October 25, 2011 -

John Heald

There is a group of 55 guests from Japan on this cruise and as always they have provided the rest of us with some fantastic sights, from their stunningly beautiful dresses and perfect makeup the ladies wear on elegant night. I think you might have to be Japanese though to understand Japan. It’s not like America, which you can pretty much understand with one mouthful of a Guy Fieri burger or understanding us Brits by learning how to cook Yorkshire Pudding.

I wish I spoke Japanese and could write beautifully using all that beautiful calligraphy and how to bow to who and when to stop bowing. I had a group on the Carnival Magic who would bow when they met the captain and I and trying to respect that tradition I would bow back and then they would bow again and then I felt compelled to bow again and I spent the next 15 minutes on Promenade Deck bowing like some demented woodpecker.

And of course if I was Japanese maybe I would understand the fascination with sushi. You see, even with all the new features here on the Carnival Liberty, the sushi bar still attracts dozens of guests between 5pm and 8pm and I have to say I just don’t get it. Yes, I hear you saying that it’s the “ultimate healthy fast food.” But it’s just not for me. My wife loves sushi and she wishes I would love it too, bless her little Dutch clogs. She doesn’t want me to die or to get fatter, so when I am home she keeps me on a diet of mashed vegetables, muesli and grilled sodding chicken. It is kind and loving of her to do so, but sometimes I look at our refrigerator shelves full of Greek yogurt and falafel and skimmed milk and olive spread, and I feel like crying. And after being here on the Carnival Liberty for three days I know that when I am home I will crave a Guy Fieri burger with melted cheese, a crispy onion ring, lashings of bacon bits and even his very own special mayonnaise.

This is what I was brought up on and Mrs. Heald, my wonderful Mum, prepared dinners that matched the brown and dark green colour scheme of our house. Her two hungry kids and hard working husband ate shepherd’s pie and peas, pork chops, steak and kidney puddings, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with jam rolly poly and lashings spotted dick and custard for dessert.

I love man food. It’s why I have a beach ball for a stomach and it’s why I hate the girliness of sushi. Yep, to me sushi is a girl’s food. The end.

Let’s do some Q and A shall we…………….off we go.

Kim Risley asked:

Dear John,

We are planning on booking a cruise for the 22nd for a three-day cruise out of Port Canaveral. This will be my husband’s 10th cruise and my eight. We are looking forward to “experiencing” VIP. Just wanted to say thanks for the blog. I read your blog from time to time. But wanted to say we have always enjoyed Carnival. We have been on other cruise lines, but have decided that I think we will stick with Carnival whenever we can. We are looking forward to our Inspiration Cruise in a few weeks.


John says:

Hello Kim Risley

As I am about a month behind with questions being answered here on the blog thingy I am sure by now you have been on your cruise which was a special one for you being your Platinum cruise. I apologise for being late with my reply and I wanted to also say that I hope you enjoyed the cruise and especially all the Platinum benefits. Thank you so much for your loyalty and I hope we get to sail together one day.

Best wishes to you both.


Jim Munkittrick asked:


When Conquest experiences a weather delay in Galveston. The embarking passengers line up “for miles”…….not really that far……..outside. Security at the door lets folks in only single file. If you had a second door (which is already there) you could move suite passengers and your most loyal guests in quickly………shortening the exterior lines. Seems once you spend two hours in the line to get through the door, you can breeze through check-in, so why not move those folks out of the long line, get them checked-in, reduce the outside line, those standing the rain or the fog or the heat……..and make far more passengers………in all categories happier? Sometimes the “beards” do not have a clue how the locals enforce policies….locals tend to make it up as they go along. Enjoy your ability as a wordsmith!!!!!

John says:

Hello Jim Munkittrick

Yes indeed, when we have fog delays in Galveston we are definitely aware of the concerns it causes. While the guests on board are happy and content and still being served and looked after by the crew, those waiting to join the ship are not doing so in the most comfortable surroundings. I hope that the new facilities at the Port of Galveston are going to help with this and until then I will send this to our director of embarkation for her attention. I am sure that she is aware and I am sure there are reasons such as manning and or safety that come into play here but I will for sure show her your comments which I thank you for posting. I hope you had a wonderful time on the Carnival Conquest.

Best wishes.


Jerry asked:

I need a Cruise Critic meet and greet for the Carnival Liberty sailing of December 10. I expect a large turnout of 100 plus so a bar/lounge/room at 2 pm on the first sea day would be appropriate and also a listing in the daily Fun Times should be made so our group knows where to go. On a personal note this will be our 11th cruise with Carnival and this time we have ocean suite, cabin 7258!

John says:

Hello Jerry

Thanks for letting me know and I will ask Butch the CD here to arrange a lounge for you and we will add it to the Fun Times as you requested. I hope you all have a brilliant time and I promise you will love this beautiful ship and all her exciting upgrades.

Best wishes.


Judy asked:


We’re just now traveling home from a wonderful cruise aboard the Magic. Enjoyed it more than I could have hoped for. The ship is beautiful, the staff wonderfully accommodating, and although I didn’t have a chance to meet you, I laughed at yours and Calvyn’s antics. Food was great, shore excursions lovely and even debarkation went very smoothly (not our experience on a past Caribbean cruise). We’ll be singing Carnival’s praises for a long while! Thank you all.

John says:

Hello Judy

It feels so long ago that I was on the Carnival Magic and thanks so much for those wonderful words. Hosting the Morning Show with Calvyn was always a highlight and I hope that you are going to come and see us again very soon, maybe on the Carnival Breeze. Debarkation is so easy in Europe especially as we are given quite a bit of leeway in terms of our processes. Thanks again for writing and I am so glad you had fun.

Best wishes.


Amy Beth Baker asked:

Hi John,

We have just returned from a seven-day cruise on the Splendor and we had a blast. Loved the spa cabin. Everyone was great – Ron, our room steward and the staff in the Black Pearl stood out: Mario, Christopher and Luci were all exceptional. They were professional and friendly. They were awesome and because of our experience with the 4 of them we will book on Carnival again! Thank you for the birthday wishes for our daughter Sheila, she enjoyed the strawberries and was thrilled that you remembered her. Todd gave her a ship on a stick which is now sitting next to her cheer trophies, thank you Todd! My two teens really enjoyed the club programs and made tons of friends. I promised that I would pass on a suggestion; they both suggested that the teens should have one dinner service together in the main dining room. I hope that you can pass on our thanks and kudos to Ron, Mario, Christopher and Luci.


Amy Loren Jonny & Sheila

John says:

Hello Amy Beth Baker

It’s no secret that the Carnival Splendor is one of my favourite ships and from your review I can see she still is doing very well and keeping that high level of service and fun. I will pass on your congratulations and your suggestion although seating all the teens at dinner one night is very difficult as we don’t have empty tables for that amount of people. I am so glad all was good and I hope we will see you and the family again soon.

Best wishes.


Dana Macmillan asked:

Hey John!

You should tell people that skateboards cannot be brought on the ship. It’s not on your list on the web page and when my son got his skateboard out on the Lido deck it was confiscated by your security people and my son was devastated. He has entered the MegaRamp championship in California and has a very good chance of winning and needed to be on the board as much as he could be. It would have not disturbed anyone but it was taken from him and only given back the day we got off the Carnival Paradise. Can you explain why?

John says:

Hello Dana MacMillan

Thank you for writing and I apologise that skateboards are not part of the prohibited list that we publish on but I will ask our team to add it because obviously it is not allowed. Now I will say that had your son not tried to use it on board but had taken it ashore we would not have had any problems with that and as long as the local people didn’t mind then I am sure that would have been OK. However, it was taken from him because to skateboard on a moving ship could be dangerous and should an unexpected movement of the vessel happen and your son was on the skateboard then it could have injured him or a guest that was passing by. I should also mention that our open decks are not designed for skateboards and I am sure that it would have at some point disturbed the other guests as well. So I hope that explains why this happened and I also wish your son all the best and hope he wins.

Best wishes.


Michelle Simmons asked:

Hi John,

Just found your blog and I love it! Do you have any experiences of claustrophobic customers to share with us? We are first-time cruisers, sailing on the Ecstasy on Nov. 26. The thing is…….my husband is claustrophobic and I booked an inside cabin for him, my nine-year-old son and me. We are on a tight budget for vacation, and it was the most affordable option so I jumped on it. Now I’m wondering if I made the wrong choice booking it. Can you allay our fears or did we make a bad decision?

John says:

Hello Michelle Simmons

That is a very interesting question indeed and it’s not one that I have been asked before but I think you have very little to worry about. Carnival’s staterooms are among the most spacious in the industry and I think leaving the bathroom light on at night so that your husband can see where he is at all times will help. The fact is that you will not spend too much time in there and of course the rest of the ship is bright, open and will give you the best vacation ever. Please don’t worry, relax and all will be well. If you have any other questions please let me know.

Best wishes to you both.


Jeremy T asked:

Mr Heald,

We just returned from our 9/13/2011 for a cruise to Alaska. It was our third cruise on Carnival. We cruised to three Alaska cities on the inward passage. We were disappointed with the food served in the dining room and in the regular restaurant. The food was cold and not much of a selection in either place. We felt it was much too expensive to spend $30 per person to eat in the fancier restaurants. Another problem was the service in the dining room. It was very poor and the waiters seemed to be on their own agenda. We had opted for early dining and they seemed to be in a hurry to get you served and out of the dining room. Cabin service was good. We also didn’t like the fact that our cruise ended in Vancouver where the people were rude and unfriendly. Then we were bussed back to Seattle to the airport where we spent 10 hours before our flight home.

John says:

Hello Jeremy T

I am very sorry to read that there were aspects of the cruise that you did not enjoy and my concerns are mostly regarding the service and food in the dining room. I will make sure these are passed on and improvements are made. If you could help me by sending me your last name and or cabin number so the ship can see exactly which waiter you had and therefore we can make sure your server is given the right help he or she needs to improve. I am glad you enjoyed the service from your state room steward and that overall you had a good cruise and enjoyed beautiful Alaska. I must say though I have never heard anyone mention that the people in Vancouver were “rude and unfriendly” as usually it’s the opposite. Thanks again for taking the time to write.

Best wishes.


Derek T asked:


I use a motor scooter and need a table close to the entrance of the dining room.

11/05/11 table x 2 early sitting bkg number ******

John says:

Hello Derek T

Thanks for letting me know about this and I have asked the maitre d to assist you as best he can. Have a great time.

Best wishes.


Patricia Kilcoyne asked:

Hi John,

My husband and I took CCL’s Bermuda cruise out of Charleston in May. Are they abandoning that trip? We enjoyed it immensely, except for the weekend in Bermuda. The island literally closes down at 5pm on Saturday, and does not re-open until Monday. Will they ever do this route again? Maybe consider adding an extra day – stay until Monday? We love sailing out of Charleston – short drive to the port – and the Carnival Fantasy is such a nice little ship. Comfy! We would really like something ot do other than Nassau and Freeport, and Bermuda was a great change.

John says:

Hello Patricia Kilcoyne

I am so glad you enjoyed Bermuda and sailing to there from Charleston. I haven’t heard of any plans to return there next year but I hope we will see more sailings to Bermuda in the future as they are exceedingly popular with our guests. I am so glad you also loved the Carnival Fantasy and I hope we see you again very soon. Thanks so much for writing.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today and as always a big thank you for all your comments. It’s not a very pleasant day here today with Hurricane Bastardirna causing six of our ships to have to alternate their schedules, including the Carnival Liberty which is heading now to Ocho Rios. We have canceled Grand Cayman and replaced that with beautiful Grand Turk. Today though is murky and grey and the seas are a little choppy and while most guests have accepted the itinerary change, as usual there are one or two who have proclaimed that the only reason they booked this cruise was to go to Grand Cayman. They’re frustrated and that’s understandable. However, one has to feel sorry for the two couples who were due to get married in Grand Cayman and for whom the ships staff with shoreside help are desperately trying to arrange the ceremony in Jamaica instead. Hopefully the sun will come out tomorrow for them and for all the guests as today looks as grey as an elephant’s dangly bits.

So as expected the Lido Deck has become a destination with guests staying out far later on deck 9 than ever before and that’s because we have made some changes that have complemented the two new bars. Let’s start with those, the RedFrog Rum Bar and the BlueIguana Tequila Bar. Both have become instant hits and it’s been interesting to see loyalties develop between these two competing bars. Later in the cruise I will ask guests why they have chosen one over the other but I think already that they chose which one they will sit at based on a couple of reasons. Obviously the choices of drinks are important and ThirstyFrog Red is proving as popular here as it was at Carnival Magic’s RedFrog Pub. Over at the BlueIguana the Mexican imported beers are proving a huge hit as are the margaritas and other frozen specialties. So, drink choice is important but I also think there is another reason as well and that’s the personalities of the bartenders who work there. I often find that our guests will frequent bars based on the personality behind that bar and certainly at the RedFrog Rum Bar and the BlueIguana Tequila Bar we have some sparkling crew who work hard and work hard with passion and fun which the guests love. Each bar also has their own guitar/singer soloist and I see that our guests are starting to draw allegiance to either Tim at the RedFrog or Eric at the BlueIguana and both are doing a brilliant job.

So which bar is winning at the moment? Well last night we had the RedFrog’s Caribbean Beach Party and guests were very happy. They were very happy first of all because the ship stayed in Cozumel until 10 pm and some were sponsored by Carlos and Frogs or whatever those bars are called. Now this is a new deck party and will be on every ship that gets the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades. The DJ stated things off and then Butch and his staff went into a series of new dances for all the guests to enjoy and enjoy they certainly did with hundreds line dancing moving from left to right and doing strange things with their bottoms. During the party the staff handed out glow sticks and beads and RedFrog gifts…… was one of the best deck parties I have seen in a long time. And I should say that this is a huge step forward because our deck parties certainly needed new life breathed into them and having free stuff to throw out and great music and of course these two new bars have given the Carnival Liberty surely the best deck party in the fleet. Actually, that may not be true because on Wednesday night there will be another deck party. This will be the BlueIguana’s Mexican Fiesta……..I wonder why we didn’t hold this one while we were actually in Mexico? Anyway, this one will feature gifts and prizes from the BlueIguana and of course the cantina will be open serving Mexican food and there will be an upgraded Mexican buffet served inside the Lido Restaurant as well. I am sure this will be a huge hit.

On a normal sea day the Lido would start to empty around 5 pm-ish and by 6 pm the housekeeping guys would be stacking chairs and cleaning the deck. It certainly isn’t like that here and here is why. First of all there is the music. This ship does not have a Calypso duo. Now I know this will immediately raise the hackles of a few but hold on, before you get your Calvin Klein’s in a twist, let me explain what we are doing instead. First of all we have two DJ’s on this ship, both trained by the master, DJ Irie who is one of the new breed of superstar DJ’s and he has done a brilliant job training DJ Alex and DJ Paul here on the Carnival Liberty although I think they need better names. So they play their music which starts at 11 am to 1 pm. Then at 1 pm we go to pool games and fun with the staff. Then the first of the live musicians takes over and then back to the DJ and then the next live musician and then back to the DJ. So last night we had music from 11 am to 9 pm and which time we started our Chick Flick Movie Night where 150 people sat and watched 50 First Dates and Notting Vomit…..I mean Notting Hill.

As I mentioned there may be a few who lament the fact that we don’t have a calypso duo here and that we won’t on the ships that get these upgrades. We have replaced the duo with two guitar soloists whose mix of popular songs have been as I mentioned earlier, loved by the guests. But the DJ’s …….well let me just say that when I walked on Lido yesterday at 3 pm there was an amazing atmosphere and I have not seen so many guests dancing at that time of the day on Lido since …….well, ever. DJ Irie has taught our DJ’s what music to play and don’t worry, you’re not going to be subjected to hours of crap, I mean rap but instead a mixture of the 70’s, 80’s and today’s music. There are no breaks, music is constant and so is the fun and the guests love it, they really do. I haven’t had one single comment of “Where is the duo?” but we have had many comments that say “We love Lido.” That’s not spin, that’s the simple truth.

So we really have made Lido a destination and with the pools staying open until late which compliments all I have mentioned above and the themed movie nights, we have created in essence a brand new Lido Deck experience and the guests have shown through their participation, their comments and the packed bars that they obviously think it’s absolutely brilliant.

One last thing…………….which bar is the most popular? The answer so far is by a small margin, the RedFrog Rum Bar. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that we allow something we don’t allow at the BlueIguana………..smoking!

We have recently had some great contests on Carnival’s Facebook page and there will be more soon with really great prizes. Did you see the videos that people made showing us their groovy moves in order to win tickets to see Maroon 5 in Galveston? If not, here is a link for you to see some brilliant and quite unique dancing

I rarely enter contests because I am as thick as a ton of bricks and I never ever win bugger all. However, if I did I wonder what prize I would most like to win. Certainly I would like to be win Megan Fox’s bottom for the day. I’d also love to drive an Aston Martin and I would like to win the prize of mummifying Simon Cowell in duct tape. However, what I would really like to do is win a seat on a Virgin…… not a Latvian Virgin but the Virgin Spacecraft. You see Richard Branson the multi zillionaire owner of Virgin and other things confirmed that he will have a contest to give tickets away for his spacecraft plane thingy for a trip around Planet Earth and back. How brilliant is that? The company is called Virgin Galactic and passengers like rock stars Lay Z, U2’s Boner will pay $200,000 for a three-hour tour. Oh how I would love to win that contest.

I guess I should explain at this point that I’m a space nut. When I see photographs of other planets the hairs on my arse stand on end. It’s William Shatner’s fault you know. Ever since I was a wee lad I would watch Jim Kirk and wonder if anyone could possibly overact more than he and if his acting style was a result of permanent constipation. Seriously though I watched Star Trek and I believed. I truly felt that we were not alone.

Yes I know there are dangers but Virgin has never had a cras………well I am not going to tempt fate here by writing what I was going to write but I will say that despite one or two high profile disasters space travel seems relatively safe. Take Apollo 13 where astronauts Hanks, Paxton and Bacon were marooned in space with not even enough power to run an electric toothbrush but they still got back okay.

Yep, I would love to be on that Virgin space ship. I wouldn’t care if my space suit made me look like the Michelin man and I wouldn’t care that farting in a space suit is not recommended. And if I won I would represent all of you by killing two birds with one stone. I would get to achieve my goal to be an astronaut and while I was up there I would launch Carnival Corporation’s own satellite which would replace the current system which has the same band width as a supermodel’s waist. Yep, we would launch the new, super high speed Carnival satellite and send the other one all the way to Uranus.


Your friend,


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55 Responses to FROGS VS IGUANAS

  1. Robin Atkins says:

    My husband and I cruise most every year and the year you were on the cruise was just fun! As I was reading I can recall things others wore, you and the beards standing in the reception line,daning on the stage etc. and just wonder if you ever remember people as the guests so out number you! It is refreshing to read your FB comments and blogs, I just subscribed today as I miss so many of them on FB. I hope one day to be onboard a cruise with you again! Be safe! Robin

  2. Paul Salata says:

    Skateboard on a cruise ship. Now I’ve heard everything. Whenever I feel that something is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard being done on a cruise ship, somebody comes along and lowers the bar again.

    • BarB says:

      The info on skateboards is on the Carnival website….just need to do a little research for it. You can bring one aboard…for shore use only. You can’t use it onbord the ship.

    • richstowe says:

      Don’t know why but that skateboard letter cracked me up. Too funny. Sure the lido deck is the perfect place to practice your board tricks. Priceless!

      • Julie says:

        The funny thing is not that the kid thought it was OK to skateboard on the lido deck – it was the Mom for defending the kid !! Kids have some serious judgment lapses because they simply don’t know better – but an adult should know without being told that skateboarding on a moving ship is a recipe for disaster… Wonder if she also needs to be told to not run with scissors…

  3. Peter Kaplowitz says:

    Hi John,
    My family of five are booked on the Liberty April 14 and I can’t wait. All the new ideas sound great. I love the idea of the live music and new bars on the Lido deck. I’m sure we will enjoy the pools being opened later and the evening movies and parties. My wife will turn 50 in Feb and our 20th anniversary is April 4th. The more I read your blog the more excited I get to go. Keep up the good work.

    • Linda Leach says:

      Peter, we just booked the Liberty for April 14! I wanted to go sooner, but we have the Miracle in Dec. and the Paradise in Jan., so I have to wait. We were on the Liberty this past March, so I can’t wait to see it now! Hope to see you on the cruise!

  4. Martha says:

    Michelle, I hope you come here and find this. My issue with being claustrophobic is two fold. One is the tight space and the feeling of no air. So a small fan may help. My biggest problem is not being able to quickly access the outside. So for me anywhere I am on the ship I know exactly how to get outside as quickly as possible. I have never booked an inside cabin, always a balcony for that reason. But, I am thinking if you were booked close enough to the stairs or elevator, he will probably be just fine.

    • Janey - OKGIRL says:

      And I might add a suggestion. Since the 3rd bed will be a bunk that is lowered from the ceiling each evening, the cabin will see more spacious if you leave the 2 beds on the floor as twins.

      That will give you plenty of open floor space and will help with that closed in feeling.

      My sister and I almost always book inside cabins and we too leave the bathroom light on and the door cracked a bit so she can see at night.

      The television also has a channel with a continuous loop of both the webcams on the ship and usually a channel that is showing what is being filmed out on the islands and onboard. It may help to have one of those channels on when you are in the cabin to mimic looking out a window.

  5. Host Mach from Cruise Critic says:

    How nice to see our cruisin’ buddies Dave and Kim as your Mates of the Week! They’ll be joining us, the Crazies, for BC5!!!

    How wonderful to read the blog and not see nonsense posted by hateful people with an agenda. Great job!

    110 Crazies will be boarding the Carnival Conquest this Sunday for he final 7 day voyage from Galveston. We KNOW that we’re going to have a magnificent time. It was just about a year ago that we sailed on the Conquest and missed two ports, Jamaica and Grand Cayman, because of a tropical storm. It was on that cruise that you dubbed us ‘The SWAT Team Of Fun’ and we intend to live up to that name on this cruise as well.

    All the best, my friend. See you in a few weeks. Please tell the girls we send our love.


    Host Mach

    • grizel robertson says:

      Hi Host Mach,
      I have responded to you previously endorsing your positive comments about JH & Carnival.
      However, I cannot understand why US citizens who travel much shorter distances & pay much less for their cruise itineraries than I do from Scotland (22 cruises) can complain about missing scheduled ports of call. Carnival, or any other cruise line do not invoke these deviations to make additional profits, they do so for the comfort & safety of their passengers & the ships’ stability! I cannot believe that we still embrace this culture of blame on any corporation in the world because of self centred individuals who decided that “I wanted to meet up with X on Y date hence my reason for booking this cruise”. They need to live in the real world & understand that weather patterns can change dramatically in a few hours & that is no reason to claim a refund when the prime consideration is safety of passengers & ship. Am I missing something here?
      I personally suffered 3 changes of itinerary in 3 consecutive years from 1995 to 1997 that disappointed me but did not destroy my experiences. In fact, it enabledme to find my feet in Cozumel, Grand Caymen, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Antigua, to name a few destinations.
      I shall be on BC5 & the following week before returning to the damp climate in the UK. Would love to meet you on BC5.
      My Transpacific in September 2012 is my Milestone cruise & it would be great to have JH & you on this historic re-positioning trip to Oz, a chance of a lifetime.
      Keep up your sterling contributions to this site, you have my appreciation & endorsement regarding your input.
      A Scot/Brit who caught the CCL bug 20 years ago.
      Thanks Host Mach for listening to my tirade!

      • Joyce Tallant says:

        yes Grizel, you have had the opportunity to visit ports you might not have visited and that is great!! but what about the people that have to re visit ports they have already been to and don’t care for and who have paid alot more for the cruise they are on so that they can visit certain ports, I realized the cruise line can’t control the weather but since we have paid about $400 more a piece for this cruise, I believe the cruise line should offer at least a $50 on board credit a piece or something

        • grizel robertson says:

          Hi Joyce
          Maybe what I didn’t make clear was that 2 years in succession, 1995 & 1996, I found myself cruising the Western Caribbean Back to Back in both years with exactly the same ports of call. Having been married on the beach in Magen’s Bay St Thomas, courtesy of Carnival Celebration, in 1994, I was extremely disappointed to be unable to return there for my 1st & 2nd wedding anniversaries. Did I consider seeking recompense from Carnival for my inconvenience? You really must be joking! Would you like to be on a floating resort that is being buffeted by rain & winds & stuck in your cabin for several days? I think not!
          I wholly agree that it is desirable to visit the new ports of your choice but you must be realistic & understand health & safety issues & the unpredictable behaviour of Mother Nature.
          Perhaps you would be interested to know that my forthcoming BtoB cruise on C Magic starting with BC5 in March 2012 is costing me $5000(not a suite). This price excludes return flights from Scotland/Houston via new York, return overland travel Houston/Galveston & an overnight in an hotel into the bargain. The grand total cost is just under $6000. I am willing to bet that your total vacation costs are on a much smaller scale & you spend much less time in travel.
          I am totally sick of the minority element of Bloggers from America who think that they are God’s gift to Carnival & have Divine rights to demand compensation when they have paid Buttons for a Fun experience.
          Your US compensation culture has destroyed the World Economy! Get a life & stop trying to get your vacations on the cheap. Pay for it through the nose like the rest of the world does. Didn’t you realise that the USA is in recession? I think you need to look at the wider picture in the world rather than being self-centered around a missed port of call. I rest my case but I cannot understand your unwarrented complaints about Carnival.
          Do try to search the Weather Stations in the US. They will predict patterns & inform you about expectations over several weeks. Joyce, you need to open your mind big time to the realities of this world & stop blaming human beings/corporations for natural disasters.

          • Julie says:

            Dear Grizel,

            I love you already – first because you are from Scotland and therefor must have a beautiful Scottish accent and I’ve always had a ‘thing’ for accents, and second because I totally agree with your comments on missed ports.

            Neither Carnival nor anyone can be held responsible for the weather and it’s to no ones advantage to press on through a storm just to make sure people like the previous poster has a chance to see different ports. Who wants to see a port in the soaking rain anyways…

            To all who wish to be compensated for a missed port: Read the cruise contract, ports can be changed if required. We all agree to the cruise contract, why should Carnival be held responsible to reimburse everyone on board 50$ cause Miss Previous Poster missed seeing yet another Margaritaville…

            I too shall be on BC5 and have all my fingers and toes crossed that we make GCM as I have an excursion booked there that I have my heart set on doing. If we skip GCM, I will certainly be disappointed. Will it be Carnivals fault ? No… Should they give 50$ ? No…

  6. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Dana Macmillan :

    Motorcycles, bicycles, and roller skates are probably not listed either…but COMMON SENSE would prevail with most folks.

    There is not enough room to list every item that someone, without COMMON SENSE, would think to bring.


    • Dwayne says:

      Skateboards are listed as acceptable to bring on board for only “in port” use on GoCCl the Travel Agent Portal. It seems like common sense to me not to bring one for skating on Lido and disturbing other people. The world has gone mad with idiots!

    • BarB says:

      It’s all listed on their website. Poster obviously didn’t do her research….

      A complete list up to and including wheelies is there. Apparently you can bring a skateboard for shore use only. Not permitted to use it on the shp.

  7. Rita presnell says:

    Michelle, I, too, am claustrophobic and have panic attacks. I always book a balcony room or a room with a window close to the atrium. That way if I start feeling closed in i can go out and look down into deck 3. This really helps me. I also got a prescription for Adavan from my doctor but have only had to take it one night out of 7 cruises. Deep breathing helps when you feel closed in. Just stay positive and everything will be great! The ships are so open and there’s always an open spot you can retreat to.

  8. jr greiner says:

    what happened to please and thank you when asking for a favor? John thank you for all you do.

  9. plywood says:

    Oh FFS, isn’t it common sense to know that skateboards would not be allowed on a ship. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? There should be a class in common sense. (just shaking head)

  10. Scott Nickle says:

    Really John? You diss sushi as being “girly” and then tell us how a nice spotted dick makes your mouth water? You, who come from the land of milky tea and cucumber sandwiches? A land where it is apparently a royal edict that all comedians MUST dress in drag (Including yourself)? You’re gonna tell us that sushi is not macho enough?

    I’m just jerking your chain, John. Actually, I’m a big fan of the UK. However, I wonder if you have ever had sushi at a proper sushi restaurant? The sushi served on Carnival is nice, but it is miles away from what a serious sushi chef with daily fresh fish deliveries can provide. And a lot of the johnny-come-lately sushi restuarants you see these days are to real sushi as MacDonald’s is to a Guy Fieri hamburger. If you can, go eat at a sushi restaurant that’s been in business for 20 years, and try several varieties. If you still don’t like it, fine, but at least then you’ll truly know what proper sushi is.

  11. Mike says:

    John, I am with you about the space program. I’m a 30 year old engineer, but if I could go back in time it would be to the 1960s to try and be one of NASA’s engineers (I’m not sure I’m smart enough!). Those guys were brilliant, and whenever I see footage of a launch, I get the chills. Even in the movie Transformer’s 3 (which did not have Meghan’s bottom!) they started it with Apollo 11 and I was getting choked up.

  12. Raylene says:

    Well I for one LOVE that you don’t have those calypso musicians. I hated that racket on our Splendor cruise (nothing against the performers but the music itself is beyond annoying). I think the DJ idea is perfect for the lido. Some people might balk at ditching the duo and throw a tantrum that Carnival is just trying to cut costs but honestly, the majority of people will prefer the DJ music. And mixing it up with music from different decades is perfect. Oh and by the way, please, PLEASE stop playing Buffet so much…thanks 🙂

    Also, not to start an argument, but BOOOOO for making the Red Frog bar smoking! 🙂

    • Janey - OKGIRL says:

      They didn’t really MAKE the Red Frog Rum Bar smoking, it just happened to replace the existing Lido deck bar that was on the smoking side of the ship.

      I believe you can also get the new Thirsty Frog Red beer at a couple of other bars on the ship. Maybe the Lobby Bar and the Sports bar…….I’ll be looking there next week on our Crazies Conquest Cruise.

    • Mary L. says:

      Well this just shows “to each his own” is so true – I wouldn’t feel like I was actually ON a cruise without the steel drum/calypso band, just love it, love being on the deck while the band is playing, and never get tired of it. I can hear DJ/piped in music in elevators and while on hold on the telephone. If the music is going to change, please keep the calypso band at least part of the time!

  13. Thank you John for the all information. Really enjoy your blog and the improvements Carnival is doing on all their ships.

    Unfortunately my next cruise won’t be upgraded yet, however, I will still have a great time as I always do on Carnival.

  14. Julie says:

    Michelle, perhaps you could turn on the television to the ship’s exterior camera so your husband can “see” outside.

    • Loretta says:

      Also when you go to bed put the TV on the bridge cam with the sound off. Then you will know when it is morning.

  15. I just loved this blog John. It’s so amazing how much more Carnival is trying to allow their guests enjoy cruising. I just can’t wait to enjoy the new Guy hamburgers, the new Iguanas and even a non- alcoholic dribk from the Frog. Since I won’t be able to try these new things on this cruise ( Freedom ), I definitely will be on my next cruise.
    Oh by the way my friend, I enjoy sushi and I’m a true man. See you soon John .

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  16. Frank Perez says:

    Two things hot me mad on this – first of all, the people who complained about their son not being able to skate board on the ship!!! Are they crazy? If I saw someone skate boarding on a ship I was on I would have complained all of the way up to the Captain, if needed. Secondly, the people who complained about the cruise from Alaska on 13 September 2011. I was on the same ship on the 20th and everything and everyone was perfect. I can’t believe their complaints about the food and service. Ours was great.

  17. BarB says:

    For Dana McMillian….

    The information on skateboards IS on the Carnival website. You are permitted to bring a skateboard bot for SHORE use only. Not allowed to use it on the ship. Here’s the link:

  18. Julie says:

    Hi John, We’re due to go on the Carnival Liberty on December 3 (very very excited) and originally we had booked a Cozumel Buggy tour not thru carnival. The tour has been cancelled and all other available tours have been cancelled as well. The booking agent told me there is only one company that offers buggy tours and they are no longer doing them. Then I noticed that Carnival offers a Buggy tour at Cozumel, so quickly I booked with you. Tell me, are the Carnival tours still available or will these be cancelled too? Just wanting to know so if need be I can make other plans. Thanks heaps.

  19. Janey - OKGIRL says:

    To Jim Munkittrick,

    Galveston is my home port and I agree in the past VIP embarkation has been less than desirable.

    But I am very please to let you know that Carnivals terminal in Galveston has been remodeled and there is now a completely separate entrance for VIP.

    Instead of standing in that long line, (and I always felt like VIP should be able to walk to the front of the line) you walk right past it to a door marked VIP. We have our own escalator and I’m not sure of the changes inside yet.

    I’ll be heading to Galveston this weekend for a detached B2B on the Conquest and the Triumph. I’ll report back on the new and improved embarkation experience on November 14th.

  20. bob says:

    I never thought I would see climbing walls, ice rinks or bowling lanes on ships either, but they are there. Skateboards could probably be accomodated…but not on open decks. You could build a deep hole in the bottom of the ship with no way out, so that when they go, they will stay for the entire cruise, so we can all continue to enjoy our blissful voyage!

  21. MichaelC (formaly know as just Michael) says:

    John, As usual another great blog. But I made one mistake, I read the letters. What a bunch of rude inconsiderate jerks. Demands and lack of just plain old courtesy and common courtesy. What has happened to “please” and “thank you”. Don’t get me even started on the subject of skate boards on board a moving ship. On a site that will forever be un-named a couple of days ago someone woman wanted to bring her skates because she claims to be on a professional skating team or some such nonsense and needed to practice each and every day. Oh well, in 38 days I will be on the Magic saying to myself “It is too bad John is not here to enjoy this wonderful cruise with us”.

  22. Maribeth Kring says:

    Dear Jerry and Derek T, — Please and Thank You?

  23. Toni says:

    Happy to see you monitoring chair saving. Good on you. It’s really time for it to stop. I wish you’d go full throttle on keeping diapered kids, and kids who are of an age to need diapers out of pools and hot tubs, and keep kids out of adult-only areas. Saving chairs (on deck or in the theater or near the buffet) is rude and selfish. But putting non-toilet-trained kids (in or out of a diaper) in the water is rude, selfish and a health hazard for all. And it’s against the stated rules. I wish that when people book — online, at a travel agent’s shop or on the phone — that they are shown a pop-up box w/ a box to check, a form to sign or given a spoken “warning” about these rules if they have included a child under, say, the age of 4 on their booking. Too many people seem to have NO idea of the rules. The rules also need to be OBVIOUSLY posted near all water areas and ENFORCED. Several posters on various online communities have suggested withholding all tips from all staff until employees near these facilities enforce the rules. I’m not suggesting that; I am saying that people are tired of it and some think that by stiffing one group of employees that it might create some peer pressure among the various groups of staffmembers. What do you think, John?

  24. 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.

  25. Linda Youse says:

    Skateboards,really? Why would anyone think skateboards would be allowed to be used on the ship? Amazing!
    I know there are many nice people on cruise critic….BUT…the request for the meet and greet just proves why it seems like they are better than the rest. Where was the PLEASE? Where was the THANK YOU? The request could have been worded….If possible, could you PLEASE schedule a meet and greet. NOT, we NEED. People have such nerve.
    I really don’t know why you continue to do so much for such rude people.
    You certainly understand how a little kindness goes a long way. Too bad other people don’t get it.
    I’m looking forward to booking a cruise on one of the upgraded ships. I have always been a fan of the lido and often wondered why it was never put to better use at night.
    Thank you for all you continue to do for all of us…even though some are very impolite and rude!

  26. Phoenix says:

    Skateboards? Is she kidding?

    I wonder if she let’s her kid skate in her house.

    The stupid not only sail now, but post.

  27. Cindy Sexton says:

    Hi, Never cruised before but have a graduation celebration for my high schooler booked in May 2012 on Conquest. I crawl all over your website daily, looking at ships and staterooms and shore excursions and such. Love the countdown til we cruise and I have a couple of things planned for the teenager (decorated stateroom and gift pack) plus 3 shore excursions we will both enjoy. WE CAN’T WAIT! 213 days today but who’s counting? Anyhoo…what I’m concerned about is being treated differently or badly because of my weight. Is being overweight going to cause a problem when I try to go snorkelling or anything? Are the ship’s staff going to be sensitive or derogatory in their actions? I’m just a mom who is taking her teenager on a cruise for graduation. Do you think there will be any issues? Thanks, and still can’t wait to cruise!

    • Cindy Sexton says:

      whoops sorry…will use the ask john function instead

    • Janey - OKGIRL says:


      Have no fear regarding your size. You will encounter more of us “fluffy” people than you think.

      I have never had the crew treat me or my sister with anything but a “welcome back, we’re glad you are here” attitude.

      We were one time seated in a booth that my sister couldn’t fit into. The MD quickly and politely reseated us at a table.

      You might want to visit your assigned dining room as soon as you get on the ship and check out what table you will be seated at. The name of the dining room and the table number will be on your S&S card.

      If you don’t feel that you will be comfortable you can request the MD to reseat you. He will be in one of the dining rooms around 1:30 on embarkation day to handle these requests. If you need a chair without arms they can accommodate that as well.

      His location will be listed in the Fun Times newspaper that you can pick up at any bar.

    • Nancy says:

      Hi Cindy,

      Don’t worry about your weight. It won’t be an issue. I am a large woman and have yet to have a problem with anyone on the ships and excursions. There are some excursions to watch for that have weight limits, like horse riding or ziplining. But snorkeling is just fine and lots of fun. I enjoyed it myself. So just go and have fun and don’t worry about anything. Oh, and buy a cheap disposable underwater camera to take really cool pictures. Congrats to your grad too.

    • Michelle says:

      hi Cindy,
      You shouldn’t have anything to worry about! Go and have a wonderful time with your teenager!! It is going to be amazing! The crew are there for help and always there with a smile.
      I’m scheduled on a cruise in February on the Dream … and I love the count down too!! 🙂 I was worried myself about being overweight but I’ve been on a couple of Carnival cruises already and I can tell you that you shouldn’t worry about that. Just count down those days until the fun begins!!


  28. Becky S says:

    Regarding the skateboarder on the ship– mercy people!! When did common sense go out of the window. Skateboarding on a moving ship? Are you serious? Have you been to Jamaica and started indulging in some of the island’s offerings? Did you fall out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down? Does Carnival have to specify every little thing that most folks with any common sense at all would know NOT to do? Good grief!!!! I hope the boy does well at the event; however, everything has a place and the decks on the ship with hundreds of people on the deck and others in cabins below who do NOT want to hear the wheels of the skateboard going round and round above their head is NOT the place!!

    As for the couple getting married– while Grand Cayman would have been a nice location to have the ceremony, Grand Turk would be better than Jamaica (in my opinion). Hope something works out for you.

  29. The Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    Our very first cruise we missed the port that I booked the cruise for. But since we had already had three sea days when they announced that we were not going to Alcapulco but instead were going to Puerta Vallerta, I simply looked over at my beautiful wife and told her “Oh Well we have never been there either.” Clinked our Drink O The Day glasses and just kept on having a wonderful cruise. I guess Carnival needs to have a lawyer stand with a megaphone at the check-in point telling everyone what is written in fine print on every ticket that no port is guaranteed and can be change for any reason as the Captain sees fit. Even if the Captain has spent too much time at the BlueFrogRedIguana Bar and wants to just sail in circles and go weeeeee! It is up to him alone. So Quityourbellyaching and have some fun. After all isn’t that why we go on the FUN SHIPS for in the first place.
    The Cruzin2some

    • Joyce Tallant says:

      This is my ninth cruise with carnival and will probable be my last. I have had a great time on every cruise so far, this time I sailed on the Freedom and I have never seen anything like it. For one I am irratated because we paid more for a eight day cruise so we could visit colon panama, and we ended up having to go to jamaca and Grand Turk, if we had wanted to go there the cruise would have been much cheaper, but we were not offered any compansation like on board credit or anything. our room was not cleaned for 4 days because housekeeping did not clean when we were out of our room and we didn’t want it cleaned when we would come back to rest, the lido deck was filthy, they would remove dishes but not wipe the tables or empty the ashtrays, I never once set down at a clean table with a clean ashtray. When i went down to talk to customer service the lady I spoke with was rude and blamed our room not being clean on me for not telling the stewart what time we would like it to be cleaned each day. all in all it was the worst cruise i have ever been on I couldn’t wait to get off, and I have cruised ever year for 14 yrs and have always had a good time most of the staff on this ship are not friendly and are argumentative

    • Joyce Tallant says:

      I wonder why my post didn’t show Up??? only good comments are allowed??

  30. Kim says:

    Hi John,

    My husband and I will be on the Liberty November 19, 2011 and we wanted to know who will be our cruise director? We are hoping it will be you.


  31. Maureen Ginty says:

    We are going to be on the Liberty on December 10th and really looking forward to trying out both bars and the new things the Liberty has to offer . Will you still be on the Liberty in December?

  32. Jodi says:

    John for Michelle Simmons: I too am EXTREMELY claustrophobic, but I want to allay your fears for your husband. Our very first cruise was in an inside cabin on Verandah deck and it was NO PROBLEM FOR ME AT ALL! Carnival’s cabins are significantly bigger than other lines, even in thier own family of cruise lines, I researched this very carefully by ready all the specifics and checking out the floorplans, and there is no doubt in my mind that Carnival gives the best space and value for the money. You can find other lines that offer ‘more amenities’ ie, balcony or oceanview cabins for less, but they also charge for things that are quite simply ‘value added’ with Carnival. Especially as the new Funship 2.0 rolls out across the fleet. You won’t find any thing like a Guy Fieri Burger complimentary any where else. Sushi, mexican food, deli sandwiches and even pizza are like no other, and that is just the food! Not counting the entertainment. And all for the affordable price of that inside cabin.

    So sit back, relax and enjoy the countdown to your FUNTASTIC cruise. You’ll be hooked for life and wonder why you waited so long to go, and how soon you can manage to go again!

    A Fanantical cruising friend,
    Jodi 🙂

  33. Bill Russell says:


    I’m not sure you got my message on Facebook but I want to thank you for your kindness on our 47th Anniversary on the Liberty. Butch had champagne and chocolate strawberries and a ship trophy delivered to our suite. His letter said it was from his friend and mentor John Heald. His personality is different when he’s not standing beside you. I like him, he’s a very good CD.

    Again thanks,

    Joan and Bill Russell

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