June 29, 2012 -

John Heald

If I have done my job properly and had a good Welcome Aboard show and other stage appearances that have made people laugh, then I take a walk down Promenade Deck. It should take me a few days to get from the bow to the stern because people want to say hello, ask questions or simply shake your hand.

This is still one of the best parts of the job and it certainly massages my ego after I have had been kicked in the bollocks by a chap called Dave and the rest of his Pandora’s Box group on Facebook yesterday. However, while the fantastic feeling of a job well done is achieved by this Promenade Deck walks there is also the chance that you will meet someone who either doesn’t like you or the ship. Now meeting these people is part of the job and I think it’s safe to say I am a good listener and face these comments as a challenge and do my best to turn them around. But worse than any complaint, any negative comment and even worse than someone trying to sell me diet pills that make you crap yourself more than an elephant that’s just eaten an entire field of cabbage. Let me explain.

I met such a man last cruise and to cut right to the chase he was a man who told me had sailed with another cruise line I won’t mention 12 times and enjoyed talking about it, especially to those who aren’t interested, like me. He was in his 30’s. He had perfect hair, perfect clothes, loads of man jewelry and a handshake that could squeeze blood out of a stone. He told me he was a lawyer and spoke in a rich baritone voice to demonstrate to everyone within earshot that if he had been a lifeguard he would not have needed to shove a cucumber down his Speedos.

He was he told me he was “Ivy League” educated and was here with his friends who ignoring the Thrill Theatre and the Playlist Production shows probably had been in the RedFrog Pub discussing who’s got the most important credit card. He had a huge watch on his wrist that was so massive it probably had a Swiss dwarf living in it to wind it up each night. Anyway, for 15 minutes I stood listening to why everything, everything was better on Royal Caribbean, including a CD called Ken who apparently I could “learn a lot from” which indeed I probably could. I won’t bother telling you what else he said but I will say that I knew straight away that there was bugger all I could do to change his mind. I have never sailed this cruise line he had mentioned before. They are the competition and while I am sure they do certain things very well, I know there are many things we do as well if not better. Anyway, I spent those 15 minutes nodding and smiling as the man with a six pack, perfect designer clothes, a watch that makes Big Ben look miniscule told me that both Carnival and I would do well to emulate the cruise line he usually spends his money on. And 15 minutes later, he walked back into the RedFrog Pub with a swagger because not only did he know he has a big gentleman’s sausage and a perfect life. He knew that I knew it, too. And I turned back on my heels, waddled my huge stomach, encased in a JC Penney shirt back to my cabin, ordered a BLT with extra cheese………..and ate my emotions.

Time for today’s Q and A……..let’s crack on.

Susan O’Hara asked:

We booked ocean suites for our upcoming Alaska cruise and have seen on a couple of web sites that these suites include complimentary wash and fold laundry service. Is this true?

John says:
Hello Susan O’Hara,

Thanks for telling me about this because the only guests we offer this to are our Platinum guests and Milestone/Diamond guests. Sorry you were misinformed and thanks for giving me the chance to explain this.

Best wishes.


Clarence Redwood asked:
Hello John,

I am sure you won’t remember me as you meet so many passengers, of course. You may remember me from my walking stick which you fascinated over as it was an old British stick I acquired during a vast across the pond. I am 81 years young now, John, and am still cruising and this coming cruise on the Carnival Elation will be number seven for me which considering I started cruising at the sprightly age of 74 isn’t bad, is it? My best cruise ever was that cruise with you on the Carnival Liberty and I wish these old bones would let me fly to Europe to see your new ship that you are about to launch. I wondered if you could help me with a small request because I would like to present something to the captain and need to have his name engraved on it so please would you inform me of who it is. Thank you, John, and I hope one day we shall meet yet again.

John says:
Hello Clarence Redwood,

How can I ever forget you and that beautiful stick. What you failed to mention is that you played the part of the hero in my bedtime story and how funny you were and indeed became the most famous man on board that cruise. I am so happy to read that you are still cruising and, of course, I see you are still being so gracious with your offer of a gift to the captain. His name is Domenico Cilento and knowing him as I do, he will be so very grateful to you. I wish you a wonderful cruise and I, too, hope one day we shall meet again.

Best wishes always.


Deanna Williams asked:

Years ago we sailed on Carnival to the ports of Costa Maya and Costa Rica. I cannot see any more cruises going there. Does Carnival not go there anymore?

John says:
Hello Deanne Williams,

We do indeed still have ships that sail to Costa Maya as a port of call and it’s a fun place for sure. I don’t see that any of our ships are currently calling at Costa Rica at the moment. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes.


LoriAnn Henninger asked:

There is confusion over debarkation at ports for platinum guests. We understood that we would receive preferential debarkation at every port we visit and it seems that the purser’s employees are not aware. Please help and thank you. We will miss you on the Carnival Magic this summer after enjoying you immensely on the Feb. 19, 2012 sailing! Good luck on the Carnival Breeze.

John says:
Hello LoriAnn Henniger,

I wish I could be with you and if there is anything I can do to make your cruise special, please let me know. The priority disembark is only when we use tender services to get guests ashore and, of course, in the debarkation at homeport. I hope that clears that up for you and please have a brilliant cruise and I am here if you need anything.

Best wishes.


Bethany asked:
You need to do something about the embarkation in New York. It took forever to get on the boat and we waited in line for 45 minutes before being taken care of. If you are going to cater to New Yorkers, Carnival better learn quickly as this was disgraceful. The cruise was good but there were two downfalls and they were the breakfast which had no variety or choice and the comedians which, compared to what I see each month in Greenwich Village, were not funny at all. Our servers were good and although we never saw the cabin cleaner, she did keep our room nice.

John says:
Hello Bethany,

We are aware that the terminal facilities we use in Manhattan are not as spacious as we would like and, of course, we should remember that it has been there many years and was built when cruise ships were much smaller than they are today. Still, I understand that you want to board the ship and start your cruise vacation as quickly as possible so I will, for sure, pass this comment on to the fine people we work with at embarkation there. I was very surprised that you found breakfast lacked variety as we do have a lot of choices, I think, and wondered if you could let me know what we didn’t have that you would like us to add and I will let the chef know. I do hope you had fun and I hope that you will enjoy the Carnival Splendor who will soon be making New York her home.

Best wishes.


Henri Ortiz asked:

Any chance you will be showing the Olympics during our cruise on Carnival Magic? We have a close family friend whose daughter is representing the United States in the gymnastics and we really want to see her win gold!

John says:
Hello Henri Ortiz,

Yes, indeed, we will have coverage of the Olympics and if the network shows this specific event you will see it on board. I wish her well and I wish you a brilliant cruise.


Angela Henkel asked:
Hi John,

Yesterday I disembarked from the Carnival Valor with my boyfriend and parents and we had a wonderful time. I had sent in a message to you last year after three cruises of being disappointed with my seating in the dining room and this time our table location was excellent. It was my eighth Carnival cruise and my dad’s second and he was now able to see what I have been telling him about all this time with all of the fun entertainment provided by the fabulous wait staff during dinner. I would also like to give a shout out to Elmer, Erick and Demi who were our excellent wait staff for the eight nights were on the Carnival Valor this time. Carnival has yet to disappoint in this regard. Oh, and, by the way, our cruise director Matt was also excellent! I have never seen a cruise director so much during a cruise – he was always out and about on the ship and always making sure everyone was having a good time! Way to go, Matt! Thanks again for an excellent vacation.

John says:
Hello Angela Henkel,

I am happy that we were able to help you and my thanks to the maître d for helping with your table request. I am so glad you had fun and will be passing these great comments to the ship. I hope this means we will see you again very soon.

Best wishes.


Cheryl Gentry asked:

I will be cruising out of New Orleans on October 11. What is the earliest time that cruisers are allowed to go on board? The cruise is scheduled to leave port around 4 p.m.

John says:
Hello Cheryl Gentry,

Congratulations on this wonderful cruise from New Orleans. If everything goes to plan and we get the kind permission of United States Customs and Border Protection, we would hope to start boarding at approximately 10:30am. I hope this helps and I wish you a brilliant time.

Best wishes.


Elaine asked:
Hi John,

My partner and I are cruising for the first time on the Carnival Breeze sailing July 9 for 12 nights. We can’t wait and the ship looks fabulous. How many evenings will be formal and what is acceptable dress code for ladies and gentlemen? Also, what is the dress code for all the other nights? Do the men have to wear long trousers when dining?


John says:
Hello Elaine,

I am glad I saw this before you cruise in a few days’ time. There will be two elegant nights with one on the first sea day. As for acceptable dress, well, the most popular is the men wearing business suits and the ladies something simply elegant. Certainly, there is no need for tuxedos and ball gowns as in days gone by. I will say that in Europe with many guests having restrictions on flying with luggage that many simply wear elegant casual clothing. The most important thing to remember is that this is your vacation and you should wear what makes you relaxed and comfortable. I will see you soon here on the Carnival Breeze.

Best wishes.


Jan gardner-kurz asked:
Hi john,

I hope you can pass on feedback on The Chef’s Table experience. We did our first Chef’s Table in January 2012 on the Carnival Dream with the old menu and absolutely loved it. The end of April we tried it with the new menu on the Carnival Splendor. The new menu was really disappointing. I hope that they look at changing it soon as I have heard similar feedback and I hope people are providing. We are booked for the Bloggers Cruise and looking forward to it. I loved and look forward to reading your blog everyday it’s available.

John says:
Hello Jan Gardener Kruz
I will, for sure, pass this on. You are not the first to say you prefer the old menu and I promise to make sure your comments are read by the right people. Thanks for letting me know and thanks for the kind words.

Best wishes.


Derek asked:

Can you arrange something special to be sent to our son when we cruise on Carnival Splendor July 22, 2012? Jake will be heading off to Afghanistan with the United States Air Force in November and this is our family vacation before this happens. We will be in cabin 6371.

John says:
Hello Derek,

I am sure you are very proud of your son and, of course, it will be a pleasure to send him something, I wish you all a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today, thanks to you all for your comments and questions and a big thanks to the dynamic duo of Mary and Mischelle for helping me. This week the Carnival Destiny and the Carnival Paradise started the new VIFP parties for gold, platinum and diamond card holders. Oh, and talking of the new cards, here is how they look.

(click to zoom)

As I mentioned one of the first ships to do the new VIFP party was the Carnival Destiny and here’s a report from Noonan, the ship’s CD.

Hello John,

Just wanted to let you know a little more info about the party. First of all, the flow of the party went really well. I think the guests really enjoyed the drinks and food offerings. The captain and I stood outside the lounge and greeted each guest before they even came into the room. I think it was a nice touch and the guests really seemed to enjoy it. Once entering the room, we had all of the senior management welcoming the guests as we gave them beads and they went to sit down. We opened the doors a few minutes before 5pm because we didn’t want to keep our most valued guests waiting in line (we used to do this for the old PGP and it works like a charm). The band played three Dixieland-style tunes that really went down well and gave a good feel to the room. After the third song, I went to the stage and talked about the following points.

6 Min – Introduction (PAST)
• Welcome to the VIFP gold, platinum and diamond party
• Past, present and future of Carnival Cruise Lines
• What was the name of our first ship?
• Did any of you sail on the Mardi Gras?
• One of the original drinks we served on the Mardi Gras was the Fun Ship Special.

Then the first video started. It was well received and the guests all cheered for the ships as they came up on the screen. After the video, the screen came up and as it did the band started to vamp on the beginning of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” We stared the parade around the room with the entertainment staff, a few of the senior officers and the VIFP members. About 30 of the members joined the line and they enjoyed it from the looks of it. As the song came to an end I ended up on the stage again and the crowd cheered for the parade participants. This is when I introduced all of the officers of the Carnival Destiny. They all came up on the stage to applause from the crowd. Once they were all up there, I introduced Captain Giusa. Below are what we talked about. The captain was great and really opened up to the guests as he discussed his kids, career etc., for a few minutes.

Parade & Captain Intro (Present)
• How long have you worked for Carnival Cruise Lines?
• I know the Carnival Destiny is special to you, you were part of the inaugural team correct?
• That was in 1996, right? How long had you worked for Carnival Cruise Lines at that point?
• What position did you hold on the Carnival Destiny?
• So now you have been with Carnival Cruise Lines for almost 20 years, do you have a favorite port of call?

After the interview the captain left the stage to cheers from the audience and the officers followed. As this was our first party and we didn’t have any “new” tier members I asked “Where are our gold members?” and the gold members proudly cheered. Then I asked, “Where are my platinum members?” and they all cheered. Then I asked how many cruises everyone has been on and we found our most senior cruiser who has sailed with us 219 days!

I then started talking about the different Fun Ship 2.0 offerings. More music followed and everyone enjoyed it. All in all I thought it was really good and as I stood at the door after the party every guest thanked me and said that they truly felt special. It was well thought through and worked great. They loved the new food items and they loved the cocktails. As we were the first ship to host this party, I thought I would let you know.


Cruise Director, Carnival Destiny

Noonan is a great CD and one of our most popular and I know he put a huge amount of effort into this as obviously did the whole team on the ship. We have our first try at this here on Carnival Breeze on the cruise of July 9 and I will let you know how it goes. Before we leave this subject here is the flyer that those diamond members will be getting and I hope one day you will all receive one of these in your stateroom.

(click to zoom)


As I have mentioned 3,478 times probably, last cruise, Heidi and Kye were here and because my cabin is not big enough for the three of us and for me to work from while Kye is watching the sodding Wonder Pets, I had managed to get them a cabin on Deck 6 and each night I would stay with them both and that, of course, was wonderful. It’s only at times like this that as a crew member you realise just how amazing the stateroom stewards are. Yes, Ketut my steward is brilliant and despite the fact that he blames the rash he currently has from having to pick my underpants off the bathroom floor, we are great friends and he takes brilliant care of me and I of him. However, staying in a guest cabin really shows off just why so many of our guests state that their stateroom steward was one of the best parts of their cruise. It’s not until you actually live in a guest cabin and get the same treatment we give the guests each and every week that you actually realise just what an important part of the cruise experience they are. They are the front line in our endeavors to have the guest called by name and here is a new change I wanted to tell you about that is a fleetwide change, as well. We have always encouraged our crew to call the guests by name. “Hello, Mr. Smith,” “Good afternoon, Mrs. Jones.” “Good evening, Mr. Lopez.” “Goodnight, Mr. Seaugo.” However, the beards have decreed (and brilliantly so in my opinion) that we should change this to a less formal but more personal and dare I say “fun” greeting.

So now you will hear the stateroom stewards, waiters, guest services and other service personnel say: “Good morning, Joe.” “Good afternoon, Mary.” “Good evening, George.” “Goodnight, H82.” This has been going on here on the Carnival Breeze already and guests have told me and their review cards that they really appreciated this and I hope you will too. Let me know what you think

Anyway, back to last cruise. We were in an inside cabin. Yes, I was too cheap to buy an outside even with the excellent discount Carnival gave me. In the deck six balcony cabin in front of us were three ladies and I saw a few times when the cabin door was open and the war zone that three women can create with clothes and potions and brushes and clothes…..mountains of clothes topped of by mountains of shoes. I have also seen what Anna, our stateroom stewardess had it looking like for when they got back from touring Rome. It was clean, tidy, organised and that’s a miracle. I told Anna this and she smiled and said the only thing she didn’t like was the smell of the different perfumes because it made her feel lightheaded. I was going to mention that if she headed to my cabin bathroom right now, there would be a smell that would take that worry away but decided it best not to.

Obviously, the towel animals are still a huge hit and Kye loves them as most three years old do. Although one night she was in tears when I used the elephant to dry myself after my shower.

Anna and her colleagues across the fleet do so much. Scrubbing, cleaning and arranging and they do it to multiple staterooms. They are fantastic, and as I said, they are a major part of the Carnival cruise experience. Compare that to the person who cleans your hotel room who, let’s face it, are mostly faceless individuals who even if you are staying a week at the property won’t know your name. Maybe it’s two different animals but value for money and experience wise and in my opinion …… can’t compare.

One footnote: Recently a stateroom steward was separating the garbage as they are required to do for each cabin into paper, plastic, glass and food and biodegradable items. He was wearing thin rubber gloves but a guest had put a loose razor blade in the garbage buried amongst paper and other items and he cut his fingers rather badly. Please, either leave your razor blades in position where they can be seen and don’t put them in a garbage bin or you can ask your steward for a sharps container.

One more tale from my stay in my Carnival Breeze guest cabin and that’s the bathrobe. A hotel isn’t a good hotel without a beautiful fluffy white robe hanging up behind the bathroom door yet so many hotels make unforgiveable mistakes with them. Some hotels seem to have forgotten what fabric softener is because putting on the robe is like wearing a large piece of sandpaper. But worse than that is the belt. I realise that hotels have to put robes into the laundry every time a guest leaves but surely it’s not too much trouble for someone to loop the belt back through. When a hotel room service delivery person knocks on the door, you either spend valuable minutes trying to tie the belt or risk revealing your thingy to the person who has come to deliver your $30 burger and fries.

We have bathrobes and they are in all the cabins despite rumors that they are for the suite life only. And they are soft, very soft and the belt is always looped through properly. I know this because I checked. We also have them for kids and most hotels don’t because they don’t really like children in the first place. However, even though I have some weight……one size does not fit all……and, as blog regular Big Ed will tell you, I have been a massive failure to him and the other extra medium guests who sail with us. I have tried to get XXXL bathrobes but it has never come to pass and so I am going to take drastic action and take it to the highest level. Gerry Cahill, our president and CEO, will be sailing here on Carnival Breeze again soon and when he does I have a plan. I will invite him to my cabin for a cup of tea and a chat and when he knocks at the door I shall be wearing one of the Carnival fluffy bathrobes. Hopefully, the sight of my thingy peeping out will prove that one sodding size……does not fit all and the president will order the immediate manufacture of XXXL bathrobes……followed by some Valium and a large scotch!


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. Dutchman says:

    I guess I have to ask, why don’t the S & S cards have the GOLD, PLATINUM or DIAMOND above the logo (fin)on the card ??? Your welcome aboard letter for DIAMOND has the logo with DIAMOND above it. Just asking.

    • jgeraci says:

      I was wondering the same thing. I like mine better with Diamond on it. Much classier!

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Just saw one of the new cards …a Diamond and it did indeed have the name Diamond on it.

      A friend who is Diamond just got on the Liberty today.

  2. Christine says:

    What is the schedule for the implementation of the new VIFP party across the fleet? I am sailing on Carnival Valor departing July 7th; will I have the opportunity to experience the new party on my sailing? Thanks.

  3. Merl says:

    Did you hear about the actor how does the “Dos Eques” beer commercial is also doing a commercial about “Ivy League” schools.
    It goes like this, “I usually don’t talk to Ivy League graduates, but when I do they usually ask if I would like fries with my burger.”
    Oh, I forget this was his first cruise after working at “MacLand” for 15 years asking that question.

  4. Linda Pearl says:

    I wonder why so many people feel the need to buttonhole you, and, ad nauseum, rant & rave about other lines, and what they do…..that 15 minutes Mr. Big Watch stole from you, could have been better served, doing what you do so well.

  5. beverly ann says:

    John this is the second time I will ask this particular question. I will be on the Breeze 12/8 for 8 days all of which will be the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. I am asking if there will be a place to light Menorah candles. Please check with a Jewish employee (if you can find one) or Micky Arising as to what a Menorah is if you don’t know. Yes I am a bit peeved as you have not answered anything I asked. I understand you are a very busy person however this issue is important to us.

    • BUBBA aka Chris Roberts says:

      Hello Beverly Ann
      Since John didn’t get a chance to answer you yet, I will take the liberty of doing so. In my 16 years with Carnival, we have always had Menorah lighting each holiday season. In fact the Menorah are very impressive and usually put in the Atriums of most ships throughout the entire holiday season. Each night, usually around 5pm, it will be advertisied in the Fun Times and the ship will provide all the items necessary for the function. Menorah is electric, because candles are not allowed on board for safety reasons. If there is a crew member of the Jewish faith, they will be there to lead the service, if not, there will still be someone from the staff there every night. Usually then one of the guests who are taking part will lead. Hope that answers your questions.
      Chris Roberts
      Cruise Director
      Carnival Spirit

    • beverly ann says:

      @Chris Roberts..thank you for the information. As much as I appreciated your reply I did not understand why your tone seemed so cold as if you were annoyed to bother answering me. I am truly beginning to believe that my booking a Carnival cruise is a big mistake. I follow John’s blog and see some ridiculous questions asked and I see John respond kindly. Also the fact that he panned my question off to someone else is not appreciated either. I feel that I asked a legitimate question about a matter of importance I would hate to have to write to Mr. Arising about this as Chanukah is his holiday too

      • Diane says:

        I did not find his tone cold. I found it factual with good information. Does it really matter who answers the question? It wasn’t as if he were some random person with little or no knowledge of what you were asking. He’s a CD and knows what goes on with this.

      • jgeraci says:

        beverly ann,
        This young man was kind enough to answer your question. I think you need to re-read what he has written. With John’s busy schedule, it may not have been answered in as timely a fashion as you would want! Maybe an apology from you is in order!

      • Elizabeth says:

        Beverly Ann,

        The response wasn’t cold at all. He gave you the answer you were looking for. If you go into your vacation with that kind of piss poor attitude you will NOT enjoy yourself. It’s VACATION! Lighten up!

        • beverly ann says:

          @cruiser Dave..I know his name is Micky Arison that was a typo. I expected nothing of the sort you referred to. This holiday I asked about does not equate to a mass or a service. I don’t expect anything let alone you to know about it. I am new to this so I obviously did not know where one asks John questions. I came on here simply to see what I could learn about the Breeze. The experience here is far from positive. I am not sure I understand why there is so much bantering unrelated to cruising and why everyone seems to be insulting people or being defensive

      • Cruiser Dave says:

        I have to agree with the others. Take a look at your snarky question and the perfectly respectable answer you received. In the first place, it’s Arison, not Arising, so you are doing the name-calling. In the second place, this blog commentary is no place to ask a question which you expect a direct reply to. You must go to “Ask John” to have a chance of him seeing it. I would say it is presumptuous of you to expect Carnival to lead your holy day ceremonies. Might I expect high mass in the atrium on Christmas eve? Wouldn’t even occur to me.

      • Freddie says:

        I thought the answer Chris (a CD who is certainly familiar with Channukah) posted very informative and not at all cold.

        BTW, if you want to get hold of the “boss” at Carnival, I’d suggest you learn his name.

        • beverly ann says:

 know nothing about me yet you resorted to name calling. You obviously know nothing about mu holiday yet you resorted to antisemitic comments. What a shame that this is allowed on a Carnival blog. I know full well the name of the owner of Carnival et al. I asked an innocent question which did not involve anyone. I received an answer from an unexpected person in a tone I perceived as cold. I did not attack anyone I simply voiced an opinion and not at any one of you. Why did you Chris and the others think it necessary to be so harsh. In your mission to prove your loyalty to Carnival you are giving sending out negative vibes about their passengers. As much as Carnival may appreciate these loyal people they will not appreciate them scaring away any passengers abhor want to cruise with them due to cruel or bbigoted people on a forum they sponsor. I am sure you believe you are not however your comment about the chosen people proves otherwise. Be careful what you write.

          • beverly ann says:

            @Duane… last comment was not to Chris Roberts it was to the Chris who brought up the “chosen people”. I did thank Chris Roberts for his info. It is very sad what is happening here. My poor hubby whoby the way did not agree with me about the Chris Roberts response but respects me enough to understand I have my own opinions. In your blasting me as others here have done also you are respecting peoples rights to their own opinions and feelings. There would have been many less harsh ways to let me know you did not agree with me. Hubby and I want to feel secure that we will meet nice friendly people on our upcoming cruise. We will be celebrating our 25th anniversary and my recovery from open heart surgery 3 months ago.

          • beverly ann says:

            @ all who engaged in this fiasco I wave the white flag. Life is too precious to waste any of it on negative things. I need to focus on this wonderful cruise hubby and I are taking and how lucky we are that I survived to so.

          • Laura Brown says:

            I thik you will find that most if not all of the people on the cruise are friendly. I will soon be taking my fifth Carnival Cruise and I have for the most part found people to be friendly and willing to help others. It has been my experience that life is what you make of it. If you go out expecting to have a wonderful time you will. I am not saying that there will not be problems but if you go with an open mind you will have a wonderful time. My husband and I will be celebrating our 47th anniversary this December on a Carnival Cruise. Have a wonderful time and put these negative responses where they belong in the trash.

          • Suzanne says:

            Anti-semitic? I must’ve missed that. Methinks someone is just a tad over-sensitive. Life is what it is sometimes, not perfect and not always perfectly controllable. Your question was asked and answered, your perceptions as to it not being answered by the person and in the way you deem proper is your own. Glad I’m not going on that particular cruise.

          • beverly ann says:

            @Laura brown..thank you for your kind words and thoughts. It means a lot to me to know that are nice people writing here who don’t pounce on everything. We are also sailing in December and really looking forward to our cruise.

      • Duane says:

        Wow Beverly Ann you certainly jump to conclusions. You assumed that John directed your question to someone else to answer. If you truly do read the blog, you would have know that John does have help with the blog and Facebook page as you can see he does get asked a lot of questions. You also you assumed that John did not answer your question because it was not important and that John does not know what a Menorah is. Also, why is it that you assumed that the answer you recieved was wrong and the tone you used was that the person giving the answer was below your station. You received an answer that came from a person that would know as he is a cruise director and would be responsible for organizing the daily lighting.

        So why don’t you do the respectable thing and thank Chris Roberts for taking the time to answer your question. Also, maybe you owe him an apology for the manner in which you responded to his answer to your question.

      • patrick says:

        @beverlyann, as a jewish person, I must say that you aren’t doing our people any favors by reinforcing the “jewish people complain a lot” stereotype. Relax and enjoy yourself!

    • Chris Benson says:

      What a irritating person you are. You allege there are no Jewish people working with Carnival. FFS Stay home for the 8 days and give us a break. I am sure there will be many other religions who will be not given special attention when they are on board. Do you think their religious beliefs are not equal to yours? You are the reason you are treated the way you are. You are not chosen or better so get over it and join the rest of us for a good time.

  6. Jessica Murray says:

    Thank you, John, for the wonderful chuckle regarding that last paragraph. Now, if only I didn’t have such a marvelous imagination! HaaaHaaa!

  7. Jeanette McClellan says:

    I sailed last Feb with 3 girl friends while we were not the tidiest we did make a point to leave the room in fair/good condition. We had to just for our own sanaity. I once saw a woman in a huff because the steward had not cleaned up behind her 3 teen boys who were sharing a room. The steward had folded the clothing items that had been scattered all over the room. but the woman seemed to think the steward should have hung them up or put them away in the shelves. She was talking to her hubby and I hate to think how she treated that poor steward.

  8. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Noonan is indeed a WONDERFUL Cruise Director…and a WONDERFUL individual. We had lunch with him (and his wife) when both of our ships were in Cozumel one day.

    DJ considers him his “cruise” big brother and they fight like it.

    You see, Noonan is a Yankees fan and DJ is a Red Sox fan…..and sparks fly when they are together!!

    But it is a joy to get to spend time with them whenever we can. In fact, Noonan won our 2nd annual St Jude award. And now that St Jude is doing bricks once a year, we are going to get Noonan a brick as well.

    (We can not have him left out of the 3 Muskateers, since Tex and Gary already have St Jude bricks!)

    As for Mr “braggie pants”…. I have found that those who boast the most are usually compensating for a lack of self esteem and with men; a lack of something else.

    Just because you own a bat, doesn’t mean you know how to play baseball!


    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  9. Julie Mendenhall says:

    I like the way the VIFP party went! I love that the ships are still there to cheer for!
    On another note,
    We have always had staff call us by our first names. We have never been called by our last names. I like the fact they all use our first names..although most will say Miss Julie or Mr. Randall.

    • Julie Mendenhall says:

      I should have said I like the way NOONAN said the party went. I hope to see for myself on the October 13, 2012 sailing of the Carnival Valor.

  10. dave says:

    I saw on JH BLOG the letter says if this is your FIRST Diamond cruise you will get a special get together with the captain invitation to follow

    the vipf program says “Special invitation from the Captain
    on each sailing ” which is correct?

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Good catch Dave…I had not noticed that….

    • Loretta Wampler says:

      The coupon on the bottom of the diamond letter has the image of a cocktail in a hurricaine style glass. Will there be hurricaine style glasses onboard Carnival Splendor at the end of September? Will there be a Punchliner comedy brunch on that ship by then?
      Thank you.

  11. Barb says:

    Great comments once again, John! I remember our very first room steward, Mali. She was one of the people who sold us on Carnival. We had asked her upon meeting us to call us by our first names as we are not very formal people. She remembered our names right from the start, even greeting us by name in one of the ports when were saw her on the street during her time off. I wish I could have a room sterward from Carnival here at home!

  12. Linda says:

    Just so you know, in all 29 of our Carnival cruises the belt of the bathrobe is never threaded thru the loops….it’s always been just tied around the robe. No big deal but you did bring it up….

    Glad to see the new cards and I’ll be happy to be getting the white diamond card on our Sept Miracle cruise 🙂

  13. Sharon says:

    I just snorted all over my laptop at the last paragraph, John. Thanks a million! LOL

  14. Bonida Kimbrough says:

    Brilliant Blog!

  15. Julie Lane says:

    John, I loved your last blog, especially this comment “Hopefully, the sight of my thingy peeping out will prove that one sodding size……does not fit all and the president will order the immediate manufacture of XXXL bathrobes……followed by some Valium and a large scotch!”
    You are truely a hilarious man. Thanks for the laughs


  16. Sharon Gelvin says:

    Believe it or not, this is the first time I have read your blog. Believe me, I am subscribing right now. The VIFP party sounds like a fun party to attend. I know over the past few weeks you have been batttered by people over the new changes going on at Carnival and please keep in mind, it is not by all those who sail Carnival. I think people are so afraid of change, they have difficulty coping or exploring something new. For me, it is the opposite. At 69 years of age, I embrace new opportunities and experiences. I just love to go on cruises and if they were all exactly the same and without some new twist, it wouldn’t be the fun time. Each ship, although, much the same programing is different by the new people you meet, the new staff and the atmosphere of the ship. What a great idea of having the staff use our first names instead of the formal past tradition. We are pleased to say we have had great staff during our cruises. I am thrilled to be cruising again this October 13th on the Carnival Dream, my first really bigggg ship. I know this will be a new experience plus we are trying an L-shaped room so we plan to spend a lot of time on the bigger balcony. Carnival provides a great vacation, they must I have sailed on 8, soon to be 9 and this will not be my last. Happy sailing on the Breeze and hope to meet you on a Carnival cruise.

  17. jerry calvert says:

    Kill the video and the “who sailed on ” in the new VIFP party. It’s old , stale and cheezy!!
    Do something new!!!

    • Chuck says:

      No! I love that part. I am glad to hear I will get a chance to clap for several ships on my next cruise.

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      No way…that is our favorite part of the party.

      Our 20 year old with Autism has sailed them all (starting with the Tropicale) and clapping for his ships is the only reason he goes to the party.

  18. Glenn Hughes says:

    John, from one big guy to another – THANKS for exposing yourself for all of us BIG GUYS – for once I would love to be able to put on that nice white fluffy robe and it FIT…. Sailing in Nov (again) #14 – my request for you will come later… but I am excited to think of that robe fitting…

  19. Richard Hillman says:

    I the Diamond Letter, it shows UNLIMITED wash and fold laundry service. I thought this had been lowered to 2 days laundry on up to 5 day sailings, and 3 days laundry on 7+ day sailings.

  20. Leslie says:

    So sorry John, but I have to disagree with Carnival taking the more casual approach to how they address their guests.

    I too work in the customer service industry and I would never assume that my customers want to be called by their first name only. To add a title such as Mr., Mrs., or Miss, even if using their first name, implies that you respect them and appreciate their patronage.

    Also, it is a southern tradition in the US to put a title before the first name. It seperates the gentleman from the boys. Miss Amy, or Miss Margaret, as opposed to using ony the name, is a sign of maturity and respect. I am sure that being British you can appreciate tradition and good manners.

    I personally could care less if I am on vacation. I am away from the formalities of my real job. I just thought you might like to know what some might see as a reduction in customer service standards. Being too familiar with the guests can imply to some that they are not important or respected for the money they have invested on their vacation.

    As you probably well know, I have cruised with Carnival 21 times and have never had a complaint with they way I was addressed. I am thinking of your customers who have a cruise vacation as a once in a lifetime experience who would like to feel special just once in their lives.

    Using someones given name with a title before it is less formal than using a title with the last name. This is accepted by most.

    To call me by my first name only implies you know me and are among my circle of friends. It isn’t professional unless you call me in a formal way and I correct you and say, “Please just call me Leslie” (which I am by the way, most likely to do) To assume it is okay without permission from your guest is bad decision, as many will see it as a lack of respect.

    Once again, the impression I want to give my customer is that I am here to make certain you enjoy your experience. To say “Hi John!”, instead of “Hi Mr. John”, indicates that I acknowlage your presence, but not the fact that you are my customer first and formost.

    • grace says:

      There are so many differences here in the US. Here on the west coast the only people that are addressed as Miss Jane or Mr. Joe are black people and only by other black poeple. Otherwise we use Mr. Or Mrs. lastname. But it is becoming more and more common just to use first names.

    • LoriAnne Garbutt says:

      My sister and I have done a “Sisters Cruise” the past two years and both times we were greeted by our room stewards, as well as, the wait staff as Ms. Lori and Ms. Patricia (which which she told them that she goes by Pat, which made her Ms. Pat) We loved that they knew us by name every time we saw them. I would prefer to be called by my first name and not my last as I personally feel that makes me sound older.. LOL! Just my 2 cents worth and I am a South Georgia Girl, and we are all about some some southern manners and hospitality. Have a great day!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Well said, Leslie. I am a Southerner. I don’t want to to called by my first name. I think that I was called “Miss Elizabeth” on our last cruise, I liked that.

    • Snoozeman says:

      I agree with Mr. Leslie!!

  21. grace says:


    I would love to have a robe that fits. Please persue this matter. It would be great.

  22. Luis R says:

    Nice blog as usual. About the stateroom stewards calling guests by first name, some already do this. In my Carnival Magic cruise last year my girlfriend and I had Ana Maria from Romania as our stateroom stewardess. She greeted us by first name as far as I can recall. She and her assistant (unfortunately can’t remember his name) did a wonderful job and were an important part in making our cruise a nice experience.

  23. Phil Hale says:

    Bravo John I too am a 3 extra medium gent and hope not only to see big robes but big everything in the shops as well. How can a Cruise line that feeds you Guy’s pigburgers and Chocolate melting cake think it’s Platinum guests are Less than extra large? Come on Gerry give us some love 🙂

  24. richard hercock says:

    Hi John, I was on the Breeze this month as part of the Press group. I was the Sheffield lad from the Yorkshire Post. Just wanted to say what a magnificent job Carnival do and am already looking at buying a trip next year as my four-year-old had his best holiday ever. Just a couple of quick questions…. am I right you were born in Bridlington, but moved ‘south’ when you were two? And your dad played in Brighouse and Rastrict Brass Band for 10 years?
    Hope we get the chance to sail with you again, maybe the Baltics in 2013.
    Cheers, Richard

  25. Richard Taylor says:

    Thanks for what is a timely hint re bathrobes. My wife was concerned as to whether to bring one. Now I can tell not to and she saves 6 ounces on her check-in baggage!!!! Which means another pair of s*dding shoes, no doubt!
    And, as always, a brilliant blog. Thank you.

  26. Pingback: The new VIFP cards. - CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums

  27. JohnHenry says:

    Kinda funny that the person who asked about the Olympic’s being shown mentioned that a friends daughter would be on the USA Gymnastic team. He must have ESP due to fact they did not have qualifications for the team until 6/29. Im thinking he had hoped tyou would say they would not be shown so he could give you h*ll

  28. Brenda Crabtree says:

    John, I think we had Mr. Ivy League at our dinner table, along with his buddies, on the first night of a cruise on his preferred cruise line. We changed tables after that! Looking forward to seeing you 11/22 and preparing Butch for the 12/8 group(s).

  29. Bob Baughan says:

    John I laughed out loud at the rash and underpants comment. It reminded me of our first cruise. My wife and I woke up on our first day at sea and were so excited to get to the deck we quickly threw on our bathing suits and left our clothes on the bed. When we came back our dirty clothes were folded neatly on the bed including the underware. My wife was MORTIFIED. She felt so bad that someone had folded dirty underware. She is now very careful to make sure it is all picked up when we leave the room. Thanks for the great laugh this morning!

  30. Gale O. Westburg says:

    John – my wife and I do not have a Ivy League Education (South Dakota State and 40 years in the USAF worked for us) – neither do we have a huge collection of large wrist watches – however – we eagerly await joining you on the Breeze for back to back cruises next January – just keep doing what you do and we’ll be just fine – Gale & Mirth Westburg

  31. miss linda says:

    I also prefer it if someone I do not know uses Miss or Mrs before my first name.I hate when sales people use only my first name after reading it on a creditcard for instance.I do not know you and I find it a bit too familiar.I am fine with not using last names as that is too formal and often mispronounced.

  32. Cindy LaRue says:

    LOL’s John, as ususal. Thanks for the laughs.

    One thing I wanted to ask you….I have 22 VIFP points on the website, but I’ve asked Carnival twice to please apply my cruise on the TSS Carnival in the 1980s but I have not received any reply. I was really hoping to have these three points applied, hence I would have arrived at my gold status when I cruise the Valor next month on the 21st.

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Hope you can get that old cruise added…however, it is my understanding that since you will turn Gold on your Valor cruise… will be Gold from the first day of that Valor cruise.

      Have a great cruise!

  33. jgeraci says:

    Since our first Carnival cruise way back in 1991, our room steward has always called us by our first names. There’s a Miss or Mrs. in front of it sometimes. But it gives me a warm feeling to be greeted by name. Of course I’m not a very formal person, and tend to strike up conversations with just about anyone, anywhere. It’s my Midwestern upbringing, I suppose.

  34. Bob McAdoo says:

    Another great Blog, kudos, my friend (I will always think of you as a friend). On the robe issue, yes, PLEASE bigger. I’m 5’11 and 260lbs, it doesn’t quite wrap the parts that should be wrapped properly. I don’t believe anyone wants to see the leftover….Thanks, John.

  35. howard says:


    We have had awesome cabin stewards on every sailing. What sold me on Carnival was our experience with Somchit on the Paradise in Oct 2006. Our 2 year old son was crying up a storm when we entered the cabin. Somchit came in to introduce himself and upon seeing our son crying, told him “…Matthew, there is no crying on a FUN SHIP!” Matthew stopped the tears, broke out a smile and never frowned onboard again. He loves everytime we sail. Kudos to our other stewards… Claudius (Pride 1/2008), Xiomara (Spirit 3/2011) and Wiritan Ketut (Legend 10/2011). These special people really enjoy their jobs and take great pride in helping to create great vacations. I got great shore info from each one and hope to sail with these people again.

  36. beverly ann says:

    I expressed my feelings on the matter and as usual the “pouncers” were out there waiting. If I believed that his response was cold so be it. I have asked many questions which went unanswered while I read John’s responses to others who were all seemingly platinum or even higher status. Therefore it seemed ad if lower status passengers did not get answered by Mr. Heald. I do agree the info was factual and helpful. I have seen John apologize to people who have been way out of line. Mr. Roberts need not apologjze only acknowledge. Any further questions I have regarding my cruise will be addressed more privately in the future.

  37. Carolyn Perkins says:

    Can’t wait to get my Diamond Card on the Spirit repo to Australia in September!!

  38. Lightpinksoul says:

    Hi John,hope you’re fine. I read the passage about the man with the huge watch..but I can tell you that last night two of my customers just returnet from a cruise with that rich man so loved Company told me the cruise didn’t satisfy them, probably because this kind of customers that used to do cruise in the Mediterrean are very demanding…but “it was not so perfect”, and I say no more. People who think to know everything are exactly those kind of people who ignore a lot. Let them to get lost in their thoughts and go on! Ciao!!!

  39. Jason G says:

    I will be sailing on the Carnival Breeze Aug 2 and I was curious about my VIFP club. This will be my 6th cruise with carnival but since the new web site update and the VIFP update it says I have cruised 0 days sailing with Carnival. Does this mean I will have the blue S&S card even though I have 30+ days with Carnival? Its not a major problem and wont ruin this fantastic cruise, I was just curious. Thanks for any response and have a great day!

    • Laura Brown says:

      I had the same problem. I called customer service and the nice gentleman quickly fixed the problem. Within 10 minutes the proper number of days was showing.

  40. richstowe says:

    Sorry that we will not be invited to the VIFP party on our next Carnival cruise. We enjoyed the welcome back party and hope to enjoy it again some day.

    We liked being called by our first names WITH a title in front. Casual is fine but this will be missed.To each his own.

    beverly ann – Give it a rest.

  41. Liz says:

    If one needs immediate answers to questions one should call customer service. There they have many people whereas here you have just one man. But that may not be an option for Beverly Ann because apparently she only wants answers from just that one man that she feels has a vendetta against her personally.

    If something is very important to me, be it a religious event or the Super Bowl, I would not sail on those days in order to guarantee that I could attend/view the said event.

    I also do not think that I would like to be stuck on a ship with Beverly Ann but would love to sail with Mr. Clarence Redwood!

    • Steven Zavalney says:

      I know you are tremendously busy, and I really do HATE to ask you for anything, but I need a bit of help.
      I am trying to redeem a future cruise certificate for the Spirit TP voyage, and unfortunately I used my certificates out of order, and the special programs desk is refusing to honor it, since the one I currently have in my possession was purchased after the cruise was booked. I have used these certificates on like the last 20 cruises, It should not be an issue, but I can’t seem to get them to understand.

      Can you give me a name of someone that I can contact in the head office who might be able to help me out with this? Thanks a million! you are the best! Say Hi to Radu and Calvyn for me….

      oh, and


      thanks again

    • Karen P says:

      Amen!! LOL

      Took the words right out of my mouth!!!

  42. Marjorie "Bonnie" Jones says:

    You wrote about crew members calling passengers by their 1st name. I have to tell you this has been done for a while on the Fantasy. And sometimes I wonder how they know my name! We cruise on the Fantasy a lot. On our June 3rd cruise the pool was leaking down to the prominade. There was Ursula, who wasn’t smiling as she was mopping up water. My husband told her she should smile and then she did. Don’t remember telling her my name but I must have.We were just on Fantasy’s June 23rd cruise. I was walking down hall on Empress deck almost to the Atrium when a lady assistant steward member smiled and said “You were just on weren’t you?” She then said, “I smile all the time now”! She then said,”You’re Bonnie, right?”
    Daniel who sells vouchers to us has always calls us by our 1st names as have old waiters in the dinnig room when we see them.
    In March we were on the Miracle and our old steward from the Fantasy saw us sitting in the atrium and immediately came up to us and greeted us by name! He was doing the suites then.
    We are looking forward to our next cruise, yes, the Fantasy on July 25th. We are Diamond (234 days!)and looking forward being Diamond!
    We also have the Fantasy booked in August & September, maybe October and a back to back on the Freedom in November into December. Guess we are Carnval fans now! We have been cruising since 1984, Fantasy was 1st Carnivall ,cruise in 1997!
    When is the new cruise director schedule going to be posted? Know Risa will be back on the Fantasy but who will be on the Freedom?

    • Anne Seitz says:

      Thanks for starting my day with another good laugh. Since returning from the inaugural cruise of the Breeze I have been busy taking care of my sick mother & your humor lightens my day.
      Just wish I was back on the Breeze & able to listen to your morning show with Calvyn. You and Calvyn were hilarious with your Liars Club show.
      Keep up the good work

  43. Andy Nare says:

    I have been a loyal carnival customer for 6 cruises now. I was really looking forward to getting to 10 so I could go platinum and get the free laundry service and the better embarq and disembarq. That would make it that much easier to cruise. I have known I only needed 4 more cruises of any length to get there. Now that I am a VFIP i need at least six 7 day cruises to get to the same point. Pardon me if I think this new program stinks and existing good customers should have been grand fathered in on the old plan.

  44. Beryl still says:

    Hi john
    We have just left the breeze on the 9th july.
    Unfortunately we do have a couple of complaints. Both myself and my husband have taken two twelve day cruises with carnival. But when we went onto the breeze on the 27th july I was given a gold card and my husband a blue one. We are still listed as not having cruised on the vifp site. I of course did not attend the party that was given for the gold and above as i would not go with out my husband. Yes we should have gone and complained but we did not. There was enough people doing this and we did not want to make more problems. We were also trying to get carnival to pay us e two hundred dollars that we should have received as onboard credit. This being as we booked as an early saver and was told or it is in black and white on your website that carnival will match the price etc. Yes they did and we ended up getting quite a refund to the origanl price stated. But on the last check to see the price quote as we had to chase for this everyfew months there was also a 200 dollar on board credit. We asked for this when we was on the ship but was just told that they was looking into it. We booked direct with carnival uk. One of the excuses they gave was they was trying to find the agent we booked with. Rubbish they new we had booked direct with carnival as they even had records of when we phoned them. We left the ship with no 200 dollars. It is no good now saying they will give it to us on the next cruise. The offer was on the cruise we went on.
    Also i am sorry to say that our cabin staff and i think there was 3 to each cabin as one of the days i was in not well when they came. One to do the hooving. One to do the bathroom and the main one to do the bed and sort of dust. The bathroom shelves was never cleaned the whole of the cruise.? I would have thought that was part of the job, but perhaps i am wrong.
    Also we found out that the stewardhad gone into our sale and sign card on the tv. This did annoy us as what we spend on the ship is our business not the cabin staff. We was in cabin 8454. We were the couple who spoke to you one evening, and come from your home town. We was on the spirit ten years ago when the air con broke and my husband was very ill.
    No we did not complain about any of the above and possible yes we should have, but i am not sure it would have helped as right up to the last day we was still being fobed off with different stories, anything to avoid paying us the on board credit. I am sorry to say but carnival will not be our first choice for our next cruise.
    But all the best to you john, and keep up the good work. Beryl and John.

  45. Deborah Anderson says:

    Please John, I have looked several times and to date do not see cruise director schedules for Splendor for September. We are cruising 9/9.We will be on our 2nd cruise, 1st was last year same cruise for our honeymoon. We had the time of our life. 2 weeks after returning from honeymoon my husband was in a very serious rollover accident and spent 8 days in ICU. He has made an almost complete recovery but finances have been super tight. We love to rv but… I think we have found cruising to be our new 1st love. Im not sure if you can do anything special but this will be our 1st anniversary/our youngest daughters graduation/her 18th birthday gift. We really want to make it special. We had Todd as CD last year hoping he is on again. We are already looking at possibly booking Carribean on the new Sunshine in 2014 as we will need to save save save. We are in cabin 9262 Sept. 9, 2012

  46. Cynthia Cox says:

    You talk about your new VIFP program but you should have grandfathered people in instead of taking a benefit away. Last year we cruised as a gold member and went to the past guest party now we are bumped back to red and everyone in our party gets to go to the party except us. That doesn’t seem like a improved program to us when you take benefits away.

  47. beryl says:

    Can anyone please give me the recipe for the sweet potato soup that was served on the breeze please. Thanks

  48. bob bear says:

    Fact, you will get to Platinum level on Carnival spending at least several thousand dollars ‘less’ then any other cruise line!
    All the cruise lines Platinum level members get about the same benefits! So people who like to complain, stop whinning!
    RCL does credit their companion lines which ‘Carnival should do’ now they are planning more cruises with Costa and Princess in the Carrbbean! Do you hear Carnival ?
    As far as comments about RCL, and their larger ships, been there, done that, they are beautiful, but they are ooooh soooo crowded! And talk about whinners, these big ships really attract the showoff types who think they are better then everyone else! And don’t get me started on NCL with their private lounges, restaurants, and pools for their ‘rich elite’! I know I’m impressed, how about you?-)) I call these 2 lines the ‘snob’ lines!

Copyright 2017 John Heald. All Rights Reserved