning a credit card, it is very difficult to buy a gift on carnivals website for my parents to thank them for the 7 or 8 cruises (i lost count) theyve taken me on, so would you be able to pull some strings for me and make it so that there is a little present in their room when we board the carnival liberty? if you cant I understand Love the blogs, keep them coming!

  9. John,

    Where are the family photos you promised?

    Carolyn………… going to recheck the blog in case I overlooked them…… 🙂

  10. Ed Milan says:

    John love the tats but as host Mach said it is the worst photo stitching I have seen in a while.
    Enjoy your beautiful ladies and thank you to the Stephenies.

  11. joyce geraci says:

    Oh my! I’m going to have nightmares for weeks after viewing that picture. Guess I’ll have to take a cruise to wipe it out of my head. Wait a minute, I am going on one Mar 7th on my magnificent Splendor once again. If I can only hold on til then!
    Give Kye a kiss from her Auntie Joyce .
    Hi Heidi!

  12. divetrash says:

    Dear John, PLEASE REPLY

    So, this past Saturday I managed to have a sort of Carnival Cruise experience without the Carnival ship. How did I manage that you may ask? Well, it started like this:

    Saturday night I met up with Carnival Piano Entertainer Laurie Anne Gardner here in New York City. She was with her friend Roy who has 25 Carnival cruises under his belt. The three of us went to a piano bar here in NYC to see former Carnival Piano Entertainer Mark Weiser perform. While we were there enjoying the music and fun, a good friend of yours came into the bar. Carnival Cruise Director Ralph “Wee Jimmy” Valente. And I finished up my evening at another bar to see former Carnival Piano Man Jordan Addison. All that was missing was a chocolate melting cake!

    I have to say Wee Jimmy is a very charming man, I can totally see why he is a cruise director. He suggested I should ask you about a couple things… apparently you talk to soft toys (stuffed animals and the like)…is this a fetish John? He also said to mention your mother’s cakes, and the last thing was, and I don’t know if I have this right because the music and the gin was making hard to hear… your “frenchen” or “frenshen” or something like that, Dutch for friend? Please explain these things sir for I am now intrigued.

    I hope I get to sail with Ralph someday he seems like a lot of fun. I know he heads to the Legend next. At the very least I hope I run into him at Sweet Caroline’s again, if for no other reason than to get some dirt on you! LOL!

    All the best to you, Heidi and Kye!

    Laura (aka divetrash)

  13. Leslie says:

    Dear John: Now I can sleep tonight dreaming about how you look in your underpants and displaying all the tattoos. You should have that picture on a page of a Carnival Cruise Lines calendar. Great publicity for Carnival and also in educating passengers about what a CD does during his time off while writing his blog and planning the activities for the cruise.

    One of the skits I always enjoyed and I don’t know if it is done anymore..I haven’t seen it in five years is the song that is titled “If I were not upon the sea a ….I’d be…the CD and the entertainment staff were very funny singing this.

    I also enjoyed from the first time I heard it and every time thereafter all the questions passengers ask..i.e. do these elevators go up or down, what time is the midnight buffet, where do the crew sleep, does the ship generate its own power, etc. etc. etc.

    Thank you for answering my question about the ship pins. I’m a platinum member and the only pins I still need are the Carnivale, Mardi Gras and Miracle. Those three will then complete my collection.

    I’m glad to read that Heidi is getting some much needed sleep time. I hope that your girls are enjoying their cruise and spending time with you.

    Hopefully one day I’ll get to sail on the Dream and the Magic. I really enjoyed the July 2008 cruise on the Splendor with you through the Baltic. It was a fantastic sight to see the fireworks and the dancing tugboats when the Splendor docked at Warnemunde (Berlin) for the first time. Best regards to you, Heidi and Kye. Leslie

  14. James and Bobbi says:


    OH NO you didn’t!! Thanks for the laugh I needed it.

    We will see you in 11 days. I officially starting throwing things in the general direction of the suitcases.



  15. semper fi says:


    Great to hear that the family made it. i want to thank you for the next 2 nights that i wont get any sleep.
    that (VIVID) pic of you will surely give many of the bloggers nightmares.
    Thanks for the lost sleep. lol


    ps and on top of that i lost a long time bet with several other bloggers as some of us bet that you were a boxer boy. and as luck would have it you a a brief boy. well when you dont have a lot to hide briefs are fine



  16. cruisinggrandma says:

    What an image. Who ever did this has a some real talent.

    I don’t know if you remember my last posting about 2 months ago about how disapointed my daughter and new son-in-law were with their honeymoon on the Destiny. Well I just wanted to let you know that because of that cruise she will be presenting me with my 5th grandchild in August, so that trip couldn’t have been all bad.

    Enjoy the time you have been given with Heidi and Kye. I hope to sail with you again soon.

    Lots of love and kisses.


  17. Princess Elaine says:

    My eyes! My eyes!

  18. Dorothy says:

    Please reply.
    I got one of those email from Carnival about not locking our suitcase before we left on our cruise the first of February. I went ahead and put a lock on my son footlocker which held his medical supplies. I don’t need any of the items to get contaminated. I was wondering should I put something on the locker saying what is inside. I take his feeding pump on as a carry on, do not need for it to get damage, or lost. It has always been my problem to worry about losing all his medical supplies or it being delayed, it would sure put us in a bind if this happened. I have cruised 6 times with Carnival and never had any problems, but you never know what might happen.
    Thanks for the laugh, it made my day.
    Glad your girls are with you. Don’t forget to tell Stewart about keeping the curtains closed.

  19. Kathy M. says:

    Hi John,

    What a great blog today. John, if I had been on the ship, I would have gladly given you the money you needed for the cab fare, that is what friends do, they help one another in tough times, when unexpected things come up and in good times.

    Please thank Officer Stewart for swapping cabins with you, maybe by him doing this, he can pass on to the uppers that the CD’s also need larger cabin’s and maybe, just maybe in the future you will also have a larger cabin.

    I know the next 3 weeks are going to go so fast for you, but at least the next time the girls come to stay with you, you will not have to worry about the flight over the pond since Kye is a natural traveler, just like both of her parents are. I hope that Heidi enjoys her time back on the ship, I bet she has missed cruising since she got pregnant, but I know that all 3 of you are going to have so much fun while you are together.

    Take care my friend,
    Give my love to Heidi and Kye,
    Kathy M.

  20. Marie Wolff says:

    I could not believe my eyes when I scrolled down your picture. I was expecting to see the adorable Kye and, oh my, I laughed my buns off.
    You did make my day! I am so happy that you are reunited with your family and I wish you all a wonderful time together.
    I also had a laugh with the yabba dabba doo thingie. You did that with a couple when we were on the Carnival Glory a few years ago. I remember the poor man having to drop to his knees and to the whole thing in the dining room. You are correct, next to you and the captain, he was the most popular person on board.
    Good night.

  21. lisa wiggs says:

    We were on the Disney Magic that got stranded at their private island. 50 mph winds and 13 foot seas prevented us from leaving. We looked at it as an adventure; no other passengers can say they spent the night at Castaway Key! Glad you are reunited with your girls.

  22. retirementman says:

    It’s so great that you have your beautiful girls with you. Carnival should give you a larger cabin just because of all that you do for that company. You shouldn’t need to borrow any room. They should give it to you.
    My friend, you need to get off the ship once in awhile. Now is the time since Heidi and Kye are with, the entire family should leave the ship to visit the ports and enjoy everything. Take a break, you’ll learn to enjoy it.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  23. Lynn and Mike Sagara says:

    John – PLEASE REPLY!!!
    We are so glad the girls are there. Please give them a kiss and a hug for us. We are not surprised that Kye did so well on the plane after all traveling is in her blood. Love the chippendale picture but would prefer pictures of Kye and Heidi.
    Now for the million dallor question. WHEN IS THE NEXT BLOGGER’S CRUISE??????? We need to budget for it and ask for time off from work. We don’t want to miss seeing everyone. Lynn and Mike Sagara

  24. geepygirl says:


    That picture just made my evening. Have a Great 3 weeks with your girls.

    Barb and Ken

  25. Cheryl K says:

    Ok, we know this is not your body because of the tattoos. Good try though…

    What a guy the hotel director is to do that for you! Very nice and so comfortable for the girls. I just knew Kye would be a great traveler and cruiser. She will be blogging too before you know it. Enjoy your time together.

  26. Clair says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the heads up that the Behind the Fun tours have sold out before leaving Port Canaveral. This is at the top of my “must do” list when we are on the Carnival Dream in April.

    Your picture at the end is another reminder to myself as to why I should not peak at the blog while at work..ha!! Enjoy the next few weeks having Heidi and Kye on board ship with you.


  27. Marty Paul says:


    Re the last photo…..AAAAAAHHHH!

    Q: will the room stewards now start doing a towel animal to depict this?

    This image will haunt me in my dreams tonight.

  28. Caroldlr says:

    Wow what else can I say about the picture. So glad that you are with Heidi and Kye. Enjoy the time with them. Looking forward to seeing you on our cruise March 21st.


  29. Shenika M. says:

    Dear John,

    What an amazing story about the lost camera! I actually read the thread on cruise critic that the man trying to get the camera back to the owner posted. The owner posted there also and said the pictures were from her 25th Anniversary vacation and she is very grateful to be getting them back.

    I think it’s sad they had to pat Kye down at the airport. I know you are happy to have your girls onboard with you and it’s so wonderful the hotel director switched rooms with you!

    Please let us know the results of you Yabba Dabba Doo skit. I’m interested to know if Robert follows through!

    All the best to you and your girls.
    Shenika in MARYLAND!

  30. Beth Flynn says:

    You and Robert are two of the bravest men I know. LOL What a hoot!

  31. Sara D. says:

    That comment card… Wow… Just speechless. 😐

  32. Larry Meador says:


    So glad you are with your family! It’s really wonderful that Stewart changed cabins with you for the duration of their stay. It’s amazing how things work out (for the better). You truly lead a charmed life.

    Take care and God bless!

  33. Edwin says:

    I just want to say that the lady complaining about the info, she deserves to go back to RC. We just got back yesterday from the majesty of the s…. very disappointed, unfortunately our Carnival cruise planner couldn’t get anything for Valentines weekend, (it was a last minute thing) and we had to settle for RC, which we hated, we’ve been on Carnival three times. When we woke up Sunday at Nassau and saw the Dream across from us we just wanted to go and ask if they had any rooms available. By the way, to my carnival cruise planner, “YOU’RE FIRED”

  34. Steve O says:

    So FANTASTIC that your girls are with you. Hi to Heidi & Kye.

    Sorry for the ATM problems, glad to hear that The Royal Bank of Craig could rescue you in your time of need. I know you are planning on paying back the $100 to The Royal Bank of Craig…..how about this….you take him off the “doing John’s personal laundry duty” for 1 week!! I’m sure he’d consider THAT worth $100 (isn’t that true Craig?)

    The picture of you in your underpants blogging in bed ….. what can I say? PRICELESS!

  35. CruzinMan says:

    Hay John ! Playgirl is looking for a new center fold !HA HA ! John a serious note ,if Carnival starts removing booze from the luggage again.
    I feel Carnival will have a major decrease in sales, again. For example many people feel that you can rent a room in any high dollar hotel, and you are still allowed to bring your booze into that room.
    I’m just not sure if it’s a good thing to risk a loss of customers during a recession. Being a platinum plus cruiser ,I myself would be looking at other cruise lines of course they may take the booze as well. But if given no other option ,why not . I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m angry at Carnival because I’m not , just offering a point of view.

    Kiss the girls for us and keep your pants on while typing your blog!

    GRIN !

  36. dwa76 says:

    Hi John!
    Hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day with your family onboard. That’s a nice present in itself.
    I can’t get over your ATM story and I was thinking that your complaint would be the fee that they were going to charge you for using it onboard. I guess you got lucky on that front (or you didn’t share that info).
    Hopefully your account situation has been resolved now.
    Good luck this week and enjoy the time with Heidi/Kye!
    Take care.

  37. Terry says:

    oh no – my boss wants to know why I’m trying to clean soda and snot off the desk, keyboard, monitor, and wall.

    One look at that picture and my nose exploded with the mouth full of soda I had. Next time please warn us “the next thing you see could promote unexpected results”.

  38. Julie Mendenhall says:

    I am glad the ♥Girls♥ got to the ship safely. I do remember something about a family picture being posted in the blog….I did not find it…only one I saw was the Photoshopped pic of “you.”
    Linda and Semper Fi Bill…I am glad you are feeling better.

  39. Nadia Queros says:

    “I need a gift sending to my daughter…”

    Are you serious? No ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, huh?

  40. Paula Baker says:

    I love you socks John!!! However they are yellow on the bottom!!! What have you been doin????
    LOL Paula

  41. Marsha Breen says:

    My eyes will never be the same……….

  42. The Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    I am glad the girls got there safe.
    Airfare for two to Florida from the UK ….$800.00
    Bloggers meeting family at the airport……$000.00
    Picture of Johnny Sparkles in one of Kye’s Diaper…
    …….With a Carnival Funnel Tattoo……………………….. Priceless.

  43. NYSchauer says:


    Here I was expecting a family picture and instead we get you in your underwear, lol. This blog must go into Kye’s scrapbook of her first Carnival cruise.

    Enjoy the time with your girls.
    Hugs to all of you.


  44. Dee says:

    LOL – now that’s a visual that is going to take me years to erase! Enjoy your girls!

  45. JUDY SHARUM says:

    JOHN!!! WHY don’t you save yourself alot of hassle and just open an account in a bank by the pier??? Just keep enough in it for whatever you might need when in port. It would pay for you to have an account on both sides of the “lake” as you are here much more than home there!

  46. Vicki says:

    “Just Cruisin Asked:
    I need a gift sending to my daughter who will be sailing on the Valor on February 20th for her graduation. She will be in cabin —.
    Can you tell me what it is she will be getting
    Just Cruisin”

    Really????? Hey – how about you go to Carnival’s website and order her a bon voyage gift….. or at least say “please” or “thank you”…..

  47. Kelli says:

    We’ve sailed on the Pride three times in the past year, and are booked for two more Pride sailings coming up, one in May, and another in November. We’ve also sailed Carnival many additional times…we will turn Platinum this year. On other ships, the movie channel listings have either been included in the Capers, or the info has been printed on a separate sheet left in the cabin. Is it up to the CD’s discretion as to what to include in the Capers? It seems like such a simple thing to make life a little easier…it’s nice to know what time and which movie will be showing during our afternoon “nap” time. I can’t really be the only passenger who needs some down time if I want to make it to the Michael Jackson retrospective, can I?

  48. Kerry says:

    Hey John!

    I just booked my 7th carnival cruise aboard the Miracle for the new itinerary to Aruba in November. It’ll be our honeymoon, and we’re super excited because we got Engaged on the Liberty October 2009.

    Just want to send a shout out that the carnival staff has always been incredible, and keeps us coming back. They were awesome in helping my future husband coordinate his dining room proposal on the first elegant night (hiding under a plate of chocolate chip cookies) and continued making us feel special the rest of the week.

  49. RBGates says:

    Several posters have mentioned a Carnival Cruise Lines calendar. Has CCL ever put out calendars? If not, it’s an idea worth considering. What a wonderful memento of one’s cruise.

  50. Catmama044 says:

    OMG – great to see the girls made it on-board. Wow! Look at those tattoos….who knew?

  51. Templed says:

    (reply if you like)…

    First: that picture is just wrong on so many levels….

    Second: regarding Kye going through Gatwick… I had a similar experience flying through Heathrow. We were flying home from Moscow with our new son (adopted him from Novosibirsk, Russia) and we were patted down, but that wasn’t the worst of it. They made me open every bottle of baby food that we were carrying and taste EACH one. Now, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the torture we put our children through by forcing them to eat that rubbish…

    Third: We’re sailing on Carnival Dream on July 10th, I wonder if you know who will be the CD for that cruise? Will Todd Whitmer be back, or by some stroke of luck will you be gracing us with your presence? It will be my son’s (4) first cruise… our first cruise with Carnival (we’ve sailed 4 other times with lines that I will not mention… lol)… I’m truely looking forward to the experience.

    Imagine what will be going through this kid’s head when he steps aboard the Carnival Dream? Spending his first 2 1/2 years of life in a Siberian Orphanage? I often wonder what he’s thinking, or if he even remembers.

    (Or perhaps we’ve spoiled him so much that he’s grown to expect these lavish trips??? lol)

    Enjoy your time with your girls!

  52. Cruzin 1025 says:


    I think the idea of opening the dining room on embarkation day is WONDERFUL!! One of our goals on our cruises is to eat at least one lunch and one breakfast in the dining room. It’s just so nice to sit down and be waited on instead of waiting in line for food. We also enjoy sitting with others and making new friends since they typically will seat you with other diners. Sometimes getting the lunch in is hard though, since the dining room is typically not open on port days. Our last few cruises have been fairly port intensive, so we had to scramble to make lunch on the one sea day we had. We would absolutely love the option of going to the dining room on embarkation day. Plus, usually that day has been a long day already of travel and waiting in lines (although not so much for us anymore now that we’re Platinum), and you’ve got your carry-on bags with you since the cabins aren’t ready yet. It will be so much easier to enjoy a leisurely meal in the dining room than have to be hunting for a table on Lido while carrying your tray of food and carryon bag. I hope that you are able to implement this fleetwide!


  53. Julie Kurkowski says:

    Dear John,
    My husband and I have booked our 8th Carnival cruise, this time back to the southern caribbean where we spent our honeymoon 15 yrs ago, also the first time we cruised with you. We keep hoping to catch you along the way, but maybe next year in Europe. I am becoming a little concerned over posts I am seeing about rudeness that is taking place on the Victory. Even water balloon fights by teens on lido deck and it seems that nothing is being done. We did not experience this last time, but things do change. Maybe we should have booked another itinerary. What is going on with the Victory?

  54. Patrick says:

    Please reply:)
    Hi John – I just sent you an email but realized that after I sent it, I failed to include some important information…. We will be on the Dream March 6, cabin 7357.
    My wife and I, along with our son and his soon to be fiance will be joining you March 6. We are really looking forward to our cruise and meeting you! We appreicate all that you do and the time and effort you put forth to keep us entertained and informed.
    My wife is a full-time nurse and is also a full time graduate student. My son is a US Marine and is also a full time student. He’s going to propose to his girlfriend while we’re in Cozumel. We are all very excited. Now for my request: Can you forward a request to the dining room for a table for four? Thank you so much for everything that you do!
    Patrick Holder

  55. Susan Solomonik says:

    Hi John!
    Long time follower, first time writer….
    My family and I will be on the Dream – August 28, 2010. I have seen the schedule through June 2010, any chance that you will be back on the Dream by then? We sailed with Todd on the Freedom in 2008, and loved him, but have never had the pleasure of sailing with you…..

  56. Ken Stevenson says:

    John (Please reply),

    So, you used to play the trombone? I knew you were my kind of guy. Many moons ago B.C. (Before Carnival) I spent a few years playing the trombone. I managed to earn a living – and meet my wife-to-be. However, as it happened, my biggest payday using the horn was when I sold it on e-bay. Not sure if that was a commentary on the economy at the time or on the sounds I was making with the trombone. The wife? A winner. We’re booked into Cozumel next September when we’ll celebrate our 60th. Just wish the Worlds Leading Cruise Lines’ Worlds Best Cruise Director could join us!! No matter what you may or may not do with a trombone you will stay away from any accordion, won’t you? After all the trouble you’ve gone to developing those abs you wouldn’t want to risk a nasty scar from the infamous Stomach Steinway.

    If you feel the following has some merit perhaps you’ll pass it along.

    Have you ever been surprised, as we have, at the number of folks who despite suffering “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” as Hamlet might say make the best of what they can and continue to cruise, just because they enjoy it so much? It’s interesting, to say the least, how many will pass through the Atrium in an hour managing a bad limp, a cane or a walker. Consequently it is not very surprising to see more than a few people on board when the ship is in port. Many of them, like us, read descriptions of shore excursions that include scuba diving, kayaking, parasailing, water skiing and so forth and think instead about what the afternoon movie might be since they can’t possibly handle the activity required. To use Roatan as an example even after all the other exceptions are made Gumbalimba Park sounds interesting until they say quite a bit of walking is required and, as on a ‘bus tour’ of the island, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Carnival, in their wisdom, provides the movies. Why doesn’t someone, the Senior Cruise Director, for example, arrange an honest-to-goodness coach tour of the island that requires no walking at all once under way with the exception of perhaps an hour and a half pit stop for nature calls, refreshments and very close by shopping? Those of us who came to cruise and not walk can then still pick up the odd t-shirt, hat or diamond tiara. And who better than you to appreciate what it would mean to ship in a few London double-decker sight-seeing buses for some sight-seeing? Speaking for my wife and I while me might forgo the tender to Belize you can be sure we’d arrange one way or another to be on the Heald’s Guided Tour bus around Isla Roatan.

    And speaking of things vehicular, John, It appears someone has given you bad info regarding Toyota’s Prius. It will, in fact, turn 60mph in 10 or 11 seconds and pass 100mph with no strain. That ain’t bad. Anyone who appreciates a regular 40+mpg, doesn’t plan on any towing or carrying 8 or so people would be making a big mistake if they don’t check out the Prius, it’s a heck of a car.

    Take care, John, and remember when you’re as sweet as you are you really must keep an eye on the ol’ blood sugar!

    Ken and Lorrene

  57. Megan Collins says:

    John, (please post)
    I was onboard the Dream the week of February 14-20. I just want to say THANK YOU for giving my father-in-law “Indian Head” (Bob) the best time he has ever had on a cruise! He talked non-stop about all he got to do on stage. Most of all, he thoroughly enjoyed all the people approaching him and either saying “Yabba Dabba Do” or “Hey Indian Head”, not to mention all the pictures he got to pose for with a zillion strangers. Just for a correction, my mother-in-laws name is Ree or sometimes called ReeBob since she is Bob’s Ree. Another big “Thank you” (sarcastic) for blowing up his ego. You see, we drove from Maryland to Florida for this cruise and so of course, we had a long 13 hour drive back with him in the car with us. We stopped to get gas and of course there were people there that realized he was there and so we heard the yabba dabba do and then others just waved and hollered at him. We then stopped further up the road to eat and ran into people there that realized who he was. Needless to say, it was a long car ride home, you know with all the people realizing they were in the presence of a celebrity and then the celebrity bragging about being a celebrity in the car. By the way, I wrote you a few months ago about worrying if people can see onto our balcony on deck 7 because the husband likes to stand on the balcony in his underwear and you said if he advertises then he would for sure have a gathering, I will only say, there was a gathering! LOL. Thanks again for making this the most memorable trip for my family!!!
    Best Cruising,

    • Kristen says:

      Megan- Just a note that we will never forget your father in law, my 10 year old daughter has pictures of him on stage and truly believes he is a celebrity. He has even made it into her scrapbook. I loved the joy he brought to the cruise. Interested in if Carnival was able to do anything else for Robert and Ree as John had mentioned.

      Love to all,

      fellow cruiser from Valentine’s Day

  58. Kaustav says:

    Hi John:
    My family has decided to have our first reunion in several years on the Glory on its 8/28 sailing this year. Many of us are first time cruisers so I was delighted to find your very informative blog.

    I really enjoyed reading your posts until I read “talking to a chap in India who probably has a few cousins who were down in the galley here making the sodding chocolate melting cake”!!

    Ironic given that the poor chap was just following instructions the way your staff probably has to do when faced with upset customers. I can feel your frustration (having been in the same position on occasion) and I am trying hard to put the best spin on it but no matter how I try that sentence comes across as mean-spirited, racist and a holdover from a hundred year old colonial mindset – and you seem like such a nice person!

    “…cousins…down in the galley here making the sodding … cake”? Yikes!

    I’l be surprised if you do post this. Other than that WHOOOPS moment, I did have fun reading your entries and Heidi and Kye look lovely. We’re excited and looking forward to this cruise!


    P.S. And yes, I am an American of Indian origin 🙂

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