I had already started writing today’s blog a few hours ago as the ship sat overnight here in Venice. While I was asleep, I dreamt of running the 200 meters final representing the UK. I had been neck and neck with Usain Bolt and we crossed the line together but the judges gave Usain the gold medal because his gentleman’s sausage had crossed the line before mine. Anyway, I waddled over to the computer to find a message telling me that during the night, some “new software ” had been installed and the computer had “restarted.” My half written blog had gone. I was livid. My little toe was as bent as a dog’s back leg thanks to a previous night’s stubbing, my carpool tunnel arm felt like a nest of ants were doing their own track and field events in it and now this… my blog had gone!  I restarted, looked everywhere in every file and every program, in the drawers and in the trash but, no, it was gone forever. So I did what any normal person would do in a situation like this. I took my underpants off and gave my computer a beating with them.

I sat here for a few minutes and suddenly felt bad that I had beaten my Dell with the brown brush, after all I had not saved my work, obviously. Yep, it was my fault, so feeling bad for my Dell……… I sent it a fruit basket.

This is all though part of my continuing battle against machine. Yesterday on my Facebook page in between answering 2,389,877 questions about the Faster to the Fun Program, I wrote a silly bit about a program I had seen about some tribe living in an Amazon jungle and how they would love a George Foreman grill. I sort of suggested that they really would love some of today’s gadgets and luxuries to help improve their life and their mud huts. But this morning’s problems with my computer had caused me to think what it must be like to live like that without anything that we use in our lives every day. Imagine if I had wanted to wash my underpants which in the jungle would have been made out of baboon scrotum. This would have meant that I would have to walk to and from my mud hut carrying a pail of water back from the river where I may possibly have been eaten by a crocodile. And that’s before you’ve tackled the laundering process itself, which consists of hours scrubbing my soiled garments against a rock and wringing it out. By the time I would have finished…… it’s dinner time….so after a quick slice of yak, it’s time for bed.

Yes, life is simpler there and stress is a word that probably doesn’t translate for the Seaugo tribe of the Amazon despite the threat of waking up to find a tarantula nibbling on your dangly bits. But in many ways, living like that would provide a better quality of life than today. Yes, computers have helped us on the one hand, but introduced an equal amount of stress on the other. These days, we all do everything online, from reserving The Chef’s Table on your next Carnival cruise, getting up to date news on the Olympics or what’s happening in your own local town, locating a Latvian who is prepared to show you a good time to writing on a message board how much you hate big fat bent-toothed cigar-smoking British cruise directors. Tasks that would have taken years to do, can now be accomplished in the swift movement of a mouse thingy.

Or would be, if you could remember your password. But you can’t remember your password. You can’t remember it ­because you chose it so very long, long ago……like the day before. In the intervening period you’ve had to dream up another seven passwords for another seven websites. In this age of rampant identity theft, where it’s just a matter of time before someone works out a way to steal the way you look and use it to have rumpy pumpy with your wife and empty the bank account, we’re told only a total idiot would use the same password for. Passwords are for spies. “Ahhh, Mr. Fatblokeski, the Siberian winter is bitter this year.” “Yes, Sergei, your wife has breasts the size of the Himalayas and I want to use them as a trampoline” ……….those are passwords. I am leaving for a cruise and a half and Butch is taking over from me so I decided to change the password on my computer so every time he goes to use it, he has to type in “Johnfartedinthischair@99.”  Job done.

Time for today’s Q and A…………..here we go.


Liam McDuff asked:
I have heard some negative reviews on Cruise Critic about Cruise Director Jen Baxter on the Carnival Fascination. I am prepared to ignore these comments and am terrified she will ruin our cruise.


John says:
Hello Liam McDuff

I am not sure what you have read on Cruise Critic about the wonderful Jen Baxter but I can tell you she has a huge fan base and it will be difficult to find a more passionate and caring CD. She is on the Carnival Triumph now and I am sure the guests there are really enjoying her. I hope you had a great cruise or if you haven’t sailed yet, will have a great cruise on the Carnival Fascination. Best wishes.



Pat Novak-Call asked:

I will be traveling with a friend for the 10/25 sailing of the Carnival Breeze. I will be platinum but she is not. We are sharing a cabin.  My question is will I be able to bring her as my guest to the “vifp” party? I cannot remember if when my husband was alive if we got one or two invitations in the cabin.  Thanks for your help.

Pat Novak-Call

PS Will you be our CD 10/25/2012??


John says:
Hello Pat Novak-Call

It will be great to see you here and, yes, I am scheduled to be your cruise director and, yes, you may indeed bring your friend to the VIFP party. I will see you soon here on this wonderful ship Carnival Breeze. Best wishes.



Debbie Halley asked:
Why is it that Carnival is going so “informal?” I am referring to how the crew will be allowed to address the guest as their first name. I am sorry but in my eyes, this is a sign of pure disrespect. We would never think of calling the captain by his first name. I like Ms. Debbie. To me, this just leads to “commonality.” I do not cruise for commonality. I like a certain level of respect. I do not want to sit and listen to crew talk about how terrible their life on the ship is while I am enjoying my dinner or a show or sitting out on deck which is where we will all be next. This is just wrong. This is exactly what we endured on our last cruise on the Carnival Valor. Commonality does not belong in the service industry. A certain level is always expected but now Carnival is taking that away. What next?


John says:
Hello Debbie Halley

Well, that’s an interesting point and I appreciate you taking the time to write. We are a company that thrives on the idea of fun and that’s what our guests, for the most part, want as well. However, you are the guest and we need to respect your wishes so please may I suggest that when your wonderful stateroom steward calls you Debbie please simply tell him or her that you prefer Mrs. Halley or Ms. Halley or indeed “ma’m” and they will comply. We want you to be comfortable and feel respected because you are. I am afraid I don’t understand your comment about the crew talking about how “terrible their life is” so maybe if you have time you can clarify this. Thanks again and hope we see you on one of our ships soon. Best wishes.



Lorraine Porter asked:
No comment cards any more John? I just got off the Carnival Breeze and what a fantastic cruise it was and I so wanted to write a comment about Desi, our waitress. She was exceptional and the care she showed to our eight-year-old son who is in a wheelchair still brings smiles and tears to my face every time I think about it. Please thank her for me and also the rest of the restaurant staff and Ken who always paid Cameron special attention, as well. You and Calvin may I say are priceless and you should both be on national TV stateside. It was a great cruise and we will be back for more and are looking at the Magic next from Galveston. Thank you, John.

Lorraine, Chad and Cameron Porter


John says:
Hello Lorraine Porter.

That’s right, no more comment cards as they are now sent to some of our guests online. However, I will promise that everyone you mentioned here will get the praise they need and that their supervisors also see what you have written. I have known Desi for a long time and know how wonderful she is with the guests she serves. Thanks again for the kind words and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes to you all.



Scott asked:
Good day Sir,

I have a question about the kids clubs and the age ranges. We have recently heard an increase in our customers giving feedback about the kids not being able to attend the activities in another “age group” even though they do not wish to be separated from siblings. I was just informed that the children of a family just returning from a cruise on the Carnival Magic decided not to utilize the kids activities because her sons age 11 and 12 did not want to be separated. Is this information correct, and, if so, are there any plans to allow a “little fudge room” on the age splits? Thanks for all you do, and I look forward to your reply. 🙂


John says:
Hello Scott

We do indeed have very strict rules about our three different children and teen areas of Camp Carnival, Circle C and Club O2. We do try and keep siblings together, if possible, and if they fall into a six-month frame, meaning they are the next age up within six months, we do try and accommodate them together. If not, we will ask they attend the different programs. I know that’s not always what the parents want to hear but for the most part, once the kids are having fun and meeting new friends, they are happy and content. I hope this helps and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.



Keith Vashtay asked:
Mr Heald –

My name is Mr. Keith Vashtay, a Platinum VIFP member. Please inform the workers on your Carnival Dream cruise ship that I wish to be called Mr. Vashtay and not Keith when I cruise on that vessel on 10/22. I am not a child and own my own company so I expect to be treated respectfully through the use of my own name. I do not appreciate the policy of first name recognition you spoke of today and I would expect if you asked many of your customers would say the same. I am a Platinum VIFP.


John says:
Hello Keith Vashtay

It is interesting that there are two comments here on today’s blog about the use of first names by our crew and both are of a similar nature. I do remember the blog when I announced this and remember the large number of positive comments about this. However, I was explaining just now to Debbie…….bugger…….to Mrs. Halley, we need you to feel comfortable and if that means we call you by your surname, then that’s exactly what we will do. I have sent a note to the ship to alert them of this request and may I kindly ask that as it’s some time away that if by chance a crew member does refer to you on first name terms please correct them and let them know what you prefer and I promise that is what will happen. The most important thing is that you have a wonderful cruise. Best wishes.



Stephen Martindale asked:
Hi John,

I will be doing a B2B on the Breeze for the last Med. cruise and the TA. My question is if I buy an internet package on the first cruise and have any leftover minutes, is there any way to carry them over to the TA cruise? Thanks.

Stephen Martindale


John says:
Hello Stephen Martindale

It will be great to welcome you here and you have two fantastic voyages to look forward to. They are two separate voyages and because accounting looks at them as two different voyages you cannot, I am afraid, carry the minutes over. You may wish to consider buying the Internet in smaller packages or a per-minute plan. If you have any other questions or need anything, please let me know. Best wishes.



Maxine Lucas asked:
I am very happy to hear that Carnival is not leaving Jacksonville after all that speculation. Jacksonville is an awesome port with the best facilities and the nicest friendliest people in the United States so I am glad Carnival has recognized this and is staying. Now we want MORE SHIPS!!!


John says:
Hello Maxine Lucas

I, too, am glad that we will continue to sail from the Port of Jacksonville. I’ve personally never sailed from there but hear great things about the port and, of course, our Carnival Fascination cruises from there. Thanks for taking the time to write.  Best wishes.



Elizabeth Woodard asked:
Does Carnival have any swim/splash pad options for kids in swim diapers? My family is considering a cruise on the Carnival Magic, but it would be horrible if my daughter couldn’t get in the water at all. She will be a little over two when we set sail and I hope to have her trained by then, but I am curious what our options are if she isn’t.


John says:
Hello Elizabeth Woodard

Carnival Magic does not have a kids’ splash pool but there are two small kids water slides at WaterWorks which I know my daughter who was two absolutely loved. We do have strict rules about children not being in the pool unless they are potty trained for obvious reasons. Hopefully your daughter will be potty trained and can use the pool with you but, if not, there are the slides and the gazebo areas that have a beach water effect that she will be able to use as well, my daughter also loved that. I wish you a wonderful cruise and let me know if you have any other questions Best wishes.



And that’s all for today. Thanks once again for your comments.

When I left the Carnival Magic pre trans-Atlantic crossing last year, I left the ship in the hands of then acting Cruise Director James Charlton. Since then, the ship has become his permanent home and I have great joy in presenting his bio to you now. So here is James Charlton, CD, Carnival Magic.

I was born and bred in West Yorkshire, in the North of England, and devoted most of my childhood to tree climbing, lady bird [bug] catching, piano lessons and community theatre.  I studied music at university for three years and then continued as a post graduate to qualify as a high school music teacher. My passion for music was matched only by the great satisfaction I got from sharing music with others in the classroom. However, having never left the education system since the age of 4, I decided to take a ‘short’ break to broaden my outlook on life and see some of the world. Cue Carnival Cruise Lines. My first day ‘on deck’ was on the Holiday in August 2004 as a social host. It wasn’t long before I was hooked on ship life and my six-month sabbatical turned into a new career. I then spent time on Carnival Valor and Carnival Miracle.  I was promoted to assistant cruise director on Carnival Pride back in 2008. You may have sailed with me as your cruise director over the last few years on both Carnival Glory and Carnival Sensation, and then since its delivery last year, on Carnival Magic. I was thrilled to be a part of the start-up team on Carnival Magic, and then even more happy to look after her when John Heald left to promote Fun Ship 2.0. Carnival Magic and Galveston, Texas, are now home for me.  One thing you wouldn’t know about me unless reading this bio? I can’t eat dairy. So, if you find any milk-free cheese (somewhat of an oxymoron. I know!) give me a shout out and make me a very happy man.


Thanks James. I am thrilled to say that James has done so well and so quickly and has been a major part in keeping the Carnival Magic so high in the rankings. He is charming, funny and has a calming effect on people when the going gets tough. I am very proud of him even though he is a vegetablist and eats sod all except bird seed and tofu. It is my hope one day James will come over to the dark side and sink his perfectly white teeth into a huge Guy’s burger. Well done, James………….well done.

Well this will be my last blog for a while because on Tuesday I am taking some time off and heading home. This is one of those times where I ask your permission to stay off the computer for a while to rest, enjoy the family and to allow the surgery to heal after Dr. Ramitin gives my carpool tunnel the good news with the scalpel. I hope this surgery is successful but the rest will do me good and I intend to use this dictation program more as well. So I will be off Facebook from Tuesday August 14-27 where I will resume blogging and Facebook duties all the way through to December. I will post any news and events each day as they happen while I am at home but I won’t be answering questions until Aug. 27, if that’s OK with you.

It has been a wonderful four months from shipyard to now and as I have proudly said many times, Carnival Breeze is simply our best ship yet. I know we have our ups and downs here and on Facebook and I know that there may be things that we as a company do and things I say that you may not agree with or indeed like. But I do want to say that I appreciate all of you so very much. I appreciate your loyalty and your comments and your fun but most of all, I appreciate your time, the time you take each day to read this blog and my musings on Facebook. I have taken some flack these past few days and that’s fine, I am a big boy and besides, that’s my job. When we announce new objectives on my Facebook or the blog, it gives you, our customers, a chance to voice both your praise and concerns.

But the more I invest in this social media thing, the more I come across people who I think social media folks call “haters.” Haters find it tough when people get on and do something with their lives. I think this may be due to some self-loathing about their lives, their inability to make their own dreams happen. When anyone else contributes anything positive to the world, it represents a threat, to which the easiest antidote is an unpleasant comment. This takes the pain away briefly (or at least passes it on to someone else) but it only lasts until the next time they see someone doing something. That aside I love what I do and until you all tell me to bugger off then I will be here ready to help. Hope this will continue for a long time to come and I remain here ready to help where I can and provide you with as much fun and information about Carnival Cruise Lines as possible and with Carnival Sunshine, our Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades and other news and announcements………. there will indeed be much for us all to be talking about.

This cruise here on the beautiful Carnival Breeze has been an interesting one due largely to the multinational guest list we have. For the most part, the guests have been brilliant but I have to say we have one nationality here who has been ummmmm………..ummmmmm………challenging and no…….not the Russians. I am not going to say which as it’s not worth my bollocks being kicked by a few who will accuse me of all sorts of stuff. Now I have been doing this job a long time but nothing prepared me for what I saw when I walked out on stage on Thursday night to introduce our Lionel Ritchie tribute act, Malcolm Pitt, and yes, you unbelievers, this is true as witnessed by 800 people including blog and Facebook readers who are sailing this cruise.

The lights dimmed, my intro music played, I walked out onto the stage and as I opened my mouth to give a cheery greeting I could not believe my eyes. There, on the front row stood ……… note – stood…….a man…….whose baby was on the stage…..on the sodding stage……legs in the air………….while his father changed his diaper!

Now there were a hundred different things I could have said but none of them would probably have made a difference or have been understood either and irony or sarcasm would have been lost on him. So I just stood there and watched, saying nothing and just a shake of my head was enough for most of the audience to laugh out loud. The man looked up at me and you know what, he scowled at me as though I had dared to interrupt this delicate operation. About a minute went by before the diaper was changed and the soiled one placed in a bag and he sat down and as he did he received a thunderous round of applause from the guests. He didn’t smile, he didn’t say anything, he just scowled at me. I looked at the audience and simply said “Sir, please don’t do that here, take him to the casino, use the craps table.” The audience laughed……..dad and the rest of his family and friends did not.

I introduced Malcolm and he was as always brilliant and had them Dancing on the Ceiling. Dad, the baby and the entourage decided Lionel Ritchie wasn’t for them and left their front row seats and walked out 10 minutes into the show.  Such is the life of a cruise director and I look forward to continue to share it with you. See you soon and thanks for allowing me these days off.


Your friend always,

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.

145 Responses to Please Welcome To The Stage ……… Are You Kidding Me?!

  1. Deb says:

    People take themselves sooo seriously.

    I am a professional with a doctorate who also owns her own business. Feel free to call me Deb.

    • Jenn says:

      good on ya!

      I prefer to be called Master Jenn Novesky on my cruise (bwahahahahaha)!

      Some people are just so self righoeus and need to keep others down while they are on top. I mean, call me Jenn! I call the wait staff, cabin crew, everyone by their first name! Or go on another cruise where you pay more for them to utter a Miss atcha.

      good grief!

  2. Rita PResnell says:

    I don’t think I have ever been so angry at any comments until I read the ones by Keith Vashtay and Debbie Halley. How stuck up and stuck on yourselves can you be? You are the people being rude and you have too big egos. Get over yourself! You are not as special as you might think! The nerve!!!!!

    • Jas says:

      I wonder if these two self important people will in turn, find out the cabin steward’s last name and address them as Mr. or Ms. ? I rather doubt they will. Respect goes both directions. If you want it, you gotta give it.

      • deb says:

        my guess is they will probably not even bother learning the staffs 1st names, let alone the last to even think about calling THEM mr or ms!

    • Susie says:

      Though the tone in the questions did come off as a bit snotty, I appreciate hearing that all it takes is a quick mention of your preferred name to make your situation the one that is most comfortable for you. I hope these folks appreciate knowing all it takes is a kind note to a different prefernce to have the crew honor that. Although, I would have thought this to be something that didn’t need addressed ahead of time. Sort of like how my daughter Eleanor prefers Ellie. It took one time to mention that to any particular crew member and she was called that the rest of the cruise. I enjoyed the attempt to recognize me by ANY name and I must say being greeted by first name made my kids feel like ROCKSTARS. I was thrilled that this initiative applied, at least on our last sailing, to every single member of our sailing party. I thought it was great!

      I think on a “FunShip” adopting first name as the policy with the understanding that a different prefernce will be honored is spot-on! It made me feel like I was constantly among friends, which was just perfect for me. Good stuff. Brilliant, even 😉

      • Susie says:

        Good grief, it looks like I can’t spell today. preference. I can spell, just can’t type 🙂

    • clipper says:

      OMG – I know I would never do business with a company whose owner is such an elitist. “I’m a platinium VIP” and because of this he is better than everyone else???? Get off your high-horse Keith – you don’t even deserve to be called by your first name – there are names that are saved especially for your type.

  3. Melli_fera says:

    Keith Vashtay’s empire must be vast… I did a google search on him and he doesn’t exist.

    • Pollywog72 says:

      HA! I feel badly for the crew that will have to take care of them. Can you just imagine what jerks Keith and Debby must be. It makes me sick to think they actually think they deserve respect. I can just imagine how poorly they must treat the people around them.

    • Jenn says:

      another one worth the laugh!!!!


  4. tammy roberts says:

    Some people are just plain dont get it . Carnival are the fun ships . We like it we the crew calls us by are first names its more personal and friendly. Carnival has always treated first class. Looking forward for our 7th cruise in Oct 22 on the Glory.
    Thomas and Tammy Roberts

  5. Bob says:

    Dear Mr. Platinum VIFP,

    As the owner of your own company you surely know that each customer is important no matter what their standing. If you want to be called Mister that is fine. It doesn’t matter if your are a Diamond Platinum VIFP but by insisting on your status you are acting like a Gold Standard SOB.

  6. Linda Sauls says:


    PLEASE take care of yourself and for once…do what HEIDI tells you to do….take care of yourself. The pain after surgery is not as bad as what you are suffering with at the present.
    Take care, take care of yourself, See you OCT 25


    No response expected, save your keystrokes 🙂


    • Elizabeth says:

      Yes. Linda said it well. Surgery hurts but you get over it.

      Most importantly *Do what Heidi tells you to*!!!

  7. Lissa says:

    There’s a sodding bathroom right outside the sodding doors you bloke!!!!

    Seriously, that is the epitome of bad manners.

  8. Cheria says:

    John: cruising for 12 years with Carnival. Leaving on the the Liberty soon. Never have I felt disrespected by use of my first name. Rather like family. It’s a personal touch that we enjoy. I look forward to meeting new friends :). Please is Chef Stanley still with the Destiny ? Thanks for all you and the crew do to make us all feel special.

  9. Carnival Fan says:

    Hope everything turns out ok. While you are gone, can you appoint just one (1) relative to post the daily “John is on Vacation” note and/or red circle picture, and have them do it just one (1) time a day? So many people post so many stupid messages to point this out to the point of being even more obnoxious than the 800 plus “fans” who criticize people who want more than one lobster with idiot comments that get SOME people, but not them, banned from your site. It would be nice to read the messages from so many helpful folks in the coming days without these stupid comments and pictures from your relatives and “fans”. Thank you, and get well quickly.

  10. cathy Jarr says:

    Hello John,
    You have always been a big help in pointing me in the right direction. This coming April 6th my two sister and I will be sailing the Liberty. They are celebrating my 65th Birthday, but I am celebrating just being with my sisters who I don’t see enough.I would like to make reservation for the Steakhouse for dinner. My question is, is it too soon to do this,and how do I go about making the reservation.

    Thanks for your help, and have a great day!

    • Jenn says:


      Just scroll down to the bottom right hand corner of this page and click ‘Steakhouse Reservations” to find your answer!

      You are welcome, John! LOL.

  11. dave j says:

    John, hope your surgery goes well. Hopefully you have a brilliant surgeon whose skill with the scalpel is equal to your humor, which is simply brilliant!

  12. David Wyatt says:

    John, I hope you are wrong about carrying over the internet minutes on back to back cruises. On my last cruise I talked to the internet guru, he was so proud about the fact he could transfer the unused minutes to the next cruise, he even took the time to show me how the minutes were transferred on his computer. I know things do change but in this case I hope you are wrong as I’m relying on being able to do it on my next cruise(s).

    • Louis Menard says:

      David, I can tell you that, at least twice on past B2B cruises, I was able to get my unused minutes transferred to the next cruise without any problem. All I did was to ask the Internet attendant about it and he gladly took care of it himself on the system. I too myself hope that John is wrong on this one, as I’m relying on it for my coming cruises too. I will be posting this on John’s Facebook page to see what’s to be expected for the future.

  13. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Just my personal opinion, but I can not imagine how uncomfortable the wait staff would feel to be “corrected” to use someone’s last name.

    This kind of “correction” could easily sound condescending and I would hate to see any wait staff made to feel that way.

    I am self assured enough to handle a total stranger calling me by my first name.

    In fact, it puzzles me that some folks think that calling someone by their first name shows a lack of respect.

    I call the staff, crew and wait staff by their first name all the time and I respect them greatly!

    I don’t call the Captain by his first name…only because I usually have a nickname for them like Captain Gazzano… (hey Elvis!!)

    If folks have that need to have their self esteem fortified by being called Mr Lastname….that is fine, as long as they do not demean the wait staff in the process.

    On another topic….Cruise Directors….
    I would like to reassure those who have not sailed with Jen that they are in great hands.

    But I would also like to remind folks that it is humanly impossible for any Cruise Director to “click” with every single passenger they sail with.

    So when you read that a CD was not someone’s cup of tea, just remember the many factors that come into play:
    1. perhaps the CD is just having an off week. (it happens to the best of us)
    2. perhaps the passenger just did not get that CD’s sense of humor (does not mean you won’t)
    3. perhaps it is a hand over week (which presents its on set of challenges for a CD)

    The best advice is to just go and enjoy your cruise…..and let the staff call you by your first name; you will be come cruise friends faster that way!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

    • cindy56 says:

      Hi Linda! I wanted to ask you a question about a previous cruise you have taken but can’t message you through Facebook as there is no icon for that. Could you please tell me how I can get in touch with you privately?

      Cindy Wiley (I’m on Facebook)

  14. Leslie says:

    What an excellent last blog to leave us with before you head home for vacation!

    And I am sure you have heard the expression, “You can call me anything, except late for dinner.” I too am a professioanal but appreciate leaving the formalities at work while I am on vacation.

    Turn off the blackberry John, and enjoy your family time. I am not sure how everyone got through each day without you before your blog and facebook, but we did, and I am sure we will again.

    Best wishes for a positive outcome on your surgery. Give Heidi and Kye lots of love and let them know how much we appreciate that they share you with us.

  15. Marsha breen says:

    Sounds like your complainers who don’t want to be called by their first names should be addressed as Mr. or Mrs. Troll??.?

  16. Nancy Brown says:

    Dear John,
    I hope you don’t mind, but I copied and pasted and gave you the credit, the paragraph about “haters”. I think what you said it (to use your own words) brilliant! Love your blog. Loved meeting you on the inaugural of the Breeze. Enjoy your time off with the family. Looking forward to your next blog. We LOVE your sense of humor 🙂

  17. Cathy Wolfenbarger says:

    Hi John, I’m not sure the way the crew is addressing the guests is new, we have been on 14 Carnival cruises with 2 more booked and the crew has always called me by my first name, i.e., Miss Cathy and I think it’s great, so I’m not sure what is new, will they stop using the ‘Miss’?

    And all I can say to Keith is ‘wow’…..

  18. vic says:

    how can siblings (sisters,brothers,sister brother)be six months a part to go to the same kids funtions,last i heard it takes nine months to have a baby.

    • Charles says:

      I thinkt they meant within 6 months of an age category (the 9-11 group, one kids is 11, the other is 8 and ten months, they qualify).

      John, enjoy your time off. You deserve it!

    • Marie Wolff says:

      I too assumed that until I realised that John meant if the child was six months closer to his next birthday. Ex. 11 years 6 months. To be in the 12 year old group.

    • Lea J says:

      I think what he was trying to say is if you have a 10 y/o and an 8 y/o who will turn 9 in less than 6 months, they can bump up and attend camp with their sibling.

    • HokieDeb says:

      Camp Carnival has programs divided into three different age groups: 2-5 yrs, 6-8 yrs and 9-11 yrs. I have two boys who are 2-1/2 years apart and they were separated at CC on our last two cruises.

    • Irene says:

      What I think John meant was 6 months from the cut off age of the other group…. But my thought was that the kids aren’t in the same class at school, and have their own friends, so they should be used to being apart.

    • Sarah says:

      This was my first thought too. Then I realised exactly what John meant. Basically, if the age cut off is say 12, then the first child must be at least 11.5 to be bumped up to the next group. The older brother/sister could be 14 and still in that group too.

    • vivienne says:

      Vic……you need to read John’s response again slowly. Nowhere does he state that “siblings” should be 6 months apart to be allowed in the same groups.

    • Jeanette says:

      LOL – That was my first thought too, until John went on to explain “if possible, and if they fall into a six-month frame, meaning they are the next age up within six months.” The child has to be within 6 months of the being the next age group, which is possible.

    • Owen Whitlock says:

      John said if the younger one was within six months of being eligible for the next age level program they may “fudge” it to keep siblings together. Hence you have a 14 year older child and a 11 1/2 year old younger child they could maybe be allowed in the same program.


  19. Malcolm says:

    Well, since Carnival provides 0 changing stations, where was he supposed to do it? His baby paid his 2nd (or maybe the slightly less 3rd expensive) person rate.

    • Elaine Brovero says:

      on the stage? oh really, that is disgusting, and I don’t imagine too sanitary for the baby. How about his cabin??

    • Marie Wolff says:

      There is plenty of good counter space in the ladies room for changing a baby. First off, a baby should not be in the first row of a theatre. His parents are most rude. Not the baby.

    • Shannon says:

      Changing stations are located in the handicapped restrooms.

    • Kerrie says:

      I just returned from a cruise on the Miracle on 8/2 and I loved being addressed by my first name! From our waiters to our room stewardess it was so nice to hear “Hi Kerrie! How was your day?” Never at any time did I feel I was being disrespected – on the contrary, it felt more like I was being greeted by an old friend.

    • Vee Lynn says:

      It is true that you can’t please everyone. But whenever you have to use a title to define who you are such as, “I am a Platinum VIFP or Own My Own Company” just to get recognized as Mr. or Ms., how shallow can you be?

      Do you find that those who demand respect have none?

      If the two who are complaining want a formal atmosphere, perhaps they should stay at work. The “informality and commonality” apparently does not bother them too much since both of them are cruising again on the “Fun Ship.”

    • Pat and Dennis Murphy says:

      I would hate to sit next to the “diaper changing family at dinner,” if you get my drift. (Use your imagination…)

      And thanks, John for all you do. (Loved our Breeze cruise in July.) Take care and get better.

    • Gary says:

      You know the only reason he changed the kid on stage was to keep his front row seats from being taken. Poor excuse for sure..think before you speak Malcolm! or is it Mr?

  20. Tom says:

    My son runs his own lawn care company when he is home from college in the summer. I guess I will need to call him Mr.

    Take it easy during your time off John.

  21. Jeanne Dembenski says:

    Best of luck with your surgery and have a wonderful break and rest with your family

  22. Mike McCloskey says:

    I am called Mr. McCloskey in my job. PLEASE call me “Mike” when I’m on a Fun Ship! I am on vacation and wish to enjoy the informality of that time!

  23. Debra Campton says:

    John just wanted to leave you a note to say I hope you enjoy your time off and have a quick recovery. I do enjoy reading your blogs and the responses. It sure does let us know that many people have many “different” opinions on things. Counting down my days until my Sept.9 2012 cruise on the Sensation for our 27th Anniversary.

  24. Tina Goodwin says:


    Enjoy your break. You will be thought of with healing thoughts.
    Thanks for the giggles, really have no words for some things!

  25. lori says:

    i really like the idea of being called by my first name. it is more comfortable and relaxing. i am no better then the crew working on the ship. if i am going to call them by their first name then they can and WILL call me by mine. People need to get over themselves and if they really feel they need that respect they should go by their own yacht and cruise on their own.
    even as a teacher – i have my students call me Ms. Lori. It is a better working relationship in my opinion.

  26. Cheryl Harmon says:

    Not sure how one staff person could possibly ruin one’s cruise, unless the passenger is just looking for something to be wrong. And a fine with the first name idea, we ate always do impressed with how quickly they remember our names.

  27. Ricky Smith says:

    On several of of cruises the stewards have called me Mr. Ricky. I always enjoy walking towards my room and hearing “MR. RICKY” and seeing a smiling face. Some people need to get over themselves..
    Hope everything goes well for your surgery and will be awaiting your return. My day is not as fun without you wit and humor to lighten the day. Best Wishes……

  28. Jeanette says:

    I am flaberghasted!!!!!! The stage is NOT a diaper changing table…..Take the child to the washroom and change the child in there!!!!! OMG…..what was, oh wait, it was a man so he probably wasn’t thinking….

    Your Arm–please ask the doctor if a carpal tunnel split for the arm will help. You can wear it and type without pain. Yes, it takes time to get used to it, but it all depends on what kind they give you.

  29. Fern says:

    John, we’ll miss you, but know that you need some time with Heidi and Kye and for your “carpool” surgery.

    Looking forward to hearing how much better you feel!

    The Carnival staff (and the Princess staff) have always called me “Ms. Fern” and I think that’s fine.

    Take care and we’ll “read” you again August 28.

  30. Robinola says:

    Dear John,
    How DO YOU DO IT!!!!! How ON EARTH do you put up with people like Debbie Halley and Keith Vashtay?! I totally can understand Keith not wanting to be called Keith, because, well frankly, it is kind of a whimpy name, isn’t it! Sorry, Keith. Do you really ever get respect with such a whimpy name? Probably not. And Debbie Halley. What a dull name. Truly. Dull! You know, a name totally describes a person. I mean, let’s face it, you would Never name your son Les. That’s cruel! Likewise….Debbie and Keith. Ick. Just yucky names. I totally understand you both.

  31. Marcia Hager says:

    While I would NEVER have changed my baby’s diaper in public, the five cruises (6th scheduled) that my baby has went on it has been very inconvenient to go back to our stateroom every time to change his diaper. I have suggested in every survey to get changing tables in at least the main restrooms, it would really help those cruising with infants and toddlers.

  32. Ginny says:

    The wonderful crew can call me anything they would like as long as its not late for the rum bar!! I am wishing you a wonderful time with your lovely girls and hoping for a great outcome from your carpool tunnel surgery..mine was very successful on both hands and I hope for the same outcome for you my friend!!!

  33. Marie Wolff says:

    I am a 72 year old woman who feels that the cabin steward and table waiters and others that work on all cruise ships, are not my servants, but, hard working people who enjoy making my vacation pleasurable. Please call me Marie.

    • Marie Wolff says:

      John: Bob and I want to wish you a most happy time with your dear girls, and, mostly, a complete and swift recovery from your car pool tunnel. Get well quickly, you will be missed, but, you deserve to rest completely.
      Marie and Bob Wolff

  34. Charles says:

    Wow, John, H82seeyougo used two different names this week, and both made it in your blog! What a hoser…

    Enjoy your time off, god speed to your healing. Hope to have the pleasure to sail with you one day.

  35. Deborah says:

    Wow some people really have their heads in a cloud, referring to Debbie and Keith, if they want to be so snobbish, whey don’t they go on a “snobs only” cruise? Carnival FUN Ships are for people who want to have fun, not act like royalty – what pompous axxses.

    John here is wishing you the best on your surgery – I hope all goes well. Enjoy your recovery with your Girls…All my best Deb

  36. Richard Hoefs says:

    Best of luck with your surgery. Enjoy your time with Heidi and Kye. My stunningly beautiful young wife and I will miss your blogs and Facebook posts while you are gone and will look forward to when you are back.
    All the best,

  37. Sue March says:

    We were on the Magic in December – James is AWESOME!

  38. Stacy McDaniel says:

    John I wish you well on your surgery and a speedy recovery!!!

  39. Dennis Hanovich says:

    I suggest the tightasses that want to be addressed by their last name sail on Crystal or any other luxury cruise line. I love being called “Mr. Dennis”. It’s amazing crew members can remember the names of so many guests.

    • Bob Baughan says:

      I agree. I can meet one person and in a few hours the name is gone. I hate not having that skill. The staff on board the ships are always amazing and the informal nature of their actions makes me feel more special because I don’t feel like a number or face in the crowd.

  40. Gimliman says:

    They sure can call me by my first name,that way I will only have two names while on the ship .Helgi (yes that is my name) and my wife will call me “Dumb-Ass” . Life is good

  41. Teddy Gautsch says:

    Your platinum status means nothing to the rest of the world Kieth, the fact you own your own business means nothing to the rest of the world either, you are not special nor are you any more important to the universe than the next guy so get over yourself.

  42. Jason says:

    Some people think entirely too much of themselves and their importance. If you can’t be called by your first name then go to one of the snobby cruise lines, that where you belong. By the way I have enjoyed both Jen and James. They are both wonderful CD’s. James was our 1st cd on the Glory. What a wonderful cruise!

  43. Paul Salata says:

    “That’s right, no more comment cards as they are now sent to some of our guests online.” It would seem that you no longer care about what most people think about their cruise, only the select few who receive their comment cards. Tell me, are those Platinum members only? I would think that there would be some very pertinent comments from those who are ignored.

    • Pat and Dennis Murphy says:

      We received an online comment form which we filled out and returned. We have sailed on only 3 Carnival Cruises–gold key card.

    • Mike says:

      I’m not platinum and I got a comment fill out email right after my last cruise. It’s not logically in Carnival’s best interest to ignore anyone. I personally perfer email/online commenting; it saves paper for one thing. Really good electronic commenting can also be analyzed much faster to spot areas that need improvement right away; making the turn around/correcting that much more efficient. I view electronic commenting as a step towards the future… please join us 🙂

  44. I have to say the father changing the diaper on the stage was a hoot and your comment was something else. Amazing John, just wonderful.

    Now go home and rest your weary bones and give your beautiful ladies some love and we will see you later.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  45. William Langan says:

    First off I would like to say I love your blog and FB page.

    My wife and I have been married 23 years and just really found out about cruising. We have been on five cruises in the past 4 years. The Miracle twice, Freedom twice and Inspiration.
    Our next one is booked for the Breeze on 2/2/2013. I was wondering if you will be the CD?

    One last comment. I think it is great the crew will be using first names. I’m Bill, Mr.Langan is my father.

  46. Irene says:

    I don’t know the nationality of the persons who prefer not to be called by their first names, but as a Brit, I found it took me by surprise when I was greeted by my first name when I first moved over to this side of the pond. My first thoiught was, “who gave you permission to use my first name?” I am more used to it now after nearly 40 years, but I can understand where these people ar coming from….Irene

  47. Mike says:

    LOL at the craps table!

  48. claire smith says:

    Hi John – firstly wishing you luck with your surgery – I believe you are an essex boy so welcome home ! ( we live in corringham ! ) our daughter has just starting hosting on the triumph and she is loving every minute of it ! we are hoping to go out in january next year when she moves to the valor for our first cruise with carnival – we normally cruise with princess so we will be interested to see the differences. Must say I love the idea of being called by my first name – I am a nurse practitioner and call all my patients young and old by their first names as long they agree to it but respect their wishes if not ( only one person in 12 years did not wish me to use their first name !)And I totally agree with the majority of comments on here ! It will be interesting to read your feedback over the next few months ! Enjoy your rest and look forward to you resuming your blogs !

  49. carol ciongoli says:

    John, thanks for helping me to continue my new found love of cruising through your blog. I can’t wait until my second cruise on the Glory in May. I wish you good luck with your upcoming surgery & many fun day’s with your family. Can’t wait until you blog again, you make people new to cruising feel very special. Someday I hope to be on one of your cruises in my families homeland of Scotland. Take care & listen to the doctor & rest your hand. Best Wishes, Carol

  50. Bob McAdoo says:

    John, unfortunately there are many people whose self importance outweighs their actual importance and they must feel superior to others,to mask their own insecurities. I, however, am not one of them, call me Bob or Mac, or anything you prefer, just don’t call me late for dinner.
    BTW, here in the South (Dixie, that is), it is also proper to call people by their first name, if preceded by Mr, Mrs, Miss, Dr, etc. It seems to garner an issue of respect, along with a friendly attitude.

  51. Kate Smitheram says:

    Wow… its the first time I’ve read the blog and its fantastic! I have met Sir James Charlton when I cruised on Carnival Holiday and Carnival Valor, he is an amazing director and cant speak more highly of him.
    I’m visiting Carnival Breeze at the end of August and I can’t wait for another fun packed cruise for my honeymoon! x

  52. Mara says:

    I too, am angry over the name issue. This is a vacation. It is time to relax and have fun. I have been called Mara or Ms Mara and either is fine with me.
    Come on people, lighten up.

  53. Cindy K says:

    My husband and I are always tickled that the crew actually remember our names. It always make me smile when my room steward calls down the hall “Hello MIss CIndy”. My husbands advice to the “elitists” is .. Buck up the cash and cruise on Windstar…

  54. Michelle Peterson says:

    We just returned from sailing on the Carnival Triumph. We had a fabulous time and 3 crew members stood out to us. First is the cruise director, Jen Baxter. She is a riot!! I have never seen a person with so much energy! Second was our bar waiter, Benjie Factor. He took excellent care of us, making sure we had fresh sodas before we finished the ones we had. He always made sure my Pina Coladas were virgins (I am 7 yrs sober). And, last but not least, was our waitress in the Paris dining room, Viktoria. She was very personable and we enjoyed having her wait on us. This was my 2nd cruise and my husbands first. We had such a wonderful time we are already planning our next cruise for next year!

  55. Florida Boy says:

    I hope I’m never on the same ship as you, Keith Vashtay and Debbie Halley. What arrogant, nasty human beings you seem to be.

  56. Neil Cohen says:

    Hi John
    We have reserved a ‘modified’ room for Thanksgiving week aboard the Pride. My wife is disabled and uses an electric scooter. We found out that we need to register as a disabled person with Carnival so we dont get bumped from the room WE NEED. Please tell us who we can contact to find out how to do this. The Carnival website wasnt really helpful, so I am hoping you or someone can help us ASAP. Thanks

    • Alice Bertzfield says:

      This may help you. When we had problems we contacted a Carnival Rep. named Tanya Gaudin at 1-800-819 3902. Ext 85279. She is very nice to work with & if she can’t help you I’m sure she will direct you to the right person. We use her as our travel agent with carnival. We love the Pride. Alice

    • Bill B. says:

      My girlfriend uses a wheelchair and we have been on six Carnival cruises on six different ships, departing from six different cities.
      The only thing you will need to do is fill out a simple form for the Guest Access Services Dept and fax it back to them. You will need to give them the dimentions of the scooter. You can contact them just to be sure at:

      Guest Access Services Dept.
      1-800-438-6744 ext 70025
      Fax # 1-800-532-9225

      • Keith Wilkins says:

        I really enjoy that the crew calls me and my wife by our first names. That is one of the great things about Carnival,how you can feel like part of the family. I would be more embarrassed if all they used was my last name to greet me.

      • Danno says:

        Sailing in Jan 2013. I own my own Death Star. I would prefer to be addressed as Supreme Commander of the Imperial Forces. Saluting will not be required.

  57. Dan Freeman says:

    Hi John,

    I see from Debbie and Keith’s comments, and your response, that we may ask to be addressed in any manner that suits us. Therefore, can you please alert the 12/30 Victory staff that I shall be known as “Sir Grimswold, the Night Eagle, Lord of all Rums”, during our sailing. Also, in this capacity, I further request that you strip Keith of the “F”, in his VIFP designation…I just don’t beleive it applies. Thanks!

    • Robinola says:

      Dear Sir Grimsworld, the Night Eagle, Lord of All Rums…….you are way cool.

      Queen of the Jungle

  58. Yolanda Honaker says:

    Oh.. MY… GOODNESS… I prefer to be call by my first name or rather my middle name of Sue and so would my husband.. We own our business and we tell people to call us by our middle names Sue and Greg…When I am called by the name of Mrs Honaker I turn around to see if my mother in law is standing there… and she has been gone since 1996.. and I can not believe that a man would have the nerve to change his baby in the middle of a HUGE theater.. no less ON STAGE.. holding up everyone.. and then be mad at you!! That is someone who REALLY needs to get over themself’s Not only that you do not know who is around, what about that babies privacy…to bad that people do not have to take a literacy test at the hopital before the baby can come home with them!
    Hope your surgery goes well for John.. Had carpal tunnel surgery done in 2001 and was so happy I did.. .Hope you have the same sucess… Enjoy your time off… You so deserve it…

    Sue Honaker

  59. Katie says:

    I think it is very nice that the staff take the time to learn our names and faces. They knew my families names without us introducing ourselves. Very impressive!

  60. David Williamson says:

    Hi John. I wanted to let you know that I deal with many customers over the phone on a daily basis. A lot of them I recognize by their voice. Frequently they say Hello David and stop. Just as quickly I say Hello John, for instance, how are things going for you today? I have wondered if they appreciate the recognition. Sure I recognize them becuase they call frequently but I have never once received a complaint because I called them by their first name which in many situations they have told me there name is “John” or what ever their first name is. I’m inclined to think that most people prefer the personal touch if you will. As we both know that is not the case and have to cater to the customer. From my experience that is what Carnival Cruise Lines does best, cater’s the the customer’s wishes. That is one of the reasons that I have continues to cruise with Carnival. All but my first cruise, who shall remain nameless, have been with Carnival. I don’t see that chaning anywher in the near future.

    In closing I would like to wish you a speedy recovery from your surgery and wish you and your family the best possible time together during your recovery.

    David Williamson
    A Happy Carnival Cruiser

  61. Susan & Jim Segars says:

    Wishing you the best with the surgery. We hope to see you back on the Breeze before we get off on Sept. 7. Just a note….we also enjoy being called by our first names..much more personal and friendly. This Breeze will be our 24th Cruise with Carnival. Keep up the great work.

  62. Lu says:

    I fail to understand what owning your own business has to do with respect in regards of being called by your first name, I would be impressed if the staff remembered my first name seeing as I am not their only guest they have to tend to, plus I am only there for 7 days and then they have to start all over….that takes alot more work than just refering to everyone as Sir

  63. Shelly C says:

    Debbie and Keith:

    Respect is earned. It is not magically bestowed upon anyone by virtue of their ability to purchase a vacation. It is because of people like you that I wish I could be fly on the wall of the crew lounge and listen to them tell stories of that pompous SOB in cabin 1024.

  64. Sherrie Lynn says:


    I just wanted to comment about Carnival’s new way of addressing their guest. I don’t think some people realize that in the South it is customary to address someone as Ms. Sherrie, or Mr. John….It is not about servitude, it is just a southern tradition of respect, especially where older people are concerned.

    I will say however, that a true “Southern Lady or Gentleman”, would never embarras a Carnival employee by asking them to refer to them in a certain manner. Maybe this is something that the beards could mull over….it would not be hard for a preference to be noted on one’s booking…such as your preference for dinner time or king/single beds.

    Thank you so much for all your do for Carnival and their guests. Please take care, get well quick and even though you are going to have surgery, please have a wonderful time at home with your lovely wife and daughter

  65. melinda Fain says:

    Reference first name vs. last. here in the South woman of a certain age are always addressed by the honorific “Miss” and their first name. So after the first introductions and until you progressed to close friendship, you would address me as Miss Melinda as I am almost 70.If you became a close friend or were family you would address me as Lucy as that is how I am addressed by those. I do not take well by young people 1/3 my age being so familiar as to address me by my first name without being invited to do so. In the health care industry (I am an RN ) it is considered very disrespectful to address a patient by their first name.
    Melinda L. Fain

    • Robinola says:


    • Robert says:

      I too am in the health care field for 2 decades and always use first names with patients and never have been corrected or asked to use there last name. i am from the north. USA

  66. Laura Brown says:

    I have a comment about the crew using first names. I LOVE the idea. It makes me feel like they really are friendly and caring. It just warms my heart when they use my first name. Mrs. Brown is my mother-in-law not me. I feel so much younger when someone calls me by my first name.

    • Suzanne says:

      I am cruising on the Pride on the 26th, please instruct your staff that they are not allowed to look me directly in the eye, must bow in my presence and refer to me, if they MUST speak to me directly, as Ms. Empress Suzanne, Ruler of the Heavens and Earth, Queen of the Moon and Princess of the Stars. If they don’t, they face beheading.

      hahahahaha, people need to totally get over themselves lmao!

  67. Carolyn Bickel says:

    To Keith and Debbie,

    Both of you are so rude, you do not deserve any respect. Come off your high horses and lighten up, people. You’re on vacation. Beig VIP and owning your own business, does not make you special, KEITH. I work for a large privately owned company and call all the executives, including the president, by their first names. It’s more friendly and more personal, and they all have my utmost respect. The crew are not your servants. They are PEOPLE, doing a job that hopefully makes your week fun and special. Try showing them respect. If you want servants, go buy your own yacht, then you can demand anything you want. Carnival is a FUNship. If you can’t lighten up, go somewhere else.

    John-All the best with your surgery and recovery. Will miss you, but take all the time you need to rest and heal. Hugs to you and the girls.

  68. Lise McKay says:

    I think that, if MR. Vashtay and MS. Halley are so hung up and pompous about being addressed as Mr/Ms Last Name, they should take the initiative and ask their cabin stewards, dining staff, etc. what their last name is and call them Mr/Mrs. This kind of ‘respect’ can go both ways. On our first cruise in 2005 on the Miracle, my husband and I was so tickled pink at being called Ms. Lise and Mr. Allan. I think it is both a form of respect and friendlyness. My husband and I turned things around and called the staff as Mr/Ms Lastname and they seem to appreciate the respect as well! So, Keith and Debbie (yes, first names only), get off your flipping high horses and join the rest of us who enjoy cruising and everything these people do to make YOUR vacation enjoyable!

  69. Cameron says:

    As a Dad that frequently changes diapers in public, I will admit to sneaking in some diaper changes anywhere I can. Especially with the number of public restrooms without baby changing stations, some places don’t have them at all and some places only install them in the women’s room.

    But this story tops it all.

  70. Lisa Vancouver says:

    Hi John!
    Two comments on what you just posted:
    #1. JAMES – well he is great – we have sailed with him as asst. cruise director and also on the magic! He really blossomed when he moved from ACD to full on CD.
    #2 internet. We have been on 15 carnival cruises, most back to back. We were able to talk to the manager of the internet cafe and he is able to work some magic and get minutes to carry over to the next cruise. There really are NOT that many back to back ers and we appreciated this little nicety on our last back to back cruises. So perhaps your guest can check in with the internet cafe manager on the 1st cruise to see what can be done.

    #3 see ya 10/25 on the BREEZE 2012! Our 16th carnival cruise.

  71. Joleen says:

    in posting a response for Liam McDuff I had forgot to add my name & email – just started right off typing the response and tried to post and of course it wouldn’t post and I LOST everyting I wrote…it must have been John’s power of suggestion in losing his blog HAHAHAHAHAHA

  72. Joleen says:

    TO: Liam McDuff
    I was on the Fascination with Jen Baxter in the Spring and LOVED HER! She’s terrific! I especially loved her English accent, her vibrant clothes, and her sense of humor.
    FORGET CRUISE CRITIC! There will always be people moaning & groaning & complaining about everyone & everything on earth & on the sea. My advice is take ALL critics with a grain of salt.
    If you have a bad time on the Fascination it WON’T be Jen Baxter’s fault 🙂

  73. Cynthia Garland says:

    I’ve been called “Mum” by most of the room stewards on the ship during my 17 cruises with you. I guess because I cruise with my adult children and the stewards from there culture feel it appropriate. I never minded it. In fact, now because of this. My kids, call me the “MUM”.

  74. Joleen says:

    First names & commonality –
    I actually prefer to be called by my first name, in fact, I usually tell people that, and not just on cruise ships…it doesn’t mean they are going to try to be your best friend. yes, they are serving us because it’
    s their job, but just because they use our first names doesn’t mean that’s going to change…people being “served” aren’t any better or more important as people than the “servers”
    just call me Joleen 🙂

  75. Diana says:

    Hi John,
    You were our first Host on the Triumph in 2001. We have since taken many cruises. I will be cruising the Liberty in Oct. 2012. I think that being called by our first names is not a sign of disrespect. It is a sign that you are remembered and that your steward knows you. You are not just a number. You are a guest and it is time to relax! I will be leaving my job and getting on the ship. Stuffyness is to be left ashore.
    Wish we could see you again. Maybe next cruise I can figure it out.
    Thanks for being who you are !

  76. Kathy G. says:

    Dear John,

    Hope all goes well with your surgery.

    Have one question, when will Carnival sail again from the Port of Mobile? We loved those 5 day get aways and sailed from there three of our 13 CCL cruises.

    As for how we are addressed by name, this has never been an issue. I am just amazed that the hard working crew members even remember their own names, much less all the guests they serve.

    Thanks again!

  77. james mcclellan says:

    I have been on 10 Carnival Cruises. No 11 on Aug 23 on the Triumph and No. 12 in Nov on the Magic. Allmost all crew members have addressed me as Mr. James, and my wife as Miss Jeanette. This is quite fine with me and my wife. I find it to be quite a feat just to remember our names out of the thousands of guests on board. Give the crew the credit they deserve, relax and have a good time.

  78. Ruth Hunter says:

    Greetings, John! Long time reader but first time writer.

    Before I forget, on my last cruise (Magic sailing 4/15/12) I had the MOST FANTASTIC dining room crew! I didn’t get surveyed, but I loved them all so much, I still have their card from the table: Philemon, Rex, Ery. They treated my 3 year old grand daughter like the little princess she is and made our family cruise most pleasant. My room steward was the same one I’d had on Magic 3 months before on the 1/15/12 sailing and he remembered me and greeted me in the hall by name! I met Butch on Magic, and you’re absolutely correct — energetic and incredibly funny and friendly!

    I’ll be on Triumph next month, helping my girlfriend infect her new husband with the cruising bug. But my question is about my SA cruise next February on Splendor. My personal vacation planner couldn’t field this inquiry and referred me to you as the Carnival man who has ALL the answers. Which bank maintains the ATM machines on Splendor? Some are sponsored by Bank Atlantic while others are First Financial. The difference to we passengers is whether or not we are hit with ATM fees. Since I’ll be on Splendor for all 48 days, I need to plan for these things.

    Thanks for all you do for all us Carnival cruisers!

  79. Ben Appleton says:

    Hi John,
    I am sailing on the 1st of October on the Breeze and I can’t Kait to meet you and see the ship!
    Regarding peoples names, maybe in the booking information when you go to manage your cruise online, you could have a box with ‘preferred name (this is the name thwt you would prefer the staff to address you by)’… This might sort out the name issue that was mentioned… It also means the staff aren’t put in the awkward situation and won’t feel belittled…. Jeut a though. Good luck with your surgery!

  80. Alan says:

    I was going to post a comment about Keith Vashtay etc, but I noticed you’ve all beaten me too it,
    I too run a business or two and in fact cringe when people feel they have to call you Sir or Mr./Mrs.
    They are doing there job and a job that must be very difficult to do well with people with that sort of attitude on board!
    All I ask of anyone is politeness and that was available in buckets on our recent Carnival Breeze trip.


  81. KenSanDiego says:

    Keith and Debbie sound like they belong on Titanic: “Please keep the third class passengers locked up below until all first class passengers have left the ship. I refuse to share a lifeboat with chattel.”

    Please be assured Carnival does not discriminate; even against snobs.

  82. Richard Meldner says:

    Really! It is a cruise!! You are on vacation!!! and people are worried that someone might call them by their first name? Maybe the next time I go, I will ask the cabin steward to address me as “The honorable ruler and petty tyrant of the SimCity world of über-Pretentia”…. (sarcasm)


    • Shannon says:

      Personally I like the new first name policy. These ‘better than thou’ types should consider cruising with Cunard or Crystal or take their private yacht somewhere instead. Having more money, or platinum status, doesn’t make them better than everyone else. I feel sorry for their stateroom stewards for having to put up with that nonsense. I’d rather that they call me by first name, It’s a fun vacation, not a meeting with the president. Get over yourselves!

    • Mike says:

      lol…love this comment.

  83. John,

    We are currently on the Magic, Aug 12 sailing right now and yes, James our CD is awesome. Althought we have not had a chance to say hello to him yet. We can’t catch him, he’s all over Focker!

    It was interesting to read the 2 post you have reference not being called by their first names, due to the elevation of self importance. I also wish to be treated with respect by being called by my first name. I’ve been called a lot of things and answer to most. Every now and then a first name is good. My family made the comment that it’s nice to be treated like “commonality” and called by our first names. Most don’t even call me by my first name and refer to my nick name.

    We are “ONLY” Gold and 24 days short of Platnium status. Of course when I reach Platnium and take over the world, my position of “name calling” may change and I shall repost what my title will be then.

    Until thn you and the crew can refer to me as “Tank”. We are back on the Magic next month for the 3rd time this year.

    All the best to you common folks and Debbie & Keith,


    Wut Tantaksinanukij
    Austin, Texas
    Member in Good Standing since 1998

  84. Courtney Barrett says:


    Our group is traveling on the Carnival Liberty in less than 2 weeks (9/1-9/8/12) and we are getting to be very excited. My husband and I would like to participate in the Chef’s Table and I was told you could make us a reservation. If this is at all possible, it would be fantastic as we are extremely interested in this experience.

    Thank you,

  85. Lawrence Shadeed says:

    Hi John, I really enjoyed reading your blog today. I will be sailing on the Carnival Breeze on Sept. 7 – so looking forward to it. This is my 3rd Carnival cruise. I hope you will be the CD on that cruise, you sound like so much fun. I like the casual atmosphere on your ships and you or any crew member can call me Larry any time. Those stuff shirts should get a life and try not to feel so important.

    Can you answer a question for me, I booked a cabin on the second deck #2212 (inside but with 2 porthole). Travelling alone, will this be a confortable cabin to be in, when it comes to noise? I am such a light sleeper. Would love to hear what you think.

    Again, I really enjoy Carnival and look forward to hearing from you.


  86. Mike says:

    Hi John,

    I’m really looking forward to my Hawaii cruise. I enjoy reading your blog a lot as well. I wanted to quickly comment on the first name comments. This shows how hard it is to please everyone; I never even noticed the change, but I like it either way. The staff is very accomidating and friendly and that’s what is what makes cruising with Carnival great.

    I have a question related to a stop at San Juan on my next cruise. It’s in Jan, but there is only 1 walking tour for San Juan. The last time I cruised here is was pretty much the same only 1 excursion offered. Why is that? Every other stop on this trip offers at least 10 excursion choices, but for some reason San Juan never seems to have anything. My guess is that with the casino, shops and all the cash for hire tours right at the port may have caused this situation.

    Have a good day, cheers,


  87. M.L. Seely says:

    My family sailed on the Carnival Pride last week. It was our fourth cruise and we once again had a wonderful time. After reading today’s comments, I wanted to respond to the customers who disliked being called by their first names. Respectfully, these people come off sounding like stuffed shirts. Just because you own your company does not guarantee you respect. You earn it. I was most appreciative of the staff calling my fiance and I by our first names. I believe it contributes to the Carnival Fun because it makes you feel like you are sailing with old friends. I do not believe I am any better than the employees on the vessel and I love being greeted personally and with a smile. Carnival staff are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever seen, yet none of them ever seem like they aren’t enjoying what they’re doing. I hope Carnival won’t let a few sour grapes change this policy.

  88. David Janney says:

    In July 2013, I will be sailing on my 15th Carnival cruise on the Carnival Legend out of Dover and one of our stops is St Petersburg Russia. What is the VISA policy and if a VISA is required, will Carnival post the VISA application on their website to help people apply for it and get it in a timely manner?

  89. I am often to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your blog

  90. Rachel says:

    Some people think they are better than others. That’s just it. Some people think the since the crew is mostly foreign and they work in the service industry, that they are servants and should address you as if they are beneath you. Like “Debbie” said something along the lines of them not being on the same level as she. How are they not? They are humans just as you are. If you prefer to be called Miss Soandso, then just tell them to call you that. Don’t come up with ignorant reasons like you are above someone. The same goes for “Keith” or whatever his name was. Who cares if you own a business? That doesn’t make you better than anyone else, not even the people who work hard to “serve” you on a cruise. If you want them to address you as Miss or Mr, you should also take out the time to see how they want to be addressed because you are no better than they are. I think it is awesome that they even remember names when they serve so many people throughout the cruise. I commend them for everything they do. Carnival is known as the “Fun Ships”. If they had staff that didn’t care, it wouldn’t be fun. The staff take pride in their work and they work hard. Remembering your name is an extra task that they work hard at doing. Come down off your imaginary throne. Just to reiterate: If you want to be called Ms or Mr, just tell them so but leave your idiotic, ignorant, “Master” mentality at home. You aren’t better than them or anyone else.

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