October 24, 2011 -

John Heald

Good morning from Cozumel, Mexico, and from the Lido Deck where I am sitting in the shaded part of the deck behind the brilliant new RedFrog Rum Bar. And bloggers, I have to say that sometimes I wonder how the heck we human beings have evolved as far as we have when almost every single decision we ever make is bordering on the insane. I will tell you specifically what I am referring to in a moment but how have we been able to get ahead of the animal kingdom? You do not see baboons smoking cigars like I did last night or sheep riding their Harley Davidson’s at high speed and not wearing a crash helmet. You don’t see penguins throwing huge amounts of salt over their fish and chips or a Gerald the Giraffe at Saks of 5th Avenue buying something he knows he can’t afford.

Take my two stupid decisions I made today. First of all, I hit the snooze button on my raspberry alarm clock even though I knew that I had so much to do today that if I didn’t get my lily white arse out of bed then I wouldn’t be finished until midnight and that would incur the wrath of Peter the Hair and Jay the Recently Married. But I ignored myself, pressed snooze and sure enough I was late for our first film shoot. This made Peter’s Hair droop and Jay’s wart itch. Then this morning I went to the coffee shop on Promenade Deck and had a double espresso, which I know will make my teeth even more yellow.

And then after filming instead of going to Facebook and catching up on some questions there, I went to sit with Captain Cupisiti in his office and drink more coffee and chat with my friend even though I knew that I should be working.

And I look at the pair of expensive sunglasses I bought recently. It’s a waste of money. I shall wear them a few times and then lose them like I do my cigar lighters and cutters. I know this yet I still spent $200 on them but because I am mad………I bought them anyway. But then again if you were to come home with me you would see that most of the things I buy are things that I should never have spent money on. I look at all the things on my desk and I wonder what the sodding heck was going on in my head when I chose them? The universal remote control that doesn’t work, the cat sound thing that is supposed to keep them from crapping on my doorstep, the Aston Martin cufflinks, and something called a Sony Dream Machine, which so far as I can tell is specifically designed to do absolutely bugger all.

I must have said to someone in a shop, “What does this do?” and he must have said, “Absolutely bugger all” and then I must have said, “Brilliant. Here’s my credit card.” How stupid is that?

And after wasting the last few minutes of your life with my silly musings on life I finally come to my point. A couple just walked past me. They are in their late 50’s I would guess. Both are on the large side like myself and indeed the man is probably a good 30 or 50 pounds heavier than me. So at some point this chap must have thought it was a brilliant idea to go to a shop and buy a pair of Speedos. Yep……Speedos. A proper pair of tight dark blue bullock huggers. He strutted across Lido Deck oblivious to the fact that everyone and I mean everyone was watching, some were vomiting.

So at some point this 300 pound 50 something chap must have thought that he would look good in Speedos and so went to a shop and bought some. Seriously, my dishwasher has a bigger brain.

And his wife…….well I have to say what she was wearing was even worse. She was only a few pounds lighter than her husband but she had a very, very skimpy bikini on and it was not hiding anything. Her bottom was eating the bikini bottoms and as she walked across the deck it slowly disappeared up her chocolate starfish. Look I am fat. I know I am and if you ever see me wearing Speedos please, set me on fire. It’s OK to wear Speedos if you are a professional swimmer or Adam Levine. And it’s OK to wear a skimpy bikini if you are Megan Fox but it’s not OK to wear a skimpy bikini if you were to go topless and leave nipple drag marks all the way down Lido Deck.

Lots to do today so let’s crack on with some Q and A………….away we go.

Kathy C asked:
Hi John,

I just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoy your blog and also how much I enjoy Carnival. I recently went on my first NCL Cruise to Alaska and although the trip itself was good the ship and staff could have been better. I guess I have been spoiled by Carnival. So many differences between the two…For one they have Freestyle Dining which would be good except for the menus are the same just different days and I seem to enjoy the same waiter for each service. They also use two-liter bottles for drinks instead of cans or even fountains which would have been okay except that several drinks I got were flat and also they are skippy on their ice for drinks LOL…I have to admit though they do treat their Cruise Critic guests nice. There was a small group of us (maybe a total of 15-20) that held a meet and greet and at the meeting there was the captain, hotel director, chef, cruise director and even a security officer and was also given a bridge tour which I found to be very nice. Overall I guess I am spoiled though by Carnival and have to say that Carnival is my choice of cruise lines. I do want to thank you for your blog and a way to express my opinions about Carnival.

John says:
Hello Kathy C,

Thanks for those wonderful words. I know NCL has worked hard in recent years and has turned their product around and from some serious trouble they have found their feet for sure and I know they have many fans. I am though truly happy to hear that you missed Carnival and that makes me very proud indeed. I hope it won’t be long until we see you again very soon on one of our ships and despite the concerns I do hope that you had a great time on your last cruise as well. Thanks also for the kind words about the blog and I am so happy it is something you enjoy.

Best wishes.


Sami Kearney asked:

Got off from my Carnival Freedom cruise I was horrified to see that Carnival had charged me $344 for using my cell phone on a six-day cruise. I called your customer care line but they said nothing can be done. I have had to ask my parents for help to pay this as Carnival won’t do anything. You should tell passengers that you charge so much for texting and calls and I am telling all my friends about this and not to cruise with Carnival.

John says:
Hello Sami Kearney,

I can understand your shock at getting such a high bill but I promise you it’s nothing to do with Carnival, as the rates are set by the satellite provider and your own cell phone carrier. I should point out that this is clearly advertised on board. I am sorry that you are upset and I hope you will also tell your friends that you had fun while you were on the cruise. Thank goodness for Mum and Dad.

Best wishes.


Margo Legge asked:

I have to write and tell you about a young man called Matt who was the cruise director during our recent cruise on the Carnival Victory. If Matt had not told us that it was his second cruise ever as a cruise director we would never have known. He is funny and smart and spent lots of one on one time with the passengers and sat and played chess with my son as well. Watch out for this one John as I think he is going to be one of your best. Thanks.

John says:
Hello Margo Legge,

I am so thrilled to have read this. I have never met Matt but have heard so many great reviews about him and here is another brilliant one from you. He of course will be thrilled to read this and I will make sure I will copy Chris the director beard in the office as well. Thanks so very much, Matt is all we look for in a CD. I hope you had a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.


Lois asked:
Hi John,

Will Carnival replace the Carnival Spirit in Alaska in 2013 or is that the end of Carnival in Alaska. We want to cruise there for our 50th wedding anniversary which is June 14 2013 but can’t find any list of a ship that is going there. I then read on your blog that the Carnival Spirit is leaving for Australia. Please can you tell me what’s happening?

John says:
Hello Lois,

While I don’t know what ship it will be just yet I can assure you that you will be able to book your cruise to Alaska to celebrate that brilliant milestone on a Carnival ship. I hope to let you know in the weeks ahead what ship that will be and when we can start taking reservations.

Best wishes to you both.


Dean Malikyan asked:

I would like to see if you can get me a pin from the Celebration. I have all the ships up to and including the Carnival Dream and will be on Carnival Magic in December. But no Celebration and nobody at Carnival wants to help me. Can you get me a pin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Dean Malikyan,

I guess I should start by saying a huge thank you. I know you Dean of course and know you cruise a lot and I remember the conversation we had about this when I saw you on the Carnival Dream inaugural from New York. I am sorry but I still don’t have any pins from the Celebration and we have none at our offices in Miami. I did read on my Facebook page recently that someone had found a pin from the Holiday on eBay so may I kindly suggest you look there. I wish you luck and have a brilliant time on the Carnival Magic and let me know if you need help with your motor scooter and table reservation as usual.

Best wishes.


Sarah Baker asked:
Hi John,

Just a quick question about what to expect on our first cruise ever. We are sailing the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore on October 30. With the time change (falling back) we are excited to have more dark hours to be able to sit back and just look up at the stars on our cruise (backyard amateur astronomers, maybe) but were wondering what deck would be the best, the darker the better! Also this is our first family cruise for us (there are 10 total going) and was wondering if you could do something special for us! It never hurts to ask I guess. Our rooms are 4102, 4104 and 5215 (for now, we are hoping for an upgrade closer to our cruising date!) The kids would love it and the adults would greatly appreciate anything. Thank you for all that you do, your blogs and Facebook make my day and keep me super excited about our upcoming trip!!!


Sarah Baker

John says:
Hello Sarah Baker,

I am glad I saw this in time as you are sailing in a week and of course I will send you something. I hope you got that upgrade and while I can’t arrange that I will send you something for sure. I wish you all a great time and enjoy the beautiful Caribbean stars. Have fun.

Best wishes.


Nimmy M asked:

I am a not a Carnival cruise fan as I have never cruised on your line but I am a John Heald fan and love, love, love your humor and the fact that you take so much time to make your passengers happy. I cruise with Holland America and my latest on Eurodam will be number 44 with them. My question John is can you drop a hint to someone at Holland America to suggest that they find someone who can write a blog. They won’t find one like you but maybe someone who can tell us what’s happening and more importantly respond to the needs of passengers. I am 67 years of age and too old to change habits now but I would have loved to have cruised with you John. Keep making us laugh.

John says:
Hello Nimmy M,

I think it is so wonderful that you have shown so much allegiance to Holland America and having sampled their service recently I can totally see why. I will indeed pass this onto a friend of mine who is a senior vice president at HAL and let him see your request. Holland America has a brilliant official blog which shows highlights of all the ships, where they are and the stories from on board.

There is another blog as well. It is written by someone who works for HAL ashore in their offices and it’s not an official blog but is written by some great people who I met recently on a Carnival ship. They have a true passion for their company and the ships and I thought you might like to see it. I will pass on your thoughts though and I am sure they have someone who can write and respond far better than I. Here are those links.

I wish you happy cruising.

Best wishes,


Barbara Callis asked:

I think you need to come up with a better system for arranging tables and promises John. I asked you for a table for eight by the window and a surprise for my daughter’s graduation. We had a table for eight but it was far away from the window and my daughter received NOTHING! Cabin 2358/September 3. You dissapointed us.

John says:
Hello Barbara Callis,

I am very sorry to read this. I do always say that I will do my best to arrange the table requests I am asked but I never guarantee as in the end it’s up to the maitre d on each ship. I see he did arrange a table for eight for you and I am sorry it was not by the window. As for the gift, well that is disappointing and I did ask someone to send it but I guess they let me down for which I apologise. I do hope you had a great time despite these disappointments and I will do all I can to make up for it the next time you cruise.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today.

Before I talk about some of the specifics, let’s welcome the Carnival Liberty with the official press release written by our mate Vance:

So off we go with 3,391 guests including 110 from Mexico, 101 French Canadian and 60 Germans, 67 Italian and 1 guest from Belgium.

So yesterday, our day at sea, I was on a mission and that mission was to count how many people had saved chairs by 9 am. Now obviously I couldn’t count all the chairs on the open deck but instead I concentrated on a row of 8 on the port side close to the pool and the BlueIguana Bar. When I checked at 9 am all of them, every single one had towels on them. Some also had books and bags and one had a pair of kids swim band floaty things on it. And so I took a seat at the corner of the BlueIguana Bar and watched. While I was doing so I noticed that while the man with the huge ugly hair feet and many of his fellow guests had opted for eggs and bacon and grits for breakfast there were two ladies at the bar who preferred a more liquid start to the day and were drinking margaritas.

Anyway, I sat and I watched to see how long it would be before these guests came back. While I did so I noticed just how many people were up early and having eaten were determined to get that tan. Both young and old, male and female were worshipping the golden ball in the sky. Now, I’m long past the age when I give two shiny you know whats about a tan. When I was a young CD I’d stake myself out on the topless deck (yes, we used to have those) and lie there blinking the sweat out of my eyes and rubbing baby oil into my secret gentleman’s areas. This would make me look rich when I got home. But by the age of 30 something I’d realised that most of my tan would be left in a series of unpleasant flakes on the airplane seat and that was the end of my sun worshipping.

Nowadays, anytime my wife insists we sit in the sun I spend my time under a hat, a tree and a roof. Anyway, I digress. We advertise that 30 minutes is the maximum time that seat saving is allowed and so I wanted to see how many guests listened to that. It was advertised in the Fun Times and there was a scrolling message on the Seaside Theatre, which by the way has been upgraded here as you know and looks totally brilliant.

Anyway, 30 minutes later seven of the chairs were occupied and three were not including the one with the kids swimming thingies on it. So where were these people? Had they gotten up at 7 am to reserve the chairs and gone back to bed or were they at breakfast? I looked around at the staff. Two were handing out towels, one was watching the pool as he should do and one was helping a guest with something. So, it is so hard for the crew if not impossible at the present manning quotas to check every chair and what time the guests come and what time they are due back. But the reserving of chairs happens, of that there is no doubt and after my spying mission I grabbed by raspberry and sent a message telling the beards what was going on. I think many guests listen and adhere to the rules but some definitely do not and while it would be nice to think that all guests would respect the rules they don’t and so we have to see what we can do to enforce it better. Oh by the way, the new Serenity area looks fantastic and there we have the ability to make sure the 30 minute rule is obeyed and it is. I think anyone found saving a seat for more than 30 minutes has to use a pair of my underpants as a hammock.

Now talking of Serenity here are some photos for you of what a wonderful job they have done here with the Carnival Liberty’s adults only deck.


I have to tell you that our President and CEO Gerry Cahill and his band of beards were here on Saturday and they had smiles on their faces as wide as a Guy Fieri burger. And so they should because what they have done here is quiet simply miraculous, especially in two weeks and those two weeks that were spent working in torrential rain and high winds. I know it’s early on in the cruise but let me say that the ship is a huge hit and the Lido deck is exactly what we thought it would be………a destination. Both the RedFrog Rum Bar and the BlueIguana Tequila Bar are hugely popular. Which one is the most popular so far I hear you ask?

Well, that’s a tough one but I asked the Bar Manager and he said that revenue wise the RedFrog is slightly in the lead and that I am sure is due to the ThirstyFrog Red beer. On the first night of the cruise we stopped the music at 10 pm and there were still 200-plus on Lido Deck and that number stayed that high for the first movie “Paranormal Activity” which featured in our horror night. It looks amazing on the new big screen and from the screams I heard when I walked through the Lido deck it looks bloody scary as well. We are handing out popcorn and Depends.

So how about Guy’s Burger Joint? Well we all thought it would be popular and we were all correct. How correct? Well on embarkation day between noon and 6:30 pm Chef Sanjay told me we had served 1,000 burgers. I also have to tell you that throughout the day many guests asked the same question………how much? Yep, many guests who haven’t been on the various social media sights had no idea that they were free and so when the staff told them how much they were …….. they were both thrilled and shocked. I wonder if these guests were shocked because other cruise lines charge for their burger? Whatever the reason, they obviously love the fact that they are free and love the fact they are probably the best burgers…….in the world. I will talk more about each individual area in later blogs and there will be loads of video too but so far each and every guest has said how they love what we have done. Well done Gerry and team………you got it absolutely bang on.

The Punchliner Comedy Club is as popular as ever here on the Carnival Liberty. I hadn’t seen the two comedians who performed last night and both I have to say were funny although one who I won’t name, really intrigued me. He is in his early thirties and yet he spent his entire 30 minutes on stage doing jokes and gags on one subject. Old people. This got me thinking. Why is it that a comedian can get away with that these days? It is inappropriate to make fun of someone’s race, gender or disability…..but an old person….. well……….go right ahead. I may do it myself now and then during a Marriage Show but I like to think that I do it in a respectful way. I hope the same applied to what I write on the blog. I’ll also admit to ageist moments in everyday life, such as when I’m in the line for the ATM machine or waiting in line for the bathroom and desperate for a pee. But to spend 30 minutes of comedy doing it…….well to me it just doesn’t seem right, it isn’t funny to mock the aged.

Except though that it seems nobody cares. During my time as a CD I have received complaints from guests if a comedian dares to make a joke about religion, colour or being fat, unless the comedian is overweight themselves of course, then it’s OK. But the guests at the comedy club loved it, even the old ones. It seems that all this comedian needed to do was to mention old people and add a dash of Viagra, hearing aids, dentures and driving…….and he had a guaranteed laugh. I guess I wasn’t laughing because my Dad is 76 and every joke this comedian made on the show last night made me think of him………..apart from the Viagra obviously.

One day we shall all be old and maybe then I will feel different about this subject. Maybe older people like hearing jokes about themselves………if that’s the case then they won’t mind me saying that the only thing I am looking forward to about being old is being able to fart in public and having those around me who heard and smelt it simply go…………”ahhhhhh.”
It’s time to go film but first let me say that I have enjoyed being in the office and living on land but I have to tell you that it’s great to be back on a ship. I love seeing the guests have fun and although I am already frustrated about not having the microphone it is brilliant to be back. I am also lucky that for the first time I have a balcony cabin. I wasn’t supposed to have one but one of the very senior beards who was supposed to sail had to cancel his sailing so I got his cabin. Hopefully he won’t discover it was me that called the Miami Dade Police and told them that he had a body buried under his rose bushes. Anyway, I have his cabin and that means I can sit on my balcony and enjoy the sea. I love the sea, always have even before my life with Carnival. I was brought up in Southend On Sea in Essex which as the name suggests is by the sea and for all those people who wonder if the extra cost of a stateroom with a balcony is worth it…….well let me tell you that yes, it absolutely is.

So it starts here on the Carnival Liberty. The Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades were designed to make our guests say “wow.” Which from what I have seen here……they do. You know life is desperately short and no matter how much you do, there’s always a dollop of regret that you didn’t do more. No matter how much you see, you always think that if only you’d gone a little bit further and over one more horizon, you’d have seen something else. I bet when Tiger Woods is summoned by the grim reaper, he’ll think of a lady that he could have rumpy pumpy with but didn’t, and that will make him a bit sad.

So book a Carnival Liberty cruise. Go on, book one. And if you do I promise you something for sure. When all is said and done, you’ll remember those seven days sipping a ThirstyFrog Red, eating a free Guy Fieri burger followed by a taco from the BlueIguana Cantina for dessert and enjoy each and every one of the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades. Do that and I promise you’ll go through the Pearly Gates with a huge smile on your face.

What a brilliant ship this is.


Your friend,


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56 Responses to LIDO FASHION

  1. Peggy Brousseau says:

    One idea comes to mind concerning the Lido gentleman…Just because it comes in your size does not mean you should wear it!

  2. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Dean Malikyan:

    If you will email me, I might be able to direct you to someone who deals in Carnival pins.

    I have purchased several to complete our collection from him.


    • Janey - OKGIRL says:

      He could also go to that social media site who’s name we shall not mention to see if anybody has a spare pin they are willing to send him.

      I have given ship pins, photo frames, coolers and thermos’ to several people who were in search of those items that I have in duplicate.

  3. MNfam says:

    Barbara Callis, Yep, you are right it’s all John’s fault you didn’t get a table by the window. I suppose he should have helicoptered in and grabbed the Maitre D’ by the ear and forced him to arrange your table. And yes, your daughter deserves a gift because she has to put up with YOU. Perhaps she would be embarrassed and ashamed by her mothers unbelievable expectations and tackiness. Did you ever think to get off your lazy arse and pick up the phone. Maybe even politely asking customer service to help you with your requests. Or are you just a cheap, lazy person who thinks emailing demands will get you ahead in life.

    • Steve S. Chicago says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Julie says:

      Bravo !

      Evey year, millions of people graduate, retire, get married, are expecting a child, have a milestone birthday or anniversary. Do they all demand that John arrange something special for them for FREE ? No, they do not. They are capable of picking up the phone and arranging something through the Bon Voyage department. I admire John for helping all these people !! But I would NEVER stand there with my hand out for freebies like some people think they are entitled too. And to get upset when they don’t get a free gift ? How classless…

  4. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Loved the pictures…they are stunning.

    Can’t wait to see this go to the other ships lined up for this 2.0 of FUN!!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  5. it sounds perfectly lovely john!

    smiles, bee

  6. Ricky says:

    Nothing like sitting in the Serenity Area sipping a thirsty frog red. Enjoyed this on the Valor in August. Love the blog and Carnival.

  7. John, Hubby used to wear a Speedo when we first got married and he looked fabulous almost 35 years ago, he even had a six pack maybe even more than a six pack. BUT he knew when to stop with the speedo, I do think a lot of it for him is probably with all the places he to go to for his career and not as much time to workout, though he trys lol I have never been thin and dont think I ever will but I do weigh less than I did 10 years ago,I dont want to see a man or a womans hangover for lack of a better term. Reading what you have said on this blog has me laughing tonight and I thank you for the laughs..that is one thing you know how to do the best!

  8. John, I’m sure (LOL) that it was the Thristy Frog beer that caused the Red Frog RUM bar to have better sales and not the fact that it is on the smoking side of the ship. If beer is outselling the Rum on the Rum Bar somebody better change the name. Maybe call it the SMOKING HOT RED FROG BAR.

  9. Martha says:

    Barbara – John never promises anything. He passes your request on to the ship. You should have provided the surprise for your daughter yourself through the BV dept. They have some great cakes that taste really good. You could have checked your table assignment and requested a new table when you first got on the ship if it was that big of a deal for you.

  10. NotRudeLikeBarbara says:

    Barabara need’s to get a life, hundreds of people take children on graduation cruises and ask for and get nothing but a good time. She sounds like a mother who thinks her daughter is niot worth her own money so beg from cvarnival. A poor excuse of a mom

  11. Geraldine thomas says:

    Your blog gave me a chuckle and reminded me of the time I learned what the mesh netting in mens swimsuits was for. Hubby and I were on either the fascination or inspiration and sitting on the lido by the pool. In front of us was an older gentleman who would turn his chair to face the sun so by around 5 o’clock he was turned directly facing me. This was also around the same time I had polished off my second bucket of beer. Needless to say the family jewels which had seen better days were just hanging out there for the world to see.

    Just glad that the bucket was there!

  12. Hans Sickles says:

    I just got off the Legend and had a brilliant time on board. The ships staff is wonderful, and Weeeeeeeeeeee Jimmy was a fantastic CD. I do have a bone to pick with Carnival though. I am a collector of art, and have bought a number of pieces of art through Park West Gallery while on board Carnival ships. It seems since my last cruise, CCL has entered into a new contract with Park West to only allow them to sell works of art of living artists. I think this is a bit strange as some of the most valuable and collectible pieces of art are from artists who have pasted away. As an art collector I would like to encourage the Beards to adjust their next contract with Park West to allow them to sell the amazing works of art from artists who have past away. Also on my cruise, I spent many evenings laughing away in the Punchliner Comedy Club. While I found this to be a potential great experience, due to the popular demand, it was an over crowded mess of a room that in my opinion should have had the late night “adults comedy show” moved to the main show room to allow for more seating. When the staff has to bring in additional chairs due to the couches being full, its time to look at another available venue to host the event when this was happening on a nightly basis. Other than that, great cruise, and already looking at which ship I will sail on in 2012.

  13. Regina Andrews says:

    John, love your blog, especially this week because I’m boarding the Liberty this Saturday. Love the photos and the discussion. I just wish you were joining us next week!

  14. Rev Barb in Canada, eh? says:

    John – another great blog tonight. We’ve decided it’s time to go back on the Libery for March Break. We are travelling in 19 days on the Dream (#4) and are taking my sister and BIL on their second Carnival cruise since. They were both in a high-speed car crash on Cdn Thanksgiving and are bruised and sore but very lucky to be alive. They will still be able to make the cruise and they’ll be enjoying the therapeutic amenities of a Spa cabin and Cloud 9. (John and Debbie Boyd Cabin 11209 on 12 Nov) Please, could the new CD (Bye Butch) send them a little note or something to make this trip even more special? Thank you, John for all you do.

  15. Rita presnell says:

    44 trips on Holland!!!!!!! I just can’t imagine! Cruised 1 time in 2010 and hated every minute of it. Couldn’t wait to go back to Carnival……try Carnival for a change….you don’t know what you are missing!!!

    • Chris Benson says:

      Do not be mean spirited. Holland America is a step above Carnival. They are not family fun ships. If you want to go to Las Vegas with all the B S but cannot afford it, go with Carnival as a alternative. For example see how how much emphasise is now given to a new hamburger on the reinvented ships. Wow. Enjoy.
      May I suggest we all should do some research on our next cruise and the cruise atmosphere. If not “buyer be ware” and do not complain on this web site.

    • Vicki says:

      I have only ever sailed on Carnival partly because I am afraid of being disppointed if I try anything else. Service, atmosphere, FUN and fabulous memories… Carnival has been amazing. I truly cannot imagine how any other line can improve on what has been, for me and my family, perfection.

  16. Luis R says:

    To Sarah Baker, the darkest spot I have found on a ship is all the way forward in the open areas on the decks just below the bridge. Those would be 5, 6 and 7. There one detail however, since the ships are normally cruising at night this is also a high wind area. Doesn’t hurt to check when you board.

    • Janey - OKGIRL says:

      I hope that they can find a nice dark space, but unfortunately the “secret” decks as we call them are often locked at night.

      I’m not sure if this is a security issue, safety issue or for the privacy of those guests that have cabins with windows that look out onto those areas.

      • Luis R says:

        I guess it depends on the ship then. I was on Carnival Magic that has the Lanai Promenade all around deck 5. I know for a fact that the forward portion is not closed at night since one night I ventured into this part just looking around the ship. Didn’t go all the way to the front because it _WAS_ very dark there and I was alone at the moment. Next day I went there out of curiosity to see the place in daylight and there are no barriers or chains or anything that could be used to restrict access. But then this is only found in Dream class ships (Dream, Magic & Breeze). You may be right about privacy issues since decks 6 and 7 have cabins with forward facing windows.

        • Janey - OKGIRL says:

          You are correct on a Dream Class ship the Promenade (deck 5) does indeed go all the way around the ship and is open all the time.

          The secret decks I am referring to are on Conquest Class ships on decks 6 and 7. They are a great observation deck during the day, though very windy, but I have found them locked after dark.

          It may also have something to do with the fact that the bridge is on deck 8 and overlooks this area and they don’t want light out there.

          The cabins that look out on that deck have darkly tinted windows I assume to avoid glare at night time when the curtains are open.

      • Luis R says:

        Although… looking at the original question, she is going on the Carnival Pride which looking at the deck plans does not have these “secret” decks in the forward section. Your best bet is probably Lido deck 9 forward right above the bridge or deck 10 forward. The reason I always say the forward part is that they keep this area dark on purpose to avoid reflections and interference on the bridge from outside light sources. Even the string of decorative light bulbs that go all the way from the bow to the stern is kept off at the forward section while sailing. Decks above the bridge may not be as dark, though.

  17. Ellen Boudreaux says:

    John your blog is awesome. It has helped me become a true Carnival believer. It is amazing how Carnival was able to transform Liberty in such a short time. Despite what others say, you are a true ambassador for Carnival.

    Now for my question: My DH and I are sailing on the Pride on Jan. 15 2012 and we wanted to know when the elegant nights will be.

    Thanks for all you do.

  18. Susan says:

    We just returned from the Splendor which sailed on 10/16. We had late dining at table 427. One night a passenger assigned to another table sat with us because his 5 year old spoiled rotten grandson was making everyone play musical chairs, kept making rude demands to the staff and flashing lights in their faces. The passenger was kept waiting for his coffee mostly because of his bratty grandson and made a big stink with the dining manager. My husband and I believed that Wilmer, Gordon, and Joshua were providing exceptional service and were dismayed to hear through the grapevine that Wilmer got in trouble and possibly demoted because if this little brat, who I am ashamed to admit is my nephew. We had adjoining balconies which we kept close because we didn’t want to hear his tantrums.

    So please tell the beards that Wilmer and his staff were excellent and should be commended instead of reprimanded. i did order a birthday cake for hubby thru Bon Voyage and it was a wonderful surprise when it was delivered by singing waiters. This was our first cruise and it was so wonderful that we bought future cruise certificates and now just have to decide where to cruise next! love your blog thingy!


    John, I have been reading your blog daily in anticipation of our Dec 2 Liberty cruise. We are a family of 7 traveling. Our last cruise was our anniversary cruise on the Spirit to Hawaii back in 2010, and I have been suffering “cruise withdrawal” ever since. Anyway, you have me in stitches every night, and our hope is to sail with you some day… I am so excited about the upgrades on this ship. We sail in 39 days, but until then, I am “sailing” vicariously with you everytime I sit down to read this blog! Happy Sailing!

  20. Dear John

    I started following you on FB and your blog after our awesome cruise on the Magic this summer in the Mediterranean. It was my husband and my 3rd cruise with you as CD with our daughters and 12 other guests. I love your blogs and reading the posts as you make me laugh out loud; I read them in my mind as if you are saying it aloud which makes it even funnier. It is like a brief vacation for me a few times a week! Anyway, I think all the upgrades for 2.0 are going to be fabulous since it seems like CCL has incorporated a lot of our favorite features from the Magic. I hope to book another Carnival Cruise very soon.

    Sincerely – Laura from Michigan

  21. SUSAN WILLIS says:

    Enjoyed your blog! I agree wholeheartedly on the Speedo thing and the saving seats….hope there are plenty of chairs on the Serenity deck of the Magic when we cruise Jan. 15, 2012. Wish you were coming! Do you think you could arrange for my husband and I, cabin 2260 to sit with our daughter and son-in-law, cabin 2222 for the early dining please? Small table with a view if possible 🙂 We booked with Carnival and they booked through a travel agent, so Carnival wouldn’t do it for me. Looking forward to it! Thanks for your help.

  22. John, Mary Lou and I always get a balcony cabin. I enjoy watching the water even though we aren’t always in the cabin. Every time I read your blog John, it just makes me feel excited about my cruise on the Carnival Freedom in February to Panama. Thank you once again for helping me with those two excursion tickets on the Panama Canal Train Ride. Mary Lou and I can’t for that one.
    You seem to be so happy lately. That makes you happy also.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  23. Bonnie says:

    Another brilliant blog, John. I must admit I think I peed a little bit when you were describing the “speedo couple”. I have been on many cruises where I am sure they were also. There was one elderly lady (near 85) wearing a very small bikini, and after we all gasped (and took pictures), we had to say “Well, good for her! Still rockin’ at 85.” Those are the people that make cruising such a fun vacation. The people watching can occupy you for hours. There are always a few that everyone will comment on and remember forever.

    • Shawn says:

      It still amazes me the people that request gifts and complain that they didn’t get a free item they requested or didn’t like what was given. John has a great heart and tries to make people happy, but it is not something we should expect. I recently cruised and it was my daughter’s 14th birthday mid cruise. I ordered a cake from BV to be delivered at dinner, arranged room decorations through formalities and the family made the day special. I think asking for something free for her would have cheapened the day.

      We did however end up with a gift from John and really enjoyed the surprise. In one port where I had free cell coverage, I posted a short funny comment about something from the cruise I thought he would enjoy hearing. He took the effort to cross reference my facebook name with the guests on the ship and sent a gift. It was unexpected and really appreciated. Thanks John!

  24. Bill Heck says:

    Hello John:

    Greetings from the Carnival Magic sailing from Venice to Messina. A perfect cruise.

    The reserving of things is still out of control here on the Carnival Magic.

    The ship has many great improvements. The bathrooms have toilet seats and lids that lower softly. Ocean Plaza is nice place to listen to a nice band before dinner. The lounge chairs and sofas on deck 11 aft are nice. There are more areas to relax on the open deck, and the walk around exterior promenade is nice. The tables by the Tandoor and the grille aft with the wooden screen behind them are very nice.

    We are having a fun time on Carnival. Thanks.

    Captain Cutugno has his right foot to the floor again, and we are making 21 good knots towards Messina.


    Your Friend

    Bill Heck

  25. sparks1093 says:

    @Sami, don’t blame Carnival for your high cellphone bill- cellphone use on all mainstream lines is expensive and as John said the rates are set by others. You need to learn that when you travel things are not going to be as they have always been for you (in other words stop making assumptions). Do some research before you travel and you will be much, much happier.

    • Sheila Harnden says:

      I have Verizon Wireless and I sent 3 text messages and received one while on board and just got the bill yesterday. $2.75 Much cheaper to text.

  26. Susan says:

    Dear John……VERY excited to be cruising the new LIBERTY 2.0 on November 5th 2011 and getting to experience all the AWESOME new updates. One question please….is there a set time or are you doing CIGARS UNDER THE STAIRS on the LIBERTY. My husband Scott is a cigar junkie as you are and needs to know these so the travel humidor can be adequately stocked. If not…what bars allow cigar smoking? Until then….
    Susan & Scott from Alabama

    • Susan says:

      OOOPS….I meant STARS….not STAIRS as I’m sure that would be frowned upon…. 😉

      ALSO….haven’t heard or seen post on,…do they still have the original burger bar (not that it’s needed of course) and the pizza bar? Just wondering……..

  27. GAIL DAVES says:

    Hello John, missed your blog when I was on my cruise on the Fascination 2 wks ago, Please tell the Beards what a GREAT WAITER I had his name was Malvin ( nickname Muffin) in the Sensation Dinning Room at 6:00 pm. He had my broc. soup ready for me everynight, Was a great dinning experience EXCEPT for the food. I think the menu needs to go back, we do not need comfort food on a cruise mac & cheese, *(was nasty) meatloaf, fried chicken. I believe carnival needs to rethink this. When you are on a cruise you do not want food you can get from a cafteria or Cracker Barrel.L
    Was very DIS-APPOINTED IN THE CRUISE D. never seen her on board except for the welcome show. The assistance C>D> a really cute black girl was just great and I did not get her name, but She was everywhere and she had lots of engery to keep things going. So please tell the CD> she needs to get out and about, you could not understand a think she said when she was on the interc.. So the Serentity Deck is WONDERFUL and I did see people saying chairs and nothing done. It was a good cruise but Carnival has lots of improvement , and yes this is my 12 cruise on Carnival. The boarding was terrible ,thank goodnesss I was a VIP but we waited in parking lot 3 hours to board. So thanks for your time and you have a wonderful day.

    • Sheila Harnden says:

      We were on the Fascination a month ago and saw the CD, Jen several times. Had a couple conversations with her in the lounges. Maybe you just were not in the same place she was. It is a big ship. Had no problems understanding her either. As far as the dining room food we thought it was great and if you don’t want comfort food then don’t order it. There was plenty of other options. I only had one pasta meal I didn’t like and our waiter saw I wasn’t eating it and had me order something else. The fried chicken was a little dry but it tasted good. Nothing to complain about. We loved the Fascination.

  28. Becky S says:

    As for the Q&A regarding cell phone usage on the ship— it is indeed unfortunate that the guest had such a high cell phone bill; however, it is obvious thaat person does very little (if any) travel outside the US. If you are in Europe or the S. Pacific, Asia, or even in Canada or Mexico, there are international rates and you are subject to them. People!!! You must learn to find out those things before leaving home. It is NOT…I repeat NOT!!… Carnival’s responsibility to hold you by the nose. The info is on their webpage and on the ship and several other places.

    • Susan says:

      AMEN BECKY S… I totally agree with you. It’s what theY say about common sense….”IT’S NOT SO COMMON ANYMORE”.

  29. Justyna McBurney says:

    Just back from our Glory cruise to Bermuda from beautiful Norfolk,VA. We had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed the Serenity Spa area.
    I’m sorry you must have missed my posts telling you of my husbands retirement after 37 years of combined civil and military service. I know how busy you are and had you seen them in time I know you would have sent him a congratulatory note.
    The service we received onboard was marvelous. Marco,Erry and Gede in the dining room made evry meal an adventure. I fell in love with Indian Vegetarian Cusine – yumm. Ketut and Asi, our room stewards, took such good care of us the entire time – always so pleasant.
    We have already book our 2013 Maniac Reunion cruise (Breeze) and I am currently looking for our 2012 Spring cruise – Carnival has always treated us well.
    Thank you John for starting our days with humour. Laughter is the best of medicines. Blessings to you and the girls – keep up the good work.

  30. Donna S says:

    Regarding the comment above about Matt…I TOTALLY agree. He was ACD on the Imagination last year when I sailed and he was absolutely fabulous! I agree…he is so funny and his interaction with “Princess Alex” on the cruise was a hoot. Wonderful asset to the fleet and I was so happy to hear that he got a CD position. Well deserved for sure! C’mon Matt! Yeah baby. 🙂

  31. vicki says:

    This will probably not be published as my past comments havent been either. I Guess Carnival doesnt want to hear negative comments.

    Anyhow, regarding the lady who was thinking of getting a suite over a regular balcony cabin – the answer is a resounding NO, it’s just not worth it. We have been in the old cat 11/12 and they are big rooms, but that’s it! NO PERKS except for priority embarkation.

    We just returned from NCL on the SUN in a suite and I thought I had died and gone to heaven – I wont bore you with the ammenities, but they know how to do it right.
    Also they have a lovely meet/greet (for all pax on CC) with snacks, cookies, brownies, cakes, coffee tea and water FREE- also the Capt and staff officers are there to chat and answer questions. Too bad CCL doesnt have that.

    With the decline in food and service (thanks Mr Cahill) we are spending our cruise dollars elsewhere.

  32. Tracy Mitchell says:

    Dearest John,

    Will be on the Carnival Breeze in December 2010. The Decemeber 2nd sailing will be my 16th cruise on Carnival. In the interim, I will be on the November 26th 2011 8 day sailing of the Carnival Miracle, The April 1st 2012 sailing of the Ruby Princess. Hopefully, I will track you down before my 20th cruise. P.S. Does the Lido couple know you blogged about them…..LMAO

    • Tracy Mitchell says:

      Please forgive me I was….well snockered. I meant the December 2, 2012 sailing of the Carnival Breeze. and no…I do not wear speedos….on the Lido deck.

  33. maelynn says:

    really. you guys need to update weather more often!!!! i have a loved one on the cruise to cosomel. rena is there. you guys dont let any one know whats going on. i am scared to death because of this and carnival cruise line is not up dating!!!

  34. Toni says:

    Skateboarding? ON DECK? WHAT? If this boy needs to be “on the board” so much, he needs to not be “on board” a ship! For that matter, I’ve seen kids on board ships (and in airport terminals too) in wheeled tennis shoes! Add wheeled tennis shoes to your no-no list too!

    As for the “claustrophobic” passenger…please don’t let this be an excuse for a free upgrade to a larger room to accommodate a “disability.” Really! Once you do that, everyone who books will say they are clastrophobic.

  35. Sharon says:

    I’m a “pretty plus” gal and I know it, but I sure don’t want to show it to everyone. And I wish others felt the same way. Don’t understand that?? We watched a lot of chair saving going on when we were on the Triumph a few months ago. Something else I don’t understand?? Great pictures of Liberty’s adults only deck. I’m a teacher, wish I was there. Thanks for the laughs; you’re always a good read.

  36. Jodi says:

    Sami Kearni: I hope you see this, you my dear, need to learn responsibility for your actions. Time will come that Mommy and Daddy won’t be around to fix your gigantic oopsies. They should have told you to put away your toy and pay the bill yourself. None of it is Carnival’s fault or thiers, it all falls directly on YOUR shoulders. You are even more childish by telling people that they shouldn’t cruise w/Carnival because “Carnival charged you for using your cell phone.” No dear, as John pointed out, the charges were from the satelite provider. If if is such a problem for you, next time lock in your cabin safe, or better yet LEAVE IT HOME! Because I guarantee you that on RCI or NCL or any other of Carnival’s wonderful lines it will be NO DIFFERENT! Just a mother’s point of view.

  37. Dick Dumas says:

    Great blog, looking forward to seeing you &the Liberty next week.

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