November 3, 2011 -

John Heald

I am feeling very, very grumpy today. It all started with a movie I ordered on the TV in my hotel room last night. No, it didn’t involve Latvian women doing naughty things with a man called Foot Long Tom…….I have seen that one already…….twice. What got me hopping mad was that I ordered a movie called Margin Call about the debt crisis. I was hoping that this movie was going to give me an insight into how AIG spent all my savings at lap dancing clubs and that the movie would show the bastards all losing their jobs and living in a box under a bridge. So I settled down to watch some fine acting from Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons when twenty minutes into the movie it froze. Bugger!

I called the front desk and Jose told me that as it was late (10:50pm); there was nobody “on property” who could fix the system. So that was stage one of my bad mood. Stage two came when I checked my bill and found that despite Jose’s promise that I wouldn’t be charged for the movie that $14.95 plus tax had still been charged to me. I called and spoke to Jose’s brother JoseB and he promised it would be taken care of. So far it hasn’t been.

You know, life is indeed full of dangers and none of those dangers are as terrifying as driving in Miami on a road called I-95.I know I have mentioned this a lot in the last few days but living in Miamio as I have these past few weeks has me waking up each morning knowing that I am about to stare death in the face. Now we Brits have this image of the average American driver. They are wearing cowboy hats and boots and drive cars the size of a small African country. This is based on TV programs we all watched as kids. The one I will always remember watching is Frank Cannon who drove a car longer than the street we lived in.

This image does not apply however to I-95 where the pleasant amicable driver in the cowboy hat turns into a machine gun-wielding maniac. This is mostly applicable when you try and turn off I-95 when your exit suddenly appears. In the UK we are overly efficient and signs will tell you your exit is 79 miles ahead and on I-95 the sign tells you “Turn now you bloody idiot, it’s here.” Now, God forbid that you are in the wrong lane and you indicate to move over because the fierce creature that is gripping the steering wheel with its claws will not slow down and will not let you in. If you dare try and move over regardless you will be treated to a symphony of horn blowing and a varied number of hand gestures some of which to this day I do not understand. This morning was even worse. I had managed to get off I-95 without being shot or damaging my Dodge Journey rent a car but then I had to turn off 87th into a plaza to get a coffee at Starbucks. I guess I positioned my car incorrectly at the cross over junction thingy because I was subjected to a volley of abuse from the driver who was trying to cross over the other way. He leant on his car horn and started to stick one finger in the air at me. As we crossed he made a gesture that involved him making a cutting symbol under his chin. What a charming man.

So that was me in a grumpy mood and then the fun really began.
Let me ask you a question. Why is it these days so sodding difficult to order a cup of coffee? It should be simple but it isn’t. It should take only a few words but it doesn’t. What should happen is I say, “Can I have a skimmed milk cappuccino please?” and the coffee person to say, “Yes sir. That will be $5 please.”

But that only happens in dream world…….These days you have to reserve 30 minutes or more for the interrogation that you have to go through. This morning at Starbucks I felt like I had been cross examined by a high profile lawyer.

My first mistake was not saying what sixe of cappuccino I wanted and rather than say “What size do you want?” she went and narrated each of them, small, grande and bloody huge. Then came the up selling and I stood at the counter explaining wearily that, no, I didn’t want any muffins, pastries or a toasted f*****g bagel.”

And then just when I thought the Spanish Inquisition was over she asked me “Do you have a loyalty card?”

A loyalty card? For a bloody coffee? Would you like to join today, then? No, I wouldn’t and if you don’t serve me my cappuccino I will take one of those muffins and place it somewhere that will instantly turn it into a chocolate one.

I am all for great service, of course, I am but there are times and there are places that I think back to the days when you would be served by someone who would say nothing and indeed would be rather rude and obtuse. But today, as I stood in my bad mood waiting for my cappuccino and saying no to loyalty cards and breakfast sandwiches that I longed for a place where service comes with nothing but a rude and flippant shrug and where the customer is looked on as an inconvenience. And then I realised…………….I needed to move to France.

Times for today’s questions………here we go.

Hi John:

After sailing 28 YEARS on Carnival I am wanting to ask about the “the loyalty program” I see people have sent comments and the “beards” have asked questions but where do I go to see what changes or questions are being asked? I have no problems with what we have now-just treat me like I have always been treated and given the service I enjoy so much. Seems some people are never happy—just keep Carnival “my home away from home.”

John says:
Hello Annabelle Kennedy,

Your comment shows perfect timing as I am meeting with the chap in charge of the program this afternoon. I will make sure he sees your comment in my meeting with him. Thanks so much for your loyalty and I hope we see you on board very soon.

Best wishes.


Becky Morrison asked:
Hi John,

Love the blog! I found it very interesting & informative as I prepared for my very first cruise – Carnival Elation, 8/27/11. My mother & I had a fabulous time! Cory Rogers was a fantastic cruise director! Loved the shows! We thoroughly enjoyed the enthusiasm and humor from the Entertainment Staff – Stephanie, Caitlin, and “Showtime” and “Irish George” certainly love their jobs! They were great! Sherwin and Edgardo took good care of us each night in the Inspiration Dining Room – they were absolutely terrific! We loved the Behind the Fun tour – everyone was so kind! We experienced the perfect vacation! We can’t wait to cruise again – next time, we’re bringing the whole family!

John says:
Hello Becky Morrison,

I am now smiling like a Cheshire cat. What a wonderful review and I am very excited that this cruise made such an impression on you that you are going to come back with the whole family. I will be sure to pass on to the ship and all those you mentioned what a wonderful job you thought they did and they of course will be thrilled. Thanks again and if there is anything I can do before you all sail again please let know.

Best wishes.


Martyn N asked:

I feel very offended by your comments today about Christian Scientology. I have been a proud member for 11 years and I am a Carnival customer having sailed three times in the previous four years. If you took your time to discover that Scientology can help with mental constraints including but not limited to emotional scarring then you would not be so quick to judge. Scientology is a religion and therefore you should afford it the same courtesy as you would Judaism or Catholicism. Thank you!

John says:
Hello Martyn N,

I have to say that I am totally flabbergasted by this post as at no time can I remember writing about Scientology at all and certainly not in a negative way. I know very little about your beliefs and I wonder if indeed you have posted this comment based on something that you may have thought referred to them. Please could you let me know what I said that upset you so much as honestly I can’t remember doing so.

Best wishes.


Catherine Redfield asked:

I am platinum and will be with my husband and daughter and four other cabins for our cruise on the Carnival Magic on November 20. These cabins are my sister and husband and my parents and best friends. I asked Carnival if we could check them in as VIP but was told no. This is not good business as I have paid for them all to cruise and having spent $9,000 I think I should have all the cabins on VIP check in. Can you get this done for me? The booking numbers are ******, ******, *****, and ****** and are linked together for dining purposes. Do platinum guests get free steakhouse? I have booked the whole family in there so it would be nice gestures if you gave me mine on a complimentary basis.

John says:
Hello Catherine Redfield,

Thank you so much for your loyalty and I am sure you are very excited by your forthcoming cruise and how generous of you to pay for the family like that. I am very sorry that while VIP check-in is only for you and your husband and daughter and the rest of the family will meet you on board. And while I can’t give you a free meal at the steakhouse I can send you a little something for booking the family on our new ship. Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes to all.


Amber Kallberg
Dear John,

Please respond: My husband, a flight mechanic in the U.S. Coast Guard, and I are sailing with you on the Carnival Magic on 11/20/2011. We are going on this trip to celebrate our 4 year anniversary. My husband is a HUGE Ohio State football fan and never misses a game. I had to twist his arm to go on this trip as he knew that there would be a game the Saturday we are on board. After we booked, he found out that Ohio State plays their rival Michigan in the biggest and last game of the season on 11/26/2011. Do you know if the ship will be able to show the game in any of the bars or lounges? I was thinking it would be really neat if it was broadcast on the big screen on the lido deck, or perhaps even on the big screen in the main show theater (I know it’s highly unlikely). I appreciate you looking into this for me and letting me know where we can catch the game, as my name will be mud if he can’t watch it live. Also, if at all possible, could you please send something to our room to help us celebrate our anniversary, it would make my husband’s day (and mine)!

Thanks so much.


John says:
Hello Amber Kallberg,

Please thank your husband for all he does in the US Coast Guard and I am sure you are both looking forward to a wonderful cruise. We show the college games that are broadcast by the network stations so if it’s an NBC, CBS, ABC or Fox game then I am sure you will see it at the sports area on Promenade Deck 5 and or the cabin TV. Obviously this is subject to satellite transmission but there is an excellent chance you will see it Amber. We won’t broadcast this on the theatre on Lido as we already have a full schedule of movies and live music there. Can I kindly ask that you drop me a note on my Facebook page on the 20th with your cabin number and I will send you something to wish you a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes to you both.


Brandon Langer asked:

In July I broke my arm in a car versus pedestrian accident. I had my arm in a sling for six weeks and was told by the doctor that I should have it taken off at the end of six weeks. The sixth week came when me and my girlfriend Tara were on the Carnival Sensation ship and I went to the hospital on the ship and the doctor refused to cut the plaster off my arm. I was very angry as he was a doctor and refused to help. I wrote to Carnival but nobody has gotten back to me.

John says:
Hello Brandon Langer,

I am sorry to hear about your arm and I hope you have now made a full recovery. I can’t answer as to why the ship’s medical team refused to remove the plaster but I would think that it was because they believed it would have been best to wait until you got home and saw your own doctor. I hope you had a great cruise.

Best wishes to you both.


Shannon Cochrane asked:
Hi John,

I’ve been reading your blog for the past few months, around the time that myself and my girlfriend booked our first cruise on the Carnival Dream (Western Caribbean Sept 3-10).

First of all, I’d like to say your blog is hilarious and the things that people send you and ask of you sometimes are funny and sometimes even plain crazy. Anyways, I’m not asking for free gifts or a table for two near the window (haha). Rather, I would like to pass along compliments to yourself and ‘the beards’ about three outstanding Carnival Dream employees.

Thithinan, our dining room head waitress in Lower Crimson table 133 was great. She was very friendly and helpful and made sure that we enjoyed every minute in the dining room. Her assistant, team waiter – I Nyoman – was equally commendable. He always kept my water and lemonade full and delivered sodas and beers promptly every night. Lastly, our stateroom steward, Ricardo (deck 2 port aft) provided awesome service. He met us on the first day and remembered both of our names from that point on. He always said hi to us in the hallway and he provided everything that we asked for including extra ice. One time I called to get new blue towels and he showed up within one minute. The room was always kept clean and we thought the towel animals were neat. Prompt, friendly, and overall excellent service from all three of these employees. Also, I mentioned to the matire’d, Elvis, that I read your blog and he said to say ‘Hi!’ Great job by him as well running the busy dining rooms on the Carnival Dream. Thank you, and I look forward to reading more of your blog and booking another Carnival cruise in the future.


John says:
Hello Shannon,

What a brilliant review and I am sending it straight away to the beard in charge of the Carnival Dream and the ship as well…….they will all be thrilled. There is a lot of talk at the moment about gratuities and the crew so it’s wonderful to see them praised like this. It seems you had a brilliant time and thanks also for the kind words about the blog. I hope we see you on board very soon and thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes,


Taylor Pierce asked:

I am eight years old and love Carnival ships I have been on the Carnival Glory and Carnival Valor and Carnival Dream and my first time I was four I was on the Carnival Fantasy but I can’t remember anything because I was little. Thank you.

John says:
Hello Taylor Pierce,

That is one of the best things I have ever read here on my blog. I am so proud that you like our ships and you have been on so many for someone who is only eight years old. Please tell your Mummy and Daddy that the next time you come on a Carnival ship to tell me so I can send you a present. Thanks Taylor and hope I see you soon.

Best wishes.


Colleen French asked:
Dear John,

My best friend, Tracy Maddux and I will be on the Carnival Breeze inaugural sailing on June 3, 2012. After I booked the cruise, I discovered your blog thingy and I’m hooked! Love it! Your blog helps me take life less seriously (I run a secure custody facility for juvenile delinquents so my life is way too serious at times). Thank you for bringing, at minimum, a smile and more often, out loud laughter to my world on a regular basis. I was thrilled to learn that you’ll be our CD and that Calvyn will be your assistant on the Carnival Breeze. My husband and I had the pleasure of meeting you and Heidi when we sailed on the Carnival Glory in 2004. You were such a wonderful host and I’ve been telling Tracy how lucky we are to be sailing with you on the Carnival Breeze. Calvyn sounds like a super guy and we can’t wait to meet him. Tracy and I are both counting the days until our girl’s get-away vacation. The Carnival website is also counting down the days for us. However, the section of the website telling about the Carnival Breeze shows its first sailing as 28 days following the Inaugural sailing. Is there something the beards aren’t telling us? Are there troubles at the shipyard? Why else would our cruise countdown say, “You cruise in 263 days,” and the Breeze page say, “First Sailing in 291 days…”? Please help me to avert a panic. Thanks again for the blog and please know that for each complaint you receive there are certainly many, many more happy cruisers out there thanks to your hard work and the wonderful Carnival crews. Now stop reading – you’re supposed to be on vacation!

Kindest regards.

Colleen French

John says:
Hello Colleen French,

Thanks so much for those wonderful words and I am happy that you enjoy the blog so much and that it makes you laugh and smile. You will love Calvyn, he is eccentric and he is funny and I hope you will enjoy our morning shows. The clock was wrong, in fact many of them were but they should have been corrected and the ship I promise is on schedule and there are no concerns or problems. You are going to love the ship and all that we have planned and I will be focusing more on her at the turn of the year. Please let me know if you need anything.

Best wishes to you both.


Bobbi asked:

Do the Carnival ships have dinners served on our balcony?

John says:

Hello Bobbi,

While we have 24 hour complimentary room service we don’t offer a balcony dinner served from the dining room.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today.

So yesterday I met with Rob who is the vice president beard in charge of our new loyalty program. He has been at Carnival for nearly two years now and this was my first time actually meeting him. His background is loyalty and he was in charge of the program for one of the world’s leading airlines and, along with Jim our chief marketing officer beard, Rob has been working diligently to get the new program started.

One of the first questions I had to ask and did so on your behalf is “Why has it taken so long to launch the new program?” I know that this has been a question that has been asked here on the blog and on Facebook and on some other sites as well and has lead to some sarcastic comments here and there. And I admit, I wanted to know why as well and when Rob explained to me I totally understood. It isn’t because Rob takes three-hour lunch breaks and spends his afternoons playing Solitaire on his computer (well, except on Friday’s) but the reason is one that after it was explained to me I totally understood.

The new loyalty program will roll out next year and it isn’t just a case of changing someone’s Sail & Sign card…………this is the largest information technology project Carnival has ever taken on. Now this leads me into the part where you boo and throw fruit at me or indeed if you are from Iraq you will throw your shoes at me. I received a post from someone called “Parrott Head” yesterday about the new gratuities which I won’t post because it was so hurtful to the crew. I wish Parrot Head had stood behind a microphone and said it live as I have a pair of steel toe-capped Timberlands with his or her name on it.

Anyway, I digress. The reason one or two may boo me is that I can’t give you too many details about what’s happening because it will be released with fanfare and naked dancing Latvian girls. OK, maybe not the girls but we will be making sure we give our own trumpet a big blow as its going to be something special. I can tell you this. You are going to truly appreciate what we are doing for you, yes you really will. Here is, just for you bloggers then an aperitif before the main course is served.

1. The information we will be placing on our systems wont just as it does now contain your past cruise history but will have so much more. It will provide us and you with better guest services and will have many more features that I promise you will appreciate so very much. This is a massive project for the tofu-eating Apple-worshiping techs who are working hard to get this done.

2. There will be more levels as opposed to the current ones and let me state this that I was told that those who are “close” to the next level under our current loyalty program will have this grandfathered in and you will not lose out. The end. Now I say the end because I know you are all going to bombard me with questions about what level you are and what level you will be. Well please don’t because I don’t have the ability to answer you. One of the questions is — will we be basing our new program on the number of cruises or the number of days cruised and I was told I could give you a hint and as many of you received the survey it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the answer to that can be found in one of those annoying soap operas my wife watches where people marry their own sisters and have the acting capabilities of a washing machine. So, the new levels are super and they are very fair and again if you are close to one level now your grandfather will take care of you.

3. Pins……….well this is great news for the many pin lovers out there. The current rule is that only Platinum members get the pin and indeed the current pin looks like it was made in China. That’s because it ummmm……..was………..and it’s not very pretty is it? The new one really is or should I say the new ones really are. That’s because certain levels will now get a pin that looks really great and is ship specific. The Platinum and Milestone pin will be very special and will be both ship and year specific, they look brilliant. More details to follow.

4. There will be added benefits for each group and while I can’t tell you what they are just yet I can tell you that I know you will be smiling. There is also going to be a complete revamp of the Past Guest Party and we will have some exclusive events for the higher tiers. We spoke about the Platinum/Milestone gifts and how they are inconsistent in availability and quality. So beginning December 1 the interim Platinum gift will be a luggage tag and key chain set and the next year I made a suggestion for the new program that I think you will enjoy.

Rob told me that the aim of the program is to make our loyal customers very much a part of the Carnival community and to allow them more memorable experiences and I know that I haven’t been able to tell you too much and I know there will be some skeptics and some quite frankly miserable sods who are as negative as one end of a battery who will pour scorn on this.

These are the same ones who poo pooed the Carnival Liberty changes and then when we announced them suddenly went quiet. So to them and indeed to all of you I want you to know that this loyalty program is going to do exactly what it says in the title……..keep you loyal to Carnival and with our apologies sincerely for the extra time it’s taking to start, I can’t wait to tell you more.

Let’s have a look at what’s happening on the Carnival Magic and we will start with more beautiful photos from our senior photographer Mr. Radu. Here he is in his own words.

Good evening John,

We left Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and we had absolutely good weather, and I think everybody did enjoy it. Most of the people took the tour of the island, The Best of Gran Canaria, tour I did myself. After we went to the South part of the island to see the sand dunes, we went up the mountain, the road was narrow and a lot of curves, and we ended up on the top, almost 2000 m, and here is the image we saw. I have a lot more to share but I am too tired now to edit them, I will do it tomorrow. But I have few images since we did the crossing with the Carnival Dream, pictures of the city, place that I didn’t visit today. Here they are:

Have a great evening

Radu Ursu
Senior Photographer

And now let’s turn things over to Calvyn and find out how things are as the ship starts her six-day Atlantic crossing, heading to Freeport.

Hello John

Well here we are embarking on the first of six sea says in a row and it is a rocky one. Now I am not talking about a small list I am talking like……well I have never actually been to a country bar before on account I’m afraid I might be hurt; however I would liken it to riding one of those mechanical pony things where the ocean is the pony and the ship is its latest victim.

Am I being dramatic? Am I blowing it out of proportion? Actually I am not. It is really rough out and the ironic thing is that there are little white caps in the ocean. I see blue sky in the distance so I am assuming that we will smooth out soon. The guests are in a great mood though and so many send their best wishes to you John. On a more positive note, John, I have had something very interesting happen to me. I had a gift sent to me with spa products and the card said it was from Bette Midler. Now I know that I have never talked to Bette Midler, so I have to give a huge thank you out to whoever is using the pseudonym Bette. Although I have my suspicions, I don’t want to speculate just yet. And of course another shout out to the Steins from Nebraska who have showered me with everything Canadian: Canadian Mickey ears, Canada leaf pants (which I wear all the time!) to name a few.

John today is the first of my Ribbon Rose seminars and if you are rolling your eyes at that one, you should check out Ryan’s make-up seminar, that’s right I said it! Make-up Seminar by Ryan. Oy-vay!

Another activity that is going well is ‘Magical World Cruise’ a week long activity where guests have to participate in different activities for points. All I have to say is how many points for drinking a martini?!

Well I look forward to possibly seeing you in Freeport. I already have our couples massage booked!

Couple’s massage ? I would rather have one with Judge Judy. Let’s see what the guests are doing today.


7:00am Sunrise Stretch…………………………Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
7:30am Total Body Conditioning……………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 Samurai Sudoku…………………..Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Bridge for Beginners Series….Northern Lights, 3 Fwd
  • Library Time……………………..Books & Games, 4 Fwd
  • Indoor Cycling +…………………..Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

9:15am James’ Morning Show..Channel 16 & Seaside Theatre
9:30am General Knowledge Trivia….Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
10:00am Photography for Beginners..Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Bean Bag Challenge…………….Magic Lobby, 3 Fwd
  • Intermediate Bridge Lessons……Northern Lights, 3 Fwd
  • AquaFun………………………………….Beach Pool, 10 Mid
  • Arts & Crafts…………………….Conference Center, 4 Mid
  • Look 10 Years Younger…………….Ocean Plaza, 5 Fwd

11:00am Audio 101 Seminar………….Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Mahjong Players Meet…………Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
  • Dodgeball . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SkyCourt, 12 Aft
  • Burn Fat Fast Seminar……………..Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

12:00pm Harry Potter Trivia…………………..Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Free 3 Minute Make-Cvers………..Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

12:30pm Lightning Art Auction & Preview..Spotlight Lounge, 5 Aft

  • Scrapbookers Meet……………..Conference Center, 4 Mid
  • Blackjack Tournament +……….Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid

1:00pm Horse Racing Fun……………………Beach Pool, 10 Mid

  • Bridge Play (Duplicate & Social)….Northern Lights, 3 Fwd
  • Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet……….Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid

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

  • Basketball Tournament…………….SkyCourt, 12 Aft
  • Arts & Crafts…………………….Conference Center, 4 Mid
  • Back Pain Solutions……………..Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
  • Library Time……………………..Books & Games, 4 Fwd
  • Friends of Bill W. & Jimmy K………..Escape Bar, 4 Fwd

2:15pm Turbo Trivia……………………Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
2:30pm 6 Game BIngo +…………….Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
3:00pm Bean Bag Challenge…………….Magic Lobby, 3 Fwd

  • Ribbon Roses Seminar………..Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
  • Spot the Fake Amber Drawing…….Fun Shops, 5 Fwd
  • Tea Time……………………………………Southern Lights, 4 Aft

3:15pm Blackjack Tournament Finals +……Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
3:30pm Guess That Song: 1970’s………….Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Dance Class……………Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
  • Movie Matinee: Shrek 4……..Seaside Theatre, 10 Mid

4:00pm Charades…………………………Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Cardio Blast…………………Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
  • Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet……….Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
  • Military Veteran’s Meet………………Play It Again, 5 Aft

4:30pm Culinary Trivia…………………….Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

5:00pm Cruise Elegant Celebration……………..Promenade, Deck 5
7:00pm Cruise Elegant Celebration………………Promenade, Deck 5

  • Library Time……………………..Books & Games, 4 Fwd

7:45pm Decades Trivia – 1970’s……………Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft
8:00pm Karaoke Party……………………..Spotlight Lounge, 5 Aft

  • 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
9:30pm Twilight Golf………………………Turf on Surf, 12 Mid
10:00pm 1970’s Hour……………………….Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft

  • Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet……….Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
  • Singles Meet……………….Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
  • Friends of Dorothy GLBT Meet……..Play It Again, 5 Aft

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

  • Carnival Legends Auditions..Spotlight Lounge, 5 Aft

So she is beginning her journey home where Maroon 5 and I will be ready to welcome them. I hope I will see many of you in Texas.

Last night I had a wonderful dinner with my great friends Mr. and Mrs. Bentley at a restaurant called Gotham Steak and it was a fun night and my bone in fillet steak was brilliant. Now this restaurant is within one of Miami’s most famous hotels, The Fontainebleau which has had millions spent on it and I cannot imagine how the conversation went to get the money.

“Hello, is that the bank manager? Oh good, I’d like a quote from you to renovate my hotel.”

“OK, what are you looking for, some new shower curtains, maybe a new sofa in the lobby?”

“No, I am going to need marble, lots of marble and oh yes, huge chandeliers and gold walls.”

“How much are you looking to borrow?

“$1.2 billion dollars please. Can I get that in 50’s please?”

I wandered in through the doors and into an American hotel built on American dreams and American ideals. Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley sang there. James Bond had a game of cards with Goldfinger by the pool and Sylvester Stallone had rumpy pumpy with Sharon Stone there before blowing half the hotel up as they jumped into the pool.

The hotel is stunning, it really is but my visit last night was coincided with a convention. I am sure if you stay there you will have a convention there and mine was one called “Fit For Life” …………..brilliant. In walks this fat British cruise director into a crowd of gorgeous fit people. They were everywhere, with their annoying badges and their extensive knowledge of diet and muscle. They all had EyePods and good hair and white teeth and cells and perfect clothes and energy, lots and lots of energy. Many looked at me as if to say “Who let Shamu in?” …..I wanted to kill them all. Later, they would be out in the glamorous pool area, chatting animatedly to each other sipping on Cosmopolitans, before another workout and dinner and then another workout.

Apparently the hotel has the number one night club in Miami . I should probably use a more hip expression. The Fontainebleau has the “hottest” night club in Miami right now. It’s called LIV. It features supermodel waitresses, superstar DJs and massive Russian bouncers. There was apparently another kind of Russian bouncers on Halloween night. I saw this on one of those entertainment programs on a local Miami TV station when the rich and tanned drank expensive vodka all night and took photos with models dressed as naughty nurses. Lucky bastards.

It is though a most impressive hotel full of perfect looking people and for an overweight ugly sod like me it was quite intimidating. One last thing about the restaurant. While the steak and the company were so wonderful it was spoiled slightly by the people at the tables next to us.
On one side there was a short arse guy in a loud shirt with a huge logo on it. He spent the night talking loudly in his cell phone trying to impress the rest of us that he was top of the world. Then he continued talking even louder to his table mates as though he was Joe Pesci, swearing every other word. He definitely had short man syndrome and although he was obviously rich judging by the huge gold Rolex on his arm he was probably pissed off because he had banged his head on a coffee table.

But he wasn’t as annoying as the woman on the table behind us who was sitting with a man and was speaking to him as though he was sitting in the sodding parking lot. “Oh my God, that’s totally awesome” she thundered. The man she was with was well to do and again his watch and expensive suit showed he had money in the bank. But this woman, well I doubt she had seen carpet before and as she screamed and heckled like a demented witch and judging by the way she was kissing and groping the guy it was obvious to me that the only reason she was wearing knickers was to keep her ankles warm.


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. Colleen says:

    I love the idea of having dinner on our balcony. I think Princess already does this?? Anyway, if you think it might be possible, we’d be very interested for our Freedom cruise on January 22nd..

  2. TAC says:

    It sounds like the beards have done a great job with the new loyalty program. I only have 12 days on Carnival ships, but look forward to many more. I think that some guests will still not be happy, unless you make them captain of the ship. Extra perks are great, but the number of days or cruises does not make you a better person than someone else. My gold sail & sign card is just a card and I am not a better person then I was when I had a blue one. Hope to be making my next reservation with Carnival soon.

  3. Marius says:

    LOL at John you make ma laugh every time I read your profile. I fell you about I-95 it is one of the deadliest highways in the US so take your time and stay safe.

    Catherine Redfield are you for real? We are also Platinum and will have at least 20 cabins next year (had 13 last year) should everyone in our group/family be allowed to board VIP because 5 of us are Platinum? I think not. Should every Platinum guest receive a free dinner at the steak house? nope (I take my family to the steak house every time we cruise and never even thought about asking for a free dinner).

    Brandon Langer, ok now I have to ask for real twice? Did you ever hear about something called liability? If the Ship DR would have taken the cast off in the middle of the Ocean and the injury was not healed properly, now you have to be airlifted from the ship by CG or the ship has to turn around to the next port to give you medical attention. In that case you have been quickly calling the first lawyer available to sue CCL for negligence. The only way I could even see the ship DR. would even think (not) about taking your cast of it would be if you had a full set of MRI/XRAYS with you a certified/notarized letter from your DR indicating it was alright to remove the cast and your DR would take full responsibility for anything not going right and will be liable for any injury/pain caused to you, a notarized letter from you indicating that under any circumstances you would not even attempt to sue CCL and in case your injury was not healed properly when the cast was removed, you would swim all the way to the next port not requesting any assistance from CG or CCL. Come on people be real.

  4. elaine says:

    okay so does this mean you WILL be the CD on the Breeze when it sails from Miami in Nov 2012?

    and has the wonderful maitre’d Elvis left the Liberty? any chance of him being on The BREEZE. he was the best and well he helped make our cruise one of our (if not our) BEST ever

    please reply

    thanks and happy sailing till we meet on the cruise in November 2012

  5. Scott C says:


    I am a Platinum Cruiser. In June of 2012 several of family members will be sailing on the Breeze (second cruise on the new ship and looking forward to you being our CD). Our booking numbers is 487FZ2, 494FZ2, and 426GC1. We have 3 balcony cabins booked and really looking forward to the trip. I was distressed to learn that while I will be afforded VIP check in the other 2 couple (all past guest just have not hit the magic 10 yet) will be forced to process in either without us or we will have to forego the VIP treatment if we all want to remain together during the check in process. Normally this would not be such an issue, but considering we will be in a foreign country and such a large ship it would making getting separated an issue.

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      While you will be in a “foreign country”….once you get inside that terminal (you will all be entering at the same time)…..you will be dealing with English speaking individuals just like on the ship.

      The Embarkation terminal is just an extension of the ship….(since your ship is going to be in foreign waters) are you going to stay with your party CONSTANTLY on the ship the entire cruise???

      I don’t think so.

      You earned it… THEY DID NOT….

      You will be in the same building (and it if is like most terminals….) with in sight of one another….

      yes the ship is big….just sit at the Atrium bar until they walk on the ship…

      problem solved.

      • elaine says:

        OR you can always check in with the rest of the family so you all check in together…
        problem solved?

      • gharkness says:

        Other option is for the non-platinum cruisers to get a suite.

        Problem solved again…

      • Trey Lewis says:

        Another option would be to put everyone traveling with you under your booking, and have all of their on-board charges posted to your account. Then they all could check in with you, from what I understand. Don’t let something like this complicate what is going to be the trip of a lifetime!

      • Vivienne says:

        What on earth is wrong with these “Platinum” cruisers?? Thank goodness they are in the monority, ’cause I’d not like to be tarred with the same brush. Good for you Linda.

    • Tx Lady Di says:

      Like Linda said, just pick a meeting place on board.
      If being separated from the group is such a problem, you can board with them for this sailing. Surely it would make them feel more comfortable.

    • Ayr Poucher says:

      Having just utilized the Embarkation facility in Barcelona when I boarded the Transatlantic on the Magic last week I have some great news for you!
      Having VIP access will not be an issue as everyone waits in the same line until the security checkpoint. We are platinum cruisers and we met some folks who were in line with us and they got on the ship at the same time. We were at the ship at 11:30am and the process went quicker than in any other port I have ever been in. Even Tampa or Port Canaveral has longer waits. We were all on the ship at the same time and walked on together. There are about 700 Platinum and 75 Milestoners 😉 on this cruise. We boarded in about 15 minutes!!! Have a great cruise and rest assured you will all have a great time on the Breeze!!!!

  6. elaine says:

    OOPS I forgot to ask will 8 time cruises be getting into the loyalty program? I hope so. all our cruises ectept 2 have been at least 7 days and 6 7 days should get at least what 10 3-4 cruisers days get… IMO

    thanks again John

    • elaine says:

      oops again meant to type except…

    • elaine says:

      well it seems I messed that question up so badly I am reasking it

      will 8 time cruises be getting into the loyalty program? I hope so. all our cruises except 2 have been at least 7 days plus 2 of them 8 days and 2 of them 4 days. I would think that not just us but all carnival loyal guests shold get what 10 X 3-4 day cruisers get… IMO

      I have a back injury and this ling snake line is very hard on me. that is the only reason I ask. YOU see I have met some of the nicest people while in line so no compaints there. NOT to mention the lines go pretty darn fast for how many people they have to check in

      thanks again John

      • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

        John has posted that the new system will be based on Sea Days.

        Platinum will start at 75 Sea Days…


        • Rick Williamson says:

          Linda’s right it’s 75 days total for VIFP. You are about 50 if I add your numbers up right. It is hard to tell. But if you get the 2 cruises in by the end of 2013 I think that’s the cut off date to get your 10th cruise in. IF you have 8 now no matter the number of days you have.

  7. Wanda D May says:

    John, my husband and I are scheduled to go on our 2nd cruise on December the 11th. I am excited to learn more about the loyalty program as Carnival gives everyone more information. I am not worried about what changes are in store for the program because I feel that Carnival has always taken well care of its cruisers and I know this will continue. I found your blog recently and I check several times a day to see what you are doing and what you have to say. I cannot wait to eventually be capable of sailing on the same ship as you. My husband and I have stated that we will be taking a Carnival Cruise at least once a year if we can help it. Keep up the awesome job you do and know that I keep you and your family in my prayers daily.

  8. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Catherine Redfield:

    VIP are for guests who have EARNED IT!!!

    If everyone who is VIP brought their entourage, it would not longer be VIP.

    Our entire family of four are MILESTONE and we when sailed with my husband’s parents (who were not Platinum) out of Mobile…we went through VIP and they went through the regular system.

    NOW they are Platinum as well…..but until THEY EARNED IT, I would have never dreamed of demonstrating such an “entitlement” mentality.


    • Scott Crisp says:


      Traveling with older family members who have not “earned” VIP status makes it difficult for them. I can only suggest that if a person has VIP status and is traveling with others who have not reached that level yet they should opt to process in with family to avoid the confussion that often comes with being seperated, esp for the older traveling members of the group.

      • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

        My In Laws are 75 and 80, so I know all about traveling with older family members.

        And they did not do VIP until they EARNED IT.

        NOW if someone is handicapped, they get VIP automatically.

        But to board VIP just because someone else is VIP is not how the program works.

  9. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    I promise not to ask one question about the loyalty program.

    It will come when it comes and if you say it is worth the wait….then I will take your word on it.

    I am just thrilled that our oldest son is now Milestone … which means we are Carnival’s Milestone FAMILY!!!

    And with our sailing on the Magic on Nov 14th…. DJ gets to complete the fleet…having sailed on every ship starting with the Tropicale.

    Not bad for a 20 year old!!!

    We look forward to welcoming the Magic on Sunday morning as she sails in.

    We are staying at Harbour House and plan to be awake at 6AM (or however early it takes) to watch her sail in!!!

    We are arriving on Saturday…to make sure that we are there when she sails in.

    A good time will be had by all….

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  10. Debbie Sturgeon says:

    Thanks for the great update. I am super happy that you said the people “close” will not be left out. I currently have 9 cruises under my belt and have my 10th booked (along with talking my husbands entire family to book with us) and am getting ready to book my 11th in a couple of weeks. I have been stressing because my 10th will not be until May 27th and I didn’t want to miss out on any perks. I truly hope we get preferred check in since I’ve been waiting years to get to this point. I want my husbands family to really enjoy their cruise since none of them have ever cruised Carnival before. We’re trying to get them to start cruising with us. What do you suggest I do with them to make it really special? His dad is 81 and his mom is 74 and I am really excited to show off the Liberty to them next year!! Two of his sisters and brothers in law will be with us too. We are doing Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas on July 28th. Do you have any suggestions?

    By the way, thanks for you’re great blog! I can’t wait each day to see what you’re going to have on here 🙂

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      It would be a little more difficult, but in order to grandfather in people who are close….

      all Carnival would have to do is put the number of days on your account that would be equal to 9/10 of the required Platinum cruises.

      For Example…if it takes 75 days to become Platinum and someone only has 27 days (because they took 9 cruises of 3 days each)…

      they would be grandfathered in at 68 days…

      this would mean they would only need one more 7 day cruise to become Platinum.

      They would not automatically become Platinum but it would still only be ONE cruise away.

      • elaine says:

        Linda, is this some sort of “NEW MATH”? 9 X 3 (days) = 27 (days) as you stated but how do you add 7 (days) to that to get 75 (days)?

        sorry I’m confused. NOT being rude just confused

        • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

          That is why I said Carnival probably won’t do it that way because unless you majored in math…it can be confusing to understand.

          What I am proposing is that anyone that is CLOSE to Platinum ( like 9 cruises) should be grandfathered in by using a “Percentage to Total Ratio”.

          The NEW Platinum will be 75 days. That is MORE than 10 cruises (even at 7 days per cruise).

          So if someone has 9 (3 day) cruises, that is only 27 days. They will be instantly have Platinum snatched away from them even though they are only ONE cruise away.

          They will go from being only 1 cruise away (of any length under the old system) to needing 48 days at sea. (which are almost 7 cruises of 7 days in length)

          This is what those who are 1 cruise away are afraid of.

          They are so close now (because the length of the cruise does not matter…just the number of cruises) …. but they will be FAR FAR away under the new program.

          • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

            oops..that should have read

            “They will instantly have”

          • elaine says:

            so if Inunderstand correctly… if I have sailed 7 times and am booked on 8th and all but one were 7-8 days I would now (after the booked one) still need 3 more instead of 2 more. and yes I ynderstand that YOU are a math major and secailize in NEW MATH at makes someone with only 27 days (9 cruises at 3 days each) worthy of passing someone with 7-8 cruises at 7-8 days each. NOW with all honesty does this seem fair? if it goes to sea days for one than it should be for all. I say NO WAY! I as many others paid my dues and I shouldn’t be kicked backwards so that someone who sailed less can apss me up

            however if you has sailed at least 6+ times I feel that Carnival should keep the loyalty program for those the way they promised it back when they became cruisers with Carnival.

            make the new program for the newbies… not those of use who have BEEN LOYAL!

    • LoriB says:

      I agree with you, Elaine! I have had my eye on becoming platinum but now it is moving further away. I haven’t been able to cruise as frequently as I would like between my going to college, working, raising my family, etc, but I have 7 cruises since 1991. #8 will happen in 2012 as will #9 likely. I expected to be platinum in early 2013. Like you, I have been loyal and would like to reap the rewards of that when I expected to. I’m not going to flip out but I think it is only fair.

      • elaine says:

        I thank you for agreeing with me and putting your agreement it writing for the powers that be to read. if the people (beards) in charge care about those of us who have been loyal they will keep those of us in this phase of the program where we are are just give is the status we have strived for and that we started in and have been loyal to

        again THANKS,

  11. ELLIOTT says:

    Hola John:

    From the Carnival Splendor in Puerto Vallarta. Do hope that the Beards have looked at our Sistor PRINCESS Cruise Line to get some insite on the Passanger Loyalty program. PRINCESS has the BEST loyalty program in the bussines bar none, Do hope that Carnival will match them… Best regards, Elliott

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      In order to do that, Carnival would have to match Princess PRICES…and I certainly do not want that to happen.

      The current Carnival Platinum perks are consistant with the COST of a Carnival cruise!!

  12. Carlos Seaholm says:

    Hi John,

    Just wanted to say how exciting the new loyalty program is to look forward too. My Partner Roger and I have sailed many times and are big advocates for you and the entire Carnival fleet! Each time we cruise, we have had friends, family travel with us. We already have the next 2 cruises booked, a short 3 day out of Long Beach on the Paradise for Roger’s 50th Birthday, which when we asked him what he wanted for his birthday….without hesitation he answered to be on a Carnival Ship! (again it didn’t take much convincing to get very good friends and family to travel along with us to celebrate his day.)

    In February we board the Dream, with his Sister and husband and a few friends! All I can say is thank you in advance for everything you do. Carnival is just not a vacation, but to us, a good place to celebrate milestones with the people that mean the most to us.

    So if you wouldn’t mind giving a shout out to Roger (We think he is one of your biggest fans, not only you personally, but the entire Carnival way of life.) He believes in you guys and talks Carnival relentlessly! It starts with his phonecalls to Gilbert his PVP at Carnival. He always goes above and beyond and Roger thinks of him as a friend.

    Thanks for everything!

    Booking#424KRB Room V15


    Carlos Seaholm

  13. Jeanette says:

    I will stay loyal to CARnival, but it wiould be nice if you (aka John) could be the CD for at least one of the cruises…..you were going to, but life/work had other plans and I am SOL for the Magic cruise…..*sigh*…..

    Hey, why not give me a free cruise..*LOL*

  14. Waiting4acruise says:

    You were incorrect in the information that you gave to the U S Coast Guard flight mechanic. I am currently on the 10/30/11 Carnival Conquest cruise.It is NOT carrying a CBS station. I am very disappointed in this as I will be missing the #1 LSu v #2 Alabama football game om Saturday November 5. I am also upset with Carnival as I asked you on Facebook a week before the cruise if Carnival would be carrying a CBS station. You replied and said Carnival would have a CBS channel on the cruise. I do not fault you John. I blame the beard that purposely gave you the wrong information. It was explained to me by Conquest Guest Services that Carnival would not be carrying a CBS station because of a contract dispute. And this dispute has been ongoing for quite awhile.

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      This was a huge complaint by Saints fans on our cruise last week and to be honest…I do not understand.

      IF these games are so important, DO NOT CRUISE ON THE DAY THEY ARE BEING PLAYED!

      All you would have to do is cruise from Monday to Saturday to be back in the US to watch a Saturday or Sunday game.

      But don’t book a cruise that sails on the day “the game” is on and then complain because you can’t watch it.

      That is ridiculous!!

      Poor planning on your part does not constitute any concessions on Carnival’s part.

      Just like ports, TV shows are NOT guaranteed.


      • Waiting4cruise says:

        Excuse me. What I like to do on my downtime on a cruise is my business. If Carnival had no tv at all no problem My Last 11 Carnival cruises they had a TV AND a CBS station. When I asked if there would be a CBS station on the Cruise and was told there would be one when Carnival knew thre would not be one, THAT is a problem.

        • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

          You are certainly excused for not having the common sense to know that just like ports…

          TV stations are not guaranteed.

          • elaine says:

            Linda … you need to understand that when a person asks a direct question of any ship line they expect the answer to be a truthful honest one. if the person answering the phone doesn’t know the answer all he or she needs to do is either ask if anyone else knows or just say I DON’T KNOW.. Dont just make up an answer that you think the guest wants to hear. that never goes well… NEVER!!!!

    • Christina says:

      Actually, I think what John said to you was that if the game were carried on a network station, and the ship that you were going on had that station, then it would probably be played in the sports bar or at worst you could get it in your room. But he also stated that some ships due to location do not pick up all stations.

  15. Odalis says:

    Money you can make
    Culture you can learn
    But class is in your genetic make up
    you either have it or you don’t

  16. Bill and Bunny says:

    RE: “Parrot Head”

    John. On behalf of the millions of Parrot Heads (Jimmy Buffett faithful) and not knowing what the ungrateful arse said, ignor him. You and the entire Carnival staff (land and sea) are the best.

    Bill and Bunny

    President and CFO (Chief Fun Officer) of the CCL Funnel Heads.

  17. Sara P says:

    John is James going to continue his walking club once in Texas? I’m on the Dec 4 sailing and would enjoy joining him.

    Thanks for all you do!

  18. Rebecca Rebrook says:

    @ Amber

    If your husband is a huge OSU fan…well, I can’t imagine that he just found out that THE GAME is the 26th. It’s *always* been the last game of the regular season. Or at least since 1935. Usually, the last regular game is the last saturday of November. Frankly I’m shocked that you got him to agree to missing it for a cruise- that’s not something us Buckeyes do:-)

  19. Barb says:

    Great bloggy thingy again John. All I have to say is I’m gllad I don’t drink coffee …. saves me money and having to deal with overly pushy people. We don’t even have a starbucks here, but we do have a chain of donut/coffee shops here from Canada that is called Tim Hortons whom I am told has very good coffee. But, the best coffee to be had is at McDonalds. I know this because my friend used to work there as a teenager and even though she is in her 40’s now will still get McDonalds coffee over Tim Hortons. If you are ever up this way, stop by and have a cup. It sure will be cheaper than Starbucks. And we LOVE Mr. Radu’s pictures!

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      LOVE McDonald’s coffee….

      my niece started working there as a teenager to earn enough money to buy her class ring.

      and now she owns 33 McDonalds with some 800 employees!!

  20. Luis R says:

    To Brandon Langer,

    I seriously doubt that the doctor onboard is an orthopaedist which is the one that can make a decision like taking off the cast from your arm. Did you carry your medical record from that accident and the X-rays taken during your healing process? If you didn’t then the doctor did the right thing. With so many frivolous malpractice lawsuits in recent years, taking off the cast from your arm would be too high of a liability to the doctor and to Carnival if you are injured during the trip due to premature removal of your cast. Also you would need to get X-rays taken onboard before the doctor can make a decision, something which the ship is not necessarily equipped to do. And then if your bones are not completely healed you would probably need to get your arm in a cast again for some more time. Is the ship medical center personnel qualified to do this job? Is it even equipped for this? And then there is the part of paying for those services which would most likely put a dent in your S&S account. You won’t be able to use your medical plan onboard.

  21. barbaralyle says:

    John, the TA is great!!! We are hoping you can make it to Freeport. John as for the New Loyalty program I am glad it is being revamped to reward those of us who have sailed on many cruises and many Days. Thanks so much. As for platinum boarding, I was told that if all accts would be on my sail and sign then we could board together. So I am putting my parents on my sign and sail so they can board with us. If this policy has changed please let me know!!!
    We get off the Magic and then sail the Triumph for my parents 65th anniversary!!! We are loving our first TA and hope to sail the Breeze next year too! Hope all is well with you family!!!

  22. BigDogCruiser says:

    Let’s hope Rob runs Carnival’s Loyalty program better than the airline program. I quit my airline programs when they did away with free upgrade seating and never had available seats for using frequent flyer miles. I am no longer loyal to any airline. I hope I can maintain my loyalty to Carnival.

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Delta still gives free upgrades based on loyalty. Hubby gets upgraded to First Class all the time.

      We have never had a problem using our points on Delta. In fact, we just bought 5 round trip tickets to San Diego for our family for our Hawaiian cruise…and they were not only available but very reasonable.

      This is a perk I would LOVE to see Carnival add.

      It costs NO money and would free up less expensive cabins that may be able to be sold at the last minute.

      Linda (Mom of DJ)

  23. Sue D. says:

    Hi John,
    I love your blog thingy, look for it each and eveery day. As for the negative nuckle heads they just need to get a LIFE. Life is too short to be complaining about every little thing that don’t do THEIR way.

    A big THANK YOU for all you and Carnival do!!

  24. neil says:

    Hello, does anyone know when The Carnival Spirit will be entering dry dock and what new features it will be getting?

    • George Mckay says:

      Neil, Spirit is going in for a January overhaul. They are adding Serenity and refreshing some areas and swapping out the European outlets for Aussie ones (for when it goes down under).

      We are looking forward to the changes because we have heard Spirit was looking a little ragged and the lack of Serenity is a negative. We loved it on Dream and we have a 15 day to Hawaii in April on her. Hope this was some help to you.

      • Rick Williamson says:

        George, think about it…..She is in Alaska from early May till late Sept. each year. The outside temp. would be 50F or less. You don’t need a place just for adults. They are all inside staying warm! I was on her on May 10th 2011 and there were maybe 10 of us outside when cruising up the fiord.

  25. Jeff Sippola says:


    How soon is too soon to book the chefs table?  We are on the Dream 5/5/2012.  Our cabin # is 7461.

    We decided to up the ante a bit and try this instead ( or maybe along with) the supper club.

    Thanks for your help.

    Jeff Sippola

  26. Valerie says:

    Live from the Carnival Magic. In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Drinking our carryon Champagne and veggies from Room Service. With DH of 49years of yesterday. Life does not get any better than this for two 70year olds. John this ship is wonderful, thought the Dream was great this is better. James is doing a good job. Cabin steward and waiters are wonderful. Ken is even better and Alina delightful.what more can be said. Keep up the good work.

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


      we look forward to welcoming you home in Galveston has the Magic sails in.

      Hope the rest of the cruise is just as perfect as it is right now!!

  27. grizel robertson says:

    Linda, (Mom of DJ)
    Whilst I agree with many of your comments, have met you on BC4, I believe you are adhering to a double standards attitude on this Blog.
    Bully for you that you, your husband & DJ have acheived Milestone status on Carnival. I could have acheived the same status some years ago but Platinum status did not exist when I completed my 10th cruise in 1998 when JH was my CD.
    Thereafter, I missed 7 years cruising from 2001 to 2008 because of financial problems resulting from the breakdown of a marriage that took place in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas in 2004 & ended up going through the UK courts in late 2007.
    Linda, I thought better of you, but I now believe you are a Cruise Snob & you have no idea about the costs I have incurred, as a UK resident, to acheive a status that has cost me much more in travel time than your immediate family & all of the US fraternity.
    You can embark on 3-4 cruises anually because you sit into a neat category of Carinval easy access – Do you Honestly believe I can persuade anybody to sign up to this. You must be joking.

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      I have no clue what you are talking about????

      You posted:

      (and I quote)

      “I could have acheived the same status some years ago but Platinum status did not exist when I completed my 10th cruise in 1998 when JH was my CD.”

      I do not understand your statement….

      IF you have 10 cruises, than you are Platinum. period

      It does not matter WHEN you cruised.

      Our entire family was Platinum before the program came out.

      Sorry I can’t comment further on a post that so full of crap.

      Personally, I don’t care what you think of me, when you can not even compose a post that makes sense.

      If that makes me a snob…so be it!!

      I have been called FAR WORSE….

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Just for the record….

      I know several AMERICAN cruisers who have spent more on their 3 day cruise than you did for your cruise and airfare,

      because they only book the OWNER’S SUITE that costs $500 per person per day….plus they gamble heavily, use the spa, do the Chef’s Table and eat in the Supper Club every night.

      Carnival makes a friggin’ forture off of them.

      And to top it all off, they bring their entire office staff on a cruise every year.

      SO IF your weird post was about the FACT that some people spend as much on a 3 day cruise as you do on a 7 day….

      sorry…those are just the FACTS!

      • Rick Williamson says:

        Linda, I understand where he is coming from. Yes you can spend as much or more on a 3 day as on a 7 day. But to people like me that sounds stupid to do. I look at it as the longer away from the job the better. I feel just to run the numbers up by just going on 3 dayers all the time isn’t fair to those of us that love 7 days. What you and Carnival should look at. And I think Carnival has been looking at this and why they are changing it is…. your basic cost to get on a 3 dayer is alot less then my 7 dayer. But we then both have 1 cruise creit in the bank. 30 days is all you would have using 3 day cruises. I have 70 days after 10 7 day cruises. As far as some that get a chance to use the owners cabin is rare. Most poeple on a Carnival cruise don’t even know that there is an owners cabin on one class of ships. And that the odds are next to zero to get it or even to be ask if you would like to up grade to it. I would say most people that are even ask wouldn’t have that kind of money to put down on a 3,4 or 5 day cruise. 75 days till you become a VIFP is the best and fair way to do it.

    • @Grizel. I think you owe Linda an apology. She would help anybody that needed help when it comes to cruising or anything else. . I think I hear a lot of jealousy in the tone of your message. Sorry you ended up divorced, but then so have a lot us, Linda and myself included. So pull yourself up by the bootstraps and quit feeling sorry for yourself.

  28. vicki ryder says:

    I also hate driving in MIA – Orlando is bad enough.
    We are sailing on the Miracle Dec 4 and Dec 10 is my birthday – feel bad askng but everybody else does, could you please send a small gift ? Cabin 7303===thanks

  29. Susan A says:

    John, Greetings from the Magic somewhere in the Atlantic (not sure exactly as the GPS map isn’t operating at this time). Having a wonderful time!!!! The entertainment for the cruise has probably been the best we’ve seen in our 30 cruises. We received your gift of strawberries, That was very nice of you…thank you. Also, thank you for your help in getting our group together at dinner seating. The food and wait staff are top notch.
    Even though James is doing a great job, we hope that you poop over to Freeport to say Hi. Sue

  30. Judy Charbonneau says:

    Hi John; Loving the Carnival Magic!! Hope to see you in Freeport.
    Start planning now – more Arts and Crafts for the Carnival Breeze – they have run out of kits for the projects and we have lots more days at sea!!


    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Judy…are y’all staying on for the Inaugural??

      (please say yes please say yes please say yes)

      Linda (Mom of DJ)

  31. T. Fletcher says:

    John, I am sailing on my fourth cruise with Carnival in March and I must say that it didn’t matter if I were Platinum, VIP or had gold in the seat of my pants, the crew of the ship always treated me as a special guest and made my stay aboard their home a fantastic journey. People need to get over how important they think they are. Hope to see you on Magic in March.

  32. Duane Biller says:

    I am sitting in Baltimore waiting to go on my 21 Carnival Cruise and I just heard about the possible changes to the loyalty program. I am planning my next few cruises to get me to the next level of 25 and I understand that may change. I have 2 5 day cruises and the rest are all 7 and 8 day cruises. I’m not sure why any change is needed and how will any changes that may be planned effect me.

  33. Charles and Renate Burks says:

    Hi John, I’m ex USCG,I love the water and love being on the Sea’s. My Wife and I first meet you in 1999.Our very first cruise,out of NY.We have been cruising every year. We just came from the Carnival Freedom.My wife and I are Platinum Guest. We already Looking at the Carnival Valor.We only travel Carnival Cruise Line,They are the Fun Ship’s.Your cruise on the Carnival Freedom was Great Guy, had lots of FUN,even with a hurricane last week.We love all the Staff and Crew on Carnival Cruise Line.
    Thank You John and Carnival Cruise Line.

  34. Mike Ballash says:

    Hi John,
    My wife Laurie and I just got off the Dream, our 12th Carnival cruise and booked our 13th for my 60th birthday in Feb. We will be on the Destiny from Feb 16th through Feb 20th with all four of our sons, our daughter in law and all four of our grand children. Our eldest grandson will also be celebrating his 13th birthday on the last night of the cruise. Anyway, thanks for keeping us posted as to the changes in the loyalty program and the changes in the platinum gifts. We appreciate all you do.
    Mike Ballash

  35. Jan (Wil) Wielgosz says:

    I am booked on my 7th Carnival Cruise since the fall of 2007 and have a comment in regards to loyalty. More weight, no pun intended, should be put on the amount of cruises in a period of time. I believe I am a more loyal cruiser since I have been on 7 cruises in 4 years as opposed to 7 cruises over 10-15 years as some guests. Just a thought. Keep up the good work.

  36. Terri says:

    Hi John,
    My husband and I have sailed with carnival 4 times in the past 4 years (3 different ships, all to the Mexican Riveria). We were on the Spirit this last time. I would like to thank the staff on the spirit as they were all so nice, especially our dining room waiter (Vicente) our room steward (Totok) and our bar waiter (yoga). That being said here are my concerns. The ships director was okay, and the shows were just okay. The ships “things to do” were the same as All the other cruises and the buffet food was not so good. Is there any chance carnival will look at these concerns and try and make them better? Also is it possible for the 7 day on the splendor to add a different port, rather than go into Cabo twice in one sailing? We had you as a director last year and those shoes will be hard to fill as you were awesome. Thank you so much!

  37. Jessica Sasser says:

    Hi John,

    I can relate to your frustrations with service that you discussed above. I have recently found myself very frustrated with Carnival.

    I booked a cruise with you in May for a cruise that took place this past week on the Carnival Valor ship Oct 30th to Nov 6th.

    A week ago here in the Northeast, we live in CT, a major winter storm hit our state leaving 830,000 residents out of power and crippling the state, the Governor Dannel Malloy and President Obama declared our state a disaster area and FEMA agents were dispatched to our state. Our flight to Miami Sunday morning was cancelled and we were not able to meet the ship in time. When I called Carnival about what our options were I was very surprised and angry that all they could offer was for us to meet the ship some time this week at one of the ports. This was not really an option for us because the airport we fly out of was out of power and running on generators for 4 days following the storm and operating at only 60% capacity. Neither the airport or Delta could confirm that any future flight I booked would not be cancelled of delayed. Delta has fulled refunded us for our flight and was very understanding of our situation.

    I completely understand the Carnival policy and that without purchasing trip insurance their policy is sorry but there isn’t anything we can do for you. I understand that it was my choice to not purchase that trip insurance. But I find it very disturbing that in a situation that we were in, Carnival in no way could offer any assistance to help credit our trip to a future time period. I in no way want my money back, all we would’ve liked is to be able to book a future trip. I understand in doing so Carnival loses money on the room that we booked, but it would’ve been nice for them to step up their customer service and understand we were in a situation beyond our control and show a little sympathy. I did not believe that the loss of $1,000 we paid for the room would hurt the billion dollar cruise line industry that thrives on repeat customers.

    I would have liked to contact you about this sooner but power was only restored to my neighborhood lastnight. I’m greatly disappointed in the customer service and willingness from Carnival to help stranded customers that have little options in the freak event that happened here in the Northeast. We come from a household of a high amount of disposable income that we enjoy spending on travelling, this was going to be our first cruise that we had hoped would lead to many more. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like that will be the case.


    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      If you drove a Ford and a major storm caused a tree to fall on our car,

      would you expect FORD MOTOR COMPANY to replace it for free?

      You made the choice to self-insure.

      Carnival should not be financially responsible for your decision to save some money.

      • elaine says:

        sorry Linda but that is far from the same thing… especially if the air was booked along with the cruise by carnival!!!!!

    • Brian says:

      Hi Jessica!

      I really appreciate and understand what you went through last week. We live in the woods in upper Westchester county, and we only got power back two days ago. Until then, it was a tiny Honda generator and flushing toilets with five gallon paint buckets.

      As a long-time Carnival cruiser, I also understand your frustration at missing your first cruise. I’ve cruised on four different lines, and love them all, but Carnival provides the best value, and frankly, the most fun on board. I bet you really wish you were in the Caribbean rather than watching the snow melt in the Northeast.

      But it really isn’t fair to Carnival to expect them to take care of you regardless of the circumstances. Delta refunded your money because they couldn’t offer the service you’d paid for. But the ship in Miami was conmpletely staffed, provisioned, and ready for you to board. It really is your responsibility to get there.

      There are many fine providers of trip insurance, with protection (and costs) varying from bare bones to complete refund for any reason. If you choose to self-insure (which is what we always do), you will save a few hundred bucks that over time and several cruises, will save enough for a free cruise.

      Carnival isn’t the most elegant line in the world, but they provide a fun experience at a very affordable cost. To keep those costs affordable, they provide some customer service benefits when the problem is caused by, or even related to, the service they offer. They don’t give away the store, but over time they have treated their customers very fairly.

      I hope this experience doesn’t sour you on cruising or on Carnival. You self-insured, and hit the green 00 on the first spin, but next time everything will go well and you’ll have a great time. And I really hope that someday we’ll meet on the Lido deck.

      • elaine says:

        well if you booked the air along with the cruise as a package deal then carnival should be responsible for a refund… if booked air yourself well that is the chance you decided to take and I feel bad for you but that was one bad roll of the dice… hope your next cruise is a better experience. BTW hubby and I always arrive in the port city the day before just incase there is a problem and in your cae not sure if the storm hit the day of the cruise but with some travel insurance you can even book it the day before the cruise so you could have upped for that and well only been out a small amount vs the whole cruise. again I hope your next cruise experience is better

  38. Nita Lutjens says:

    We will be cruising on th Magic the week of Dec. 4 thru the 11th. Some friends of ours are cruising with us and this is their Honeymoon/Anniversary cruise. They never went on a honeymoon after getting married 24 years ago. I am hoping they have a great time. How do I go about this being on morning show where you call in from your room phone? Please let me know if you can as we want this to surprise them
    thanks so much,

  39. Bill Heck says:

    Hello John:

    I felt pretty good about the new Carnival Loyalty program until you said the fellow in charge worked for the airlines. Oh crap.

    Have you ever sat through the list of precious metals and stones as the airline “allows” their “loyal” customers to board the aircraft? I have been gold, platinum, ruby, sapphire, but I just want to get onboard, get where I am going, and don’t care much about when I get on, I have a reserved seat. The upgrades to business class were ok though.

    Just think, boarding our next cruise we may hear, “ok all you diamond card holders, you may head for the gangway now, and get ready triple gold, you are next”.

    And once you are onboard, all of you ruby card holders, well you get to sit in the front row of the theater, unless of course a double sapphire with a gold kicker sat there first.

    I get a kick out of the folks on Holland America that complain that they have 1,000 days, and they don’t get any more than someone with 700 days. Waaah.

    So, keep it simple, reward loyalty, but lets not get so wrapped up in dicing us up into little compartments just because you have a super computer that can do it.

    I believe that Carnival was pretty smart when it set up the current program to reward the folks that could sail on the short little cruises and get them a few nice perks when they hit 10 cruises. Lots of people would scheme how to take just a few extra cruises to get that brass ring, and have free laundry on the that next 7 or 12 day cruise. I wonder how many extra cruises Carnival sold?

    Radu’s photos are on sale on deck 3, we picked up some beauties that will be on our walls at home to remind us of the beautiful places Carnival has taken us the past 21 days.


    Your Friend

    Bill Heck

  40. Andrew Dubin says:

    Hi John,

    Now you know how I felt when Carnival told me I would not be billed for my computer time when I could not log on in the ships computer lab but has so far refused to refund me the money when the man at guest relations told me they would. I guess turn around is fair play.

  41. Rich and Patty says:

    My sister and several of her friends just got back from a five-day Royal Caribbean cruise to Bermuda. When she called from Baltimore, the first words out of my mouth were, “Okay, Carnival or Royal?” Her response: “Carnival, without question!” When she got home she told me of the balcony cabin that she shared with three others. I saw pictures: ssssooooo small!

    She said the food wasn’t very good at all. On the last night she ordered scallops and risiotto. She said she got a tablespoon of risiotto and one scallop cut in half to resemble two scallops. She said that was par for the course.

    Just thought you would like to know.

  42. Laurie says:

    Hope all is well with everyone out there. Can’t wait to go on our cruise in April on the Inspiration. We will be celebrating our Grandson’s 1st birthday. We are starting him off early as you can see. I had left you a message a while back but then we lost our computer for quite sometime. When we were on the Pride, we did not get a postcard. Anyway that we can get a card from somewhere/someone? We have them for all the ships we have been on. Carnival is our only cruise line. Forget all the negative and go with all the positive.

  43. Veronica Hernandez says:

    Hello John,

    I am currently aboard the Carnival Magic and we have just arrived at Freeport. The last 6 days have been a long travel along the Atlantic Ocean but James and the rest of the entertainment staff have made it nothing but enjoyable.I could not stop laughing about your adventures in Miami, as I live in Miami and that is our everyday life, thankfully I have avoided the traffic for 16 days.

    I can’t wait to see you aboard the Carnival Magic as it was a great surpirse to hear the news. This trip has been amazing and words can’t desicribe all we have seen and the fun we have had aboard the Cranival Magic. The ship is beautiful, food excelent and staff marvelous, another great job to Carnival. Aboard the Magic, my parents and I purchased the inaguaral cruise for the Carnival Breeze and we are beyond excited to see what Carnival has in stored for us, I have high expectations and I hope to not be dissapointed, which I am sure I won’t.

    Another thing I am curious to know about is the Maroon 5 concert going to be presented at the arrival of the Carnival Magic, I am a huge Maroon 5 fan and would love to recieve any information on this concert I have been seeing about on FB. Will I have time to see them as I do have a flight for Miami at 5pm from Houstan.

    Hope to hear back from you, they just announced that the gangway is open so goodbye and see youi tonight.

  44. Bluenoserns says:

    Hi John: This is my first time on your blog and just want to say I love your rants and most of all information that you give about the different ships and programs.
    We are booked for our first cruise on the Liberty on the 14 of April 2012.
    Looking forward to it with great excitement and anticipation.

    • Lee says:

      first time reader and in a word must say “Hilarious”

      That said John – a question about the VIP Platinum status: Is access to the tender boats the same as VIP “check-in”? Meaning, if you have several family members in tow but only 2 are “VIPs” with express access to the tenders must the entire group wait to have their number called? Or, in the alternative, can tender boat numbers be obtained from the VIP desk in advance?

  45. Leonard Cole says:

    35 Carnival cruises or 250 sea days. I hope there is a good logo pin and perks for that amount. No one likes the present pin though I wear them proudly on my baseball cap and suit on formal nights. Because of that, guests ask me many-many questions about why I sail on Carnival so much, I feel like an ambassador of Carnival, but I like it!!

    • Rick Williamson says:

      200 days or more get all the same perks even if you have a 500 days. only 109 days to that level myself. Enjoy it.

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