Almost Back To Normal

November 18, 2010 -

John Heald

It’s hard to remember anything about my last cruise on the Carnival Splendor outside of  what happened early Monday morning. I remember the poor guests whose luggage fell in the water thanks to some not so skillful forklift driving skills of a Long Beach stevedore. But apart from that most of Sunday is a bit of a blur. However, I do remember a beautiful 11-year-old girl who was part of my Sunday show and the reason I remember her is because of her name.

Up until the last few days before our daughter was born Heidi and I had many a heated discussion about what we were going to call her. My first choice was actually Sophie which is a good old-fashioned English name. We also discussed Alexandria which eventually we said no to because she would of course have become Alex. In the end we went with Kye because that’s what Heidi wanted and what Heidi wants Heidi gets…….. because that’s the law.

Naming a child is a huge decision to make and these day’s it seems that you can now call a child anything that comes out of a bag of Scrabble letters. I am sure we have all met people with exotic names like Mercedes, Chardonnay, Seniquiere…… and Jennifer. Absolutely anything will do, except perhaps names like O.J., Adolf …………. and anything that sounds slightly French.

I bring this subject up because I had this young lady pull the raffle prize out of the bucket at the Fun Ashore, Fun Onboard talk. I asked her how old she was — “11,” she replied. I then asked her name and I kid you not when I tell you she said “Candle”….. I thought she said “Candi” so I asked her again and she said “Candle.”

She had obviously been through this scenario before because even without me asking her to, she spelt it out “C  A  N  D  L  E.”  Now obviously this little girl was 11 years old and what could I say but “What a beautiful name, you were called after a candle burning bright and lighting up a room while my name is John, named after a toilet.”

But what I was really thinking was “What the heck kind of name is Candle?” Maybe she was conceived by candlelight, maybe her mother had hot wax poured onto her nip…….. never mind….. but Candle…….. poor kid?

As I said, Heidi and I had many a good chat about what we were going to call the then “thingy.” What makes it even more complicated is that it is difficult to name something that doesn’t actually exist. And even if you wait for the head to pop out, you still only end up with a baby that looks exactly like every other baby that’s ever been born. I’m surprised nobody has ever called a baby “Will you stop crying so I can get some bloody sleep” or “Noisy Sod.”

Parents today have millions of options what to call their children and yet amongst all the name possibilities Candle’s parents chose Candle. But there is another problem. If you have to give your daughter a name without knowing how your 8 pound bundle of poo and sick will grow up to look like. Will she be a Megan Fox or a Judge Judy? And that’s before we get to the problems of geography, because you can call your son Jesus if you live in Chile or Peru but not if you live in Valdosta, Georgia, or Southend-On-Sea, Essex.

The next problem for Candle and children with other “different” names like Prada or Diet Coke is that they will no doubt come across other kids who will not see anything in their names except a chance to subject them to some name calling and possible head down the toilet experiences. Personally I don’t think you’re interesting if you name your son Moon Unit or your daughter Blackberry. I think you’re cruel and making up for the fact that you’re called Bob or Mary. Bob and Mary are nice names……. calling your daughter after a piece of burning wax……. is just plain bonkers. And what the heck were Englebert Humperdink’s parents thinking?

Oh by the way as Candle left the stage I made a little farting noise over the microphone…… and I said that she was “A Candle In The Wind”…… everyone laughed……. except her Mum……. oops. That’s cost me another fruit basket……. which by the way, is the name of Candle’s brother.

During the last week and my long winded Smoke on the Water blogs we welcomed many thousands of new readers. In fact during the 6 days of posting this account of what happened we received a total of 453,181 visits to this blog!

Now I am sure the vast majority of those new readers have realised that there are far more interesting things to read than our blog thingy. However, if by chance a few of those readers haven’t buggered off to read CNN, FOX, MSNBC or then I should explain what is about to happen.

Each day people post comments on the blog and some ask me for a reply or ask for assistance on a forthcoming cruise. I then answer 10 questions every time I write a blog. Now before Smoke on the Water, I was about 3 or 4 weeks behind and now I am even more so even though I answered an extra large batch last week. The questions I am about to ask were posted on October 15 and were obviously written well before the Carnival Splendor incident.

Anyway, having said that let’s crack on with today’s 10……. away we go.

Sean Barry Asked:
John Please Reply,

I will be brief, I know you have lots of requests so I won’t take too much time. How early can one make reservations for the “Chef’s Table Experience” onboard the Splendor. We have just made our reservations for the 7 day cruise on the Splendor to the Mexican Riviera departing on 5/8/11 and there will be 6 of us in all. Also what is the cost? Is it too early? When do you suggest requesting a reservation?

Thanks for your help
Sean Barry

John Says:
Hello Sean Barry

The Chef’s Table can be booked as much in advance as you need. In fact for all those people who have booked their Carnival Magic I should point out that I will be taking reservations for The Chef’s Table beginning January 2.

Please can you send me another post marked CHEF’S TABLE RESERVATION and please also include the sailing date, your cabin number, the number of spaces at the table you need and an e-mail address you wish the confirmation to be sent to.

The price is $75 and includes an exclusive seven-course meal prepared by the chef and served in a private dining room. There are also some surprise gifts and of course the galley tour itself, champagne reception and the most fabulous hors d’ouevres you have ever eaten. I cannot recommend this culinary experience enough. Thanks for booking the Carnival Splendor and I will be here should you wish to make a reservation

Best wishes

Bugs Asked:
Dear John (Please Reply),

I wrote a few weeks ago about a recent cruise, but forgot to put “please reply.” My question was in regard to the surveys at the end of a cruise. When I did not receive one I asked at the Purser’s Desk (it will always be the Purser’s Desk to me) and was told they are no longer given to the passengers, but that I would be contacted by email. I had only one small issue having to do with Camp Carnival. My main interest was being able to commend some outstanding members of the crew who truly went above and beyond. Never did get the promised email. Is this how all the ships are handling the survey, or just Carnival Sensation? Another question has come up. I bought a number of Future Cruise certificates before the single supplement went to 200%. At the time of purchase I understood they would only be redeemed at 50% for a solo cruiser and understood it was to offset the 150% rate. I booked the Oct 16 Grand Med and Oct 28 Transatlantic and paid 200% for each sailing. Apparently the Future Cruise certificates will still only be redeemed at 50% even though I paid as if a second person was sharing the cabin. This does not seem fair. Your comments please? Enjoy your blog, please keep them coming.


John Says:
Hello Bugs

The comment card that was is no more and has been replaced with a review card which is e-mailed to the guest once they are at home after the cruise. I know that when we first started this that not everyone was getting their card and some were disappointed by this. Usually this was because like you they wanted to praise the crew or make us aware as to how we can improve. Hopefully now though most of you are receiving your cards online. I suggested recently that a website be set up where using their booking reference etc as log in thingies, guests could access the card and complete the survey. I will follow up on this soon.

I have to admit Bugs that I don’t understand how exactly the future cruise certificates work. I do know that it is a fact that the solo traveller pays more and therefore I would like to ask someone who can answer this for me and I will have them contact you. I want to thank you for your loyalty to Carnival and for taking the time to write. If you haven’t received a review card and would like me to address any issues you had, please let me know here on the blog thingy.

Best wishes

Janey – (OKGIRL) Asked:
John (please reply when you can),

Last week on the Conquest, Sam (entertainment staff) showed me a really cool picture on the front of the crew magazine that showed a picture of that bulb thingy that protrudes right at the water line in the front of the ship and perched on top was a sea lion!!!!!! It looked like he was in his rightful place and was ready to set sail….… It reminded me of all of the fabulous pictures that Radu has taken and I was wondering if he took that one and if so could you post it here?

I would like to make it my screen saver. In fact that brings me to another thought. Is there a place to go download screen savers of Carnival images?

Thanks for all you do, and we’ll see you on BC4!

John Says:
Hello Janey – (OKGIRL)

I haven’t seen the photo but I am guessing the magazine you are referring to is called Seaview, which is our employee newsletter produced by our shoreside team that is sent out to every Carnival employee, both aboard ship and corporate offices. It features stories about onboard events and other employee happenings and I know that every year we hold a photo contest. I will try and find out who too the photo and see if we can post it here on the blog in the next few days. I am very much looking forward to BC4 and hope that until then you will keep reading the blog thingy.

Best wishes

Vicki H Asked:
John (Please reply)

My husband and me are due to go on the Spirit to Mexico in December and there is lots of chat on Cruise Critic with members recommending we cancel all our shore excursions due to the violence in Mexico. One member told us that if Carnival felt there was any danger they would not go there but other Cruise Critic members are saying Carnival doesn’t care and will go because they make money.  I don’t know what to believe and am thinking of cancelling my cruise. Please help me!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Says:
Hello Vicki H

While I greatly respect the opinions of everyone that writes on Cruise Critic it is an opinion based site much like this blog is. However, in this case the person or persons who wrote this are totally wrong. Carnival cares………. of course we do and to say otherwise is bonkers. We monitor very carefully all the ports of call we go to and if needed take immediate steps to insure that our guests are safe.  Yes, there have been some issues in Mexico, however the incidents are not in tourist areas and the places our ships call at. So the bottom line is that we only have your best interests at heart and will always put the safety of our guests first. I know you will have a fantastic cruise and enjoy the beautiful and diverse ports of call.

Best wishes to you both

Lemurcat Asked:
Reply needed

You must be feeling so embarrassed and so stupid. You spend all those blogs making fun of RCI and the fact that they charge for steaks in their MD and then Carnival does it as well. Proves to me that you are a jerk and this blog is pathetic. What do you have to say about that then Heald?

John Says:
Hello Lemurcat.

Well ummmm………….not really. That’s because the main difference here is that our delicious flat iron steak is still available every night on every ship and there is no extra charge. There is also no extra charge for the lobster either. The steaks we are charging for are on vessels that do not have a steakhouse and therefore it gives our guests a chance to experience these amazing cuts of steakhouse meat.  And remember, this is a test.  Thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes
John the Jerk

Tom-n-Cheryl Asked:

These were your words from the Oct. 5, 2010 Blog:

“So as I grow old it’s the chap with flashlight that becomes my role model and not the Porsche driving Botox-filled 50 something’s. Although saying that….I would still love an Aston Martin ……..and I bet the 50 something toned and tanned men get more Latvian rumpy pumpy than a fat bent-toothed droopy-eyed cruise director….. mmmmm ………. actually ………… forget everything I have written so far………….it’s total bollocks.”

Yet when I look at your updated photo on the blog, your teeth don’t appear “bent”! Perhaps someone is trying to “spiff you up a bit” since you are, after all, getting up in years, LOL 😉


John Says:
Hello Tom and Cheryl

Yep……. those for sure are not my teeth. I have been given Hollywood smile instead of my usual bent toothed coffee and cigar-stained grin. Still……. one can dream

Best wishes to you both

Cheryl Donofrio Asked:

Hello John,

My husband and I are travel agents, and each year we do a fund-raiser cruise (on Carnival of course) to benefit our church. Every year since 2004 we’ve done this, and I always requested 2nd seating, and it was never a problem – until now. Half of our group – 9 people in fact, told me that they need to be on 1st seating. One lady has a medical condition where she has to wait 4 hours after eating to go to bed. (I knew about her condition, but didn’t know about that bit.) The others all want early seating for various reasons. I called the group department as soon as I realized there was a problem, and switched them to “your time dining”. Then the dining coordinator talked we into wait listing for early seating. I’m just afraid that they will get put into late seating because there will be no room in early seating, and they’ll all get mad and, well…I see these people every week at church. I don’t want them to think I’m an incompetent nitwit, or something. I’m throwing myself on your mercy. Is there anything you can do to help? Please?

Your Friend,
Cheryl D. (I was on the Blogger’s cruise out of NOLA.)

P.S. The group number is ______, the ship is the Carnival Pride, and the sailing date is Oct. 31, 2010. Thank you again for whatever help you can give.

John Says:
Hello Cheryl Donofrio

This is one of those questions that has escaped me because you have already sailed. I am so very sorry and I wanted to personally tell you this and hope that you all had a great cruise despite me letting you down. I am going to hope that you all got on OK despite the differences regarding the dining times. Please let me know if you have the chance that all was well and once again my sincere apologies.

Best wishes

Jill Fritz Asked:
Hi John! Please reply…..

First let me say I love reading your blog daily. It always has me laughing after a long day at work!! We are booked on back to back cruises on the Destiny Jan 20 & 24. I was wondering if you could give me any info as to what actually occurs on the 24th when we return to Miami and get ready to sail again. Will we leave the ship? Will we have to check in again? 4 of us are Platinum and 2 are not. I was just wondering who goes where and what all will happen. The second part of this cruise is with the Cruise Fools group and is all inclusive so it should be soooooo much fun!!

Thanks for any help you can give me John!! Have a great day!

John Says:
Hello Jill Fritz

Congratulations on booking your back to back cruise on the Carnival Destiny. Now on the 24th all the guests who are sailing on the next voyage will have to pass through Unites States Customs and Border Protection checks. However once that is done you will proceed directly back to the ship, have your new photo taken for your Sail & Sign card and that’s it, there is no need to go through the check in process again. I am sure you and the brilliantly named Cruise Fools group will have loads of fun. I look forward to reading your review.

Best wishes

Chris Packard Asked:

What percentage of the bars on the Carnival ships will remain smoking when Carnival is all done with these changes? It is looking more and more like my Wife and I will have to look for other venues of relaxation for the few days we get together each year as I don’t feel it is right to expect us to leave a bar where we are trying to have a good time to walk basically outside in the wind and weather to have a cigarette. Oh I understand that we can go to what one or two other bars and have a smoke and then if we can find a seat say back in the piano bar we can go back and enjoy a bit more music.

We had in fact just decided to book a cruise on the Carnival Splendor but will not be because it would not be a very splendid vacation for us. I also understand that the loss of revenue from just the two of us will not make any difference to Carnival Corp so it doesn’t really matter. Carnival is doing a great job of telling smokers they are not really welcome with the additions of adult only areas that we have to leave to have a smoke, the doing away with smoking Cigar bars and yes I understand that this was just a test but the thought was there and now a couple more places that forbid smoking.

Also what is it with not allowing electronic smokes except in smoking areas? If a person is using one of them it is probably because they are trying to quit and now you send them to be around other smokers. BOY that is as helpful as telling a person that is quitting drinking they have to sit at the bar. On the bright side I enjoy your blog and read it every day because it makes my time here in Iraq pass with at least a laugh a day. It is also a very informative place to come to find out about all the changes being instituted.

Keep up the great job and we both will be looking forward to sailing with you again as we did in the Med on the beautiful Carnival Freedom where I got to share a few minutes with you in the cigar bar.

John Says:
Hello Chris Packard

Let me quickly start by letting you know that with regard to the electronic cigarettes, Carnival’s policy is that it is allowed in all public areas minus the main dining rooms. This means you can smoke it in all the bars and lounges and casino and in the cabins, etc.

Smoking continues to be a thought-provoking subject and I understand both sides of the argument. As it stands now every ship has an indoor smoking area and we do not make guests smoke only outside. These rules are of course more liberal than those on land and specifically at land based hotels and resorts where smokers are indeed for the most part forced to stand outside.

I promise to keep you informed if and when anything changes. My personal opinion is that we need to keep one lounge smoking and make it a fun place to be. What we don’t need to do is subject people who don’t appreciate cigar or cigarette smoke to have to walk through it to get to another location. Carnival will continue to do it’s best to provide environments for both smokers and non smokers alike. I hope we get to share some cigar time soon. Best wishes and thanks for writing


Jaguarmassive99 Asked:
John (Please Reply)

Will you please confirm if the rumor on Cruise Critic is true that Carnival is going to take the Fascination away from Jacksonville? This is so bad if it’s true. We have sailed on her 5 times and love the ship. Please tell me it ain’t so


John Says:
Hello Jaguarmassive99

I am happy to confirm that there are no plans to take the Carnival Fascination away from Jacksonville. So go now and book cruise number 6 and thanks so much for your loyalty.

Best wishes

And that’s all for today. Please make sure if you need anything arranged for a cruise to allow as much time as possible…..maybe even 8 weeks in advance as I hate to disappoint people. I must also say that the comments you all wrote about the Carnival Splendor incident were absolutely brilliant and especially the ones about the crew and how much you appreciated their hard work. I want to say a special thanks to the people who were actually on the ship during this challenging time. Your compassion for each other and the crew was extraordinary and I have collated all your reviews and passed them back to the ship and Hotel Director Duncan who is still there. He is going to make sure they are all posted on the ship when she returns to service in January.

A lot of you have asked about the crew who were serving on the Carnival Splendor and what will happen to them. Well, a skeleton crew will remain on the ship. These will include people to cook meals for the technicians who will be on the vessel these next few days and some housekeeping staff. Most crew though will be reassigned to other ships and I suspect that when the ship does re-enter service that many of the crew will not have been onboard during the incident.

One crew member who is determined to be there is me. I feel so guilty having left her in that state and need to put proper closure on my time there. I have asked Carnival to allow me to do this and so far they have agreed. I also left some unwashed underpants in the cabin as well as my hemorrhoid cream and my Latvian Women in Suspenders DVD and I want all of them back.

Before the start of the now infamous November 7 cruise on the Carnival Splendor I had lost a battle…..a battle to save someone from my department being fired. I had done my best to counsel him and get him through his problem with alcohol but I failed and that made me feel so mad at myself. Carnival has a very strict policy with its crew and how much they can drink. But this chap……well it went well beyond that. I spent time with him talking and begging him to get help because he was so very good at his job and a wonderful person to be around……when he was sober. He is moderate in most things, except booze. I really tried helping him through a detox period. I banned him from the guest lounges and the crew lounge but without medically qualified supervision I guess it was never going to work. I asked his cabin mate to keep an eye on him and let me know what was happening. But how could we keep watch on him day and night? And then something happened that resulted in me having no choice but to relieve him of his position. Words can never describe watching a forty year old man cry like a baby and beg you not to fire him….. to tell you that he has no family or home to go to and that even though you have no choice you really want to give him a hug and one more chance. But I couldn’t. The rules are in place for obvious reasons as we saw just two days later. I mean how could this chap have helped the guests during the fire and indeed, how could he have helped himself?

My hope is that he will get help, professional help and change his life for the better…… but my heart tells me that things are only going to get worse for him and the drink will one day soon take his life. I failed him and I feel a total bastard for doing so.

On much happier note your Carnival Magic is as you know under construction in Italy. One of the people who often get to see her long before the rest of us is my mate Preston Bircher, who is the technical manager for all our amazing shows. He designs the lighting and oversees the construction of all the entertainment spaces onboard. Preston is currently in the shipyard and sent me a few photos which because he has a beard were taken with an Eye Phone. Here they are.

The man himself


Starboard-side Lanai


The symbol of fun


20-story gantry crane


Custom-made yellow elevator lifts pre-built staterooms into the ship!

I am going to visit the ship in January and before then I am sure Preston and his Eye Phone will be sending us more photos. Don’t forget to visit the ship’s very own website at

I can’t wait to see her and I will be featuring much more about her in the coming weeks. Tomorrow I will feature an interview with our brand new Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations Mr. Mark Tamis. He has an incredible background in the hospitality industry and I know you will truly enjoy what he has to say. I hope you will all join me for that.

Yesterday I did an interview for Cruise Critic. The questions were as I expected and I understand the fascination with what happened. I am though now I think wanting to move on and you will see during next week’s blogs I will be writing less about the past and more about the present and the future.

However, before I do move on I realise that while apologizing to the guests who were onboard and those whose vacation plans have been changed that I forgot to apologise to two people who deserves my most sincere apology. They are Richard Fain, chairman of RCI, and Adam Goldstein, the company’s president and CEO.

Their brand new ship and the world’s largest cruise ship the Allure of the Seas arrived into Florida last week and I am truly sorry that all their plans for an exuberant and extravagant arrival were ruined. You have to feel sorry when a billion dollar brand new cruise ship is taken off the front page……………. by a $3 can of Spam.


Your friend

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97 Responses to Almost Back To Normal

  1. Frank and Bridie says:

    Candle? Candle? Yea that is interesting?

    Frank and Bridie

  2. pete says:

    well done john. that last paragraph…bloody classic mate.. loved it

  3. Colin says:


    It is a relief to see you are well. I had the joy of having you as my cruise director aboard the Conquest back in April, and it was a fabulous experience.

    Anyhow, I wanted to touch on the issue of names. In my line of work, I interact with many people of various backgrounds and ethnicities, so strange names do not surprise me.

    However, one day, a man came into my office with two lovely daughters, and with my regular charm, I asked them what their names were. THeir response?

    Porsche and Mercedes. I looked the father in the face and said “My, those are interesting names. Why those in particular?”

    His response, I kid you not, was “I wanted to name them after things I would never have.”


    So, after finishing his transaction, I suggested, in parting, that he name his son “Good Credit.”

    I don’t think he got it.

    Cheers, and I hope to see you next year.

  4. Harvey Greck says:

    Hi John, Great follow up, I do love the Sense of Humor of you Brits, alot of my ship mates are from England and they too,have that brilliant sense of huor like you.
    I was on Splendor with you, during that extrordinary week, and not to re-hash anything, but of course as usual Carnival did an amzing job for us passangers, form the ships crew ,officers ,Miami office and the folks at the Grand Hyatt too. But my favorite part was when I was leaving the ship from deck 6, I was carrying my heavy luggage and a gentlemen yelled out to me, “Excuse me Sir, can I help you with that, and he proceeded to take my luggage , and because i was leaving the ship at the wrong time, thinking Platinums could leave at first call also, he never said no you have to wait, he just carried that dam heavy thing down 6 decks for me, and that guy was Gerry Cahill, and that blew my mind.
    I lead alot of groups on ships and we mostly use (98% of the time) Carnival and that’s one of the reasons,because there is no friendlier, warm and fuzzy crew folks like the Carnival people.
    Love you all, I’ll be on the Freedom, which I adore, next Sunday 11/28 for 14 days and I can’t wait.
    thank you again for being you, one of your followers,
    Harvey Greck

    • Julie Mendenhall (jrmende63) says:

      Wow Mr. Greck your post says a lot about Carnival! When Gerry Cahill carried your luggage down those stairs…that would have been enough to sell me! Carnival is top notch!

    • Alan says:

      As a Brit we never see Carnival ships up here so the tales of the Splendor have been interesting and certainly changed my view of what I expected of Carnival. Have traveled on and enjoyed P&O, Cunard, & Princess but the commitment to customer service we’ve seen from Carnival in this is truly exceptional. I really don’t think it could have been handled any better, the whole travel industry could learn from this. Including the budget airlines over here thinking of charging pax to use the toilets!

    • Katrina H says:

      See ya on the Freedom 11/28/10!

  5. JP says:

    How about Blanket? or even worse; Paris?

  6. LadyJag (Laura) says:

    Well, John, I don’t think any other name can hold a Candle to Candle!


  7. MissKitty says:

    Parents should have a list of 1,000 acceptable names to choose from.
    I say this because my husband and I are both the unlucky recieptants of odd names (while at least back in the 60-70’s, they were odd). I find it funny, John about the scrabble contect. I’ve always said, that my father got drunk (only girl, after three 20+ years older boys) got a hold of a scrabble game, shook out the letters, and viola, my name appreared. Husband on the other, his mother was just plain cruel.

    No weird spellings, pronoucations, etc. Just good, common names, ones you can find on coffee cups and key chains for what ever country you are from.
    AKA MissKItty

  8. jetskier says:

    I wonder if Candle’s folks tells her to stay away from fire.


  9. Big Ed says:

    John, your so right. I don’t recall reading or hearing anything about the arrival of Mall of the Seas II. Anyway I would rather eat a can of SPAM on the Lido deck of any Carnival ship they under a tree or next to a rock wall on the Mall of the seas II. Give me a free ice tea anyday on a Carnival ship instead of a Starbuck Foo Foo coffee in a floating mall.

    BIG Ed

    • Big Ed says:

      PS; to Lemurcat

      Your the one that should feel so “embarrassed and so stupid” after reading John’s answer. Carnival does not charge for the steaks that are on the MDR normal menu. The steak they charge is a special steak they serve in the Steakhouses on other ships.

      Now I hope you leave your last comment to John as an apology to him.

      Bye Bye

      BIG Ed

      • Elaine says:

        HEY BIG Ed… You took the words right out of my mouth… Lemurcat should do his/her homework prior to being so nasty and incorrect. You do owe John an apology…

      • Barbara says:

        I too agree–Lemurcat was VERY rude to John and hope that he realizes how mean he was. Although seeing his comments make me think he could care less about anyone but himself.

      • Larry Meador says:

        Lemurcat is this way on Cruise Critic also. She is not a John Heald fan and she never will be. She appears to enjoy antagonizing people over their opinions, especially when they don’t agree with her own negative comments….

        Your not so friend from Texas,

        Larry Meador

      • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

        This reminds me of one of DJ’s Zingers on a ship.

        The host kept reminding people to please NOT yell out the answers during trivia…until the answers were asked for.

        As DJ was walking by, some drunk guy yelled out the wrong answer and DJ says ” Rude and Stupid” ……
        and kept walking.

        That answer seems to apply to “pissycat” as well.


  10. Angie says:

    John, good to have you back. I don’t know what we’ll all do without the weekly DPR on Saturday nights? Are you going to be ok not having to do that for a while?

    Love the blog. Find it very entertaining.

  11. Laura Gallagher says:

    You know, I thought about this for a minute, and had to respond to the following comment in the beginning of your blog:
    “……However, I do remember a beautiful 11-year-old girl who was part of my Sunday show and the reason I remember her is because of her name.”

    John, it seems to me that ‘Candle’ was a bright flicker of memory in an otherwise dark and chaotic time to come over the next few days, so much so that her tiny ‘light’ still holds a positive place in the frustration of all that you had to endure.

    ps – I will never listen to “Candle in the wind” without a smile on my face again! Comment made in bad taste – maybe (only because it was a kiddo whose parents just weren’t thinking it through when they named her) But, Hey……..I almost named my first “Tia Maria” hmmmmm

    • Alice Sloan says:

      “You are the light of my life” maybe? She can verbally drop the L any time; just keep the name legally. But I bet she loves being unique.

  12. Host Mach from Cruise Critic says:

    John, I find myself asking your forgiveness again for the amazingly crass and thoughtless post by a Cruise Critic member who believes that by ranting and insulting she can influence you or the Bloggers in some way. Bottom line, acting like a jerk only lets the world know you’re a jerk.


    All the best to they girls…


    Host Mach

    • slickabrina says:

      I’ve seen the Cruise Critic postings and well, I wouldn’t expect anything else from this one. Pffft.

    • Larry Meador says:

      Quite true! It’s better to let the world think you are an idiot than to open your mouth and prove it…. I am just thankful that the majority of Cruise Critic members are courteous and helpful with their comments.

      Your friend in Texas,

      Larry Meador

  13. Tyler says:

    John, I wanted to let you know that I spent the majority of the day with him, and he repeatedly said that he needs to change his ways and get help, but unfortunately when we got to the airport the first thing he did was have a drink. I have his contact information and plan to email him in due time.
    Having grown up with an alcoholic father, I know how difficult a struggle he has ahead of him.

  14. JMK says:

    I know a grown woman named Candyl. I feel sorry for the young girl you met, John. Based on my friend’s experience, life will not get any easier for her with that name. It’s kind of “cute” when you are a small girl. Not so cute as a professional adult.

  15. Jeff says:


    If John is a jerk and his blog pathetic, would does that say about a person that would read it, if they truly felt that way?

    Some experts would say it is a common case of insecurity and self hatred with a touch of jealousy mixed in.

    How sad for you and how sad that RCCL is represented by such a Royal Chump.

    And how humiliated RCCL must be to see the gutter quality of individual they cater to.


  16. Anne says:

    Hey, I thought you said there were no candles on board after the electricity went out..

  17. Canuck Cruiser says:

    Hey John ,

    Nice apology………………with your tongue firmly planted in your cheek. Good one!

    All the best to you , Heidi and Kye.

    B&D from Stratford

  18. Comedy Plus says:

    I’m glad things are getting back to normal.

    The smoking issue. I don’t smoke and I don’t want to have to be smelling it, but having a place inside for the smokers is a very nice thing indeed. Now that’s service.

    As for Candle? What a shame and there are tons of kids with weird names. Poor things.

    Have a terrific day.

    Zane and Sandee Clark
    BC4 folks that can’t wait to cruise.

  19. Judy says:

    WHY does everyone feel they need to pick on you???? No one is MAKING them read this-or making them ask for any help from you?? If they don’t care for you or your words-tell them to “bloody sod off!”

  20. You wrote
    “You have to feel sorry when a billion dollar brand new cruise ship is taken off the front page……………. by a $3 can of Spam.”

    I Love it….. love it…. love it. LMHO


  21. MaryB says:

    Living in Valdosta, GA, I can assure you we have a few men and boys named Jesus running around town! How do you know Valdosta?

    • gacruiser says:

      Hello Mary B from Waycross, GA
      Our 1st cruise on the Paradise had a social host from Valdosta Ga. After talking to her we found out that she was born and raised in Waycross…

  22. Leslie Strawmyer says:

    Hi There John,

    My husband and I were first time cruisers on the Carnival Splendor on August 29 to Sept. 5th. We had a fantastic time on our cruise and enjoyed watching your shows.

    When we heard the news of the fire we were glued to the news. We knew that the wonderful crew of the Splendor would make the very best of a terrible situation and make the guests as happy as possible. We knew how the crew helped us when we were told that we could not disembark in Cabo. The crew did a great job in trying to entertain those angry, sulking passengers.

    We live in San Diego and a feel this need to drive down to the water front to see the ship and salute you all. Job well done! I can not wait to be able to enjoy another cruise!

    Best wishes to you all.

  23. Lulu says:

    You and the crew deserve to be commended for your tremendous efforts in keeping the guests safe and informed during the Nov 7 cruise. I also understand your need to move on and ‘get back to normal’. Post-traumatic stress is serious, though, and it takes time to fully ‘get back’. You and crew of the Carnival Splendor are in my prayers.

    I was saddened to hear about the employee you had to fire for alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, for many alcoholics, ‘hitting bottom’ is a required part of the journey to sobriety. I hope he makes it. I wonder if he ever attended any of the ‘Friends of Bill’ meetings on the ship. The tenet of all 12 step programs is ‘one day at a time’, which probably is how you survived the Nov 7 cruise as well.

    Enjoy your time home with the girls. You deserve it!

  24. The Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    The can of Spam out did the Alluregic of the Sea because it is the tastiest thing on their menu. It is only served in their main dining room to help promote the idea that it would be worth it to pay for their steak.
    The Cruzin2some

  25. Bill Heck says:

    Hello John:

    I can understand your anguish over the employee with the alcohol problem. I have the same experience. Unfortunately I was never able to get anyone to seek help until they had become extremely dysfunctional. It seems as if a person has to sink pretty low before you realize the drug will do you in, unless you figure out how to leave it alone. It is never an easy experience.

    Maybe this has been discussed on the blog and I missed it, if so sorry. We were in San Juan and the pier that had the awning and the superstructure that interfered with the Dream is being renovated, minus the awning and superstructure.

    Your Friend

    Bill Heck

  26. Vanessa says:

    I’m booked on the Jan. 16 voyage celebrating my birhtday. I wanted to know if any of the crew from the last voyage will be on board and if Captain Claudio Cupisti will be on board? I would be honored to meet you and the awesome Splendor crew, *My birthday wish* 🙂

  27. Ballardite says:

    The Nieuw Amsterdam also made her first call in North America, but since she had to arrive at 1:30am, there was no traditional fireboat water salute or anything…just the regular police boat escort.

  28. Steve O says:

    Hi John,

    Really enjoyed the blog today. Loved the “Candle in the Wind” line. Hoping that was a SMALL fruit basket you sent to her Mom.

    The comments from a certain “cat” were totally uncalled for. I believe that type of name calling should cause another “banishment”. I’m sure that all of your faithful readers will agree. What do you think Big Ed? Carolyn and Don? Linda (Mom of DJ)? I bet they, and many others, will have some ideas on this “cat” person.

    On a happier note, I did send into the blog my review of the Carnival Legend today…….we got back the day you sailed on “the” Splendor trip, Nov. 7th. I waited until now to send it in as things were kind of busy there for a time, to say the least.

    So glad you’re home with Heidi and Kye. I know this is a short visit but after a couple more exhausting flights across the Atlantic you’ll be home for a proper vacation. There will be delicious home cooked meals with Spotted Dick for dessert? 🙂

    Take care John, and get some rest.
    Your old mate,
    Steve O

  29. Sean McGrath says:

    Hey John,

    Ment to post this earlier but never gor around to it. Sorry about that.

    Just a note to thank you for the great coverage of the little incident the Carnival Splendour had. I am sure you are sick of hearing about it but I just wish to pass on my comments that your blogs on the matter were extremely informative and enjoyable.

    I would also like to pass on my congratulations to the crew and the company as a whole for the way they handled the problem. Their actions have shown that Carnival is one of the safest and most professional cruise lines to sail with.

    My gratitude.

    Your friend

    Sean McGrath

  30. Shelly C. says:


    Please stop beating yourself up for not “saving” your friend. You can’t save someone who isn’t ready to be saved. There will come a day, God willing, when he is ready to take that hand you have extended to you. But you still need to know that you are only there to hold his hand while he saves himself. Just be there for him when he reaches out to you.

    That is what true friends are for.

    Best wishes,

    Shelly & Jimmy
    (still no size 7 sapphire engagement ring)

  31. @ Lemurcat,
    I think your comments are all uncalled for. I think you need to apologize to John and keep your opinions to yourself.
    John why did you even put his letter on the blog? .He must be another one of those trolls. He’s pathetic

  32. Darlene Couvillion says:

    Preston doesn’t have a beard! 😉 Love the pictures of the Carnival Magic! Can’t wait to sail on the first voyage out of Galveston!

  33. Russell F. says:


    Love your blogs. Hope I get to sail on a Carnival ship with you as the CD 🙂

  34. Heather says:

    Lemurcat should be BANNED from the blog. What a hateful and mean remark to make.

    Lemurcrat, go back and play on your ‘Mall of the Seas’ and stay off of this playground, JERK!

  35. Elaine says:

    I remember saying the same exact thing to my husband… Living in Florida and being able to watch both the Oasis and now the Allue arrive in Ft Ldle I mentioned, poor RCI, they have the largest cruise ship in the world and noone cares!!!

    We were glued to the tv but only because we were watching updates about the Carnival Splendor!!

    And John, now that you are home….more Kye pictures please…

  36. Mike says:

    John, don’t beat yourself up over this crew member. Being raised in an alcoholic family I can tell you up front that nothing you can say or do would make a bit of difference! Unless the person is really wanting to change, which usually is preceeded only by hitting rock bottom, they will never change. It is a shame that alcoholism has claimed one more victim. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying drinking is wrong, but one must be responsible, and you are absolutely correct! If he could not take care of himself in an emergency, how could he handle pax under those circumastances? We all know after the past week what can happen at sea. Had the crew not been so professional, it could have had a completely different outcome. Thank you for looking out for your pax. I know that might sound harsh, but until you have lived that life, you’ll have to trust me on that one!
    Thank you for the pics and the stories. Your honesty and integrity just impress me so much! I wish all the best for you, your family and Carnival (your “other” family!).

  37. cheria says:

    John :

    You do so much for so many, I am sure the man you let go realizes how hard it was on you,,, you did all you could,,,
    Thank you for all your heartfelt words, we have missed you !

  38. Marivonne says:

    Lemurcat.. the pot calling the kettle black? if John as per your words “is a jerk” and this blog is “pathethic” why the hell are you reading it? The ONLY jerk here is YOU right now. please save your time and crawl back from under the rock you came back! You are attacking John for decisions that were made by Carnival.. not by him. Seriously, you are what we all know as a TROLL, that loves to come, stir the pot and leave everybody with a bad taste in their mouth.. I guess the bad taste comes after reading all the $hit you have said.
    John and the Stephanies should block stupid people like you, that only brings negativism to this blog.
    None of the $hit you just said is going to change how we feel about John and the wonderful job he does as cruise director.

  39. Susanne says:

    On my granddaughter Kindell’s first cruise when she was 6 a lot of the crew called her Candle and she loved it.

  40. retirementman says:

    My good friend John, even though you weren’t able to save that 40 year old man from himself of the bottle, you tried as best you could. Sometimes people can not be saved from themselves.
    I hope that you are resting at home and enjoying the time with your beautiful ladies. Try to forget about last weeks experiences and prepare yourself for the Christmas time.
    What is the ” Allure of the Sea “? Ha.ha.ha.
    Rest my friend because your system endured a difficult experience.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  41. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    I agree that Carnival has a brilliant future to look forward to….so we need to get on with it.

    I have booked our first “cove” balcony on the Magic. After having two Spa cabins on the Splendor and Dream, it was difficult not to get a Spa cabin on the Magic.

    I absolutely LOVE the Cloud 9 Spa. But after hearing all the wonderful things about the cove balconies, I decided we just had to try one.

    SO… I will be enjoying my cove balcony AND I will purchase the Cloud 9 Spa amenities for the cruise… me the best of both worlds!!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  42. Marilee says:

    John, my husband and I read your blog and have done so ever since we heard about it a couple of years ago. We were previous passengers on the Splendor and had a wonderful time. We have followed your stories over the last several days and they have often brought us to tears. Your laughter and kindness are priceless to Carnival! When we cruise again, it will be with Carnival. What happened on the Splendor to me is more of a success story of the PEOPLE who work for Carnival rather that the problem of the fire. You guys rock. Cheers 🙂

  43. Susan M / Please reply says:

    John – Urgent Urgent

    I noticed you were replying to Oct. 15 posts today. I posted on Oct 14. I know you have been busy and are exhausted to hopefully the next time we cruise you will be able to help us.

    Enjoy your time at home with the girls. Thanks anyway. I know you being on the Splendor helped everyone tremendously.

    Tell all the crew to keep up the good work and I prayed for everyone everyday.

    Susan M.

  44. Lynda says:

    John, you are so kind and caring……the alcoholic that you unfortunately had to “let go” has probably not reached rock bottom yet. It has nothing to do with you….nothing at all. At 40 years old, miserable…drunk… most likely sad/angry/depressed…. that crew member needs help. I bet the first thing he/she did was to get sh!t faced drunk….For your sake, know all you did was for good reasons but anything else would have been enabling.
    Enjoy this time at home….and if you get a chance, have a cheese and onion pie/chips/mushy peas for me….I am a Lancashire Lass who lives in Florida!!!

  45. Jen says:

    John – FYI Comment Cards are still not being emailed. I have been back for two weeks now from a back to back and I did not get a comment card for either cruise. It’s a pity as there were people that deserved recognition.

    So glad your back to your blog! My life was empty without you 🙂

    • Sharon Bowie says:

      I have not had any comment cards for the last 3 cruises. When I talked to Carnival Tuesday, he said they are at least to be available at the Guest Services, but they never were. Wonder what the problem is, John?????

  46. Marsha says:

    I have to say you did a great job keeping everyone informed during the “rough” time on the Splendor.
    As for the friend you had to fire – you did not fail him, he failed himself. It is not up to you to save him from himself.
    As anyone with an addiction, he has to be ready to ask for and accept help before that help will work. Otherwise no matter how hard you tried, it just wouldn’t make a difference. The draw of the “drug of choice” wins out every time.
    Having an addictive personality I know this all too well. It’s not just drinking and drugs that make addicts.
    John – keep reaching out and helping others as you can. I’m sure you have helped a number of people along your travels.

  47. JamieD(please reply) says:

    While you were plodding thru and making do on the Splendor last week, we were on the Legend having a brilliant time.(sorry to rub it in) My family spent every evening at karaoke. We had the most delightful host Ladybug(Amy). She was absolutely fabulous and I was hoping to get an email for comments. I haven’t yet and would really like to see her recognized. Only because I stayed to chat with her did I find out her boyfriend was on the Splendor crew(I think on the bridge?). Despite being so concerned about her sweetie she soldiered on bravely and encouraged everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves. So if you could put a gold star beside her name I and my family would greatly appreciate it.
    Thanks so much,
    Jamie Dailey
    Karaoke Fool

  48. Cheryl Killian says:

    Hi John:

    I heard about the Allure being nosed out of their Ft. Lauderdale arrival by the our Carnival Splendor and thought it was perfect! I love your statement about the $3 can of Spam! I also actually went out to Cruise Critic last night as I hadn’t been on there in a long while. I was going back and forth between threads because people would post a link and I would follow it. It took me to this thread about a cancelled Celebrity Century cruise in Europe apparently the week before that had something to do with a malfunctioning rudder. Anyway the passengers on that cruise are livid due to the way they were treated by “X” and stated “X” needed to take a lesson from Carnival whom they have always looked down on about customer service. One post listed line by line what the passengers on the Carnival Splendor received vs the passengers on brand “X” and it was pathetic when you saw it in writing. Although most were outraged about the lack of help in getting them hotel rooms and/or home to the US as well as compensation for the cancelled cruise, most of them were angry because they had not even received an apology…from anyone. The comparison spoke as well about Gerry Cahill flying to CA to personally apologize to the guests and that “X” didn’t even send a letter. It is a great example to all business that doing the right thing for your customers is absolutely the best marketing tool you can have.

    I agree about the names people are naming their children. It can only be hard on the child with being teased.

    Thanks for the pictures of the Carnival Magic.

    Nice to be back to normal with Lemurcat whining over your RCL teases with incorrect facts…Welcome Back John!

  49. Peg Dunbar says:

    John, I am so glad that you are getting some much needed rest and you are able to get back to some kind of normal.

    I want you to know that if ever I were to be at sea with any kind of problem I would hope you would be the CD. I truly believe that the guests on the Carnival Splendor were lucky to have you as their CD. There is no doubt in my mind that because of you they were comforted by your words and what you were telling them. I am not sure that any other CD could have done as wonderful job as you did. You have such an amazing heart for how you treat people.

    Enjoy your family and get some rest. I look forward to hearing all about the Carnival Magic.

    Keep smiling John; you truly are one of the good guys.

    My best to Heidi and Kye.

  50. Nick Hull says:

    John I feel compelled to comment on your discussions on Candle’s name. I grew up in Essex and probably had a similar upbring to you (except I went to Westclff High – a way better skool). I can honestly say that I did not experience ‘weird’ or ‘hippy’ or ‘African-ish’ names until I came to the US. Of course we had the occasional Indian name at school, but the vast majority were your “Gary” and “Sharon’s”.

    My first reaction to a “Shaniqua” was “why would you do that to your kid – it’s a ‘made up name”. Well after 18 years of experiencing almost every name under the sun, I can say that it doesn’t phase me at all! Yeah, my kids are named after my family members, but I could deal with other kids with ‘different’ names without batting an eyelid.

    In the UK, Candle would be thought of as ‘oh poor Candle’ in the US it would be ‘Candle… that’s an interesting name’.

    Of course you can go to the extremes. FiFi Trixibelle, Dweezle and Hyancinth Bucket are certainly not my favorites, but really it’s just a name, it’s not like it will define you for your entire life… or at least it doesn’t in the US.

  51. Debby Barnes says:

    John, you are a good man and must have the patience of Job to deal with the problem passengers as you do. I hope you feel the love and support sent to you via these messages. I look forward to your blog everyday but will gladly give it up to see you have some “John” time. You are so gifted!

  52. Nancy McQuarrie says:


    A name story: One year when my late husband was Santa for our community homeless shelter, a little girl approached. He asked repeatedly, but just could not understand her name. Finally her mom said, “It’s Nevaeh – heaven spelled backwards.” I feel sorry for her and all the times she’ll have to spell that throughout her life. Naming your child is definitely not the place to try to impress with your creativity!

  53. Kim says:

    Another wierd name? La-A (pronounced ‘Ladasha”) I just don’t know why parents do that. We did have a motivational speaker whose name was ‘Shore’ come and talk to us. He said he was named ‘Shore’ because that is where he was concieved. His younger brother? ‘Hot tub’… Don’t know if that was a joke or not. *snort*

    Thanks again for a wonderful blog entry- I love your humor. It is always good to be able to laugh during a tough time.

    Question: What are the chances of the January 16th sailing of the Splendor being cancelled? We are booked for that sailing and are giving our kids 3 days at Disneyland after the cruise for their Christmas gift- I don’t want to wrap the blocks that spell out Disneyland if there is a chance that the cruise is cancelled.
    ***my thoughts are that the ship will be finished with repairs at the beginning of January and that they will be putting it through a series of tests to make sure everything is in working order. Am I right?***

    Thank you for taking the time to answer- if you do pick mine 🙂

    See you January 16th on the Splendor… I hope! 🙂

  54. Dwayne says:


    There is no need to apologize to Fain or RCI for stealing their Headlines of another “Mall of the Seas # 2”. If anything it kicked their collective butts by showing how Carnival steps up to the plate when an unfortunate incident happens. The rejuvenated Carnival Fantasy put their old ships to shame when docked along side them in Nassau. More like “Rust of the Seas”!

  55. Laura Berry says:

    Hi John, First let me say that I really enjoy your blog. It goes well with my morning coffee and lets me start my day with a smile. Kudos to you and all the staff and crew on the handling of the Splendor incident. you were all awesome.
    I just enjoyed a wonderful cruise September 11 on Liberty. On November 28 I am leaving on Sensation.

    Laura Berry

  56. Misty says:

    Perhaps Spam would improve the Main Dining Hall food on Royal Caribbean?

  57. Ally says:

    Have to have a little giggle here…..Allure o/t Seas being upstaged by a can of spam….

    Only in the cruise business could that happen……nowt like a bit of old fashioned one upmanship, eh?

    Spam has a whole new meaning for those too young to have had it for sunday tea or in their sandwiches at school….like I did….I shall never look at another can of spam again without having a right good laugh….

    The Allure of spam…..hmmmmm…lovely jubberly 😉

  58. Cruzinman says:

    Candle is not that bad a name John.
    Growing up as a young man i thought my name was Damit.

    My Dad was always shouting at me.

    It’s raining Damit get in here !
    Damit cut off that TV and go to bed !
    Damit eat your food!
    Damit I told you to use protection.

    No i did not name my son Damit 🙂
    I named him ” COOTER” ;->

  59. Joanie says:

    My comment is in response to the man about smoking. I realize this is a touchy subject but here is my opinion from the other side of the debate. I am not a smoker and can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke. But more than that, I have problems being in smokey areas because it makes me cough and have trouble breathing.

    I was on the Carnival Elation two weeks ago and will be back on in two more weeks. I love the piano bar and the sing alongs but as it is a smoking area, I cannot go in there and enjoy the entertainment. Same with the bands in the Jekyl & Hyde and a couple of other places. The Cole Porter Lounge was non-smoking but I can only go sit and watch karaoke so many nights in a row.

    So while you are complaining about having to leave areas where smoking is not allowed, remember those of us who have to skip entertainment that we love because of you being allowed to smoke there. When at home or anyplace on land, I can simply choose not to eat at a restaurant that allows smoking, when on a ship I have less options. It is a special vacation with special entertainment that I would not otherwise be able to enjoy and I have to miss much of that to accommodate your habit.

    On our last trip the people next door smoked in their cabin – all the time – and the hallways reeked of cigarette smoke. When I left my cabin, most of the time I went the opposite way down the hall because the smell was so bad, even though that was the long way to most of my destinations on board.

    Just note that you are not the only one with issues about smoking!


    • Big Ed says:

      Joanie, In your case you may be right. But put the shoe on the other foot. That of a smoker who also has rights since it is still legal to smoke. Yes you are in the majority, non-smokers. But not all non-smokers avoid smokers. A lot of non-smoker are all right being with smokers and don’t have a problem with smokers. Some even have friends and even spouses that smoke. So now you may be in the minority of this issue if you look at it that way. Not all people see a smoker 50 feet away from them as a threat to their health.

  60. Optiron says:

    Maybe if security would have enforced the
    No candles on board policy the whole
    Incident could have been avoided. Hmm?

  61. bill says:


    I know you will read this so no reply needed but as a man who has worked with addicts much of my adult life and coming from a family where both my grandparents were alcoholics you did not fail him. There is little you can do to ensure he does not drink. He failed himself. You did the most any friend and employer can do, you tried to help. The reality is that until he is willing to seek the mental emotional and spiritual help he needs he will not be able to defeat the illness. So, perk up old man. Refuse to look at where you feel you failed and look instead at your successes. How many current CD’s did you train? How many in Carnival’s staff look up to you as the “old man” and hope to be half the man you are? Besides, you have a great family and have done much to make the world a better place. Blessings

  62. Andre says:

    ***PRIVATE Message for John, NOT to post in PUBLIC***

    Hi John,

    I just want to say that you and your crew have done an outstanding job on the Splendor.
    I haven’t been on board but read everything available and watched all the videos I could find.
    You played a very important role and did a fantastic job, as well as your crew members.
    Also, reading your blog is so much fun!

    Now, there are a couple things I want to mention.
    1. The Chief Engineer managed to get power from the emergency generator to the EVAC systems. Since working toilets are very important for hygienic reasons and it did work through the emergency generator, you may want to ask the shipyard to always have the possibility to work the toilets on the emergency generator in such cases. That’s one thing which could be an improvement.
    2. Listening to this announceent:

    and reading your blog there is something you could do better. Well, obviously there was no panic, so you already did great, but, I think it would be a good idea to tell people in such situations that there are protocols and checklists you have to follow, and this is to be done now as a precaution only and because it is on the checklist so everyone is prepared. The way you announced it is good, but it would leave some people thinking, ‘well, they say this now so the crew will get their before we are in their way, so they will ask us to report to our muster stations in a couple minutes’… And as I remember from reading your blog, a couple guests were indeed reporting to their muster stations…
    3. The one thing you still don’t know if you have done it correct or not is the life jackets. Allthough it would add some unwanted drama to the situation… Calling the guests to the open decks without life jackets, while still not knowing what’s going on in the engine room… What if the situation in the engine room gets out of control and it becomes an inferno down there? If you then have to evacuate the vessel you probably wont have the time to send the guests back to their rooms to get the life jackets. So, I think the best would have been to tell the guests what you told them, but have them carry their life jackets and have the crew at the general emergency stations as a precaution only and because it is on the checklist for such situations, so, no need to worry, just a precaution. OTOH you really never know how the guests will take this. And the life jackets are not very comfortable either…
    Well, the way you did it was great and worked, and I have so much respect for you and your crew going through this hell the way you did. And being crew it mst have been hell, being responsible for so many guests and now improvising…
    I definately cruise with CCL again. You are truly great and I have much more trust now, after this incident, than I already had! And being a travel agent (I am owner of a travel agency in Germany) I will highly recommend CCL, as I already did in the past. 😉
    I can’t wait to get back on board, but unfortunately, that will be October 2012…

    Your friend,


    No, I am NOT French! I hate my parents for doing that to me, the thingy on the e => é.
    But still better than being called fruit basket or candle or… Paris… LOL

  63. mac says:

    John, From what I have read the crew of the Splendor stepped up to the challenges they were faced with as a result of the fire. BUT……..

    You seem to be somewhat of a cold and insensitive person, first you go on about peoples names, while I agree that some names today are not very well thought out before-hand by the parents, but for you to go on and on about an 11 year old girls name is not well thought out on your part.

    An eleven year old girl is sure to be internet savvy, and may want to read about the events of her experience on your ship, imagine her sitting at the computer with a few friends and reading about the events as portrayed on your blog, when she comes to the part about her I am sure some tears would begin flowing.

    Now think how your own Daughter would feel! and think how this eleven year old girls parents would feel, or if you have any feelings how would you feel if it was your own who was made the brunt of jokes on someones blog.

    Something that has gotten a lot of people ahead in life is to engage the brain before speaking or writing.

  64. Dave says:

    How about Semaj for a name? My wife says oh, how nice, how do you spell it? And the new mother said, “Thats the baby’s daddy’s name (James) spelled backwards”!

  65. Rochelle says:

    Last August my family went on the Carnival Glory and had a great time. My only concern came with use of the Internet Cafe which was initially hard to find. The only way to get into the room is through one of the Lounge’s. As a non smoker as well as one that works with youth who love using the Internet, I find it hard having to go through smokers to use the computer. When I spoke to Guest Services to inquire, I was told to bring my computer the next time for internet access in my room. I know changing the location is hard on the existing ships. Is the Internet Cafe location any different on the new ships that are being built and what can be done to suggest to Carnival to look into other options for the Internet Cafe?

    • Connie Campbell says:

      I also had a hard time finding the internet cafe.We were on the Glory Nov1-6. On the Fantasy it is where the Atrium is, very easy to find. We had a great time on the Glory and sailing out of Charleston was nice! We want to go someplace besides the Bahamas, we will have to drive to Florida for our next cruise.

  66. Andrew says:

    Adolf …………. and anything that sounds slightly French. ???????????

    What is so wrong about France that you keep making needless remarks ?

    • Alan says:

      Have you been to France? They eat horses! (would be an extra charge for that on RCI no doubt 😉

      It’s only 1000 years of history that causes it, we think they smell and they think we’re unsophisticated. Oh and they tend to get invaded quite a bit and need our help to kick said invaders out. I guess it’s similar to USA vs Canada, it’s really a rivalry built from mutual respect…

  67. Eva Bartolo says:

    I love your comment about the Allure of the Seas. This is just precious. It’s what defines you!!!! no wonder the blog gets more and more popular.

  68. pastabelly says:

    Any thoughts as to having one or two nonsmoking nights in the piano bars so that nonsmokers may also enjoy these venues?

  69. Pingback: Top Posts —

  70. Lin Babkirk says:

    We met a very cute couple wearing Tie-Dyed clothes holding a 3 month old baby girl……I asked her name. Her mother gazed down at her with a loving sigh and said………Begonia.

  71. Sandra Ahart says:

    Hello John,
    I will be taking my 25th Carnival cruise on the Magic , is there any thing special they will do or give you when you are on your 25th cruise? My husband and I have 4 booked for 2011. Love Carnival!!! Can you tell?Sandi

  72. Jim MaKibbin says:

    Hi John –“Smoke On The Water” was a fantastic read. I learned why you are so popular – we’ve never had the pleasure of sailing with you.

    We were B2B on the Spirit 10-22 – 10-27. We were looking forward to filling out the comment forms. They had both expired less than a week after we got home. I think the first leg expired before we got home from the 2nd leg.

    We were very disappointed and it made us think that our opinion was as valued as it use to be. We would like to see a return the the traditional forms that we fill out on board. We feel like we slighted all of the people we had planned on commending by name.

    Thanks for listening!

  73. Cheryl Donofrio says:

    Hello John,
    A follow up about our dining assignments. I had sent you an urgent message, which you didn’t see until after the sailing, and you asked how it all worked out. Everyone in our little group got the dining that they wanted – 10 of us were on late seating, and 9 were on early seating as they wanted. So no one threatened to push me off the balcony, or anything. Everyone on our cruise on the Carnival Pride Oct. 31st sailing had a great time. Everything was “spiffing” as you might say. The cruise director was your pal Jaimie, and she did a terrific job. Her assistant was Amy who likes to be called 6’3″. I talked to Jaime at the Captain’s Party, and mentioned the blog, so she sent me a gift to my stateroom! Anyone who sent her a letter with a dedication to read on the Morning Show got a little gift too. Tell your readers to “keep those cards and letters coming in.” I know how much people like getting free stuff.
    I wanted to mention something about the restaurant staff on the Carnival Pride. One of our group has Celiac Disease. She can’t have anything with gluten in it, or she will get very sick. We notified the ship ahead of time, and like Carnival advised, she went to the Maitre D when she boarded and also told her wait staff. They treated her wonderfully! She and her husband were on their first Carnival cruise, and they couldn’t say enough good things about the way she was treated. They were SO impressed. They have cruised before, with Princess, and on Too-Big-of-the-Seas, and from what they said the Carnival Pride’s treatment of them was by far the best. I was very happy to hear this, and I know you will be too.
    All of our thoughts and prayers were with you and the passengers and crew of the Splendor. We are all very glad that everyone got home safely.
    I hope to sail with you again some day. Until then, I look forward to reading your blog thingy.

    Your Friend,
    Cheryl D’Onofrio

  74. Robert Turmell says:

    Just returned from having a GREAT 8 nights on the Carnival Miracle. St. Kitts was re[placed by Antiqua due to an incident a day or so prior to our scheduled arrival. Just want to THANK YOU for arranging a table for two that we requested. Please Reply

  75. Barbara Dillon says:

    Hi John,
    i was on the Carnival Splendor and was one of the few favorable articles: Please check out the article below by Paul Motter – I also was on the Rudy Maxa Show twice and was also positive. This was my first crusie and I will be back for another – you truly should consider me a spokesperson LOL – friend me on Facebook if you want to see photos from the cruise: PS I am actually from Clovis, California. LOL
    Interview with Carnival Splendor Passenger

    My subject for this interview, first-time cruiser Barbara Dillon
    I just came back from the San Diego Pier where passengers were disembarking the “dead” Carnival Splendor. At first it was a media feeding frenzy. Vice president of Carnival Public RelationsTim Gallagher came out for just a second and people mobbed him just because he walked off the ship. By the time they figured out he was with Carnival six cameramen had pushed me out of their way. No matter, Tim knows me and made sure I got to hear what he had to say.
    We watched a number of motor coaches moving people from inside the gated area, but the place where we were allowed to stand was the point where passengers who had local friends or family waiting were leaving the security area to get picked up. I saw a number of local San Diegans meeting their families and I talked to a few briefly, but the prize was Barbara Dillon who came into my midst directly off the ship with her friend Jan Holland. Barbara was delightful – a young 50-ish single lady from Corliss California. And here is her impression of the cruise…
    “This was my first cruise and I would do it again in a second.”
    See my picture album here: Carnival Splendor Pics
    “Really?” I had to ask. The local news reports had been full of phone interviews with people saying it was “awful and stinky.” “Well, it was a little stinky, especially the first day, until the toilets were fixed. I’m a little stinky now, I haven’t had a shower since Monday,” she said.
    But she looked delightful. “Yes, I am wearing my cruise clothes today because people can see me.” The ship was fairly dark a lot of the time. “We really got to know each other well, we passengers,” Barbara said. “We all got to see each other the way we really look, like when we first get up in the morning.”
    “Do you know what everyone was wearing?” she asked me? “We all wore our ship-supplied white terry-cloth bathrobes around the ship.”
    “Really?” I asked, “Everyone?”
    “Almost everyone – everyone we were hanging out with anyway.” Barbara and Jan turned their deck nine balcony cabin into something of an oasis for several cabins around them. When the first mate came and unlocked all the minibars the fun really started, she said. There was beer and wine available all the time, and other liquor as well, depending on where you went on the ship.
    “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.”
    The cruise director was John Heald, Carnival’s top cruise director and a celebrity in his own right, especially for regular Carnival cruisers. It had to be serendipity that he happened to be the cruise director on this cruise since John usually takes only the newest and best Carnival ships. Splendor is a newer Carnival ship, but not compared to the newer and bigger Carnival Dream sailing out of Florida.
    Word is that John said something on his blog last Sunday like “I hope everything goes smoothly on this cruise.” Not that he knew anything, it was just a tossed off remark, reportedly related to someone looking at the engine room before he left. Anyway…
    See my picture album here: Carnival Splendor Pics
    “When the ship had been dead for awhile John announced at first that we were going to go to ‘Enchilada, Mexico,” Barbara told me. “Everyone cracked up about that, especially when the first Mexican tug arrived and it was called the ‘Chihuahua,’ we died laughing,” she added.
    As we all know, the line eventually decided to tow the ship to San Diego, “but that little Mexican tug could pull, I’ll tell ya,” Barbara said.
    So, what was the most dramatic part of the trip for Barbara? There were reports that when the first announcement of a fire came out, about 6:00 am Monday. that many people were very upset, crying and praying out loud. (See bottom video this page)
    Barbara, “Like I said, this was the experience of a lifetime and I actually feel lucky I got to experience it, seriously. But the best part was when the U.S. Navy arrived in an aircraft carrier. I thought ‘God Bless the United States, I am so proud to be an American. I mean, can you imagine a country where the Navy comes to rescue people on a vacation? That is a great country.” I agree.
    “And when we saw them unloading food and water we wanted to cry,” she added.
    I asked her what the mood was like onboard. She said “Everyone was really cool about it, really, we all got along great. And when someone complained I told them to keep it to themselves. After all, the crew was doing everything possible for us and how can you fault that?”
    Barbara even tipped her crewmembers when she left. They must have been impressive.
    I asked her about the meals and the reported two-hour wait for cold food. She said, “Yes, but we didn’t mind because the crew was trying so hard. The elevators had stopped working and to get the food to us they had to form a human chain all the way up to deck nine. They never stopped working for us, and they were still nice to us the whole time.”
    I asked her about the reported seasickness. This was her first cruise and Barbara replied, “What? The ship wasn’t even really moving. I don’t know why anyone would be seasick.” I asked her about the lack of air conditioning and Barbara said, “We didn’t need any air conditioning. If anything it was too cold sometimes. But we had a balcony cabin so we could air out our cabin whenever we wanted.
    “What about people acting scared and just not having any fun?” I asked her.
    Barbara said that with previous reports they knew what the problem was. They had been told there was a “smokeless fire.” She said it was scary at first, with thoughts of possible terrorism, etc. I overheard another passenger tell a reporter that when the report first came over the loudspeaker she heard people crying and praying out loud.
    “There were people with conspiracy theories, of course, and when the that aircraft carrier showed up those conspiracy theory tongues really started wagging, but John Heald kept us updated every hour, and he told us why the Navy was there, to bring us food. He also started making fun of the “smokeless fire” because that does sound like a conspiracy theory. ‘Who ever heard of a smokeless fire? Sounds like a government plot to me,'” Barbara said John Heald said.
    “Then he made up a word, ‘disississipated’ to explain what the smoke was doing. He just really knew how to keep our spirits up.” Barbara really restored my faith in the cruiser mentality – a first-time cruiser converted to cruise lover by what Carnival president Gerry Cahill described as “the worst crisis in Carnival history.”
    “I will definitely be taking advantage of that free cruise – and I got all of my expenses reimbursed for this one, totally, and I had a great time in my bathrobe for three days. It was awesome.” I believe her.
    See my picture album here: Carnival Splendor Pics
    Here are a few other thing I observed while on the scene:
    A reporter asks Tim Gallagher “I hear we are going to have a lot of new babies named “Splendor” appearing in nine months, Is that true?”
    Tim (deadpan): “Right… I’ll try to track them down for you.”
    Signs hanging over the side of the ship from people still in their balcony cabins say “Thank You US Coast Guard” and “USA” and “Rie Mon?”
    An ABC News film crew was paying passengers for exclusive interviews and buying pictures of the interior of the ship – it looked to me like the worse the ship looked the more the pictures were worth.
    One lady had an idea to sell T-shirts that said “I survived the Carnival Cruise SPAMcation”. She ordered them to be printed up in San Diego, put up a web site, and flew in to San Diego from Tennessee. I did not see her sell a single shirt, but maybe she will from the web site. Most passengers coming off the ship were just tired and looked like they wanted a cup of coffee.
    Some reporters claim they saw people led off in handcuffs (Tim Gallagher said he knew nothing about that) and two different people in stretchers. This is in this video below. But the second video is the much scarier one describing people’s initial reaction. It just goes to show you that two people can experience vastly different things.

    Read more:

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