Smoke On the Water – Part 3

November 12, 2010 -

John Heald

So where were we? Oh yes, I had been awoken from dreaming about the world’s most gorgeous bottom, the Carnival Splendor’s engine room was full of smoke, some electrical cabling was on fire, the crew were at their general emergency stations and I had now asked all 3,299 guests to move to the open decks. The ship is dead in the water. We have no elevators and we are already noticing that many of the ship’s systems are down including the lighting with only the emergency low level lighting working. Apart from that and the fact that I had ruined a really good pair of Marks and Spencers (Brit shop) underpants…….everything was just spiffing.

Just before I continue with part 3 I have to tell you that the timeline that follows is somewhat hazy because as I will be telling you I spent the next 48 hours on the bridge with bugger all sleep so I think it’s best I don’t try and remember what times situations occurred because honestly I can’t.

Having moved the guests to the open decks the next thing for me to do was to talk to the staff and department heads and find out what was happening and that’s when we all realised that because we had no power that the ship’s phone systems were down. Now at this point I should say that the emergency generator was working but that provides limited facilities such as low level lighting and one or two other essentials……but the phones and ship’s internal cell phone system weren’t and so my next announcement was the following.


I did this because channel 1 which is our normal working channel was a bit busy with stuff like putting out fires. And so as the management put their walkie talkies to channel 7 reports started to come in. Here are some of the facts that were passed to me and which I then acted on and passed to the captain.

1. A thin haze of smoke could now be seen in the guest corridors on decks 1 and 2 aft. Either the smoke was now coming up from the engine room or someone was smoking something naughty. A few minutes later I received reports that a thin haze of smoke could now be seen on decks 1 and 2 mid-ship as well and that pretty much the entire inside of the vessel had been affected by the smell of the smoke which reports on channel 1 were still telling the captain it was thick.

2. Channel 1 then reported that the electrical cabling that had caught fire and had been extinguished had caught fire again. One of the fire squads were quickly dispatched to put it out again.

3. One of the crew reported that a guest was feeling unwell and she needed medical assistance. I called one of the nurses on the radio and she quickly attended to her. It was later reported to me that she was OK and had left the medical center and had suffered from a panic attack as had one of our crew.

And on that note I want to emphasise that these were the only reported injuries that occurred as a direct result of the incident in the engine room. I say this because as you will read in part…….. ummm …..97…..I participated in press briefing in San Diego and a reporter who looked like he was probably called Hank or Bob or asked me if it was true that there had been lots of injuries resulting from this incident. Yes, that’s true in much the same way as it’s true that I would look good in a leather thong and nipple tassels. There were no injuries from the fire.

I won’t bother telling you the announcements I made for the next 30 minutes because basically I never took my finger off the PA microphone. So much so that I honestly have a blister on my right thumb. I do have to say that you would think on a ship that cost $650 million we wouldn’t have gotten the microphone for the PA system from sodding Radio Shack. Anyway, the announcements were repetitive but the sense of calmness that I needed to do my best to give the guests was I felt of massive importance and so regardless of the fact that I had no new news, I continued to talk to them continuously. Then I heard this on the walkie talkie.


Bugger…..I had messed up. I was so mad at myself. I had told the guests to go to the open decks, yet I hadn’t been specific and told them that we did not want them at their muster stations on deck 4. What a total plonker ( and what a stupid mistake I had made. And so that was me back on the PA system.


Crew then helped those at deck 4 reach the open decks and I continued to be mad at myself.

I mentioned at the start of today’s blog that my recollection of times is unclear but I guess it was an hour before the next major occurrence happened. During that hour we did the following:

1. The food and beverage teams walked around giving bottled water to everyone.

2. It was reported to be 60 degrees outside and people were cold on the open decks. I therefore asked the housekeeping manager to have his team grab as many blankets as possible and deliver them to the open decks where all the guests were gathered. Note to self and to any other cruise director who ever has to go through something similar. If you have to evacuate guests to the open decks please remember to have them bring the blankets or duvets from their cabins. We discovered that we didn’t have enough blankets for all the guests and had to give some the beach towels……..another mistake by yours truly.

3. Special needs teams were now in position all over the ship by stairwells and in corridors and they remained there until we arrived back in San Diego. They were magnificent and not only did they carry people down and up stairs they checked on them in their staterooms continuously and were always there.

Well, the smoke was so thick still in the engine room that the fire squads were having difficulties in reaching its source and the smoke wasn’t just thick there either but also in a place called the marshaling area. This is one of the largest spaces in the crew areas and it’s where stores are kept and where we store luggage and other essentials. Thank goodness it was mostly empty at the time this was all going on, if it had been full of luggage cages and stores it would have made things much more difficult.

So with the smoke needing to be cleared before fire squads could reenter the scene the captain gave the order to open the shell doors on port and starboard sides of the ship to let the smoke blow out naturally. Our extraction systems were working hard but were not enough so the huge doors at the side of the ship where we tie up tenders and fuel barges etc were opened.

Remember the ship is dead in the water but there was no danger of waves spilling into the ship because the sea conditions were calm. But there was a light wind and that certainly helped disapissate (spelt correctly) some of the smoke from the marshaling area which was the same smoke that had crept into guest areas. I told the guests what was happening and that the smoke was retreating.

But that was only a small piece of good news. The bad news was that the smoke was still very thick in the engine room and that the electrical cabling had caught fire again. The captain had conferred with Carnival’s Miami-based command center but ultimately the next choice was his and his alone.

Should he or should he not flood the entire engine room with CO2? This was a huge decision to make as it would mean flooding not just the area on fire but the whole engine room. He would need to make sure that all crew were out of the area because CO2 sucks oxygen from the air making it highly dangerous to people but good for putting out fires.

Captain Cupisti walked to the port side of the bridge……he opened the window and breathed in some fresh air. I stood next to him and put a hand on his shoulder, words were not necessary. A group of officers had gathered behind him. The walkie talkies had gone quiet as everyone waited. Nobody was going to intervene. The captain’s body language said that this was his decision alone to make and after taking one more gulp of air he turned on his heel, picked up the walkie talkie and calmly and with total self belief said, “Clear the engine room, we are going to deploy the CO2.”

Part 4 will be tomorrow. For now I have to go read the 344 e-mails I seem to have and ……… bugger………..I also have lots of Spam.

Your friend

Comment Policy

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

231 Responses to Smoke On the Water – Part 3

  1. Martha says:

    I am so glad that everyone is safe. I am more determined than ever to make Carnival our cruise line of choice, as you all can certainly handle an emergency at sea. Professionally, calmly and safely…what more could you ask for? I look forward to part 4.

  2. John. It’s disapissitate not disapissate. I know you are tired…… and can’t think good. lol
    We’re all so proud of you, the Captain, and each and everyone of the crew.
    God answers prayers and a lot of them were said during this whole ordeal, from the time we heard there was a fire on board until the ship was safely in San Diego port.
    Thank you God for keeping the ship and everyone onboard in your hands.
    Carolyn and Don

    • Mike S says:

      Is that the same god that allowed the fire to start in the first place? You mean THAT god?? Sheeeesh !!!

      • jas says:

        Oh yee of little faith….does God stop fires? or does he give the right people the knowledge and strength to put out the sires?
        I don’t know the answer to that, I doubt you do either.

        • Ron Moyer says:

          Right on, Mike! “God” lets these bad things happen but PRAISE GOD, it didn’t get worse. “God” didn’t have anything to do with this. Common sense, hard work, and good men like John Heald and the Captain helped bring a safe conclusion.

    • Scott Nickle says:

      Well, Carolyn and Don you can go that way if you wish. As far as I’m concerned this situation was successfully handled by a LOT of hard work and clear thinking by John, the Captain, and the crew of Carnival Splendor. No supernatural intervention required.


      WOO HOO!!!

    • Karen(formerly Techmom) says:


      And John-

      You did a great job! You do deserve the time off that is around the corner for you and hope it is actual time off and you only have to blog a little here and there!


    • Karen says:

      Really? Spelling, this is a big concern?

  3. Stacy Baxter says:

    First off… you are the only Cruise Director that I have ever remembered and am a bit jealous that you were not on the Splendor when we sailed in June. 🙂
    On that note, I would just like to commend Carnival for the way the situation was handled and look forward to my cruise next year on the Spirit!
    Well done!

  4. Scott Lara says:

    Same decision I would have made being a Navy veteran…

    Deploy the CO2.

    This sounds like an ABC Movie of the week in the making!

    Scott Lara

  5. Trapper says:

    Love every bit of this. Might sound crazy but wish I was on this little adventure. Lol

  6. Ducky says:

    Compelling stuff.

    Good luck with the email. Stay away from the Viagra offers and offers of money from Nigeria

  7. Hank H. says:

    Splendid ending! Can you send some of the Spam to us? I love the stuff!

  8. Mark Rosenthal says:

    get some rest tonight, you sure could use it, and a good meal.

  9. Pingback: Part Three of John Heald’s Carnival Splendor Post | Carnival Cruise Lines News

  10. stever says:

    John this is gripping stuff. You’re giving us a terrific picture of what was going on – absolutely brilliant.
    We do, however, need an update on your cabin steward Ketut … it must have been particularly difficult for him!

  11. Host Mach from Cruise Critic says:

    Professionalism… this all speaks of how professional the entire crew was.



    Host Mach

    • Bill Cassidy says:

      PROFESSIONALISM is the key word. On Every CARNIVAL Ship. This is what sets Carnival Cruise Lines, Above the rest of the Industry.
      It Starts when you the Guest makes the Intial call to your Personal Vacation Planner { PVP. } and that follows through to the Ship Board Experince. Professional Caring People.

  12. Denise Almanza says:

    you are awesome and ONCE again left me waiting for the next chapter!! I hope you are valued @ Carnival for your wonderful leadership!!!

  13. Cory says:

    Man. You are a good writer. I hate reading books but I feel like I’m there. Keep up the writing and I am going to subscribe to your blog

  14. Lisa says:

    Congrats on a job well done John… Looking forward to part 4…. One comment, Why on earth are people emailing you this week ? Don’t they know you are a busy and exhausted man ? Press delete for all 344 emails and get yourself some rest… 🙂

  15. Considering how very well everything went, I will refrain from making the obvious “Spam” joke…*grin*

    John, kudos for all you did and all you do!

  16. Michelle Stegner says:

    Dear John, I am really glad to be getting the whole truth out of the one person who has been there. The news Media is still making a mountain out of a mole hill. But it is good to hear that everyone involved is doing ok or good and that there were no serious injuries. Keep up the good work.. I am glad to see a full report on the facts, instead of what the news media has to spread lies about.

  17. Rodney Byrd says:

    You saved the lives of thousands. By doing what you did, you allowed you crew to do their jobs and bring every one home safely. Captain Cupisti is the master of the ship, but you were his voice to the people on his ship.
    We all hope no one ever has to go through somthing like this, but it is my hope that tey will do it as well as you and your crew.
    Take care of you

  18. Kyle says:

    Hey John,

    I just got off the Splendor on the 7th, right before all of this happened. When i first heard the news I thought “If your gonna be stuck at sea at least its with John.” I wanted to ask if you had any idea what your 2011 schedule is going to be like, Don’t want to blow up your ego, but that will be a deciding factor on what cruise my wife and I take next year. Thanks for any info and am glad you and the rest of the crew are safe!

  19. Cliff Switzer says:

    Hey John, since my wife and I are scheduled to be on the Splendor departing on the 28th, I want to say a Special thank you to you and Great job! I sure hope our departure does in fact happen as planned. I also hope that you are sailing with us. I would love to shake your hand and tell you in person, you are fantastic! And human. It is normal for a smart person to think back and critique their action.

    • Karen Brunner says:

      We are also scheduled to depart on the 28th and agree with Cliff. And yes, I do hope to meet you also.

    • Bob Mansker says:

      We are also sailing on the 28th…
      Wish we could find out soon whether the 28th sailing will be canceled or not…??
      Any updates on the actual damage to the engine room?
      I was in the fire & steam rooms in the Navy so I need details.. 🙂
      Bob & Kathy

      • Bill Cassidy says:

        Hey Bob, What Carrier were you on. Me U.S.S. Forrestal. 62-63. V-1 Div. Later on Assigned to { ONI }. I as well would Like to see more details. although don’t think we will be Privy to that info.
        Anchors Away my Friend.

  20. Anne Miller says:

    Thanks for the update! No pun intended with the “spam” I’m sure! 🙂

  21. Linda Hernacki says:

    Well John, All I can say is you are my HERO! If I had to be in that situation, I would definitely want to be there with you leading the way! Everyone says you were fantastic, and kept everyone calm. Great Job my friend, and tell that man with the beard in Miami, that I said you more than DESERVE a RAISE and a BIG BONUS AS WELL! Your Florida friends, Linda & Mike

  22. Lori H. says:

    Thank you John for all of your efforts to provide us with such a detailed account of everything that transpired on the ship. I will patiently await part 3 of your incredible experience.

  23. Jeremiah says:

    Dear John,

    I was on the Splendor just in September and had the honour of meeting you and your team on board as well as the Captain. When I heard it was your ship that had the unfortunate incident, I knew the guests were in good hands. As a city manager in California, I’ve dealt with fire emergencies in my town that were handled wonderfully by my fire and police staff. Similar to your situation, While I was worrying beyond belief and just sick to my stomach of thinking what could go wrong, the fire and police staff acted flawlessly. While it is human nature to be afraid of the unknown as both your guests my residents and just about everyone else in the world do, we who interact with the public are often tasked to just calm them down and let them know the fire and police are experts at what they do. While I wouldn’t want to necessarily wish for anyone to experience what happened on the Splendor, The guests lucked out by having an amazing captain and crew watching out for them. Congrats on a job well done.


  24. Kathy M. says:

    Hi John,

    I think when this is all over, you should write a book or a television script. It seems like you know just the right time to stop and go to commercial. Like with the end of part 3, that was what they call a “Cliff Hanger” in other words, to see how it ends we will have to wait until tomorrow, but that’s OK because you have had such a stressful week that I think you need some down time to where you can just take it easy and not worry about a thing.

    John I have always said that Carnival has the best crews of any cruise line and this incident proved it. All of the people that they interviewed talked about how the crew went way beyond their normal duties to make sure the passengers were taken care of, so I want to applaud you and the whole crew (from the Captain on down) for a JOB WELL DONE!!


    Please give my love to Heidi and Kye
    From your #1 Bloggy Thinggy Fan

    Kathy M.

  25. chris says:

    All I can say is wow..I am glued to every word!
    I can only imagine the tough situation but how everybody seemed to handle it is outstanding.

    • Marilynne says:

      Thanks for letting us know what happened. What a good writer you are, it feels like I’m right there watching the goings on, but happy I’m here safe at home.

      My husband and I were on the Splendor last Thanksgiving. We had our own little “adventures”, no where near what you all went through. Ours was the cruise that bumped into the Radiance as we were docking and our dear Captain had to be brought back to Cabo and evacuated from the ship when we were already several hours on our way back to Long Beach. Kudos to the crew for keeping things light hearted informed and us well fed when we knew we would be 6 hours late getting into port.

      So glad no one was injured and all are on their way now. Again, well done Splendor crew.

    • Dear Sir John,
      Youra Excellent Orator, This record will form some part of Guide to re write Crowd and Crisis Management. I feel like hugging each of you and Capt Cupisti. Your are Commanders.
      I am very Proud the way you handled all this.
      This BLog Will be a part of my archives for Ever.

    • Ben Johnson says:

      He is such a great writer.. I cruise on Jan 8th and can’t wait.. all this talk about cruising makes me want to cruise sooo bad!!!

    • Deb Mayes says:

      John, great job! My mom was aboard with her DH. They can’t say enough about how wonderful the crew and Carnival were. They especially appreciated all of your updates and your humor(correct!
      THANK YOU for taking care of them!!!!!

    • Mo says:

      As someone who works for Marks and Spencer, I’m so glad you were wearing our pants, do you need me to get you a replacement pair?? (e-mail me your size!!)
      I was on Carnival Destiny in October on my first ever cruise and one morning around 1.30am I was woken by an announcement for security to go to promenade deck and I lay all night just waiting for the call to go to our muster station on Deck 4, may I take this opportunity to thank the woman who was so drunk that she had collapsed and needed to be taken by stretcher to her cabin for my very disturbed night!! I dont know what I would have done if I had been on Splendor.
      Our ship had a technical fault meaning we were 5 hours late getting back to Miami so sadly missed our Everglades trip but at least we didnt miss our flight like some did though I have to say that Carnival were fantastic the way they looked after everyone and did their very best to help everyone.
      I’m enjoying reading your report but I’m sure it must have been scary at the time.

  26. Ballardite says:

    Love that last line. What will the captain do with all the extra food SPAM? Give it back to the navy? Give it to charity?

  27. Jean says:

    Thank you for your honest account. I wait to hear the rest.

    I for one can say that I believe this makes Carnival #1 in my opinion.

    Thank you again!

  28. Girldoc says:

    You should write a book! You are an incredible storyteller making me feel like I am there with your words…. All I can say is wow!

  29. Jackie Triguero says:

    You are amazing! Your calm and professional manner was a blessing to the crew and passengers. Good night. Please get some well deserved rest and take care of yourself!

  30. T C says:

    John, I am so proud to be a loyal fan of Carnival, reading your account of the chain of events just reassures me that I am correct in my choice of favorite cruiselines. Getting the behind the scenes account of actions taken by captain and crew is much appreciated.
    T C

  31. Jeffrey Taylor says:

    Every word I read interests me more and more. I can’t wait to read the next edition on the Blog. What are the chances of us seeing pictures of the actual mechanical failure and engine room. These would be very interesting and am sure there is video of the mechanical failure.

  32. Brian says:

    Well done the crew >>

  33. Cindy Scherr says:

    John, we were on the cruise that disembarked Sunday November 7. We had the most wonderful time and couldn’t stop talking about the Splendor and our trip to everyone. So you can imagine, just 24 hours later, how devastated my husband and I were to hear about the fire! You, and all of the wonderful crew on the Splendor, are in our thoughts — I am sure that you all did absolutely everything you could to help the passengers. Your blog entries paint a vivid picture of what must have happened… thank you for sharing with us!

  34. cruisinggrandma says:


    God bless you!!

  35. Joseph says:

    Thank you for Part 3……Sleep well tonight mate

  36. Elsiha says:

    I almost wish I had been there so I could tell everyone first hand what a fabulous crew was on that ship, as I know there was. John, every post I have seen by friends on facebook about the situation, I send to your facebook page and blog thingy. Thank you for being here to tell us the inside story. That being said, I posted on facebook that it’s a good thing the 2012 professor was not on this sailing. 😉

  37. Heather says:

    You need to write a book John!

  38. ken says:

    Being scheduled for Deck 2 on the 11/14 cruise, your post leaves me wondering how the ship will ever be cleared of smoke smell. We are now schedulde for Feb20. I wonder if the Splendor will be ready for us…

  39. Phil&Liz says:

    What a fantastic job you did and are doing now.

    I can only hope that if we are ever on a ship with smoke YOU are there to lead us.

    Bravo Zulu to you, your team and the Captain.

  40. Tolani Finley says:

    John, thank you for all you did to keep everyone informed and safe. And God bless the crew of the Splendor. Can’t wait to hear more of the story!

  41. Brian Thomas says:

    John, Don’t be mad at yourself for any small mistakes you may have made. I am sure that teh crew and guests of the Splendor were LUCKY to have you there to handle what was going on. I have full confidence that any Carnival ship would have been well suited to handle this situation, but am quite sure you did a splendid job.

  42. BIG MIKE says:

    WOW, WOW, What a disaster!!! I only hope you are watching your. Blood Sugar Numbers. I hope you have had some sleep by now. and have assured Heidi and Kye that you are your usual caring self. If the ship is laid up for long will you get a chance to go home??? Tahe Care Mike & Linda, Also from Florida.

  43. Jamie Goodrich says:


    I have to tell you that my husband Don and I both believe that all the passengers we in the best of hands with you as the cruise director. We cruised in September and thought you put the cherry on our trip. We know that even though their trip was cut short, you would have made an unfortunate experience so much more bearable. We’d sail with you anytime.

  44. David Briggs says:

    John, my wife and I sailed with you on the Conquest in early April and we really enjoyed all seven days. It is obvious from all accounts I have read of this unfortunate incident, that you and your staff did a most professional job in handling an extremely difficult situation. Kudos to you and the staff for an outstanding job. We can’t wait for our next cruise, hopefully with you as our CD.

  45. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Thanks for noting that it was 60 degrees outside. Amazingly almost EVERY news article started with the phrase…they have no air conditioning…..

    and of course, the mouseketeer media that we have here in the US never bothered to mention that the HIGHs for that area was in the 60s.

    REST … we look forward to part 4 tomorrow….

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  46. joyce g. says:

    Please consider saving this narrative & putting it in book form at some later date. Your powers of description would make your former teachers proud. I am so blessed to have sailed with you. You are my Hero. Captain Cupisti is my Hero. The entire crew are my Heroes. Such grace under fire!

  47. Christopher Cruise Fan says:

    What is your email John???!!!

  48. Kirsten says:

    John, My husband, parents and I traveled with you on the Freedom in July of 2009. While I wouldn’t wish this week’s adventure on any CD, no doubt you handled it wonderfully and kept your passengers calm. Best wishes! The Laufer family

  49. Melanie says:


    My throat balls up when I read through these. As a team member for six years and working directly with you twice I can not imagine the thoughts going through everyones heads on those days. I dread having ever uttered the words “I hate Sea Days”. I can honestly sit back today and count my blessings that the worst I have ever been through at sea is a nasty storm or two!! There could not have been a better leader onboard, and without you who knows what the outcome could have been…send my love to all onboard, I have heard nothing but great things about them. I can honestly say I am proud to have been a “Carnival Team Member”

    Former Entertainment Host turned Mom

  50. Sparkle Acrey says:

    I ♥ you John and the entire Carvinal Cruise staff!

  51. Tracy Van Der Voort says:

    Can’t wait to read more tomorrow. And to think I got off the ship on Nov.7.

  52. Cindy Rouse says:

    John, your account of the events on the Splendor is amazing…I can feel the tension on the bridge through your words.

    Congratulations to the staff and crew of the Splendor and to Carnival for a job well done! There’s no doubt in my mind that the actions of the employees prevented panic, minimized risk to passengers, and made their unexpected journey as pleasant as it could be given the circumstances. Kudos!

  53. we were on the splendor the week of october 17-24, and we must say this:

    …the ladies in our group all agree that yes, you would indeed look good in a leather thong and nipple tassels.

  54. Peggy Hannaford says:

    I want to commend you and Carnival for handling this situation so well. I’m sure there are some who don’t agree but nothing will make them happy anyway. Keep up the good work.

  55. I anxiously await part four of the continuing saga of this adventure.

    In the meantime, let us thank the Good Lord that no one was injured as a result of this event and that the tireless training that the staff of all Carnival ships proved fruitful in this case.

  56. Will "Elvis" Bowlin says:

    I thought it was “Disapissitate?”

    Hey there John, all. Sailed on C. Splendor two weeks ago. Participated as Elvis in Carnival Legends. That guy.

    Anyhow, appreciate you all keeping us apprised of the situation on the ship, and our thoughts go out and great praise and thanks to each one of the crew that helped make this

  57. Will "Elvis" Bowlin says:

    (continuation, stupid tab key…)

    … ordeal more bearable. We really appreciated you guys 14 days ago coming out of Cabo, and are very, very happy you continue to provide excellent service.

  58. Alan Robinson says:

    All I can say is – dissaster adverted! I was rivited to reading John’s play by play accounts of the unfolding emergency…I admired the fact that some passengers went to their muster station, goes to prove a point that those pesky drills definitely work! I I’m a firegighter/paramedic and have sailed on seven Carnival cruises and each time that we went the subject seemed to always come up between our firfighting cruise group about what would happen if a fire broke out? “Don’t Worry” I said, we’ve got fire sprinklers and plenty of water…:)
    Well, this incident involved what will be found in the investigation to be a breakdown of several key safety components on the ship… that dreaded “Murphy’s Law” is always lurking in the wings, never say never! I hope that alot is learned from this incident, and that the information will provide for more safety features to be implemented…fail safe generators for emergency vessel power ie. steering and communications plus power for the fire sprinklers.

  59. Michael says:

    Wow John this is an incredible account of what happened.

    On news talk radio this afternoon they were interviewing one of the passengers and she had nothing but wonderful things to say about how the entire crew dealt with this situation. She was very upbeat and explained how the reality of the happenings didn’t mesh up with the media reports. She also told about how you kept them entertained and informed about everything.

    So promise you won’t be on the blog asking for something interesting to happen? I’m sure you’ve had more than enough interesting for awhile.

  60. Alan Robinson says:

    Please notify me of followup emails to my prior posting etc…


    Alan Robinson

  61. Dan says:

    God bless

  62. Steve O says:


    OMG! Did you say SPAM? On the news “they” say that’s ALL you had to eat for days and days. Perhaps we should now change the name of junk email to just that “Junk”?

    John, your recounting of the events that happened, and were happening onboard Carnival Splendor send chills through me. Your loyal fans KNEW you were the man to be there for this situation. We obviously were right. You are an amazing gentleman Mr. Heald.

    Your old mate,
    Steve O.

  63. Jacquelyn Hodge says:

    I’m truly glad the Carnival Splendor problems have calmed down now that the passengers are off the ship and doing better. After hearing all the news reports (good and bad) I must admit that the team of leaders on the Splendor did a great job in keeping everyone safe.

    This is very important to me because on 12/26/10, God willing, I will embark on the Carnival Pride for my 1st Carnival cruise. This week’s events on the Splendor were of great interest to me and I don’t mind telling you that I actually became a bit nervous about taking that 12/26/10 cruise.

    Situations can and do develop on any cruise and/or cruiseline but coming face-to-face with the facts we cruisers would rather not (ie., being trapped on the ocean with probably a fear of drowning), has definately made me appreciate the skill and professionalism of Captains/Crew/Staff, etc., which we usually take for granted once setting foot upon a cruise ship. Most of us could care less who is making all the wonderful things we experience happen. And even worse, who will help us and protect us if things go bad.

    I have said to others that I feel Carnival did a great job with this crisis and ‘you stole the headlines’ from RCI’s Allure homeporting! LOL! RCI is my normal cruiseline of choice but maybe, this time, the good Lord wanted us to marvel at human nature under pressure on a cruise ship instead of another bigger-than-life model that may or may not benefit most people.

    I’m now looking forward to going out on the Carnival Pride on 12/26/10 and even though it will be my 1st time with Carnival, I know I will feel proud to be on board.

    Thanks for listening.
    Jacquelyn Hodge

  64. ayla says:

    thanks john for all these posts. you’ve done a great job telling the story and i think it’s so important for people to read what really happened. thanks too for being so honest and open.

    carnival needs to give you a serious raise!

  65. Chris says:

    John I am so proud of you! You showed great professionalism and caring during this difficult emergency. I understand that you kept your brilliant sense of humour (spelt correctly) too!
    Chris and Charles

  66. jana roberts says:

    I can’t imagine how Capt Cupisti felt! So very thankful that everyone is safe! Love Carnival & still do! Looking forward to another cruise w/you guys!! John excellent job on the blog!!

  67. Cheryl Killian says:

    Thank you for taking the time to tell us all what happened. You have always been a good writer but this story has us all on the edge of our seats.

    I have to say that the media has had a difficult time finding the tales of the “nightmare cruise” they have been desparately trying to depict. With few exceptions passengers are praising YOU for keeping them informed and laughing and the wonderful crew who did all they could to help and did it with a smile to Carnival for giving them honest compensation. As a result, it has virtually dropped off the news horizon by the PM new tonight.

    You should be so proud of yourself and your crew members! I do hope that you have been taking care of yourself better since the ordeal is over. Please also let us know what the crew has been doing since the ship arrived and if they are all able to enjoye a couple days of rest in a hotel as well.

    Your blogger family is relieved that you and the crew are back and safe and so very proud of all of you!

  68. Robin in New York says:

    John-I have not posted in quite some time, have been busy with other things, but was quite curious to hear you (and I was confident) truthful story about the fire. All I have to say is Bravo! Seems like things were as well done as could be expected–greatly looking forward to hearing more.

  69. reva says:

    so sorry to hear about the mishap on the cruise, I know these things are possible, after all this is just a man made vessel and it is expected to fall apart from time to time , however after reading what happened and how the crew acting I will so cruise again and my husband and I are booked for this may and looking forward to it,, hang it there , and hope she is up and running soon . your friend and cruise goer ,,, reve& dan

  70. Eric T. says:

    If Carnival had served the spam on the Splendor, I would have eaten it, really.

  71. Elizabeth Corwin says:

    I have been on 2 Carnival Cruises and will continue to take cruises with Carnival in the future. I have all the faith in the crew on your ships.
    I think you and your fellow shipmates handled your given situation to the best of your knowledge and training, and you should be commended for your performance!
    I also feel that it can be used as a learning tool for all other crew members on other Carnival ships, God forbid another situation similar to this should arise in the future.
    God Bless all of you for the wonderful care you took of all the passengers on that ship!

  72. Maureen Powers says:

    I will be up bright and early for part 4 You are a great writer

  73. John & Cindy says:

    riveting… can’t wait until episode 4!

    As a “only Carnival” cruiser I am very pleased with how this crew performed. Kudos to all of you!

  74. Joan says:

    John, once again Carnival comes through. We started cruising on one of your rivals but soon came over to Carnival and have been with you ever since. They have always done right by us and we will never cruise with any other line. We have completed eighteen cruises with Carnival with three more booked. Carnival rocks! One of these cruises we will be on your ship.

  75. Richard Elsenheimer says:

    John, I am very proud of the Carnival Crew and you for your handling of this unfortunate incident. I have sailed with Carnival 14 times and am scheduled for another cruise out of Galveston Texas on Nov 28th on the Conquest. I have seen Carnival’s finest in action before and am confident that my wife and I are in good hands when cruising with Carnival. It is obvious that Carnival puts a priority on crew training. That is why I will continue to cruise with Carnival now and into the future.
    Great Job by a Great Team


  76. Phil&Liz says:

    John or Stephanie,
    Have a read of Paul Motters article/interview….The lady spoke highly of you and the crew….

    “”I really have to say, the crew was fantastic,” Barbara said. As regular cruisers we already know that, but they really stepped up in this case. “And the cruise director, I forget his name, he was so funny. His regular announcements just kept us laughing the whole time.”

    Read more:

  77. Phillip Fritz says:


    Words cannot express the extreme gratitude to the entire crew during this “tale of a fateful trip”.

    A sincere Thank You!!

    My wife and I were in 7-409. This was to be the first vacation we had taken in just over four years. To boot, we intentionally planned it as an anniversary gift to ourselves since we had married during another cruise.

    As I sit here having been home for just over thirty minutes, I am reflecting and am astonished at how well the crew not only did their jobs but also singing while carrying food up and luggage down all those stairs.

    The Captain sounded over the intercom, and I say this because I have never seen a picture of him, like the exact person I would want at the helm. With his low, accented voice seeming to command and convey strength.

    Last but not least… Thanks to you, John!!! You have questioned yourself in your blog. I am sure you will wonder down the road about some of the other situations as well. Let it be known that you always came across sincere, informative, concise and with an ease that makes it hard to imagine anyone else keeping such a calm on the ship. For this, I am grateful!

    And your humor (spelt correctly) was both timely and greatly appreciated.. (erotic dreams of bacon… lots and lots of crispy bacon).

    We were treated extremely well and look forward to cruising with Carnival again! Please pass along if you care!

    Oh…. Disipissitate is now officially in my vernacular.


    Phillip Fritz
    Aurora, CO.

  78. Kathie (kaperino) says:

    Thank you for your words. For the Captains grace and again. Love to you! Kap

  79. Caryn Luckett says:

    I have to say that I am so glad that you were the CD on this voyage. Not to wish that on anyone, but because it was you, all of us blog readers are now able to read this “behind the scenes” report. Which, by the way,
    I have been looking forward to the next “chapter” as
    much as any book I have read :)) Thanks!

  80. Patricia says:

    As someone else said you are the only Cruise Director that I remember, I last saw you on the Dream last October for the Trans-Atlantic crossing. You ARE the best at Carnival and all the passengers were in the best of hands. Keep up the good work!!! Any chance of you being on the Magic in October of next year? Take care and God Bless.

  81. Tanya says:

    I scheduled to set sail on the Splendor on November 21. I hope you will be on that voyage. The care you and your staff showed the guest was simply amazing. I know I will be in good hands.

  82. Denise says:

    John, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!! I was on the Splendor in Cabin 9261 and your voice and professionalism was what kept me calm and cool. You are on point with everything you have said so far on your blog even with your lack of sleep!! I wanted to cry when I first smelled the smoke but you kept us updated and informed quite often. I was in my cabin as a single person but did have friends on deck 6. When you talked about the crew checking on the passengers you are telling the truth my steward check on me several times on Monday night while I sat alone in my cabin!! The Crew did an Excellent Job!!! Thank You Crew!!! I was in the Cabin next to the one where you and some of the Officers from Bridge were making the phone call to Miami I sat in my room listening and was ready to run out and tell everybody anything if you would had said anything negative but you were worried about us and kept saying what do I tell the passengers. I just got home so I have to cut it short but Thank You once again and I want to cruise with you again!!!!!!

  83. Gina Pellettera says:

    John, thanks for the update. I am truly enjoying reading your accounts of what happend. My family and i have traveled on the Splendor twice and had a fabulous cruise. We pray you are well and enjoying some well deserved time off. Looking forward to part 4

  84. Robert Hartley says:

    Great account of the Splendors trial at sea. Just made Platinum, and glad to be. Carnival and the actions of all of it’s crew just help me to feel even better about why I have stuck with you for these last 9 cruises. I’m glad all are safe, and looking forward to meeting you on the Magic this coming June.

  85. Lizzie says:

    Video of John and Gerry Cahill talking to the crew. Amazing.

    Great job to the crew of the Carnival Splendor!

  86. Marie Wolff says:

    My congratulations to you, Captain Cupisti and his amazing crew for getting everyone safely back without any injuries.
    I look forward to reading the rest of this amazing journey.
    I wish the world could read your blog. The news here in Florida has been most positive, and, the persons who came off the Carnival Splendor that were interviewed, were most complimentary of your crew.

  87. Kristine Fritz says:


    Just back home after the “Smoke on the Water” sailing/drifting/towing off the Carnival Splendor.

    All I can say is WOW!

    Thank you to Captain Cupisti and the excellent crew of the Carnical Splendor who never seemed to sleep or tire from the initial incident. We were treated with as much dignity and graciousness as could be expected under the circumstances – and then some. The crew did everything they possible could to keep us comfortable, entertained, fed, but above all SAFE.

    There were many abroad that expressed anger, frustration, and dissatisfaction but we could not share this outlook. Yes, a much anticipated vacation will need to be redone but we are very, very thankful to be alive, and safe and we know we owe this to a well trained crew.

    The crew was nothing short of amazing, and John, this includes you especially, as it was your voice that we associated with the event, and you were able to calm and diffuse the situation, keep us reassured, and informed, and this made us feel that everything would be OK.

    We are tremedously thankful for the efforts of the crew who went way above and beyond, and for the remedies Carnival has offered.

    Please share our extreme thanks to the Splendor crew for getting us home safe. A $10 per day tip doesn’t seem to be enough in this situation. I sincerely hope Carnival will do something special for this crew, as they have for the passengers.

    With sincere thanks,
    Kristine Frtiz
    Aurora, CO

  88. Nanetteali says:

    Wow John!!! All this comments! Everyone is talking about you. The man of the hour. No surprise for me. wow…have you realize what’s happening? You are big! Great job! As always…Proud of being your friend. The best CD!!! but that we already knew.

  89. Nanetteali says:

    Be proud!! You did it!!

  90. wil-da-beast says:

    OMG…..I have to stop and take a breath…Kudos to John , the Captain and all the crew…job well done..hope the passengers realize that they could not have been in better hands…So proud of the Spendor staff and also passengers who helped those in need. Tears fill my eyes as I read the report from John. Take care my friend, rest, take care of yourself,give yourself a treat, take care of yourself, do what you can to unwind, but TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF…you are loved by sooooooooooo many….A&W

  91. Patrice Sanders says:

    John, thank you. You are so good at your job. Thank you!

  92. Alex G. says:


    They has been truly enjoyable to read. The work that had been done during this time shows the outstanding crew that Carnival has. Gerry Cahill should be proud of all of you! I can’t wait to read more. Take care, John and thanks for sharing! Keep up the great work!

    Alex G.

  93. Mike & Lori Drew says:


    We can only imagine the grief you and your captain must have felt. Yet, you both did an amazing job of keeping the guests safe and back at home. You are the best! We know you are glad it’s over and one experience you will not want to repeat…ever! Carnival does an amazing job of training their employees on disasters at sea. Congratulations on a job well done! can’t wait for tomorrows blog and part 4of your story.

    Mike & Lori Drew

  94. Janet says:

    Impressive ! That’s all I can think of….of everyone involved….crew members, ships officer’s, staff, John and all those on board. It sounds like everyone did the best they could. This makes me want to cruise with Carnival even more. I must say it is also very impressive and tells the true nature of Carnival….with the powers to be that showed up at the docks waiting for the Spendor to arrive. That is true dedication to the customers and employees of Carnival. Hats off to everyone.

  95. Vicki says:

    Thank you for the compassionate, heartfelt, REAL story – complete with the puns as only you can deliver. I will be sleeping on the edge of my bed as I wait for the next installation – sitting on the edge of my chair is done for today!!!!

  96. Tina says:


    We will be sailing on the Splendor on the January 23rd, 2011 sailing and I can not wait to personally meet you and the awesome crew.

    I know that our group will be in good hands!


  97. Linda says:

    John, you are outstanding as are all the crew, including the captain.

    A few hours ago, I bought Carnival stock. I have been on 6 different cruises and hadn’t decided which line was my line of choice, it was between 2 and Carnival was one.

    Carnival is now my line of choice. One of the Carnival cruises (I cruised Carnival twice and 4 other cruise lines) did not impress me; the staff was not impressive and the food poor. Those are minor things, when hearing and seeing how an emergency was handled by all and then for Carnival to take care of all their customers AND employees in such an outstanding manner. I have never heard or seen another company do anything close to this. I can only hope the airlines take note of this.

    And although the media likes to embelish things and look for the negative, they aren’t finding passengers bashing Carnival. I have heard a little negative about the overall experience (of course, it was bad), but I have not heard anyone blaming Carnival. Maybe I am missing some reports, but Carnival seems to have taken a terrifying, horrible situation and come out with their heads held high.

    You have won a very loyal customer through all this.

  98. Sandy L says:


    The professionalism and dedication of the crew cannot be commended highly enough. It is refreshing to hear the story told honestly and in a straight forward manner.

    Can’t wait to hear more.

  99. Chris says:

    Hello John,

    I am riveted to this story. Can’t wait for part four….

  100. Patricia Griffith says:

    John – I was with you on the inaugural voyage on the Splendor, when we had to return to Spain as a result of a seriously ill passenger. You were very calm and informative in relaying information to the passengers then as you have done in this case. You are a true leader to your crew and I look forward to sailing with you again in the future.

  101. jojo says:

    I am a retired Flight Attendant and something we learned many years ago was to carry a flashlight with us for hotel situations. The airlines also added a flash light as emergency equipment by each flight attendant on the airplanes. My suggestion to all cruise ships is to have one in each room. This will take time, so all travelers should add it to their packing list.
    The other thing I wanted to address is that it would have been very difficult for me to leave my cabin smelling smoke without my life jacket. Did some passengers feel the very same way and take one with them when you asked them to leave their rooms??

  102. John says:

    How lucky the passengers of the Splendor were to have you as the Cruise Director during this very scary situation. You and the entire staff and crew should be very proud of how well you handled yourselves in such a stressful situation. Looking forward to my next Carnival Cruise 4/11 and have complete trust in Carnival Cruise Lines.

  103. Lindsey S. says:

    You are just awesome… not cool how you left us hanging with that last part there!!!

  104. Steve says:


    My wife Cindy and I have enjoyed 19 great cruises on Carnival ships since 1999, and we’re booked on the Carnival Splendor for November 28. We’re just waiting to see if the cruise will happen, or if we’ll have to take another for our 20th.

    We have always had faith in the capabilities of the crews on Carnival’s cruise ships to deal with emergencies and to minimize the risks for passengers and crew members. It is unfortunate that this faith had to be confirmed in such a dramatic manner.

    You and CCL have set a new standard in openness and “transparency” with your accounts of the events that transpired. It’s very impressive that you have been willing to share these accounts so soon, instead of sleeping a lot for a few days. Hopefully, other corporations will learn something from CCL about being open and honest about incidents and responses to them.

    I share other commenter’s praises for how you dealt with and responded to the situation. We had the good fortune to be with you on the Carnival Liberty’s last Mediterranean and Trans-Atlantic cruises in 2006 (do you remember “Mary?”), and loved having you as the CD. I am sure that all the other Carnival CDs would also ensure the safety of the passengers and crew in similar unfortunate situations, but probably without your panache.

    Thank you for going above and beyond what would reasonably expected for telling us what happened so soon.


  105. jojo says:

    John I forget to add that your blog of the details is written with honesty and humor. I am enjoying reading it very much. I was on the Splendar several weeks before this happened and the crew was attentive and professional. I am sure you and your Captain are very proud of them.

  106. Joe Smith says:

    Dear John,
    I am glad to hear that you and all the staff and guests were okay except for a few panic attacks. I think it was a sign from heaven that this emergency had to happen and that you were the CD onboard to keep all the guests as calm as possible.
    I want to give you and the Splendor staff a double thumbs up on a major job well done.

  107. Trev S says:

    Hi John:

    This is Mr. Viagra from the Carnival Freedom cruise of Feb 2008 who also was in your Bedtime Story. Although I didn’t join you on this now infamous Splendor cruise I thought I’d send you this message:

    Splendorous Voyage

    – With special thanks to Jimmy Buffet

    Living on pop tarts,
    Smelling the old farts
    Coming from cruisers who can’t flush the loo.
    While longing to fine dine
    We shoved in the spam line
    With so much to choose from – one slice or two?

    Wasting away for days aboard the Splendor cruise,
    Searching for a clean pair of shorts.
    Some people say that there’s a smoker to blame
    But I know – it’s nobody’s fault.

    Don’t know the reason
    We traveled this season
    With nothing to show but our limbs black and blue
    From groping in pitch black
    I’m certain I did pack
    My toothbrush . . . but find it? – I haven’t a clue.

    After our amble
    We took a big gamble
    And went to retire with nothing to do.
    My partner was willing
    It turned out so thrilling
    The next cruise could well have a baby anew.

    It wasn’t so funny
    But got back our money
    And joined in the chorus of Sweet Car’val Line
    Give thanks to the tug boat
    That made sure we did float
    Right back for our free cruise – Yes! – at a later time.

    And John, congratulations to you and Heidi on the new addition to your family since we last met. I guess you didn’t have to light a fire in your engine to accomplish that!!

  108. Dru says:

    Thank you so much for this first-hand account. I’m addicted to Carnival, and while I have not had the pleasure of sailing with you, I did sail with Captain Cupisti last fall–he was the voice of calm when we were going through some rough weather.
    As a PR professional, I have been watching closely how Carnival has reacted to this trying situation, and I don’t think they could have handled it any better.
    You have done a wonderful job keeping everyone informed, and I’m sure your comments to the guests made a huge difference. I’m looking forward to my next cruise, and I hope you can tell us, after part 97!, how you, Captain Cupisti and the rest of the crew are doing now that the ship is in port.
    Keep the blog thingy going–and please write a book someday.

  109. Wendy Askey says:

    I am so glad to hear that everyone is safe. I have cruised with you as the CD several times, and if there is anyone I would count on to tell the truth about what was happening it would be you. You are a true professional, even when you knew that you were experiencing something you had only trained for. I am scheduled to be on the Splendor on 12/12 and hope it will be sailing, but if not, I will always choose Carnival first because of you, and the staff that Carnival hires. Welcome home, I hope you get some rest and look forward to reading the rest of your adventure!

  110. Mary Neubauer says:

    Having been on a recent Splendor cruise with you John, I think the passengers were very fortunate to have you there guiding them.

  111. Kimberly says:


    I am so glad you decided to blog about this. I’ve read all parts and am anxiously awaiting the next part. I say “job well done!” I love Carnival and just hate that this has happened, but it seems to have turned out pretty well in the end. I’m looking forward to my next cruise which I’m planning for Spring Break of 2012 on the Magic.

  112. Jeff Moore says:


    Glad to hear that everybody is ok. I’m sure it was a long few days for your girls if you couldn’t communicate with them and all Heidi could do is worry. It is to bad this happened but Carnival is counting there blessings that you were the cruise director aboard. Go get some rest you deserve it!!

  113. Toni says:

    I worked for carnival in the late 90s (Camp Carnival) and thought of the crew the entire time it was on the news. Great to get your perspective. Great job & love the blog and your writing!! (Now, I’m a teacher, so you get an A+)

  114. Angela says:

    Hi John

    Glad you were there on that ship…I don’t know of anyone else that could have handled the job so well…I met you 3 times on various ships and you are the best out of all CD’s that I met…Me, personally I would have suffered a panic attack, however I know the Medical staff is great as I got injured on one of my cruises in Nassau…kudos to all the crew…and you my friend for being so calm during this time..

  115. cheria says:


    I trust the “beards” know what an amazing CD they have in you… you my friend are amazing… cant wait for part 4 !!!!

    Warm regards,

  116. retirementman says:

    John, I was glued to your every word. It’s so amazing just how great everyone reacted to this situation. I’m just so proud that everyone who worked for Carnival knew what to do when they were told to go to their locations and how they assisted the guest so bravely. I’m also proud of how the guests reacted to the situation and at the end kept telling the reporters of how great the personel of Carnival helped them even those the reporters wanted to dirt. The people did nothing of the sort and also gave praise to everyone at Carnival Now we know why the captain is the captain. He’s the one who is strong, cool and collected under the most difficult of times. I congratulate and commend Captain Cupisti for his handling of this most trying time. And you John, I’m just glad that you were there helping the entire corps of Carnival people. Your years of experience were needed that this precious time. I congratulate all of you for what you’ve done and I would not be afraid to take my next cruise or any cruise on a Carnival Ship.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  117. KJune says:

    I commend you and the wonderful crew of the Splendor on the job that you all have done! Mark and I have kept watch all week and are so proud of all of you! He was hoping that your account would be up before today so he could read it. He will read it tomorrow when he gets out of the hospital from his surgery. (Tumor appears benign — YEAH!!) Waiting for more!

    Does Carnival have a medal for you and the crew? Can we petition Her Majesty to give you the some kind of order or knighthood or something? I mean Sir Elton John got a knighthood for dressing in feathers and sequins; you should get one for your underpants!

  118. Kathy says:

    I am going to IMMEDIATELY book another cruise with Carnival. I’ve been on 4 in the last 2 years and already have one scheduled for February, and don’t want to wait that long! You guys are the best….and your writing confirms it for me!! Congrats on a job WELL DONE!!

  119. John,
    How many CD’s can claim the experience you have. We know that this is not one that you would want to repeat but you have learned a great deal in 4 days. Your our Hero.

  120. jeff says:

    an experienced crew acting on the behalf of its guests and making the right decisions ! who would play John on a TV movie of this? Brad Pitt !

  121. Mary C says:

    Thanks John, can’t until tomorrow’s chapter.

  122. DannyMissy says:

    John, I have such respect for you and the ENTIRE crew. Thank you for providing this report. And thanks to all of the crew for handling this incredibly scary and serious situation. Job well done, all of you.

  123. Puiu says:

    Oh boy… words can’t say enough.

  124. Marlene Jarvis says:

    John, I appreciate what you have written on the ordeal the crew and passengers had to go thru. As a loyal customore of Carnival Cruises, it helps me understand more if god for bid I would have to experience any thing close to what you all went thru. Especially when it came to the special need passengers as I travel with my 88 year old mother who is in that category. Her & I were on board the DREAM in September and are booked November 18 on the FASCINATION. Prayers were heard in getting the passengers and crew back to San Diego safely. Thanks again for your story.Greatly appreciated.

  125. Kel says:

    Thanks for the reports, I must say that I am disappointed in Carnival Corp, not keeping Travel Agents (yes I am one) in the fold, No E mail updates etc. You are doing a great job, and it appears that the crew of the Splendor did so as well given horrid situations.

  126. John, you and the crew did an AWESOME job! Carnival should be very proud of you all. It is because of you and the crew that I will most definitely sail with Carnival again and again! Thanks for all you do, and love your blog!! Dot

  127. Scott says:

    My wife and I have taken two cruises with Carnival. We were thinking we might do a RC Cruise next fall. However, reading your report really gives me a sense of security with Carnival. GREAT JOB! I think we may just have to stick with Carnival on our cruise next fall. Keep writing, I will keep reading..

  128. John,

    I look forward to the rest of the story. It sounds like you and the entire crew acted quickly and professionally.!

    Yes we as guests do forget that the crew are first sailors with certain duties they perform in emergencies, and most of us probably don’t take the safety warnings and muster drills very seriously. Thank God that Carnival does.

    Thanks for sharing the story

  129. Gayle Henderson says:

    John, You are a hero! It was your voice that was responsible for keeping both your crew and the passengers aboard Splendor calm and informed. My husband and I sail The Conquest every October and have always felt that our Cruise Director and crew were adequately trained in safety maneuvers. Please pass my best wishes to your Captain and crew. We will feel honored to sail with Carnival again soon! Many blessings to you and the crew of Splendor!

  130. Joey says:


  131. dave kelly says:

    great writing and info,
    I laughed,.. I cried,.. I soiled my shorts.
    Look forward to part 4 and more…

  132. Debbie James says:

    You and the rest of the crew should be very proud of how well you handled this difficult situation. They should interview you for 60 Minutes or 20/20 so you can set the record straight.

  133. Dave says:

    Thanks John for the updates. From several of the guests who spoke to the media all had great things to say about how well you and the crew acted in this most difficult situation. Kudos to you all : )

  134. hillary says:

    i am like on the edge of my seat…i went o work and had to wait 6 hrs before reading part 3, but wow…fist i wanna say fantastic job for the crew, i mean the special needs team, wow, to carry people up and be onduty till they returned, above and beyond..good job!!! everyone working deserves a free vacay from carnival, and a RAISE!!!

  135. Monique and John says:

    A Very Good Evening to you John!
    We just got home from this ill-fated trip and have read through most of your blogs entries. I can tell everyone that it’s just like John explained. His account is word for word accurate. We were on deck 1, and were one of the first to see the smoke down the hallway. It wasn’t thick, but enough to make me quite concerned. My husband, God bless him, was more concerned about the lack of coffee. His first response was, “Let’s go to Deck 9 right now! They’ll have coffee there.That’s how troubled he was about the situation.
    John was truly the voice of calm reason during this ordeal. I heartily applaud his professionalism and (much needed) humour.
    The crew was outstanding in this situation. Most of them went 24 hours or more without sleep; smiles on their faces, and “Good Mornings!” wherever you saw them. Incredible.
    John, I know you must be exhausted, but if you read this, please know that we are truly grateful for the incredible help and professional manner which you handled this.
    Cheers! Cheers! Cheers!

  136. Chris Oeser says:

    Hi John,

    I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was that you were there with us every step of the way! My name is Chris and I was traveling with 5 other family members on my first cruise on the splendor Nov 7th thru now, we just got home! Your a funny man, and that helped a lot. But the cheese burger jokes, were hard to swallow! We are from Alaska and so when we got to our first flight at 6:30 am, but it didn’t take off till 9am. I was thinking that maybe my family was jinxed.

    Thank you for helping keep us sane, but I do not ever want to have any kind of sandwich or salad for a long while! You guys did an awesome job and we will be back to the splendor in February or March! It may of been my first cruise, but this won’t count in my book, I will start over fresh and with a better open mind! I know what not to do next time and I know what not to pack!!!

    Thank you splendor and the awesome crew!!!

    -Chris Oeser Anchorage Alaska

    Room 2446

    PS. I got all my money back, thank you Carnival!

  137. Julie Mendenhall (jrmende63) says:

    Thank You John for telling us the story. I am glued to the screen to read what happens next. I am glad everyone is safe.

  138. Stephanie aka Hockey Addict says:

    Hi John!
    Thank you so much for blogging all the details! I am glued to the screen! I keep checking for more! When I told hubby about your blog and the details he wanted me to read it to him!

    Thanks for taking the time and I hope all goes well and the Carnival Splendor get’s back to sea soon!

    I know it must sound crazy to some people but we really wouldn’t mind if that had happened to us! DH said he would feel safe with the Carnival crew!! I of course agree!!

    Now go get some rest, John! =) And make sure the hard working crew get some as well! You all deserve it!

  139. Elda Lantz says:

    Thank you, John for your account of what happened. Looking forward to reading the rest of your account.

  140. PipergirlKerry says:

    My God John! How lucky those passengers were to have the CD an d Capt they did! Consummate professionals indeed! Honest to God, my first reaction when I heard what was happening was…”thank God that John is the Cruise Director on the ship”. That really is no lie!

    Poor Heide..has she lost her mind in worry?

    I hope you all get some rest in the next few days!


  141. Julie Carson Meeker says:

    Dearest John-

    My husband and I appreciated so much the annoyance of your voice over the PA system as often as possible. You did your best to give us specific information in a calm manner and kept us smiling as well. This was our first cruise and from the moment I found you would be our CD, I knew, I really knew that we would be in the best hands.

    The crew on this huge ship were beyond words. They suffered just as much as we did, but they had to work at the same time. I never saw a crew member too busy to help a guest-from beginning to end.

    Thank you John, the crew, and the armed forces as well as other vessels, buses and personnel who did the best they could.

  142. Barbara says:

    I can only echo the praise of so many others–Carnival is the best! It’s obvious that everyone has been trained on what to do in the event of an emergency such as this–and you were the voice of calm to the passengers and crew to avoid panic. I’m glad that we finally hear the true story of what happened and NOT all the media exaggerations! God Bless you John and the rest of the Carnival staff for the professionalism and care they provided to the passengers. A thank you is not enough–I hope that the beards in Miami realize how special all of their employees are!

  143. Kimber Michelsen says:

    Without your messages each day we would of went crazy! We looked forward to all you had to say the jokes and all! Sitting there listening to the piano player one night, a group of us girls were expressing our love for you! A man next to us turn around and said “Oh God not you guys too! My wife gets excited every time she hears his voice! She went to bed because he (YOU, John) was done talking for the night!” He then went on to say that, that was why he was out by himself! He also said that he should record some of your message so he could play them over for his wife when she gets home! John I will be on another cruise hopefully it will be the same one you will be on! I Love You John! You are a true asset to that company!

  144. Babette says:

    We were there and John along with the rest of the crew were AWESOME!!
    John’s humor (teapee joke BAD lol) kept us calm and in good spirits. I am disliking ANY negative comments about him and the job he did….HE DID HIS JOB!!! AND DID IT WELL!!! The crew was helpful and sympathetic….John is a great team leader and I would sail w/him anytime.

  145. Brad P says:

    Dear John and crew of the Carnival Splendor,

    First let me say how sorry I am that you had to go through the difficult situation of the last week…. but Kudos to you for your professionalism and dedication to the safety of the 3000+ passengers in your care. By all reports you preformed superbly. Congratulations to Carnival (and a company is no better then the employees) on the handling of the situation.

    I will feel much safer and more secure the next time I cruise after hearing how his incident was managed.

  146. Bill says:

    Hey John,
    As a Carnival employee who works out of Long Beach, let me just say my hat goes off to you and all the crew in taking care of our guests. I can say this due to the fact that when the guests that were bused back to Long Beach on Thursday, that they all had praises for the crew, one guest even said “all the crewmembers were heroes to them”, and it is safe to say that 98% of them that came back to LB were very positive about the cruise and how well Carnival responded. So, since I help embark guests every Sunday for the the Splendor, tell all your staff from me that I say thanks for a job very well done.Teamwork showed all the way from the beginning of this event to the end when guests got back to LB, Carnival and employees really stepped up to take care of and help all our guests! Job well done to everyone, let’s pat ourselves on the back!!

  147. Juliana Barker says:

    maybe the folks on deck four were just looking for fresh air… and that they had already traveled a few flights of stairs already… don’t beat yourself up over it… 🙂
    be happy they went to deck four where the lifeboats were… at least they paid attention and knew where to go…maybe they didn’t speak/understand English that well…

    awaiting part #4


  148. Kev says:

    hi John,

    We were on the Splendor and just got back after spending pretty much the entire day today traveling from San Diego. Thank you and Carnival for everything you guys did. You and your staff did a wonderful job in this very tough situation. Carnival really did their best to take care of us. Everyone we talked to really appreciated your funny jokes. You added some much needed laughter during the 4 days at sea. And no, after listening to you on the PA for 4 days on the ship, we’re still not tired of your voice! As a matter of fact, we all kinda miss that british accent of yours especially in those funny good night annoucements!

    Thanks and hope to meet you in person on our next cruise !

  149. Mike Kimberly says:

    I can’t wait for part 4. As the drama happened live on my TV through the fog called the media, I knew John would give us the REAL story about what happened!

  150. Sheila Simicich says:

    John, I take my hat off to you, the crew of the Splendor, and the entire Carnival organization. What an awesome job everyone did in this horrible situation. I’m glad that nobody was hurt and that the ship made it back to San Diego safely. This could have been so much worse.

  151. Tabatha Bettencourt says:

    Passenger aboard the splendor 11/7-11/11/10.

  152. Cathy Kerns says:

    Dear John, So glad to hear from you even if it is about this terrible ordeal. I can’t imagine how your wife worried about you!. You blog is spell binding. I even read it out loud to my husband all 3 parts! As one person said many prayers were answered mine included. We were on Glory in May and still talk about that cruise! We plan an Alaskan cruise in 2012 and guess what it will be with Carnival! Get a lot of rest and I pray you were able to keep your sugar under control during all of this. Take care friend and God bless you and all of the brave crew members of Carnival Splendor!

  153. David says:

    Wow What a situation…I am glad that all is well and everybody is home safe with their families. I’m also looking foward to pat 4……

  154. Tommy Ratton says:

    John, Carla and I just arrived home from our week with you on the Splender. We are very gratefull for the way Carnival, the Captain and crew handled our situation. We were worried when the announcements started coming but at no time were we scared for our safety thanks to the continual updates on our situation and what to expect next. Once the toilets were working again we considered ourselves on an adventrure and ended up with a very memorable cruise. My only regret was not getting to meet you after starting to read the blog thingy a few weeks ago.

    Tommy and Carla Ratton

  155. Tiffany Waits says:

    My husband and I took a cruise as our honeymoon in April with Carnival and were very pleased with the services in every aspect of the boat! We were pleasantly surprised at what an amazing cruise director, and more importantly entertainer, you were! I know that this seems like a very rough spot for the Carnival Cruiselines at this time; however, we have to keep in mind that acts of God happen in just about every traveling industry! A few examples: my parents spent 13 days in Mexico on a 7 day vacation, evacuated in an all inclusive resort, fed sack lunches, flushed toilets with water in their ice buckets, etc, due to Hurricane Wilma – on our dream honeymoon (with Carnival) the Grand Cayman had not seen rain in a year and a half, yet, our excursion was cancelled due to the weather – lastly, let’s not forget the airplane that had to land in the Hudson River! I know that many people have capitalized on the fact that they had a bad experience due to this incident…my purpose is to say that I have every belief in me that this was handled by yourself and the crew i the most professional and considerate way possible! Although it was no “walk in the park” I have heard accounts of how you and the crew ade activities as fun as possible. To you, and the crew, I say, “JOB WELL DONE!”

  156. Richard says:

    Dear John, I copied the text of your blog #3 into a Word file immediately after reading it (#3 was the first part I read) beause I was sure such a straightforward account would be pulled by Carnival. Then I read in Blog #1 how you were actually told by the CEO to write the story ‘as it was’. I am very favorably impressed with Carnival management, not to mention with you for your actions and for your excellent written account. Coincidentaly I recently booked my first Carnival cruise. I have no intention of cancelling it. I hope you are the cruise director so I can shake your hand in admiration. Thank you!

  157. Devin says:


    You are amazing! I thank you so much for taking the time to fill us all in on the events on the Splendor. Lord only knows you have lots of things to take care of in the wake of this event. SO thank you as always for taking the time to service the readers of your blog thingy. I have to say as I Read your accounts here, They fit seamlessly into the stories I just read in Cruise Confidential just this week. Perhaps as others have said, you may write a book about your experience on the high seas one day.

    All my best and Great Job!! look forward to part 4 and beyond.

  158. Mark Gould says:

    Myself, My Wife Cheryl, her Brother Gary and His Lady Suzanne just completed the previous weeks cruise which finished on Sunday in Long Beach. We had a small taste of the outstanding professionalism of the Crew of the Splendor on Halloween night with the emergency Coast Guard air lift of a crewmember. We also listened and watched some of the Coast Guard drills during our debarkation. When I heard the initial reports of the emergency, I knew the current cruisers where in the best of hands.
    I do have a question. Did you have the urge to say ‘Connecticut’ during any of the PA’s?
    Glad to hear that everyone is well. I wasn’t expecting or surprised at anything less. Well done to All.

  159. Chris & Jean, 6 Forward, Port Side says:

    John –

    Thank you for being our voice in the wilderness.

    Chris & Jean

  160. nadin abbott says:

    John as I read this I am curious. since I know they were there. When did the Mexican Navy, and not just the Chihuahua, showed up? In case you wonder, not only did I follow this from their POV, but the raw footage from AP shows them clearly? And also when where they called given that you were far closer to the Mexican Naval Port at Ensenada and the Coast Guard Station. And quite frankly they also deserve recognition.

    And so do you. After all this was far more serious than you or your company is letting out.

    Yes I used to disaster services.


    PS and you are right the beards are worried, and concerned.

  161. Chris & Jean, 6 Forward, Port Side says:

    John –

    Thank you for being our voice in the wilderness.

    Chris & Jean

  162. John Barbieri says:

    Very nice John.

    Once again, left me hanging damnit!

  163. Genevieve says:

    Hey John,

    It’s been a while since my days with Carnival, Steiner, but I can just hear you saying every word 🙂
    Good old Rudy and the Italians….awsome job by all.
    Drill is the last thing you want to do for real and I bet it was nerve racking.
    So pleased is everyone is safe.
    Stop kicking yourself for the small stuff, everyone is still alive and I’ll send you fresh M&S pants, they even have a branch here in Dubai.
    A bit of refreshing gel on your thumb, you’ll be fine…

    Lots of love and hugs
    Gen x x x

  164. Nils says:

    I’m glad that everyone was safe and sound and got back to land safely too. You guys did a great job and everyone on board was lucky to have a CD like you. You pointed out that you made some errors in your announcements, but hey we are humans and mistakes happen, we learn from them.
    I’m sailing on splendor on Nov. 28 (I really hope the ship gets fixed soon). I’m hoping you will be on board and I’d love to meet you as I’m also a brit who settled in the US 9 years ago.
    Gosh you’re too funny and it looks like you got the good ol Del Boy and Rodney on your side… Only Fools and Horses and I love them.
    Well done for handling the situation so well and for taking care of all those on board.
    God Bless

  165. Neil Redfearn says:

    Excellent posts so far. I especially like the witty british humor. Being the tech geek that I am, I have to say that CO2 does not suck the O2 out of the air, it displaces it. Now that I have said my 2 cents, we are cruising on the Conquest in two weeks and my brother is going to be a cruise director for the first time on that ship, I bet he is kakkin his pants (more british humor)! Thanks for the great blog John.

  166. Jodi says:

    Dear John,
    It has certainly been a pleasure reading your blog and particularly of this unfortunate and seemingly, at this point any way, unpreventable incident. I do hope that I get the opportunity one day soon to sail on the Splendor with her magnificent crew. This has certainly clinched it for me that the next cruise I book will be with Carnival and specifically on that lovely vessel. Your Carnival team certainly deserves all the kudos and none of the sniping that has been going on for that last 6 days.

    On a side note, last January (2010) my hubby and I sailed on the lovely Paradise on what was to be a 4 day to Catalina and Ensenada. However, mother nature saw fit to send the Long Beach area and surrounding ocean vicinity some much needed rain by way of a huge storm. (It was, infact, I beleive a named storm whose name I do not remember. Rare and completely unexpected in this area). Carnival in typical fashion chose to make the best of a bad situation and provide thier guests with the safest, most fun vacation it could manage, and our out standing Captain took us to Cabo San Lucas.

    Knowing that any one who knows any thing about Mexico, cruising or basically anything related would not in thier right mind turn down a trip to Cabo for the price they had paid to visit Ensenada, the company still offered us the opportunity to take a full refund and book a different cruise. So we all were on the ship by our own chosing, and yet there were still the naysayers that complained when the ship was tossed by the fringes of the storm on a winter ocean. Thus we see that no matter the circumstance there are those that simply prefer to be “sour pusses” than to make lemonade. Yes many on board, including myself and our princess of a cabin steward succumbed to “mal de mer”, but never to unprofessionalism. That sweetheart even came to our cabin personnally to deliver a breakfast hang tag that had been forgotten when they made up the room, so she check on how I was feeling. I could barely lift my head from the pillow to say “thank-you” but when I did in one look I knew she was little better off than I. It was above and beyond the call of duty, she truly cared, and it showed.

    I mention this little incident only because when I first heard of the problems aboard Splendor, I remembered my experience on Paradise and knew, beyond doubt, that Carnival, the Captain, you and crew et al were doing your level best to make of it the very best situation possible. I had little fear that the reports in the media were wholly accurate and that by far the majority would be glad they were good hands!

    Thank-you for your sense of humour and your years of service to the cruise industry, not to mention your unfailing enthusiasm for the brighter side of life!

    Wishing you “Smooth Sailing”
    Jodi from Oregon.

  167. Marla says:

    Thank you so much for sharing so honestly! I’m hanging on every word.. I was on the Splendor 3 weeks ago on my very first cruise and would go again this Sunday if it were possible! I fell in love with the Ship and Crew and am even more so now!

    I hope you are getting some rest! You deserve it! Please do not deny yourself – you have been thru a huge ordeal!


  168. Jeri Green says:

    Great job, Johm. Now get some some well deserved rest!

  169. karen says:

    I am so happy that everyone made it back to shore safely. I am a Carnival fan & I’m sure that the staff did gheir absolute best to keep everyonrs spirits up & provide the essentials. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to be happy no matter how hard you try and these will be the first people to speak with the media as well. It was an awful accident, nothing more. I will continue to cruise with Carnival because you guys just make my vacations so much dag gone fun!!!

  170. Brandi says:


    You, the Captain and the entire crew of the Carnival Splendor should be commended for your careful, calm assessment of the situation, as well as the execution of keeping everyone on board safe. I am sailing on the Carnival Dream for Christmas this year and ALL of my friends are asking me “are you seriously still going on that cruise?!”. My reply is (and will continue to be) “ABSOLUTELY! I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Things happen, but look at how rare these instances are; better yet, look at how there were absolutely no injuries and the ship is still afloat…they are highly trained for such issues and also inspected before each sailing. Why worry?!”

    Sorry for being so long winded, just wanted to say KUDOS to you and the crew. I am very excited about my cruise in 39 DAYS!!!

  171. John,
    Thank God everyone is well. Your account of what transpired is unreal, an event that only you could described so descriptively. Carnival Cruise Lines must be commended for permitting you to cover what transpired. Now, I am more disappointed that you will not be the cruise director when I sail on our Carnival Dream on 2/26/11.

  172. mary hopla says:

    John, have been enjoying your blogs. We have already booked a May, 2011 Carnival cruise aboard the Magic for 12 nights.
    After reading your accounts of the unfortunate mishap at sea, it gives us even more confidence and a feeling of safey aboard a ship that has a fantastic crew in making sure all safety precautions were set in place in case of an emergency.

    I think that we’ll book a Caribbean cruise in mid-February to help out Carnival in a small way.

    Thanks for the updates and blog – very informative and better that reading what the media writes.

    Mary from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  173. njoyndride says:


    I’m with the “you outta write a book” group. This is definately a good read, of course we all waited knowing when you were safely returned we’d know what really happened. We live in northern California and the news media has been picking locals to interview. They have had nothing but good words for the Captain and crew even with the press trying to bate them. The only complaint has been the smell from the sewer system and all who were interviewed recognized there there was nothing that could have been done about it given the situation. They were in good spirits and looking forward to their next cruise. That says it all John, you guys did the best job you could and the one that you’ve really trained for all these years. Congratulations and good job to you and the rest of the crew.

  174. Cheryl says:

    I can only hope to one day sail with you as my cruise director. Sounds to me like you handled everything very well.

    Anxiously awaiting part 4.

  175. Sharon says:

    Wow John, I am hanging on every word. It pains me to see when you write that you did made a mistake in giving directions. The thing is John, unless you’ve been in this exact situation before you really don’t have the frame of reference for dealing with it. I appreciate that you are putting the blame on yourself, but I don’t think there was a person aboard that would do anything but commend you for your actions. I can’t even imagine being on that bridge when this was going on. I’m in awe of the Carnival Splendor staff.

  176. Kathy Conger says:

    Well I was very sorry to hear about the fire on a fun ship,but it doesn’t stop me from looking forward to OUR FAMILY CRUISE .We have 16 family members boarding the Carinval Valor on 4-3-11,we are so looking forward to the trip.Some that have never been on a cruise are not sure now if this the vacation we should be taking.But this wil make my 5th cruise and I know this the best vacation for all of us.Theonly thing that could make our trip better is if MALCOM-WOO_HOOO was our cruise director ………….love the fun ships they are the best vacation of all time.

  177. Debbie says:

    A dear John letter:
    I was on the splendor last month at this time, it was my 13th cruise but first on Carnival. It was when you lost a crew member and I was amazed at the professionalism by all of your staff.
    I work at one of the best resorts in the world and since my return I have raved about the wonderful staff aboard the Splendor. It starts with Captain Cupisti and you…The guests were in great hands, this I am sure.
    I feel bad for the difficult situation you all had to face but being in the business I’m in, the way we display ourselves at the difficult times defines our capabilities, I know many of the people abroad the Splendor found out how great they can be. John, keep doing what you do because you make this world a better place. Tell Captain hello from the girl from Genoa. If you ever make it to Pebble Beach CA, the drinks are on me. Best Regards to you and yours….Debbie

  178. LeaAnn says:

    John, we were on the Splendor with you 10/24 (Castaway Cruisers), this was our second cruise with you. I have told people how great you are as a CD and now with this account and how you handled this situation is absolutely amazing. You have not only made Carnival proud, but each and every one of us that know you, proud of you! We are glad that all the passengers and crew are home safe. God Bless you and the crew for making the best of a bad situation.

  179. B. Stone says:

    AWWW, this part made me want to cry for the Captain. Being SO respsonsible for SO much and then having those tough decisions to make. Yes, it’s part of the job, but still…

  180. Shari says:

    Oh my friggin gosh….This is the best BLOG ever. You guys are AWESOME! John…You seriously need to write a book. I am so glued to this!

    Does that mean I have no life? H,,,,,Not sure but I will tell you, I can not believe the behind the scenes things. It’s amazing what you go thorugh being in a service industry, that no guest ever knows about.

    Thank you.

  181. Bob says:

    Having spent 21 years in the Navy, and understanding the workings of a seagoing vessel and its crew, I can understand the difficulties you and the crew experienced. As in any excellent organization, I am sure that you all have begun to debrief, and critique performance, to find the areas in which saftey and communications can be improved. 20+ years in civilian workforce managing community healthcare, I have found that communications was a significant difficulty. preplanning for ANY form of “disaster” is difficult, but necessary… and even the trivial (blankets, water, etc. can mean a lot for the safety and comfort of everyone.

    Hats off to the crew of the Carnival Splendor, in caring for their passengers and crew!!!!!!!!

  182. Elsine says:

    John please copy this and maul it to the guys with the beards,… Because of the way John Heald handled the situation and not only kept the passengers but the Crew as well up to date, entertained and made them feel safe AND because his name, along with the Captsin and the entire staff getting wonderful reviews under horrible conditions I truly believe that not only does John deserve an Aston Martin and a Meet N Greet with Megan Fox but I think he saved Carnival thousands of dollars in revenue! I wasn’t on the ship but after reading Johns blog and all the reviews if I am ever in a serious situation, I want to be with the entire staff of the Carnival Splendor. I thought I loved Carnival and it’s Staff prior to this happening, now I am more convinced. Great Job John, Captain and Staff.

  183. Rick S. says:

    John, stop being so hard on yourself. Your words of comfort and instruction were all we had in those wee hours of the morning and they were perfect. Listening to you and watching the professionalism of the staff and crew put my wife and I at ease while we all struggled to comprehend what was happening that morning.
    I, for one, debarked that ship in San Diego having already decided that my next Carnival Cruise would have to be with you. In fact, I would like to see that added as a search criteria. Search by destination, length, or Cruise Director.
    Looking forward to sailing with you again. And thanks for everything.
    Rick and Alynda S.

  184. Theresa Taylor says:

    In regards to part III, you did a great job….everyone did. No injuries no fatalities, and you did tell the guests to dress warmly before going topside. Don’t beat yourself up. Love you.

  185. Molly says:

    This is better than the book I am currently reading. Sounds like a good plot for a movie.

  186. Charles Ballentine says:

    Thank you for the riveting firsthand account of the fire incident and I look forward to your next update. I and my family are platinum card Carnival cruisers who have sailed on the Sensation at least twice before. On one location, the selection of our family cruise was based solely on the fact that you were going to be the cruise director. It was on that cruise that my parents were featured on the “Marriage Game” that you hosted as having been the longest married (61 years at the time 7 years ago … and still married). We haven’t been on a cruise in two years, but we’re hopeful to arrange another sometime in the future. You can be sure that we will consult your cruising schedule before making our next selection. I actually have another question that’s been driving me absolutely crazy since reading your blog. I understand the context of your use of the word “disapissitated” but I can find no definition of it in any Google search or in any online dictionary – including the Oxford English dictionary where, in a previous blog, you mentioned that it could be found. My assumption is that it is a word (once? still? now?) common in British English but I was surprised that no dictionary defines it as such. Whenever I read books from British authors (Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins) I am enlightened not only by the content, but also to my own cultural biases revealed in the surprise I initially feel in having to frequently consult a dictionairy to look up British idioms. I applaud these authors for not “Americanizing” their books, as I am certain many American publishers would prefer. But, having said that, I must now turn to you for the definition and etymology of disapissitated.

    Keep up the good work.

    • grizel robertson says:

      Hi Charles from Grizel, a platinum member, living in a currently snowy Scotland.
      As I think John may be hard pushed to send a personal reply to your question in the short term, I thought that I would respond on behalf of the British Carnival cruise fraternity.
      The appropriate word that means “to lessen, scatter or disperse” is in fact DISSIPATE. I am sure that you will find it appears in most English dictionaries & also on Google.
      I hope that my response “dissipates” your frustration about your unresolved issue.
      On February 27 2011, I shall be embarking on C Glory for a BtoB cruise, the first week of which will be my double platinum cruise coupled with my joining JH for BC4. Why not join us for John’s Blogger cruise?
      Regards, Grizel

  187. Susan says:

    I can’t wait for part 4, your writing is amazing, and how you remained calm and held it together for the guests amazes me! I can’t say enough about your words and stamina to keep talking and keeping the guests from panicking.

  188. Sean says:

    You know the good people at Discovery Channel are reading this and salivating to do the “mayday on the seas” or the like. You’re doing their job for them! I can’t wait for the next chapter… Write faster! 🙂

  189. Marty Paul says:

    John – again, thanks for the extraordinary re-cap of how it went down out there! Your candid and honest report of this marine casualty is much appreciated.

    Btw, leather thong and nipple tassles? Thanks, after that visual….no sleeping tonight.

    I’ll just stay up and wait for Part 4. PS- I agree with other bloggers, you need to write a book about this!

    Marty Paul

  190. Comedy Plus says:

    May what an exciting emergency. What a great team as well. I’m so looking forward to our cruise in February. Such capable folks running things. 🙂

  191. Comedy Plus says:

    My what an exciting emergency. What a great team as well. I’m so looking forward to our cruise in February. Such capable folks running things. 🙂

  192. Debbie says:

    When we first heard of this situation, my first words were, “For their sake, I hope John is the CD on the ship.” Not that I wanted you to be a situation like that, but I know you would be the best man for the job. You do a terrific job and seemed to have handled this just like I knew you would. I am enjoying reading your account of what happened. I know it is the truth and you are such a great writer. Glad you all made it safely back to port.


  193. Samantha says:

    Hi John, what a wonderfully funny and tremendously informative account of the happenings on the Splendor.. I hung my dancing shoes and retired from CCL fives years ago and had the pleasure of working with you, Heidi, Wee Jimmy and Kevin on the Triumph in 2003 ( I think). Any hoo, thanks again for the great blog.

  194. Amy Norman says:

    John, when my husband & i went on our first cruise, we were lucky enough to have you as our CD. After hearing about all the news stories this week and reading your comments, I would like to say a huge congratulations to not only to you & the captain, but the entire crew. You all do such an awesome job at ensuring the passengers are well cared for. Thank you! We look forward to crusing with Carnival in February!! Job well done!!

  195. Patricia Loges says:

    What a terrific job you did for us. You made us laugh so much. My husband and I were two of the lucky ones that got to see your show the first night. So glad to have met you and what a show…I just want to say thank you for keeping us informed of everything that was happening and to the crew . What a crew!!! And of course the Captain. Everyone was so helpful and kind. Our next cruise we will take flashlights (for the bathroom in the evening) and a bottle of instant coffee. Ha ha. And, Carnival Cruise Lines, how wonderful they were to us. Hope to see you again soon, John. Take care and God Bless you.


  196. John T Castillo says:

    Great Job John, You have done a Great Job. I know as a CD you have a very tough job to make and keep people happy, now add this Situation. I feel that Carnival goes above al else to get Great People to work for them. I am glad to read you Blog and I know the majoity of the guest were happy with your smooth calm voice during a very trying time. I have cruised Carnival (Estasy) in Sept 2010 and that crew was fabulous. I look foward to my 2012 on Splendor as for now I getting ready for 2011 to Jamaca on Conquest.
    Now ready for part 4 and more…

  197. Shelly says:


    You are a great writer and I thank you so much for your story. I truly have not seen a single news clip or show about what happened. I am not big on tv anymore but I have been following closey through Carnival. What people and the news need to remember is each person has their own story to tell and with that every story will be different. I have enjoyed your story and I commend you for your proffessionalism during a time in crisis. There is no training that can ever prepare you for the real thing and every real thing is different so don’t be so hard on your self for forgetting or not knowing something. You to are human. We just got off the Valor and enjoyed our cruise and next time I cruise I will remember how important of a role each member of the Carnival team plays.

    Thank you
    Stillwater, Minnesota

  198. Renee says:

    Actually, it’s dissipate 😉

  199. deanna says:

    Waiting patiently for part 4

  200. Anne says:


    John~ Wow! It’s very interesting to hear your side of this unbelievable and unforgettable cruise. Thanks to you we were very calm- at all times. Your announcements were very informing and at the same time they kept us calm and we knew we didn’t need worry. And your sense of humor made us LAUGH!!!! A BIG thank you to you John! We truly hope to cruise with you again!

    Rudi & Anne De Winkle, room 1214

  201. Deborah says:

    We went on a Carnival Cruise (Sensation) last February and maybe going next February and this will certainly make you stop and think but you, the crew and the Captain did a great job keeping everyone safe so I feel certain that I will be in good hands on my next cruise with you. I am so glad that everyone is safe. Great job Carnival Cruise Line.

  202. Sonia Ramos says:


    Just wanted to say thanx for everything. Especially keeping all of us updated and best of all maintaining everyone on board calm. It was a situation that was well handled by every staff member. Everyone was attentive to all the guests. I appreciate how we were all accommodated especially my two kids(my son, 8 and my daughter 2yrs old). AWESOME work! now take some time off. Hopefully, for my next cruise I get to meet u and thank u personally.


  203. Dr. Z says:

    John, I did the 11/29/09 Splendor Cruise last year and am booked for 12/5 departure this year. I truly hope the ship is functional by then, but after getting to know you through your skilled writing I’m more excited about meeting you in person than about taking the cruise. You truly are a valued asset to Carnival.

    PS: I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you get a call from a “best selling” author to do some ghost writing! 😉

  204. Tricia says:

    Thank you, John, for the candid blog posts about Splendor – much appreciated.

  205. Spartan Kent says:

    Now it’s over

    Mmmm you need more smoke/fire doors/bulkheads & smoke extraction system that has it’s own backup generator & air intake system to replace the air/smoke you have extracted. Smaller areas can then be flooded with CO2 quickly to put the fire out then cleared to get small crew teams in to check

  206. Doug Parker says:

    What a great picture you are painting of the entire event. Can’t wait to read more!

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  208. Lorri says:

    John, My family is scheduled for the 11\28 sailing and we look forward to meeting you. I like to think “what an adventure”, and not “my life is ruined”!! Kudo’s to all who work on the ship. This will be my 13 cruise and I know how hard all your employees work. I can’t wait to shake your hand and to say Thank You in person…I too look forward to part 4, Lorri

  209. abbie says:

    Dear John,
    I was on the carnival splendor with you when that happened and I must say you did a wonderful job updating us and keeping us all calm despite the crisis. Your humor and your voice just made it easier for us passengers. If you hadn’t given us timely updates, then we would have panicked. Everyone, including the staff were all helpful. This experience won’t hinder me from booking another cruise with carnival. Kuddos to you, captain cupisti, the staff and the management for handling a situation like this. I can’t wait to ride the splendor again.

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  212. Mary Jones says:

    what happened to part 2??

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