I hope you all had a fun Halloween. I spent it in my hotel room with the door locked and bolted in case a child staying in the hotel decided to knock on the door and say “Hola, tricko oro treato.” The ships on the other hand celebrated in full Halloween style all except the Carnival Miracle which has a nude charter and where every night could be a potential horror night.

I personally don’t see the point of Halloween. I can see the kids thing about demanding candy with menaces from little old ladies but the whole thing about celebrating being scared……..I just don’t get it. Then again, when it comes to being scared and watching movies like Texas Chain Saw Axe Zombie Killer Mutant Prom Night Killer from Hell ….I just can’t watch them. I mentioned we are having horror nights incorporated on our big screen schedule and started with Paranormal Activity last cruise and have the Saw movie for this week. I hate those and just don’t get the pleasure thing about being scared. Then again, this probably comes from the time Heidi and I tried something in London called Cellar of Horrors Live. You pay an absurd amount of money to go into a dingy basement entrance and you do so with certain “It’s not real” swagger.

A kindly staff member pointed out that we shouldn’t go any further if we have a heart condition. Being macho, I said, “Bollocks,” and off we went. We stepped inside, past a waxwork of a Victorian police officer on the beat. Except it’s not a waxwork, it’s a drama student, who explodes in my face with a piercing yell, forcing me into an out of skin leap that Scooby sodding Doo and Shaggy would struggle to match.

For the next twenty minutes this is a short, sharp shock. You wander through dark, echoing corridors, being chased by all manner of horrors, from a huge bald man with an axe to Jack the Ripper, who emerged from the shadows to rattle chains, groan, dribble and spurt blood at us from various gaping wounds. The actors were truly impressive, and by the time we stumbled out of there Heidi had a huge lump in her throat ………and I had one in the back of my underpants.

Time for today’s questions ………lets crack on.

Annmarie Blomfield asked:

I tried to book a cruise on the new Carnival Breeze ship on carnival.com but it wanted a US state and phone number on the booking form and I live in the UK, is there any way to overcome this and book via the website?



John says:
Hello Annmarie,

Yes, I know it can be frustrating. I am therefore happy to tell you that the UK now has its own dedicated booking website that mirrors carnival.com. The address is www.carnivalcruise.co.uk. Please have a look at this and let me know if you have any questions. And you can expect a lot more great news for Carnival’s many UK fans very soon.

Best wishes


Rick L. asked:
Hello John,

I just joined your blog last week and I really enjoy reading it. My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Elation in 2007. Since then, we have gone on two RCCL cruises and we decided to book the Carnival Breeze, January 5, 2013 for my 50th birthday! Both RCCL cruises were good, especially Oasis of Seas; however, we kept talking about how much fun we had on the Carnival Elation. Most of our conversation centered round our CD, Mr. Stuart Dunn. He was by far the most entertaining CD we have encountered, especially on roller skates! We found out that he is in Australia now, and we were hoping he’d come back for our Breeze trip, but we know that is probably unlikely. We just hope whoever is CD for our trip will be just as entertaining as Stuart! Just wanted to say we are excited about coming back to Carnival because of our past experience!

John says:
Hello Rick L,

I am sure you had two nice cruises on the Oasis and enjoyed all the amenities they have on board but it is so wonderful that you are coming back to Carnival. Stuart is a brilliant CD isn’t he and that’s why we have chosen him to be the CD when the Carnival Spirit heads to Australia next year. I am not sure who the CD will be but there is a good chance it maybe some fat old English bloke called John Heald. I hope we see each other on a ship that I hope will keep you loyal to carnival for years to come. Please let me know if you have any other questions and welcome to the blog.

Best wishes.


Josh asked:

I have a question which I called Carnival about but the lazy and uniformed people there wouldn’t help me with. Will Carnival provide its many Jewish guests with anything for Hanukah and my parents want to know if they can bring a Rokeach Yahrzeit light candle on the boat? This is very important!!

John says:
Hello Josh,

Carnival will indeed provide our guests of the Jewish faith with menorah lighting ceremonies held in the lobby of our ships. This will be advertised in the Fun Times for you. I am not sure what a Rokeach Yahrzeit light candle is but if it is a candle that uses a real flame you cannot bring that on the ship. If it is an electric light candle then that should be OK. The people that work in the Miami office work very hard and I am glad to be here to help answer the questions they cannot. Have a wonderful cruise Josh.

Best wishes.


Lesley Bettridge asked:

For my birthday last year I went on the Carnival Fascination and Carnival didn’t send me anything for my birthday which is Nov 10 on Carnival Destiny. Me and my friend are in cabin R88. Will Carnival send me something this time?

John says:
Hello Lesley Bettridge,

Yes indeed they will, well I will and I wish you a wonderful birthday cruise and a very happy birthday to you.

Best wishes.


Colvin B asked:

My husband and I just returned from our cruise on the Carnival Pride and had a really good time. I do want to comment on the new menu that overall was very good. I tried the alligator bites and even the frog’s legs and they were ok but the best new thing on the menu was the bacon mac and cheese which was really, really good and our waiter Jo Jo said was very popular. The one thing we tried that really wasn’t good was the meatloaf. John has anyone tasted this, have you tasted it? It really is awful John. That said we had the most wonderful cruise and the penthouse cabin we splurged on was out of this world.

John says:
Hello Colvin B,

Thanks so much for writing. You know, I was on the Carnival Liberty last week and I should have tried the meatloaf but I forgot. I say that because I had seen the comment about this on my Facebook page a few weeks ago but forgot. I will make sure I send these comments to the chef and let Sanjay see that you didn’t like it. I do know that the bacon mac and cheese is immensely popular, probably the most popular out of our new comfort food offerings. I ate from the new menu last week and I think my favourite dish was the jerk pork…….the new sauce they are using for that is fantastic although the prime rib was as always superb. I am so glad you had a wonderful cruise and rest assured that I will pass your comments on.

Best wishes.


Sandstone Cruisers asked:

As Platinum passengers with a total of 24 cruises between us my wife and I feel that Carnival needs to do more for its Platinum people. Case in point. We have to pay the same price on the internet as non Platinum people and we have no reserved places to sit at the shows either. These are all things that other lines do and that’s why we are considering NCL next as Carnival should treat us better than the rest. Just saying that’s all.

John says:
Hello Sandstone Cruisers,

Well I sincerely hope that you won’t leave us for another line. With 24 Carnival cruises to your names it shows that we must have been doing something right over the years and I hope you will take this into consideration. There is a new loyalty program and later this week I will be meeting with the man who will be putting it together ready to start early next year. I hope you will wait and see what happens before you book with another line. We value all our guests and we certainly value your tremendous loyalty so please keep reading the blog for the latest news.

Best wishes to you both.


Claire Heskie asked:
Hi John,

We will be sailing on the Carnival Inspiration on 10/31. We were on the Carnival Sensation a few months ago and loved the comedy club which was the bomb. Please tell me who the comedians are. There was one dark skinned man called Happy I think who was the funniest man I have ever seen and wondered if he would be there.

Thanks John.

John says:
Hello Clair Heskie,

The comedian you are referring to is Happy Cole who is you are right one of the funniest comedians there is and I am so glad you enjoyed him. Timing is everything and I see that you are already on the cruise and won’t see this but wanted to reply anyway just in case. Your comedians are Dean Gaines and Just Jack who will keep you laughing. I am sorry I am late in my reply and I hope you are having (had) a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes.


Philip Medeiros asked:

Hi John,

I’ve been reading your blog for a month or two and find it rather informative. There are some things at Carnival that seem to be deep dark secrets or exclusively reserved for the privileged few. The very recent survey regarding Platinum, etc has made me so aware of how insignificant one can be. We’re not Platinum and perhaps never will be considering possible changes Carnival is considering. I didn’t get a survey and have yet to find what is mentioned in it. We have done seven cruises (47 days) through and including our “Owner’s Suite” cruise to hell which was on the Carnival Sensation in May 2011. We have six more cruises booked (another 58 days) actually nine bookings including those I have for family members. I am also a holder of CCL stock but I’m not important enough to Carnival (hereinafter known as Bastard Cruise Line) to be made aware what changes might be made let alone how those changes might change our reaching Platinum status next April on the Carnival Dream.

The beards as you call them (hereinafter referred to as Apple Jacks) just don’t seem to get it. They are incapable of putting together two words followed by a question mark, “What if?” and then asking themselves the question at hand. That should be followed by “Then what?” They seem however to be too busy playing with all their “Apple Toys.” The derivation of Apple Jacks is simply their appetite for all things Apple and either being Jackasses or not knowing “Jack” about their own policies. I think calling them beards suggests they have some age and wisdom about them. From my personal experience with some of them, they are severely lacking in that department. You try to point out problems that arise when what ship’s crew believes policy to be, and what Carnival themselves have put in black and white for the guest about policy, differ. I got utter and repeated denial until they simply took a moment to verify what I told them. “Oh, well we will certainly correct that.” That was in May and here it is September and nothing has changed. And there was no apology for the treatment I was given by ship’s GSD and security. Bastard Cruise Line should adopt a new slogan that “The Guest Is Never Right, Even If We are Wrong.” I don’t expect you or anyone else to respond to this, as my questions to you in the past have gone unanswered. Having said that, you did forward my request for a Chef’s Table reservation, and I thank you for that. We will certainly go on our next cruise Nov 28 on the Carnival Paradise for our 42nd anniversary. Beyond that, my inclination is to cancel the rest of my bookings and sell my CCL stock, at a 20% loss. No wonder why. After all, to BCL I am too insignificant to matter.

John says:
Hello Philip Medeiros,

I have read your very passionate comments three times hoping that I can find some specifics to why you are so unhappy. It is hard therefore for me to comment on what happened without having these details but I promise that we do care, I care and so does Carnival. I am going to send this to a colleague at a very high level so I can see what happened and what we can do to turn this situation around and for you to remain a Carnival customer. Thanks so much for writing to me here on the blog.

Best wishes.


Radeep asked:

Does Carnival rent iPads or lap tops on the Carnival Magic. I will be sailing over the Christmas cruise and it will be one thing less to pack.

John says:
Hello Radeep,

Yes indeed we do rent laptops (or the smaller note books I think they are called) from the internet station on Promenade Deck 5. I wish you a wonderful cruise and if you have any questions please let me know.

Best wishes.


Nicki Palmesco asked:


While on our Carnival Legend cruise there was an announcement that was made that said a helicopter would be rescuing a passenger who was very sick. It was an awesome sight to see the helicopter over the ship but after that no more information was given. Why didn’t the cruise director or captain tell us what was wrong with the guest and what happened to him after and if he survived or not. I found this to be very strange as did the 100 plus passengers I spoke to about it.

John says:
Hello Nicki Palmesco,

I must start this answer by saluting the brave men and women of the United States Coast Guard who save so many lives each and every week and yet for the most part remain very much unsung heroes. That being said I should point out that we never give out the medical information of our guests and I am sure that if you were the one being rescued you would, I hope feel the same. All we can do in these situations is hope that the guest makes a full recovery and think of the family he or she was cruising with. I hope you had a wonderful time.

Best wishes.


And on that note……..I feel I should tell you that I have hemorrhoids by the way Nicki Palmesco ……….we will end today’s Q and A.

I have mentioned on my Facebook page that our senior photographer Mr. Radu has returned to the Carnival Magic and I thought that it would be nice to find out a little more about this amazingly talented man. Here he is in his own words.

My journey with Carnival began in a Finnish shipyard in October 1998, it was a great place to start and a beautiful ship, Carnival Paradise, the first non smoking ship. I came for the opportunity to see places and photograph these places and after 13 years I still have the same feelings, and I want to see more. Money was not the reason to be on ships. As you remember the crossing of the Atlantic was very bumpy, big swells and strong wind from Hurricane Mitch I think was the name, almost made me change my mind to get off the ship in Halifax. It was the worst ocean I ever seen, but once I got in New York, I forgot all the worst and all the best happened to me.

I have been on Carnival Sensation after that, Carnival Destiny, Carnival Paradise, and in 2001 my dream came true, when I was chosen to be part of the Carnival Spirit photo team for Alaska season and Hawaii. I did love it so much that I did spend three years on the Spirit, and I did visit Alaska three more times after that. Since 2005 I have been on all Carnival ships as fleet wide senior photographer for our stock and generic images, this is something that only my photos can tell how blessed I have been to see all these places where Carnival goes. I met great people, made friends, and I had the opportunity to photograph a couple of stars, like Shaquille O’Neal, Mira Sorvino, Katie Couric and others that are our ship godmothers, or the president of Honduras or Panama. My best experience was to fly over the Panama Canal, above flowing lava in Hawaii, and above Mt. McKinley in Alaska.

I still dream of photographing the Himalayas, the wildlife of South Africa and not at last the Antarctica; I think this is my best wish.

Since 1993 I am taken photos with Nikon cameras, since 2003 I did change on digital camera also Nikon, now I have Nikon D3 and NikonD2x, I have wide lenses from 12 mm to 35 mm, all Nikon lenses 80-200mm, tilt shift lens 85 mm and the most lens I love is the big big lens Nikon VR 600 mm, the one I did photograph Stromboli or the crocodiles from Tarcoles River in Costa Rica. It is so big and heavy that I can stand during a hurricane.

John asked me to pick my favourite 10 photos. It is very hard to pick 10 images, I have so many but here are my top 10. Thank you everyone for liking my photos:

Carnival Destiny at Half Moon Cay


Portland Maine Lighthouse


Carnival Victory in St. Lucia


Fundatica, Alaska

Fundatica, Alaska



Alaska College Fiord

Alaska College Fiord

Alaska Aurora

Alaska Aurora

Patagonia Torres del paines

Patagonia Torres del paines

Hawaiian lava flow

Hawaiian lava flow

Hawaii Kauai Kalalai valley

Hawaii Kauai Kalalai valley

Radu in Alaska

Radu in Alaska

Amazing shots and Radu is hosting a photo workshop on the Carnival Magic’s Atlantic crossing and I am sure that this will be something the guests will truly appreciate and enjoy. I am also working with him to make a calendar for 2012 as well. Thanks Radu for all you do for all of us mate.

So tomorrow I have a meeting with a chap called Rob. He is the vice president beard in charge of refreshing our loyalty program and tomorrow I will find out some of the things that will be happening and as soon as I can, reporting those changes back to you. I have a whole list of questions to ask him and while I don’t expect he will be able to answer them all I hope that he will be able to put some minds at ease, encourage people to become loyal customers and have our already loyal customers really excited. I will of course let you know.

A month or so ago I asked on Facebook what questions I should ask Rob and many were the same. What length the loyalty program would be based on, number of days cruised or as it is now number of cruises? Some who are close to Platinum and indeed Milestone are hoping the goal posts are not changed and most of the questions were as I said based around those.

However, doing some revision yesterday I saw one that wanted the Milestone card to be …….well more obvious and even suggests we make it from Titanium. Certainly the crew need to see that the guest presenting the card is a VIP because that is exactly what they are.
I guess this mirrors my thoughts on credit cards because I don’t want the loyalty program to have the same sinister underbelly that is rarely talked about with credit cards. I’m talking about not having the right one.

Last night I went for dinner with a group of beards from the office. It wasn’t something I really wanted to do because I knew that all we would talk about was work. And we did. Now the beards I went with are all vice president and above so all earn more than me. OK fair one but I still feel like I needed to offer to pay, that’s just how I was brought up. So dinner was over, the check arrived and everyone started chucking their plastic onto the leather thingy the check was in. It was a sea of platinum. I felt like a total failure as my Barclays Bank green checking account card landed on a shiny Platinum Amex. Compared to them I felt like I had the social standing of a constipated yak.

I know some credit cards have certain privileges but also I think some are designed solely to impress. But I totally understand that some. Not all Milestone and Platinum guests want to show the rest of the ship just how much they love Carnival. Anyway, let’s see what the beards have in store as I know there are new designs for the blue, gold, platinum and milestone cards and I will put forward your ideas as always and as soon as I am able I will show you the new designs for all our loyalty cards..

A friend of mine sent me a photo yesterday that I have to share with you. It’s of me and one of Carnival’s longest standing entertainers, Mr. Eddie Capone. This was taken many years ago on the Carnival Fascination in 1994 I think. Back then we went to ports like Caracas, Venezuela and where this was taken in Guadalupe. Actually, I didn’t call it Guadalupe as since it is a French island I always said Rudealupe as you know my distaste for anything French.

One of the ports we also went to was French but it was a stunning port with gorgeous scenery, stunning beaches and as I remember some fantastic shopping. That island was Martinique and I hope one day Carnival sends a ship back there as I remember just how much the guests loved the place. Yes it was French and there was still that “attitude” but past that it is one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean and one day I hope you get to visit. Have any of you been there? It’s one of the islands that made a huge impression on my early days at Carnival.

Anyway, here is that photo of me and the incomparable Eddie Capone.

Sorry about the hat. Yep, I have become one fat bugger for sure. Eddie is still working our ships and is still making our guests laugh out loud. Have a look at the Godfather of Comedy’s website at www.eddiecapone.com.

I am feeling a bit guilty you know with the Carnival Magic about to start her six days at sea. James the cruise director is doing a wonderful job and reports on Facebook from the guests on board are all positive. Anyway, let’s see what’s happening as we turn things over to Calvyn for his daily report and we start with yesterday when the Carnival Magic was in Malaga.

Hello John

Well Halloween is here and what a day it is to be in Malaga. Sunny skies with a nice breeze with big white fluffy clouds. I did not get off to experience the city; however 1,600 guests booked tours which is great news!

As James and Kevin were decorating the Spotlight lounge and other areas I was signing out Mahjong game sets. I never knew that Mahjong was so popular; and the people who play are very intense and vulture-like to get their hands on a game set. Of course the sets weigh about ten pounds each and are very awkward to carry, so carrying three at a time was quite a challenge and I had to make two trips. Poor me, poor me, pour me another.

At any rate, I am going dressed as Amy Winehouse (RIP) for Halloween. Do you remember last year’s Halloween when we went dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz.? I was the Lion and you were Dorothy………ahhhh such happy days.

Looking forward to seeing you soon and spending hours in your cabin pressing wild flowers together.


You know Calvyn, sometimes there isn’t enough vomit in the world.

Here’s what the guests did yesterday.


7:00am Sunrise Stretch – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
7:30am Fab Abs – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
8:00am Carnival Magic Arrives in Malaga
8:45am Daily Puzzle Pick-Up – Plaza Café, 5 Mid
9:00am SkyCourse Open – Deck 14, Mid

  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd

11:00am Putt-Putt Challenge – Turf on Surf, 12 Mid

1:00pm General Knowledge Trivia – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
2:00pm Guess That Song: Beatles Covers – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
3:00pm Uno Challenge – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Soccer Dribbling Challenge – Turf on Surf, 12 Mid
  • Get Your Bridge On (Instructor Led) – Conference, 4 Mid

3:30pm Bean Bag Challenge – Magic Lobby, 3 Fwd
4:00pm Pumpkin Carving Demo & Contest…Beach Pool, 10 MId

  • Outrageous Law Trivia – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
  • Total Body Conditioning – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd
  • Friends of Bill W. / Jimmy K – Escape Bar, 4 Fwd

4:30pm All Guests Must Be Back on Board

  • Bookworm Trivia – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

5:00pm Carnival Magic Sets Sail for Las Palmas

  • Dance Class – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

6:30pm Scary Movie Trivia – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
7:00pm Showtime (Late Seating) – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Guess the Price of the Painting – Promenade, 5 Mid
  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd

7:30pm Halloween Meet & Greet – Ocean Plaza,5 Mid
7:45pm Thriller Dance Class – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
8:00pm Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino,5 Mid
8:15pm Halloween Trivia – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Guess the Price of the Painting – Promenade, 5 Mid

8:30pm Scary Movie Trivia – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
8:45pm Dance Hits & Mixes – Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft
9:00pm Showtime (Early Seating) – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Halloween Ball – Spotlight Lounge, 5 Mid
  • Piano Bar Party – Play It Again, 5 Aft

9:30pm Twilight Golf – Turf on Surf, 5 Mid
10:00pm Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid

  • Casino Witching Hour – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
  • Frightful Hour – Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft
  • Friends of Dorothy GLBT Meet – Play It Again, 5 Aft

10:15pm Halloween Costume Contest – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
12:00am (Movie) Young Frankenstein – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwdotlight

Here’s another update from Calvyn:

Hello John

Last night was Halloween and what a night it was! James was a toy soldier with perfectly round glitter dots on each cheek and knowing James you just know he spent a solid two hours getting the dots perfectly round. Lanie was dressed as a mummy, Leonnie as Marilyn Monroe, Christian as Harry Potter, Ryan a zombie, The best and yet slightly insulting costume came when Kevin revealed his costume which was an exaggerated version of me right down to my red watch. Now Mrs. Huxtable from the Cosby show once told Rudy that imitation is the best form of flattery, but did he have to wear the fat suit?

The winner of the Carnival Magic’s inaugural Costume Party was a woman named Ellen. I am not sure of Ellen’s age nor did I dare ask; however I am going to say that Ellen is around 60 years old and she came dressed as a Hooters girl with her boobies hanging down to her waist. It was quite hysterical and a real solid win for Ellen.

Now I have to say that I had a personal favorite and ironically it was quite low key. It was a guest that was dressed as Flo from the progressive insurance ads.

Now let’s talk about today. The skies are blue with spotted bits of white fluffy clouds. The ocean is as smooth as ice and the activities are busting from the seams of the Fun Times.

The spirits are very high and the crowd highly energetic.

John, I had a dream about you last night. It involved me and you in Paris and we were in each other’s arms dancing the night away to Barbara Streisand tunes.



Paris, Streisand, dancing with Calvyn………some would call that a nightmare. ………..I know I bloody well would.

Here is what the guests are doing today



7:00am Sunrise Stretch – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
7:30am Legs, Bums and Tums – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
8:00am Yoga + – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
8:30am James’ Walking Club – SportSquare, 12 Mid
8:45am Daily Puzzles – Plaza Café, 5 Mid
9:00am Acronym Puzzles – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Bridge for Beginners Series – Northern Lights, 3 Fwd
  • Putt-Putt Challenge – Turf on Surf, 12 Mid
  • Indoor Cycling – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd

9:15am James’ Morning Show – Channel 16 & Seaside Theatre
9:30am General Knowledge Trivia – Spotlight Lounge, 5 Aft
10:00am Super Trivia (Round 2) – Spotlight Lounge, 5 Aft

  • Bean Bag Challenge – Magic Lobby, 3 Fwd
  • AquaFun – Beach Pool, 10 Mid
  • Intermediate Bridge Lessons – Northern Lights, 3 Fwd
  • Arts & Crafts – Conference Center, 4 Mid
  • Introduction to Chinese Medicine – Ocean Plaza, 5 MId

10:30am Live Hair & Make-Up Show – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
11:00am Dance Class – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Mahjong Players Meet – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
  • Dodgeball – SkyCourt, 12 Aft
  • How to Increase Your Metabolism – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd


12:00pm Food & Wine Pairing  – Prime Steakhouse, 5 Aft
12:30pm Scrapbookers Meet – Conference Center, 4 Mid

  • Uno Challenge – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

1:00pm Ice Carving Demonstration – Beach Pool, 10 Mid

  • Slots ‘O Prizes – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
  • GoSmile Tooth Whitening Workshop – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
  • Catholic Mass Service – Conference Center, 4 Mid
  • Bridge Play (Duplicate & Social) – Northern Lights, 3 Fwd

1:15pm Beary Cuddly  – Camp Carnival, 11 Mid
2:00pm A Magical World Cruise – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Guess That Song: TV Themes – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
  • Soccer Tournament – SkyCourt, 12 Aft
  • Arts & Crafts – Conference Center, 4 Mid
  • Look 10 Years Younger Today – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
  • Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd
  • Friends of Bill W. & Jimmy K – Escape Bar, 4 Fwd

2:30pm 5 Game Bingo  – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
3:00pm Bean Bag Challenge – Magic Lobby, 3 Fwd

  • Connect 4 Challenge – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
  • Tea Time – Southern Lights, 4 Aft

3:30pm Dance Class – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
4:00pm Broadway Trivia – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Movie Matinee: Casino Royale – Seaside Theatre, 10 Mid
  • Pilates  – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

4:30pm On Your Marks, Get Set, Draw!….Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Fab Abs – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd


5:00pm Catholic Mass Service – Conference Center, 4 Mid
6:00pm Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
7:00pm Karaoke Party – Spotlight Lounge, 5 Aft

  • Modern Masters Exhibition…Gallery on the Way, 4 Mid
  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd

7:30pm The MBA of Art Seminar – Conference Center, 4 Mid
7:45pm Cha-Cha-Cha, Cheek to Cheek – Magic Lobby, 3 Fwd

  • Olympics Trivia – Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft

8:00pm Say What You See Trivia – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid

8:30pm Showtime (Early Seating) – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
8:45pm Dance Hits & Mixes – Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft
9:00pm Modern Masters Exhibition – Gallery on the Way, 4 Mid
10:00pm Say What You See Trivia – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
  • Motown Hour – Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft
  • Friends of Dorothy GLBT Meet – Ocean Plaza (Port), 5 Mid

10:30pm Showtime (Late Seating) – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

By the way, I remember the Mahjong battle on the Carnival Liberty and a fierce Asian lady who to this day is the only guest ever to actually hit me. She slapped me around the head because we didnt have Mahjong on the ship and oh yes, she hit Ken Byrne the maître d as well.

By the way, talking of the one and only Ken Byrne the senior maitre d, I was thinking of him today when I opened my e mail and found my usual offer of Viagra. The reason I was thinking of Ken was that he lives five minutes away from the town that makes the world’s supply of Viagra, a town called Ringaskiddy. I am sure you read the story in the press yesterday about Paddy O Leary who was the manager of the Viagra factory for 20 years and who dies yesterday aged 88. In fact Paramount is making a movie about his life working in the Viagra factory for all those years. It’s called………..Die Hard.

I want to finish today on the subject of tipping. My Facebook page is awash with posts telling us that they had seen that we had raised the gratuities from $10 per day to $11.50. This was the first raise since 2001 and comes into effect on December 1. I wanted to point out that those with pre-paid gratuities will not have their rates changed. This was posted first on Carnival’s travel agent booking site and led to quite a few comments. I quickly want to address this one I received below as it was one of three such comments.

David Amiel asked:

Why is Carnival trying to sneak these new gratuity increases by their customers? There has been no mention of this on your blog or on Carnival’s web page. This is a sneaky move that is so typical of Carnival.

John says:

Well, if I may address that quickly, David, as I did get two other comments that were similar. We were not trying to sneak anything by anyone, to suggest so is just plain silly. It has been posted on our travel agent web site, given to our call centers, updated on carnival.com, and here I am writing about it today.

So, what do you think about this increase? Well it has been about 10 years since our last increase and I could sit here and talk about how other cruise lines have done this previously but I don’t think this is important. What is important is that I hope you all think that our crew deserves this. Obviously, you can always adjust the rate up or down if you’d like. Gratuities have to be earned and should not be expected by any of our service crew but I hope that if they provide you with professional service mixed with a huge dollop of fun that you will continue to reward them as you always have done.

Brilliant burgers, red amphibians, blue lizards, twisting water slides and fat cruise directors telling stupid Viagra jokes are all well and good but it’s the Carnival crew that continue to be the heartbeat of our ships and I thank you all for the rewards that you have given and I hope will continue to give them.


Your friend,


Comment Policy

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


  1. Ralph J says:

    Be on the look out. The site that you will not post if mentioned has a group in has a main task of making up names and FB pages and then making stupid comments about you and Carnival with out mentioning the site name. They tell people to say they are platinum and to degrade carnival anyway they can

    • MichaelC (formaly know as just Michael) says:

      Ralph, not exactly a news flash or anything new that John is not aware of.

  2. kristine slough says:

    The crew deserves the small increase and more! We always tip extra!

  3. John R. Masalko II says:

    We are sailing on the Dream 11/19/11. Since every day during our cruise end in “Y” will Carnival give my something for free? (sarcasm) Am I the only one who gets annoyed every time I read the Q&A and somebody’s asking for freebies or special treatment? Get over yourselves for crying out loud!

    • Laura Capano says:

      I agree John M. I am tired of it also. People actually expect free things from John and get annoyed when they don’t get it.

    • Jas says:

      John M. and Laura C., don’t be too hard on everyone that asks fir stuff. Most of them have been told about this and are sometimes under the assumption it is OK to do so. However, I agree that asking for a gift is pretty lame. What burns my backside (other than a 3 foot flame) are the ones that seem to actually get mad when the “gift” doesn’t come or even worse the “gift” isn’t good enough.
      Flocks, if you wnat your cruise to be special….make it special.

  4. dee says:

    the crew deserves a raise-they work hard and are very deserving.-I don’t mind the increase !!

  5. Joyce Conger says:

    Hi John
    We will be sailing the Carnival Victory out of San Juan on Nov. 27th we are celebrating our 25th anniversary. Now a days young people don’t stay married very long as we are in are early 40’s. We got married very young. I am quite proud of this accomplishment and that is why we are doing this amazing cruise. Could you see if Carnival will leave us something special? Thanks and I love reading everything you have to say! Take care!

  6. Helen "Sparkey" Fox says:

    The increase of gratuities is to be expected with the increase in the cost of living. Everything has gone up so why not the employees pay and gratuities. I say about time. And I am sure they will thank us when we sail with them.

  7. william says:

    A question my wife and I have had about the gratuity charges. Do the gratuities go to the dining room staff only? if not then why is there envelopes placed in the cabins for our room stewards? if so does it go to the bufett staff also or just MDR? we do like the ability to adjust the amounts as we normaly only dine in the MDR once per cruise as the bufett is so amazing. we dont mind paying the gratuities but we were informed that it went to the MDR staff and that just felt wrong to give them a tip for nights we didnt dine MDR. thanks for clearing things up for us.

    • Cruiser Dave says:

      The prepaid tips were never just for MDR waiters. You will see some of those same people working on the Lido deck during the day, and housekeeping staff as well as behind-the-scenes people have also shared in the gratuities. From the Carnival FAQS:
      “For your convenience, we automatically charge the gratuities for dining and stateroom staff to your onboard Sail & Sign account. The total amount is $11.50 per guest, per day as follows(our recommended guideline effective voyages departing December 1, 2011 and onward):

      $ 3.70 – Per Day Stateroom Services

      $ 5.80 – Per Day Dining Room Services

      $ 2.00 – Per Day Alternative Services: distributed to kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members.”

      • Susanne says:

        The previous amount was $5.50 for the dining room services which means they are only getting an additional 30 cent and $3.50 for stateroom services so they are only getting 20 cent.It seems like they could have made it an even $12.00 do they could get at least double this amount because they certainly deserve it. The amount for other services was previously $1.00 and is now $2.00.

        • Susanne says:

          “made it an even $12.00 do they could”

          Sorry should be “made it an even $12.00 so they could”

  8. Cathy W says:

    I have no problem with the very slight upwards adjustment to the gratuities. These people work their buns off to make sure that we passengers have the best possible vacation. I usually slip them a little something extra personally just to show my appreciation, and I don’t think $1.50 per day is anything to get het up about.

  9. eLLIOTT says:

    Hola John from the Carnival Splendor anchored at Cabo San Lucas:

    Much to hot for me to go into town today, so stayed on board to enjoy the ship. After a nice breakfast in the resturant, Decided to check out the water slide. Always had been bunches of kids using it, so I never got to use it myself. This morning had it all to myself and tried it out for my very first time!!! So much fun, I did the water slide FIVE times!!!

    Some other people came to enjoy the water slide and pool also. A Grandmaw, Grandpaw, some Moms and Dads and a bunch of kids came to play. Carnival is widely knowen for it’s unruley kids on board, seen it many times myself. But behold, these kids were some thing else. They were so resectful to each other, made gleeful sounds, Not the blood curdling screams that I am so used to from most kids. These kids were so above adverage, it was unbelivable.

    Talked to a couple of the Fathers present at the water slide about their kids. This was some kind of normal behavior for their kids. The Grandparents have been married for for 43 years and the Moms and Dads in this group had a total of EIGHTEEN Kids all on board the Splendor. No shouting, no unrully behaveor at all. Never seen any thing like this before… Good thing that I had on sun glasses, as this family gathering brought tears to my eyes and thoughts of when my kids were little years ago…

    Wish that I taken my whole family on a cruise together at one time. Did get to take my Mom, Sistor and Son up to Alaska a few years ago. My Daughter and I did a couple of short cruises together. My Brother and I did a coastal cruise also. Did the Carnival Splendor cruise at this same time with you last year…

  10. Robyn says:

    Hi, I don’t really think $1.50 is that big of a deal, its a very small increase and the Carnival employee’s totally deserve far more. On a side note Radu is quite hot!

    • Kate Daley says:

      Ditto on the tips…a mere pittance I think.

      As for Mr. Radu….LOL and you are correct! And, he’s even more so in person and quite charming too! I want him and his photos on a calendar!!!

  11. Sandy Pickett says:

    The photos are beautiful.Mr.Radu should do a calendar.I just wanted to comment on the guests who have achieved platinum status I think they should receive some perks for their loyalty like a free excursion or some extra obc but as far as reserved seating for the show I don’t think it’s fair for them to just automatically get the best seats in the house.The other guests have paid as well and whoever gets the seats first should get them. The only reserved seats should be for people with a handicap.I don’t think the raise in the tips should be a problem it’s not all that much more.

    • Ron Moyer says:

      Well said! Everybody has paid a good amount of money for their cruise. I hope by the time I am on my 10th cruise, I don’t get that uppity attitude that suggests that I deserve more than other cruisers that haven’t been on their 10th cruise yet.

      • Debra says:

        I agree about saving seats only for handicap. I am a platinum cruiser and do not expected to be treated better than anyone else who has paid for a cruise. The little platinum perks didnt make the cruise for me, it was everything else, the food, the entertainment, the ports. I was just greatful I got to be on a Carnival ship. My first Carnival cruise was back in 1981. Only 1 time back in the 80’s did I cruise on another ship and after that horrific experience, it made me never stray from Carnival again. Carnival will always be top, my favorite, and even though Im 30 years older, Carnival still does it right! Come on March 29, 2012!!!!!!

  12. Michelle Jameson says:

    John as a Past Guest and almost Platinum Member and I have worked in the customer service call center as well, I encountered many phone calls from guest who couldn’t believe we would charge them gratuity, my response was, “Have you ever sailed with Carnival before? If not, you will find that by the end of the cruise, not only will you realize that the $10 is worth it but they deserve far more than that. How often at home can you leave your room and come back and the trash can is emptied, or at dinner have your meal hand presented to you then you can get up and enjoy your evening without the worry of cleaning up.” The staff is so deserving and the new increase they will appreciate but really they do deserve more. Thanks for having such a great crew and looking forward to sailing with you on the Breeze next June

  13. Susan M / Please reply says:

    John – I also read Philip Medeiros’s post three times trying to figure out just what he was saying and I still do not have a clue. I was so glad to read your reply and to know that I was not the only one. LOL

    The tip increase does not bother me at all. Everyone on the ships work really hard to make sure we are all able to have a great time on our vacations.

    Tell them all the keep up the good work and thank you.

    Love Radu’s photos also.

    I look forward to seeing you on the Magic out of Galveston on the 14th. It is finally just around the corner.

    Thanks again for all you do.

    Susan Meeks

  14. Mike McCloskey says:

    I have GOT to meet Calvyn! The way he ends his posts have me laughing out loud each day! Thanks for the fun!

    • Linda Leach says:

      Mike, we had the great pleasure of sailing with Calvyn (and Ryan) on the Liberty this past March. We got to know the whole entertainment team really well and what a hoot they are! That was one of the most fun weeks I have ever had on a Carnival ship and we’ve done 16 cruises!

  15. Betty Baldock says:

    Hi John!! Hope all is well with you and the family and your arm. I have a comment to David, who said “Why is Carnival trying to sneak these new gratuity increases by their customers? There has been no mention of this on your blog or on Carnival’s web page. This is a sneaky move that is so typical of Carnival.” Well, David.. If you every work for Carnival ABOARD ship, you will see how HARD each and every worker on ship works! They deserve this raise. However, if you feel paying gratuities with your sign-n-sail card is too much, when you book, dont do PRE-PAID on the booking. Simple as that. You sir are an idiot. If you dont like Carnival and the workers, go to a different cruise line!! GEESH
    And John? Love you mate. Dont let idiots like this one bugger up your day. They are just selfish.

  16. Becky says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Radu’s fantastic pictures. He is a true talent!
    Carnival is blessed to have him and evidently Carnival has been good to him as he seems very happy with his job. Continue showing his work, if you would. It makes one want to go on another cruise. I am booked on the Magic, again, Jan 29th and look forward to purchasing some of his pictures. You do a fantastic job yourself, John, thank you!!!

    Becky Howell

  17. Stan Ruta says:


    I think the reason some people felt as if the increase in gratuities was being “snuck by” was due to the stories (true or not, I don’t know) of several PVP’s calling their clients yesterday and telling them that in order to avoid an increase in gratuities, that they needed to prepay their tips. These calls were being made before the information was made public, and it definitely made it feel as if Carnival was being less than forthcoming with the increase.

    Additionally, I think there is a point to people who feel as if they booked their cruise at one rate, and the expected gratuities were listed as $10 per day. That has now increased, and folks feel that it’s a backdoor increase that they did not agree to.

    I think perhaps a better way would have been to announce the increase, and then to e-mail all deposited or paid customers to tell them that the expected gratuities had increased, however, because they had booked prior to the increase, their account would only be billed the $10 that was in effect at the time of booking. Then maybe attach some wording to let folks know that although they would only be automatically charged the $10, they really should consider increasing to the new rate.

    An approach like that would go a long way to making people feel like the terms of the deal weren’t changed after they agreed to them. In this instance, it’s not a dollar amount that has people so upset (by and large) it’s the principle that Carnival changed the deal that was agreed to at the time the contract was entered into.

    • David in Wellington says:

      I think that this is probably the best thought out response that I have read and I wholeheartedly agree.

      My family of 7 is currently booked on the Liberty in January. Although I can’t imagine anyone not believing that the crew deserves this small increase, I didn’t appreciate the manner by which it was implemented by Carnival. Plenty of hoopla was made about the Carnival 2.0 changes but this change was buried in the small print until people started making a big deal about it publicly.

      I booked our cruise several months ago taking into consideration many factors including tips (a total of $490 for our family). Although the increase of $73 for the cruise isn’t going to break the budget I would have appreciated the option that others had of having several days to decide to either pre-paying the tips ahead of time at the $10 level or paying the suggested $11.50 on-board.

      Corporations make mistakes. Yesterday Bank of America repealed their decision for a $5 per month charge for debit cards that would have started in January. Hopefully, on principle, Carnival will revise their policy for people who have already made final payment and allow us to have a grace period to decide which option to take (yes, I know that I can manually adjust it once on board if I decide, but that isn’t the point).

    • Ron Moyer says:

      I received an e-mail from Carnival yesterday informing me of the changes. As I am booked on Carnival Breeze next Nov. 24, 2012. The e-mail informsa me of EVERYTHING I need to know. Paying pre-paid in advance, etc. I am okay with the increase. As many people have already pointed out, the Carnival workers work very hard to make our vacations pleasurable. They could raise it to $12.00 a day and it would still be fine by me.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Well said.

  18. Sharon says:


    I am sorry to hear how many people don’t understand random sampling and public opinion research. Carnival asked some of their customers how they felt about a proposed change. From your responses, Carnival has listened to its customers and is still working on/revising the proposed changes to the customer loyalty program. Its unfortunate that people get so upset because they weren’t asked or have to rant in public places because they don’t like what they are being asked.

  19. BIG MIKE RHONE says:

    My Gosh 1.50 a day what a terrible increase. Thats the cost of 1 drink from the bar for the whole trip. The great crew sure earns it. Thanks for all you do John. Big Mike

  20. Terry C. says:

    John, I must say thank you for doing this blog and being so connected with your customers. It’s a really interactive/cool thing to do and it really makes us feel connected to the higher beings at Carnival lol. I just wanted to give a general THANK YOU for all you do on the blog and Facebook and Carnival in general.

    I took a Carnival cruise in 2008 and enjoyed myself. I’ve had friends that raved about RC so I tried them last year and it was nice but nothing like my carnival. Needless to say that I am now only cruising Carnival. In fact, I just booked by next cruise about an hour ago on the Imagination. Sailing out on 11/28.

    I’ve had a very rough year, the hardest in my life. I’ve dealt with some medical issues that knocked down everything in my life. This cruise, although one of the inexpensive Carnival ones will provide a much needed smile.

    I know you will not be on board but it would be an honor to meet you….maybe one day.

    Thanks again!

  21. shari puntorno says:

    well honestly, if you knew about it and didnt mention anything on your fb page, thats just wrong. if the carnival beards didnt tell you about it ahead of time, well then thats wrong too. with that said, I feel the raise is worthwhile and needed.

  22. Jan Reem says:

    $11.50 has been the daily tip price on Princess for quite awhile now. Hate to see all the people in line at the end of the cruise taking this tip off. Such hard working people & away from their families for so long…sigh

  23. Paisley says:

    Hey John,
    Great blog as usual! I am totally fine and happy with the tip increase because I do agree with you that the wonderful crew do deserve it.

    I hope Carnival also looks at the problem that you have blogged about numerous times where large groups of people remove tips even though the staff performed excellently….would hate to see people remove all their tips in spite of Carnival even though the staff was deserving.

    thanks again for a great blog..

  24. Thomas Osullivan says:

    Philip Medeiros, what is your complaint?

  25. Becky Durkin says:

    John, I am happy to pay the extra gratuity! I am amazed at how hard the staff and crew works!!! I wonder when they sleep(if at all) our steward seem to be available all the time.

  26. Jeanette says:

    John, I am Platinum, cruise #12 is in November, and am quite happy to flash my Platinum card…sadly, no one seems to care that my card is Platinum. My level of service I get is still the same as if my card was gold. I get the “welcome home” when I board and the few extra perks, but not much else…..perhaps it is the fact it is me and that no matter where I go/or am I just don’t matter…..

    • Marsha Breen says:

      Jeannette – what is it you think you are so deserving of? The “level of service” should be the same for all passengers, not just those of us who are platinum. Geez……

      • janet says:

        I have just made platinum, and just finished a cruise with a large group of first time cruises. I found a lot of first time cruisers approaching me for questions on the ship because I had a gold sail and sign card and I had been on Cruises before. I was more than happy to help them.

    • Ron Moyer says:

      Waaah Waaah. Where is my freebie? Where is my freebie? PRIZE WHORE!

  27. Meaghan says:

    Don’t listen to guys like David, the staff deserve the money! They work so hard, and are so fantastic. I went on my first cruise in August, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had on a vaction. I am now booked on the Magic in May 2012 with my fiance, parents and sisters, and I am so excited. A few extra dollars won’t change that for me!

  28. I think the increase is tips for crew is long overdue, but I am curious if their wages also were increased? They work very hard for not much money.

    • richstowe says:

      Don’t ya get it. We are their salary. Carnival (and the other cruise lines) pay their lower level service people nothing or next to it.The cut they get of these “tips” makes up the bulk of their pay.

  29. Peg Lorenzon says:

    I always tip more than the suggested amount as I feel it way too little for the great service we receive on Carnival. I am all for raising the gratuity for the hard working crew members.

  30. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    I have to respectully disagree with your statement that “Gratuities have to be earned and should not be expected by any of our service crew.”

    This statement would be true IF the service crew were paid a salary and these were true “tips”.

    But the word “tip” denotes something EXTRA that is earned by good service by someone who is already receiving an adequate salary.

    Sorry, but I do not consider $70-80 a month to be an adequate salary.

    Here in the United States, wait staff earn $2.83 an hour PLUS tips.

    Now while an average of $540 a month without the tips will not buy you an Aston Martin, at least American wait staff have some foundation salary they can depend on. And they are guaranteed that foundation salary, no matter what kind of job they do.

    As long as cruise lines (not just Carnival) use the gratuity method to pay the salary of these hard working men and women, this amount should be considered a “service surcharge”…NOT just a gratuity.

    Every American worker still gets their salary; even for those weeks when their performance level was less than stellar.

    These service staff should indeed expect this gratuity as long as Carnival treats it like a salary!

    Those who cruise know these rules. To do anything other than pay it is the lowest form of bus rider. Anyone who expects any kind of service for free does not deserve the privilege of being served by these fine individuals.

    I have been told that these “gratuities” can not be made mandatory (non-removeable) because of US Labor Laws. I am double checking with my Congressman. Because if this is the case, this law should be changed.

    We are not the nation we should be, if we do not protect these individuals from self scum!

    Linda (Mom of your friend~ and brother to Carnival’s newest Milestone member~ DJ)

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      That should have read


    • Ron Moyer says:

      When I go on my cruise with my fiance, I plan on walking by Guest services desk and berate ANYBODY that is taking tip $ away. People who do this should not be allowed to cruise again. Selfish and cxheap! I would be okay with $12.00 a day!

  31. David S says:

    Hi John,

    The tip increase is nothing. 11.50 a day?!?! For excellent service and a great bunch of people…it’s a bargain! Think of a night on the town…meals, transportation, doormen, etc. You’ll spend $20 -$30 for an evening that would hardly compare to what you get on a Fun Ship.

    I’m glad to see the people who work so hard are getting more. They deserve it!

  32. John Shepherd says:

    Are you kidding me? Someone is actually worried about a $1.50/day increase in gratuities? My family is booked on a New Year’s cruise and we will increase our tips to the new amount and give extra like we always do for exceptional service that we always recieve.

  33. Ann B says:

    I have no problem with the increase, John. Now Carnival is in line with the other lines, and besides…those great folks deserve every penny (and more).

  34. Cindy Salmon says:

    Nude cruise? Do they sit on the chairs in the dining room with their bare a$$? Do you have all the upholstery cleaned afterwards? I’m kinda grossed out thinking about it.

    • Linda Leach says:

      Cindy, I have to agree with you! When I read that part of the blog last night, I had the same thoughts! Disgusting is what it is. I hope there are rules about being clothed in certain areas of the ship. YUCK!

    • Don in Kentucky says:

      I kind of chuckled when I though of how it would be sitting in the main lounge in the nude. As cold as it is, that would be really uncomfortable. 😉

      • Luis R says:

        I just have to chuckle at this… no offense.. hehe My common sense tells me that these people would be naked in the open decks and pools. I read somewhere, perhaps John’s Facebook page, that these guests are required to put towels on the chairs to use them. And I don’t even think they would be allowed to be naked in ANY dining room at all. Don’t even want to think about a crowded elevator.

    • Periwinkle says:

      No Cindy, you have to be dressed in the DR and in port and whenever the Captain says. Nudist etiquette requires that you sit on your own towel, not on the furniture. Carnival provides literally tons of clean towels everywhere in the ship. It’s the main reason why we prefer Carnival for nude charters. They get us.

    • Vicki says:

      Ummm, I really would like an answer to that question.

  35. Vaughan says:

    I have no problem with Carnival increasing the gratuities because of the exceptional service I have always enjoyed . In fact I always leave extra gratuities in cash for staff who have gone the extra mile for me .This is in addition to the prepaid gratuities of course .

  36. really says:

    I think that having tips for the entertainment and guest services is a bit ludicrous.

  37. Don Sturgeon says:

    I do not think the $1.50 increase over ten years is very much. I was on the Victory last month and I thought the $140.00 for a whole week of tips was cheap. I gave extra for the great service. I tip more than that for 21 meals. I have no complaints. I look forward to our next cruise.

  38. Linda Youse says:

    My first cruise, in 82, included a stop to the beautiful island of Martinique. Why don’t ships go there anymore? It was so beautiful it even smelled good…..you can’t always say that about the islands. I would love to return there someday.
    John, why do you go out of your way from some of the rudest people to ever walk the face of the earth? One went on a cruise for her birthday expecting the crew to kiss her feet or something the other is the biggest “Platinum” snob ever. I never pay any attention to the “levels”. I don’t care if this is your 1st or 100th Carnival cruise. Everyone should and does receive the same wonder service. What’s the big deal? I wonder how these “snobs” felt when they were not Platinum or Milestone? I just don’t like the whole “level” thing. No one is better than the next guy. I have seen some of these people in action and it just disgusts me. I think that might be my biggest pet peeve on a cruise…..PSS…..Platinum Snobbery Syndrome. I have never cared for those who thought they were better than others, on land or sea!
    Thank you for all you do for us. With your arm as bad as it is you shouldn’t be writing a blog thingy or taking care of us on Facebook. You need to take care of yourself for once. You worry about us so much you could be doing severe damage to yourself. Please slow down a little with this typing thing and let your hand/arm rest.
    Take care,

    • Marsha Breen says:

      Linda – I couldn’t agree with you more and I am a platinum cruiser. Do I appreciate the perks I get with Platinum? Yes. Do I think I’m better than new cruisers? Absolutely not.

  39. Marcia Hagera says:

    A $1.50 per person a day increase is not substantial. The people working on the ship deserve every cent. I am willing to bet that the people complaining about the increase are people who do not tip when they are off the ship. I always prepay my gratuities and give extra cash at the end of the cruise to my stateroom steward, waiter, and etc. I wonder how the complainers would feel if it had been ten years since their last raise?

    • David in Wellington says:


      I think the vast majority of people upset with Carnival are not upset that the suggested tip amount be increased. Rather they are upset in the manner by which the announcement and implementation was done.

      I happen to tip very well. However, I am also very upset in the way this was done. One has nothing to do with the other.

  40. Dawn says:

    OMG OMG OMG John, I got an email from Carnival letting me know that the tips had been increased!!!

    “Hi there!

    While we’re sure you’re not quite packing your bags yet, we thought we’d take a moment to provide you with some important information regarding gratuities for your upcoming vacation.

    After careful consideration, our gratuity guidelines will be increasing from $10.00 per person per day to $11.50 per person per day with voyages departing December 1, 2011 and onward. Guests who have pre-paid their gratuities will not be affected by this change.

    While decisions like these are never easy, increases to gratuity guidelines are common with all cruise lines. In our case, we have not increased our gratuity guidelines since 2001. Additionally, this new amount will put us in line with most other cruise lines in the industry.

    Our shipboard team members work very hard to provide you with top-notch service so we hope you’ll agree this increase is well deserved.

    Tipping, as you know, is at your discretion. So even though gratuities are automatically added to your onboard Sail & Sign account as a convenience, you are always free to adjust as you please.

    We thank you for your understanding. We are committed to providing you with a fun and memorable cruise experience and look forward to welcoming you aboard!
    seems i’m the only one in the world who did get it…i think because i’m so special you should make my next cruise free and fill it with everything i could ever possibly dream of!! i’d like the entire ship and staff all to myself and since their whopping $10 a day tips have gone up a whole $1.50 well i think then that they should just perform more and better after all that’s quite a raise!

    seriously.. thanks John for all you do. The staff on these ships work SO hard, I’ve only been on 6 but i have #7 booked and am trying to squeek another in between. they so deserve everything they get. we have never had one negative encounter with any carnival staff member.
    people need to take a second and realize “you’re on a freaking cruise for petes sake!! how many people can’t even dream about it let alone do it. shut up and be grateful geez.
    Mr Radus photos are stunning! thank you for sharing them with us.

  41. vicki says:

    Well I dont think entertainers should be tipped, they are paid well.
    Think I will remove the auto tips and go back to the old fashioned way with cash in envelopes to those that deserve it.

    • Ron Moyer says:

      Why not stay home and entertain yourself? You want to be cheap? Shame on you!

    • Cruiser Dave says:

      Entertainment STAFF share in $2.00 worth of gratuities, meaning they might get 50 cents. This would go to the young people you see throughout your vacation raising spirits with their songs, games and dancing. Are you seriously going to go down to Guest Services, stand in line, and remove your gratuities just so you can stiff them (and incidentally all the other behind the scenes folk who you don’t see)? I’ll leave it to our fellow bloggers to fill in the name for that kind of behaviour.

  42. susan bauer says:

    I agree with the increase. We always tip more all over the ship. Especially the cabin steward. I hope the crew gets to see these comments, just to reinforce how much they are appreciated.

  43. Richard Taylor says:

    Annmarie Blomfield, oyu can book Carnival cruises through UK Travel Agents!! Though there seems to be a dearth of brochures for some reason. We booked through coop travel, so got the divi too.

  44. Philip Medeiros says:

    Hi John, Here are some details about our Owners Suite cruise. I received a call offering me the owners suite upgrade. That was a very short cruise but was selected as it was over our special needs daughters birthday. The lady that called was quick to offer all the amenities that the owners suite offered and when I mentioned it being a birthday cruise for our daughter she suggested we could take some champagne or whatever to mark the occasion. We normally don’t take any liquor on board so I must admit I was unaware of the policy she failed to mention about it needing to be in our carry-on luggage. That policy is not well thought out John. While we were not flying in for this cruise, anyone who is must have any liquor in their checked baggage. With your policy, unless they have the opportunity to move it or take that bag as a carry on (you have size limitations for those bags) the liquor will be confiscated. The Carnival policy that guests are made aware of in their “Travel Notes” printed out in their cruise documents, up until a few days ago stated that the confiscated liquor would be returned to your cabin on the final night of the cruise. I failed to unlock my bags so I was notified that I had to see security and unlock the bag. I did so and they confiscated the bottle of champagne. I complained that we were not told of the policy and why we brought it in the first place. The security individual proceeded to thoughtlessly insult me by saying I could get a bottle of champagne from room service. I guess he felt that since my luggage bag was for a penthouse or owners suite I could well afford it. I complained at the GSD only to be walked away from and left standing. I later received a phone call stating that the GDS manager agreed to make an exception and we would get the bottle back in the DR on the final night. That didn’t happen and it wasn’t returned to our cabin either. By then of course I had read the section and knew what the policy stated. On debarkation our section 1 happened to be where the confiscated items were so I figured I would ask for the bottle. They didn’t have it. When I asked them to indicate on my form that it wasn’t returned and sign it, a call was made and some time later it arrived. I sent an e-mail to the individual at Carnival who handled the upgrade and she forwarded it to a special assistant to the President. I spoke with her on the phone and told her about the faulty shower control valve where you had to wait five minutes for hot water. I was later informed that they checked it and there was no problem with the valve. In your words, Bullocks. Hope I spelled that correctly. I am an engineer but I have replaced elements in shower control valves. They had to fix one of the CD players in the room. I complained about the crew tossing the deck chairs around directly over the bedroom at 2:30AM and allowing people to use the running track, also directly overhead at all hours through the night. You can bet that would not have happened if the “Owner” had truly been on board. While they are quick to point to the disclaimer regarding noise, that isn’t the point. We never felt noise from the lido to be a problem. The deck chairs and running track policy are something that could be addressed with the crew and restricting the running track during reasonable hours, say for safety reasons. Back to the liquor policy – I was told in no uncertain terms that what I read from the Travel Notes was not the policy and I was most certainly mistaken. When I finally got this special assistant to the President to shut up and listen, they researched it to find that I was in fact correct. This individual had been directly involved with the policy. There were differing policies depending on where you looked on the website. The point most certainly was that the only place the guest would see the policy, in writing, on Carnivals own website, the information provided to the guest. I was told that this would be corrected. It has since in the last few days or weeks since my September posting finally been changed. It took almost 6 months. Remember what I said about checked baggage for those flying in. Now the Dining Room staff gets an “A” for that cruise. As far as my personal experiences with deck chair crew, security crew and the GSD personnel, well they get an “F”. I say this not as a guest in an owners suite expecting special treatment but as any guest with legitimate complaints. The GSD certainly did make an exception as they stated they would – an exception to the liquor policy as they understood it. They were not going to even follow that. How dare I complain? Perhaps the most important thing to learn from this is that whatever a policy is going to be, it should and must be the same one for the crew and guest. I wonder how many guests Carnival has offended by having crew adhere to a policy completely different from what the guest reads in Carnival’s own printed words. I can honestly tell you that had I been “The Owner” and not just a stockholder staying in that owners suite and had those experiences, not only on board but with office personnel, they would have been looking for employment. You may not want to adhere to a policy where the guest is always right, but when they show you where you are in fact clearly wrong, then you had better pay attention. You can advertise all you want to get new or first time guests but treating guests you already have should be of paramount importance. I leave you with the following: In the words of a gentleman I spent 34 years of my life working for, “We (the company) can only be as good as you our employees allow us to be”.

  45. Marsha Breen says:

    Do some people just get up every day and take “nasty” pills? Some very rude posters today….yes you Philip Medeiros, Josh, Lesley and Sandstone Cruiser. The staff deserve this gratuity increase and then some.

    • teena comstock says:

      Eddie Capone is hilarious…just seen him on The Miracle..funny funny guy!!!

    • Periwinkle says:

      Hey John, nothing scary about the nude charter. Ask Malcolm or Jen, they’ve been there done that and they both told me how much they enjoyed having us. And you’d fit right in with us although I know staff is not allowed to be “out of uniform” and no one will criticize (spelled correctly) or try to sell you magic pills. We are all about acceptance and we’re some of the nicest and friendless folks around. We’d love to see you in 2013!

    • Philip Medeiros says:

      Well Marsha if you and one other took the time to read the detailed information in reply #44 you might just get it. I always have had wonderful things to say about Carnival for all the cruises we have taken and I have been a supporter of John. See the previous day to this one for example. That cruise in one of the penthouse suites was awful and the people at Carnival don’t seem to get it. John does get it and that is why I brought this up in his venue. He understands that without the guest they have nothing. I don’t complain about little things. I told about things that were “broken” and needed to be addressed.

  46. Larry Meador says:

    I think the new rates for tipping are long over due. For the most part, the people I have seen onboard work really hard for the money they receive and most of them send the money home to support families.

    I don’t know of any type of vacation I can take where I can get the kind of service I get on a Carnival Cruise. Usually, if I take a different type of vacation, I get half the service at twice the cost.

    Your friend from Texas,

    Larry Meador

  47. Vicki Z says:

    I can’t believe anyone would complain about the increase in gratuities. My question to those who complain, have you had a raise in your salary since 2001? My guess is that you’ve had multiple raises in that time and so my next question would be, how would you feel if someone argued with your employer that you shouldn’t have been given a salary increase?

    My husband and I have been cruising for over 25 years and the value is much greater today than when we first started cruising. We get a balcony cabin today for less money than we paid for an ocean view cabin back then. I don’t know how the cruise lines have managed to do that but I’m certainly not going to worry about it and will say thank you for providing us with an affordable and relaxing vacation.

    As to the person who complained about their elite past passenger status and internet rates, I’d like a break on those rates as well but I’ll tell you this, I’m at the top of the list on a couple of other lines with all kinds of amenties available but I have chosen to sail on Carnival for the past 3 years because I’m still getting a much greater value than with those other lines. I only sailed on Carnival because I went with a group of school friends and didn’t expect to care much for the line, boy was I surprised: 1) the crew was nicer; 2) the food was comprable; and 3) the line takes great care of you, they took it upon themselves to upgrade us on our very first cruise with them and we have been upgraded on every cruise since then except for the one coming up in less than 10 days and I’m still hoping they call and offer me a wrap around balcony.

    It’s beyond me how anyone can complain about the increase in gratuities or benefits provided to past passengers. Carnival is providing us, its passengers, a tremendous value for our money as well as a great time. Thank you Carnival, for all the great cruises we’ve had in the past and all the future cruises that we look forward to.

    Vicki Z

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

    John, I have no problems at all with the “suggested tips” increase and can assure you and the staff that it will have no effect on any additional tips that I will give while onboard to the well deserving staff that I come in contact with. That said, if we currently have a cruise booked should we have been informed personally and officially by either Carnival or a TA? I would not have known about it if I was not a member of the forum that shall go unnamed and reader of your blog and Facebook page, none of which are official Carnival sites. Carnival I am sure has thousands of booked passengers that are not readers of your blogs or forum readers and might be a little upset when they get their final S&S bill and see the additional charges.

  49. Sue D. says:

    It is still hard for me to read some of these post.

    You didn’t give me anything for my birthday but I am going on another birthday cruise what are you going to give me this time.
    PLEASE!! Stop the GIVE ME GIVE ME nonsense.

  50. Suzanne says:

    I’m perfectly fine with the tip increase as I always tip over and above the recommended amount and will continue to do so. Besides, to all the negative nelly’s out there, the tips are OPTIONAL, you can remove them or adjust them up or down to whatever you feel is appropriate (not that I’m advocating removal of tips for any but the most extreme of causes). For me, though, Carnival is the ONLY vacation I’ve had, thus far, where I am catered to like a princess by people who are just as nice and friendly as can be. They know my name and preferences after one or 2 meetings, heck, even the places at home I frequent on a regular basis don’t know that, nor do they care to even make the attempt. The staff are worth every penny and as much more as I can possibly afford.


  51. Gwen Smith says:

    The pictures are absolutely stunning!! Thanks for posting those, I can see why they are your favorites.

    Increasing the tips is not a problem for me. I have never found the crew to NOT deserve all of their tips, plus more!

  52. Howard Soloway says:

    I want to start off by saying that I think the gratuity increase to $11.50 is a good thing for the crew and I do not have any issue with paying the increase.

    However, I am bothered by the way Carnival handled this change. I have two major concerns that I want to mention.

    1. I am taking a cruise that leaves on December 4. I have all of my documents printed and they all say that I will be paying $10 per day gratuity. I am past final payment for the cruise and I thought the contract between me and Carnival was in place. I know that Carnival can add a fuel surcharge and that is not an issue if it is needed. If Carnival can change the gratuity policy this close to sailing does this also mean that Carnival can suddenly decide that I did not pay enough for my cruise and raise the price or make other changes to the contract after final payment? I would not have these questions or concerns if Carnival had notified me of this change prior to final payment.

    2. Carnival appears to be changing the people that are receiving the gratuity and adding entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. This sounds like people that have not traditionally received gratuities are being converted to tipped employees. I think that the guests deserve a better explanation of who we are giving gratuities to before this type change is made.

    I think that there would have been a lot less controversy about this change if Carnival had announced the changes with more notice and provided details about the additional people that will now be receiving the gratuities.

    • Luis R says:

      Perhaps I did not understand correctly but this part: “Guests who have pre-paid their gratuities will not be affected by this change” tells me that you would not be affected because you have already prepaid the gratuities.

  53. keysfishfinder says:

    It is a shame that gratuity is even being discussed here. yes they all MUST earn it, yes 95% of them do a great job so it should not be an issue. It is amazing that some of these same people will go to a restaurant order $200 in food/drinks and tip 20% without thinking about it. Yet here they whine and complain about what amounts typically to less than 18% and it is always optional. Other countries do not tip and this is why the ships must add this to the cabins, as the workers are not paid a fare wage unless tips are included.

    I personally have only removed gratuity one time and that was when my son was a year old and he did not use the camp or dining room. So I removed the tip for the wait staff only and gave extra to the room steward by envelop.

  54. Steven says:


    I sincerely hope that Carnival does NOT go the way of overly singling out gold or platinum or gold-pressed-latinum customers over everyone else. Carnival is GREAT for recognizing that ALL of their customers are valuable. I think you should keep the perks to things not everyone can see (gifts, free upgrades, stuff like that). Once you start showing that the gold-pressed-latinum guests are more important by reserving seats in the lounge or theatre or pool chairs or whatever, you might see some real resent from MOST of your passengers.

    Just my two cents, have a great day and thanks for the entertaining blog!

  55. Allen Curtis says:

    “I am not sure what a Rokeach Yahrzeit light candle is but if it is a candle that uses a real flame you cannot bring that on the ship. If it is an electric light candle then that should be OK.”

    It is customary to light a yahrzeit candle to burn for 24 hours on the anniversary of the death of a loved one. Rokeach is a brand of actual open-flame candles. Some do use electric candles instead, and these are what should be recommended for shipboard use.

    Best wishes,


  56. Sheri Nowatski says:

    Hi John,
    We’re just off the Carnival Freedom this past Sunday, had an absolutely fantastic time! Even though the hurricane changed our course we loved the replacement ports, it was our first time to Montego Bay and will enjoy any future visits there. Grand Turk is one of our favorite ports, it ranks up there with Aruba. The captain kept us safe and that’s what’s most important.
    Thank you for helping us get a table for 4, we absolutely treasure this time we have with our friends. We met on the Carnival Miracle in 2009 and have cruised together ever since.
    As far as tipping goes, I think the crew deserves the increase and I’m happy to pay it, along with the extras we always give out to those deserving.

    Thanks for all you do John, its appreciated far more than you know.

  57. Barry Cook says:

    In relation to the new tipping amounts, the problem is the timing. I have no doubt that the crew deserve the extra money. I would like to think that I deserve extra money for the work I do, but I have had my pay reduced due to the global financial crisis. As a family of 4 who took a 12 day cruise this year, this adds another $72 to my bill. The question isn’t whether or not they deserve it, it’s whether or not I can afford it.

    • George says:

      I have a family of four. So I do not care for the only $1.50 raise. Reality check show that my cruise will cost an extra $48, come this December. If that was part of my budget when I booked, then there would be nothing to say.

  58. Rick Thorson says:

    John: As a faithful reader of both your blog and Facebook page I’m feeling a little out sorts. Today, Nov. 2, I tried to make my final payment including prepaid gratuities (over $2700.00!) for my March 2 cruise on Spirit to the MR. When we called in to Carnival my TA was informed that I would have to pay the higher gratuity even though it was being done before December 1. Although it is only $30.00 more, that is probably 1 less bottle of red wine I will be able to buy on the ship.. When the owner of the agency called on my behalf he received a form letter back from the regional VP saying in effect “too bad, tough”. I think offering to make the final payment 130 days instead of 90 days out should count for something. My TA suggested that I adjust the gratuity the last night of the cruise but that is only expecting poor service as far as I am concerned and casts a negative light on our 50th. anniversary cruise. I guess what I’m trying to say is I feel like having to suddenly cough up more money than what I agreed to when I booked this aft wrap suite.
    (It’s a little like the recent controversy when the large banks tried to charge a fee to use their debit cards…and we know what happened there!)Booking #

    • Rick Thorson says:

      Excuse the rant yesterday but I felt Big Brother was just trying to push me around. I never said that the crew who works very hard for our enjoyment did’nt deserve the raise, I just was upset at the way it was handled.Of course I will pay the increased amount but it could have been handled a little better by Carnival.

  59. The Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    First where is the pre-order list for Radu’s calendar. I want to be the first to sign up. I have been saying for several years that he needs to have one for sale on the ships and on the website. He is FAB!
    Second, I haven’t had a raise for three years and I know how I feel about that. But ten years with no raise for the amount of work and the way the crew goes out of there way is an insult. The amount of an extra $1.50 per day is nothing and anyone who complains about it is a Jackarse. Nancy & I always add a little extra sumting for the stewards and dining room staff. They really do make you feel at home only better!!!
    The Cruzin2some

  60. The Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John & Radu,
    Another idea for Radu’s pictures. Carnival could have a page where you could sign up for his daily pictures. With each picture a brief description of where it was taken and a link to where you could go to sign up for a cruise to go there. You could also include pictures of different areas of the CCL fleet. I find the ships absolutely wonderful and pictures get me all excited about seeing them in person.
    What do you think?
    The Cruzin2some

  61. CocoH says:

    My dear John, you are obviously a gentleman of endless patience and forgiveness and I worry that you might someday be totally speechless from all the necessary tongue-biting you MUST be doing! If ignorance and rudeness were painful, most of these people would need to be on morphine! Looking forward to meeting you in Galveston – I will totally understand if you just nod & smile silently…

  62. grizel robertson says:

    John, please reply if this message ever gets to you.
    Your message was delivered to my e-mail address at 4.51 GMT 2 November by which time I was getting ready to go to work. Opened message at 18.30 GMT after returning from work. After reading your blog I found 49 comments of which I could access only 42! This probably means that my comments will be ignored as I read somewhere that 50 was the maximum accepted. Should this be true, I want to take the issue higher with the Beards as your loyal UK Bloggers are at a distinct disadvantage in comparison with our American cousins!
    If you do receive this message, I wanted to make 3 constructive points concerning today’s Blog.
    1. I was disappointed to learn that you will not be CD on the C Spirit Transpacific trip to Sydney, Australia when I shall be enjoying my Milestone cruise? (culminating in 186 days at sea with CCL). However, I was pleased to read your appraisal of Stuart Dunn as CD & look forward to the experience. Surely though, as Senior CD, CCL you should be stationed in Sydney to promote the brand’s launch in OZ & meet & greet the disembarking passengers & new recruits from Down Under.
    2.Philip “Mediocre’s Rant”. I cannot understand what he is trying to say, it is like double Dutch to me & would appear to be the same for you & other Bloggers. Maybe he had a bad hair day or has totally lost the plot.
    3. Gratuities. Since I first cruised in 1992, I have always paid a wee bit extra than the recommended rates for “cabin stewards, bus boys & waiters” when I received service up to & beyond my expectations. I have never had a problem with the automatic charges to my S&S card in this respect because I have never experienced poor service.
    However, faced with a 50% increase in the cost of my BtoB cruise on C Magic in 2012, starting with BC5 compared to a similar trip in 2011 starting with BC4, I find the sudden 15% increase in gratuities is stretching my budget beyond the realms of reality.
    I agree that an increase is necessary but this should have been done on a gradual scale, over the last 10 years, not in one fell swoop.
    In view of the Worldwide Recession problems, Carnival should be taking more interest in the success of it’s programme of building & promoting European cruising than pandering to an US base who demand cruising on the cheap & compensation when Mother Nature wreaks it’s havoc on everyone. After 22 cruises, with several travel disruptions, I am still loyal to the cause.
    My 2012 cruise costs now stand just short of $10,000 before I add in extortionate air fares & long hours of travelling. Maybe some of your infrequent Bloggers & others who travel on the cheap will recognise that loyalty is not about pleading poverty or about demanding recognition for a minor event in life. John, I don’t know how you put up with the crap that you have to face on a regular basis from so many people who have no clues about the real issues in life.
    Regards to Heidi & Kye & hope I can meet them on BC5.
    Your friend from Scotland, with Girders attached, Grizel

  63. Steve S. Chicago says:

    Martinique was, and probably still is, a beautiful island. As we lay on the beach models would come by in different swimsuits or clothes. My wife decided to ask where to buy the items or how much they were…the young lady looked at her from head to toe and rudely said “You will never fit into these”… I shouldn’t have laughed…I slept on the couch for 2 weeks after that.

  64. Steve S. Chicago says:

    Dear Phillip,
    Please consult your Doctor for removal of the wooden object lodged into your lower intestinal oriface.

  65. Candy says:

    To those who are upset about the gratuity increase – for 2 people it’s an additional $21 dollars for a 7 day cruise. I have never seen a group of people work harder than the waitstaff and the stewards and other personnel on a cruise line and they do it with a smile on their face. They deserve the increase and more.

  66. Andrew Beer says:

    No problem with the raise. Most of them require tips to make a living and perhaps some guests aren’t as generous as others. This is a modest raise and not a big deal. Tip early and often.

  67. Hans Sickles says:

    Just wondering where Mr. Radu took the pictured titled “Fundatica, Alaska”. As someone born and raised in Alaska, and have traveled far and wide throughout the state I can assure you this name of a place does not exist.. Is the name “Fundatica, Alaska” something that Mr. Radu has made up?

  68. Bill0728 says:

    ok John lets talk about tipping.

    Fist i will say that i am a fair tipper.

    as soon as i arrive on the ship I immediatly go to the guest services desk and have them remove the tips.

    now before everone jumps at me calling me a “cheap Bastard” hear me out.

    The reason why i do this is due to the way that carnival breaks down the actual tip amount.

    The matrid
    d gets the most of the auto gratuities with the room stewarts getting the least.

    That is a policy that i cant live with. In my humble opinion the room stewarts make or break the cruise, (and we have had many GREAT room stewarts and unfortunatley we have had a few grumpy ones as well.

    while the matdi d is important he does not provide ant service to me personally. Yes he does have the responsibility for the dining room but i have yet to interact with one of them whereas we always interact with the wait staff and and the room stewarts.

    now the other side if i pay the 10.00 per day the room setwarts get about 1.75 per day or 12.25 per a 7 day cruise out of 70.00 total dollars paid.

    While at the guest service desk i aslo always pick up 3 envelopes.

    My usual tip to the room stewart is about 70.00 cash and about the same to our wait staff.
    on our last cruise in the Carnival Pride we had a first in that we had a beverage waiter who worked many venues on the ship and every time he saw cindy and I he automatically bouth us our fav bev. we never had to ask NOT ONCE the last night of the cruise we saw him again in the comedy club and as usual he bought us our fav bev. i took him to the side and explained to him how he (and he alone) had made this cruise special and when i shook his hand i passed 200.00 to him. tears immediatley filled his eyes and he hugged both Cindy and I. We will never forget Ashki and were very happy when he told us that at the end of his current contract that he will be moving to the Carnival Dream which means that we will get to see him this comming March and i can tell you we will search him out to say hello.

    ok long way arround the barn to say that yes i do remove the auto tips however the folks that actually provide the service are the winners with Me.

  69. Dave Myerly says:

    ◦Cruiser Dave says:

    Tips and Crew Pay,
    We are currently on the 2nd of 3 cruises on the Carnival Magic and enjoying the ship very much. Decor and spaces are laid out well and the crew has been very attentive and pleasant and always helpful.
    The food has been pretty good however sometimes not up to the standard of other Carnival Ships. (soups not hot enough, undercooked pasta and even in the Steakhouse the meat is sometimes too well done) Many new crew waiters assts. since the last Europe cruise last week and they are not yet up to speed and service is somewhat slow and sporatic. Did the Chefs table and found the food was too gourmet for us but the experience was interesting. However it blew the regular dining room waiter process way out of kilter and screwed up the dining room. Understand they will do the same chefs table 4 more times in a row on sea days. Going to Freeport Bahamas Vs. Grand Turk because of problem with thrusters needing attention. Many guests unhappy becasue we are losing a sea day and they are only giving guests a $25 rebate. I think it should be more per person.

    Prepaid tips were never just for MDR waiters becasue many of these folks are assigned time working the Lido deck during the day. While the housekeeping staff and other behind-the-scene people also share in the gratuities.
    I think Carnival needs to raise Basic Wages
    to a more responnable amount. I do not consider a basic wage of $70-$80 a week satisfactory, and I am told they have to pay for uniforms. A wage of $120 aweek to start would be better with REAL TIPS to be earned.

    Automatically charging gratuities/TIPS is warranted for dining, stateroom, and behind the scene staff to your Sail & Sign account.

    The raise to $11.50 per guest, per day is fine but not enough. We always tip our DR and Stateroom folks more per cruise.
    I believe anyone who gets a Cranival Saklary should not get tips except for the Maitre D(if he/SHE does something that helped make your dining experience better)

    I suggest guideline be raised as follows.

    $ 5.00 – Per Day Stateroom Services (Usually 3 peaple share this amount – Your Steward and 2 helpers)
    $ 6.00 – Per Day Dining Room Services (Usually 3 people share in this, Your Waiter and two helpers)
    $ 3.00 – Per Day Alternative Services: distributed to kitchen, (REMOVE entertainment and make them salaried), guest services, other hotel staff members(REMOVE and make these salaried)

    Carnival shoul adjust the rate shown for each cruise to show these amounts to be included daily and to whom these tips or gratuities will go.

    John -Hope to see you in Freeport or in Galveston for our 3rd cruise b2b2b on Nov 13 and 14.

    • Tim Kriebel, MCPO, USN Retired says:

      Carnival has us paying the majority of the salaries on boras through what they call “gratuities”. In fact they are nothing more than a service charge because it is added automatically to your bill. They tried years ago to let the guests tip directly at the end of the cruise but discovered that there were a large amount of folks who did not leave the gratuities. And it wasn’t just Europeans or Aussiess. To make sure we pay their crew they now intimidate their customers by adding it to their bill, and making them explain why they might want to remove them if they choose to do so. they also automatically add 15% to all your orders from the bar…..another service charge and not a gratuity. Anytime it is not entirely voluntary on the part of the guest it is a fee or service charge….nothing else. Now all that said, we have always given the staff their suggested amount and in many vases much more depending on individual outstanding service. I have no objection with the increase, just stop lying to people and call it what it truly is….a service charge increase!

    • Gary says:

      After this back to back cruise ends in Galveston on 11-13-2011, we will not be going on this ship again. After finding the steam room costs $349 extra when all the other ships we have sailed on have a steam room that is included, we have decided this change is not something we can live with and will be telling all our cruising friends to stay away from this ship. How dare you continue milking your customers like this. You should be ashamed of your selves! Additionally, the misses says, she has never found Scrapbooking to be an extra cost in the past either.

  70. Diana Chesser says:

    Hi John, Just discovered your blog and I LOVE it. I took myfirst Carnival cruise August 20, 1982 for my 21st birthday then after several additional cruise aboard various Carnival ships celebraed mu 40th; then carried on the tradition for our son’s 21st 2 years ago..next week we will be traveling on Carnival Fascination celebrating (a a few days late) our son’s 23rd birthday and then on Nov. 10th my husbamd and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary. We will be in cabin U101 and our extremely excited to be dtaying

  71. Diana Chesser says:

    opps accidently hit send…anyway on with my long winded question…this will be our first time enjoying a suite with a balcony and I just read on one of your post that U101 had some noise issues and just wondered if you knew if this was true. Thanks in advance for any info u might have. Diana C

  72. wil-da-beast says:

    About the increase in gratutity….For the service we always get,I thought it was never enough and always give additional to the deserving crew.
    A note to Calvyn……Somehow can’t picture you as Amy Winehouse. Were you serious? Please post a picture. The both of you have the same body structure..NOT
    See you on the Carnival Magic on her first cruise out of Galveston…A&W

  73. Jodi says:

    Hello again John,

    All this flap over $1.50 a day? I certainly don’t see that breaking the bank for any one. My DH and I don’t make a lot of money and we do have to save up to go on our cruises, but I think a $1.50 is not only a reasonable raise for the most wonderful crew at sea, but it is, as you pointed out, overdue.

    The men and women who recieve these amounts come from all over the world to live and breathe customer service for Carnival guests. They are warm, friendly, good at their jobs and ALWAYS ready to go the extra mile. Some of them don’t even share in the gratuities and still offer INCREDIBLE service.

    Take, for instance, Natasha in the Bijoux Terner store on Carnival Paradise. I puchased a watch from her in the first night mayhem flurry of shopping for our Catalina port day and she offered to set the watch for me if I had any problems doing it myself.
    In fact she said “You bring back later, I do it for you.” Now that is service, and typical of what is offered by each and every crew member!

    They are the hardest working people at sea and yet every day have a brilliant smile and friendly hello, by name for us! Yes I think the $1.50 is a good thing, but I will still try to alwasys add something to it as best I can.


  74. Stepheny Duke says:

    My husbnad and I are sailing the Conquest from New Orleans on 11-13-11, some months back I placed a order with Bon Voyage for some treats, decorations and gifts to be delivered to our room as this sailing is to celebrate our 9th year of being married.

    A couple of weeks ago I was doing my accounting and noticed on my bank statement that I had a DEPOSIT from Carnival Cruise Line Bon Voyage Department. Like I say a DEPOSIT not a DEBIT. I looked at the amount and depostited and looked at my reciept I had asked the agent to email me when I placed the order and it did not take much to figure out the two items that I was refunded for which were the room decorations and the Carnival Chef Cookbook. But here is why I am writting you…. I NEVER recieved a email or call as to what part of my order was cancelled and WHY.

    Not having these items will not stop my husband from sailing carnival this time or the next two sailings we have booked after this one. I just feel that I should have been notified that I would not have these items when we set sail.

    Is it standard practice for the Bon Voyage department to just NOT notify a pax of a change in a part of their booking? This is not the first time we have been done this way either. We were booked on the Elation out of Mobile, we went to make a payment one day and our cruise was just gone, poof, not there. No email, no contact… Upon calling Carnival to ask where our booking was, we were told the Elation was pulling out of Mobile, we scrambled to book another trip and that is how we ended up on this iten on the Conquest.

  75. Jodi says:

    Dear John: Oh FFS! I just mucked up my post, and it was brillian too if I do say so myself!

    Any way I am happy to increase my gratuities by $1.50 a day, they are well earned by each and every crew member. Infact we try to add to it as best we can each time. I get more smiles and “good mornings” on the cruise than from my on family on some days! Your crew is the best at sea! They deserve it!

    Oh and Radu’s fotos are pure art! What a master with the camera, lucky sod! You can see the wonder and appreciation he has for all things beautiful in his “work”. I put quotations because for any one with that kind of heart and passion it can hardly be work.

    Great blog!
    Jodi 🙂

    • Jodi says:

      Will I am obviously computer illiterate! I give up. Increase MY gratuities by $11.50 I should have to pay twice for being a dumb dumb.

  76. gloria says:

    Wow! I think if you can go on a cruise and be treated like a king or queen, paying an extra $1.50 to the people who work so hard to make everyone comfortable and happy is a tiny price to pay. Given inflation, I feel that this increase is long over due. I have absolutely no problem with it. I know the crew deserve it! Gloria

  77. Harry Kidd says:

    Just got back from a 5 night cruise on the Triumph out of Galveston. It was wunderful. I want to thank you John for helping me book the Chef’s Table. It was Awesome and the Head Chef Allen was Fantastic. The food was incredible. It was the best 4 hours of the Cruise.
    The staff is worth the extra 1.50 per day. Shoot, I hope most people give a little extra, I know I do. Antonio, (room 2280) my room stewart was great. My ice bucket was always full and my room was always clean. You would be suprised what a handshake, a 5 dollar tip and a Thank you will get you on your cruise.
    My wife and I just completed our 6th Cruise on Carnival and we have booked our 7th already and we will be sailing the Triumph again in February.
    Thanks for the Help John, it was much appreciated….

    Harry Kidd

  78. captnlen says:

    from the nagic and if not unmagic dhip certainpy guest services and esccursion persons who’s handling of handicap acess in all 4 european ports has ruined this once in a lifetime trip

    there are many positives but far more negatives with the Carnival Magic so your comments on allpositive is as empty as Carnivals promises.

    Won’t try seeing you in freeport if you make it

    Don’t want to make the blog as a finger jabbing nut

    But if you provide an email will forward youu my review comments and filing with the ACLU on handicap handling by Carnival Magic Staff.


    For the 2nd time they just announced the cancellation of the sec9ond showtime act

    Every6pne is hacking, Jean is in bed and canceled the steakhouse. For 3 days the hand dry in the mens room in the hat trick
    doesn’t nwork so no one washes their hands before going back to the slots.

    You get thye picture

  79. Phil says:

    New Gratuity amount is still far less than industry standards
    and I do hope it do goes to the service staff as this increase is probably for extra staffing, over the years Carnival has been noticeably cutting wait staff and service is not the same as they have to serve 2-3 table extra for less grats.
    Lido service is very poor on many ships I’ve been on as waiters never has place to buss tables but taking a couple of plates at a time to their dish wash pantry. By the time they come back for the remaining plates guests seems not have place to sit and eat. I’ll recommend Carnival reinstate bussing tables more efficiently by using pantries they have all over their Lido deck, service was much better before when they use em’. Talking to quite a few staff they don’t seem happy about the new way of clearing tables. They looked very tired and at dinner time even more tired as they don’t get enough rest before serving dinner. If something can be done to change this back to the way before many cruisers would be coming back again and also new cruisers don’t have to stand up and eat or wait minutes for tables.
    Thank You

  80. Lorie S. says:

    My family and I have sailed 6 times since 2008…most of the cruises have been on the Carnival Splendor. I can’t say each of the cruises were perfect; I’m sure there was something that was not quite right or could have been better (ie: weather, illness, crowds, etc.) but the one thing I do know, is that each of the cruises was enjoyable, memorable, and a great blessing to myself and to my family. In this day and age, with the economy so bad and so many people out of work (many living on the streets or in shelters), for any of us to be able to book a cruise during the year (and many who book more than one and have reached VIP levels) how is it possible that so many out there can’t see how truly blessed they are? When I read these blogs and the FB posts and try to absorb the self-centered rantings of people who want, want, want, want, want….more, more, more, more, more….just because they’ve sailed “X” amount of times or because they paid for their whole family to go or what-have-you, my heart breaks. Things happen, on any vacation, and sometimes staff or situations are not what you had expected or wanted, but to focus so heavily on the negative and not see the positive things…well, that’s truly sad. I am a cancer survivor and my husband recently had open heart surgery. My family and I feel truly thankful that we have had the opportunity to sail so often and to have wonderful family time together. To spend our days relaxing in the sun, sharing memories, enjoying good food, and discovering new things in the ports — well, that’s heaven! And a blessing! And something we don’t take for granted. We truly appreciate all the hard work of the staff and crew….without them….our cruise would not be possible. It is hard for us when we realize the sacrifice the crew make — missing time with their families and special moments with loved ones, and the work they put forth to provide us with great service and awesome memories. Each time we sail we fall in love with our dining room staff, our bar servers, the spa staff and countless others. In fact, on our recent trip on the Carnival Splendor, we were able to see three of our friends from our July cruise and it was like seeing family again. We were sad to have to leave them this time knowing that they would be moving onto a new ship in the next few months. These are people who have touched our lives and we will never forget them. For us, it’s not about how often we have sailed, whether we have VIP status, whether everyone says hello to us or remembers our names…it’s about those special friendships we have made, the lives we have touched and those who have changed our lives for one special week. It’s about the memories that have been created and the blessings that have flowed down to give us all one week of green pastures and quiet waters in the midst of a dark and challenging world. It is with joy and love that I say thank you to all the staff and crew aboard all of the ships who make our lives just a little bit better for a week or two out of our year. Increase in tips? I say YES…and I am happy to pay it and then some. We always tip in addition to the precharged tips — each night in the dining room, everyday our room steward, with our drink and room service, and then we tip again on the last night. They deserve it…and more!! God Bless each and every Carnival crew member. We love you!!

  81. Amy Bruinsma says:

    Eddie looks so young, and you are so thin

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