February 3, 2014 -

John Heald

Let’s start today’s blog with a chat about kids and this question posted on my blog over the weekend.


Gary Kemp asks:

Urgent for your IMMEDIATE Attention.

I am VERY disappointed with Camp Carnival. Our boys are six and eight and their group activities were very immature IMO. They are confined to a room – no outside or sports activities – and the most excitement I could imagine is the Wii and PlayStation games for kids that like that kind of thing. My kids are active and love sports or age appropriate games. The camp seems geared toward girls who are generally more passive, enjoy crafts and things. They had musical chairs as one activity. Seriously? They made them sit down and listen to a story!!! This is ridiculous. They are not three year olds. Very unimpressed and this meant no relaxing, casino or couple time for us. The parents who are thinking of using the camp should be warned!!

 John says:

Hello Gary Kemp,

Thank you for taking the time to write. I am very sorry that your children did not enjoy their Camp Carnival experience and I will be writing more about this in a moment. As you will see shortly, there is far more to Camp Carnival than the activities you mentioned but I also understand that not all children like to be away from Mum and Dad and, therefore, don’t want to enjoy what we provide. I am sorry that you did not have the experience you expected and we will work hard on this. Best wishes to all the family.



While I can’t speak for Gary’s case, our children’s programs get rave reviews from the 700,000 kids we carry a year – the most in the cruise industry.  We’re always tweaking the activities and trying to find both indoor and outdoor activities that are fun for the kids. What’s funny is that in contrast to Gary’s comments, some parents think that we should offer more educational activities, so go figure. By the way, our children’s programs – especially for the younger kids – will be taken to a whole new level with the new Dr. Seuss activities.


Interesting subject indeed and it’s important to point out that not all children like a camp environment, either on land or at sea. Take my daughter Kye. At first, she would not set foot at Camp Carnival unless Heidi or I were there with her. But last year on Carnival Legend, she could not get enough of it and wanted to be there morning, noon and night.


The kids really do have a whole variety of things to do including arts and crafts, games, fun, theme days, movies, parties and, yes, they get time on the Playstationxbox as well.  I really wanted to make that clear but as I mentioned before there are certain parents like Gary that just don’t like our kids programing for whatever reason. Of course there is the other side of the coin with some parents possibly thinking is it right to leave your kids at Camp Carnival or, indeed, Circle C or Club 02 for as long as possible during a Carnival cruise so we can have the “couple time” that Gary mentions above?


I have been humming and ahhing about this since I read this comment and I have two answers ………yes…………and ummmm………no.


I am sure that some parents are driven to Prozac and therapy by the slightly French sounding voice in their head that says “Why have children if you don’t want to spend all day with them?”


And I have seen this on the ships from time to time. I will meet families and ask if their kids have enjoyed Camp Carnival and will be told that they haven’t been there because, “They want to spend as much time together ………as a family.” I often think when I see this that it’s the kids that sometimes suffer. While it’s great to be with Mum and Dad, happy, confident children do not need to spend their maximum cruising hours with their parents………..or do they?


From what I have seen during my 27 years on board, is that kids like to hang out with other kids, especially on vacation and especially when they know that they have brilliant facilities like Camp Carnival, Circle C and Club O2. But sometimes you see these poor children on the Lido Deck, their mothers fussing the living daylights out of them, all in the name of “family quality time”…. a phrase that surely strikes fear into the heart of any Justin Beiber-worshipping 14 year old. When parents are on a Carnival ship, face painting and hula-hooping are not top of their agenda. And when kids are on a cruise, lying on a sun bed, having a drink with umbrellas sticking out of it and watching my marriage show is not I am sure what kids get excited about on board.


There is a simple and brilliant solution to all of this……….and that is our three kids and teens entertainment areas. There are plenty more reasons why Camp Carnival is the answer to a perfect cruise vacation for all the family including the most important fact………without Camp Carnival most parents would get bugger all rumpy pumpy.  Youth Directors tell me about parents who would drag their kids to camp screaming: “Do this for me and Dad! We need this time together.” Mom and Dad then disappeared ………probably back to Lido for a pint of ThirstyFrog Red.

I know this sounds harsh on the parents who want a rest, or maybe have some rumpy pumpy, so let me qualify it. I’m not saying people who put their children in for a few hours or so to make ice cream sundaes and shoot zombies on the Playxboxstation while they sneak some time at the Cloud Nine Spa are bad parents, not, not at all. Nope……. I’m talking about those parents who you see waiting impatiently for Camp Carnival to open at 9am and don’t get them again until our Night Owl program finishes in the wee small hours of the morning.


For the most part then I think it’s safe to say that children, crave the company of other kids and I know I am biased but Camp Carnival is the best and safest kids play heaven at sea. So, there is I guess a happy medium where you can find that middle ground providing time at Camp Carnival for the kids….and time for Mum and Dad to go back to the cabin to make them a brother or a sister. And, as you know, we recently announced our Seuss At Sea Program will start on Carnival Splendor and will make its way around the fleet after that. And for those who do enjoy their kids being at Camp Carnival, Circle C and Club O2 I would advise that you watch this space………… there is some brilliant news down the road at some point that I have no doubts that the kids and parents alike will be thrilled about.


Time for today’s Q and A – off we go


Keith O’Shay asks:

Hello John, I have to tell you and the beards about our “brilliant” cruise experience on the Carnival Sensation. We always have a great time when we cruise with Carnival but this was the best of our five so far. We loved cruise director Wee Jimmy. We’ve sailed with Butch and Malcolm and they were good but Wee Jimmy was born to be on stage He was very entertaining, funny and he made sure everything we did with him was hilarious and we had so many LOL moments because of him. I know you worked with him because he told us all about how you had helped him so I thought that I would pass on what a great job he did. It was a great cruise.


John says:

Hello Keith O’Shay,

Please know that I am sitting here smiling broadly because you’re right, I did work with Wee Jimmy and seeing words like this make me gush with pride. I will pass on your kind words and I know that Ralph (that’s his real name) will be over the moon. I am so glad you had fun and I hope we see you again very soon. Best wishes.



Bianca Hennessey asks:

I am booked on Carnival Paradise with husband, booking ****** 2/22/14. I suffer from severe muscle spasms thanks to my ALS which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. For this reason, I MUST HAVE A TABLE FOR TWO. A private table is the only way to go and, not having one, will most likely make it a ruined vacation for us. I do not want to have to eat beside of other passengers! My travel agent said there was nothing he could do and to write to you. Can you do a private table reserved and by the window would be great.

Bianca Hennessey


John says:

Hello Bianca Hennessey,

I totally understand and I have written to my friend Yusuf, the maître d, and I know he will do his very best for you. The tables for two are not next to the window I am afraid as it’s the larger tables that are placed there. But we will try and get you a private table and I wish you health, happiness and a wonderful cruise. Best wishes.



Terry asks:

I have always seen on line about people talking about “gifts” that they got for their group parties from you. I have been doing groups on ONLY Carnival for over 10 years (we are a bowling group) and we have a cocktail party with food for everybody (usually about 100 people). How do we get something to give away at these meeting? I have ALWAYS bought things from bon voyage myself to give away — drink coupons, photo credits, last year I bought over $700 in gift cards…just curious our group is booked on Carnival Conquest 9/21/14 for this year !   Thank you, and PS… Your posts always make me laugh at how stupid some people are!!!  Cheers Terry Leis


John says:

Hello Terry,

Your group sounds interesting indeed and I am sure you will all have a brilliant time together. I will be happy to send you two trophies and two bottles of champagne to your party so please remind me here or preferably on Facebook ( two days before the cruise, reminding me where and when the cocktail party is. Thanks so much and have a great time.  Best wishes.



Ann M. Bigelow asks:

I just want to thank you, so much, for the extra little attention, and gifts you sent to my husband and me.  (We were on the Carnival Breeze, November 17, cabin #2289). It surely made our day and made the cruise extra special and it meant so much to us, that you would even do such a nice thing for just us, and the time you took to do this for us.  You are such a dear man, and I do hope one day to have the honor to meet you!  You are so cute!

Ann and Richard Bigelow


John says:

Hello Ann M. Bigelow,

I wanted to say a big thank you for those very kind words. My thanks to my colleagues for helping with my request for you and I do hope we see you again very soon. Best wishes to you both.



Michael Follain asks:

My DW and I will be spending Valentine’s Day on the Carnival Breeze. Can you do something special for her? Maria works very hard as a serving police officer, plus raises our three kids and never has any time for herself. I thought maybe you could send her flowers and chocolates or something to make her cruise special. The last cruise was on the Dream when we had to stay in Saint Martin because of the engine breakdown!


John says:

Hello Michael Follain,

I am sure that your wife does indeed deserve a rest and deserves some fun which she will, of course, get both of during her cruise. Please send me your cabin number on the 12th on my Facebook page please ( so I don’t forget. I can’t send flowers but I am sure I can find her something to say welcome aboard. Have a brilliant time together. Best wishes.



Virginia Hughes asks:

Do you think Carnival will bring back the cruise certificates? I have purchased them before and found booking that way more enjoyable. There is no line at my desk to book it and I can schedule the time off from work before booking, eliminating having to cancel if my vacation is not approved. Thank you.


John says:

Hello Virginia Hughes,

I am very much aware of how many people were disappointed that we stopped these certificates some time ago. I have mentioned this to the beards on a few occasions and, so far, I can tell you there are no plans to bring them back. I do hope that we get to see you soon and if there is anything I can do for you, please do ask. Best wishes.



Steven Pawlak asks:

I cruised on the Carnival Sensation, my second cruise, and first time I have been told I have to wear shoes in the buffet. It’s supposed to be a beach area, isn’t it, on Lido so how come I was told to do this two times on Carnival Sensation and never on Carnival Fascination and why do I have to wear shoes because nobody told me why? Just to put them on in front of my wife and kids. WTF is this – customer is always right, not at Carnival


John says:

Hello Steven Pawlak,

We do have rules about this with all guests asked to wear shoes in the Lido restaurant for health and safety reasons as we are really trying to reduce accidents on board and wet floors and bare feet simply don’t go together very well. It is also not nice to see a minging ( pair of feet while you are waiting for your Mongolian Wok or if another guest dropped a baked potato or a huge fully loaded burger on your little toe, that would be very painful indeed. Seriously, though we do have these rules and we are going to be working hard to make sure the staff all know to enforce them. Flip flops, tennis shoes, sandals, steel capped work boots, Uggs, flippers, and oversized clown shoes are all OK but bare feet are not. I do hope that you will put this one little thing aside and that you had a great cruise which means we will see you again. Best wishes to you and the family.



Charles Parker asks:

We just got off the new Carnival Sunshine and had a great time.  I wanted to comment on a few things, starting with the crew. Jamie was a great CD and we talked a few times. We had the most interaction with Lexi, who did trivia all week!  She was a blast and very funny. And I finally won a ship on a stick after 8 Carnival cruises! Also, our team at dinner, Marko, Dusan, and Zeljko not only remembered what drinks we preferred, but our breads and “extra” butter.  There were a few things that were different in the theater for the production shows.  The backdrop with the bright changing lights, well were very bright. The live band was missed. We missed many events due to filled areas, Red Frog Pub too small for karaoke, comedians missed due to Limelight too small, and the live band in the Ocean Plaza, too small, even with overflow in the Alchemy Bar area.  If you did not get to these locations 30 minutes before show time, you would have to stand, which blocked views from everywhere except the main seating areas. All in all, another awesome cruise.


John says:

Hello Charles Parker,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write and I have just sent your review to the ship. It will be interesting to see all of this for myself when I take close to 700 bloggers on the ship and the flow and use of public spaces will be something I will play close attention to. I also miss the live orchestras at the shows very much but certainly not having them there means we are able to utilize them for music and dancing in the lounges and especially at the Ocean Plaza. I think we have learned a lot from the first cruises and since you sailed two months ago. We have increased the karaoke sessions and have added more live music. I want to thank you for taking the time to write because it is through comments like this that we listen and learn. I am glad to see that you had fun and I do hope we see you soon. Best wishes.



Dorothy asks:


First comment to you. Just got off the Carnival Dream a few days ago. It’s our 14th cruise and we ONLY go on Carnival. Wouldn’t you think when we ask for a large table of guests to sit with, we would get it? Seems we always have issues with our table and need to change. We were changed to 406 in Scarlet dining room and those waiters were the worst we have had. We were ALWAYS the last to get served and always the last to leave. It was frustrating. We hardly ever saw his helper and they didn’t joke or bother much with the whole table which was very disappointing. We were on the Carnival Dream last Sept. also and it was worst. They stuck us in a corner facing wall and we changed, and was disappointing. Is it just the Carnival Dream?


John says:

Hello Dorothy,

I am very sorry to read this and it is indeed a very unusual comment because, for most people, the service and fun they have in the dining room is one of the highlights of the cruise. It looks like the servers you had are in need of some help and management so I thank you so much for taking the time to tell me about this. I do apologise and assure you we will work on improving their service and I am sure like all your other cruises, that your next one will be back to the very high standard you expect. I thank you so much for your loyalty and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes.



David Murnaghan asks:

We were on a cruise on the Carnival Valor and heard an announcement by I think the captain that said bravo bravo team. There were no more announcements about what this was which we found to be very odd. Can you tell me what it was all about, Heald?


John says:

Hello David Murnaghan,

I checked on this and, apparently, the crew was holding a training drill thus the “Bravo Bravo Bravo” announcement was made over the PA system. It is a signal to the crew for a missing passenger or crew member and we hold these and many other drills on a regular basis as part of our ongoing safety training practices. I do hope you had a great cruise and thanks for asking the question. Best wishes.



Gabriela Hipolito asks:

Can you tell me who the comedians will be on our next cruise which is coming on February 9 on Carnival Glory? I was hoping for a Hispanic comedian because you have George Lopez in your headers but no Hispanic comedians. You seem to only provide comedy for African Americans and Southerners but nothing for us Latinos and, cruising from Miami, most of the ship are Hispanic. I hope this time it is different and you do not discriminate


John says:

Hello Lola Hipolito,

Let me start by saying that you have four wonderful comedians next cruise in Percy Crews, Lowell Sanders, John Wessling and Doug Willams. We certainly do not hire any comedian based on their background, colour or heritage but only on one simple fact — are they funny? If the answer is yes then we hire them. We do actually have some very funny Latino comedians such as George Solano and Al Romero, among others.  I am sure on the Carnival Glory next week that our four comedians will have you laughing out loud so please do not miss any of their shows. Have a wonderful time. Best wishes.



That’s all for today and, as always, I thank you very much for your comments and questions.


It will soon be Valentine’s Day………oh, joy. I say that because Heidi and I have not celebrated Valentine’s Day since her father passed away on February 14, 2005. I wonder In fact as I read this if with my Dad passing away this past December 18 if Christmas will ever be the same again for me?


Anyway, I say “oh, joy” about Valentine’s day also because I have always hated it ever since I was a teenager and I stood by the door waiting for a card to fall through the letterbox telling me that someone loved me. But they didn’t and February 14 was just another reminder that I was as ugly as a pair of putrid feet at a Lido buffet and there was as much chance of me getting a Valentine’s Day card as there is Pine Bluff becoming President of


But for many this special day of loooooovvvveee is very important and we will be celebrating on the ships as well. We will be doing the following:


–          A special “Chocolate Valentine” dessert will be offered at dinner.


–          A red carnation will be handed to each female guest during dinner (this includes those guests selecting the alternate dining and the steakhouse and other specialty restaurants).


–          “Free Valentine’s Day Hug” stations around the ship.


–          Ships with Seaside Theater big screens will be provided with Kiss Cam graphic box.  Focus on random guests whose smooch will be projected on the Seaside Theater.


–          There will also be a Romantic Trivia Quiz, the Real Romeo Contest, and The Romantic Crooner Karaoke Contest. There will also be date night movies shown on the big screens and cabin TVs. These include The Vow, People Like us, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and The Proposal.


There will also be a romantic hour in the nightclubs after dinner with the DJs playing these songs.


Boyz II Men I’ll Make Love To You
All-4-One I Swear
Art Garfunkel I Only Have Eyes For You
Backstreet Boys As Long As You Love Me
Bad English When I See You Smile
Bee Gees How Deep Is Your Love
Berlin Take My Breath Away (from Top Gun)
Bette Midler Wind Beneath My Wings
Bon Jovi I’ll Be There For You
Bryan Adams (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
Carpenters (They Long To Be) Close To You
Celine Dion Because You Loved Me (from Up Close And Personal)
Celine Dion My Heart Will Go On (From Titanic)
Celine Dion And Clive Griffin When I Fall In Love
Chicago Will You Still Love Me?
Dean Martin That’s Amore
Diana Ross & Lionel Richie Endless Love
Doris Day When I Fall In Love
Edwin McCain I’ll Be
Elton John Can You Feel The Love Tonight
Elvis Presley Can’t Help Falling In Love
Frank Sinatra My Funny Valentine
Frank Sinatra The Way You Look Tonight
LeAnn Rimes How Do I Live
Nat King Cole Unforgettable
Natalie Cole As Time Goes By
Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack Tonight I Celebrate My Love
Stevie Wonder I Just Called To Say I Love You
U2 With Or Without You
Vanessa Williams Save The Best For Last
Whitney Houston I Will Always Love You
Mariah Carey Hero


And, of course, the DJs will take your love song requests.


The person in charge of scheduling and running these activities is, of course, the cruise director. I mentioned the other day that we are working on the schedule still as to specific dates for some of the ships. I will, of course, have the full and very specific schedule posted here after the CD conference but wanted to keep you informed as to what is happening that we know of so far. Have a read of this:


–          Butch Begovich will be joining us shoreside for the majority of the summer to work on some very exciting new projects for the fleet. He will be missed on board but I want to assure all his many fans that he will be back in the CD chair again later this year.

–          That means we need a new CD for the Carnival Breeze and I am happy to tell you that this will be Matt Mitcham who will join the Carnival Breeze after his vacation. I have not had the chance to watch Matt at work but I hear from many of you that he is a great cruise director blessed with a great personality and dashing and hansom good looks…….the bastard. Congratulations then to Matt and I am sure he will do a superb job on the Carnival Breeze.

–          Brad Calabrese, who is currently on the Carnival Freedom and who has done a fantastic job there for some years now, will be moving to a floating role as cruise director.

–          Skip Lyons will be moving to the Carnival Freedom and guide the vessel through dry dock and the upgrades that we will be announcing soon. Skip is another great CD and has just completed the Panama Canal cruise on the Carnival Imagination and reports here and on Facebook show that he did a super job.

–          But don’t worry Carnival Imagination fans, because you are soon getting the one and only Goose Neumann who will be heading to the West Coast to take over the Carnival Imagination. And as we all know, Goose is one of our best CDs and will as always put his heart and soul into making that ship the best in the fleet.

–          Jen Baxter certainly had adventures while serving on Carnival Triumph. She proved herself to be calm and assuring in the most difficult of circumstances and has taken Carnival Triumph since her dry dock and 2.0 upgrades to the number one ship in the fleet according to your online surveys. Jen will be packing her extraordinary dresses and moving off Carnival Triumph to take a floating role and spread her joy and fun to many new Carnival guests who will like so many find her adorable.

–          The new CD of the Carnival Triumph will be one of our most experienced CDs and congratulations to Kirk Benning will move to the Carnival Triumph out of Galveston. Kirk and I are old friends and he has a personality that makes him so comfortable on the microphone and his humour and love of what he does means that the ship is in the best of hands as he brings his huge experience and special brand of fun to the ship.

–          That means that another very experienced cruise director, Brent Mitchell, will move to Carnival Pride. Brent is a perfectionist and is loved by his staff and the guests that sail with him. He is a very unusual person because he is funny and he is Canadian!………OK, kidding ………..but he really is very funny and I know that as the Carnival Pride gets her full list of 2.0 upgrades that she will have a brilliant person in the CD chair.

–          Lastly and on behalf of Ryan Fitzgerald, our manager of entertainment and the person in charge of the CDs, I am very proud to announce the full promotion of the following gentlemen to cruise director:  Hennie Van Heerden, who will continue floating and assisting in filling gaps in the CD schedule. He is the Jim Carey of CDs and whose facial gestures and comedy style have propelled him to a quick promotion. Well done mate.

Then we have Marcelo Alvarado, who will be taking the Carnival Victory later this year as his core ship. Marcelo is from Brazil and is known affectionately as Marcelo Marshmallow by the guests. I know him well, he was with me on the Carnival Splendor during the difficult times we had there and he is a natural leader and someone who has one of the most important and most difficult to obtain qualities of a CD…….instant likeability. Congratulations to Mr. Marshmallow.


Now please don’t ask me yet for dates when these changes are happening because I do not have specific dates just yet. When I do………so will you. There will be other changes as well to some of the other ships and, again, I will let you know these soon and will I promise to have that complete schedule soon. There will be some changes coming soon as well for the job itself which will be fascinating. Thank you all for supporting the best group of CDs in the business, I know they all appreciate it very much

There have been so many changes already to the job since I became a cruise director back in 1492… Gone are the days when I could make an amusing farting noise over the PA system. Instead I have to make sure the guests are aware of our rules and regulation “No smoking.” ”Watch your step.” “Mind your head.” “Shoes must be worn in the Lido restaurant.” “Dry yourself off after coming out of the pools and hot tubs.” “Separate your garbage.” I still make mistakes and call the crew “crew members” and not team members as the beards decree and yep, even after all these years, I still say the word “Capers” instead of Fun Times.


The problem these days though is that as things changed so did the amount of time the CDs have to actually be on stage and out with the guests. Paperwork consumes so much of their time; it’s not an excuse, just a fact. Let me give you an example. When I was on the Carnival Legend this past year in Europe one of the dancers sprained his ankle during one of the shows. It wasn’t a bad sprain but an entire Brazilian rain forest has had to be chopped down to allow for the paper work that I, as his department head, have to fill out asking about what shoes he was wearing, the condition of the stage, how many hours he had worked and if Saturn was in line with Uranus at the time of the incident. I then have to return the rain forest to the security and medical department who then send it to the beards at HQ. This isn’t just Carnival, it isn’t just the cruise industry and it’s the world. When I first started, there would have been no paper work and the dancer would have hobbled around a bit, still smiling, still doing his job ready to dance again in a few days.


This is just one small example of the job description of your cruise director and it should not be that way. It should be stage, stage and more stage with lashings of one on ones with the guests. And that’s what it will be again. More news on that after the CD conference in March. I am very much looking forward to working as a CD again in Alaska on the Carnival Miracle. I will be reunited with an officer I have not seen in many, many years. In fact, the last time we worked together was ummmm……….interesting. It was on the Carnival Liberty in 2006 and he found out that I had chosen the movie Titanic to show on the Seaside Theatre and, trust me……. he went absolutely bonkers. His arms were flapping around and he started screaming and jerking his body like someone who had just had a cattle prod placed on his dangly bits. He was shouting words like “minkya” and  calling me “stunard ” and touching his dangly bits as Italian superstition dictates. We only showed it that one time and Leonardo DiCrapio (spelt correctly) never again appeared on the Seaside Theatre big screen. I understand his superstitions and he was after all, the captain. But the chances of seeing a sodding iceberg sailing between Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios were as plausible as actually seeing Pine Bluff actually on a Carnival ship.


And now the captain and I will be reunited and I wonder if he will have forgiven me? I am feeling a little tired today as last night I stayed up to watch the Super Bowl and watch the Seahawks slaughter Denver. My wife stayed up with me and I did my best to explain the game to her as best as I could. The idea, Heidi, I said is for the big players to knock the small ones over and try and get the quarterbacker fired…….or sacked as it’s known in America. The quarterbacker passes the ball to a running backer or wide catcher who then has to run with the ball into an area known as the M zone. It is then the law that the player who reaches the M zone must do an impression of either a Michael Jackson dance routine or go down on his knees and say a prayer. Heidi lasted about 20 minutes and then went into the kitchen, turned the TV on in there and watched a program, Real Hoes Wives of Beverly Hills…… it’s sometimes known.



Your friend,



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  1. Stephanie says:

    John, that letter regarding Camp Carnival being disappointing just hurts my heart. My husband and I choose to cruise with Carnival BECAUSE of the wonderful children’s program – our son absolutely loves it, and we love that there’s a place he can go to have fun with other kids his age. Carnival’s program allows us the option to have both family and “adults-only” time (although, I might have to argue that it could be called “kid-only” time since my son loves it so much)!

    Your Camp staff has always been warm, welcoming, upbeat and just delightful. Activities planned are age-appropriate and are designed with the safety of the children in mind. We recently had the pleasure of seeing a counselor on the Triumph, John from Peru I believe, who my son had spent time with on the Magic, and to see them both recognize each other and give high fives and huge smiles was so comforting.

    Please know that there are those of us parents out there who absolutely treasure the program and continue to cruise Carnival because of it (and so much more).


  2. Mary Gross says:

    Hi John:

    Who will the CD be on the Miracle April 12, 2014. Thanks for all you do.

  3. tracy says:

    I think camp carnival is great. sure my son didn’t like it when he was 2 but 3 and on hes 8 now love it he will go for a few hours ata a time then we go do something together then he goes back in in the after noon stay a few hours then hes back at night for a few hours they have a lot of things to do their.

  4. Kelly Landmann says:

    My family is just off the 1/18/14 sailing of the Carnival Breeze. I can’t say enough of the Camp Carnival Staff on board. My 2 year old wanted nothing to do with camp and a few of the staff were able to get him to stay for a few hours 1 day. The other days were a bust but we tried and will try again next year when he is 3 and sail again (hopefully the March 20 sailing on Carnival Sunshine). Now my 8 year old son would look at the schedule offered and say I want to go at this time, pick me up at this time and so on, he really enjoyed the time on the Playstationxbox and the movies offered. We are not the type of parents to put our kids in from open to close, but those few hours really help and its my son’s choice to go. Again the staff on the Breeze on our last cruise were amazing. Sorry I can’t give you names, I can barely remember the day when I’m on vacation let alone names of everyone I interact with. 🙂

  5. Lynn Shelton says:

    You need to bring back bar coupons… They rock

  6. Michelle Feldmann says:

    My husband and I along with our 3 daughters will be sailing on the Splendor on 2/21/14 We are in cabins 2441 & 2443. My husband was kind of disappointed that we would not be invited to the past guest party as we were on our last cruises because of the new VIFP program. It would be spectacular if you could send something special to my husband to let him know he is appreciated as a past guest.

  7. Shannon says:

    I love hearing all the great things about Camp Carnival. My husband and I will set sail on our very first cruise March 2 on the Magic and have been very curious about how our boys will like camp. Or if they will want to spend all their time in the pool and slide. My best guess would be the arcade will get more of than I’m gonna like lol. Thanks for this wonderful blog always full of great information! !

  8. Randy Smith says:

    Camp Carnival can be great! My three grandsons pick and choose the activities they want to do. My daughters and their hubbies go on a vacation with their kids, not from their kids! When the nine of us cruise together, we stuff bears together. We make towel animals together. The other eight members of my family do the water slides while a 67 YO Pappy cheers them on! We eat together in the Main Dining Room. We play trivia, the Bean Bag Toss, and win, lose, or draw as a family. We do shore excursions for all of us like the Pirate Encounter at Grand Cayman which was fantastic!

  9. Lynda Ulrich says:

    Steven Pawlak, would you walk into a buffet restaurant on land or in a hotel with a pool outside? I think not.

    • jose says:

      I agree. Nobody wants to see someone’s nasty feet while they are eating. Same with smoking or any other activity. There are designated areas for addictions. Others should not be subjected to ugly feet while eating or someone’s chemical filled cigarette smoke.

  10. William C. Geick says:

    John, we will be on the Carnival Dream this Saturday (8thFeb)for the 6th time and we have never had a bad experience.

    • We are on the Dream this week, first time on this one, told by our cruise director that it was great. Not so!! We have had nothing but problems with our room service. Not vacuuming our floors, no ice (which I understand is going to be made as a request only, not good customer service). Disappearing trash cans, (they looked under the bed, of course it is to big to fit there, the steward didn’t bring it back), not cleaning the tooth paste out of the sink. They want you to spend money on drinks but our cabinet was not opened for us to buy anything, they said they locked it due to Spring “Breakers!! Didn’t know that underage spring breakers were allowed on the ship without parents supervision. When they come in to clean your room, we have the heat adjusted to our satisfaction as this is our home for 7 days, we come back in to the room in the late afternoon, and you can chill ice cubes, so we have to re-adjust again for us. Tape on it and a note, so I hope this works to stop it. This has been our worst cruise with Carnival, and I think this is the 8-9th. Disappointed, I say so, we have always gotten good service, but they still want you to pay those tips!! Unsatisfactory service, yes it is. Will not recommend the Carnival Dream to anyone as we won’t take it again. Now on other ships we have always had the best service, these people are just down right lazy!!

  11. John — Submariner Friend here .. I also am not into the Valentines Day thing, however if know what’s good for me .. I need to fake it. Been married to my wife for 33 years. Now I find myself retired and somehow ended up the Fleet captain of a Yatch CLub. I’mm in charge of all boating activites. The Rear Commodore is in charege of social events.. and HE in his might power decided we whould have a Valentines Day event where all Male Club members would cook for all the women and as a Flag officer and memebr of the board .. he didn’t even ask me about this. So now I’m going to end up on valentines day … a grease ball and the women set around taking in the idea that male slaves are all the rave. Meanwhile .. me beng in charge of boating activities .. gonna find one Rear Commodores rear being used as a launching pad for man overboard. But I will help him out of the water .. I’ll throw him an apron for a life preserver. a gray boat to get into and a wooden spoon to use as paddle to get back to shore.

  12. sherri greene says:

    Just off Victory. The policy that only listed can drop off child,could be revamped. I totally agree that only listed can and should pick up child. Thought more variety of activities could have been offered during day times. Do not agree that 6 to 11 year olds should be allowed out about ship by themselves for scaveger hunts,etc. What’s wrong with a team member going along?

    • Jennifer says:

      I have the same problem with camp carnival for my 9 year old. If I did not allow him to participate in the scavenger hunts alone, then I had to come pick him up. He wasn’t even allowed to stay if he wasn’t participating. He wanted to be there, so my husband and I had to have the conversation we were not prepared for. About staying together and not wondering off etc. This was my biggest disappointment.

  13. Raechelle J says:


    We sailed on the Triumph on the Jan 27th cruise and just wanted to commend the Captain, CD Jenn Baxter, and the rest of the crew on the great handling the “blackout” incident that occurred on that Friday. The frequent updates were much appreciated and helped to alleviate any anxiety we had over what was going on. Many thanks also to the crew who fixed the issue fast and got us back underway.

    Thank You Again,


  14. Mary Ruppert says:

    Hi John,
    My dad died on Christmas morning 2010 and while we will never forget what that event was like, he would not have wanted us to mourn so much that we can’t enjoy our holidays any more. If you don’t like to celebrate Valentine’s Day because it holds negative memories for you, that’s fine. However, considering that you have found the love of your life and have a beautiful daughter together, I bet you wouldn’t trade your life now for all the valentines or boob peeks or any other adolescent activities you might have come up short on.

    But please consider that the day Heidi’s dad passed away should be spent honoring his memory by expressing your love for each other and Kye. Teach Kye the true meaning of love. Our loved ones don’t want us to live with sadness. They want our hearts happy and full of love.

    After everything your family has been through, you deserve to be not so sad. If you were to let it be known that you would like a valentine card, can you imagine how many you would receive? Or how about giving us the full names of your dad and Heidi’s dad so we could make a donation to St. Jude’s in their honor and we will all get something special on Valentine’s Day.

    In any event, we will think fondly of your family on February 14th!

  15. Debby Barnes says:

    I am so excited about the Dr. Seuss activities! We are sailing on the Liberty in December, I’m hoping I will need a Thing shirt and blue hair when we sail. My children are grown so I hope all ages will be included. I love that Carnival is constantly changing. But I love everything about Carnival. Looking forward to cruise #6!

  16. Melanie C says:

    Hi John!
    I am very excited for our first Carnival cruise on the Splendor on March 25th! Very sad to hear that it will be our last, unless things change in 2015. ANYWAY, I was wondering if you know if there is a night or a day where kids can dance to the DJ in one of the clubs? We went on a NCL cruise 2 yrs ago and there was a special night when kids came into a dance club and danced and my son LOVED it! Also can I buy one of those ship on a stick I am hearing so much about? I would like to give it to my son as a good boy award. Thanks for all your info and blog, helps me keep warms thoughts of my cruise while standing in the 8 inches of snow we just got!

  17. Fern says:

    Hi John, you’ve listed many CD’s-Carnival Breeze, Freedom, Imagination, Triumph, Pride, Victory… ., but not one for the Legend (LA to Sydney):(. Any idea who will be the CD?


  18. Louise Reid says:

    We have been on 5 Carnival Cruises, and on our 2nd one, there was a sweet little girl who “appeared” to be at camp carnival all hours of the day. I felt very sad for this little girl…if her parents wanted an adult only vacation, why not leave her at home with her grandparents or nanny…I love camp carnival, and my son will go for an hour in the morning, and a few hours in the evening, but this is a family vacation…and can’t wait to enjoy the Carnival Sunshine next week!!
    Valentines day…oh joy is right hahaha…maybe I shall find my sugar daddy on the cruise LOL

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Both of our boys enjoyed many many cruises and Camp Carnival, but we always balanced their time at Camp Carnival and family time.

      Your note reminded me of a little 5 year old girl who was not at Camp Carnival all the time but in karaoke until past midnight every night with no parent in sight.

      The other passengers who were in karaoke every night literally took turns just making sure she was ok while we were there.

      It is a shame that some parents have such little regard for the safety of their children.

  19. Teresa Cooper says:

    Complaining about having to wear shoes in the buffet on Lido? Does he walk into the restrooms barefoot as well? Ewwww! I don’t even walk around my own house barefoot much less a restaurant. Stupid thing to complain about.
    I am not trying to be disrespectful of someone with a disability as I have one myself but how does having ALS REQUIRE one to have a private table? I hope I am not being insensitive and perhaps there are factors I don’t understand, but it kinda sounds like they just want a private table with a view. And there is nothing wrong with that. Or maybe they are concerned her ALS issues will disturb other passengers and I am just being a jerk.

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Our friend died from ALS and I would imagine this individual probably does not want to subject other cruisers to the violent jerking while they are trying to eat.

      There were times that food would not stay on the folk and would hit the plate or table several times during his attempts.

      As with any individuals with a special need, I hope that they would contact to make any accommodations necessary.


      • Nancy M. says:

        Uh, ALS is not a chronic disability…it is an extremely serious and debilitating disease…I am happy and impressed that someone with this able to cruise and hope that every consideration is afforded to them…to the person who said they just wanted a table with a view…Google ALS before making a.snide comment about their request.

  20. Dave Myerly says:

    John, I recently heard from several friends who are Platimum and/or Diamond cruisers about changes and problems they saw on the Sunshine.
    Is it true that the Theater has been torn apart (lower level is gone and put into cabions) and they now use folding chairs?
    Is it true the stage acts are gone AND THE ORCHESTRA & ORCHESTRA PIT IS NO MORE?
    Has all the staae acts and dancers been replaced by a new thing called “Play Productions”?
    I hear their are 4 different PLAY PRODUCTIONS ones and they will soon go on all ships?
    Has the lower level of the theater now been replaced with cabins?
    You walk directly into cabin areas (no more port and starbord halls) from the casino and atrium?
    The carrver stations are gone and only one buffet line is opened?
    There are many more things to ask about, but is any of this is true?
    WTF is going on? Has Carnival Management allowed the new kids to make all the planning decisions and choices kicked the knowledgeable respected tried and proven grown ups out of the house?

    • Cathy says:

      Dave, if you want John to reply, wasn’t there a little button to hit before that requested a reply from him? I don’t see any replies from him at all – have you heard anything? I am pretty sure if you wanted him to reply, you had to hit a button and tell him you wanted to hear back. I might be getting old! Did I miss that button or what?

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Hey Dave….Linda here…

      we are currently on the Sunshine (for the second time) and yes, the main theater on this ship is totally different than any other Carnival ship.

      The Main Theater has a dual usage as the disco at night.

      As for no Orchestras, that is not just the Sunshine. That is going to be on any Carnival ship that has the new 2.0 changes.

      They have added cabins where the back lounge used to be on Promenade.

      And moved the Piano Bar and a smaller “back lounge” on deck 4.

      The seating on Promenade is still there and just as numerous although in a different configuration.

      Instead of just strung out all down one side, there is some that is by the windows with the rest in the Ocean Plaza with a stage for the band.

      This configuration is actually better for trivia, better for the band that plays on the Promenade because it includes a dance floor.

      Then they added the Red Frog Pub (which is a great addition).

      For years all I heard was people complain that Carnival ships were to “cookie cutter”.

      So they tried something different with the Sunshine and people complain it is to different.

      Go figure…

      The good news is that the Sunshine provides an excellent experience….as we have witnessed first hand.

      Linda (Mom of DJ)

    • Doreen Maples says:

      I took my daughter on the Carnival Sunshine the first week of December 2013 and it was wonderful. The main theater did not have folding chairs but seating was movable because it is used for dancing after the shows. The new song and dance productions were wonderfully done and very entertaining. There are new cabins at the back of the ship on Deck 5 above the dinning room. A new feature is the amazing Havana Bar, great atmosphere and views and the Serenity area is the best in the fleet. The atrium bar has been reconfigured so the area is more open for activities. Many of the areas including the theater look and feel more roomy and airy. The Sunshine was my 16th cruise and I noticed changes but they were positive ones with the exception of the lounge for the comedy shows. It was way too small. It used to be the cigar bar. I have already booked another cruise on the Sunshine for this May and can’t wait to enjoy the Havana Bar and the Serenity Pool. I recommend you see it for yourself and then decide. You may really like the new decor, lay out and shows.

  21. Linda D says:

    Hey John:

    We are heading out on the Carnival Magic on February 16 and are SO-O excited! I do have a couple of questions…is there anywhere on board to get a fresh fruit smoothie…something that includes veggies would be great too. Any help keeping me on track while away is going to be appreciated.

    I am also curious whether the Magic offers a country music night in any of the clubs. Love to go dancing to the newest top 40 hits, but also like the chance to 2-step now and then as well.

    Thank you!


  22. TerryS says:

    My congratulations to Kirk. John, you are absolutely correct about Kirk. He is a awesome CD. I have the the pleasure of sailing with him on three cruises aboard the Pride. Each time he has made me laugh and makes a cruise a wonderful experience. I know the guests on the Triumph will enjoy having him as their CD. Can’t wait to cruise with Brent when the Pride comes back to Baltimore.

    • Mike J. says:

      We saw Kirk on our Legend cruise last June, his last week on that ship before moving to Pride. He was the best CD of the three we’ve been on (none with John yet!) I said to him after a show that he must really like his job. He replied that he LOVES his job! It shows because he is fantastic. We are next on Breeze with the kids in June.

  23. Terri Gles says:

    So happy to hear that Matt Mitcham will be going to the Breeze. He is excited, per his Facebook post tonight, and all of us from Norfolk are excited for him. He really is a great CD with lots of talent, charm, and good looks – the whole package! Carnival is lucky to have him.

  24. Patty Whitney says:

    Hello John,
    We are recently back from a gorgeous 8 days from NYC to Bahamas on the Splendor – what a gorgeous ship! She is our new favorite by a LONG shot! One thing with kids on the ship – it may have just been this cruise, but there were oodles of them, everywhere and extremely poorly behaved. Running and yelling – parents were either nowhere around or sometimes just watching them with a rather blasé expression. The crew seemed confused about them running amok – hubby and I were constantly “DON’T RUN!” to them as another gang of them would whizz by. We found a 4yr old boy lost in the hallways wandering around with his room card – craziness abounded. Even the well behaved kids were watching the miscreants with shock and awe. So – what are the rules? We weren’t even sure we ‘could’ say “Don’t Run!” to the kids because, while it’s certainly an implied rule, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it written.
    BUT – to get back to the point – I can’t even IMAGINE some poor soul who’s in charge of these kids, trying to take a group of them around the ship for “outdoor” time. These kids weren’t listening to anyone, I can’t imagine wanting to be personally responsible for them ‘outside’ of an enclosed area – based on the hooligans we were exposed to, it did actually enter my mind “Sheesh – I’m glad there isn’t like 30 of them in a pack!”
    Do they need to be given an obedience test and separated accordingly? Parents required to check in in an hour to make sure they’re not driving the crew insane? It’s definitely a give and take and unfortunately the parents of the misbehaving kids don’t normally want to take that responsibility so people have to drop to the lowest common denominator, and the good kids sit and are bored while the ‘naughty’ kids get all the attention.

    Perhaps they need a score card at the end of each session which helps determine the activities they’re allowed to do “tomorrow”.
    A = Great kid, listens well, take him anywhere
    B = Fine in smaller groups, keep an eye on him
    C = Considered armed and dangerous, should be approached carefully, will screech without warning.
    (Kidding … sort of )

    Otherwise another amazing cruise and we’re anxiously awaiting our son’s 21st Birthday Cruise on the Breeze on November.

    Stay well!

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      Yes indeed….

      it is a shame that our society seems to have more and more breeders than parents.

      However, IF Carnival is going to advertise itself as a “family cruise lines” and wants the money that comes from those bookings,

      then they have the responsibility to make sure these “families” do not interfere with the vacation of others.

      I fear it will get worse instead of better…

      (which is why we try not to cruise when school is out)

      We have raised our 2 very well behaved young men and I certainly do not want to spend my precious vacation time babysitting someone else’s.


    • Shan says:

      from the beginning of your comment I said to myself – this is a teacher. By the end I’m pretty sure as you’re now grading them.

  25. Ken says:

    Wow Dorothy – 14 cruises and always had to change your table. With those odds, I sure hope you are playing the lottery.

  26. Toyi Gainley says:

    This is in response to Camp Carnival. I just got off of the Victory yesterday. 2/3/14. I have 2 teenagers that were involved in club o2, and 1 10 year old involved in circle c. My family has never had a problem with these programs. My teenagers loved Gregory. My youngest daughter loved circle c, with that being said when registering her for her group there is no where on the form that lets you put additional people on to pick up and drop off. Although I completely understand the policy that you have, my mother tried to drop her granddaughter off and they would not let her. I think there needs to be something added to the registration form to make this easier or just let them come and the parents then pick them up. Also, I agree there should be some more activities to the age of the children. Most of the time my 10 year old was up with 6 years and up. They do have a scavenger hunt but the kids are to be able to sign themselves out and at this age I don’t think this is a good idea. There happened to be an incident on the ship, and I believe that if you want to offer a hunt then there needs to be staff to go with them. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Cant wait to go on our next cruise this year on the breeze!!!

  27. Robert Zanzerkia says:

    Hi John,
    Always fun to read your blog.
    Fun/entertaining and educational, it’s like getting your cruise show without getting on board and at my schedule 🙂
    We have been cruising Carnival since 2000 and love it.
    We have not had one bad experience, so Carnival keep it up.
    Going next on Breeze 2/23/14.
    Your comment said Matt Mitcham will be our CD however CD schedule lists Butch, in any case looking forward to good laughs…


  28. Mike Britt says:

    John, We are avid cruisers, just finished our 22nd cruise and our kids 15th. You met my son and I while the Magic was being repaired in the Bahamas on our transatlantic cruise. You were impressed that at age 9 he was Platinum. My comments are concerning our last cruise onboard the Carnival Liberty. I sent in a dedication for our 16th wedding anniversary, it was read on the morning show but kinda hastily as was the others. The Cruise Director did nothing to honor our dedication. I understand that it isn’t required that they do anything, but on all previous cruises in which we did a dedication, the cruise director did something special for us. We don’t drink and I did mention that in the note. Sometimes CD send us champagne which we politely take to the guest services and return it. I do wish there were other things that could be given out but it is still nice to be recognized, which wasn’t the case this time around. We also participated in a week long trivia contest and our team won. The host handed out trophies, which in previous cruises nicer rewards were given considering this was a week long event. I did find out and confirm with another host that the weeks before, better gifts were given out and that my week another host was in charge and had not taken the time to obtain nice gifts and instead opted for trophies. Now I am not begrudging trophies, they are nice but for a week long event that requires a lot of time and team work the reward should be better than the traditional trophy given out freely at smaller events. Especially knowing that previously better gifts have been given. Ok, enough of my rant. We still love Carnival and are already booked on the Miracle for 8/12 and will also be on Sunshine 1/17. Maybe we will have better luck with dedications on those ships. Sure wish we could cruise with you once, we just keep missing you.

    • jose says:

      22 Cruises? Awesome but why do you think you should be recognized for every event and milestones in your personal life and on the ship? Do you need your self esteem enhanced? What if every person demanded recognition for every event important to them. The morning show would take 5-6 hours similar to a High school graduation. Get over yourself and be thankful for what you get. There are people that do nothing but trivia on cruises, so they know all the answers and win everytime. Is that fair to those that don’t cruise as much? Not!

    • Rick Williamson says:

      Mike, why do so many people like you come on here asking for John for something free? You got your dedication (sounds like you do this kind of thing on alot or all your cruises). Why do you also have to receive thing for it? Frankly I don’t understand why Carnival does dedications. Who cares? I don’t go on a cruise to hear that kind of thing. Or like the parents that want John to put their kids (that in thier minds did something great)that the whole ship has to stop and see and hear about them up on stage. Please don’t miss understand it’s great that you have made it 16 years. But tell it to the woman you married and show HER while on your cruise. Not the whole ship. That’s the way I and many others do it for our wives. Thanks.

    • Susan says:

      In reply to Dorothy, 14 time cruiser just off the Dream. I also have just sailed The Dream (1/4 sailing) and also was assigned to The Scarlet dining room. Our large group found the service quite good. The Matre D, Shane, was one of the best we have ever come across.
      Our table servers (Ida Bagus) were very good at tending to our needs & are there to serve my meal not entertain me while doing so. That we save for “ShowTime” The job they do to serve your food is demanding enough, how much joking around and conversing with you do you really want them to do ?

  29. BarB says:

    I have to comment on poor Gary Kemp’s post about Camp Carnival. I read it with open-mouthed amazement for sure.

    My dear and wonderful grandson (my Only), started cruising with me about once a year on a Carnival ship. He was 9 for the first one and 17 for the last one (he is pushing 23 right now…and serving on a much bigger ship…USS Harry Truman super-carrier deployed in the Arabian Sea).

    He “grew up” in Camp Carnival….and had a blast every time. Before the first day was over, he had a cadre of friends who hung out together in the Camps, at the pools, at any outdoor eating venue….and just about everywhere else.

    His last was the Circle C….where he boogied down until everything was closed and ended up until dawn at the pizza place jollying with his new friends.

    Mr. Kemp obviously didn’t instill a sense of adventure in his child. That’s sad. An imaginative child can always find something fun to do if it’s nothing more than watching a good movie….

    My Only still talks about some of his fun and games onboard a Carnival ship or one sort or another. From Fascination to Liberty and beyond….he had a blast.

    His current cruise is nothing like that…for sure. But he remembers the fun he had with Camp Carnival….and the friends he made…a few his has been in touch with for years by email and social networking.

    My memories are a little different. I can relive the joy of traveling with a wonderful little boy – having him to myself for a week, buying his first legal beer (at Pancho’s in Cozumel…a favorite)…and nervously letting him and a “friend” go off on their own on a beach adventure. Thanks for that.

  30. Jenn says:

    We just got back from the Liberty. The Camp Carnival staff there were wonderful…especially Natasha!!!! I have to say I think it varies by ship. The camp staff on the Glory two years ago were horrible.

  31. Eileene says:

    Hi, John! Glad to hear there will be better enforcement of the shirts/shoes rules in the Lido Buffet. We saw some nasty stuff on the Magic last year. Interesting changes coming up – I especially like the one about less paperwork for the CDs. 🙂 See you soon!

  32. wanman says:

    No no no, please don’t take Jen Baxter from the Triumph. She is awesome. I actually booked my cruise next week because she was going to be back from vacation. Oh my gosh, I sound like a stalker now, please no restraining order now… LOL….

    Wherever she ends up, the passengers will be in for a real treat and fun time.

  33. Love your blog ,my wife desperately needs this we are taking for valentines day ,she makes it so hard to surprise her but she’s very deserving,we have speacial needs children and she needs this trip,I want to surprise her when something chocsolates anything,pls help me rob cabin e 70. Feb 16 th on the imagination

  34. Donna Catania says:

    I have been on 6 carnival cruises with two more booked. I have not had a bad cruise. Each cruise is what you make of it. I could complain about the people who think they are better than everyone else and cut the lines, or that the comedy club fills up too fast but then that would dim the memory of my fabulous vacation. I will be sailing on Feb. 13th on the Splendor with my two sons. Although I am sailing without my husband we will have a great time.

  35. Cristina Lillian-Masters says:

    John, it is sad that Jen will be leaving the Triumph :-(. She is fabulous! When you mentioned her packing up her fabulous dresses, you should have also added packing her large collection of cockatouches also. She is well known for always wearing her cockatouches. For all of you with a dirty mind……a cockatouche is a feathered headband.

  36. Sheri Michael says:

    Hello John. As I am preparing for my first-ever cruise I have enjoyed reading you FB page and your blog in order to garner tidbits of helpful info. So thank you for being there to answer my many unasked questions.

    Now for an asked question. Quote: “two suitcases per person, with each suitcase not to weigh more than 50 pounds and not exceed 16″H x 24″W (no length restrictions).” Having read this I want to clarify that I can have two 28″ pieces of wheeled luggage checked and taken to my cabin and I can also have a 22″ carry-on piece that I keep for personal necessities during embark and disembark days.

    Now the odd part of the question. My experienced cruise mate tells me that I will take luggage full of clothing, etc and return with no way to handle all of my souvenirs. So, could I take one 28″ piece of luggage with clothing, etc and a second 28″ piece with a folding, wheeled duffle bag packed inside to later be removed and used for souvenirs?

    Again thank you for sharing your vast knowledge with your followers.

    • Linda Mattie says:

      You are allowed to bring as much luggage as you like. There are no restrictions on amount or size. The only limit is on how many pieces of carry on luggage that you can handle. Have fun!

    • Doreen says:

      Hi Sheri
      Your experience shipmate has forgotten to tell you the most important thing…that is you will never wear two suitcases of clothing even if you were on a 2 week cruise. Down size. If needed there are laundry services on the ship. Select pieces that are interchangeable for more options. Its vacation not relocation. Have a great time

  37. Elliott says:

    Have been a Carnival Guest since 1996, but have not been able to comment on the cruises since the paper comment cards went away.
    Don’t usely take short cruises, Must comment on the Carnival Inspiration that I’m on now; During the first day, most of the Staff that I have come in contact with know me by name !!! I enjoy the older Carnival ships with their pazazz and over the top designs.
    Must give a special shout out to my Cabin Stuard; KENTISH from St. Vincant. Who has gone far above and beyond taking care of me on deck 7, inside starbord aft (E-197). KENTISH is one of the best of the best that I have come across in all of my cruises!!!

  38. Susan C says:

    I AGREE – PLEASE BRING BACK THE FUTURE CRUISE CERTIFICATES. We should not have to take time away from our cruise while we TRY to book a cruise while we are onboard. I say try because on two different ships it took me a couple of days to be able to book a future cruise. The future cruise desk was only interested in having credit card applications filled out.

    • Donna says:

      I completely agree. I bought the new type on the Liberty 2 days ago. It was a mess.. Took forever and had to deposit 3 of us to get it for Oct cruise. Not working for me!!!

    • Doreen says:

      I agree as well. On my cruise last month I had waited until I got on the ship to book my next cruise and had all the needed information with me and then they didn’t even have a “Future Cruise” Desk so I ended up calling my contact with Carnival and booking over the phone (like always), while I was sitting on the lido deck waiting for the ship to set sail. I could have done that from home and gotten my first preference for cabin location. The certificates were fantastic and so easy to use and made it possible for me to book a cruise with friends or family once we were sure they could get time off. It isn’t always possible to contact them from the ship to see if they would be available for a cruise so you can book it while on the ship. It is the only change made by Carnival that is an extreme mistake from a customer service viewpoint.

  39. BJ Martin says:

    We are going on the Dream in October. This will be are 6th cruise, but have never cruised at Halloween. Do they do anything special at Halloween?

    • Doreen says:

      I have cruised twice during Halloween and both times the ships have had costume parties and celebrated with decorations all over the ship. It was normal in the morning and then you come in from the pool and presto its spooksville. It was a blast.

  40. April McElroy-Rubush says:

    We are all set to surprise our two children with a cruise on the Legend March 9th. What are some things that we don’t want to miss on the Legend. Also, can you tell me more about the upgrades the Legend is receiving?

  41. Liz Arbuckle says:

    John, I’m truly sorry for the loss of your father. My mom passed away on Christmas Eve in 2002. While I can say with certainty that Christmas will never be the same, time does have a way of healing the heart and we are able to celebrate and remember the happy times rather than focusing on the sadness. Just enjoy your loved ones and live in the moment.

  42. I just came home from a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Breeze. The only draw back was the fact that there were so many children, I don’t just mean a few, I mean a multitude of crying and annoying kids all around both pools and hot tubs. Parents are no where around. I was surprised that no one was killed. One day at the Tides pool, 4 brats were throwing pieces of pizza at each other and one of the workers tried to tell them that that wasn’t allowed. Do you think that they would listen? No way. At dinner one evening one child started to cry and continued to cry throughout the dinner. The mother just continued to eat her dinner, oblivious of the child. As you can think, my dinner wasn’t the best. Thank God the rest of my cruise turned out well but I wish I had been told that this cruise was for the children. I might have changed cruises. Why isn’t the Tides Pool just for adults? Oh well, my cruise was still a success even with the wild amount of children. The problem for me was the amount of disrespect shown to adults by this wild children. I guess that comes from their parents. Why even take kids on a cruise if they are going to cause problems? Oh well that’s life I guess.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

    • tom & jane says:

      try holland

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


      It is a shame when those with no parenting skills inflict their ignorance on the rest of us.

      But as uncomfortable as it is, this is where Carnival has to step in and handle it.

      If children refused to listen to the staff when they were throwing pizza in the pool, Security should have been called. These brats should have been held until their parents were notified and then the parents should have been informed that if the children ever ignored Staff again, they would be put off at the next port.

      The reason no one follows the rules is because there are no consequences….

      put some teeth behind the rules to teach children to listen to Authority (since they were clearly not taught that at home) and you would see a slight improvement.

      Linda (Mom of DJ)

  43. Dewi says:

    Good Morning John,
    This is our first cruise and everything has been absolutely FANTASTIC! Food, drinks, entertainment, room and staff members…they are all SUPERB!!!
    Camp Carnival-It’s very sad to read few negative comments about it. On our first day, our girls (6yo) was not too happy about it because they haven’t made any friends yet and they were keen into playing at the swimming pool. However, on the 2nd day…they couldn’t wait to go back.
    Parents should not dumped their kids to camp carnival just because they need ‘adult time’ – when you are going as a family, then you should enjoy the holiday as a family!!!
    Anyway…I’m so happy to see so many Indonesia, Philippine, and Thailand’s staff member on board. Your company ( and other cruise companies) has created so many jobs for them and it’s also educated them with other skills (language and people skill especially).
    If it was not for company like yours, they will be part of jobless people in their own country.
    We are looking forward to plan another cruise holiday. Thank you so much for everything and please thank every staff member for their hard work from all of us who’s board on this ship (carnival 10-18 feb).

  44. Dana says:

    Good Morning John!

    My husband and I returned Monday from a long weekend getaway on the Triumph, where we celebrated his 50th birthday. Another brilliant cruise behind us, and we’re making plans to book a 7 day on the Magic late-Spring.

    I must recognize our Head Waiter, Ivan from Serbia in the Paris Dining Room. We were so impressed with Ivan and his team! His skill and charm made an already pleasant dining experience memorable.. and his team can really break out the dance moves! LOL

    Gumbie, Jenn’s right hand man, also deserves recognition. He embodies the “fun” spirit of Carnival. The man positively radiates joy and goodwill!

    Also, the new Platinum gift is a winner, in my opinion. It certainly came in handy when packing souvenirs off the ship!

    Thank you so much for coming back to the Blog. We missed you.

    Best regards,

  45. asophieyou says:

    Hi John!

    Your blog is amazing and I’m reading it cover to cover due to ultimate bored-ness (I’m on the Carnival Miracle right now). Just a suggestion: Carnival should offer more free sites on the ship, like Google, Bing, Gmail, Outlook, or anything that might be critical to guests. I find the wireless plans very expensive and would like to see more free sites (like I have listed above). Thanks. 🙂

  46. Mary Gross says:

    Who will be the CD on Miracle April 12. Also, are all the people that ask for a table of two aware they can ask for that when they board, if not before through their travel agent. It would be one more thing that you wouldn’t have to deal with. You have so much on your plate. Thanks for your hard work. You are appreciated.

  47. Brad welton says:

    John, I understand the feelings you and your wife have about “V” Day. My wife and I are in the same boat, so to speak. I lost a brother whose birthday happens to be Valentines day and the wife just lost hers. So we fully understand. We are going back on the Breeze May 10, 2014. Our second time . We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary. Can’t wait to go! Wishing you and yours the best! Sincerely,Brad P.S. Not wanting anything free, always feel Carnival gives us more than we pay for ! Thanks

  48. Bonnie Koehler says:

    We are taking our second cruise. We went in Oct. 2012 on the Glory out of Norfolk, VA, and loved it. This time we chose the Dream out of New Orleans, LA.

    My husband is an IT director here in Lexington, KY. He is in the midst of a very large move and migration of equipment and services and this vacation in August / September will be much needed! Can you do a little something special for him? We will be in cabin 2470 on Main Deck. I am hoping you will be the CD on that ship! I would love to meet you. I really enjoy your blogs and facebook posts. YOU are the reason I want to cruise Carnival again with my sweet husband. Much love to you, Heidi, and Kye.

  49. Karen says:

    My husband & I took our very first cruise on February 3 aboard the Victory! Great experience…superb staff and delicious food! Our steward, Florin, was top of the tops! Donovan in the Atlantic dining room was very attentive, funny and just a pleasure! Goose our CD was helpful and always up…lots of fun! We had to take a detour to Nassau due to a medical emergency but the crew handled the whole issue very professional and we never missed a beat. Thanks Carnival for a first great cruise!

  50. Dr. David Camp says:

    I agree there was no supervision as people were going to dinner deck 4. A rowdy group of small punks were running and screaming various profanities.

  51. John Alford says:

    Our second Carnival cruise (second cruise period) was on the Miracle, February 8th, Mexican Riviera in an extended balcony stateroom. Absolutely, brilliantly terrific! Overall we were very impressed with the entire trip. Truly, I can think of no real negative. Dining room meals were excellent, best chile relleno I’ve ever had, beautifully prepared filet mignons and headwaiter Conrad and his team, Mayang and Barbara all deserve rave reviews. As does cabin steward Bernie–always pleasant, smiling and responsive. In fact, all but two of the staff we encountered were smiling, welcoming and pleasant. Great show, great comedians, music groups.Wonderful experience, can’t wait for the next cruise.

  52. Sid says:

    We just came back from the Splendor with my 5 and 6 year old grand sons and I must tell you the age breaks make little sense. The breaks are 2-5 and 6-8. The 5 year went to the first session and would not go back! He didn’t want to be with the babies they cry all the time. I went in to see and he eas right! We could down age the 6 year old but he would have none of that either. 2-3 year olds don’t play well with 4-5 year olds. and he was very opinionated about it!
    Also by now you are aware that many people got the warning about the Sunshine tomorrow…me too.

  53. Jerry Brown says:

    I just got back off Paradise.We had a great time.Tell me what I am to do with the second places I won in the slot tournament.First place got $500 which was great,but I got a seat in the $100,000 slot tournament on November 8 that I can not go on.What can I do with this seat!Why give out something that useless.At less give me back my $25 entry fee! Also your company would increase it revenue if you would lower your beer and drinks prices.$7 for beer and $10 for a mix drink is way out of line.Most people will not pay those prices.This is my 5 cruise and my 3rd Carnival Cruise and I hope to go again next year,but I am not going to make The November date.Thank you!

  54. M. N. says:

    I know carnival has split all ships in half as smoking and non-smoking,, on the outside decks, the question I have is,,,, why do the guests have to enforce the non-smoking policy when carnival should,, who really should do this??

  55. Mike says:

    I think that the caps are not as fun as they are made out to be. My child complains about it all the time and I only put him there once in a while so me and my wife can have some alone time. But he has said some good things about the camp. He has said how there are PS3s and PS4s. He also likes only one game the6y all play as a group,i think it was called something like octogon ball or hexagon ball. But over all he said that if we ever go on a carnaval cruise(sorry for my spelling) again he DOES NOT WANT TO GO ON THE KIDS CAMP. He also said that he would rather be stuck in our room because it would be the same as the camp but it would have the comferts of home. Im am also upset about how little sports they play outside and the only sport they have played was basketball and dauge ball. I think the camp should do a thing when they go outside to play a sport every once in a while. I didnt sign my kid up to sit around play on the gaming systoms. Just because he has on a nice boat with fun things to do in the ship doesnt mean he cant play a game of basketball or soccer with his friends. Personaly i think they should include MUCH more activites outside and inside the boat but that is what I think.

  56. jeff says:

    Had a great cruise aboard triumph despite missing Progreso due to weather delay (fog) in Galveston.
    Two items of concern – volume level audio of every lounge performance and singers throughout ship was way too high. Also definite sewer smell on deck 6 midship hallway the whole trip. Luckily did not get into stateroom. Saw people working on it several times to no avail.

  57. Leslie says:

    I got to say 2 of my 3 children LOVED I mean LOVEDDD Camp Carnival, but my 3rd, not so much. I have been on 10 cruises with Carnival and my 2 oldest who are now 23 & 19 never skipped a day with Camp Carnival as youngsters, infact the last time we cruised one was 21 and the other 17 and as far as the 17 year old, he STILL hung out with the campers…obviously, my 21 year old hung out with me! But my youngest who was 9 HATED, and I mean HATED it, I don’t know why but it could be that he didn’t want to be left not knowing what his brother and sister was doing without him??? It is a matter of opinion for kids, so maybe the child in question from the blog just didn’t care to be left. I know this cruise *which is in 10 days from today on the Victory* my 11 year old said, he IS NOT going into CC, but that’s ok…it’s only him and I and I respect that, so we are going to find things to do together this cruise. Do you think I can sneak him in the casino??? JUST KIDDING…well, not really, but he made a pack with me to play in the arcade for an hour a day and I can play in the Casino(up to 2 hours a day if I’M GOOD)…I’ll be on my best behavior! And folks…just remember ONE thing…”NO CRUISE IS A BAD CRUISE” xo

  58. rebecca robertson says:


  59. Evelyn Stewart says:

    I sent an e-mail and haven’t received a response from you. But as I remember my cruising experience I remembered that there was a leak on the Victory when I cruised in September 2013. Due to my vacation dates this year I have to board the Victory again. Has this situation been resolved as it took up about the first 2 days of my cruise. I’m cruising for the 3rd time and this time I’m bringing my husband and children who are new to cruising. I don’t want them to have a bad time on their first experience. Also, is there anything that you can do for my children to make them feel special on their first cruise? I’m also celebrating my graduation from college. 🙂 Our cruise is Aug. 14th on the Victory.

  60. I would like to know why cruses cost so much out of New Orleans, La. and when are they going to take the Elations out& put another ship to sail the 4 & 5 day cruises. I live in Miss. and new Orleans is only a 5 are 6hr drive for us. I love to cruise on carnival I have been o 17 cruises on carnival. And all so why don’t they sail to some new places.

  61. Mr. Heald,

    I would like to thank the cruise director Kirk, that we sailed with last sept on the pride. The entire crew was amazing! I took my 17 and 11 year old and although we did not visit camp carnival or the other awesome venues for kids, we spent time walking around playing putt putt, eating,eating, and did I mention eating. We were so incredibly pleased that we are booked on the freedom out of ft lauderdale on the 6th of sept. This will be my third and def will not be my last, I know this is due to the quality of your officers and crew.

  62. Joshua York says:

    Hi John,
    I am writing you to inquire and also show my frustrations with the VIFP program. I have been on 31 Carnival cruises and first was considered Platinum, then Milstone member and now Platinum again. My mother is Rosa York, whom has been on over 50 Carnival cruises and is a Diamond member. Since Carnival grandfathered people in the Platinum program, why didnt they grandfather people like me in the Diamond program? I have 170 cruise days and going on the Carnival Freedom on Sept 6, 2014 with my family celebrating our daughters 1st birthday and our 2nd wedding anniversary. I am a very loyal guest and would like somemore information on the program and if they would be changing it again anytime soon?

  63. sandra adams says:

    I have asked carnival events manager to book me for 2 for the special dinner with limited seating to assure we can be seated. I requested 2 times and being told both times that some will contact me within 3 business days. I am frustrated that no one has responded, as I will be celebrating my 15 yr anniversary and also becoming gold members during our trip. Can you please see if you can reach out to your contacts and help me with this one. The booking is under either my name or Philip adams, leaving on the pride from Baltimore on May 11th. Thanks for your help.

    • Sandie says:

      Sandra, I too have had a bit of bad luck with the Event Planners…………..They push you aside if you are not a big group. I have requested a area on board the Sunshine for our families upcoming cruise in June. We have been given times that don’t work because everyone will be on shore. And we have been given the Piano Bar 88 which is fine however we just can’t get any better times until 2 weeks from our sail date :/. I understand how you feel about CCL event Planners… They really don’t care.

  64. Jeanette Jefferson says:

    JOhn, we were on a cruise with you in Italy, and thoroughly loved it. We are booked on the breeze on april 26, 2014 and would like to know if you are the cruise director on board for that cruise. this is our 9th cruise with carnival and we have loved everyone and will continue to use carnival.

  65. Muxy says:

    John we have been camping at the Iowa State Fair for 35 years and it is a hoot, but it takes several days (weeks) to prepare, to set up, to tear down, to put away. We have had the #1 & #2 sites in the whole grounds but I love Cruising. 2 Hours to Pack 2 Hours to unpack and I AM NOT THE HOST! Just Thank You! Muxy and Margaret

  66. Angela says:

    Can you please let the beards know that the new American table format kind of stinks. I missed the the offering of soups and the comfort foods as options if there was nothing on the menu that looked appetizing. Difficult if you travel with kids too big of a kids menu but not willing to try a lot of new things.I also missed the assortment of desserts.
    The food was good but the options were disappointing.

  67. susan says:

    past guests are complaining about the duo music choices on our ships. replacing the philanio musicians with guitar players is not what they want they want the music in the lobbies to stay the same

  68. Ernie Fingland

    I received a message by U.S. MAIL that I had been given a free 8 day 7 night Carnival Cruise including airfare. I of course got excited but when I called the number I was told because I wasn’t shacked up ( living with someone without being married) or married I wouldn’t receive the trip. I was very disappointed. So here is want I’m going to do, I will put a message on my Facebook wall that says please do not do any business with Carnival Cruise. I hope that helps.

    • Mike J. says:

      Seriously? You think Carnival sent that mail? I’m sure that came from some stupid promotion company that makes you listen to sales talks. Either you are making this up or you are being stupid. Prove it! Post a photo of the mail or a link to your Facebook with a photo of the mailing. I would not believe you if you said it came from RCCL either. Have a NICE day!

  69. Valorie Nickels says:

    I wanted to say that we took our first Carnival cruise last year in July on the Carnival Conquest. I have twins who were 9 years old during the cruise last year and they really enjoyed Camp Carnival. Once they figured out that they were allowed to eat dinner with the Camp counselors and their new found friends, niether of them joined us for dinner the entire seven day cruise. They had the best time, as did Mom and Dad! We are booked on Carnival Dream June 1, and cannot wait for the fun to start again!

  70. Nancy M. says:

    Hi John, I was thrilled to say you would be CD on the Miracle this summer. Our first Carnival cruise was on the Triumph about 15-16 years ago and you were the CD. Many cruises later, all CDs have been judged by the standards you set, and, while some were excellent, no one matched you. This year my husband, Doug, & I are celebrating our 40th…our 3 kids & 2 grandsons are not only giving us an Alaskan cruise on the Miracle, they’re coming along to celebrate with us! I’m getting excited about the trip, so I was browsing the Carnival site and read this wonderful news from you!!! My joy is complete! We now have one more reason to look forward to this unbelievably wonderful gift from the most loving, generous children ever! See you June 10th!

  71. lisa says:

    Hi John just a quick correction – Marcelo Marshmallow is from CHILE not Brazil!

    Can’t wait to see him on the Paradise 4/28 on our first cruise as DIAMOND VIFP’s.

  72. vic says:

    ” But sometimes you see these poor children on the Lido Deck, their mothers fussing the living daylights out of them, all in the name of “family quality time”… ”

    I just saw this yesterday…lol I thought to myself when the lady asked her child if she wanted her to slap her…what are these people Slap her? Holy Cow… but I did feel for the parent. I have kids too and if mine were here they would probably be trying to swing on that strand of lights hanging above us…lol

    Off subject..I wished we could throw all the dang smokers in one room together in the basement. That is the only thing I have to gripe about while here on my first cruise or maybe if they could all smoke some raspberry flavored smokes so it would at least smell okay when I walk out onto the lido deck and BAM! smoke all in my face..ugh!

    Great Cruise so far. That John comedian was so dang funny and I do love the Karaoke with Peter. Great post John. Just my 2 cent so far..

    • Jim says:

      This is for Vic.. If you are walking out onto the Lido Deck and running into smoke then you must have issues. The air is flowing and the smoke is not waiting just for you. I imagine that if someone is 100 ft from you you will still say you smell it. It might be in your head. I have sailed on numerous cruises and never have had a problem with smokers.

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