September 14, 2012 -

John Heald

I think the time has come to introduce a solid gold plastic ship on a stick which is presented to those guests who have won an award for being ……well…………..being a bit dense!

After what has happened here with two guests, I think it is something we have to do. We have a husband and wife, in their 50s who in the port of Livorno rented a car, got lost and had to call the police for help. The Italian police called the ship’s agent who called us and, luckily, we were able to wait the extra 15 minutes for them to get back to the ship. The guests were spoken to by the guest services manager and were told how lucky they were that the captain had agreed to wait and that they should probably take a tour the following day in Rome. Guess what happened next? Yes, they ignored her, rented a car again and, yep, you guessed it, got lost and this time we could not wait so they had to spend the night in a hotel and then take a train to meet us in Salerno. It is rare for team members to become upset with things like this but when they called the police this time and when the agent called us, I can tell you that the captain and guest services manager were quite frustrated.

It’s ridiculous and I am sure when they got back, they were welcomed with open arms by our ever-caring guest services team, etc. Personally, I’d have favoured making them dress down to their underwear while forcing them to walk up and down Promenade Deck making them say, “I am the reason guests should take a tour.” These are the type of guests who should be awarded the “Solid Gold Trophy For Stupidity.”

Here is another winner nominated by a fellow cruise director.

Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 4:39 PM
Subject: Guest Comment Craig

Please be advised that guest from cabin _____ Mr ______ has been in the medical center today with severe sun burn. Guest’s wife has stated that no announcement was made or information given that the sun would be strong today and guest is stating that she should not have to pay for medical charges. Please, can you contact her?

Thank you and best regards,
Guest Services Associate, Carnival Splendor
Carnival Cruise Lines

There must be some of you out there who are thinking that the above comment is a work of fiction. It’s not. I promise, it is not and I would write more but I need to spend the next 10 minutes explaining to a guest that they may get wet if they jump in the pool.

Obviously, allowances must be made for the confused and lonely, but in most cases like this, we should have trophies made and presented on stage in front of all the other guests. So trophies are being made. They will look just like the trophies we have now except they will have the ship’s name on the plaque followed by “OH, FFS!”

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

William C. Lynch asked:

Met you several times on Carnival cruises. Found you a pleasant individual. Wife and I are cruising on the Carnival Legend next year in September. Was wondering who our maître d’ will be?


John says:

Thanks so much for those kind words and I will be on the Carnival Legend next year and the maître d will most likely be Ken Byrne. I will be able to confirm this closer to the time but for now he is scheduled to be there. Please let me know if you need anything before you sail again.

Best wishes.


Jessica Klink asked:

Yes, Heald, Carnival’s ice tea does suck and none of your bull**** spin will prove otherwise. You really make me sick. OK, you don’t drink ice tea, blah, blah, blah, but I am a southerner as are a huge majority of your passengers and ice tea is a frikkin religion. Ice tea is a very important part of a Southerner’s life. Every Southern woman knows how to make it and every Southern family keeps a constant supply of it in their refrigerator. So how come you put a ship like Carnival Fantasy in the south and force us to drink this awful fowl-tasting stuff you jokingly call tea? If you bother to read the comments on your blog, then you will see that everyone agrees with me about this so stop spinning and get your people to learn how to make tea or you will lose my business and many other Southerners, as well.

Jessica Klink

John says:
Hello Jessica Klink,

Madam, you mention “awful, fowl-tasting stufff” — are you suggesting we put essence of chicken in the tea?………..kidding. I see how passionate you are about your ice tea and I am sorry if my previous comments about this upset you. I will promise you that your comments have been passed to the head chef and I have asked him to see what can be done about changing the recipe. I will keep you informed and I hope you will look past the taste of the ice tea and remember all the other fun, food, service and entertainment you had while you were on board.

Best wishes.


Manuel Garcia asked:

I just returned from my first Carnival experience on the Carnival Valor from Miami. I had a good time but was so shocked that the dress code in the restaurant was not enforced and on the formal night many of the male passengers had no jacket or tie and I saw some had jeans on. This really left a sour taste in my mouth as my wife and I are used to cruise ships that enforce a formal dress code. I am asking you then if this is the normal practice for Carnival Cruise Lines or is it because you are a budget cruise line that you do this?

John says:
Hello Manuel Garcia,

First of all, I hope you had a great cruise and while we do have an elegant night we do allow a more relaxed dress code. Male guests do not need a jacket and tie although some still opt to wear one. I am sure that what other guests were wearing did not dilute the service and food quality and I hope sincerely that you will be back with us for another cruise very soon. If you have any other questions, please let me know. Best wishes.

Paul Downfield asked:

Last year my family cruised on the Carnival Magic when you were the cruise director and we had such a fantastic time. I know you are on the Carnival Breeze now but we are coming back to the Carnival Magic in November and wanted to see if we could have our waitress again as she was the best we have ever had. Her name was Dessie, although, I am not sure that I have this spelt correctly, John. Can you check and see if she will be there and, if so, can I ask please that we sit at one of her tables? Our booking number for the 11/18/12 cruise is ******Thanks for all you do John, and keep up the great work.

John says:
Hello Paul Downfield,

It’s great to read that you are coming back to your favourite ship and I know that once again you will have the best of times. Dessi is indeed a brilliant waitress and she is in fact here with me now on Carnival Breeze. I am afraid she won’t be heading to the Carnival Magic in November though. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and your family before you sail and I wish you all a brilliant time together. Thanks for the kind words.

Best wishes to you all.


Buck Macklin asked:

Could you encourage the website people to include Half Moon Cay in the destination drop down menu? I am always trying to find the ships that stop there. I am sure I am not the only one. Thank you.

John says:
Hello Buck Macklin,

It wasn’t until I read this that I actually knew that it was not part of the menu. That really does surprise me as Half Moon Cay is one of our most popular destinations. Thanks then for telling me about this and yes, of course, I will pass this onto the beards. Best wishes and thanks again.

Elio Tamayo asked:

I would like to congratulate you on your new pool chair policy. I just read an article about how people hoard the chairs and never use them. As a Milestone member, I applaud that policy. Many times I have gone out to the pool area only to find no empty chairs. I sit and watch as people who occupied the chairs show up around noon or sometimes even later. I have three more cruises already booked and welcome that policy. We were with you on the inaugural cruise on the Breeze. Again, thank you.

John says:

Hello Elio Tamayo,

Thanks so much. Yes, indeed, this policy, which is being rolled out fleetwide, has made a huge difference to what happens on the open decks and I salute those who put this program together. We were surprised to see how much press this got. I hope you had fun on this great ship and many congratulations on booking three more cruises and if you need anything at all, please let me know.

Best wishes.


Mandy L asked:

I totally agree Mary Ann, Carnival’s ice tea is the worst. John, something needs to be done.

John says:
Hello Mandy L,

That is two posts about the ice tea today and, as I mentioned, to the nice young lady above I have passed these comments to the head chef and have asked if we can look at the recipe and see what improvements can be made. I will keep you informed.

Best wishes.


Victoria Dinn asked:
Hi John,

I’ve just got a random question out of pure curiosity!! I notice that when you give the nationality counts for passengers, you separate “Canadian” from “French Canadian” and I’m
wondering why you do this and what constitutes a “French” Canadian for this purpose? Do you base your counts on if they are residents of Quebec versus any of the other provinces or just if they know how to speak French? I’m not sure if you are aware of some of the political discussion that has gone on over the past years between Quebec and the rest of the country, but the topic of their “separation” from the rest of the country has come up. I personally would hate to see that happen and just don’t understand the need to be distinguished from the rest of the country based on their language……… There are plenty of French “speaking” Canadians all over the country, as well as many who speak any number of any other languages. I notice you will count all Americans as just that… why not then French American, English, American, Spanish American etc? Though this is not a topic that is heavy on my mind by any means, I guess I would just like to see all Canadians counted together because we are all, in fact, Canadians regardless of the languages we all speak :o) Love your blog, and after having sailed the Carnival Legend last year with my husband, my sister and her husband on our very first cruise ever, I got hooked! We’ve now booked the Carnival Breeze for January to take our kids and are so excited! You can count us as four Canadians on the roster so far!


Victoria from Alberta

John says:
Hello Victoria Dinn,

This is something I should have made far more clear when I post this so thanks for allowing me to do so here. We list it separately because these guests are from French-speaking Canada and have booked through travel agents and PVPs, etc. and have requested that because some have limited English that we provide French-translated Fun Times and French-translated dinner menus. Having this information allows us to know how many translated copies to have and which staterooms to deliver them to. I hope this explains why and if you have any other questions, please let me know. Thanks for the kind words and hope to see you soon.

Best wishes.


Cecil Beare asked:

I just read that Carnival is trying out “chair hog” monitors on the Carnival Breeze. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I hope they make this a policy for the entire fleet. From what comments I read on the HuffPost article, everyone agrees this is a great idea.

John says:
Hello Cecil Beare,

Thanks so much and yes, indeed, the Huffington Post and other press outlets both in written media and television all picked up on this story. It has been a huge success and is now being rolled out across the fleet.

Best wishes.


Justin Walters asked:
Hello John,

I have so much to say…..….I just love Carnival and all you guys. I love it so much I want it to become my lifelong job. I don’t even know where to start. I have looked at the fun jobs section on the web site, everything there I’m OK with (life at sea and benefits.) I have also put an app. in to cast-a-way but I’m not sure if there is anything else I can do. How do I talk to someone about this?? I can’t find a number anywhere. Any help???

Thank you,


John sayS:
Hello Justin,

Thanks for those wonderful words. May I direct you to www.cclcareers.com and www.carnivalentertainment.com. Both these web pages will help you and I hope that your dreams come true.

Best wishes and good luck.


And on that note, we end today’s Q&A. Cheers.

Many of you reading this have met my assistant and friend Calvyn. For those of you who have not met Calvyn, let me tell you something about him. He looks like the illegitimate love child of Nathan Lane and Bette Milder. He is also very funny — I mean naturally funny as many of you have seen.

Here is a blog entry form my mate Calvyn:

My sister Tammy tells me to call her more. She tells me to write her more. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s not that I don’t miss her or any of my other friends and family for that matter. It’s not even the nine hours that separate our mornings, noons, and nights. Calling home, well… it makes me miss them even more. My eight closest friends and I have created an understanding that unless it’s urgent, there will be no animosity if our communication is not great while I’m away. Sure, we see each other on Facebook, and send inside jokes through email, and if I happen to look at my phone and think of them and the time difference works out, I will try calling them. For us, our friendship is supported on pillars of history and nothing embodies happiness more than sitting across one another, when I am home, sipping copious amounts of wine filling each other in on our past year. Sometimes it’s not easy hearing about their other growing friendships and there is always that annoying thought in the back of my mind that maybe at some point, I will be forgotten. The feeling does disperse the second they say phrases such as “I’ve told them all about you and they still want to meet you” or “I’ve showed them the video of you doing the merengue at last year’s BBQ” or “I’ve set up a dinner party so you can meet them… can you wear something other than the Got Fun shirt.”

I have so much gratitude for these eight close friends and for their understanding of my career (it wasn’t like that to start with). I’m also very thankful that our friendships foundation was built years before I embarked on my seafarer career and is able to bear the weight of long absences.

The opposite is true for shipboard friends. You know, every time I leave for the ship my friends and family both say how excited I must be to go back and see my ship friends. Besides John, I don’t know who I will be seeing onboard when I go out. Sometimes I’ll walk on and know no one. Usually, though, I will have worked with some people. I will walk into an elevator and recognize a crew member from restaurant service, for example. We smile and hug and ask how long we both will be on for and become instant elevator friends. Because even without a strong personal history between us, we both share a connection of being on a ship, we instantly understand what we go through in a day. We both share the knowledge of what it takes to work on a ship and how important it is to have good solid elevator friends.

I realize that in my combined six years of working for both Holland America and Carnival, there are only a few people that I would consider to be as close to me as my land friends. These friends of mine are crew members that I have worked with on several contracts and even though they come effortlessly in and out of my life, the laughter never stops.

John, of course, is the man whom which I hold most dear. Sometimes it’s hard to decipher the line of when friendship ends and boss begins and I have come to realize that with true friendship there is no line, only respect. Along with any good friendship comes moments of tenderness, concern, and moments of frustration. I can tell you there have been a few heated moments between John and I. Moments that, if we were strictly boss and employee, I am sure would I would have handled myself with a bit more… professionalism, but instead we hash it out as two mates would on the streets of New York – he throws a stapler at my head and I pee in his toilet. After we cool off, it is clear to me that he is only after my best interests and only a good friend would take the time to nurture me and want to see me succeed as a cruise director or any career I may choose.

Cruise Director Butch is also someone I am so proud to call “friend.” My memories of Butch could be summed up in one word: laughter. It’s all we do. We don’t need to worry about each other professionally as we both know the work will always get done and, if not, we know how to troubleshoot the issues. If John cannot be on board as cruise director, then Butch is the closest replacement and this week with Butch has been so much fun. Except for our morning shows where he makes me look 30 pounds heavier as he is sickly skinny….… Some may say even gaunt. His smile radiates a room and his energy (although sometimes way too high for my liking) is infectious. How lucky I am to have such a fun and constant friend.

Aside from John and Butch, there’s Melody De Dios, Ryan M, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jayne and Marcela, and a few others are all within my peripheral circle of shipmate friends and much like my land friends, I may not see them as often as I would wish, but when I do, it is as if no time has passed and if we are not laughing within the first minute of seeing each other the world has gone quiet. John is back now, which means I said goodbye to Butch, again. And so it goes I guess: the life of a cruise liner seafarer. Time now to give John a sponge bath and read him chapter three of 50 Shades of Grey.

Calvyn Shawn Champagne Martens
Senior Executive Assistant to John Heald

For those who don’t know Calvyn, here’s a hilarious video he did with our friends Doug and Matt at Cruise Radio.

Hosting the Morning Show with Calvyn is an incomparable experience and he will be with me on Bloggers Cruise 6 and the trans–Atlantic crossing. Talking of the trans-Atlantic crossing, I am starting to plan for this exciting voyage. I know it’s going to be a challenge, they always are and I am determined to make this one the best yet. Why are they a challenge? Well it’s because some of the guests seem to get grumpy during the five days at sea we have crossing the Atlantic. I never quite understand this as it is five days of fun, great food and entertainment and, of course, exceptional friendly service from the crew.

Anyway, this will be our best crossing yet and I do though have one extra challenge to face and that is because we will have 900………yep, 900 guests who will have been on the previous cruise, as well. It is wonderful that 900 guests will be able to spend 28 days on the ship with the 12- and 16-day cruises back to back. But that in itself possess a problem and that is that they will have seen the production shows and will have eaten from the same menus they will be served etc. So my job is to make sure we have different movies, different events and while I can’t change the production shows, I need to make sure we have different fly on entertainers as well and that is what I am working on at the moment. I am looking forward to hosting this voyage and will have more information soon.

Yesterday, I met a wonderful couple at the marriage show. They have been married for 61 years and both Len and Winnie spent 35 years each teaching at the same school in Indiana, how fantastic is that? Married 61 years, teaching for 70 years between them. Here they are:

As we spoke about their lives together, they both talked about their love for each other and their love for teaching and I could imagine them being the caring teachers all of us wish we had.

For the most part my teachers at school were good, kind and pleasant but there were exceptions. Take my English teacher, Mrs. Mungo — or Mungo the Mole — as we used to call her out of ear shot. We called her that because Mrs. Mungo had a huge mole on her face with three hairs protruding from it that used to give me nightmares. I would like to say a few nice things about Mrs. Mungo……..but I can’t…..she was a tyrant who used her ugliness to scare us kids and we were 12 years old at the time. This was back in the day when teachers could, if they wanted, practice corporal punishment to advance their education. Today, a teacher just has to look at a kid in the wrong way and the teacher is immediately fired and burnt at the stake.

Mrs. Mungo used her chalkboard eraser to hit us over the head with when we spoke out of turn. Her biggest pet hate was yawning and anyone of us who yawned, would receive the good news with the chalk board eraser.…..I became great friends with it and can still feel her rancid breath as she breathed “Heald, did you just yawn?” and then her huge hand would bring the eraser for a close up meeting with my head. She was though not the worst teacher because there was one who we all feared………and his name was Mr. Waknen–Reynolds, the double barreled bastard!

He taught biology and his favorite weapon of choice was a slipper, an old leather thing which probably belonged to his great grandfather and which he used on our bottoms whenever he could. I would like to say that his strictness caused us to listen and learn more ….but it didn’t ……….it just made me hate biology and it’s his fault that until the age of 16, I thought babies really were delivered by a stork.

But the mole and the double-barreled bastard were the exception because most of my teachers were simply brilliant. Teachers can, and do, change lives. They can determine the life you lead. They can influence career choices. They can inspire. As the son of a teacher, I know how hard they work and how little they are paid but a great teacher can be a role model and I am sure all of us can think of one now who made a difference in our lives. I have two. Mrs. Bright whose history classes were full of excitement and whose care for her pupils was extraordinary. And then there was Miss Grover, our drama teacher………. who had breasts bigger than my head.

Finally, today, I send my congratulations to Carnival Cruise Lines who yesterday were voted the Best Cruise Line at the Cruise International Awards in London. This was the first time Carnival had been nominated and I am sure our UK Managing Director Adolfo Perez and his team must be thrilled. I wish I could have been there to see the moment Carnival won. There’s a moment in all award ceremonies when the nominations have been read out and you’re sitting there waiting to find out whether you’ve won or lost. And then the host says, “And the best cruise line goes to…….Carnival Cruise Lines.” Now at this point Adolfo and his team have got to look proud, a little bit startled, coy and happy, but not air-punchingly delirious.

Adolfo and our head of sales, Erin, had to walk on stage, collect the award knowing that people in the audience with a climbing wall fetish…….. were absolutely hating them at that moment. I understand from those that were there that Adolfo had to be physically restrained from grabbing the microphone and telling the other cruise line chaps, “We won, you didn’t – nar, nar, na, nar, nar,” before making a huge farting noise down the mic.

It was a brilliant win for Carnival and the beards are very happy indeed today. Oh, and yes, I nearly forgot. This blog won Best Cruise Line Blog for the second year running. Thanks most sincerely to everyone who voted for me and I share this award with all of you.


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. Michelle Butzer says:

    to jessica klink:

    you and “the many thousands” of southerners who sail with carnival may love your sweet tea. but there are just as many thousands of non-southerners who think sweet tea is the FOUL tasting concoction. you can add sugar to your tea. we cannot get the sugar out. so grow up and realize they make the tea so everyone can drink it not just sweet tea addicted southerners.

    • Rick Williamson says:

      I’m a Southern gentleman and she is talking and rightly so of it’s bad taste either sweet or unsweet. The tea on board Carnival ship is NEVER made sweet until you add it a sweetner yourself.

    • Kenneth Pyland says:

      The sugar must be brewed into sweet tea. Any real “southerner”, if that’s what constitutes a sweet tea drinker, knows that. I too would like to know where Carnival goes the extra miles and has brewed sweet tea.

      Joe Bob or Cletus or whatever you think my name should be…

    • Yvette says:

      Thank you so much for saying this. While my husband (who’s a southerner) wasn’t a fan of the tea, he wasn’t THAT upset. Truth be told, the tea didn’t bother me at all but I guess that as “yankee”, I’m used to drinking unsweetened tea.

    • Scott says:

      I am one of those sweet tea addicted southerners.
      My first cruise on the Fantasy, I about went crazy trying to make the tea drinkable..nothing worked. I made it through 5 days got off the ship and hit the 1st McDonalds on the way home. (they make good tea..at least down here they do)
      After that, at home, I was wondering how to handle it on the next cruise. I wanted to cruise so bad, I was actually looking forward to the tea…knowing how bad it was, it was “cruise ship tea”, and I can’t get that at home.
      Now I go into the cruise with an open mind, knowing the tea will taste like crap, but I deal with it..I just get myself mentally prepared for it.
      I can get bad tea at many places, but no where except on a ship can I get crappy cruise ship tea!! I am looking forward to it on Oct 6!!!

      • Martha says:

        I may have a solution for you. Bring on a small bottle of simple syrup. At least the sugar would be easier to blend with the tea. Though sweetened or not the tea is bad.

  2. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    You are indeed blessed to have such good friends on land and on board.

    We have not met Butch yet and look forward to doing so in November and seeing you again.

    Hugs….(from one of your many cruise admirers)

    Linda (Mom of DJ)

  3. Jessica Klink,

    It might help Carnival if you say what is wrong with the iced tea. Is it to strong or to weak? Is it to sweet or not sweet enough? Not enough lemon or to much lemon. Or is just the taste?

    Now my wife loves it.

    • Bunbun says:

      It’s the taste. We are accustomed to fresh brewed. Tea bags or loose, boiling hot water not something poured from a bag or box made in a factory in who-knows-where.

    • Mike says:

      I think the biggest problem with the taste of the tea comes from the fact is is instant tea made from concentrate. I have sort of gotten use to it during my 16 cruises ( # 17 leaving on the Dream on Sept. 28th) and I think it is better now that when it seem to be some kind of fruit flavored tea.

  4. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Not to put to fine a point on it…but I call “fowl”…. no way is Jessica Klink a true Southerner.

    No true lady of the South would act in such a vulgar and disgusting manner.

    As the member of two “First Families” (Tennessee and Mississippi), please understand that this woman in no way repesents the South.

    Yes, we Southern ladies can express our displeasure with the best of them, but we do not do it with vulgarity and ignorance….
    we do it with intelligence and grace.

    For example: For the first time on a Carnival cruise (out of our 50+)….the coffee on Lido on the Conquest last week was indeed bitter. It is usually strong (and I like that) but this time it was bitter.

    If you could forward this observation to whomever is in charge of this, I would appreciate it. Thank you…

    THAT is how a true Southern lady addresses an issue…

    Linda (Mom of your friend, and also a true Southern gentleman, DJ)

  5. Courtney S says:

    I just scanned your blog for the first time. As a customer serivce and sales manager for an upscale health club I find your comments… réconfortant.
    My husband, son and I are cruising with Carnival for the first time this fall for our anniversary trip. We’ve traveled several times with a competitor and I’m very excited to try the “Fun Ship.”
    We will be traveling on Carnival Destiny and our booking agents swears she’s très agréable.

    Oh, did I mention? I’m a (very poorly) French speaking American.

    Je ne peux pas attendre pour voyager avec votre vaisseau-Français langue sera condamné.


    Courtney S.

    • Glenn says:

      Excuse me, since we’re mostly Americans here, can you please speak Spanish?

      • Annie says:

        Glenn, I have never laughed so hard in my life!! I am also a Southern woman (I can’t really claim to be a “lady”. . .I swear too much.) I hate the tea as well. On the last cruise out of Charleston a man who was standing beside me getting his drink on the Lido deck asked me if the ice tea was good. I replied, “Where are you from?” I loved the suggestion from the lady who said she made her own from the tea bags they have. Never thought of that, but I’ll try it on my next cruise in a few weeks. Maybe Carnival should change their policy on what you can bring onboard. . .One bottle of wine, one six-pack of soft drinks, one gallon of real southern ice tea!

    • Yvette says:

      Je ne comprends pas….

  6. Sharon says:

    Oh my gosh, Calvyn, you made me tear up this morning with your “ode to friendships”. What a blessing it is to have such wonderful relationships in your life. You’re a gifted writer, that’s for sure. Thank you for sharing!

  7. David says:

    There is no tea “recipe”. I’ve noticed they just put some bottled stuff, probably from mexico in the machine that mixes with whatever from the machine, resulting in whatever that stuff is. They do the same for lemonade, orange juice and ice cream. They need to get a couple of large pots like they have in restaurants and casinos and actually brew tea and put it in them. Yes, they will need to be filled and refilled many times a day, but that is what is done in the food industry. You currently do this with coffee. Why not tea? It won’t be much different from constantly refilling the machines like they do now.

    • Well this is the cruise industry and feed many more people then a normal restaurant. I rather they spend the time preping food then watching a tea pot boil. Plus their is always tea bags out for you to make your own.

  8. Naomi says:

    John in April I was on the Carnival Spirit for the 15 day cruise to Hawaii from San Diego. I was hypnotized at the adult show. I must admit I never thought I would be, but was stopped by everyone in the theater that saw the show. I would have loved to have seen it, as the hypnotist said “he would like to take me on the road with him”. Uh oh, I guess it was all in good fun. I asked if there was anyway I could get a copy of the show and they told me know. I would think they must have a copy in case of any issues. Can you help? I would love to see it, and I didn’t even get a 18K plastic ship on the stick! I am sailing the Breeze next September with a group. (I am a TA) Really looking forward to our sailing. Thanks for all you do, and the fun you bring to Carnival Cruisers!

  9. Cappy Capuano says:

    Well, “You just can’t fix stupid”

  10. Arthur Waner says:

    Dear John..How do the wife and I get a seating at the chefs table for our upcoming November 3 cruise the Freedom??? Been on 20 Carnival Cruises going back to the original ship…The Mardi Gras!!!

    • Jacki says:

      Go to the top of this page. Click on “Ask John” scroll down a little and you will see a place to attach a comment. Click on the dropdown menu. You will see the chiefs table there. Be sure to include – who/how many, ship, sailing date, cabin number.
      Have a great cruise.

    • Glenn says:

      Arthur, go to the top of this page and click on “Ask John”. The subject field has a choice for the Chef’s table. We’re looking forward to our first Chef’s Table later this month on the Liberty. Enjoy!

  11. Jeri Lyn Rohde says:


    I just want to say that I’ve only been following you on fb just a few short weeks when i read a blog question someone answered by referring them to the fact that if they followed you on fb they’d find that you always have upcoming news and keep people posted on what’s new. So I liked your page!

    I haven’t laughed so hard in so long. Your responses are comical. I think my husband and I need to book on the breeze next just to have a week with you! 🙂 I bet you’re a riot in person!

    Have a great week!


  12. Doug Parker says:

    Thanks for sharing the video we did with Calv. Hysterical guy and the morning shows were brilliant!

  13. Chris says:

    Hey John, I remember on the Carnival Dream when a newlywed couple got stranded on a secluded beach after their jeep got stuck and they missed the boat. You got pretty quiet about that one so we figured you got in trouble for mentioning it. That was the same cruise as the ‘It’s been 40 long years…’ couple. That was the best cruise I have ever been on. We will be on the Valor in December.

  14. vicki says:

    Thanks for your reply re John’s birthday NOT

  15. eliot dantowitz says:

    Just mix the lemonade with the ice tea, proportions to taste, to make it almost drinkable. We know many people who do this and it works well enough to get through the week without dehydrating!

  16. Rob says:

    John on our last cruise we had the best server and assistant server
    Out servers name was Sarafin (spelling) thus was actually the 2nd time he was our server
    The assistants name was Neela, any chance if you know if either of these two will be on the liberty for the nov 3 sailing? If so there are 6 of us who would like to sit with them. I’ll get you booking numbers if they will be there

  17. Nicole Novesky says:


    I’m so happy you and Carnival won! I voted for both the cruise line and your blog. I look forward to reading both your blog and Facebook posts. I check your Facebook page more frequently than I check my wife’s!

    My wife, mother and I can’t wait to sail with you and Butch in December on the Breeze!!


  18. Linda says:

    Hi John and all. I am a Southerner and certainly love me some sweet tea. Mind you, the tea onboard cannot compare to our tea, but that is no cause for anyone, especially a female, certainly call her a lady, to communicate the way Jessica Klink did. What an embarrassment!

    The Southerners among you would appreciate some awesomely delicious tea and I personally apologize for the rudeness of that female.

  19. Marsha Breen says:

    Well Jessica Klink certainly didn’t learn any Southern manners now did she?

  20. MARY H says:

    John, I am delighted that Calvin will be doing the TA on the Breeze with you. Also see that Dessi is on the Breeze again. Will Ken be on too? what about Martina?

    I did a 28 day on the Dream in 2009, 12 day Europe and 16 day TA and loved every minute. The repeat menu shows etc were not a problem in fact to be expected.
    As long as there is Trivia, Arts and Crafts and Teatime I will be happy. I love finding a quiet spot to read and watching the ocean.
    Looking forward to seeing you again and I will bring a supply of poppies.

  21. Lisa Piratzky says:

    One last comment on the ice tea thing. (Please don’t shoot me, John) I, too, found the ice tea less than acceptable to my discriminating Southern palate while aboard the Fantasy last July. Having been taught that “nice” Southern women dont complain or make a scene, I came up with my own solution. DON’T order it again! DUH! everyone knows a margarita makes an excellent substitute for ice tea… I do hope, however, the Chef de Cuisine (whom I met on the Behind The Fun Tour) can remedy the situation. I will be more than happy to share my secret family recipe for the PERFECT Southern ice tea in return for a cruise for 2 on board The Fantasy.

  22. Bill Heck says:

    Hello John:

    Calvyn is a gem. He is uncommon. Quirky. I met the two guys from cruise radio on the shuttle van to the airport after the Magic party in Galveston. They were needing the hair of the dog, but, all the same interesting to share cruise experiences with.

    Enjoyed the blog, thanks.

  23. Anne Seitz says:

    Thanks for another entertaining blog.
    Sure was nice to hear how Calvyn is doing.
    As I have mentioned before we loved being on the Breeze’s inaugural cruise with the two of you. Looked forward to your morning shows.
    We just paid for our winter cruise . It is our tenth Carnival cruise & we are looking forward to being Platinum. Can’t wait for that VIP check in.
    The only thing that would make it better is if you and Calvyn would be there, too.

  24. Edvado says:

    Well, I know why it tastes so bad. On my last cruise I found a crew member refilling it. From a plastic jug. He let me look at the jug. It was industrial and generic. Real iced tea is brewed in large stainless urns just where it’s consumed. I realize this would be extra work for the crew, but ANYTHING would be an improvement of the sour generic, bitter “stuff” now available on board.

  25. Steve S. Chicago says:

    As a Southerner I am offended by your letter. Where are your manners ? Your mama or daddy should whip you with a switch. Would you go to China and expect them to make greens and corn bread ?
    You should apologize to John for using such awful language and tone. I agree the ice tea on the ships is not good but how much did it cost you ? Maybe you should have volunteered to make proper ice tea for all 3000 people on board.
    I am wondering if you are in fact a true Southerner. Moving to the South does not make you Southern. You probably use an electric ice tea maker you bought at Dillards.

  26. Lisa Barker says:

    I am also a true Southerner (from the Deep South – Mississippi). While I prefer sweet tea, I realize that it is probably quite difficult to prepare such large quantities on board a cruise ship. That being said, the mix that is used isn’t very good. I sailed on the Conquest a few years ago and that is the only cruise (I’m a Carnival Purist)that had a fruit punch on board. We loved it. Other options besides lemonade would be appreciated. Love your blog. You always make me laugh!

  27. dave j says:

    Jessica Klink and all southerners out there in Carnival Land. Sweet tea is not the only kind of iced tea, just for your info. If you do not like Carnival’s tea the way it is add SUGAR to it. After all it is there on every table and at the drink stations. If that doesn’t work for you, then bring your own prepackedged sweet tea on board, if it is that important to you. Carnival allows a certain amount of water, soda, juices per person as long as they are not opened. Myself and my wife enjoy Carnivals tea just the way it’s made with lemon added. Please do not base your decision on cruising on Carnival solely on iced tea. Many countries, as well as most of the US are not huge Sweet tea fans.

    • jgeraci says:

      Thank you, Dave! I think that sweet tea is disgusting. I make my own iced tea on Carnival. It takes one tea bag, one cup of hot water, one glass of crushed ice, and patience. Add sugar & or lemon to taste! Problem solved.

  28. Fern says:

    Hi John! I’m so happy to see my “long distance friend”, Jacqueline posing with you :)!

    I enjoy Calvyn, even though we’ve never had him as a CD.

    Southern Sweet Tea is best made in the Southern part of the USA. Iced tea on a ship (any ship) can’t be turned into Sweet Tea. JMHO, from a Southern gal!

    I enjoy your blog and hope we’ll be able to sail with you someday.


    • Esti says:

      Now you will find out why all the tea bags disappear–I make my own with the free hot water and tea bags. Brew as long as you desire and add ice or sugar. What a pleasure to be joining you soon on the Carnival Breeze.

  29. Phil Hale says:

    Hate to be another Tea Tattler, but the tea is so bad I bring my own packets. If it’s any help to the Chefs, It tastes like the sanitizer is not being totally rinsed out before making the tea, and then the proportions of tea powder to water are overly strong inconsistently. some ships are better than others but none are very good.

    • Lisa says:

      My, my. I do believe Ms. Klink left her manners at the door. I tell you, I almost had a case of the vapors. A true southern belle was raised by a momma and daddy that taught them proper manners from the age of 3.

      We’re going on our first cruise in November and quite frankly Mr. Heald, we will not care what the tea tastes like. I do believe we will tip our bartender and ask him to make a us two Mint Juleps or some such, so we can “klink” glasses with our new found friends.

      Congrats on CCL’s win and special congrats to you for your wonderful blog. I’ve only been reading for a few short weeks but find myself checking back daily to see what you are up to.

      Ima curtsy on outta here now and want you to know that this southern gal (circa 1959) will not complain to the high Heavens if your tea is not to my liking. I’ll simply fan myself and order something a bit stronger. ;->

      • Lisa says:

        P.S. I will certainly send an idiotic email to CS if it means I will receive a ship on a stick that reads “Oh FFS.”

        Thank you for the tip!

  30. Dave Myerly says:

    Congratulations Carnival and John for attaining the A-WARDS.

    Suggestion to fis the iced tea fiasco… Carnival needs a REAL southern belle who is world known to DIRECT your worldly chefs from other countries about what it takes to brew great southern style Iced Teaa.
    I suggest Carnival get Paula Dean and let her take on the task. You can’t get more southern then that.

  31. Daniel M. Atkins says:

    John, the B to B in Oct. and Nov. I think is 27 days not 28, 12 and 15 not 12 and 16, if you are right I will have to change my connections.

  32. Les Diefenbach says:

    Hello John,

    We were on the Breeze Aug 26th sailing. The ship was great, the weather was good, the seas were smooth, the ports were fantastic, it was a great cruise. The crew was amazing, friendly and always happy to help if you needed anything. In the MDR our wait staff was absolutely the best. Please pass along to their supervisor they really made the dining in the MDR go beyond our expectations. It was the perfect way to end a busy day. Our wait staff team were:

    Imore Sunarta
    Viorel Radu

    Rosy in the gift shop was also amazing. Please pass along our gratitude to her supervisor for all her help when my wife was purchasing a gift for herself.

    Sorry we missed seeing you on the Breeze, but hope you enjoyed the vist with your family and got your arm taken care of.

    Sincerely Les and Cathy

  33. Barb Shugart says:

    John, you can count Cajun Americans separately. They are a breed of their own and you might need to print some Fun Times and menus in Creole. 🙂

  34. Paul O'Brien says:

    Hello John,
    I have recently discovered your blog and thoroughly enjoy reading it. Thanks for the chuckles.
    I am about to return home from my tour of duty in Afghanistan after nine months and well be spoiling my wife on our second cruise with Carnival in early Dec.
    I must say that with all of the complaining I have read about other folks having unrealistic expectations and the like. I would say to them…Enjoy yourselves..please! Remember common decency and respect for others will get you a long way!

  35. Susan & Jim Segars says:

    The comments about the tea are ….ridiculous….there is a saying..you can’t please everyone!! I personally add lemonade to mine. It is a little stronger than I like, so I fix it! I am perfectly capable of doing that myself!
    We had a brilliant time on the Breeze Cruise of 8-26…even though you were not there. Butch did a good job in your absence. Glad you are doing well after your surgery. We are looking forward to Cruise #25 October 8 on the Fascination!! Susan & Jim Segars

    • Edvado says:

      If you like lemony-sweet tea this is fine, but if you enjoy tea for the taste of tea, you don’t add a children’s drink to make it taste better.

  36. Pam Wagner says:

    To Jessica Klink:
    How rude and ignorant can you be? If you don’t like the iced tea, that’s fine (I agree with you). But I was under the impression that southerners were taught manners and gentility — it is obvious that you were taught neither.

  37. Mike Z says:

    John, I love your blog and the stories you share. I don’t question for a second that any of this is made up. Reality is better than fiction. I wouldn’t suggest the trophy, chances are they won’t understand the award as entertaining as it would be.

    To the comments about the iced tea on ship. I look at it this way, if your biggest complaint from a guest is the ice tea formula you have a great product. If they don’t like the Iced Tea on tap can I suggest making a hot cup of tea to your taste and then add ice? I do enjoy that they believe their personal opinion has the weight of the entire ice tea drinking south behind it.

    When your chef is searching for a new recipe you may want to share that no matter how sweet the product some people still leave a bitter taste behind.

  38. John … Submariner Friend Here… Like the idea about the solid gold Ship on a stick thing, since I seem to have a collection of three plastic ships on a stick. But my reason for writing is the award giving to submariners called the GOLDEN CLAPPER AWARD. On a Sub all waste (use your imagination on Waste .. can’t miss the meaning). Every so often the waste tank must be BLOWN overboard. It is done by pressurizing the tank about 10 psi above sea pressure then open some valves and the pressure will blow it out of the tank to sea. PROBLEM .. YOU CAN NOT FLUSH THE TOlIET while this is in progress. IF one does all the “WASTE” will get blown into your face and all over the head. Results, the one who does that gets to clean it up. And they are publicly (among the crew) awarded the Golden Flapper Award… And someone always gets the award each patrol. I never won the award because I was able to read the signs that said .. “DO NOT FLUSH”! Shouldn’t be the Golden Flapper Award .. Should be the Golden Crapper Award! … Cheers! Steve

  39. Leslie says:

    Another blog well done!

    As far as the tea, I reccomend you make a Arnold Palmer out of it. 1/2 tea, 1/2 lemonade. Of course it isn’t fresh brewed but it does make it paletable.

  40. Barb says:

    I have said it before and I will say it again, if the iced tea bopthers you so much, make your own! Tere are tea bags available on the Lido deck as well as hot water and ice. Any good southerner should know how to make it themselves the way they like it. Personally from a northerner, I like my iced tea less sweet, and sometimes even drink it without sugar! Better yet, isto mix iced tea with lemondade for a great “Arnold Palmer”.

    • Edvado says:

      If I’m on vacation why should I have to make my own drink when the host is already offering it? If Carnival can’t find a better brand of concentrate, or can’t find a way to make it themselves they ought to discontinue it. THEN I will begin to make it myself.

      • Stacey Otten says:

        Guess what…many, many tea drinkers drink it without sugar. There is absolutely NO reason for Carnival to have an iced tea available just so “Southerners” can have “their” iced tea. Iced tea, is regualar tea that is cold and served over ice. Sweet Tea I beleive is what the southerners are wanting and that in my opinion is a completely different animal that I have no desire to drink. Personally, I like my iced tea with lemon and artificial sweetener!! lol

  41. cruzin2some says:

    Congrats to Carnival and you but all of us who choose CCL already know that they are the best. In regards to the tea and southerners. John they are raised on sweat tea. Carnivals tea is unsweaten. They dont like it cause there isnt a ton of sugar already in it.
    The Cruzin2some

    • Edvado says:

      I am by no means a southerner. The tea STINKS, and NOT because it’s not sweet. It stinks because even when you SMOTHER it in sweetener, it still tastes nasty.

  42. Denise Barickman says:

    We just cruised on the Dream the end of August and I just wanted to tell you that Judit made our Dining Room experience the best ever out of 13 cruises! Our steward Patrick and his coworker Mariella made sure our room was comfortable and with first class service. The steakhouse was wonderful as usual and we were treated like a King and Queen. Thanks Carnival for another great vacation!

  43. John says:

    Hello Jessica Klink,
    Wow! What harsh words about the tea on board the Fantasy. I don’t think you are really a southerner because we do act that way.We have more tact than you displayed in your post.

    • John says:

      Also, We are booked on the Fantasy in two weeks. We are both southerners. No, we have no sweetened tea in our fridge and would never consider not cruising with Carnival because of the sweet tea. Maybe you should look for another cruise line, you’ll find the tea to be similar on all lines. We have sailed them all.

  44. Hello John: long time,no hear from me but I’m back 🙂
    Was wondering if the Dream is going to have a Guy’s Burger and a Burrito Bar with her refit?
    Thanks 🙂

    • Rhonda Atkinson says:

      Last week when I was sailing on the Magic, I was stunned to find the iced tea didn’t have the faint bitter taste that I’ve come to associate with Carnival tea. I was quite pleased as I don’t like to add anything to my tea except the occasional lemon. Beginning Friday at lunch, I noticed the tea reverted back to it’s usual flavor. Now I wonder if the comments about the taste of the tea caused this? Just wondering…

  45. sg says:

    Honestly people, IT’S JUST TEA GET OVER IT. On the carnival breeze now and everyone has been nice and service has been great thanks CC team!

  46. Pingback: Carnival Scores Big Three at Cruise International Awards

  47. Terrie R says:

    John, someone needs to tell Jessica that while ice tea is sacred in the South, so are manners and hers are the worst! Every Southern lady knows that to get her way you kill them with kindness and sugar sweetness! I respectfully request that instead of instant, you use real tea bags and brew your tea! Much better than instant and cruisers from the South would appreciate it. Thanks for everything.

    • Terrie R says:

      By the way, while I am a true Southerner I do not drink sweet tea due to diabeties in the family. But, for all those mentioning it, it is not about the sweetness of the tea. It is about the bad taste and aftertaste. You can only get rid of that by brewing! Thanks all!

  48. Joleen Koprucki says:

    CONGRATS John for winning best blog…but then again…how could you NOT win…you are the best! AND CONGRATS to Carnival for winning best cruise line!

  49. Martha says:

    For the sweet tea drinkers – a bottle of simple syrup would help. :0) I just think the tea is bad, so I bring individual bags of cold brew tea.

  50. George Saunders says:

    John, Just wanted to say thank you and the whole Victory crew (including hennie) for once again showing us a very good time on our labor day week cruise!

  51. john & mitch castillo says:

    First want to say thanks for the basket of fruits n wine. The wife really surprised. And this comes from the Magic 9/16/12 sailing right now. Just wish they would finally set the interner price. It was $39.99 for whole 7 day on last cruise. But now $74.95. They should just set it at $49.95 for 7 day and $39.99 for 5 day or less. It is a good speedof internet. So let the IS Beards know.

  52. Joseph mazzocchi says:

    Referring to the french canadian versus the english canadian, I am from Quebec and a Canadian which speaks english, french and italian.I would rather you count us all as Canadian and not seperate us by language. This only helps the cause of the separatists in Quebec. We do not want to separate from the rest of this beuatiful and great Canada. Where ever I go I am a Canadian period.

  53. Jerad Ornstein says:

    To Mrs. Klink,

    You go on a cruise, which many people enjoy by the way, and you make a big deal out of the tea?!?! -____-

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