August 26, 2013 -

John Heald

 We serve of them on average of 600 portions each cruise here on the Carnival Legend and their popularity keeps on rising. There was a public outcry when due to droughts in Indonesia, we could not source them. Yep, we are of course talking about snails or to give them their posh name…….escargots. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, please, Mrs. God, don’t let me come back as a snail – what a miserable life they lead. You spend your life trying to avoid being swallowed by a bird, crushed underfoot into a shell/slime soufflé or boiled alive, smothered with garlic butter and devoured by Mr. and Mrs. Seaugo in the dining room of a Carnival ship. Regardless, it seems you love them and here is a photo of Sid the Snail and his mates as taken by Mr. Radu.


I am not French. I don’t smoke 100 cigarettes a day accompanied by as many coffees or own a small annoying dog that is allowed to crap anywhere it wants with the owner having no intention of clearing it up, I use deodorant and understand the word soap and oh, yes…….I pride myself on being polite and I do not eat snails. Personally, I would rather eat Simon Cowell’s nose hairs.


Time for today’s Q&A – here we go.


William Starks asks:

Hello John:

I wrote to you last year about a cruise that we were about to take on another cruise line.  Well we took the cruise and now we are back with Carnival.  We have a cruise on the Carnival Dream in October.  We are Platinum members.  I am not asking for anything, I just wanted to let you know that we missed Carnival. The other cruise line was OK but it wasn’t as much fun.  Carnival is far better!!!! We are going to try the anytime dinning since it is just the two of us cruising this time.  Looking forward to the cruise. Love your blog!!!


John says:

Hello William Starks,

What a fantastic start to the Q&A today and many thanks for taking the time to write. I do hope that you had a good time on the other cruise line but, of course, I am thrilled that you are coming home to Carnival. I thank you so much for your loyalty and if there is indeed anything I can do for you before you sail on the Carnival Dream, please let me know. Best wishes.



Raquel Champney asks:

John, Can you tell me why Carnival tends to hire people to serve their passengers whose English skills are less than adequate? Hiring more Americans to serve American passengers would make sense. I cannot tell you how many times DH and I struggled to make the staff, food servers and other incidental workers understand what we wanted and this became a frustration that spoiled our seven days of hard earned vacation time.

Raquel Champney


 John says:

Hello Raquel Champney,

I do hope that despite this concern that you had a great cruise. If though I may respectfully disagree with your comment and say that all our service staff speak English and have to abide by regulations set forth by the United States Coast Guard. English may not be their first language and they may speak with accents but they are able to understand fully what our guests request of them. I hope we will see you again soon and if you have a follow up to this, please let me know. Best wishes.



Ben Phippen asks:

We will be sailing on a holiday cruise on the Carnival Splendor. In your blog that I read today you answered a question about the ship being decorated for Xmas and you responded that it would be. I do hope that the decorations in question will not be overly done in Christian themes and major mention of the Xmas words etc because there will be many non-Christian passengers like me who have chosen a cruise to get away from the such things. Can you set my mind at ease as this has been grating on my mind ever since I read it?


John says:

Hello Ben Phippen,

Thank you for choosing the Carnival Splendor during the Christmas season and I am sure you will have a wonderful time. We do decorate the ship in a Christmas theme and that will include a traditional Christmas tree, etc. There will be a Christmas show and the crew though will acknowledge you all with wishes of Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. There will also be a Hanukah celebration for guests of the Jewish faith with a Menorah lighting service each night. It is a wonderful time to be on board. Please have a brilliant cruise and let me know if you have any more concerns. Best wishes.



Dani Lawrence asks:

We are cruising in December (our seventh) and it is a family cruise. (my daughter and her husband-their second, my mother and father in law- their 27th and 26th, respectively)  I want to know how do we find out if there are any special parties, costumed events on our ship that we can plan/pack for?  Who do we call or ask?  Thanks


John says:

Hello Dani Lawrence,

I am sure you are all excited about your cruise and although there are no special parties or costume events that cruise, the ship will be decorated for Christmas and you will all have a brilliant time. If there is anything at all I can help you with, please let me know and I wish you all the best of times. Best wishes.



Wendi Martis-Shaw asks:

Hey big guy, hook me up with a table for two, would ya? Me and Stuart cruise on Carnival Conquest September 8 under booking number ******. Nice to eat alone and have quality time together.


John says:

Hello Wendi Martis-Shaw,

I have asked the maître d’ to reserve you a table for two and I know he will do his best to do so. I wish you both the best of times and enjoy all the 2.0 upgrades the Carnival Conquest has. Best wishes.



Daniele Roch asks:

Where can I find the cruises you’ll be on for the following year? I’m from Montreal and our first cruise with Carnival was on the Carnival Triumph with you as cruise director and it was our favorite one. You’re simply the best, thank you and even if we are French-Canadians, we enjoyed ourselves and understood your wonderful jokes


John says:

Hello Daniele Roch,

Thank you – I am truly humbled by those words. I will be on the Carnival Miracle next year from May – August sailing in Alaska and it would be amazing if you could join me there. I hope so and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Hope to see you soon. Best wishes.



Jason Little  asks:

Hi John, I am cruising for the first time with my wife for our 10 year anniversary on the Carnival Liberty 9/7/13, and I was wondering what brand/ brands of soda does Carnival provide on board? I am a strict Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Dr. Pepper drinker.  (I don’t like Coke and admit I am picky and I don’t drink alcohol). I called customer service three times and I can’t get a clear answer. Do you at least offer fruit punch and other juices? Hope I’m not stuck drinking water all trip, LOL. Thanks!


John says:

Hello Jason Little,

Well, I am afraid you won’t be happy because we have a contract with Coke and have all their products on board and no Pepsi products. We do though have Dr. Pepper and root beer and please remember you can bring 12 cans of soda per person on the ship so that should keep you going. I am sure this will be the first of many cruises and if there is anything at all I can do for you please let me know. Have a brilliant time. Best wishes.



Mike asks:

Hi John,

I so enjoy reading your blog and I’m a huge fan of the product Carnival provides.  We are lucky enough to be cruising on the Carnival Legend Sep 13. I’m really looking forward to meeting you; and your style of comedy will thrill my father (travelling companion).  We both love Fawlty Towers…timeless classic. This is a big trip for us and kind of a birthday trip for me as it’s on the 11th.  I’m not looking for anything special here; Carnival already provides a great product of value.  Meeting you would be cool for me.

Onto the question.  We love those fresh baked cookies that can be purchased before the cruise.  My question is: can these be purchased during sailing (after embarkation)?  I ask in case our cool travel agent is already going to surprise us, but if not I’m going to buy some because these are best cookies ever, hands down.  Thanks for your time and keeping this blog going; I enjoy it so.


John says:

Hello Mike,

It will not be long until you are here with me on the Carnival Legend and I will do all I can to keep you laughing and having fun. The ports are going to be fantastic and so will the shows and events here. Those cookies can be purchased each day from the Coffee Shop on deck 2 forward so I am sure I will see you there. If there is anything at all I can help you with, please let me know. Best wishes and see you soon.



D. Clark asks:

I think it is very unprofessional of you, Heald, to have paid for someone to write and spin a positive review about the Sunshine. (Name deleted) also asks for contributions to his website here. Double standard should be your middle name


John says:

Hello D. Clark,

I can honestly say that I do not have a sodding clue what you are talking about. So I will simply mention that I have read many positive reviews on this wonderful ship. Maybe you should come sail yourself and see just how superb she is. Best wishes.



Victor Mendoza asks:

I hope the Carnival Breeze has a Latin Band for the Hispanics who live in Miami. We cruise soon!!!!!


John says:

Hello Victor Mendoza,

Yes indeed, there is a duo on the ship that will play Latin music for you. I am sure you will have a brilliant time and enjoy this great ship and all she offers. Best wishes.



Niki Agnew asks:

Dear John,

We are booked for our first family cruise with the kids on the Carnival Splendor, Jan 20, 2014.  I have been looking at the cruise director schedule for this month and no one is posted.  I do not see you listed anywhere on the schedule for this month, is it possible we may be lucky enough to have you as our CD on this sailing?  That would make this cruise so special for us.  My husband and I read your blog and your Facebook page, I love how you answer all of the questions, you make me laugh out loud literally.  I will be hoping and watching to see who will be cruising with us as CD on the Splendor in Jan, 2014 and looking forward to your next blog entry. Thank you for everything you do for all of Carnival’s guests by answering questions and taking time to keep us all informed. Take care and happy cruising.



John says:

Hello Niki Agnew,

I am honoured that you were hoping that I would be the CD for your first family cruise together on the Carnival Splendor. I am though sorry to tell you that I won’t be there, I am afraid. Now as to who the CD will be, well, all will be revealed in the new CD schedule that I should be ready to post in a few weeks’ time here on the blog. Once you see it please let me know if you have any questions. I am sure this will be the first of many cruises together and if there is anything at all I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes to you all.



Michael Tookes asks:

Booking Ref#******

I am asking for special dispensation for my son to be allowed not to have to be charged for the Behind the Fun tour that we are wishing to take when we set sail on the Inspiration. My son is serving with the U.S. Air Force and this will be our only time for a cruise together. I am hoping Carnival will allow a 21-year-old who is serving his country free access to this. Please do the right thing by us. The


John says:

Hello Michael Tookes,

I would like to start by saying a huge thank you to your son for his service and you must be very proud. I would love to say that along with the military booking discount we offer that we could waive the charge for the Behind the Fun tour. However, due to the fact that we have lots of military personnel cruising each week across the fleet, if we were to do this there would be no room for others as it is limited to just 16 guests. I see you are sailing in three weeks’ time and so I will be sending your son something to thank him for his service and to wish you all a wonderful cruise. Best wishes.



And that’s all for today and thanks again for all the questions and comments.


I know that some of you have recently received letters informing you that your cruise has been changed due to our ships going into dry dock. I wanted therefore to apologise to those whose plans have had to change and please know that our staff are on hand to help you change your bookings. Now the next question all of you will ask is “What upgrades, etc. will the ships be getting.” Well for that news you will have to wait a while longer. We have already announced the upgrades for the Carnival Legend and there will be more on the other ships soon. However, I will say that there are indeed some very exciting times ahead and I will of course keep you updated on everything that’s happening.


This cruise has gone well so far although there were some challenges today here in St. Petersburg with the city being readied for the G20 summit next week. This is where the world’s leading economic powerhouses come to discuss current events and to take the piss out of the French. Anyway, traffic diversions were already in place so it took some extra time to get the buses out of the terminal area and across the bridge but, in the end, all was well.


The other main challenge this week has been with one Mum and her 18 year old son. I have been writing about this on Facebook these past few days and the saga does continue, I am afraid. For those not up to speed, there is a guest here with us who has been asking for my help for her son to meet new friends of a similar age. We had an 18-to 20-year-old meet and greet and the two times we did this attendance was four or less. So the Mum, who obviously cares for her son very much, asked that I provide an entertainment staff member to walk her son around the ship and for this staff member to introduce her son to new friends. And so Keeley, one of the wonderful team I work with here did so and it was as she said “ very awkward.” Going up to people of his age group and saying, “This is (name); he is looking for someone to hang out with” was not easy and I am afraid to say, not successful. This seemed to upset Mum more than her son and she let me know in one of three conversations I have had with her that “I had let her son down.” In my last conversation after the show yesterday Mum told me more about her son and that he was “gifted” and that he had graduated from his school in Virginia top of his class etc., etc.


The more I spoke to her the more I realised that she was doing what all Mums do and that is do their best for their kids. All of us wrap up our children when it’s cold. We put them on booster seats in the car and make them wear so much safety equipment when they ride their bicycle it looks like they are doing so on the streets of Syria. We strive constantly to keep them out of harm’s way, and then we send them off to school so they can be punched, kicked, and learn how to swear by the time they are five.


I sat there listening to what this lady had to say about her son and two thoughts crossed my mind. The first was that when we had our conversations about how it was my responsibility to find her son a mate that he was never present at those meetings. Then I could not help but to think about my own daughter and how I want Kye to leave school with basic academic skills. But more than that, I want her to learn social skills so that she can interact properly with other human beings. I want her to learn to blog. I want her to enjoy life, to have fun. I can’t bear the thought of pressuring Kye so she can be put on a treadmill and have no social skills. School is supposed to prepare a person for life, not wear them out.


Yes, we must do everything we can to keep Kye safe. But we should also do everything we can to make her happy as well. And that is what I think this Mum wants as well, for her son to be happy. I have to admit that when I first met her that I thought she just wanted to detach her son from her coattails and have some fun with her sister who she is also traveling with.  Then I began to realise that her frustration and, I have to say at times anger, with me was caused purely because she felt bad for her son and wanted him to make new friends.


It is an awkward age for sure 18 to 20 and so I was thrilled when another guest approached me last night at cigars under the stars. He had read my Facebook posts and offered to help. He is British and is also in that age bracket and said he would gladly welcome this young man for a chat etc. And so tomorrow night after we sail from St. Petersburg, I have arranged for them to meet and I hope they become mates, even if it’s just for a few days. I will let you know.


Yep, Kye has been on my mind more than ever these past few days ever since I drove away from home eight days ago to the sound of her hysterical crying and shouts of, “I want a Dadda that stays with me.” Those words have resonated around everything else I do here on the Carnival ship. But I am lucky, I will see Kye in a couple of months and, of course, although I have been away from her a lot, it is nothing compared to the crew members who serve you during your cruise.


And with that in mind, please meet my cabin steward………no, not Ketut who retired for health reasons which he blames on my underpants……but the wonderful I Komang




Oh, before I continue, I must apologise for the quality of the photo. While Mr. Radu understands cameras and how they work, I do not. My little Olympus camera takes a picture about two years after I press the shutter button. My photograph album these days is full of snaps of chairs, taken after the person who was sitting there has got up, gone home and died.


Anyway, back to the story. Yesterday as I Komang was cleaning my cabin, I noticed that the usual smile that beamed from this young man from Indonesia was missing and so I asked him if he was OK. He told me he was happy but also sad. You see, four days ago, his lovely wife gave birth to their first child, a son. He was happy that his son and his wife were healthy and, well, but sad that he could not be there. In fact he won’t get to be home until December and I could see from his face just how sad that made him. I asked if he had some photos of the baby, maybe on email etc. But he doesn’t because in the Hindu religion, of which I Komang follows, it is forbidden to take photos of a newborn until they are exactly one month old.


So here I am complaining and feeling sorry for myself and while it doesn’t make me miss Kye any less, I do realise how lucky I am that I will see her soon and that I was there for the magical moment she came into our lives. And despite the nail marks in my hand, being called a bastard in seven different languages and seeing the alien arrival of the placenta thingy…… is an experience that I will never forget and would never have missed for anything.


Some of you may be asking why I Komang wasn’t home for the birth of his son. Well he is here on the ship and needs to be because like so many of the brilliant crew who look after you during the cruise, he is here to earn money to support his wife and his new son and give them a better life.


Today, I gave I Komang my phone and asked him to take it, sit on my balcony and call his wife and he did……..After the call his smile had returned and so I asked him what his son’s name was and here it is:


I WAYAN AGUS EKA DARMA PULRA…………………or Bob, for short.


Each crew member has a story and I encourage you on your next cruise to find out about the people behind the name tag. I think you will be surprised at some of the stories they have to tell.



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.

52 Responses to MADE IN INDONESIA

  1. Steven Hecht says:

    We need to thank the cruise planners as well I use Peter Hoofat and he has done a great job for me and my wife

  2. BIG Ed Konefe says:

    Raquel Champney,

    I’m sure Carnival would hire all Americans that applied for Wait Staff and cabin stewards. Hotels in the USA can’t even get Americans to take those jobs.

  3. Danno says:

    RE: The Jason Little Coke question. John, thanks for taking the time to respond. Jason was thrilled to hear back from someone ‘famous’. His Mom and I have been telling him for years how much fun he will have on a Carnival cruise. We are almost as exited for his first cruise as we are for our sixth (Sigh, not till October on the Freedom). Your answer to Jason was longer then what mine would have been. I would have just told him to suck it up and drink coke! Signed- Jason’s Dad

  4. Roberta L says:

    Hi John I read in your answer that you will be on the Miracle May – Aug does that include the Aug 26,2014 sailing? I am on that sailing and have been reading your blog since 2008 when I started sailing with Carnival. I am dying to meet you!

  5. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    I have to say that I am confused when I read the occasional complaint about the staff and crew’s communication skills.

    I have always thought that if an individual can go through all the trouble of learning an entirely new language….the least I can do is spend an extra 15 seconds that it may take to understand their accent.

    There is one down side to getting to know the staff and crew…. and that is before when something happened somewhere in the world, I really did not pay it a lot of attention. NOW when there is an earthquake or mud side or tsunami some place far away…I worry if someone we know has been affected.

    I hope the staff and crew know that we think of them long after we leave the ships and Facebook lots of them to stay in touch.

    As for Kye…she will be fine. And yes, you are doing the right thing making sure she is well rounded.

    Josh and DJ are both brilliant in their own way, but they are also fun and outgoing and very self assured. Intelligence should be a tool that they use, not “only what they are”.

    HUGE KUDOS for the young man from England for his willingness to help.

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  6. Gayle Snedecor says:

    I have just finished 7 wonderful meals with the best head waiter in the Carnival staff, Ria, on the Carnival Magic 8/18-8/25. I heard about her on the internet, asked for her, and the rest is history! She is upbeat, fun, competent, always has a smile, and is the only waiter who will put a serving of cocktail sauce that you asked for on the table with a “woohoo!”. She said that she’s returning to Indonesia next week for 2-3 months on vacation. She said that she did not have a clue where she would be assigned when she returned.

    My question to you is this: Can you or your beards think of a way we can keep track of our favorite Carnival staff members? I know some that would preferentially book a cruise to follow a favorite server, or piano bar performer, etc. You have done this for cruise directors, and I know it would be a lot of work, but it would mean a lot to us who have formed bonds with these wonderful people and have “gone beyond the nametags”…
    Thanks for your consideration, and you can give the fruit basket or ship on a stick that you normally give out to us beggars to someone who really deserves it.

    • Brenda B says:

      that’s a really good idea!

      • Martha Fields says:

        We enjoy learning about the various crew member we come in contact with. It is a learning experience for us and for the crew member also. When we develop a real rapport with a crew member we exchange facebook information. There are many we have stayed in contact with for several years. We do the same with guests.

    • Jennifer F says:

      I agree with this completely , on the Liberty we had our waiter Iputu from Indosisia… We loved him I would consider booking a cruise that he worked on for sure!

      • Dave Myerly says:

        Jenifer, We are on the Legend and had Iputi from Indonesia and he left in Amsterdam to go home at the end of his contract. Great guy.

  7. Cathy Wolfenbarger says:

    That’s a great story about I Komang, we always chat with the crew and have heard some great and some not so great stories. One I remember is a bartender on paradise, with Carnival for 30ish years, who had put both his kids thru college (both are now doctors) and his wife lives in a nice house all because of his job at Carnival. Very nice!

    • Martha Fields says:

      I Komang had his day improved by your kindness of giving him your cell phone to call home. You are such a kind person. Thank you for all you do.

  8. Jacki says:

    Jason –
    I am also a Pepsi drinker. You can each bring on board 12 bottles (or cans) up to 20oz. each. These need to be in your carry on when you board. You can also bring more on board at each port.
    On the Lido deck there is lemonade and iced tea (not very sweet) available 24/7 for free. During the breakfast and lunch hours there are some other juices (apple and orange, sometimes more) for free on the Lido deck.
    There are other juices you can buy at the bars on board. I do not know the cost of them. I usually buy a “bottomless bubbles” card; it costs $6.00 per day + 15% gratuity and must be bought for the whole cruise before the second day of your cruise. The card allows you to get unlimited soda – but can also be used for juice as well.
    Have a great cruise.

  9. Shannon Matthews says:

    Hi John, I just recently started following your blog and I love it! Your blog entry for today made me teary eyed, as does any thought of being separated from my girls. People should be very aware of the sacrifices made by cruise personnel. On my third cruise with Carnival I was on the Paradise out of Tampa headed for Cozumel. It was the first cruise for my girls, who were then 7 and 12. The crew was beyond wonderful, especially our room steward and waitress. They went out of their way to make the trip special for my girls. Our room steward especially seemed very connected with my youngest daughter. I always make it a point to try and get to know the crew members, its one of my favorite parts about cruising! Anyway, he had a daughter who was the same age as Daphne, my youngest daughter. He basically gave her anything she asked for, making her special towel animals and even leaving them for her after lunch, as well as after dinner. After talking to him more, I discovered how sad he was to be away from his daughter and he had even tried to not come back as a crew member but in his home country unemployment was so bad he had no choice. It just really brought home to me how we can be so blessed and not even realize it. I hope all guests on Carnival vessels really understand the sacrifice made by crew members and appreciate that they are dedicated to giving their families a better life. Everyone has a story and its one of the best things about traveling–the oppurtunity to experience them. Thanks for 5 great Carnival vacations!

  10. Kathy Green says:

    Dear John,

    There were seven in my party who sailed on the Carnival Conquest on 08/18/13. We had a splendid time. There were a few problems along the cruise, but either customer service or our room steward was able to take care of the situations for us. I would like to compliment the entire ship’s staff for making the cruise so successful. Our cabin numbers were 8377, 8379 & 8381. Our room steward was “P” and he took very good care of us. We had early dining in the Renoir at table 657; Sukda, Jorge & Erwin took exceptional care of our needs. We dined at The Point Steakhouse on Wed night and the food & service were exceptional. LaToya was our bar/wine waiter and had a wonderful personality. Our waiter from the Lido deck on day one remembered us throughout the cruise whenever he saw us; unfortunately I cannot recall his name. Please thank everyone for helping us have a wonderful cruise. Please continue to hire this wonderful caliber of professionals for your ships. Despite the fact that the ship’s crew is short-handed, these employees offered us service and care far beyond normal.

    I’m sorry that your job keeps you from your family. If it’s any consolation, please know that many of us appreciate the jobs you & the other CD’s do each day. I especially enjoy your blogs and FB comments. Oh yes, please encourage the beards to stay with Coke products and never change to Pepsi!

  11. Chris Yust says:

    John, you are such a caring person. Giving I Komang your phone to make that call was so very thoughtful. Kye loves you no matter if you have to leave or not! I know it hurts though.
    Chris (The little blue can Emergency Underpants gal from TX!)

  12. Bruce Press says:

    Dear John
    We (Me, my Wife, my Son, his wife and my 2 grand daughters ages 14 and 6) had a great 5 day cruise on the Ecstasy to the Bahamas. Our cabin was E60 and E28. The cabins was nice the Cabin steward was good. The ship was clean and the crew was very friendly and seems to be a very happy ship.
    There was a show the Blues Brothers that was fantastic, The Cruise Director Chris stared in it and he was great. He is very entertaining and held the audience. In my 10 Cruises he is the first one to make a difference in my Cruise. The show The Brits were very entertaining, We never did catch the Motown show.
    Food: We ate in the MDR Windstar we had anytime dinning but manage to have the same wait staff for all our dinners. The food was excellent. Our wait staff was outstanding Robert, Armnando and Fernando were Great the service was outstanding, they really made over my granddaughter.
    Half Moon Cay. This is heaven on earth my first stop here and we loved it. We rented a cabana it was beautiful the beach was wonderful the lunch was prepared by the ships dinning staff with Hot dogs, Hamburgers and most of the items offered at the ships grill. The water was a pretty blue we all had a great time.
    Both my Grand daughters enjoyed camp Carnival and Circle C. At times they did not want to join us.
    The Captain should be proud of his crew they did Carnival right.
    A very good cruise!

  13. Ken says:

    I disagree with the writer of the complaint about staff not being able to speak English. We have completed 11 Carnival cruises and have 6 more booked. Never have we had any problem communicating with any of the Carnival staff. Yes, we all have accents (imagine how we sound to them!) but they do have a good comprehension of English and communicate well.

  14. Jose says:

    Ben Phippen, If you don’t like Christmas, perhaps you should visit Syria, Iran, Iraq, etc. on your vacation. Perhaps Egypt? You would fit right in. Otherwise, Merry Christmas and may God Bless you!

  15. Jose says:

    Michael Tookes, Thanks for your son’s service in the military. However, the entitlement mentality wreaks. Why do you think he is entitled? Many people serve in the military, police, fire department, teachers, etc. If they have to pay, your son can pay for less than $75 for this tour. If he doesn’t have $75, perhaps he should stay home. You or no one else is entitled to anything except death and taxes. Now I can go take my meds.

    PS. I am requesting special dispensation from you for my blood pressure.

  16. Steve Hecht says:

    To the guest inquiring why there are not more American employees on board, the US does not recognize a cruise ship as being a sovereign nation and such the American employees have to pay taxes on their merger wages. Other countries consider the ships employees ExPats and as such they pay no taxes. Complain to Mr. Obama not John

    • David says:

      Steve, I work on CCL ships, not from the US and I do still pay taxes. My government still taxes me based on how much I earn outside the Country. If I earn over $10K/year then I am obligated to declare my gains and pay a percentage. I pay taxes even though I don’t enjoy any of the benefits for which I am paying.

  17. Thomas Kennedy says:

    Hi John, I am sailing on the Sunshine on Dec.1, this is my fourth cruise all with Carnival. I know you will be with her for the renaming, but I was wondering if you will still be for my cruise?
    Also I was wondering about why Carnival sells cans of sodas. I worked in the food industry for many years and know the cost of fountain drinks are less expensive to produce and there is less waste. I am not complaining just an observation. Thanks

  18. Mike says:

    One of my favorite things to do on a cruise is to engage the crew in conversation and find out about their lives on and off the ship. We have met some wonderful people that way, and have learned what amazing folks they really are! And, like you said, it makes us realize how lucky we really are.

  19. Rick Drake says:


    We booked the Carnival Legend cruise for August 8th, our 15th Carnival cruise, before you announced you would be the CD. We were excited when you announced you would be the CD. Then we were deflated when your Blog indicated you would be taking your vacation during that cruise. Oh well.

    We have also booked the Carnival Miracle for the September 10, 2014 Alaska cruise, our 19th Carnival cruise. You then announced that you would be the CD for the Alaska cruises. Once again, we were excited. Now, your blog says you will only be on the Miracle through August. Once again, we will miss you. (And you will miss Glacier Bay and Sitka.)

    We really would like to have you for our CD once before you retire.

    In case it makes a difference, here are three other Carnival cruises we have booked, just in case you want to surprise us:

    November 29, 2013: Carnival Inspiration
    January 17, 2014: Carnival Inspiration
    March 22, 2014, Carnival Liberty


    Rick & Cindy Drake
    Anaheim, CA

    • You would for sure see John if you booked the bloggers cruise -2/16/2013. You would have an awesome time.

    • You need to join us on the bloggers cruise on 2/16/2014. You will be guaranteed to meet John. Please come and join us and be prepared to have an awesome time.

    • Jacki says:

      John WILL be on your sailing. He did clarify on FB that he will be there for the Alaskan season through Sept. But will NOT be thre for the Hawaii cruise is Sept.

  20. Emanuel says:

    We sailed on Legend western Caribbean 9/23/12 for our honeymoon we decided to follow up with our one year anniversary on Valor 9/22/13. We are sure to have a great time. Just a quick question we have made reservations for the steakhouse on the first night which is our actual honeymoon. We are traveling with 5 others who will join us for our anniversary dinner do we all have to sit at different tables in order for my wife and I to enjoy our own bottle of wine?? Thank you

    • Cruiser dave says:

      It’s one bottle of wine per couple at the table. Not sure how they would break it down with five people – maybe the extra person gets a carafe?

      • Carole says:

        We had 9 people at our table for our first night steakhouse wine and it seemed to be endless bottles, we didn’t count the bottles but everyone drank their fill for no charge. I think it depends on the ship and the server. This was on the Miracle I believe, the same one that we had the AWESOME Chef Wellington Dias for our Chefs Table, so fun!!!!

  21. Kathy Wright says:

    Your generosity brought tears to my eyes. I am so grateful you let him use your phone. Although my children are now grown and I have grandkids, I stil vividly remember their births. Thank you for being so generous to this crew member.

  22. Rick Williamson says:

    John, my wife and I are always asking the people serving us about themselves. It’s always nice to meet new crew members. Only twice have we seen a crew member who has served us in the past. Tom the piano player in Alaska 2011 and then the next year on the Canada-NewEngland cruise. And Ceicl who cleaned our room. We were on Carnival Sensation twice this summer with different grandkids in the same room. It was like running into family or a freind that you havn’t seen in a while. Rick Williamson

  23. Crystal Hazelwood says:

    Thanks so much John for sharing about crew members’ lives. We always look forward to meeting and sharing, respectfully, with all the crew serving all over they ship. Always fascinating and humbling! We’re had the honor of helping a few crew members with information that helped them connect with some relatives they
    couldn’t locate. Next cruise Dream 9/21/13

  24. Eileene Plummer says:

    John, I loved the ending of this blog. Each cruise we get to know at least one crew member, and we really enjoy the interaction. We also get more insight to the behind-the-scenes on the ship, which is a real treat for us. We like to know how things work. 🙂 The Carnival crew we’ve met over the past 12 years have help to make our cruises really special. We’re still in touch with some of them.

  25. Donna Tipton says:

    You brought tears to my eyes telling about I Komang and the birth of his son. One of my favorite things to do on any Carnival cruise (I have never sailed on Brand X, so I can only say Carnival!)is to visit with the staff about their lives, families, homeland and so forth. Many are delighted to talk about their heritage and family! On our Magic Cruise June 30th this year, our 9 year old made friends with a delightful man from Thailand at lunch after we boarded. He visited with us and then he took her to the side of the ship to look for the dolphins in the harbor in Galveston! I saw him later in the MDR every night. (His name started with a ‘P’ but sitting here in front of the computer, I can’t remember it!). He brought Thailand alive for our daughter, taught her people with accents and who looked different from us are really more like us than not and I was delighted that she derived so much pleasure from meeting the crew just like I do! I look forward to our Christmas cruise aboard the Triumph Dec. 16 – this is new for us – I am looking forward to the Christmas decorations, and I am sure I will discuss holidays of various sorts with other delightful crew members as well! Many blessings on I Komang and Bob – thanks for letting him use your phone to call home! I am sure he couldn’t think of a better gift on the arrival of his first born! P.S. My photos aren’t much better! But thanks for posting it anyway!

  26. joyce g says:

    One of our favorite things about cruises is the chance to interact with crew members. We especially enjoy conversing with our cabin steward, waiters, bar servers, & casino attendants. They’re the real stars of the ship, not the captain, cruise director, or the performers. Thank you for being there for your cabin steward on probably the most difficult but happy time of his life.
    See you in September!

  27. Karen says:

    Hi John,
    I subscribed to your blog several months ago and I must say that I have enjoyed reading every one. In fact, any time I’m sitting at the computer and laughing out loud, my family knows that I’m reading your blog posts! This morning was different, though. Instead of laughing I cried when I read about your cabin steward. You see, my family and I sailed on the Pride two weeks ago. While on board, we befriended a wonderful bartender named Premsingh (he worked in the Ivory Piano bar with Roger). Prem, as he is better known, was fortunate enough to be one week away from going back home to see his wife and 9-year old son. He told us that during his son’s life, he has only been with him for a total of 18 months. When he said this I thought I was going to cry in my beer! My husband and I thought of him often this past week and are so happy that as of today he is back with his precious family sharing stories and reconnecting. Your story (and mine) reflect how wonderful the crew members are, having left their families to work hard and provide for them, all while keeping a sunny outlook and giving us the absolute best service we have ever received. Kudos to all crew members…and best wishes to Prem and I Komang (and little Bob too)!

  28. Bill Horton says:

    John. We very much enjoyed reading the current blog and while I won’t comment on some of the letters and comments, I did want to again take a couple of minutes to comment on the overall subject of the staff on the ship. As I have mentioned before, The Paradise has always been among our favorite ships (close behind every other one really) and the reason is the staff.

    From the officers to the MDR/Stateroom staff, to the maintenance workers; from the first day to the last day of the sailing, 7×24, they are amongst the best and I know that this type of attitude all starts with the Captain and works its way down all.

    Personally, part of our enjoyment is when we can get them to move out of their work-mode, even if just for a few minutes, and chat about their home country, their families, and what they enjoy in their down-time. We have never met a Carnival employee, regardless of their level or job, who has not appreciated a sincere and honest conversation with them and about THEM.

    In a couple of days (8/31), we leave on our first ever B2B aboard The Breeze (still hoping you will show up and surprise Butch and everyone on board) — I’ll have cigars to share under the stars if you do; and even if not we can’t wait to take the time to talk with and to learn from the incredible crew that I know will be working to make the sailing another vacation in paradise.

    Enjoy “Our” Legend and bring her back to Tampa soon (maybe we can meet up shoreside for a cold beverage when you do).

    Bill and Anne

  29. Shane says:

    Hi John,

    I will be on the carnival fantasy on September 16 leaving from Charleston SC. I plan on sharing a very big moment with my girlfriend aboard but hope to enlist the cruise director for some help. Is there a way for me to get in touch with him/her prior to the cruise?


  30. Mike says:

    Why are you so hostile towards Ben? He did not insult your holiday. Perhaps he doesn’t visit Syria because he likes living in a country where religion is a FREEDOM, no matter I’d it’s yours, his, or none

    • Jose says:

      No hostility at all. Just an observation. He wants the majority population to change their celebration of a Christian holiday so it does not offend him. If he choose to be a non christian that is his business but don’t try and change the holiday to conform to his belief system that is taking millions upon millions of persons spiritually captive – leaving them under the curse of sin and without hope of salvation. He doesn’t want equality, he wants preferential treatment. For now, this is a majority christian nation and it is a Christian holiday.

  31. Lawrence A Wolfson says:

    I read your blog tonight and was extremely moved by it. First of all I do like escargot, sorry. What moved me was your ending talking about your room steward. Yes the crew members, all of them do have a story to tell and it s usually extremely interesting. Thank you for bringing the human touch to your blog. We are booked for BC7 for our 30th cruise and hope we make the cut. Anxiously awaiting the announcement to register.

  32. Boomer Heiman says:

    D. Clark gave you the name and you deleted it and you say you have no sodding clue? Sure, John. Everybody and their dog knows the absolute conflict of interest between you and Zydeocruiser. Sure, he is great with the camera, but spends half his life making unsolicited degrading comments on Funville and other sites if anyone dares say something negative about carnival, particularly when the negative comments are truthful. We do notice when you dish out freebies to him even though he doesn’t ask for them and you lead people to his website which asks for contributions. Those are the “sodding clues” that something is not up and up with this arrangement.

    • Brent says:

      Hey Boomer,

      As Guy would say, “Shut the Front Door”. Let it go. A matter of fact dont let the door hit you where the good lord split you


  33. Jackie Smith says:

    Your concluding sentence should be emblazoned on every cruise document, John. We have found that one of the real treasures of cruising is getting to know the stories tucked in the hearts behind those name tags. Too bad more of our fellow passengers don’t do the same.

  34. Brent says:


    You are so correct. The crew on every cruise I have been on is so wonderful. I always ask them how there day is and always learn about there hometown. I travel around the world for my job and it is tough being away from home and when someone greets or talks to me in one of the foreign countries I am in, it really makes me feel good. So I can only imagine how the crew feels when I do this in return.
    Carnival Liberty in just a short 31 days…Stay away mother nature!!!

  35. John as I have already known, you are a fantastic man who cares about people.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  36. Nancy J says:

    John~you were our CD for us…you are wonderful, funny and I thank you for spending your time with us and away from your loved ones.

    I have spoken to many of the crew on several of my cruises and just love their laughter, their stories, and those beautiful smiles.

    So THANK YOU to all of you for making us happy though your loved ones are missing each and every one of you.

    God Bless!

    Liberty in February 2014 🙂

  37. Tina Moreno says:

    Hi John,
    I am surprised to read about the problem in St. Petersburg. I am sailing on the Carnival Legend with you this sailing, and we did not notice any problems there. Other than traffic jams, but I guess we are used to that being from Los Angeles.

    Thanks John for devoting your life to making life aboard the ship a happy memorable one! This is truly one of the best cruises yet!

  38. Valerie Phillips says:

    We have enjoyed this Baltic Cruise immensely. Staff,entertainment,top notch. Now we have to get to Devon as my dear sister has to have chemo on Monday. We will be back for the British Isles cruise though. Take care of “oh Canada” for us and “we will be back”
    .thank you John for making us laugh for the past twelve days we needed it badly.

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