What’s In Your Suitcase?

June 6, 2011 -

John Heald

The Cloud 9 Spa here on your Carnival Magic has some very interesting treatment options for our guests, including acupuncture which I truly believe helped my Bells Palsy back in 2009, along with teeth whitening and various massage therapies, etc. It’s no wonder that the booking columns are busy each and every day and no wonder our Spa Manager Mia has a smile as wide as my underpants. There is also a treatment called Ionathermie which uses something called faradic and galvanic current to reduce cellulite and comes with a guarantee that you will lose one to eight inches of blob. It really works and I know many a person who swears by it.

Anyway, once the treatment has been explained the guests are asked to take off their clothes and put on a special pair of paper underwear. Now this is because they have to lay on a wet clay and also it conducts the current thingy and……..well I have no sodding clue what happens except you go in like Rosie O’Donnell and come out like Kate Moss and to do this you must wear a pair of paper underpants.

So yesterday I was talking to Mia and she told me that a Russian lady had booked the treatment and there must have been a bit of a language breakdown between the English spa employee and the Russian guest because after telling the guest to change and that she would be right back ……… she returned to find Mrs. Smirnoff wearing the paper underwear………..as a hat…………..yep she had them on her head.

It has been a challenging few days with so many non-English-speaking guests. None more so than for Ken and Kris, the maitre ds. Time it seems means nothing to our Russian friends and they continue to arrive for dinner when their stomachs tell them to rather than their watches. The guests from Kurdistan are having a great time and honestly I have to say they look absolutely amazed at everything. I will write more about them in a future blog because it’s fascinating having them here and I want to see more of them before I do write but so far………..and honestly I say this with respect………….exceeding their expectations is not difficult.

Russians on the other hand are very challenging and very beautiful. The women are stunning, and the men are all huge and all have some sort of Special Forces tattoos — a dagger in a skull, that sort of thing. Some as I said have been coming to dinner really late and some when they want to regardless of an assigned sitting. But as Ken said, “I let them in because I don’t want to buried head down in the galley, with just my feet sticking out of a vat of soup.”

And that’s why I chose not to laugh at what they wear on Lido deck. However, they don’t read the blog (I hope) so I don’t mind telling you they are brilliant funny. Like Speedos, but lots tighter. Still, they were better dressed than their wives. Elsewhere in the world the thong bathing suit is worn by swimsuit models and Calvin the entertainment staff member here on the Carnival Magic. In Russia it is also worn by people who are seven tons or 70 years old.

Look, I am no oil painting and I never judge anyone by their looks but yesterday afternoon I walked across Lido deck to go to lunch and I saw a lady that made me and those around me stop in our tracks. In her 60’s, at least 300 pounds and wearing a thong and as God and various members of the crew as my witness…….she was also wearing nipple tassels. Yep, her bathing top was nothing more than tassels covering her raspberry ripples (Cockney rhyming slang).

But actually there are a group of guests that are even more challenging than Mr. and Mrs. Smirnoff and you know what, I would be a stupid man to say who or where they are from specifically as it would open up a massive can of kick-John’s-arse-again and I just can’t do that. I will say that we would take the nipple tassel, G-rope wearing, line-ignoring KGB-connected Russians any day over a group of guests that have been from the moment they walked onto the ship…….as rude to the crew as you could possibly imagine…….and then some.

It’s a great cruise and having so many international guests here is a challenge but our crew all speak the international language of fun and they speak it fluently which is why the guests are for the most part absolutely having the best of times.

Time for today’s Q and A……….here we go.

Carla & Jim Asked:

I saw that you mentioned on FB (I don’t have a Facebook account, but someone mentioned it on Cruise Critic) on 4/20/11 that the FCC (future cruise certificates?) would go “live on-line” on 4/21/11. Can you give me details, what does that exactly mean? Can we redeem our FCC’s on-line instead of having to mail them in? Please reply.


John Says:
Hello Carla and Jim

Yes indeed, a couple of weeks ago this system went live as the beards would say and you can now redeem your Future Cruise Certificates from the comfort of your own home without having to mail them in. Here is the link for you.


Please let me know if you have any other questions

Best wishes

Adam Gullies Asked:

I need a response… My wife and I returned from our cruise on the Splendor and had asked you to get us a table for two which we got. My complaint is about the Jacuzzis. One family seemed to have control of them every day we were at sea. They would be in the one on deck 10 from early in the morning to late at night and refused to allow anyone else to get in. This spoiled our cruise and I cannot believe that Carnival allows this kind of behavior.

John Says:
Hello Adam Gullies

I am very happy to know that my colleagues Miguel and Shane the maitre d’s were able to arrange your table for two and I am sure Adam you would like me to thank them for you. Thanks chaps. You know, I have never quite understood the whole fascination with Jacuzzis. Sitting in bubbling water clashing knees with semi-naked strangers as we try to “relax” strikes me as faintly ridiculous but each to their own I guess. Anyway, we certainly do not allow anyone to dominate the ones on our ships and I apologise that this happened. I wonder, did you report this to someone on the ship? If you did and nothing was done then again that’s not good and if this is indeed what happened I will investigate this further for you so please let me know. I do hope you had fun and enjoyed one of my most favourite ships. Best wishes to you both


Crystal Schneider Asked:

I sailed with you last year on the Conquest in April and I went back again alas no John but still good times. One special bright spot on my cruise was Ronald our room steward. I have sailed 6 times prior always received great service but Ronald went above and beyond even creating for us a towel animal of his own creation (a bear holding a baby bear) now that’s Carnival spirit! Ronald greeted us by name along with his assistant Ray every time they saw us. I tipped him above and beyond but I was hoping to get him some Carnival recognition for his stellar customer service! I’d love to email you a photo of the adorable Ronald original towel animal as well.

Warmest regards,
Crystal Schneider

Cabin 6481 Conquest
On the April 17th sailing

John Says:
Hello Crystal Schneider

Thanks so very much for taking the time to tell me about Ronald. He sounds like a fantastic chap and bravo to him for making such a difference to your cruise vacation. I have sent this to the ship so that both he and his supervisors can see your words of praise. I would love to see a photo of the towel animal and I hope that one day we will get to see each other again.

Best wishes

Hooch Asked:
Hey Meatloaf,

I managed to smuggle 3 bottles of Rum on the Freedom and am on my balcony drinking now. And I am not alone. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt…ight=smuggling

John Says:
Hello Hooch

Just remember that bar revenue is important and allows us to keep our cruise prices affordable. Just a thought. Hope you had a great cruise.

Best wishes

Waiting4acruise Asked:

Please can you tell me what ship the band Blood Power is on. We had them on the Glory and spent every night dancing to their fantastic music. We are going on the Dream next and hope they will be there. Thanks for all you do.


John Says:
Hello Waiting4acruise

Well actually they are here on your Carnival Magic, Susan, and doing a brilliant job I might add. I had never worked with them before and was recommended them by many so here they are and they as you said fantastic. I am sure you will love the bands on your Carnival Dream as well.

I wish you a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes

Ben Foster Asked:
I recently sailed on the Carnival Ecstasy and had a great time. Thank you for the table for 4 and the champagne and trophy and the note. The cabin steward was excellent as was the wait staff but the highlight was Steve the Cruise Director. His juggling and his violin show in the country production was so amazing, what a very talented man he is. I heard other passengers complaining that he was not a good cruise director but to me he was one of the best we have ever seen. We are booked on the Triumph next and cant wait.

John Says:
Hello Ben Foster

I love hearing compliments about my colleagues and none more so than reading ones about Carnival’s longest serving CD Steve Cassel. He is a unique individual and his talents as you said are quite extraordinary. It is no surprise to me that you found him to be so brilliant and I am sure he will be thrilled when I send this to him. I am glad you had fun and congratulations on booking your next cruise.

Best wishes,

Christine Asked:
Hey John,

We are going on our 3rd carnival cruise this august.  It will be our second on the dream.  We are taking the whole family (16) of us most are first time cruisers & very excited.  My son loves circle c & his cousin is looking forward to it as well.  We are bringing my 85 y.o. grandmother  & her 77 y.o. cousin, neither want to get off the ship & my grandmother is a worrier (where is everyone, are they ok, where is everyone, will they be back on the ship in time, are they ok? 🙂 ) My question is are you looking into an adult version of circle c so that we know grandmother is ok & taken care of if everyone else wants to go on an excursion?

Thanks alot

John Says:
Hello Christine

Thanks you for taking your whole family on their Carnival Dream. You know, one of the things I love is to see generations of a family cruising together and I think it’s brilliant that you are doing so. I don’t think we have any plans to open Circle C for adults but I am sure that Grandma will have a wonderful time and if there is anything I can do for her please let me know before you cruise either here or on Facebook. I wish you all the most wonderful time.

Best wishes

DDP Baltimore Asked:

Doubt you will publish this as you only seem to post the comments saying how perfect everything always is. Me and my brother cruised on the Pride out of my home city and it was the worst experience we ever had. It was cold, the ship rocked so much me and my brother and everyone else was throwing up. The worst part was the food which was the most disgusting I have ever eaten. Worst cruise ever.

John Says:
Hello DDP Baltimore

Thank you for your comments and I am sorry the weather was not good but I am sure you understand we cannot control the weather or the sea conditions. As for the food, well I am sorry that you did not find the food to your taste although I have to respectfully disagree as many thousands of very satisfied Carnival guests would agree with me when I say that the food we serve is excellent and for the price we charge for the cruise……quite astonishing. And if you really want to taste the worst food you have ever have come over to my house and try my home made Shepherd’s Pie made with real shepherd, not to mention spotted dick made with real …… never mind. I make light of this only because I hope that you will remember the fun you had and that you will consider coming back with us again so you can experience more fun and hopefully, sunshine and calm seas…

Best Wishes

David Wyatt Asked:

After the Carnival Spirit is based in Australia, will I be able to book it through the regular carnival.com web site or on another carnival ship that has the future cruise desk? Or with it be totally separate from the booking procedures we know today?


John Says:
Hello David Wyatt

We are all very excited about the Carnival Spirit heading down under and I hope to be on part of her journey. I asked a beard about your question and the answer is that once we open the cruises from Sydney that you will be able to book a number of channels, including carnival.com. Hope I see you there, I can only imagine how fun the atmosphere will be on that ship.

Best wishes

Joanne Matchett Asked:
Table reservation for booking number _______. I just saw that you organise table requests. I am sailing on the Valor on Sunday 12 with my husband son and daughter and want a private table by the window. My son Jacob will be celebrating his graduation from High school where he is a straight A student. Can you send him a gift as I have read that is also an option we have. This is our first Carnival cruise but we have 8 other cruises with your competition lines!!!!!!!!!!

John Says:
Hello Joanne Matchett

I will certainly ask the maitre d on the Carnival Valor to do all he can to get you a table for the family. You must be so proud of your son and I will certainly send him something on your behalf. I am sure that this first experience of a Carnival fun cruise vacation will not be your last. Have a great time.

Best wishes

Missi Asked:
When is bg5 and what ship?

John Says:
Hello Missi.

Good question because I often write BC5 instead of bloggers cruise number 5 which would explain that the one forthcoming will be the 5th. It will be held here, on your Carnival Magic on March 4 2012. It’s a chance to meet your fellow blog readers and enjoy some special private events, gifts and for me to spend time with all of you. It’s always brilliant fun and I hope that we may see you there. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes


That’s all for today. You know, the blog views continue to climb and we average between 15,000 and 18,000 views per day and are rapidly approaching 11 million total views. Now a wise beard told me the other day that Facebook and the blog are helping each other and that the views are interconnecting and beardy of course is right. But also I have noticed that the questions I am answering these days are a much more mixed bag than before we changed the blog format to the new one and since I started waffling on Facebook.

There are also some strange ones and I don’t mean strange as in the people who write them but strange in their requests. Just these past weeks we have had 200 bibles, lamb’s blood, tables by windows on the side the sun sets and butler services for an alarm clock dog. I have been called fat, chubby, obese and today rather brilliantly “Meatloaf.” Then there is the emotion people put into their questions and on some subjects one can totally understand why……….I just wish they would check the facts before writing. Take this one for example:

Mike Benaglio Asked:

I have given up with Carnival and if I had the money to waste I would cancel my cruise. I have written to Micky Arison and Gerry Cahill and to you as well about the September 11 cruise from New York on the Miracle. I had asked politely for the ship to sail late so that the Cruise Critic roll call I am part of may see the ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Maybe the fact that I have had no reply shows that Carnival and its three leading public figures do not care about my request or in fact care about the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack the world has ever seen. There are many of us on Cruise Critic who feel betrayed by this and my last resort is to get onboard and stand at the gangway asking passengers to sign an immediate petition to be presented to the captain before the ship departs. I think it will be extremely bad publicity for you if this is not done. Think on that.

John Says:
Hello Mike Benaglio

Well, first of all let me thank you for writing and before I continue let me also say that adding my name to Mr Cahill’s and Mr Arison’s as one of Carnival’s three leading public figures is ummmm ……….flattering but not quite correct.

Adding me to that list would be like the Three Tenors being Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and 50 Cent. Or LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and my nephew Luke who plays basketball for his school team in the UK. Think of a giant billboard with three naked bottoms side by side …….. Megan Fox’s, Angelina Jolie’s and Judge Judy’s. My name should never be uttered in the same way as you should never say Ferrari, Lamborghini and Yugo those three refreshing drinks Coke, Pepsi and yak urine. You get my point I think.

Now onto the serious business and the emotional topic of the 10th anniversary of September 11. Now I have received a request in a letter and on Facebook from others in the Cruise Critic group about this although I can’t remember who they were from. The fact that the chairman of Carnival Corporation & plc or the president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines have not replied should absolutely not be taken that they do not care because to suggest that is quite honestly ridiculous. I am sure if they saw my name on your e-mail or letter or however you wrote to us they expected me to answer and I apologise for not doing so.

So, let’s talk about your request. I have this past weekend been talking to the senior beards in charge of deployment and those that work closely with the various port authorities. Now obviously it’s much more complicated than the captain deciding that the ship will sail late that day.  That needs permission and planning and that is exactly what is going on behind the scenes at the moment. Providing our guests an opportunity to reflect the September 11 attacks in New York is certainly something that we’re hoping to do and we are working with all the local authorities to try to make this happen. However, please understand that there will be heightened security of course that day and many logistical challenges. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on whatever is ultimately decided. Rest assured, we are doing all we can to make this happen and I promise to keep you and everyone else informed.

Best wishes


I was going to bang on about waiting to get the facts before lambasting me and Carnival about not caring but the fact of the matter is that the subject of 9/11 does bring up waves of emotion which I hope is the reason that Mike Benagilo’s post was written as it was.

Let’s take a break and have a look at a video sequence of the new and extraordinary magic show here on the Carnival Magic.

Wow. Yep, it’s a brilliant show and congratulations to all those listed at the end for giving this ship such outstanding entertainment. I can’t wait for you to see it…………live.

I still can’t get over the comment about the dog that can detect when it’s owner is having a sleep apnea attack and barks or whines or does a piddle on their head to wake them up……….poor cabin steward. Seriously, that is one clever if not slightly pampered dog. And the day is dawning when I will have to give in and allow Heidi to get one. I promised her that she could and then Kye came along and she forgot. But now the subject is back and bigger than ever. You see Heidi feels we need a dog because when I am not there she and Kye are in the house alone and Harriett the Hamster and the two goldfish are not exactly going to protect her from a would-be thief. So she has been looking and sending me photos and prices of German shepherds, the dog I mean, not photos of a German shepherd called Hans, naked in the hills of Deutschland surrounded by sheep and holding his huge staff.

And bugger me………do you know how expensive a dog is? Not long ago, you bought a dog for $30, taught it to sit and fed it a can of food twice a day. Do you know how much a German shepherd pedigree thingy costs? Go on, take a guess. Nope: you’re miles off because the price of what is basically a mongrel is $2,000. And I’m sorry but how can something that barks and craps cost the same as a Sony 60-inch Plasma TV. Of course, it looks as cute as cute could be but in the web site photos, but then you look at photos of it from about one year on and it’s the size of a baby elephant. This thing won’t chew your underpants……. it swallows them whole.

$2,000 is just the price to drive the dog away. Because if you’ve spent that much on a dog, then it’s wise to get it insured, and they will insist that in addition to the collar it has a microchip inserted in its skin, so it can be tracked by satellite and the star ship Enterprise. And this, it turns out cannot be inserted by an Eddie the Electrician the chap who fixes the television…. apparently you’ve got to get a vet, which costs another million dollars.

I haven’t finished yet. You’ve also got to factor in the fact that dogs like a German shepherd probably will bite your hand of if you give it barbecued horse for dinner. They want designer food, which is made from puffin’s ears and for main course the lightly fried scrotum of a gazelle. Heidi also told me that it will need a special bed, special vitamins and a yacht moored in Portofino with a huge plasma TV playing 24 hour doggy rumpy pumpy movies. That’s why the fish is about to overtake the dog as the world’s number one pet, because these days running a dog is more complicated and more expensive than the Carnival Magic.

And to finish today a story that needs one of those “Yes, this is true I swear” kind of starts…..Because it is. Here is what happened as taken directly from our incident report.

848201479A Cabin: —-Booking#: ——-Added-Changed: 06/03/11 – 06/03/11


At 6:25am GSA was called from the terminal by GSS ______ who asked me to contact cruise director to page Mrs______ from state room________ as one of her suitcases was vibrating and they would not load into the truck to go to the airport (zone tag 2) for security reasons until guest had opened the suitcase. Guest went ashore and identified her suitcase and turned off the item that was making the suitcase vibrate.

I think it’s brilliant that the guest services lady didn’t want to write what the offending item was in her report and of course one has to feel so sorry for the guest who had to open her suitcase in front of Manuel the Barcelona security guard and turn it off.  Some of you may have not worked out what it was that making the noise and it gives me no ummmm……pleasure ……….to say I am afraid this is one you will have to work out………..on your own.


Your friend

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88 Responses to What’s In Your Suitcase?

  1. nipple tassels? omg! i would love to have seen that one! enjoy!

    smiles, bee

  2. Marivonne says:

    to Joanne Matchett:
    Bitch! can you say PLEASE or THANKS YOU? it wont kills you!

  3. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Thanks for the laugh…..

    It constantly amazes me the amount of patience you have with arses like Mike Benaglio (albeit a patriotic arse…still an arse all the same).

    To think this moron really thought that Mickey Arison had nothing better to do (running the worlds largest cruise corporation AND owning the HEAT….etc) than respond to his letter.

    That is arrogance on a level that would make the Russians proud…..but as an American..it makes me embarassed!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

    • Shipyard Cruiser says:

      Again the question is:

      Why are Cruise Critc members always demanding things?

      Will it ever stop?

  4. Sandra Clark says:

    LMAO,Pleasure ..on your own….yep,lol,Luva John!!!!

  5. Rita Presnell says:

    @Joanne, perhaps if you asked John nicely for a special favor he might be more inclined to fulfill your request. Please and thank you go a long way!!!

    John, please consider adopting a shelter dog. Here in the US thousands of animals are euthanized every day because someone will not adopt them. Shelter animals make great pets and you would be saving the life of an animal.

  6. Debra nelson says:

    John, I will be on carnival dream 3/24/12 to celebrate my 50th birthday a little early since I don’t like to cruise in the summer. Is there any chance we could get VIP check-in? I have been on many carnival cruises and can’t wait for the next one in march. Thanks!

    • Cindy Salmon says:

      Debra – if it’s your 10th with Carnival, you will get the VIP treatment, if it’s not your 10th, you’ll have to wait just like everyone else. Think about it…

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      VIP check in starts ON your 10th cruise. It is one of the perks earned as a Platinum member.

      Also, check on your profile and make sure all your Carnival cruises are listed. Some prior to 1990 are not listed.

      We had to have 8 added from back then. You just send proof of sailing and they will add them.

      Once you get to 10, you are set!


    • Linda in CA says:

      You also get VIP check-in if you are booked in a suite.

  7. JP says:

    I’ll definetly need a brain scrub to get that image out of my mind.

  8. len susman says:

    I have had German Shepherds since I was 18. My current shepherd ( Stormy) was adopted from local animal rescue after Hurrican Charley. She was 3 months old and found wandering in the woods for 3 weeks before brought to the shelter. She is now over 7 and the best shepherd I have had. She cost 70$ adoption, was fitted with Micro Chip and Spayed.

    She stayed with my Mom for 2 years till she passed at 88 and never really left her side.

    I am 70 and she controls her frisky for my age. She eats Dog Chow, is super healthy and Smart. Welcomes guests but will never allow a stanger in the house.

    Check the shelters.

    Pedigree really doesn’t tell all. The worse Shepherd I ever had had a pedigree a yard long with many Champions.


  9. annette says:

    John get a mutt from the pound. There are so many dogs in need of “forever homes” that will be euthanized if they don’t adopted.

    Spending money on a pedigree dog that will have all bugger problems due to inbreeding, means someone has more money than brains. Buy a dog when there are thousands for “free”—utter bollocks.

  10. Catherine W says:

    John, I had that spa treatment that you mentioned and holy cow – they told me that I needed another $1,500+ more in treatments in order to realize my non-cellulitic potential… that’s more than I paid for my cruise in the first place! The humiliation of the paper underpants aside, I canceled the other 2 spa treatments that I had scheduled for fear of how much more they would tell me I needed in order to be a functioning human being in today’s society… from now on I’ll just have to accept that you & I will have a similar “just out of the shower” look and keep my wallet in my purse. Sure did enjoy the rest of the cruise on the Magic though – it is now my favorite ship in the fleet!

  11. Ted says:

    Is it so hard for people to say “Please” and “Thank You”???????

  12. Kara says:

    John –

    In regards to the dog, also keep in mind that when Heidi and Kye come visit you, the dog will have to be boarded at a kennel. Not inexpensive in the least.

    You’d do better to get an alarm system in the house that includes panic buttons for Heidi to use. This can help with home insurance as well.

  13. Bob Buenger says:


    I anm all for adding the dog to your household. However, you do not need a designer pooch. Many rescue organizations have pedigreed animals that are abandoned by their owners. In the states adopting one one these animals might cost $150-200. This includes vacinations, neutering (sorry!), and even the micro-chip. This dog will be so grateful to have a forever family that it won’t care about a fancy bed or gourmet food. If you need to, you can take the dog to obedience classes that will be fun for everyone. You won’t be sorry if you do this, I promise!

    • jgeraci says:

      I second your suggestion of a rescue dog. My daughter belongs to a pedigree rescue group & has helped place many dogs in grateful households. Her biggest problem is giving them up after fostering them. Her first rescue never did find a new forever home, and is our family watch dog.

  14. Kathy G. says:

    ROFL – John you are brilliant!

    Now for the chap Mike – normally you could excuse his rude behavior, until the threats were written. I would have given him a full refund and sent him on his way.

    About the German Shepherd! Oh my, the best dog you could ever give your girls and so worth their weight in gold! I swear it is true! My Dakota protected me for 12 years. I miss him so!

  15. DannyK says:

    Obviously the vibrating item was her pager. You all have such dirty minds.
    BTW, I suggest your staff not give you questions that direct you to view a page on Cruise Critic if you’re not going to look at the site before answering. (I gather from other posts you never look at the site at all.) I suspect the reason the person posted that were some of the quite funny posts there regarding smuggling booze in absorbent diapers, and not about actually smuggling booze.

  16. Nancy McQuarrie says:

    Hi John,
    Just wondering, do you not have animal shelters or rescue groups in UK where you could obtain an unwanted animal and give it a forever home as well as possibly save its life? They bark just as loudly, are just as loveable, and are usually smarter than the pedigreed ones for which you anticipate paying so dearly. It will still need a vet, the microchip, food, supplies, and love, of course, but, like choosing a Carnival cruise for a vacation, the upfront cost is less. Or there’s always a wired, monitored alarm system which would not require feeding twice a day, but not nearly so much fun for Kye to play with. In U.S., the dogs are screened, and they would never offer an animal that would not be safe around children to a home where children reside. Just a thought — good luck on the quest!


    • Nancy McQuarrie says:

      As a former Hospice RN, might I also suggest checking with your local Hospice organization. Quite often terminally ill patients’ greatest concern is what will become of their beloved pets.

  17. Lis 'Crazy4Koko' Buja says:

    Oy John, first it’s a hamster, and now it’s a dog! No need for a german shepherd dog.. I once had a beloved cocker spaniel take down a man who, well….would have cast a shadow both over and around you!! Besides, and alarm system is much less expensive, and doesn’t leave yellow spots on the lawn, or anything else for Kye to make mudpies out of!

    Now, as for those Russian bathing beauties…

    Um, thanks.. think I’ll stick to sailing from the states!!

  18. Rob from Florida says:

    We are a family of veteran cruisers. We sailed with you on Liberty in Europe several years ago and have returned to Carnival several times. We just got back from the Dream this past Saturday and I have good news and bad.

    First the good. We joined Sameer the executive chef for the Chefs table. Without a doubt it was the most incredible dining experience we have ever had on any cruise ship. Sameers pride came through and his passion for food was unparalleled. He even shared his private recipes with us. Later in the cruise he saw us in the dining room and greeted us like old friends. The tour of the kitchen during dinner service was incredible. To actually see all the parts moving in harmony.

    Now the not so hot. My bill for my stateroom was about $2700. I didn’t use all my cash so on Thursday of the cruise I paid my bill down $1200. That left me with $1400 left. I used my debit card as opposed to a credit card as to not run up debt. Arriving home Saturday I attempted to use my card again and it was declined. Carnival had put a hold on my card for over $4000 well in excess of any of my charges. To say it was embarrassing is an understatement. I contacted guest services Monday as they don’t work Saturday or Sunday. They have been less then helpful.

    In my eyes Carnivals onboard charges compensate the ship handsomely. It’s sad that guest services is willing to ruin what has been a great relationship. While it’s bittersweet it’s enough for us to make different choices next time.

    • Hey Rob From Florida!
      Sorry to hear of your debit card debacle. If this was your first time having your debit card messed up,consider yourself lucky. After having multiple problems with our credit cards & debit cards being “accidentally” double-billed for hotels, restaurants etc.and having to spend HOURS of time with various customer service reps trying to get OUR MONEY returned to us, we’ve had to resort to using cash only as much as possible. It is a little bit of a hassle at times, but if a “mistake” is made on a cash based Sign & Sail transaction, it gets cleared up right away. Carnival is not the only culprit with these kind of ridiculous accounting practices- sadly, we don’t trust ANY establishment anymore. If we HAVE to list a credit card, we use a “low limit” card that we have specifically not authorized “overlimit” charges for. There have been a LOT less billing “mistakes” made since we’ve enacted this practice.

    • Marsha Breen says:

      While it’s understandable that you were embarrassed when trying to use your debit card, that is standard for any cruise line. Car rental companies will place a large hold on your debit card also. Unfortunately, the banks who issue the debit cards take several days to “remove” the block. That is why it is always easier to use a credit card so you don’t have to worry about that. I always considered a debit card more trustworthy than a credit card because the money is coming directly out of your checking account, but that’s not the way the banks see it. Go figure………..

  19. Howard Graham says:

    I do apoligize for the rude and disrespectful nessage that you received from Mike Benaglio. I can assure he does not speak for our Group at Cruise Critic Sept 11, sailing on the Miracle. As I have written to you before and the emails we have exchanged concerning the sailings and the presentation of the Challenge Coin to the Captain and Carnival we understand what it atkes to pull off a request such as this as not only does it affect our group but a few thousand other people cruising, working and protecting the ship for this effort we applaud you and you efforts.

    • mIkeL says:

      Howard, you guys should kick this clown out of your group

      • Lynn Albo says:

        Just wanted to jump in and say “Hi” to my cousin Howie!!!! Wish I was going on the cruise with you! I read John’s blog everyday but was surprised when I saw your name……Enjoy your cruise! And yea get rid of that Mike creep!

    • Michelle Faraci says:

      Good Afternoon, John,
      Hi, I am Michelle Faraci, and I am one of the Cruise Critic Members sailing on September 11th on CCL’s Miracle. First of all, I would like to apologize for the post that was put on your blog today. The other cruise critic members and I have been discussing the post on our board. We are all very disappointed in the poster, because this person does not represent the positive aspects of Cruise Critic, or it’s members. We have taken the liberty to let you know how bothered we are about what was posted, and have put a link to your blog on our board. I understand how much planning goes into honoring any request a passenger makes, that concerns the ship, it’s passengers, and crew as a whole. It takes a lot of patience. We are very glad that our request was acknowledged. We were very pleased with the e-mails and posts and other coorespondances that took place between our Cruise Critic Members and those involved with our request. Please understand that we Cruise Critic Members by no means meant any harm in making our request. We are very glad that you have posted on your blog about commemorating 9/11, and those who have perished. We will continue to be understanding and patient, and continue posting on our board.

      Thank You,
      Michelle Faraci

  20. DannyK says:

    I think your staff should do a better job of coordinating with each other from a PR standpoint when picking letters to answer. Regarding the issue of delaying the 9/11 Carnival Miracle sailing by a few hours, back on April 7 Mischelle Beattie Coccera
    Online Community Manager – Carnival Cruise Lines posted in the Cruise Critic group roll call page that the issue was being worked on by Carnival and the Port Authority about facilitating the delayed sailing. Either that was an old letter someone gave you to answer or that writer is not even keeping up with the people actually sailing on that date. Either way, the writer was extremely rude. Also, it should be noted that others posting are suggesting to people that due to the commemorations going on that day that they plan on getting to the port early. One of the tunnels will be closed, the city’s hotels are booked solid and streets will be jammed. I can imagine it being quite strange to delay the sailing on that date. Will the ship sit there in port on that solemn date with bands playing and people partying on board or will there be silence on board until the ship is out of sight of ground zero? Lots of people are there for a vacation, not to attend a church service. How you observe such an anniversary is a personal choice and if you seriously came to NYC to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary I don’t think a “Fun Ship” is the place to do it and maybe you shouldn’t be cruising on a “Fun Ship” on that date if you feel so strongly about how the day should be remembered.

  21. waiting4acruise says:

    Great Blog John.
    I guess that lady may have found a much better toy on board.

  22. DrDeany says:

    Thank you so much for the laugh! I guess the guest with the vibrating luggage forgot to take out the batteries before packing her “device.”

  23. Laurie says:

    Thanks again for making me smile…… there are times though that I wish whomever pulls the items for you to comment on would read them all the way through. Some folks are just so rude. I’ve gotten to the point of considering if I should read questions or not. Then one comes along that is nice, polite and brings back my faith in humanity. Thanks for everything you do.

  24. Helene Apper says:

    Please think about a shelter dog John. Pedigree is for foo foo chi chi people. Shelter dogs need homes too!

  25. boaterette says:

    I think Mike Benaglio is very rude in his request.

  26. 4shee says:

    John I can under stand about not wanting a dog. But the girls do have to have some feeling of security. I have had 3 shepards in my life and the last 2 ( both at one time ) were the best we ever had. We had been foster parents along with our own kids and the dogs were a great baby sitter. The kids could do almost anything and the dogs would lie there. In the yard they would keep an eye on them and herd them back to where they belong. It is how ever a long commitment. The average life is 10 years and they can live as long as 15. But it a life that is always filled with love. If you decide to ahve one I hope you find a dog that suits you even if it isn’t a shepard. You must find the type of dog that fits into your family.
    Thats for being you are and can’t wait until BC4.75. The 1st cruise out of Galveston.

  27. Cindy Lecomte says:

    The new Magic show looks amazing. I was curious to know how the “seat hogging” has been with this particular show and if Carnival would consider a ticket system like their competition has for their popular shows on board.

  28. Hockey Nut says:

    With respect to lost revenue on booze, it’s no different than lost revenue when passengers do ports on their own. Try lowering prices on drinks like Princess does with their Power Hours (8 pm to closing) with $3 beers and certain mixed drinks and smuggling will go down. I don’t smuggle but maybe have much less to drink because of very high prices for drinks.

    • Tight as duck's arse says:

      Agree re high drinks prices. My wife and I would spend much more if prices were more reasonable. High prices are better for our waistlines as we stick to water, lemonade and coffee.

  29. Dot Libertore says:

    John, I see Blood Power is on the Magic!! Oh my! They are one awesome talented band!! I will be sailing the Magic January 29th, and would so love it if you said BP would also be on this sailing. Heard them years ago, and cant wait to hear them again. BTW, are you on this cruise? Hope to meet you and to also get a table for two. Thanks, Dot

  30. Carrie Weaver says:

    Joanne,here on John’s blog we request please and thank you if you are asking him for something. If that is not in your vocabulary perhaps you should have stuck with the other cruise line for trip #9. Yes, just a little respect would be appropriate. I hope you are teaching your children better!
    Carrie from ER

  31. Dee says:

    Having been on many cruises, I cannot understand so many travelers requesting a window seat in the main dining room. Other than water, and the evening sky, what is the view that they think they will get.

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      That has always puzzled me as well. Most of the time, it is almost dark even for early dining.


  32. Janet says:

    Great blog. My hubby and I have always called the “Lido deck”, the “Speedo deck”.

  33. Elizabeth F. says:


    You and Heidi should consider adopting a dog from a shelter. There are so many wonderful animals out there who are in need of homes.

  34. Bonida Kimbrough says:

    I have to say today’s blog contains just about everything necessary for not just a good blog but a GREAT blog. From raspberry ripples to meatloaf (I nearly choked on my dr pepper) to vibrating thingies! Brilliant! You are truly, truly a funny man! Thank you! You made me laugh and you made me cry too. Those who are rude to the staff make me sad and angry and ashamed. So, so sorry!

  35. Denise Waibel-Rycek says:

    I wanted to take the time to say how much the group I was with on the Carnival Triumph (sailed out of New Orleans on May 30) enjoyed Evita from Latvia. She was the wine steward at the wine bar. For us though, she was our evening martini gal that would make up the most wonderful martinis for us to enjoy. She made our all girl cruise (seven of us) very enjoyable and memorable. Carnival should be proud to have someone like her who gives outstanding customer service, friendly, and a lot of fun!

  36. Stuart Zaikov says:

    I am a member of the Sept 11 CC roll call and greatly appreciate the efforts of Carnival to delay our departure so we can be part of the tribute to the people murdered on Sept 11.
    I do not believe that Mike Benaglio is part of our group and would like to add my voice in apology for his totally inappropriate remarks.

  37. Jes says:

    another great blog! I will be laughing for a while to come and will be looking for vibrating suitcases the next time I travel.

  38. Bonnie says:

    John Please Reply

    Please tell me that awesome Magic Show will still be on the Magic November 14, 2011 sailing? I absolutely love, love, love magic shows. I was so fascinated by the Table Artist that performed at the Chef’s Table on my Fantasy cruise a couple of weeks ago. He was amazing and an added bonus to a wonderful evening.
    Magic Show on the Carnival Magic means I can add one more reason to wish November 14th would hurry up and get here.
    Hope you have a great week & WIWT

  39. Julie Mendenhall (jrmende63) says:

    wow…what a Magic show!
    GSD ( German Shepherd dogs) are not 2000 here in the US. Wow..they are expensive in the UK!

  40. Janice H. says:

    I too, respect 9/11 as I am a New Yorker and lost acquaintances during the attack, as we are a Fire Dept family. However, if attending the ceremonies mean so much, why would Mike B and his CC friends, book a cruise for that day? Did they not know what time the ship was scheduled to depart? Do they think it is appropriate to stop every one else from leaving on a cruise that they paid for too? I’m sorry, I guess I just don’t get this. You can’t always have it both ways….

    • Howard Graham says:

      As a New Yorker also and a Member CC I can assure you as I did John this person does not belong to our Group and does not speak for us or with us. It is just another person attracting attention to himself. What we requested was a show of respect to all of those who lost and gave their lives on 911 and our Group (The Real Group is working with and appreciate everything John and Carnival is doing

    • Stuart Zaikov says:

      Please do not think that the CC group is friends or wants to have anything to do with Mike B. He speaks for himself only.

    • Shipyard Cruiser says:

      You don’t understand.

      They are from Cruise Critc.

      And they are entitled to anything they demaand.

      • Mary Knapp says:

        With all due respect, not all CC members think that they’re entitled to the world on a stick.

        Mike B. does not speak for our Roll Call, or — as far as I’m concerned — for me or my personal expectations. We understand that the request is highly unusual, very complicated, and more than likely too difficult to grant.

        And, if we figure out who Mike B. is, he’ll probably find himself blocked from our Roll Call for precisely this kind of supercilious, hot-headed, and RUDE posting.

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Good point….

      if this anniversary was so important to him….why wasn’t being at the ceremony the MOST important thing…..instead of a cruise?

      As Ron White says…”you can’t fix stupid” and apparently arrogance is unfixable as well.


    • dale cornelius says:

      John,first off we love Carnival cruises. We are going on our 12th carnival cruise in november.As far as alcohol is concerned, I dont see anything wrong with enjoying a inexpensive drink in our cabin. When we go to the casino or pool bars we have absolutley no problem paying your extremley high prices for drinks.I understand there would be no way to enforce such a policy but 25.00 for a bucket of 4 beers, its just way to high. Thanks for everything. me and my 1000.00 sail and sign account will see in november.

  41. KC says:

    I am on the Miracle on 9-11 and take issue with that letter you posted. How arrogant someone would speak for all the CC roll call. We do not all feel that way.

    If they can delay departure that is great if not get over it.
    If you try that petition I hope they remove you from the sailing

    It is a time for reflection, not fighting.
    It is not too late to cancel your cruise and sail on the Gem if you are so offended by carnival so called in action.

  42. Doug H says:

    Poor John. I feel sorry for you that you have to continue reading all the crap that people write to you. I am glad that I have a choice, and I will now choose to stop reading all the RUDE DEMANDS that people make.
    I know, I will miss out on the good comments and the compliments, and the OCCASIONAL “pretty please”, but it is getting depressing to read the other crap.

    Okay, I won’t stop reading … but I will stop swearing at them.
    Frikkin jerks! Say please for Pete sake!

    Okay, NOW I will stop searing at them 🙂

    Thanks for being JOHN, John 🙂

  43. Diane says:

    One of my suitcases experienced this same spontaneous vibrating phenomenon while riding up a very crowded hotel elevator. Of course, we were on the last floor so our fellow riders were entertained the whole way up.

    I choose to think that those who did not also pack the “proper” accessories were either beating themselves up all night (pun intended) or went shopping.

  44. Angel says:

    I should not tell this but we were on a family cruise on the Pride and we came back from dinner to find our suitcases in the hallway.(the bridge hallway I might add)and one of the suitcases had a familiar buzz..My husband was making comments to our daughters and grandaughter about they should be careful what they bring etc. when my daughter said ” Dad, thats Mom’s suitcase”
    Ahh quit ROFL yall..It happens….




  46. Per says:

    Good morning, John! Please reply.
    We are five family members from Sweden who’ll be going on a back to back cruise oj the Dream in octover/novemver for my mothers birthday. After the cruise we’ll be going on a flight to New York. We do not wabt to wait for too long at the airport, so my question is; can international passengers do the self disembarkation in the early morning?

    Thank you for your time

  47. Grace Lemaster says:

    It is me again, here to remind you of security measures.
    In the little story about the possibility of getting a dog to protect your family while you are away.
    IMO they would be much safer if you didn’t advertise the fact that they are alone and unprotected.
    I promise you that I am not a weirdo, just a bit paranoid and want to share this paranoia with those that are alone and unprotected.

  48. Larry Meador says:

    Joanne Matchett

    Do you know what the word please is? I think maybe you should stay with the “competing” cruise lines.

    The rudeness of people making request is beyond me. John however, is always the mild mannered chap that puts up with it. Kudos to him.

    Larry Meador

  49. Michael says:

    Joanne and Adam – Have you ever heard of the expressions “Please and Thank you”? Hooch, what can I say, your an idiot and a coward, at least have the courage to use your own name.

  50. Chris D. says:

    I am part of the CC 9/11 Miracle cruise group and I can assure you that Mike Benaglio is NOT part of our group! If he was, he would know that Carnival has in fact responded to the request and the girls in the Miami office have kept us up to date on the situation! Thanks for all your hard work John!!

  51. Lulu says:

    Dear John,

    When you decide the time is right for you to get a dog for Kye and Heidi, please consider a shelter dog. They usually cost much less, and you’ll be saving a life.

  52. Eileen says:

    John…get the German Shepherd! You will have the most intelligent, loving,loyal, unique “friend” you have ever known and you will sleep peacefully at night knowing that your two girls are very much protected when you are not home!

    Also, tell Heide she can check into adopting from a German Shepherd Rescue group and give a good girl or boy a good home that they so deserve (then you can use the rest of the $2000 for the Plasma T.V….lol). Normal cost is $200 and it includes their shots, spaying/neutering and micro-chipping.

  53. Carmen says:

    I hope Carnival is paying you big bucks for all the crap you have to put up with. Thank God you have a great sense of humour.

  54. Starr says:

    OMG! I czn just imagine Henry O with the lambs blood over the lady in the thong and tassles!

  55. Peg Dunbar says:

    I can only imagine how funny the lady looked with her paper underwear on her head. I find it so amazing that when in a foreign country so many people know how to speak English but have them come over here and we are lucky to speak proper English to them. The lady may have not gotten the message where the underwear goes but she knew to take off her clothes.

    Love your blog John, today was a great one. When do you find the time to do all you do?

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

    My best to Heidi and Kye.

  56. DINKS says:

    Hello John,
    Can we get the web address of the lido camera? jk.
    @ Adam G., i am surprised to hear the Lido supervisor was negligent in his duties, he was more than attentive in April. His shiny head and bright whites should have been a clear give away, but somehow he managed to ‘just be there’ kind-a sneaky like.
    John, I also want to make mention of Gabor asst m’d in Gold upper, so attentive, above and beyond. Thanks again John/Carnival for an awesome cruise.

  57. Janice H. says:

    Thank you Howard and others who responded about Mike B. I’m glad to know he doesn’t speak for CC since I also spend time on that site and was sad that people can be such idiots.
    I’m glad Carnival is working with your group to do something respecting the day…

  58. KarenB says:

    John says: “Anyway, once the treatment has been explained the guests are asked to take off their clothes and put on a special pair of paper underwear. Now this is because they have to lay on a wet clay and also it conducts the current thingy and……..well I have no sodding clue what happens except you go in like Rosie O’Donnell and come out like Kate Moss and to do this you must wear a pair of paper underpants.

    So yesterday I was talking to Mia and she told me that a Russian lady had booked the treatment and there must have been a bit of a language breakdown between the English spa employee and the Russian guest because after telling the guest to change and that she would be right back ……… she returned to find Mrs. Smirnoff wearing the paper underwear………..as a hat…………..yep she had them on her head.”

    This cracks me UP! You never miss an opportunity to talk about “underpants” wet OR dry! HA HA!

    Speaking of your Shepherd’s Pie being horrible, have you ever gone onto the internet and gotten the recipe for Gordon Ramsey’s Shepard’s Pie? It is FABULOUS! As far as spotted dick, WHY THE HECK do they call it that, when it has nothing to do with ummmm “dicks”? haha I was watching a new show on Bravo called “Pregnant in Heels” staring Rosie Pope, a designer and pregnancy concierge, whom helps rich pregnant women learn to change diapers, plan extravagant parties, decorate the nursery, etc., whom is a British gal. One of the mom’s wanted Lord Wellington (i think his name was) to be her daughter’s Godfather. So, Rosie Pope suggested that she make spotted dick, and have finger foods, and teas for afternoon tea. Oh man! She undercooked it and it looked like something that was thrown up overboard during high seas! EWWWW!

    Another comment I have for those whom are complaining that you talk about Latvian table dancers and Megan Fox having rumpy pumpy with you in your dreams, it is ALL IN FUN and good natured, and makes us laugh, and if you were not secure in your marriage to the love of your life, that would be something totally different. Heidi is a wonderful woman, and I’m sure your very best friend, and your humour is what made her fall in love with you! BTW, the first date I had with my husband, we went to a sports bar, got burgers, talked, went for a walk, in which I stubbed my toe and almost tripped. He called me “Grace” This is the “nickname” my very favorite brother (i have three) whom is 10 years older than i, has called me since I probably fell down and broke a tooth or something. it is a term of endearment, and along with “baby I love you, but you can’t dance”, we have a blast together, are both in our 50’s, wish to the Man upstairs that we had met when we were younger, rather than making previous “partner” mistakes, but also know, that we werent ready for each other at younger times in our lives, and will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day 2012! Hes my best friend, and tells everyone that I am his. when buddies at work say “Scott, come with us, we’re all going out for a beer” He promptly tells them “no thanks, gotta get home to my wife” They laugh, and call me the “ball and chain” remark, to which he says “oh no! I love my wife, and I want to go home to her! she is my best friend.” I am so happy you get to spend time with your best friends this weekend! Have a wonderful, relaxing, and if you get lucky, uhhh leave that part out in your blog! HAHA

    One more thing, we ran into an 82 year old woman, dressed to the “hilt”, at a local Sams club recently, who let us know up front that she is a stockholder! HA Anyway, she started talking about cruises, and said she is getting ready to go on her 65th (yes that is SIXTY FIVE) cruise! Her brother, who is 84 years old, has her beat, as he is going on his 70th cruise! I told her we were cruising CCL, to which she said “oh no! you will have kids running up and down the halls all of the time! Go on Holland America. I said “arent they owned by same company?” she said, yes, but CCL has more children activities, and its an older crowd usually on Holland America. Is this true? I know you have people complaining about “those uncouth Texans” when they cruise out of Galvastan (snobs) but I had never seen people complaining on your blog about kids/teenagers, running up and down halls and making noise. Your thoughts?

  59. Cruises says:

    Its important to make sure you have got everything with you when crusing- you have to take the kitchen sink!!!

  60. Please be assured that when the Santas travel on the Emerald Princess in July their bathing attire will be appropriate. Two things that never go together are Santa and Speedo’s. And we leave the thongs for the elves!

    Great reading your notes.

  61. Ron Booe says:

    We have nothing in ours because you lost not only mine but my wife’s as well. Here we sit on your ship 6/18/11 with nothing to to put on our butts!!!!

    How could you have lost both ours.
    Tomorrow I will buy a white shirt and print in it that you lost all our bags and we have nothing to wear on the ship. I will wear it all over the ship and show everyone.

    Very sad!!!

    • Ron Booe says:

      Sorry, the day is 6/20/11. we are on here now with nothing to wear. I will also be looking for people wearing our clothes and if I see anyone wearing my things its not going to be good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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