August 29, 2013 -

John Heald

 If you are Johnny Depp or Russell Crowe or some moody famous person and someone disturbs your meal by saying, “I don’t mean to bother you,” you can tell them to bugger off. The most that will happen is that the person will never watch one of their movies again. Now, I can’t do that. If someone disturbs my meal with the usual, “Don’t mean to bother you,” then, despite the fact that there are times that I want to say, “Can you come back after I have finished shoving a huge fork full of beef in black bean sauce down my throat?,” I can’t. That’s because the guest will write to Gerry Cahill and request I be tied down onto the deck, naked, and a box of hungry escargot’s emptied over my dangly bits.

Such was the case in Tallinn. I was on Lido, the ship was quiet with most guests ashore and so I went to Lido Deck to get some food from the brilliant Chopsticks restaurant here on the Carnival Legend. I found a quiet table, sat down and raised a fork full of beautiful piping hot Chinese food to my gob, when there he was……..and there it was: “Sorry to bother you but can I have a photo?”


This is always nice to hear. It shows that despite having done this CD thing for 26 years, people still enjoy me and want to preserve a photo memory of the fat ugly Brit that made them laugh. So I put my fork down, stood up, shook his hand and after doing so, the guest asked another guest who was at another table to take the photo for him and handed him his eye phone. But the guest didn’t know which button to press and when the guest explained what to do, the other guest took the photo but he had in fact taken a photo of his own thumb which was covering the lens…….so we did it all over again.


Anyway, photo over, I had to ask if he was having a great cruise. Now this is a question that can go either two ways. Yes, or no, we hate it, we hate you and we love Butch Begovich. He’s funnier and better looking. Both of which are true, of course. Most of the time, it’s the former, thank goodness. And indeed, when I asked this chap he said yes, he was having a great time ……. and then came that word that every CD dreads…….. and it’s the word “but.”


Now I like a good butt, especially Megan’s, however, drop one “t” and the hairs on my arse stand on end. And sure enough, this chap had a “but” and so with the beef in black bean sauce calling my name, I asked him what was wrong. This “but” was different though and it was another example that, for whatever reason, people like to tell me things that are absolutely none of my business. Such was the case here. You see this chap had come on vacation with another family. Both families were from Calgary, British Columbia, in Canada. The two husbands worked together and the kids were the same age. And while they enjoyed their company for a few hours at home and at parties, etc., coming on vacation with them had been, and I quote, “a big mistake, John.”


He began to tell me that their friend’s kids had begun to get on their nerves, that the wife was a miserable sod who hated everything and never stopped complaining. She had been rude to a waiter in St. Petersburg to the point where he was concerned that the waiter may have added some extra “sauce” to the chicken they were served. He worked with the husband and they were friends but anytime they suggested something to do, the friend would say, “No, let’s do this instead” and he had also not bought his share of cocktails. He then told me that everyone else was ashore in Tallinn and that he had “pretended to have a headache “so he didn’t have to go with them.


What was funny was he said the last bit in a whisper in case his friend might be hiding under the table. And all the time, I just kept thinking, “Why, why are you telling me this?” Did he expect me to talk to them, to disembark them, to have them whacked? So that was my lunch. I listened to how one family was vacationing with the “family from hell” and how next time they cruise, they would do so on their own.


Twenty minutes later, he left having confessed his soul to me and with a photo of his cruise director and therapist on his eye phone. Meanwhile, my beef and black bean sauce lay cold and congealed and as appetizing as eating one of Judge Judy’s thighs. I now had a meeting to go to about our first Norwegian cruise and so that was that and I buggered off.


I am fat, I know I am, yet there is an upside to this. I am now going to eat every single meal on Lido Deck because I know I will always get, the “Sorry to bother you” and while I shall have to listen to guests’ positive and sometimes negative comments and while I shall have to stand waiting for people to figure out how to turn their cameras on, I shall do so losing weight.


Time for today’s Q and A……here we go.


Mark Johnson asks:

Dear John (actual question is at bottom of this note):

I would like to tell you about a recent customer service experience I had with an airline that really blew my socks off.  My brother and I, along with our wives, had to change our May 16 Carnival Sensation fight arrangements.  In short, we canceled one booking and rebooked on another airline thus leaving us credit dollars with our original carrier.  We recently booked the 10/7/13 Imagination (BKG 67FLP3, 67FLF8, 67FLF7) and wanted to use the remaining air credits for our flights but found the airfare was greater than our balance. After reviewing other carriers, we decided to use our remaining credits for the trip down and book a different carrier on the way back.  Now the extraordinarily customer service we received – my brother decided to bring his two girls (we have total three cabins) with us on Carnival Imagination.  This required buying two additional airline tickets.  To keep the cost down, we decided two different one-way carriers was the most economical.  Knowing this was not the ideal way to travel, I called the carrier we had credits with and explained that we were set to travel another on carrier for our return but wanted to know if they would match a previous quoted rate currently not available and in turn we would purchase the two additional round trip tickets.  The CS manager said they do not often do this but they would honor the previous published rate for all six of us if we purchased the two tickets with them. I immediately said yes.  The outcome could not have been better.  Our credits covered four tickets and the two additional tickets was a pickup for the carrier. 

 This experience left an enduring impression on all of us.  They went above and beyond my expectations thus the real reason for my note.  The October cruise will make Platinum VIFP members for three of us; my brother and his wife and myself.  My wife Tracy (VIFP Club #:0084926413) will enter Gold along with my brother’s two girls.  We are all excited about obtaining Platinum status but my wife is quick to say she is “the odd person out.”  In the Spirit of Extraordinary Customer Service, can you bump my wife and my brother’s girls into Platinum along with us?  This will be a great surprise when we receive our Sail & Sign cards and keep us returning to Carnival. Thank you for your attention and consideration. Best regards.



John says:

Hello Mark,

Thank you for sharing this story with me and bravo to the airline for exceeding your expectations. I have spoken to the office and showed them your request. Unfortunately, as your wife has only five cruises, a promotion to the 10th cruise Platinum level will not be possible. I hope that you will continue to sail with us and your loyalty is something that is very important to us. Please let me know the next time you sail as I would like to send you something to say welcome aboard. Thanks for taking the time to write and I will be here if you have any questions or concerns. Best wishes.



Julie asks:

Hello John,

First, I would like to say that I love your daily blog and thank you for the fantastic work you do for Carnival…. My questions is this – I would like to know when and why Carnival Splendor has not been refurbished as of yet?  Do you know when this will happen? Many thanks.


John says:

Hello Julie,

Carnival Splendor remains a very popular ship and since we placed her in New York, bookings and reviews have both been excellent. There are no plans so far for her to undergo the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades, however, this is a very fluid situation and that could change anytime and, if and when it does, I will be sure to let you know. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes.



Andrew Cerny asks:


I love your blog and really enjoy Carnival. This November will be my 10th cruise with Carnival. Overall, my experiences have been great. However, I would like to provide the following constructive criticisms:


  1. The Gold/Platinum free drink needs to be redeemable at any bar, at any time during the cruise.  Not just on sea days in the MDR.
  2. The new Sail & Sign card method of purchasing games in the game room needs to be reconsidered. With the new method, you must authorize your child to have charging privileges for his card to work in the game room, which opens up my account for him to charge other things, which I elect not to do.  So, I must be present with him and let him use my card, which is a major inconvenience. Suggestion: Allow me to open up his charging privileges for ONLY the game room. Or, “sell” a game room card that has monetary value that he can use, and is reloadable when and if I approve. Or, go back to the token system. Also, with the two latter methods, provide a discount, or extra plays, when buying a game room package, similar to price breaks for larger Internet package purchases. An aside…on my last two cruises, I noticed very few kids in the game room and confirmed with other passengers that the reason not many played was because of the issues outlined above. My guess is that this new method will reduce Carnival’s game room revenue, which I’m sure is not what you want.  
  3. It is so disheartening to arrive at your cabin and excitedly head out to your balcony for the view and fresh air, only to have cigarette smoke billowing in your face from neighbors above, below and sideways. We paid for the balcony but couldn’t use it much because of the smell. Can’t you limit smoking to cabins in certain sections of the ship or on one side?
  4. Cabin door slamming is outrageously out of hand. Please have your engineers create a door hinge that closes the door without a slam.  
  5. A message needs to be printed in the daily Fun Times about hallway noise early in the morning and late at night. So many people congregate and talk loudly at times when others are trying to sleep.
  6. Please have more guest services reps working during peak times, especially on embarkation day/night.  The lines recently were so, so long.

 Thanks for letting me bend your ear. I would have submitted this via the Carnival survey system, but I was too late…I guess they give you only a few days to respond to the survey.  I appreciate what you do and enjoy your blog immensely. Thanks for providing me and my family with wonderful vacation memories.


John says:

Hello Andrew Cerny,

You can “bend my ear” any time you wish as that is what this blog is about and why I am here. You have raised some very good points and, certainly, I have asked the CDs to keep mentioning the door slamming issue because it is an issue and one I agree we can do better to control. I have a feeling that you will see a difference next time you cruise. I will pass on your comments to some of the beards and we will continue to work hard for you to get better and better. Thanks again and please feel free at any time to contact me for anything. Best wishes.



Ramona Diaz asks:

T-shirts, chain mail dresses, jeans and flip flops – where will it end? Carnival allows a dress code that shows it is a bottom feeder in the cruise business and the sight of passengers in the dining room dressed like peasants shows this. Unless you change this, then you will get the reputation that Carnival could not care less who fills their cabins.


John says:

Hello Ramona Diaz,

I am sorry to read how concerned you are and, while I understand in a way, I also must say that referring to people who choose to spend their vacation dressed more casually as “peasants” is very harsh. My opinion has been well voiced here and, again, I will say that what someone else is wearing at dinner will never affect my dining experience. However, we do have a dress code and we should do better to enforce it. I do hope we will see you again on board enjoying the most affordable cruise there is and having the most fun. Oh, by the way………”Chain mail dresses”……I have to ask what the heck that means. Best wishes.



Charles asks:

Hi John Heald,

I will be on the Carnival Liberty October 12, 2013, I am “Waldocruiser1” on your favorite web blog Cruise Critic. I have contacted Carnival and we have the Meet & Greet set for Monday Oct 14 at 12:30 to 1:30 pm in the Victoria Lounge. I was wondering if you can provide some gifts to be raffled off, or given as prizes for some of the contests we are having, “Who traveled the farthest, shortest, and others” maybe some ships on a stick and a bottle of champagne or two?
Anything you can do will be great, and, by the way, if you happen to be on the Liberty, you are more than welcome to join us for the fun.


John says:

Hello Charles,

Yes, of course, it will be a pleasure to do so and, please, can you send me this again on Facebook, if possible, three days before you cruise and send me the cabin number as well. My Facebook address is and hopefully one of your group members will have a Facebook account and will be able to do so. I wish you all a brilliant cruise.  Best wishes.


Joe bowers asks:


I just recently (yesterday) found your blog and am really impressed. I love your honesty and that you really don’t sugarcoat anything. I took my first Carnival cruise last November on the Carnival Fantasy out of Charleston to the Bahamas. I was a bit hesitant to cruise on Carnival. I have had seven cruises on RCCL. The reason I was going on Carnival was because I had been trying to get my best friend to go on his first cruise with me. He did his research and finally chose Carnival because of the prices and we could drive to Charleston from Cleveland, Ohio. We had five FANTASTIC nights on the Fantasy. It was the BEST vacation experience I have EVER had.

After the first night on the ship, my friend was already asking about booking our next Carnival cruise. We are currently booked again on the Fantasy on November 14, 2013. This time, I even talked my aunt and her friend to join us. My friend and I have decided that we will be taking the Carnival Fantasy every year in November. It’s going to be our new tradition. My only problem with my entire experience with Carnival is small and may seem petty. I so badly wanted to get a Carnival Fantasy fleece or T-shirt.  I am not unlike you. I am a big guy. I wear a 4XL shirt/fleece and the ship didn’t carry anything bigger than a 2XL. I wanted something to wear to remind me of my first Carnival cruise and couldn’t. Maybe you could talk to the beards about getting bigger sizes. I would love to wear it and that would literally make me a walking billboard for Carnival and the Carnival Fantasy. I’m sure there are other “guests of size” that would love stuff to wear. Just my thoughts. Thanks for all you do and all Carnival does. I had the time of my life and am looking forward to repeating it.


John says:

Hello Joe Bowers,

Thanks so much for this brilliant advert for the Carnival Fantasy and its crew. I will take great pleasure in sending this to them and, of course, they will be thrilled. Thank you for persuading your friend to cruise as well and I am so glad that, together, you enjoyed a superb time and had fun. As a big chap myself, I totally understand where you are coming from. We have recently added XXXL sizes and I will now ask for XXXXL as well to be added and will keep doing so as I think many would appreciate this. I do hope you have fun on your November cruise and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes.



Mark Smith asks:

John, we will be sailing on Carnival Conquest 10/20. We have a total of eight people (four cabins) going on this trip. My question is around the wine allowance. We want to bring one box of wine for the eight people. Will it be an issue with one party bringing one box of wine aboard? Thanks for all you do!


John says:

Hello Mark Smith,

Thanks for taking the time to write and, having checked, I can tell you that if the box of wine is over the allowable size, it will be taken by security, I am afraid. I did check with our security department and those are the current rules. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and if you have any other questions. Best wishes.



Hailey Berkoff asks:

I am part of a Cruise Critic group cruising on the Carnival Valor 12/8/13 and Carnival, I must say, has been so unhelpful in helping me book a meet and greet. This was never a problem with our NCL Cruise Critic groups so why is it a problem for Carnival to do anything? Why does Carnival hate Cruise Critic so much???????? It will put many members off from booking with you for sure!!!!!! We need door prizes and nibbles from Carnival and an open bar which we will pay for but Carnival could not care any less which, considering we will all write reviews seen by millions, is a big mistake, I think, John.


John says:

Hello Hailey Berkoff,

I assure you that nobody here at Carnival “hates” Cruise Critic readers and, in fact, just a couple of questions ago, I answered a request for some raffle prizes for another group, plus, I help organise many meetings for other CC groups via my Facebook page. I do not know what it is you have been trying to organise with us but let me know the details and I will do my very best to assist you. Best wishes.



Julie asks:

Hi John,

I’m going on my fifth Carnival cruise in just 43 days and was wondering if Carnival has considered doing special events for holidays? I would love to see more things going on for Halloween, for example. I know other cruise lines do special theme parties, food and decoration for that holiday. I think by doing more for those special times during the year, cruises could be even more amazing. (Also, I’m a big fan of Halloween.)  Thanks, Julie.


John says:

Hello Julie,

Well, you will be glad to know that for some years now, Carnival has made a huge deal out of Halloween. The ship will be decorated and there will be special events, movies, cocktails and, of course, the superb guest costume party where many of the guests will dress in costume. It is a brilliant time to be on board as you will be seeing for yourself. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you. Best wishes.



Debbie Stevenson asks:

I need your help!  PLEASE.  I am trying to plan a Meet and Greet for a group on Cruise Critic and Carnival now refuses to talk to me because I booked through Travelocity.  I do not know what this has to do with a group event.  I have planned many group events with NCL and never

had a problem.  We are traveling on the Valor – Booking ****** on December 8, 2013.  Any advice?


John says:

Hello Debbie Stevenson,

I just answered a similar question for Hailey for the same Cruise Critic group and I see now why there have been concerns. As you booked through Travelocity, they have the contract with Carnival for your booking and, as when you book through a travel agent, they are the ones who need to make any changes or requests. Now, there may be some leeway with this and I will certainly investigate this for you and get back to you ASAP.  Thanks, then, and let me see what I can do. Best wishes.



Karen Leibach asks:

Hello, John:

Let me start off by apologizing for the length of this posting.  I’m actually splitting this into two posts, so it won’t be so wordy.  I’d like to thank you for the wonderful Diamond experience with

Captain Galotto on the 7/27 sailing of the Carnival Legend.  I was the only Diamond guest and I was invited to the bridge to spend some time with the captain.  It was such a great experience, just sitting around and chatting.  At one point, the captain had to go talk to a group on the Behind the Fun tour.  By then, I had been there for an hour and 15 min.  I hadn’t had breakfast and it was going on 1 p.m., so I thought it was time to leave.  Stephen Chastney was escorting me out and, I said I’d like to let the captain know I was leaving.  He asked one of the officers to notify the captain.  Captain Galotto left the tour group and came over to me and asked “Why are you leaving?”  He seemed genuinely sorry to see me go.  I explained that I needed to get

something to eat.  He hugged me and gave me the European kiss on each cheek. I’m usually one of many Diamond guests and the event with the captain is a cocktail party.  Those are very enjoyable, but this solo time with the captain was so very special.  Thank you for arranging that.  I hope to sail with you again.  I do longer cruises now, so it may be awhile – maybe when the Carnival Vista comes out? Take care.


John says:

Hello Karen Leibach,

It was, as always, so fantastic to see you and to spend time with you on the bridge. I could see how much you enjoyed being there and I know the captain enjoyed your company as well. Thank you for sharing this story and I know that the captain and Stephen will enjoy seeing it as well. I hope you enjoyed this wonderful cruise and all the fabulous ports and I truly hope we will see you again very soon. Best wishes.



And that’s all for today.


So this is the last Baltic cruise of the season and next Sunday, we start our Norwegian cruise and then the British Isles voyage and I thought you might like to see where we are going, so …………… are our next two itineraries.


9/1/2013 Sun London (Dover), England



9/2/2013 Mon “Fun Day” at Sea



  9/3/2013 Tue Alesund, Norway



  9/4/2013 Wed Bergen, Norway



  9/5/2013 Thu Stavanger, Norway



  9/6/2013 Fri “Fun Day” at Sea



  9/7/2013 Sat Oslo, Norway



  9/8/2013 Sun “Fun Day” at Sea



  9/9/2013 Mon Hamburg, Germany



  9/10/2013 Tue Amsterdam, The Netherlands



  9/11/2013 Wed Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium







Thu Le Havre (Paris), France



  9/13/2013 Fri London (Dover), England






9/14/2013 Sat “Fun Day” at Sea



  9/15/2013 Sun Stavanger, Norway



  9/16/2013 Mon “Fun Day” at Sea



  9/17/2013 Tue Edinburgh (Leith), Scotland



  9/18/2013 Wed Invergordon, Scotland



  9/19/2013 Thu “Fun Day” at Sea



  9/20/2013 Fri Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland



  9/21/2013 Sat Belfast, Northern Ireland



  9/22/2013 Sun Dublin



  9/23/2013 Mon “Fun Day” at Sea



  9/24/2013 Tue Le Havre (Paris), France



  9/25/2013 Wed London (Dover), England





These look like wonderful cruises and I am hoping the Norwegian Fjords are everything that I have heard. Now this will be a bit of a challenge for me because I have never actually been to Norway and to give a travel and adventure talk for ports you have never been to is not anywhere as easy as giving one about ports I have been to many times before.


Luckily, the shore excursion team here all did a familiarisation trip and Mr. Radu was with them so I have all their knowledge to base my talk on and, of course, Mr. Radu’s photos will be shown during the talk and will be a brilliant addition to what I am talking about. His photos show mountains, waterfalls and breathtaking panoramas which I am sure will provide many jaw dropping moments for all our guests. The bridge will be on whale watch too and if they see any they will call me and I will let the guests know over the PA system what side the whale can be seen on. I would love to have had a naturalist on for this cruise but we could not arrange one so it’s all down to me and, as always, I will make sure I do my very best to provide the best information I can for the guests.


I am sure the adventurous guests we have will enjoy exploring these stunning Norwegian ports and I am sure the guests with absolutely no sense of smell will enjoy exploring Paris. Yep, Le Harve is the gateway to Paris and I am sure many of our guests will be heading there on excursions. Here is the basis, then, of my travel talk.


France is a very old country with many treasures, such as the Louvre and Euro Disney. Among its contributions to western civilization are champagne, smelly cheese and the guillotine. France has a population of 57 million. Fifty-two million of these drink and smoke (the other five million are small children). French men are very romantic and want rumpy pumpy all the time. Men sometimes have girls’ names like Marie or Michel, and they kiss each other when they meet …..… twice. France’s historical figures are Louis XIV, Joan of Arc, Jacques Cousteau and Charles de Gaulle, who was president for many years and is now an airport oh, and, of course, ……… Inspector Clousseau.  A tunnel connecting France to Britain beneath the English Channel makes it easier for the French government to run away to London during future invasions. France’s principal exports, in order of importance to the economy, are wine, nuclear weapons, perfume, guided missiles, champagne, guns, grenade launchers, land mines, tanks, attack aircraft, miscellaneous armaments and cheese.


Listen, before I get a le grand bollocking from Monsieur H. Vingt DeuxVous Voir Partir who is H82SEAUGO’S French cousin saying I am anti-French, let me tell you that you can bet that someone called Jean Pierre is sitting at his desk in his wife’s underpants and is writing about how pompous and arrogant us Brits are. At the end of the day, it’s all done with a smile and big dollop of humor.


You see, there is nothing that the French wouldn’t do for the British and there is nothing the British wouldn’t do for the French………..and that’s what happens………we do absolutely bugger all for each other.


I will have photos and reports on this brilliant voyage in the days ahead and, as always, I wish you were here. Tonight, I will host a dinner in the steakhouse for some very special people. These wonderful people are staying for three 12-day cruises and the 16-day trans-Atlantic cruise and some are then doing the 11-day cruise from New York to Tampa. I will have photos of that in the next blog.


There are a few changes to the current CD schedule which will take place in October. Noonan will head from Carnival Sunshine to Carnival Magic. Jaime D. will leave the Carnival Dream and head to Carnival Sunshine and James Charlton will take over as CD on Carnival Dream. These changes will take place in early and mid-October and I am sure they will continue to do a brilliant job on their new assignments.


OK, time for a moan. I just came from an entertainment staff meeting where we discussed the show schedules for the Norwegian cruise. The Follies Lounge was full of musicians, technicians, and entertainment staff and, of course ……….dancers. And I have to ask why must they strut around with the words like “Love Pink” on their designer track jogging bottoms? Since when was it OK to advertise things on your arse anyway? And this “Love Pink ” they are all wearing …….I don’t get it……none of it is on anything pink …… it’s on black or white clothes or any colour in the world…….but not on bloody pink. Isn’t that like having “I Heart Cows” written on your Burger King wrapper?


Anyway, during the meeting, as always, I take a Q and A with my staff to see if there is anything that we as managers can do to help them. There were some questions about schedules, a musician asked for sunflower seeds to be made available in the staff mess (no surprise, he was wearing sandals) and then we had a question from one of the dancers who rightly had been upset. You see, down on Deck A we have a crew laundry where crew wash, dry and iron their clothes. This is a free service, obviously, and although crew can use the guest service laundry and have our hardworking Indonesian laundry chaps wash and press their clothes but, for that, there are charges, obviously.


Anyway, back to the story and the dancer who we shall call Tracy, because that’s her name, who had left her clothes in the dryer. When she came back…….they had gone. Yep, someone had either stolen or most likely removed her clothes thinking it was theirs because there are eight washing machines there and most likely the “thief” had taken the wrong clothes out. So shortly, I will be making an announcement in crew areas asking if everyone could check if they had the right laundry. I asked for a list from Tracy of what was missing and amongst the entertainment staff uniform shirts, socks, black sweat pants with the sodding words “I Love Pink” on it, were a pair of pajamas. This took me by surprise because Tracy is only 22 years old……and she wears pajamas. This shocked me because I thought everyone was like me and wore underpants to bed. Just before I continue, I would like to say “No Heidi, I was not dreaming of Tracy wearing only a Victoria’s Secret red thong and see through night dress…..” ummmm.  Anyway, my point is that she wore pajamas and I guess I never expected that.


I asked some of the entertainment staff and they all wear pajamas except, of course, my friend and ACD Calvyn Shawn Champagne-Martens who said, “A person’s ‘private bits’ should be aired at night, like an old blanket. And the elastic in underpants will cut off your circulation causing yeast infections.”  Bugger me….who knew?


My problem though is that I can still remember the school yard stories about spiders crawling into your pajamas and into your gentlemen’s sausage forming a super race of mutant spiders that would one day conquer the world. What about hygiene? I don’t….but if you are weird and change your underpants every day, you should, arguably, change your pajama bottoms daily, right?


I remember once when we had a suspected man overboard on the Carnival Triumph back in 2002. I was called to the bridge at 2:30am as was the captain who ran to the bridge in his pajamas. It had a gap in the front and trust me….it’s sodding difficult to speak on the PA system to 3,000 guests in a calm reassuring voice when there is a giant Italian pepperoni waving at you through a hole in the front of his silk pajamas. It was that night that I realized that whoever said that, “All men are created equal” was talking total bollocks!



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.

35 Responses to THE LIDO DECK DIET

  1. Paige says:

    LOVE PINK: Victoria’s Secret has a line called “Pink,” which is where those pants came from. 🙂

  2. Belinda says:

    Hi, John! I have recently contacted Carnival regarding a group party on board our Breeze cruise in December. My question involves pricing for non-alchol drinking participants! In the past we have been charged the soda rate, and this week were told that anyone over 21 pays the alcohol rate. Is this a recent change to the group get together pricing? Cheers, and thanks for all you do!

  3. Frank Perez says:

    Big John, this is a question I have not seen come up before. A friend of mine had to cancel his cruise two days before sailing due to a leg injury. What is usually done with the cabin if the passenger(s) cannot make the cruise? As the cancellation was done at the last minute, I would think that it would be too late to rebook it. I have not seen a “wait list” for cruises. Just curious. P.S. thanks for all of your great work.

  4. Sandra Dunlop says:

    John, just to be clear Calgary is in the province of Alberta NOT British Columbia. Just wanted to clear that up. A proud Canadian.

  5. Nancy says:

    Calgary is not in British Columbia. It is in Alberta. Just sayin’.

  6. staci cooperhoffmann says:

    Absolutely love the Game Room card idea!!!!! This should be sent to the beards for some serious discussion. I would buy them for our children that’s for sure.

    • Toby says:

      When completing the pre-cruise check-in, I do not grant my kids charge privileges. However, once on board, I go to Guest Services to allow $20 of charge permission on each of their cards.

      This way they can play in the game room or make small purchases, while learning money management and I do not have to worry about excess charges.

  7. Brian says:

    Hi John,

    Calgary is in the province of Alberta, not British Columbia in Canada.

  8. Robert Huckleberry says:

    I do not want a special meet and greet or special gifts or up front seating in the theatre for 400 people or a table for two(EVERYWHERE). I just have to let you know that I like the way that you write your column and how you take care of all of those twits that think that they are soooo special…
    Keep up the great work
    Not for print please
    Bob Huckleberry
    Ashland Ohio
    six cruises/all Carnival

  9. Kathy B says:

    John, I can explain the “chain mail dress.” It’s not a recent event, though – it probably dates back about 7 years. It was a dress made of chain mail – as in the chain mail that goes with a suit of armor. The wearer’s husband posted a picture of it on that other website. It was rather revealing, and in the dining room the wearer was asked by the maitre’d to change into something more appropriate for a family dining room. From what I remember, husband and wife were not very pleased. I also remember they stopped sailing on Carnival when the topless decks were eliminated.

  10. Patty Martin says:

    John..The hernia that I get from laughing so hard will have your name on it…If that is possible for a female..LMBO…
    Anyway..I have learned that the question “how are you” should be forbidden…I then get how their colonoscopy went well. or their massectomy (sp) was successful and then explain to me how the procedure was done and then show me…Ewwwww…Just after they say “oh am I disturbing your lunch”….nono I was done…as Im thinking how a burger unlike pizza is just as good cold as it is hot..on the contrary..I too must ask the question..Hi how can I help you..That opens the door for sooooo many things that I really dont want to hear..but never the less we are in the industry of people pleasing..And that is what I attempt to do on a daily bases…Some days I’d rather be digging latreens…..Some times id like to swap jobs with you…..and some not..The apartment industry is parallel to the cruising industry. God love us!

  11. Garth Liseth says:


    Loved the story about the two Canucks feuding in the Baltics….BUT……(there’s that BUT)…Calgary is in Alberta…..and…. thankfully… a long way away from those of us in western British Columbia

  12. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Sorry you got “hijacked” over lunch.

    We have always tried to be respectful when we see staff out on their “off time” like eating a meal.

    Most times we are the ones turning down their offers to join them, because we realize how precious their off time is.

    I do remember how inviting you and Heidi were when we cruised with you both on the Imagination in 2008. Sometimes we accepted, sometimes we did not. You, Heidi, Jorge and Noonan made that a very special cruise.

    We always take the situation into consideration and never automatically just say yes.

    Unfortunately, we are probably the exception. Far to many intrude … or worse “demand” that you include them in your meal plans. Not to worry, everyone knows what you are thinking, but can not say!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  13. Larry Greco says:

    Hello again John, I must say that i agree with Ramona Diaz about the Dress Code being out of control at times in the dining room at night. Lately i have seen flip flops, shorts, blue jeans with holes showing a persons undergarmets. Will it ever end, yet i am not allowed to wear a muscle shirt at lunch in the dining room but women can wear a bikini. Sounds like there are no real set rules, it depends on the mood of the Matre de. I leave on Sept. 1st for a 4 and 3 day back to back on the Sensation out of Port Canaveral. But the way people dress or choose not to dress at diner will in no way affect my dining experience or Cruise.

  14. Robert Noll says:

    I enjoy reading your blog and your posts on Facebook. What I do not enjoy is reading comments and requests (blackmail) from bloggers and “Cruise Critics” demanding meeting spaces, door prizes, nibbles, ships on a stick, bottles of champagne and open bars. They always threaten that if they don’t get what they demand “we will all write reviews seen by millions”
    Bloggers and Critics, please write your reviews but do so on what you actually see and experience not based on what extras you get or fail to extort. Your reviews will be more credible!

  15. Lazarus Long says:

    for Mark Smith

    Maybe I shouldn’t mention it, but in checked bags, I’ve brought a box of wine on (may depend on the specific port).

    And while mine had been tucked in a bag (and was full of water), they didn’t check a water bottle.

    I do appreciate Disney’s policy on alcohol. And even bringing a box of wine, we still had a hefty bar tab (including the dinner time wine program – which I was glad to find on Carnival at least we could retrieve an unfinished bottle at most bars)

  16. Bonnie says:

    I hope you enjoyed seeing Helsinki and Tallinn as much as we have in the past. We have spent a few vacations visiting those cities and love the history, architecture and of course the food.

    In regards to your blog, I sure hope you realize that most of us Canadians wouldn’t be rude enough to bother you while you are trying to enjoy your meal. 🙂 We know you won’t be on our cruise on the Liberty in March, but we promise to leave our Cruise Director alone too. 🙂

  17. Luis R says:

    About the guy from Canada that cruised with his coworker and family. Travelling with other people is risky business, even with family. I think it was OK for them to take the cruise together. However, they should have handled it differently. Let each family do whatever they want to do with their day such as taking different shore excursions or different activities and then meet at dinner time to share experiences and have some nice time together. I am sure that would have worked out much better for both families. If during planning, they happen to have interests in common, then great! Take those together, but let each family have their own cruise experience. I cruised with my two brother and their families in 2011 on Carnival Magic. I was with my girlfriend. Even though we were together and we were family, each of us had very different experiences because we all have different interests and only were together in a couple of excursions and in a few ports got together for part of the day. In Venice we all had dinner together, something we could not do during the cruise because we were split in different rooms due to my late booking, but even then we all had different excursions in Venice or the same at different times, all to accomodate our particular interests. And it worked almost perfectly for all of us. We all had a blast.

  18. joyceg says:

    Great blog today. My sister & I will be joining you in 2 short days for the next 3 cruises! Am looking so forward to Norway. Will be eternally grateful for any information you can provide during the travel talk. It’s been a challenging past 2 years for her, especially since health concerns have been keeping us off your Carnival cruise ships. Are looking to add 39 days to our diamond total.
    See you very soon!
    JoyceG & Grace

  19. Kate says:

    I just want to say that I love your blogs! Last August my husband and I took our first cruise ever on the Carnival Inspiration, out of Long Beach. Since then our goal was to get to Gold in a year! On Sunday, we achieve that Goal. We sailed on the Conquest, Magic and now back on the Conquest. Every cruise has been fabulous! I have no complaints! I wish someone would stop me on the Lido deck so I could diet…. ah but I am no celebrity, so I have to diet between cruises so I can stuff myself on the delicious Carnival food and cocktails!
    Thank you for your constant entertainment

  20. Georgia says:

    I am in a panic regarding your post on Edinburgh’s port. Is it really Leith, which is an itinerary change. If it is so, we need to make some excursion changes.
    Many thanks.

    • geoffken says:

      Leith is only 6 miles from Edinburgh so no problems.
      NO ship can dock at Edinburgh any more than any can at Rome or even London

  21. Thomas says:

    Really Mark Johnson? Another company gives good service, and you want Carnival to move you up to another level? I think I have heard it all.

    John, the waiter at a restaurant was nice to me today. Can I be moved to platinum level?

  22. Karen geis says:

    The self laundry isn’t free! Employees used to have to use their own quarters, but now they have updated and the crew has to swipe their cards which in turn gets charged to their account!

  23. Benoit cartier says:

    Hi mr. John im a platinum guest and we like to travel with you guys. Next winter we travel with my brother and my cousin on the freedom. Can they be with me for vifp priority boarding? Thank you

  24. Charles Mages says:


    I travel on several Carnival family of cruise lines. On Princess Cruises, I am Platinum. Could Carnival combine the different loyalty programs into one so I can get Platinum status when I go on Carnival or any other Carnival owned cruise lines? Als0
    Princess has one loyalty benefit that Carnival should pick up. I get free internet from Princess at the Platinum level.

    Thank you
    Charles Mages

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


      The reason Carnival does not offer things like free wifi for Platinum is because the in the past it was very inexpensive to get to Platinum.

      A cruiser could literally do 10 3 day $199 cruises and be Platinum.

      What I would love to see is reciprocating perks between sister cruise lines for Double Diamond (400 sea days).

      Even at Carnival prices, this is a reasonable sized investment in Carnival cruising.

      Or perhaps some perks for Double Diamond like unlimited internet.

      Linda (Mom of DJ)

  25. Donna Druckenmiller says:

    we just boarded The Breeze! Awesome ship can’t wait to sail. Ship is everything you said and more. Would be the best if uwh too.

  26. Eileene Plummer says:

    LOVED the blog, John – as usual. Always amazed by the gall of the folks who ask for something they’re not entitled to, or the ones who use the blog for unprovoked attacks. The best part is your stories, and I hope you can do them for a long time to come. BTW, I wear a nightshirt. 🙂

  27. John Fowler says:

    Love Carnival. I miss the great shows and live bands at the nightly shows. The entertainment has not been good on my last 2 cruises. Have they cut cost? Some of the singers are no better then the decent singers on Karaoke. What gives?

  28. Virginia Anderson says:

    Hi John,
    Thank you for always keeping us up to date with all the Carnival updates! My husband and I fortunate enough to be going on 09/22/13 casino splendor cruise! This is our first casino cruise and my first Platinum! We are really hoping to get a table for two by the window as we are celebrating our 28th anniversary!
    Keep us the amazing work John! Carnival is lucky to have you and so are we!!!

  29. Tim says:

    Re: Mr. Cerney’s comment on smoking. We enjoy our platinum cruise in November. We do not enjoy other peoples second hand smoke while trying to enjoy our balcony. The last cruise the passengers in the balcony above us must have been having a contest on how many lit cigarettes they could throw overboard. Smoking should definitely be banned from all balconies.

  30. Grier Kerr says:


    I am trying to get in contact with Ralf Valente. I used to live next door to him when I was a kid living in Bridge Of Weir in Scotland. My parents used to run the local pub and Ralf parents ran the newspaper shop on the high street. I lost contact with him when I moved to England. I am now working as a designer in Australia. Me and ralf last seen each other at the railway station in Johnstone Scotland about 24 years ago now we are both about early 40s. I would be great full if you could pass this on to him as I think he still works along side you.

    Thank you so much
    Grier Kerr

  31. Sandy Luetkenhaus says:

    on all ships, my concern is there is nothing for 18 to 20 year olds to do, they are too old to go into the 14 to 17 category and too young to be in the 21 plus, I will be traveling with my 19 year old next year and we always keep busy, but it would be nice to have something they could do, that would be special for them.

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