January 3, 2013 -

John Heald

So here I am with the first blog of 2013 and as you will read shortly it’s business as usual with some news, lots of juvenile humour from yours truly and the Q&A session which I am sure for many of you is your favourite part. I did give a massive dollop of consideration to not answering questions on the blog anymore as I answer three billion a day on Facebook but as not everyone has Facebook and because it has always been part of the makeup of the blog thingy I shall indeed continue to sit here in my underpants and answer 10 per blog.


Now out of those 10, there is more often or not a comment that is from someone who is not happy and again I emphasize that I will not hide nor shirk from posting those because we learn from our mistakes and because this is not a corporate blog laced with lashings of “We are perfect,” I think it’s important that I continue to post these. When I get a complaint post from someone, it is fair enough. They are entitled to their opinion and are allowed to express it. The problem is that sometimes the poster thinks that they are not expressing an opinion. They think what they are expressing should be seen as fact. Then there are a few who have multiple screen names who dislike Carnival and dislike me. So much so that once they have their teeth into your buttocks, they will not let go until I am fired and dead. This means I have to go through life with a thousand John Deere tires on my back spending time trying to work out if the poster is real, has ever cruised with Carnival and is ticked off because I used the word “brilliant” again.


It is the way of the world though, isn’t it? Put yourself in the public eye on a blog or social media site and you will definitely upset someone. And even if that someone is a madman living in his mother’s basement the company has to listen, respond and apologise. When I was on the Carnival Breeze last year I noticed that one of our very best comedians had taken some of his more “edgy” material out of his adult show. I asked him why and he simply said, “It just isn’t worth it anymore.” He meant, of course, that writing comedy with a political or indeed a non-PC theme would get him in trouble. I have been in the office in Miami and I have seen my share of letters and emails that have been addressed to our President Gerry Cahill complaining about a joke or comment made in an uncensored show by a comedian and because we do take each comment seriously, it means that comedian has to be spoken to and an apology letter written. Obviously there are limitations but as we enter 2013 I do so concerned that there are those who have a quest for a politically correct world where there is no fun at all.


I shall try though to be more politically correct here on the blog and ignore the self-righteous and tunnel-visioned wankers with a burning desire to tell everybody else how they should live their lives and ready to dish out a massive bollocking if you should happen to disagree. I can only think that these people would make very poor neighbors.


Time for today’s Q&A………off we go


Randel Raison asks:
Hi, John,

thanks for the great blog. I’m “almost” Diamond status, and will reach that status next year for sure. I will typically go on eight or nine cruises per year, but can only go on the short ones (four-night, Thursday through Monday) because of work. During my time on Carnival Triumph out of Galveston, I’ve come to know much of the on-board staff. Of course, I’m usually armed with bags of chocolate, which is how most people will remember me. Aside from the dining room staff (dining is my favorite part of the cruise, of course), and knowing that CDs are the head of the entertainment department, I wanted to bring someone into light who I believe deserves recognition. Her name is Ines Galic, and she is currently the karaoke host on Carnival Ecstasy. I think she’s going home at some point this month. I met her a couple of years ago on Conquest, and then again four or five times when she was on Carnival Triumph. I hope there is a way to bring Ines back to Carnival Triumph. We’ve not really had a good time at karaoke since she left, and karaoke is one of the things we enjoy most on the ship (next to dining). And since Carnival Triumph is less than an hour drive for us, we go very frequently (next is 1/10/13). We’re excited about Europe! We’ll be on Carnival Sunshine on 4/26/13. I read every word of your blog, and really appreciate not only the humor, but the great information, as well. Thank you, and best.

Randel Raison

John says:
Hello Randel Raison,

Thanks so much first of all for your loyalty and I am sure you will reach that wonderful Diamond status one day very soon. It is great to know that Ines has made such a great impression on you and I have sent this to the chap that does her schedule to see if indeed there is any chance of us moving her to the Carnival Triumph. I can’t promise that this will happen but I will for sure mention it to her manager. I know you will have a brilliant time on Carnival Sunshine and I will be posting more news about her very soon. Thanks again and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
Best wishes.


Miranda H asks:
Mr. Grand Poobah,

My Cruise Critic friends told me you should be asked about the Platinum VIP laundry for our trans-Atlantic crossing on the Carnival Destiny before she becomes Carnival Sunshine. What is the limit? If it is two bags well that is ridiculous! Can you tell me WHAT THE AMOUNT IS???????

John says:
Hello Miranda H,

For a moment I thought you had called me Mr. Poo Bear but I see its Poobah which I have no sodding clue what you mean by that, maybe it is a term of endearment……….probably not though, right? Anyway, you will be allowed a total of three bags of laundry per Platinum guest during this wonderful voyage. I hope you have a brilliant time and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
Best wishes,


James and Carly Casper asks:

Can you please tell me what the plans are for the Super Bowl? We cruise on the Carnival Freedom and wanted to makes sure that there was going to be a party and the game shown.
Thanks in advance,

James and Carly Casper

John says:
Hello James and Carly Casper,

Yes indeed. All the ships will show the big game and those like the Carnival Freedom will have the game shown on the Lido Deck big screen and there will be a fun for all party on all the ships. Have a great cruise and enjoy the game.
Best wishes,


Walter Estevez asks:

I have one big complaint from my cruise on the Carnival Magic. Why do you have those glass covers at the buffet lines? Most of the passengers, including myself, could not reach the food. What a liability!!

John says:
Hello Walter Estevez,

First of all, I apologise for the inconvenience that this may have caused you and I am glad you wrote to me so that I could explain. These are called sneeze guards and a requirement as per United States Public Health. Please also remember that you can ask the crew to assist and they will serve the food for you. I do hope this helps and please do let me know if you have any other questions.
Best wishes,


Linda Schlesinger asks:

I read lots of comments on your blog about the piano bar players and how good they are. WRONG! From your photos it seems you have never taken time away from the dinner table to listen to Ben ——– on the Carnival Liberty because he is a ——- —— singer and has zero personality. Every passenger I spoke to told me they thought he was the worst they had seen and should be fired. So get your ass out top the ship and see for yourself because I won’t cruise again if I know he is on my ship.

John says:
Hello Linda Schlesinger,

Thanks for taking the time to write and I am looking at your cruise history I see that this last cruise on the Carnival Liberty was your third with us and I do hope you will have a fourth and many more. I did delete Ben’s last name as I think such was the ferocity of your comments regarding is entertainment abilities that he deserved not to have his full name published here. Opinions are important and everyone has the right to theirs and I will say that I value yours and that I have sent it to the new manager of music as I will any comments I receive about our music offerings on the ships. I will though also mention that I have received some excellent reports about Ben and just what a brilliant and vibrant personality he brings to the piano bar. So thanks then for your time and I do hope you had a great cruise.
Best wishes,


Anna Skinner asks:
Dear John,

I don’t know how to say this but I strayed. After three wonderful Carnival cruises we thought we should try Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. I have not been so disappointed in a cruise. Bigger is not always better. You have spoiled me for all other cruise directors. So please take us back and I promise never to stray again. Hopefully we will see you again in about two years.


John says:
Hello Anna Skinner,

I am so sorry that you did not have fun on the Allure and while I have heard amazing things about the ship I am sorry that you did not enjoy the experience. I am truly humbled by your words and I hope that you will come and see us again soon and that we will get the chance to cruise together again soon. If there is anything I can do for you please let me know.
Best wishes,


Kyle asks:
Hey John,

I have given my girlfriend the greatest gift of all for her birthday…the gift of cruise. We are going on the Carnival Dream for the June 15 sailing. My question is about Faster to the Fun and tendering. I have been considering purchasing FTTF, but the real selling point for me is priority tendering. My question is this: does the Carnival Dream typically dock or tender in St. Maarten in June, because I see on my itinerary that this is an “occasional or seasonal tender.” After how long I waited to get off the Carnival Liberty last March, priority would be awesome for me. Thanks, and I can’t wait to be back on a Fun Ship.


John says:
Hello Kyle,

What a wonderful gift this is to give and how lucky she is and how romantic you are. The ship does not tender in any port including St. Maarten so please do not worry about that. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you both and until then I wish you the most wonderful cruise.
Best wishes,


Dan Ludlow asks:

You should hire a cruise director called Richard Spacey who works for Royal. He is the funniest man we have ever met on our 37 cruises and that includes two with you Mr. Heald and you could learn from him as well. Check him out – he is the best by far.

John says:
Hello Dan Ludlow,

I am a huge fan of his and although I have never had the honour of cruising with him I have seen some of his videos and indeed he is very, very funny and I could indeed learn from his fantastic stage abilities.
Best wishes,


John & Susan from Frisco, Tx asks:
Hello John,

Susan and I just returned from our cruise on the Carnival Magic. First I must thank you and our CD James for the strawberries and the ship on a stick. (You do forget in your description that it is solid plastic). Now let me tell you about a wonderful cruise. It started with our super PVP Natalia Savage. She always looks out for us and get us the exactly what we are looking for at the right price. Her advice in the past has been priceless. Boarding was a snap and we hurried to the RedFrog Pub. We want to be first and we made it. The staterooms were ready right on time and the drill was a snap. The two sea days were busy with activities. The welcome aboard show was great, “The Groove Line” was excellent and “Destination Unknown” (Magic) was terrific. Never seen better shows. We ate at the Comedy Brunch everyday that we could and the food there is great. That menu is wonderful! We had late dinner seating and the service we received was above and beyond. Our headwaiter John from India and his assistants George from Romania and Milovan from Serbia all deserve recognition. Even the bar service was wonderful. When we arrived at the table each night Graig from St. Lucia had our Diet Cokes there within minutes. One evening we decided to try the Italian restaurant. After Deni from Croatia had seated us, Ana from Croatia and Strahinja from Bosnia could not have taken better care of us. Once again they deserve recognition. Our cabin attendant Diana never failed to come say hi and always addressed us by name. The two excursions we bought from Carnival were second to none. In Jamaica we rode the bobsled, climbed Dunns River Falls, and rode the sky lift. In Cayman we did the beginners scuba and it to was just plain fun! Debark was quick and easy. The ship docked about 6:30 a.m. and we walked off at 7:05 am. You know me and if anything is wrong or I have a suggestion I don’t have any problem bringing it to your attention. Susan and I both agree….the service, shows, and food on this cruise was the best yet. It just shows that no one at Carnival is sitting on their laurels. I must say, I do miss the opportunity to purchase the future cruise certificates and maybe in the future they will come back. You know that you can print this on the blog or anywhere you want. This cruise put Susan and I at 159 days and we have booked on the Carnival Destiny from Miami to Venice. We look forward to the same great service! Thanks for all you do and as always…Our Best!!

John & Susan from Frisco, Tx

John says:
Hello John and Susan,

It is always a delight to hear from you both and I am thrilled indeed that you had such a wonderful time. I have sent this to the ship and they too will be thrilled and excited to see that their hard work was appreciated. We certainly are not resting on our laurels and we will continue to work hard to make sure we stay at the top of the industry. I know that the FCC is missed by many. I want to thank you for your loyalty and for this brilliant advert for this great ship. I hope we see you both again very soon.
Best wishes,


Debbie Rhodes asks:

I just got home yesterday from a cruise on the Carnival Conquest. I had a blast! Loved all the new additions. Laughed my butt off at Noonan and Squishy. Loved the new shows. The entertainment was all great. I also have to give a shout out to our waiter Nelson. He and his team get an A+!!! Already searching for next year’s cruise….Can’t wait!!!

John says:
Hello Debbie,

Noonan, Squishy and Nelson are going to be so proud when they see this and bravo to them for making your cruise extra special. Thanks Debbie and I do hope we see you again very, very soon
Best wishes,



That’s all for today and as I get back to writing more blogs I will do my best to catch up with the questions. Thanks though for your patience……my favourite line from today’s though was “From your photos it seems you have never taken time away from the dinner table to listen.” ahhhhhhh ……….it’s good to be back. So what I thought I would do today would just randomly list some facts, news and bits and pieces to get us caught up with what’s been happening during my time away with the family.



As you know we added even more ships in the past two weeks and here then is the current list of ships that have the program.

Carnival Breeze

Carnival Conquest

Carnival Dream

Carnival Freedom

Carnival Glory

Carnival Legend

Carnival Liberty

Carnival Magic

Carnival Miracle

Carnival Pride

Carnival Splendor

Carnival Valor

Carnival Victory



So the question everyone is asking is, “Can we see a photo of you in a leather thong, please John?” …….Oops……..I mean the question everyone is asking is “When will it come to the ship I am cruising on?” Well certainly as you can see we are expanding the testing period slowly, checking our guests’ reaction and decide whether we will implement this on other ships. No decision so far on this and I will as I have always done keep you informed. As I mentioned on Facebook yesterday we have now included the program on Half Moon Cay so when you ashore on this slice of heaven you will be able to continue using the Cheers program and that is definitely a positive and may I think persuade even more people to purchase it. The guests seem to really have taken to the Cheers program and while I know it’s not for everyone and that the restrictions on having each adult in the state room needing to purchase it mean that for some it is not an option, it has for the most part been a resounding success. More news to come. In the weeks ahead we can expect some announcements as it relates to our ship movements and itineraries.  It will be fascinating to see what the future holds so stay tuned.


Despite some early concerns with this new program the bugs have been ironed out and it has been a success. It allows guests to purchase VIP entrance to the ship with the Faster to the Fun guests boarding the ship directly after those Platinum and Diamond guests and both sets of guests will have their state room ready upon boarding and will have their luggage delivered first. There are other benefits as well and like the Cheers bar program it has been well received and the limited number of tickets we sell on line at have been instantly snapped up.

The Faster to the Fun program is currently available on the following ships.

PortMiami – Carnival Imagination, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Destiny, Carnival Glory and Carnival Valor

Port Canaveral – Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Sensation and Carnival Dream

Port of Galveston – Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph


The Faster to the Fun program will be available on ships sailing from Jacksonville, Port Everglades and Tampa over the next few weeks. As for Carnival Breeze, well we had such a high count of Platinum and Diamond guests for the inaugural cruises out of Miami that we did not want to impact the boarding process so we will now look at adding this to the Carnival Breeze in the near future as well. I will keep you informed.


So I am here in the UK where I have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with the girls. On Friday January 12, I will fly back to Miami and on January 13, join the Carnival Breeze where Calvyn and I will have six days on board to prepare the ship for the Bloggers Cruise 6. We have close to 600 guests who have registered to be part of the fun and activities and as always I am humbled by just how many have chosen to spend their valuable vacation time with Carnival and, of course, with me. I will do my very best to make sure they all have the brilliant fun and closer to the cruise I will share the schedule of events that they will be invited to outside of the regular fun that can be found on this superb ship. For those who have registered we do not send confirmation emails but you will get a schedule and a VIBP (Very Important Blog Person) lanyard in your stateroom which you should wear to the events including the 5pm welcome aboard cocktail party at 5pm in the Ovation Theatre. It will be a brilliant eight days and for those unable to sail I will keep you updated as to what is happening via this blog and my Facebook page.


Unless you live alone in a cave or are French you will have seen and heard and been driven totally and utterly insane by a tune called Gangnam Style, This is performed by a South Korean rapper called Psy……..or I may have spelt that Wong. From what I have seen on the video that is the first YouTube video to get over 1 billion views, the dance involves Gangnam dance involves galloping around on a pretend horse while making rude and suggestive motions with your wrists. If you still have no idea what I am talking about here is the most popular video on YouTube ever.


And the news is that this world wide phenomenon is now being taught to the waiters and they will perform their version in the dining room across the fleet soon. I think we should add it to the Carnival Legends show……..what do you think?


The news here in the UK as in North America continues to be that we avoided sailing over the Fiscal Cliff and that’s great news for a great new year Mostly, though, 2013 will be a great year because we’ll all stop worrying about things that really don’t matter. Because instead of making everyone wear high-visibility jackets and forcing us to go on six-week courses before being allowed to climb a ladder, Obama and Cameron will be working non-stop seven days a week to make the world a better place, to protect us from mad men with nuclear bombs like Kim Il Gangman and Iran’s President Armani Dinnerjacket.


I do want to mention the awful shooting at Sandy Hook, I truly feel compelled to do so. Look, I am a Brit, a thick, overweight Brit with little understanding of the constitution and the right to bear arms and I only mention this in the context that sadly, gun control is probably not possible in a country that believes owning a firearm is as necessary as having somewhere to live. The American in-born attitude to guns is such that absolutely nobody on this side of the Atlantic can begin to fathom. One thing I will say as a father of a three year old is that I don’t understand why the mother of the bastard who killed those angels at Sandy Hook (who homeschooled her son and, therefore, is presumably of reasonable intelligence), would want to own three weapons of this nature. Maybe 2013 will be a chance for your president to earn the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded and take the once in a generation opportunity to make it harder to buy a machine gun and thousands of bullets.


So let’s raise a glass to 2013 and I wish you and your families a wonderful new year full of fun some of which I hope is on board a Carnival ship.


Oh one last thing. As it is winter some of you may be thinking about going skiing….don’t. The bit I don’t like about skiing is the chance that you may break one of your legs. It would be cheaper for you to book a cruise…..during which you stay in one of the ship’s deep freezers and once a day I will come in and beat you about the legs with a baseball bat………that’s the same as going skiing but much better value for money.

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.

55 Responses to THE FIRST BLOG OF 2013

  1. Judy says:

    I live about 10 min from Sandy hook. It was a terrible tragedy. The children went back to school today in a neighboring town. They renamed a closed middle school Sandy Hook Elementary. People from all over the world sent snowflakes they put on the windows. For most part the children got their desks from other school and their backpacks they left behind. Keep praying and remembering the families.

    • Rick Williamson says:

      Judy why did they make over that old school to look just like the school they came from? My wife and I have talked about it and it seems to us like you would do more damage to the kids by naming it the same, painting it the same colors. I know I would NOT want to be reminded every minute of every day about what I had just been through.

    • Sue Honaker says:

      Judy… Wanted to let you know that I still have the whole community in my prayers. My son is grown and married..when he was going to school I just could not imagine something this horrific happening and then continuing my life. God Bless Sandy Hook..especially the children and families that were involved in the shooting…Sending many prayers their way…

  2. Travis Maxfield says:

    I was on the Liberty earlier this month and I spent a lot more time in the piano bar because of Ben, I know that our group that was there every night loved Ben. I don’t know what the issue was that was mentioned, but there was only fun with Ben when we were on our cruise.

  3. Mike Fields says:

    Hey John

    First let me say we had a great time on the Breeze Dec 8th…one huge disappointment I had is with the $119 High Speed Internet Package for our iPad. This is a lot of money for what unfortunately was horribly slow service. We had the Internet Manager come down to our Cabin to make adjustments to settings and try to speed things up to no avail. I had asked for a refund but rejected and unless it was very off time we were unable to surf at any time. I did not take this up with Guest Services as I did not want to get upset over this, but it still bothers me to this day that something was not done. I also hear this is an issue on the Breeze….not sure anything can be done at this point but you should be aware of this. Butch is great by the way!

  4. Chuck B says:

    My one concern about the Cheers program is standing there at the bar forever waiting to be served by the busy bartender or servers on deck not wanting to make eye contact as I have experienced over many years with the soda card. Unless it was the bartender I bought the soda card from or a bartendr/server I frequented to buy the alcoholic drinks from, I tended to be very low on their priorities. Since we will have to sign for each drink which we will get from the Cheers program, have you set up a way in the computer for the servers/bartenders to get credit for the drinks they serve us on the Cheers program and divide the pre-paid tips accordingly? Also, will there be an extra line on the chit for an additional tip?

    Chuck B.

  5. Sue says:

    I will be Diamond on our next cruise which will be on the Breeze so you see we love cruising. I do have a concern on the Dream though. The DJ on the Lido was playing so vulgar music and doing so very vulgar moves with one of the girls from the spa. I am not a kill joy, but I thought those things might go over better in a lounge. It was out there for all to see children from 1 to 100! The music is so loud you can’t talk or read..I ask why is this…Thanks for your time..

  6. Judith says:

    ‘Maybe 2013 will be a chance for your president to earn the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded and take the once in a generation opportunity to make it harder to buy a machine gun and thousands of bullets.’

    I totally agree!!!

    ‘The bit I don’t like about skiing is the chance that you may break one of your legs. It would be cheaper for you to book a cruise…..during which you stay in one of the ship’s deep freezers and once a day I will come in and beat you about the legs with a baseball bat………that’s the same as going skiing but much better value for money.

    There you are wrong! for a one week cruise with carnival (including flying to the USA) i can go on a (at least) two week skiingtrip… And when i break a leg… I have 3 month to heal, because that’s when i go on the Dream 😉

    Happy 2013!


  7. Richard Taylor says:

    Great Blog, welcome back and Happy New Year. Also the blog thingy page has been revamped! I’ll be downloading from the archive, before America wakes up and swamps the site again 😉 , the first blogs to read as I only caught up with you in 2012.
    But John, do take it gently this year. We love your blogs and facebook stuff, but don’t overdo it and wreck your health!

    • Richard Taylor says:

      Replying to myself – good grief!!
      With the new blog site, could the IT beards in Miami zip all the archive blogs, please? I’ve just discovered (should have realised) that each month is an index page and you have to click to go into each blog. It’ll take ages and tons of bandwidth………

  8. Steve says:

    Hey John,

    Love your blog and appreciate your looking out for all of us cruisers. I must take some umbrage with your statememnts regarding guns.

    First, a person would own them because they are fun. For me, and so many others, guns are our hobby. I do have guns that serve as tools and I have some guns that are used purely for the fun of shooting. I enjoy firing all types of guns. Some of them at animals during their respective seasons, and some of them just for target shooting. They are fun. Much like some people enjoy getting in a car with a big engine and letting it fly down the autobahn. Does every car NEED the engine it has or the designs (breaking system, suspension, etc.) it does? Of course not. And cars are used to kill an awful lot of people (some accidentally and some on purpose, similar to guns). Of course, you may or may not have seen the recent report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) citing that baseball bats and clubs are used to kill more often than guns. Shall we ban America’s pasttime then? Or maybe just ban aluminum bats or bats of certain length? I doubt it.

    Second, I am completely unsurprised that a Brit would not be able to fathom America’s constitutional right to bear arms. Mostly because it was the treatement of the colonists, by the British, (some of the treatment having to do with bearing arms) that led to an amendment ensuring the populace would be able to defend itself against an unjust, tyrranical government, ala King George.

    Lastly, in every one of my gun purchases and in each instance of using the guns I own, I follow the law. Everyone I know that has guns and every person with whom I shoot or hunt follows these laws (or I would not shoot or hunt with them). But you know who does not follow those laws? Criminals. And no matter what laws are passed, the criminal never will follow them. Because they are, well, criminals and, for many of them, guns are tools of their trade. You may look at Chicago, IL for evidence of this. Extremely strict gun laws and, ironically, the worst rate of gun related deaths in the country. DC used to be the place with the most gun violence. That only changed after the Supreme Court said that DC had to relax its gun control laws (which used to be, essentially, that you could not own any at all ever).

    Getting off my soapbox now. Thanks for the chance to contribute. Back to the fun. Cruise on my wayward son!

  9. Karen Deon says:

    Hi John could you please give us a little bit of information about the yet to be named 2016 ship? Home port, name, design, etc.
    Love the blog keep them coming
    awaiting a response

  10. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Just thought I would add to your comment about gun control in England and Wales….

    “the homicide rate in England and Wales has averaged 52% higher since the outset of the 1968 gun control law and 15% higher since the outset of the 1997 handgun ban.”

    Sadly one of the facts that we have to deal with if we want an honest discussion about gun control.

    Yes, Sandy Hook was a terrible terrible act that had nothing to do with gun control and everything to do with personal responsibility.

    The only one to blame is the family of this monster who failed to protect society from him.

    But instead of holding people accountable, it is easier to just add another gun law that (as proved in England and Wales) does nothing to stop the deaths.

    Linda (Mom of DJ)

    • Jane says:

      These are the numbers for England and Wales for 2012. Needless to say, USA is much higher. The United States has a gun problem.

      There were 42 recorded shooting deaths in the first six months of 2012, with 24 (57%) occurring in non-metropolitan areas
      In 24 cases, the weapon used is either known to be legal or highly likely to be given the evidence available
      23 deaths (55%) were apparently self-inflicted
      Four of these appear to be murder-suicides, resulting in 10 total deaths
      All female victims (six) died in presumed domestic murder-suicides – in one incident the woman is believed to be responsible for shooting her partner and herself.

      • sarah says:

        Well, I’m a Texan and, therefore, feel compelled to weigh-in on the gun statements. With all these statistics being posted — have you seen the statistics that compare to gun-related deaths? Namely… more people are killed by baseball bats each year than guns. More people are killed by knives. More people are killed by fists. More people are killed by hammers and clubs, than they are with guns. Law will only keep the honest people honest. The criminals will go on as they always have.

  11. Roxianne says:

    John – You must be a saint! There is no way I could be cordial to a person who insults me the way Linda Schlesinger and other have done to you. I feel compelled to say “I’m sorry”, I’m sorry that basic human compassion and tact are no longer part of our moral compass. People feel that our opinions must be expressed out loud (and not just in our heads) and we don’t give a damn if it hurts your feelings.

    You are a wonderful and generous person. Thank you for everything you do.


  12. marsha.breen says:

    Great to have you back John!

    Linda S. – do us all a favor and don’t cruise with Carnival again.

    Dan Ludlow – stick with RCCL…. please. Anyone with your foul mouth that thinks it is okay to hide behind your keyboard and say such rude things belongs on an RCCL ship.

  13. Hello John. I wrote you with a question on FB and after searching for 2 hours for my post,I came up empty handed. We are going to be on the Breeze Feb. 10th. I was looking for a certain excursion for Ocho Rios. It contained 2 parts. Dunn River Falls and this excursion. Again, the name slips me. Maybe I am senile and don’t know it LOL. It involves waterfalls, quite a few of them and walking thru a rain forest or something of that nature. You were kind enough to write me on FB and give me the name and said it may be available on Carnivals site Jan. 1st or on board. I haven’t seen it yet but I forget the name i’m looking for, in case I have to wait until I get on board. It worries me to have to wait until I get onboard to book an excursion.
    Also, I am so disappointed! I thought you were going to be the CD on the Breeze when we are to go. I told my husband who our CD was and told him finally success we get you!! I’ve read nothing but good things about you and was so excited to finally sail with you. Maybe next time 🙁 Thank you for your time because I know you are so busy!

  14. Longin2cruise says:

    In reference to the school shooting: Odly enough, according to Wikipedia, American’s rights to own arms is derived from English common law of the 1600’s. At that time, the Protestants of England were allowed to arm themselves against the Catholic king. Our second ammendment rights to own gunswere adopted in 1791. At that time, we were a frontier country & guns were required for protection. Sadly, they were also used to eradicate Native Americans. I do think that the frontier mentality has stayed with Americans, especially in the southern & western states & especially in rural areas. The first mass shooting occurred in the 1960s when a man killed & wounded any number of students at the University of Texas. In an autopsy it was found that the shooter had a brain tumor. The next mass shooting was not until the mid 1980s at a McDonalds in San Diego. The shooter was also a mental case. As a whole, we Americans are severly lacking in knowledge & treatment of mental health issues. We definitly need to become proactive in that area. That being said, I do not understand why anyone would need a gun such as the one used by the Sandy Hook shooter.

    • Steve says:

      Why does everything have to be about need? Do you NEED to go on a cruise? Sometimes bad things happen on cruises. Most often, though, everyone plays nice and we have a great time. Can you get the analogy?

  15. Jim Parodi says:

    Looking forward to this year and what is new with Carnival. Was on Carnical Conquest a couple weeks before her dry dock. From what I have been reading, am looking forward to sailing on her once again. My first experience with Carnival was disappointing. However, in the 3 years since then, the cruise on Conquest was one of the best. Can not believe how much Carnical had inproved.

    Read your blog continually, note your comments on current affairs, am curious though, what are your thoughts about the QE2?, should she get a chance and come home to Britain?

    Look forward to further blogs as well as more curises.

  16. Ralph says:

    Linda Schlesinger,
    Your comment was obviously written by someone who is an expert in……. zero personality!

  17. Elizabeth H says:

    Poohbah- A person who is important or high-ranking

    Not bad at all =)

  18. Geri and Jack says:

    Hi John,
    We’re coming on the Valor again on January 27th. This time will be the first time with our youngest son and family from Peru. He is running the Miami Marathon. Also sailing with Jack’s brother and family and first time with our oldest son and friend. Can’t wait.
    We have another anniversary coming our way – our 55th.
    Thank you again for all you do and best regards to you and your beautiful family.
    Hope to sail with you again another day soon.
    Geri & Jack
    Platinum and OS level (thrilled to pieces)

  19. Debbie says:

    Help please. I just recently booked the 1/19 sailing on the Breeze and would like to be part of the Bloggers activities. I don’t see where or how to sign up. Thanks!

  20. Liz and Steve says:

    John: First love, love, love your blog. Secondly, as a Canadian I share your comments regarding the American inborn belief that owning a gun is somehow a prerequisite. Howver being so close to the border I’m close enough to feel the heat already rising from those Americans who are getting ready to defend their insane ideology. It might be a better idea to stay across the sea. It’s safer! lol Looking forward to the Victory in February. Number 5 is alive!

    • Steve says:

      As our blanket, it must be nice to rest on teh security the U.S. provides you Canadians. Before you go spouting off about defending insane ideologies, I recommend you consider that maybe we actually have something to defend, including our incapable friends to the north.

  21. steve says:

    John I can say for a fact that FTTF people boarded BEFORE the VIP’s on the 11-24-12 sailing of the Carnival Liberty. Announcements were made for FTTF people before we were out of the vip lounge. Did it ruin my cruise…No but don’t be so naive to think that all the kinks are worked out. As soon as the vips were called the FTTF people jumped right in line and NOBODY from Carnival stopped them.

  22. Laura T (divetrash) says:

    Wow, Linda Schlesinger, that is a lot of vitriol aimed at Ben in the piano bar on the Liberty. And I have to say, I am surprised. I read a lot of piano bar comments between the Carnival Piano Bar-Barians Facebook Page and other websites. And I can honestly say he’s been one of the more talked about newbies and every single comment about him has been positive.

    Everyone has different things they are looking for in a piano bar entertainer. Tastes certainly vary. Even the favorites get dinged from time to time. I’m sorry you did not enjoy Ben. There are a lot of other really good entertainers across the fleet these days. Hopefully you will enjoy your next one.

  23. Rachel Salmeri says:

    Hey John,
    I just returned from a cruise on the beautiful Carnival Breeze. The cruise was amazing, love all the new public areas. Butch did a great job, especially with the Hasbro Family Game Night along with 6’3″(can’t remember her name, but she is the assistant cruise director).
    I am also a PVP here a Carnival and want to mention something to you one of my guest’s mentioned to me from her recent cruise. She sailed on the Sensation on 12/27 with her 8 year old daughter. While in the dining room for dinner the bar waiters were offering shots for sale and the waiteress told her they are called Blowjob shots. I have seen this before on other sailings and doesn’t bother me at all. But the guest was pretty upset as was the other family at the table. Is there a way to pass along a notice to the bar waitstaff to not use that term when talking about the shots around tables with kids. I’m sure other families with young kids would appreciate that as well. I think you are the only source we have to get word to the ship about these types of things. Thank you for all that you do!!

  24. Scot Harris says:

    John, I am not a Carnival”cheerleader”, we are Princess people (a sister co. afterall)but we have taken 1 Carnival cruise w/ another booked this May. First was on Triumph and it was great, May is on Dream and seeing as it is our 25th anniversary, hope it is just as good. I found your blog and think you do ONE HELLUVA JOB. I always look forward to your next post. In this post you mention american’s obcession with firearms. I think this stems from the fact that in our history firearms were as common a “tool” as a shovel or hoe. But thats another story. GANGMUN style is one hell of a catchy tune, I’m sure that it will be incorporated into some onboard activity like The Village Peolple YMCA is now. Keep up the great work John. If I ever meet you onboard I’m buyin the first round. Cheers

  25. Anne Seitz says:

    Happy New Year John. Welcome back.

  26. Catrin says:

    Hi John…
    We really enjoyed Ben, the Piano Bar player on the Liberty during our November Cruise. I am sorry that Linda was not entertained by him! Is he the best singer in the world? No. But, his energy, enthusiasm and fun personality kept the Piano Bar packed every night. On our 13 cruises, he was one of the better Piano Bar Players… our favorite was Dana Barnes who was on the Triumph several years ago.

    Also.. regarding FTTF… things did not go as planned on the Liberty out of Miami. The VIP group was called, but the FTTF group was called before the VIP group was escorted from the lounge to the entrance. The FTTF group ended up boarding before most of the VIP’s.

    Glad you are back!

  27. Janet says:

    Hi John,
    Love Carnival!!!! Cruising Feb 2 on the Liberty for our 6th cruise. Could you explain what Cheers Bar Program is and Fast Fun Pass. I do not do the Facebook thing. Thank You. By the way you are great.


  28. Karen Flannery says:

    John, I enjoy reading your blog and I have never commented before. My husband and I are taking our two adopted children on their very first cruise. They are ages 16 and 8. I know the 8 year old will love everything about the cruise and the 16 year old boy will LOVE the food. But what advice can you give me for my 16 year old son to have fun. I know about club 02 but beyond that what do teenagers like to do. I remember taking our older son on a cruise at that age and he was hard to keep entertained. Also does Carnival have a curfew for teenagers. I hope so as I already told him midnight was it.

    Thanks for your help,


  29. Luis R says:

    …sadly, gun control is probably not possible in a country that believes owning a firearm is as necessary as having somewhere to live.

    You could not have said it better than that.

  30. Chuck Miller says:


    I am just wondering why the Carnival ships that visit the Bahamas do not all visit HMC. My wife and I will be on the Dream in May and I was wondering why Carnival selects Nassau over HMC for this cruise. I have heard more good things about HMC than Nassau and would have loved a good relaxing day on the beach to start the cruise.

    • Rick Williamson says:

      Chuck, ok I have been there 8 times out of my 16 cruises. And have never heard of nor do I know what HMC is. Please tell us what you mean?

      • Chuck says:

        Rick, HMC is the acronym for Half Moon Cay. I would rather spend the short time we have in Bahamas there than Nassau. I would also think that Carnival would rather for us to spend our money there than in Nassau also since it is their island anyway.

        • Rick Williamson says:

          Thanks Chuck. I agree with you. Of my 22 cruises 11 have stoped in Nassau. The last 3 or 4 times we just stay on the ship. The island would be much more fun and restful.

  31. John, I am polishing my tiara and looking forward to BC6 soon!

    Duchess Sandy and Richard the Great

  32. Mike says:

    I hope you’ll be adding Alaska & New England cruises for 2014 soon. What can I say I like to book really early 🙂


  33. Revonda Bowman says:

    Hi John! We will be on the Dream March 23, 2013 (this will be our 15th with Carnival). I cant seem to figure out how to make a reservation for 4 for the Chef’s table. If you could help in any way possible, it would be greatly appreciated. It will be Our son, 17, god daughter 20, my husband and my self. Not sure what you other info you may need, but my email is listed above. Thanks gain for all you do to help all of us that cruise with Carnival. Revonda Bowman

  34. Lenny V. says:

    Hello John. To start in regard to Miranda H’s refering to you nas a Pooba I have always thougt of it as a indearing term meaning Great Leader or head bose etc. Next up. We [wife and I] are platinum Carnival Cruisers. We have also sailed on Princes and RCCL and the old Radisson line. No cruise is perfect but we seem to always go back to Carnival because you guys are always great. If you are the type person that expects 100% perfection I don’t think cruiseing is for you. Now for my critique of Carnival. I am leary of going on any ship bigger than the Magic. I may be in the minority on this, but I don’t believe bigger is always better. We shall have to see. We usualy take 7 day or longer cruises but last sept. we went on the Triumph for a sat. cruise It was great, the crew and staff we top shelf. We enjoyed it so much that we are booked again on may 20th 2013 again, this time we a dragging along some friends. Hope some of the crew is still on board this cruise. I expect we shall have a wonderful time again. By the way we are among the older crowd age wise that cruise Carnival but find you have somethig for every age.

  35. Meghan jones says:

    Hi John,
    This question has been asked and answered a million times, but I feel I need to ask it again. We are cruising on the liberty 2/23 and celebrating my birthday and we are very excited to be able to use the cheers program-mostly because I like to know how much I’m spending ahead of time. The 15 limit/no limit issue is my question. On your favorite website there have been recent first hand accounts that there was a hard 15 drink limit regardless of the persons sobriety. As you have said it isn’t- is there anyway to clarify this fleet wide so each ship doesn’t make up their own rules? I don’t imagine I’d reach the limit but I’d like to know I wouldn’t have to worry if I did. Thanks again for all you do here and on Facebook!

  36. Tim says:

    Just because some moron named Wayne says the Tervis tumblers aren’t good doesn’t make it so. Please don’t get rid of those until at least the end of this year so we can get ours!! ;).


  37. ” Happy New Year John “. Mary Lou and I are really excited on the BC cruise on January 19. It will we nice to see you again. See you then my friend.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  38. Clint says:

    Just saw the gangnam style dance on the splendor ship. Great job!!

  39. Shelly Young says:

    As usual you kept me LAUGHING!! Husband wants to know what to heck is going on and NOOO i can’t ski.

  40. Richard Davis says:

    Hi John! We are so excited to be on your blog (BC6) cruise next week, 1/19! Our very first Carnival cruise was on the Triumph November 1999 and you were the CD at that time. You made such a great impression on us that we are now going on our 11 Carnival cruise and you are our CD once again!!!! We are looking forward to enjoying the cruise with you. Not only are we on it but my two brothers and their wives also. The last 6 to 7 yrs we have made this an annual family event to spend time with each other.

    See you soon!

    Richard and Sue Davis

  41. dexter says:

    I have a question you may be able to answer you seem to have been in the business for a long time. On a shore excursion in Grand Cayman one of the people on the bus complained about the heat. My question is this why would someone book a cruise to the carib then complain about the heat outside knowing full well that is it a warm area when booking the cruise? Not sure if you have the answer but it seems odd to me to complain about heat when paying to go to an area that is warm. Didnt think it was hot but then being from northern minnesota and going to where there are palm trees thaws you out for a bit. Just one more thing, The water slide on the Magic is a blast. Am 61 and never been on one so I tried it and it was fun. Also think that the brits make ahip wide announcements so the americans have to listen closely to understand whats being said. Well TTFN enjoy your blog

  42. Luis Rosario says:

    Hi John,

    I see you mentioned about the Faster to the Fun program being available on the Valor. We will be going on our first (hopefully of many more) cruise in July to celebrate our honeymoon and wanted to to take advantage of the program. I call CCL and they said it’s not available… any insight on this?

    Thank you!


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