February 1, 2012 -

John Heald

I love basketball but honestly I put baseball into the same category as synchronised swimming and find it as exciting as watching paint dry. But having been here in Philly the day after the team whose name I can’t remember won the baseball world championship and being around the restaurants here it seems that baseball is still the subject of mass conversation. The other thing that they talk about is the Philly cheese steak sandwich and who serves the best.

It seems that nothing short of their baseball team makes a Philadelphian more proud than a Philly cheese steak and being inquisitive and being fat and because I am staying in a hotel that is as manly as Calvyn’s underpants and serves hummus and drizzled peacock for dinner, I have taken it upon myself to try as many of these buggers as I can. Its guess it’s not a complicated thing to make. It’s a long stick of bread filled with slices of what my Mum would call beef brisket. You then add loads of cheese and if you don’t mind an arse like a chewed orange the next morning ……loads and loads and loads of onions.

Now it’s not the sandwich itself that people argue about but it is who serves the best. Indeed I asked this question on my Facebook page a few days ago and it caused much fervent discussion. The two names that kept coming up were Pat’s and Geno’s and so I went to both, purely for research purposes you understand.

I thought these two establishments would be…..well…….lavish and as trendy as the glowing blue toilet in my hotel room. Not! They are two very basic establishments that have been facing off against each other like two Wild West gunfighters since the 1960s. A local Phiilyperson told me that they stay open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to make sure that one doesn’t sell more calorie-bursting, greasy, and tasty sandwiches than the other. I felt that it was required, as my role Carnival’s Brand Ambassador, to be diplomatic and visit both. One of the people who run the Scenery First operation here in Philadelphia told me that I had to do the “Philly lean” which is where you try to position your body so it’s clear of any bits of beef, cheese or onions dripping on your shirt and that walking around with a cheese steak stain on your shirt was considered by the locals as taboo as walking around with your gentleman’s sausage hanging out.

So which one was best? Well considering both Pat and Geno’s may be owned by Irish and Italian …. ummmmm……“families”…….I have no intention of saying. I don’t want to wake up with a horse’s head in my bed and a cheese steak sandwich with extra onions shoved up my bottom. So I will say ……..they were both brilliant but I wonder if Guy Fieri could make an even better one?

Time for today’s Q and A……away we go.

Terri Kerr asked:

I heard that Kevin Fowler would be doing a theme cruise in August of 2012. Is this true?

John says:
Hello Terri Karr,

Yes he is mate. Click here for information on it.

Best wishes and yeeeeehhhhhaaaaaaaaaa!!!


John Byrd asked:

We have cruised with carnival once or twice in the past few years until we received the PLATINUM VIP level. We just got off of the Carnival Conquest Nov. 12. This was the worst ever of getting off of a ship. They told us at the guest service desk that we could leave bags outside of rooms and that we would get off early and with no problems. Well we were the second people to get off and then waited over an hour and a half to get bags. This is not the way I think Carnival would want the general public to know how they treat their VIP guest. We feel like that we should have been told we would have to stand and wait on bags if we did not carry them off with us. This may have been our last trip with Carnival. Nobody would put their bags out knowing they would have wait on them and stand in line and watch all of the ships passengers unload before you. I would like to know how you feel about this.


John says:
Hello John Byrd,

I am very sorry this happened, I really am. We do give very specific instructions on the TV and in writing that the self assist guests go first and then Platinum and VIP guests who have left their own luggage outside their cabins will leave after the self assist guests. I think there may have been some misunderstanding and that we need to make this far clearer than we did on the ship. I can only apologise for this and hope that you will look back at what fun you had and despite this last concern that we will see you again very soon.

Best wishes.


Luke Pizzaro asked:

I am not one of your cheerleaders nor will I ever be but I do need a favor from you as it seems the norm for people to beg. So under the premise if you can’t beat them join them can I have a gift for me and my wife. We sail on the Carnival Magic on 2.3.12 in cabin 7319. It’s our 12th wedding anniversary

John says:
Hello Luke Pizzaro,

I will be there with you on the ship as CD and I will be very happy to send you something to wish you a great cruise and a very happy anniversary.

Best wishes.


Sutile asked:

I’m cruising on the Carnival Miracle on Feb. 6 and would like to know who the comedians will be. We cruised on Fantasy last year and both comedians were the worst we have ever seen on our two cruises with you guys and we are hoping that this time the comedians will at least be funny. The comedians only talked about sex and used the F-bomb all the time. Who is it this time?

John says:
Hello Sutile,

I am very sorry to know you did not appreciate the comedians last time you sailed although I think I should point out that the shows you described were from the uncensored adult show that is well advertised as such. This time you have some great comedians including two of our very best in Eddie Capone and Percy Crews who will feature family and adult shows at the Punchliner comedy club. I hope you enjoy their shows and that you have a great cruise.

Best wishes.


Angie and Neil Thorla asked:

We recently completed our cruise on the Carnival Dream – number 16 with Carnival. After this many cruises, we did not expect to find anything to really impress us. We were wrong. CD Kirk and ACD Jaime were fantastic. Their morning show was better than Regis and Kelly, and we know how much you admire Regis! On many past cruises, the CD’s appeared to be reading from the same Carnival script. While Kirk basically followed the script, his delivery was natural and appeared unscripted. Kirk was probably not at the top of his game due to pain from a recent shoulder injury, but being the veteran he is, it did not show. (You need to pay closer attention to the captain’s daily safety message Kirk.)

We just can’t say enough about Jaime. If we were not aware that Kirk and Jaime operate as a team, we would be baffled as to why she still has the word “assistant” in her title. Jaime is one of the unique individuals like you, John, who derives great pleasure in helping others find enjoyment. We had three occasions to have brief conversations with her. While we’re sure that she had more pressing things to do, she made us feel as if talking with us was the most important item on her agenda. If you ever need an Assistant Brand Ambassador, Jaime is the perfect candidate.

We are a couple of old fogies who are skeptical of FB, so we do not know how to contact Kirk and Jaime. Would you please pass this on to them to let them know that their good work is recognized and appreciated?

Best regards,

Angie and Neil Thorla

John says:
Hello Angie and Neil Thorla,

What a brilliant post and thanks so much for taking the time to write. I know that Facebook is not for everyone which is why I think it’s vital that I keep lines of communication open here on the blog. Jamie and Kirk are brilliant and you described them perfectly and we know what a huge asset both are to Carnival. I will be passing on your thanks to them and also let the beards see this as well. I hope we see you again very soon.

Best wishes to you both.


Oladapo Ayodele asked:
Hi John,

I hope you are well. My name is Dapo. I’m a fourth year university student from Canada. I have a specific question for you. Before I ask, I will like to tell you a little bit of by situation. I am majoring in biological sciences at the University of Lightbridge. I will be writing the MCAT next summer as I intend to apply to medical school next summer. Starting in January, I intend to take a few months off school so I can work and study for my MCAT. I am thinking of applying to a Carnival Cruise Lines. Since I know you are the “king” player in this game. I would like to know what you think about this. I don’t know if working on a cruise ship is what will benefit me. You might be asking yourself why I am taking time off school. It’s because if I stay in school and graduate in May, I will have nothing to do until September 2013 when I get into med-school. I want to defer my graduation from May 2012 till May 2013. I want to be fresh for med-school if I get accepted in 2013. I would like to know what you think about this please. Secondly, I have not worked a lot in the hospitality field. I have worked various jobs during the summers. I have worked in positions ranging from housekeeping to construction to sales etc. If I decide to work on a cruise line, are there positions where I will have time (a few hours) a day to myself to study. Please let me know what you think. I need to make decisions as soon as possible.

Have a Good Day.

John says:
Hello Oladapo Ayodele,

I wanted to wish you much success in your continuing education and your career path. While we don’t offer an intern program I do encourage you to check our and see if there is anything there you can see yourself doing. I hope there is.

Best wishes.


Jen Reynolds asked:
Hi John,

My parents, three children and I just returned from cruising on the Carnival Victory to celebrate my daughter’s 16th birthday. This was what she wanted to do and where she wanted to go, having been on the same cruise in March 2010. For my parents, it was their first experience cruising, and I have to say, we had a fantastic time! Our wait staff and bar waitress in the Atlantic Dining room were phenomenal. My four-year old also cruised with us and the wait staff and hostesses treated her like a princess, which she loved! They made napkin bunnies, lobsters, and swans, and brought her extra French fries every night. The one night we didn’t go to dinner because she was very cranky, they commented on how much they missed us the next night. And if we saw them during the day at the buffet, they made her feel so special because they singled her out. So I want to acknowledge them publicly and ask that you tell the “higher ups” how wonderful they all were. Agapita, Panitan, and Sukhadin (I’m sure the spellings are all wrong, but they were from the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia, respectively). We sat at table 300 in the Atlantic Dining room for dinner. Our bar waitress, Natalya from Russia, was just as lovely and attentive, and she even put up with my dad’s long-winded stories. We had ordered a cake for my daughter’s sweet 16 and of course they delivered it and sang loudly to embarrass her, which we loved. I can only hope we are able to meet up with all of them again sometime soon because they provided such good customer service that I don’t think any place we go here in the States will ever measure up. I wanted to make sure I found a way to publicly acknowledge them because we didn’t get any comment cards or any other way to let their supervisors know before we left. Obviously, we did show our appreciation to their superb service monetarily 🙂

The only small, disagreeable part of the cruise was the fact that in the level 8 hallways, mid-ship, it really smelled like lavatories. I don’t know why, and it was only mid-ship on the even- numbered cabin sides, but when we walked through there, we had to hold our breath.

Otherwise, the whole trip was wonderful and the room stewards were also fantastic and helpful – Edzell and his assistant, who unfortunately I can’t remember. And my 14-year old and 16-year old were completely entertained with the two clubs for teenagers. This is my third cruise out of San Juan with Carnival to the Southern Caribbean and I hope to continue doing so. Keep up the excellent work!

Jen Reynolds

John says:
Hello Jen Reynolds,

Thanks so much for this great review. I can see that so many crew members made this a wonderful time for you and they will be thrilled that you have taken the time to write about them. The crew you mentioned are shining examples and I am so proud of them. I promise the problem with the odor you smelt has been addressed and my apologies for this happening. I hope you and the family had so much fun and that you will be back with us again very soon.

Best wishes to all.


Norm Vanraman asked:

Will Carnival be sending another ship to New York as we have an old ship in Carnival Miracle. We deserve better than this rust bucket.

John says:
Hello Norm Vanraman,

I would hardly call the Carnival Miracle an old ship Norm and she has proven to be a very popular ship and the New Yorkers are loving her.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today and many thanks for your continuing support of the blog. I know I am not posting as regularly as normal but once back on the ship I will of course return to a minimum of three blogs a week.

Let’s take a break and while I learn how to play the Hasbro Game Sorry Sliders I will leave you with some stunning photos from Mr. Radu of the Carnival Pride.

Thank you Mr Radu for once again for sharing your amazing skills with us. I may have mentioned this before and apologies if I have but Mr. Radu will be holding a seminar exclusively for those signed up on Bloggers Cruise 5 and I hope we can persuade him to do this each week on whatever ship he is on.

OK, time to move to the piano bar. I have mentioned that we will have some exciting news regarding this and it’s almost ready to be told. I can tell you that we are really focusing on these brilliant and fun bars and our intention is to make them even more fun and exciting by supporting the piano bar players that entertain there. So look out for more news on this very soon and until then let’s see who will be playing in the piano bar on the ship you will be sailing on. The dates listed next to the names are the dates the performers will be leaving the ship.

Carnival Freedom Doug Ross 02/19/12
Carnival Destiny Robert Crucilla 02/20/12
Carnival Triumph Lorraine Ingle 02/23/12
Carnival Splendor Ron Passalacqua 02/26/12
Carnival Glory Tom Riccio 02/26/12
Carnival Dream David Filsinger 03/03/12
Carnival Conquest Larry Maconaghy 03/04/12
Carnival Ecstasy Frank Glenn 03/22/12
Carnival Fascination Milburn Dumas 03/31/12
Carnival Imagination Dana Honey 04/02/12
Carnival Liberty Robert Berhalter 04/28/12
Carnival Fantasy Jordan Heppner 05/04/12
Carnival Elation Tom Grable 05/05/12
Carnival Victory James Morris 05/20/12
Carnival Magic Jerone Howard 06/03/12
Carnival Inspiration Seth Gibson 06/04/12
Carnival Paradise Del Woodman 06/11/12
Carnival Valor Brad Alexander 06/17/12
Carnival Pride Roger Concepcion 06/27/12
Carnival Legend Alan Brown 07/15/12
Carnival Spirit Keith Turner 07/17/12
Carnival Miracle Brennan Villines 07/25/12
Carnival Sensation Currently in Drydock

Thanks as always to these great performers for all they do and to Laura aka Divetrash for looking after them and for the fan club she runs. If anyone deserves a fan club it’s the piano bar entertainers. I look forward to working with Ron Pass on BC5 and on the Carnival Breeze.

I want to apologise to those guests who were expecting to see me on the Carnival Magic this week and I was really disappointed that I could not join the ship, not just to meet them but also because I was looking forward to being a CD again. And there is another change as well because this morning the beards asked me to fly to London to look at some British comedians for our upcoming Carnival Breeze cruises this summer. Let me explain why. Carnival has created a lot of interest and excitement in the UK and certainly last year on Carnival Magic and it seems that during the height of the summer when Brits take their vacation that we have high counts again of my fellow UK citizens. They love the product, they love the food the fun and they definitely love mixing with our North American friends and I think it’s fair to say that the North Americans love mixing with the Brits, right? Anyway, the one thing that we did find was a challenge was the Punchliner Comedy Club. And while the Americans and Canadians laughed out loud, the British guests sat there with faces like an Amish chap at Radio Shack.

You see, comedy about American sports, the Deep South and other specific subjects went over with our British guests like a fart in church. Now we are not canceling our American comedians, they will remain. What we are doing though is adding to the program and hiring some British comedians who mid-cruise will host a British night in the comedy club. So, the beards have hastily set up some auditions for me to attend and that’s my arse, in coach, flying to London.

My schedule now looks like this:


So, I am going to be knackered ( but it’s important that I do this although again I apologise to those I am letting down and I continue to look forward to being a cruise director once again.

What is the difference between American and British comedy? I honestly don’t know the answer to that. Obviously material is one thing because while Brits might not understand and laugh about a joke about rednecks and while Americans might not laugh at a joke about the Scottish, most will laugh at jokes about a man getting his thingy caught in his zipper or a huge pair of pendulous breasts and indeed the suction toilets on the ships. There is though a difference between British and American sitcoms. The British sitcoms are all about failure and Americans about success and so few translate across the ocean. “Friends” is the most popular imported sitcom in the UK but ask a Brit to name five American sitcoms most would struggle. The two I remember growing up were Benson and Soap but I have to admit, I am not a fan of most of the American sitcoms. I am sitting next to an American right now here in Philly and I asked him to name five British sitcoms. His answer was Monty Python and…..ummmm…..ummmmm……. So let’s see if the Americans who come to the British comedians’ sets on the Carnival Breeze will laugh? I am sure they will because the word “arse” said in a posh British accent is after all ……… hilarious.

OK, I have to go because the Game Show rehearsals are ongoing and tomorrow I have approx 50 of my Facebook and blogging friends joining me. I just read that Madonna is providing the half time entertainment at the Super Bowl…….God, PLEASE let this year bring us another wardrobe malfunction! I’ll convert to whatever you want me to believe, promise!


Your friend,


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  1. Sharon Paulson says:

    Hello John,
    I am utterly excited that we will once again be sailing on the Miracle June 15, 2012. We are celebrating my 40th, um, I mean 29th birthday and can’t wait! Looking forward to the new Serenity deck for adults and well, just everything! So, we will be in cabin 6193 just in case some really funny Brit wanted to send any Happy Birthday goodies to my cabin…… ;-D Keep blogging!!

  2. plywood says:

    I HAVE to say this. I cruise with Carnival because I love my vacation time on board the ships. I could not care less about platinum gifts of early disembarking, bags, trinkets or any other thing the Carnival might offer. My experience ON THE SHIP is what keeps bringing me back. My feeling about those that complain about not getting off first or other complaints is that they are elitists that must be treated as such to feel important. If you want to feel important, do volunteer work with a charity, build a home for homeless people etc–Don’t take a cruise and expect it. (Vacationing does not make you important)

    • robert says:

      I totally agree with you. carry your own bags if you dont want to wait for them.

      • Tim says:

        I agree, but suspect what happened was they didn’t use the proper luggage tags (provided in the envelope) when they put their bags outside the door.

    • Laura says:

      I agree with you “plywood”…cruising is what you make of it. I go with an open mind and have a blast. Not much slows me down and not much gets me down…I am a glass that is ALWAYS half full. Looking forward to my 8th cruise in 50 days! Yikes…got to start buying and packing! 🙂

    • Vivienne says:

      I agree wholeheartedly plywood. They are just taking advantage of John’s kind nature. If you want to celebrate something, then call the Bon Voyage Dept. All kind of goodies are available there.

    • Rich and Patty says:

      Well said!!

    • cindy56 says:

      I agree with you too. I cruise with Carnival because I enjoy my experiences on the ship. I am coming up to my 7th cruise this month and won’t make 10 for 3 more years as I only cruise once a year.

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Personally, I do not think everyone that expects the VIP debarkation are “elitists”.

      If this is a perk that Carnival is going to offer to their loyal cruisers, than people who have EARNED that perk should expect Carnival to deliver.

      Having sailed every Carnival ship currently sailing (from most of the ports) I can tell you that Debarkation is VERY inconsistant from ship to ship.

      Since we have an adult son with Autism, IF VIP self assist is not done properly … we can have a meltdown on our hands.

      Personally, I dislike that we have to get off the ship “first”… but standing in a Customs line for an hour just isn’t an option.

  3. Cynthia McCormick says:

    Dear John,

    My husband and I will be sailing on the Splendor on 19 February. When we booked the cruise online, we selected Early Dining, which at the time was listed as “available”. Some weeks later I checked my Cruise Manager and was surprised to find we were waitlisted for Early Dining. My husband called CCL and discovered we are actually penned in for Late Dining, which is mildly distressing to this early-to-bed couple. Is there anything that can be done about this? We’ll certainly enjoy the dining experience regardless of the time we dine, but having a confirmed dining selection changed mid-stream is distressing.

    • Linda Leach says:

      Cynthia, you may want to put this on John’s Facebook page. He probably won’t see it here before you cruise. Just a suggestion!

  4. Loretta says:

    Norm Vanraman,
    We will gladly take her off your hands here in beautiful San Diego.

    • Kelli says:

      AMENT Loretta! We will **really** miss saillng Spirit when she leaves for Australia! Looking so forward to boarding her for the last time (for the foreseeable future, anyway!) on Saturday. Farewell our favorite ship! Sure hope Carnival decides to bring another Spirit size or larger ship back to San Diego sometime in the not-so-distant future. 🙂

    • Kelli says:

      AMEN Loretta! We will **really** miss saillng Spirit when she leaves for Australia! Looking so forward to boarding her for the last time (for the foreseeable future, anyway!) on Saturday. Farewell our favorite ship! Sure hope Carnival decides to bring another Spirit size or larger ship back to San Diego sometime in the not-so-distant future. 🙂

      • Rick Williamson says:

        Kelli have you or anyone out there heard whih ship is going to replace Spirit? We have been on her twice to Alaska. How about Breeze?

  5. Martha says:

    John, I am in rural Oklahoma, and I can quickly name several British comedies that my family enjoys – Benny Hill, Are You Being Served, Last of the Summer Wine, The Vicar of Dibley and I would name more except I am suffering from “old-age-itis” and I cannot remember the comedy namems – only the story lines. Keep up the good work, John. Would love to sail with you and meet you some time.

  6. John says:

    We are going to miss you next week on the Magic!!! We were so looking forward to it!! Have fun and be safe!!

  7. Ronda Hensley says:

    Dear John,
    Thank you for another brilliant blog! I am so sorry to hear that you are delayed in joining the Carnival Magic, but I am happy you get an extra opportunity to see your girls. I know Kye needs a chance to hug her Dada after that terrifying video (naughty daddy…).
    Although I can’t explain it in words, I do understand the vast difference between American and British humour (spelt for you). I personally enjoy both, and I think it’s wonderful that Carnival is going to make that available. Will George Lopez be with you? If he’s responsible for the Punchliner, it would make sense for him to be there.
    I still think it would be nice if Carnival would provide you with better seating on your flights. With all the trips back and forth and the frequent last minute changes, it’s the least they could do.
    Have fun with the game show, I wish I lived close enough to stop by. Can’t wait to hear on Facebook from the people who go – I’m sure it’ll be a blast!!
    Safe journeys, Ronda

  8. Jeanette says:

    Dang, too bad you couldn’t get comics like Eddy Izzard, Danny Bhoy, Tommy Tiernan, or Billy Connelly on the ships…Alas, all are big named comics and go for big bucks…

    I also find a fair amount of the Redneck humor to be boring. I am Canadian and it sucks that there isn’t more Canadian content that we can relate to more……

  9. Phil & Liz says:

    Monty Pythons Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, Are You Being Served and ummmm well Dr. Who was funny some of the time wasn’t it, and the 5th would be Benny Hill.

    John, since the cast of MP are getting back together for a cartoon movies, you should call your good friend John Cleese and ask a few of the boys to do a Comedy Club show on the ship.

  10. Fern says:

    John, I LOVE British comedy! My favorites are: Fawlty Towers, Keeping Up Appearances, Are You Being Served?, The Vicar of Dibley, Red Dwarf, and well, just almost all Britcom’s I’ve ever seen!

    If the comedian’s on the Carnival ship’s are half as funny as these shows, I think you’ll have many more fans 🙂 !

  11. Wendell Pendell says:

    Hi John,

    My favorite British sitcoms are:

    1- Are You Being Served?

    2- Prime Minister’s Question Time (actually, much more interesting than C-SPAN!)

    Hard to believe you prefer basketball (a bunch of guys running around like crazy inside a gym) to baseball (a measured, paced game very suitable to relaxed observation while quaffing a suitable adult beverage on a sunny afternoon). Of course, “de gustibus non disputandum”– some folks even watch games in which bowlers throw googlies which are caught by silly mid offs while observers drink tea and eat cucumber sandwiches 😉

  12. Tyler Morrison says:

    So, I guess that means I won’t be seeing you on the Magic next week, that sucks.

  13. John:
    The man who called the Carnival Miracle a rust bucket does not know what he is talking about. The Miracle is one of my favorite ships, beautiful and easy to navigate. New York (my first hometown) is VERY lucky to have her. If she is not appreciated, please send her back to Florida (my current home state).
    Enjoy your short visit to the UK and the girls.

    • Rick Williamson says:

      She is the only ship that we really didn’t like and that’s because of the easy buttons as we called them in the dinning room.

  14. Hi John. Our friend Sarge Charlie will be buried on Friday, Feb. 3rd in a full military funeral. His wife Bee is so strong and hanging in there under the circumstances. I was wondering if you could say some wonderful words about Charlie since he and Bee have been over 25 cruises in many Carnival ships and you have spent many glorious times with the two of them. Knowing you John, you would be able to say great words about Charlie. Thank You.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  15. Jeanette McClellan says:

    Hubby says here are the shows he can remember…Monty Python of coure..Faulty Towers…Are You Being Served…East Enders…there was one he called space aged but the name excapes him. So, how did he do?

  16. Frances says:

    Just a quick note. Luke Pizzaro needs some manners. Whether he is a fan of yours or not it is nice to say please and thank you. Also John enjoy your scouser comedy and all the British comedy you are planning to include on the European ship. I think it would go down well all over. Yours certainly does.

  17. Danielle M says:

    John as I have been to both Pat’s and Geno’s I have to tell you that the best sandwich in Philly is actually the roast pork with provolone at Tony Luke’s on Oregon Avenue in the city…if you have time to grab one I don’t think you will be sorry <3

    • Ray says:

      I would agree with that, and just to make your life a little easier (if not safer) there’s a place called Tony Luke Jr’s and it’s much closer to your hotel. They also make a very good cheese steak.

      But this emphasis on Cheesesteaks may cause you to overlook the other great Philadelphia creation: The Hoagie. Also available right close to your hotel. I recommend Primos on Chestnut Street near 22nd. The Sharp Italian may be the best thing you can eat in Philadelphia.

      Oh, and Tastykakes and soft pretzels. It might be a bit early for Italian Water Ice. Not for nothing it’s known as the junk food capital of the world.

      • Kim says:

        What about Jim’s on South Street?

        • Ray says:

          Jim’s is good, south street is not what it once was. Certainly worth a trip as long as the line isn’t around the block, as can happen when it’s tourist season.

          (Despite what you may have heard, we don’t call it tourist season here because you can hunt them…)

  18. Chris Yust says:

    The BEST part of next week is you getting to see your girls! Hooray! Give them our best. Hope you find a British comedian or 2 also.
    Safe travels, friend.
    Chris (the Texan that gave you that little tin can of “Emergency Underpants”. Remember??)

  19. Carter Northcutt says:

    Okay, “Keeping Up Appearances”, “Waiting For God”, “Last of the Summer Wine”, Are You Being Served?” and “As Time Goes By”. Oh, and “Doc Martin”. Great shows from your country. I watch them every week on PBS. I will admit though that I was skeptical at first when I heard about these shows. I still had memories of that very dry show, “Is There A Doctor In The House?”.

    Well, my next cruise is coming up. My son, who is coming with me, keeps letting me know how much time we have until our sail date on April Fools Day. I think he might be a bit excited about going on his second cruise. I don’t know if you got my last message about it but he loved Club O2 and can’t wait to be part of that again. We are going on the Legend again. Our last cruise on the Legend was in October 2009 and it was also “Goth Cruise 2009”. That was um…different. Another thing I had asked about was regarding a waiter I can still remember from my first Carnival cruise. I was on the Festivale which sailed Labor Day weekend 1992 out of Puerto Rico. His name was Carl Stubbs and he was from Jamaica. Is he still with Carnival? He did a great job as I recall. I still remember the first night in the dining room. He came to our table and got out a pencil and pad. When he thought I was done ordering he started to get the next person’s order but I had to stop him as I was not finished. His pencil was about an inch shorter when I told him all I wanted. After that night he he would bring up a chair and sit down to take my order. Okay, not really, but he knew what to expect after that. One more thing I remember was the day we were to have tea, cookies, Jello and other little snack foods in the afternoon on Lido. I went to get a bowl of Jello and it had all liquefied from the heat. I had to drink it out of the bowl. Pretty funny at the time. Yeah, I like the Festivale. It was a great little ship. Kind of like being in a small town. I still have friends from that cruise.

    Enjoy your blog and hope to see you on another cruise again soon.

  20. Julianne Laird says:

    I am up in the middle of the night with a migraine, but you totally helped it tonight. I am a newbie to your blog, but have been on 4 Carnival cruises and want to make it to 10 to get the prize of laundry service!!!! I finally convinced my husband to go with me, and now he is hooked. I get to decide (and pay) for our sixth anniversary, and I can’t decide what to add to our Orlando time-share week (for which I will pay half…it’s the marriage agreement!)…a cruise from Port Canaveral on the Ecstasy or a package deal to the Wizarding World of my favorite British fictional character. Got any thoughts…he’s never been to Key West, which I know he will love!)

    Our favorite cruise activity (are you ready for this?) is afternoon tea, which we now celebrate every day that we are together…usually the weekends…another situation with our marriage…but you get that…

    Can you tell my migraine meds are loaded with caffiene? I don’t have a clue how to write to you any other way.

    I love your blog!!!!!! It cheers my heart so much! Hope you actually see this!
    Julianne, Indiana, PA

  21. Wallace says:

    Best British sitcoms to me:

    “Yes Minister” which became “Yes Prime Minister”

  22. Richard Taylor says:

    Don’t suppose Carnival can afford the likes of Michael Macintire, Rob Bryson, Jasper Carrott??!!

  23. Steve says:

    I’m glad that someone else mentioned the smell on the Carnival Victory. We were on the 1-22-12 sailing of the Victory, on Deck 1 midship, and we also had this problem in our hallway and cabin. It was very intermittent, and the crew attempted to find the problem with only limited success at combating it. We also heard some other people on our floor talking about a smell. So, I can say that as of Sunday, January 29, when we disembarked, this was still a problem.

  24. Mike LaRoche says:

    I think a perfect anniversary gift for Luke Pizzaro and his wife would be an autographed picture of you.

  25. Martha says:

    My personal favorites. Absolutely Fabulous, Fawlty Towers, Are You Being Served?, Dr. Who and Keeping Up Appearances. Not to mention Python and Benny Hill.

  26. Pam Wagner says:

    I can’t understand why Platinum cruisers think they are so much above the rest (example: John Byrd — “I do not think that Carnival would want the public to know how they treat their VIP guests.” My goodness — get off your high horse! And Luke Pizzaro — you’re not a John cheerleader, yet you ask for a gift without even a please or thank you! Were you never taught manners? When did it become acceptable to be rude and then expect to receive a gift?

  27. Kacie says:

    Tell the beards we are very upset with them!! Taking you away from us from the Magic next week, all of our family reads your blog and was so excited to see you! You have to do waht you have to do, but wish you could still come 🙁

  28. Matthew Scantlin says:

    Oh man we are very disappointed to hear you will not be on our sailing on Feb 5. I hope the replacement is good.

  29. grizel robertson says:

    Why has nobody mentioned Absolutey Fabulous or the Two Ronnies? These two rate highly on the hit comedy list in the UK, as does Blackadder (an acquired taste). Also Rowan Atkinson in his silent Mr Bean series, shown on Transatlantic flights in the 1990s.
    One of my favourite US comedies was Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In that featured Goldie Hawn, amongst others. What has happened to good old clean family comedy?

  30. Gertrude Auld says:

    Dear John;
    It was just our 32 anniversary!
    We will be celebrating it sailing on the Valor on February 26,2012!
    Our booking # is 591SW3.
    Could you please send us a little something to commemorate the occasion?
    Thank you for your dedication to making everyone’s cruise the best cruise ever!!!
    Gertrude Auld

  31. Kristi says:

    Hi John,
    I love reading your blog! You have a great sense of humor!!! My husband and I just booked our anniversary cruise on the Carnival Pride for November 11, 2012, we’re in cabin #5184 and cannot wait to celebrate Carnival Fun-Style 🙂 My question is regarding the comedians on board. We last cruised November of 2010 also on the Pride, and saw a hilarious comedian by the name of Happy Cole. We were wondering if he is still a comedian w/ Carnival? Would love to see him again! On our last cruise, the comedians changed in our first port (FL), so we actually got lucky and saw 3 or 4 different comedians while on board. Is this “the norm” for how comedians change from ship to ship (or for The Pride anyway)? Any information you can provide would be great. The comedy shows are a must on our cruise!!! We’d love to sail one day with you also… I know it’d be a blast from just the way you write. Keep up the good work 🙂

  32. Donna says:

    I had to share this with you everyone loves to complain…but never compliment when someone does a nice job… I am hear to tell you about a job well done bu one of your cruise vacation planners.I am an equal opportunity cruiser…I love them all and I think you all have great things about every line.
    But after this adventure I have been on, before I even cruise, well this experience places Carnival so above the other cruise lines…

    Crazy idea,my husband and I wanted to take our daughter on a cruise March 3rd…she works really hard and she needs a break
    She has sailed with us on Carnival for her HS graduation and on Disney being like her parents ,she wanted to try another cruise line…Ok so I called big ship cruise line.I have sailed with them and thought she would like the biggest cruise ship…that is if I could ever get anyone to call me back and answer some simple questions…I was so frustrated…After speaking with 3 customer service people on 3 different days I finally spoke with a supervisor who told me someone would call me back that was yesterday, never got a phone call.
    Well in the meantime I had been looking at your blogs about Liberty 2.0…and Guy’s burgers looked great and the ports on March 3-10th looked awesome…I went back and saw the great rate I had just gone online and filled in my info—well I got a call from my Carnival personal planner Kristina Vidal in a few minutes after that and an e-mail too…She was able to answer my questions with 3 in a cabin and applying my Carnival certificate…and even held the room for me until my daughter got out of work to book it. She replied to all of my e-mails back and forth and called me back…OMG.
    I sent her a Thank you e-mail and told her she made our day…and booked the cruise on the Liberty the 3/3-3/10. No sooner do that, I finally 4 days later get a call from the other cruise line consultant…I told him I had booked with CARNIVAL…he offered me a bottle of wine and dinner for 2 if I would change my mind…I told him too late and I would not do that to Kristina who simply called me back and answered my questions.
    Just wanted you to know–being professional is a good thing sometimes…and FREEBIES as bottle of wine and dinner just didn’t do it for me…personalized service did.But if he wanted to send me a bottle and pay for dinner on Carnival LOL that would be fine.

    Please pass this along to those who sometimes do not get that compliment we all like to hear, but great job Kristina and Carnival for training your employees so well

    Donna Maher

  33. Wendy says:

    Luke ~ “you are not a cheerleader, nor will you ever be” yet you have the audacity to request a gift from John. Guess he’s good enough when you want something! And you can’t even be bothered to say “please” or “thank you”. Wow…

  34. anom says:

    i have been on numerous carnival cruises from multiple ports and i have noticed a vast discrepancy in the alcohol permissions to bring on board – from san juan there is a duty free shop at the port and you are allowed to purchase alcohol and carry on in your bags, from port canaveral they dont have a duty free shop but they allow you to carry on bottles as well, and from miami they allow you to take one or two bottles in your carryon, do you have any advice on this matter, what is actually permitted, and it what form…..

  35. Joe says:

    John! How are you? My wife and I cruised on the Carnival Splendor in the Mexican Riviera in August of 2010 celebrating our honeymoon, we were the only people on the ship from Connecticut. You were our cruise director for the trip and it was the best time we’ve ever had on a cruise, you were the best. I know you’ll never forget Dick Little because we won’t! How can we find out when you will be the director on cruises so we can cruise with you again?

    Thanks again – Joe

  36. Steve B says:

    John, Re: British telly: As an expat in the 70s, my favorites were Doctor Who, The Tomorrow People, All Creatures Great and Small, and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. But that’s only because Torchwood, Sarah Jane, and most importantly Top Gear hadn’t been invented yet! Don’t give up on all us bloody yanks just yet… 🙂

  37. Brandy Meyer says:

    John, I wanted to see if you could tell us who the new CD will be for the Magic. My husband and I were on the ill-fated April 2010 Conquest cruise out of Galveston (where the fog pretty much ruined everyone’s cruise). We are sailing again on April 29th and were hoping you were going to be there. You were one of the few bright points to that vacation. You held everyone together and helped keep us at least sane if not completely happy. We’ll miss you. Here’s hoping that this Carnival cruise comes out better than the last one. 😉

  38. George Ostrowski says:

    John, it appears you have never been on a Carnival Ship. Your comment on “synchronised swimming” is wrong. On a past Carnival Cruise during the swimm finals the winners were 5 males with mid sections much larger then yours. They started with a belly wop into the pool. The final was from underwater they lifted one above their heads and dropped him for a large splash!

  39. Kevin says:

    Our family did the same thing when visiting Pat’s and Genos a few years ago. Wanna know who we chose? Watch the video

  40. Thomas & Paula Baker says:

    John’ we are cruising on the Victory April the 22nd, Wish you could join us’ you were
    the CD on are frist cruise on the Freedom
    we had a great time’

  41. steve bell says:

    Please don’t tell anyone, but my wife and I are jumping ship – almost literaly – from being long-time cruisers with Royal Caribbean, to our first-ever Carnival cruise on Victory, in San Juan on the 11th. Based on what we’ve read, we are anticipating an exceptional week of fun, and so, would there be some sort of Cruisers Guilt Hotline we could access while at sea? We know love means never having to say, “I’m sorry”, and “Sometimes, breaking up is hard to do”, but it there anything else you might recommend to help ease our transition?
    your [new] friends,
    Steve & Jane

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      I don’t know if you are fans of karaoke, but if you are…you are in for a real treat.

      Kim is your karaoke host and he is absolutely fabulous!!!

      Have a wonderful cruise!!

  42. Cheryl says:

    My husband and I enjoy reading your blogs. We find it keeps us connected even when we aren’t cruising! Tony and I have cruised 10 times on Carnival and on Jan 28th we were branching out for the first time on the Ruby Princess. Hubs has lymphoma and has been in remission for 3 years but just before we sailed he ended up in the hospital with double pneumonia. So we cancelled our cruise and now he’s doing better but his birthday celebration I had planned on the ship is not happening. We are rebooked March 11 on the Pride and I wondered if I could do a kind of belated birthday party for him on that sailing? We are in Cabin 6266, early dinner seating.. Would it be out of line to ask the MaitreD for a birthday greeting for him?


  43. Anthony Ryan Parker says:


    First and foremost I want to thank you for your refreshing and hilarious blogs and comments on your Facebook page! I look forward to reading them every time you post something because it breaks up the monotony of reading the news because they seem to only focus on misery and tragedy! Second, my wife and I booked our 9th and 10th cruise with Carnival which means we will finally be Platinum this year! We love everything about the company and are looking forward to yet another 2 great cruises. I do have a favor to ask though in regards to our cruise on the Sensation out of Port Canaveral on May 17, 2012. I booked this cruise as a surprise gift for my wife. For the past 6 years she has been going back to school over the internet to get her bachelor degree in accounting in addition to her normal job and being a wife and mother. It has been stressful for her to say the least. Is there any way you can send her something special to congratulate her on finally finishing school? We are in cabin M30. Thanks for anything you can do!

    Anthony Ryan Parker

  44. John,
    Congrats!! on the blog winning another award!

    Though some of us who aren’t on Facebook say, What Blog??


  45. Jeff says:

    I love British humor. Keeping Up Appearances is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, period. And of course I’ve been reading your blog since day one, after seeing you on the Carnival Freedom’s first cruise. You made me laugh non-stop for two weeks!

  46. Leanne Tyson says:

    John first off let me start by saying that I love reading your blog. My hubby and I will be cruising on the Carnival Freedom on 29 April 2012. We will be celebrating his retirement after 34 years with the federal government. If you could send him a little something that would be awesome.

    • b says:

      Sure, how about he fixes my 1979 and 1985 federal income tax return first, and then we’ll see what we can do about a gift.

  47. jgeraci says:

    Thanks for keeping us informed about the new 2013 schedule!
    We’ve booked the SA on Splendor. It will be a repeat of our last SA only backwards. I love cruising into New York!
    Hope to hear more about these changes when you get back to blogging.

  48. Chris Diestelmeier says:

    Hi John. PLEASE REPLY. Please forward to Jeff Bronson if possible.

    Hi Jeff,
    I was hoping I would get a chance to talk to you more in person, but I was off the ship so quick this morning, and turned in early last night. Just wanted to say thanks for a nice vacation. You must have felt fortunate to have been in New Orleans a couple weeks ago when Seattle got dumped on. I was there that week and you can definitely tell people aren’t as used to driving in it as they are in Wisconsin, my home state. I got a chance to talk to Nick a couple days ago, as we reminisced about Dave Armour and my time on the Celebration. I don’t know how wel! you knew Dave, but he exuded class and, like you, also knew how to make things fun. I believe he hailed from the UK, and seemed to me like an English gentleman. Nick was also telling me Jamie Deutsche is also moving up the ranks. She was one ofthe highlights in Baltimore. I know it has to be hard spending so much time away from family, but I just wanted to know you are appreciated. Hopefully, our paths will cross again in the future.

  49. Susan K. says:

    Actually there is a little place on Atlantic Blvd, in Delray Beach, Florida which clearly wins the cheese stake challenge. My daughter’s best friend had her wedding reception in “the old school house” on Atlantic, and all the guests from Philly swore it beat anything back home.

  50. gary says:

    Hi John. Look forward to cruising with you again.
    What is your schedule with Breeze this year?


  51. Lori says:

    Hubby and I are going on our first cruise on the Pride on March 25th. Are you able to let me know who the scheduled entertainment is? From Northern Michigan and so looking forward to a nice warm weather get away!

  52. Alan says:

    Looking at the replies do they only get all the old sitcoms/Comedies in USA. Lots of edgier stuff than that listed such as The Young Ones, Comic Strip Presents, The New Statesman, Spaced, Men behaving Badly, Fast Show, Father
    Ted, IT Crowd, Big Train, Drop the Dead Donkey, Smack the Pony, I’m Alan Partridge, etc etc. all great shows and probably available on DVD across the world.

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