May 12, 2014 -

John Heald

I often talk about how much I miss my wife and my daughter and my mum and my family and friends but rarely do I say how much I miss my dog, a massive flesh-eating German shepherd called Breeze. He is almost two years old and I never thought I would be writing a blog about how much I miss him. I have never been a dog person. In fact, when Heidi, my wife, was trying to persuade me to get one, I was totally against it. A dog requires almost constant attention. It raids your garbage bin, bites the mailman, eats the sofa, craps on the carpet, wants a walk when it’s raining, barks in the night for sod all reason and costs a fortune when it’s time to have its bollocks snipped off to stop it humping your vacuum cleaner. But despite all this, Breeze is much more satisfying than a feed-and-forget cat and, yep, I miss him a lot and from what Heidi tells me……….he misses me too.

I am compelled to write about Breeze because we have three service dogs on the Carnival Miracle this cruise and, obviously, seeing them around the ship has me thinking of my own dog. These three service dogs are amazing creatures, of course. One helps a guest with sleep apnea, not totally sure how and the other two are seeing eye dogs. Now before I get a bollocking about calling Cassie (the dog), a seeing eye dog, I can tell you that is what its owner, Michael, told me to call it during one of the shows when I gave the dog a trophy for being so quiet during the flashes and bangs of the Generations production show.

I was talking with Michael during our time at Glacier Bay and it was fascinating to listen to him talk about his relationship with Cassie. He was telling me how he takes a daily train with Cassie to work in Boston and how other passengers often ask Michael how his dog knows which stop he wants to get off at. He says he gets asked this a lot and always says that he had recently had Cassie micro chipped with a GPS. Michael went on to tell me that, instead of laughter, his comment is often met with sounds of awe and words like “amazing” and murmurs of awe.

Michael and Cassie have been on many adventures together, along with Michael’s wife, Glenda. This is their third Carnival cruise but it is also a sad one. You see, Michael told me something I had not known before and that is because Cassie is eight years old later this year, she has to retire and so in, July, Michael will say goodbye to Cassie who has given him seven years of safety, companionship and love.

As Michael told me about this, I could see how upset he was getting and so I tried to change the subject but it seemed that he wanted to talk about it. I asked him what would happen to Cassie and was relieved to hear that she would be located in a loving home where she will be rewarded for her hard work over the years and would be pampered in her old age.

It was an emotional meeting and, even now as I sit here writing this for you, I can feel myself getting watery eyes. Michael will obviously remember all the hard work which Cassie has done for him these past seven years and one of his enduring memories will be of her swimming alongside him on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. Michael has been blind since he was two years old. Cassie is his third service seeing eye dog and soon he will say goodbye to her and another dog will become part of his life. Meeting Michael and listening to his story was very poignant, but, at the same time, uplifting ………. and I thank him for allowing me to share it with you here. I will do all I can to make their cruise special and, of course, I wish Cassie the most wonderful retirement.

Time for today’s Q and A……away we go.

 Lyndsey Boston Jackson asks:

Hi John! Thanks you very much for the treats sent to our room last week on Sunshine! We had sailed twice before on Carnival Destiny and found the changes to be very nice on Carnival Sunshine! We had a great cruise with great staff! Marco, the guest service manager, was the best yet and took great care of our family. He even got us up to the bridge with my nephew who is a nine year old Carnival prodigy. I have one more big favour to ask of you. On our previous three cruises with Carnival, we have purchased the ship models for our kids. This was their first cruise ever and all we heard about before leaving was how they would get to buy their own ship… The gift shop sold out night one of the cruise (the night we didn’t make it to the shop) of the models of the ships. We even tried to get them to sell us the two display models but they couldn’t. Is there any way, if I give you a credit card number, that you could send me two Carnival Sunshine models? Hope you are enjoying Alaska and I can’t wait til the fall to cruise again! Thanks.

John says:

 Hello Lyndsey Boston Jackson

I am so glad to see that you had such fun on the Carnival Sunshine and well done to the crew there for all their hard work. I wish I could help you with this but I am afraid, once I open that door, I will become the Heald Shopping Network. I am sorry about that and I hope you can maybe find one on eBay or somewhere. Thanks so much for the kind words and I hope I get to sail with you very soon. Best wishes.


Bill Cheatham asks:

 John, I am cruising on Carnival Freedom June 1, and have a question regarding the Cheers beverage program. I like to purchase drinks with friends I cruise with. I am hearing that if I purchase the Cheers beverage package, I either cannot purchase drinks for others at all, or that even though I purchase the drinks, they will count against my daily limit. I also like to buy a bottle of wine and share with tablemates. I enjoy sharing with others, and, aside from that, think the Cheers package would be a great value on my upcoming cruise. Can you give me some clarification?

John says:

 Hello Bill Cheatham

That’s correct, because we have no way of knowing who those drinks are for, the Cheers program is limited to 15 drinks per 24 hours plus unlimited non-alcoholic beverages. During this time, you cannot use your Sail & Sign card for any other beverage purchases. I hope that helps clarify the rules and should you have any other questions or need my help with anything, please do let me know. Have a great cruise. Best wishes.


Elena asks:

 Hello John: We first sailed with you on the Carnival Liberty in the Mediterranean many years ago and we really enjoyed you as our cruise director. We have been back to the Mediterranean since but would like to cruise Carnival again this summer. I don’t see any Carnival cruises in the Med this summer. Why? Thank you.

John says:

 Hello Elena

That’s right – because the airfare prices for North Americans is so high across to Europe, we were concerned that the airfare would impact our ability to attract folks to take these wonderful cruises. I am hopeful, however, that this situation will change in the future and we’ll return to Europe one day. Thanks for the kind words and I hope to see you soon. Best wishes.


Vince Tyers asks:

On the Carnival Breeze, there were so many people on electric mobility scooters that they were a menace to other passengers. I noticed that most of the passengers using them were obese and used them without care and attention of others. One hag drove into my legs, bruising me badly. If you are disabled, I understand, but Carnival allowing these on their boats without a proper rule of use is crazy. These people had no problem walking the buffet line I am sure.

John says:

Hello Vince Tyers

I think that this is a bit of an unfounded statement, however, I am sorry that you were injured. I know many guests who use these scooters and they do so with much care and attention to others around them. I do hope you are OK and not too badly hurt and hope you had a great time. Best wishes.


Christian Ward asks:

Just got off the Carnival Sunshine– what a wonderful ship. Hope they model more after this one. Cruise Director Jaime was awesome, wish CS staff had her personality. The only down fall on this cruise was that our room the air did not work so we were moved from the mid-ship room to a smaller room at the back of the ship and no help, like promise to help move, and the fact we paid for an upgrade and was downgraded. And we also had a bad tour and staff did not seem to

care. But over all a good cruise.

John Says:

Hello Christian Ward

Thanks so much for the kind words for Jaime and I will pass this along to her so she can continue to help her staff improve. I am sorry about the air conditioning concerns you had and I will again pass on your comments. I am glad to see that you had a great time, for the most part, and I do hope that we see you soon. Best wishes.


Charles Black asks:


I want to thank you and CD Jason Apps for making our cruise aboard the Carnival Inspiration April 28 a wonderful experience. The strawberries and 24kt gold solid plastic cruise ship on a stick was great. Emily had a super first cruise and having only been home a couple days, she is begging me to book another cruise soon. Jason is a wonderful CD. Thank you again.


John says:

Hello Charles Black

Jason is one of our new CDs and this is his time to show that he can do the job well so it’s great to see that you enjoyed him so much. I will make sure he sees this and I know he will be thrilled. I hope we see you both again very soon. Best wishes.


Mikey Brown asks:

CARNIVAL SUNSHINE – 2/23/14 sailing. I must say it was great to see the completed transformation from Carnival Destiny to Carnival Sunshine.  Truly amazing. Our time on board was brilliant.  All the new eateries and bars on board were great – especially like JiJi’s and Guy’s burgers.  The new SportSquare, ropes course, and water park are fantastic – in my opinion, the water park on Carnival Sunshine is the best in the fleet (my opinion) and the water slides are the fastest.  Serenity deck on Carnival Sunshine was great – the wate fall was amazing.  In fact there is not much that I don’t like on Carnival Sunshine.  I do have to say though that I miss the theater and the LIVE show bands.  I also have to say that, for the first time on any Carnival ship, I felt crowded as the additional cabins, I do believe put a strain on the public spaces.  Case in point – if you did not already have a seat in the Punchliner Comedy Club or were in line for at least 30-45 mins before, you would be hard pressed to find standing room only.  I had YTD dining, and if you were not in the MDR for YTD by 5:30ish, you may not find a seat until 7:30ish. Serenity deck was always PACKED with chair hogs and non-chair hogs which was a first to see Serenity DECKS PACKED.  I am not whining here, John. It’s just that with the additional cabins that were added (100+) that I counted, it added just enough people that it felt cramped whilst on the ship.  Sunshine is a brilliant ship and has some great venues.  But because of the cramped feeling I felt, the likelihood of my sailing on Sunshine is pretty slim.  But as I say to all, you need to cruise Sunshine at least once – she is a beaut.

 John says:

Hello Mikey Brown

As always, it is great to hear from you and I am thrilled that you had a great time. And, yes, you’re correct there is limited seating at the Punchliner and I know that the ship’s managers and the beards are looking at what can be done here to improve. You made some great points and they will, I assure you, be passed on. Thanks again, hope to see you soon. Best wishes.


Rhonda Melancon asks:

We leave in 29 days and I would LOVE to know why no one can help resolve the PROBLEM with our online check in.  I have been on the phone daily with someone for over a week now.  Still no answer.  How are we gonna get the security at the terminal without our boarding pass? I am a Platinum guest and have about 90 other guests traveling with us. We all are having this problem. Seems to be with our group but, again, Carnival technical support has not come up with an answer.  PLEASE HELP

John says:

Hello Rhonda Melancon

I am sorry for the frustration you have felt with this, so let’s try and get it sorted. Can you send the details and booking to My colleague, Mischelle, is standing by to assist you and I have made her aware that you will be writing. I am sure all will be well and I am here if you need anything. Best wishes.


John W. Redman asks:

It seems remarkable to me that your cruise line allows people to wear whatever they choose to dinner. Our first cruise experience was Carnival Miracle’s cruise to Hawaii and on what was laughingly called, “formal night,” I saw people wearing whatever they wanted. We had anytime dining and the tables are close together. On formal night, a man right by the table we were eating at came in wearing scruffy jeans and a T-shirt. What a shmendrik he was!! Carnival needs to enforce its laws, yes, laws, because I read the dress code and nobody cared. Trudy and I were looking forward to an elegant dinner but it was spoiled.

John says:

Hello John W.Redman

I am very sorry to see that you had such a bad experience with what happened at dinner. I guess I have never really understood how what others are wearing can affect my enjoyment of the food and the dining experience but this is not about me. It is very difficult for the dining staff to monitor and check what 2,200 people are wearing here on the Carnival Miracle but I will make sure that I pass this along to them so they are aware. I do hope that you enjoyed the cruise and, despite this problem, you had a great time and that we see you again soon. Best wishes.


Alison Sams asks:

Hello John, I am gonna make this short and sweet. My fiancé and I leave out of Charleston, SC, on May 11. This will be my ninth cruise!! It will be his first (I’m trying to convince him cruising is the way to go for our honeymoon). I can’t remember or find in the FAQ’s, so maybe you can

help. Does our credit card get hit separately for charges or all at once when we are done? We are just trying to decide between debit and credit. To be honest, I can’t remember my charges from the last cruise. Thanks for your help.

Alison Sams

John says:

Hello Alison Sams

This is a very good question and here is the answer in full for you. During embarkation, when your credit card is swiped, there is an initial hold of $100 (for cruises five days or less) or $200 (for cruises six days or more).  Then, throughout the voyage, incremental holds will be obtained as needed. You should know, this will reduce the amount of available credit on the credit card or restrict the availability of cash in the checking/debit account. Authorization hold releases to your account are entirely up to your issuing bank. All charges will be automatically billed at the end of the voyage. On the final morning of the cruise, a statement detailing all purchases made with your Sail & Sign card will be delivered to your stateroom. If you made cash deposit and there is an overpayment at the end of the cruise, you can cash-out at the onboard Sail & Sign Kiosk or with the Guest Services team – otherwise, you will receive the overpayment in the form of a refund check mailed directly to the address on file within seven days of your cruise.

Cash Deposit:
U.S. currency and Traveler’s Checks may be used to open your Sail & Sign account.  Once on board, please visit our Guest Services Desk who will gladly assist you in opening your account.  Throughout the cruise, as you approach the deposit limit, our Guest Services Desk will notify you that additional money must be deposited.

“Recommended” deposits per sailing duration:
2-4 day cruises: $100 USD deposit pp
5-8 day cruises: $200 USD deposit pp
9+ day cruises: $350 USD deposit pp

I do hope that this helps and, if you have any questions, you can contact me quickly through Facebook at I wish you both a brilliant cruise. Best wishes


Alice Wintour asks:

I am the chosen group leader of the Cruise Critic meet and greet which sets sail on the Carnival Liberty on 6/7. We have a roll call now of 50-plus experienced cruisers and have our meet and greet organised on June 8 at 2pm in the piano bar. This experienced cruise group cruised last year on the Norwegian Gem and Captain Roger Gustavsen spent an hour with us and so did the hotel manager, cruise director and the chef who treated us to a question and answer session and listened intently to our feedback. They obviously realised how influential this group of experienced cruisers were and how our reviews are read by many thousands of people who may be future customers. I hope then that the Carnival Liberty captain will show us the same treatment. I will be sending them personal invitations and would like the names, please, of the captain, cruise director, hotel manager and the chef of the Liberty. NCL also provided us with a variety of door prizes and snacks. Can Carnival do this please? As I said, we are all experienced cruises and some are on Carnival for the first time. Thanks.

Alice Wintour

John says:

Hello Alice Wintour

It sounds like you all are ready for what I am sure will be a great cruise and, for the first-time Carnival cruisers, it will be the first of many cruises with us. Now I will give you the names as you requested but did want to mention that their schedule may not permit them to attend as they have a ship to run and 3,000 other guests to look after. But, if they are able, I am sure they will stop by. Their names are Captain Giusa, Hotel Director Jose Pisa, Cruise Director Brittany Boyd and Chef Santosh Gawai. I will ask my colleagues to provide you with four raffle prizes, which I hope you enjoy, and I am sorry but we do not provide snacks. But I am sure you will all have a brilliant time together on this great ship.

Hope Bonner asks:

Hi John! Let me start off by saying I love reading your Facebook page! Now I know many do that already but being a 17 year old, I don’t see many others my age giving input on what you say! (Not that I mind!) I have been on four cruises (and loved all of the Carnival ones!) And I am going on my fifth one on June 1 (the Carnival Magic!)! To get to the real question at hand, I was wondering how did you get to where you are today? When I think of my dream job, I think of your job! Even though I am going to college to become an educator, I know cruising will always be in my life and would love to know how you got to this amazing job you currently have! I dream big but one day maybe I will see myself in shoes similar to yours!

John says:

Hello Hope Bonner

That is very kind of you, Hope, and you are very welcome to this page and to my Facebook page too. My journey started as a bar waiter and I was not very good. A set of circumstances moved me to become a social host or entertainment staff as they are called now. I had no acting, entertainment or microphone skills and, indeed, today we look for people with such a vibrant personality that they connect with our guests. May I suggest that you look at as that will give you a great idea of what life on our ships is all about? I wish you the very best of luck and please let me know if I can help further. Best wishes.


And that’s all for today.

So that was almost the week that was and, overall, I think our first Alaskan cruise was a huge success and for the very most part, the guests have told me they have had the very best of times. I made a few mistakes with the scheduling of some of the music and a couple of the comedy shows but the attendance at the main shows was much improved than when they were doing the 6:30pm show so I am happy with that.

The shore excursions went well and my knowledge of Alaska is improving but the assistance of the naturalist, Michelle, has been invaluable. I think we need to work on Lido Deck and provide some extra management there as with so much to see, so much of the time the Lido is very busy all of the time. But the crew is superb and I have no doubts that this ship can head to the number one spot as per the guests that complete the review cards and knock the Carnival Magic off the number one spot.

We did have to cancel our four-hour stop in Victoria today though as the ship could not make the speed required because of strong currents which were definitely against us. The captain gave the guests extra time in Ketchikan which was much appreciated though and, of course, we refunded the port charges. And while next cruise, we may have the same concerns, the rest of the cruises this Alaskan season will be, as we informed the guests of recently, and there are no other changes to Victoria and all our other calls will be as advertised.

To summarise, I think my first Alaskan cruise as cruise director went very well. I have lots of ways I can improve the scheduling and I am still learning of course. I already know that like cruising in the Mediterranean, Alaskan cruising is all about the destinations and what I have to do is make sure that we complement that fact with the best shows, events and music along with the traditional and very generous helping of Carnival fun.

Obviously the lady who is leaving the ship tomorrow thinking of me as sexist for enjoying the beauty of another guest will never wish to sail with me again and despite the fact that I really do not understand why she is so upset, it makes me feel sad to know she literally “can’t stand the sight of me”…………..those I am afraid, we her own words

Right, as I mentioned, I miss my dog but, obviously, I miss Kye, my daughter, more than words can ever express. Just before I flew to Vancouver to join the ship I sat with Kye and watched the movie Frozen on DVD, not once but three times. It is her “favourite thing ever” and I agree it’s a very well made Disney movie and indeed we are showing it on our Lido big screens this month. But, there is one thing about that movie……………..that sodding song.

Kye sings it in the mornings and in the evenings. She sings it in the bath and she sings it on the way to and way from school and every time I call her (which is every day), she sings it to me down the phone ………………and I have to sing it with her.

“Snow glows white on the mountain tonight,” …………………….here it comes

“Let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymoooooooooooooooooooooore.”

Yep, that song that Princess Elsa sings after bullying and freezing her sister, Anna, has taken over my life. At odd moments, as I sit here typing away in my underpants on the Blog or on Facebook, I suddenly start singing the song

“Let it goooooooo, let it goooo. Turn awaaay and sla-aam the-e dooooooooo-oor. I don’t care what they’re going to say. The cold never bothered me anyway.”

This is a song sung by an ice princess and by kids my daughter’s age, not some fat 49-year-old man with a flaccid arse and hemorrhoids……………God, I feel so ashamed. If you have no idea what this song is, please I beg you, do not ask Uncle Google because once you have heard it, there will be no going back and it will consume your life as it has done mine.

Let It Go………………oh FFS………………..Let it Go.

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.

20 Responses to CASSIE AND ELSA

  1. James Dunn says:

    John ,I do not know why I can not get a answer on why they shut down the sports bar on the Carnival Spirit for the last 9 days of our cruise. The boat refused to answer and you refuse to reply, but you continue to say that it’s your cruise and all amenities sill be open the whole cruise. I am so disappointed that Carnival will not answer my question. I just knew you would answer ,but I guess I was wrong.

  2. Fred Emery says:

    Hey John, do you wanna build a snowman? It doesn’t have to be a snowman.

  3. Ken Wilson says:

    Hi John, I hope you will reference this in your next blog because the subject arises so frequently.
    I must apologize (again) for my Cruise Critic brethren. I am both a Carnival Platinum Cruiser and a long time Cruise Critic member. It embarasses me to no end when I read those Meet and Greet ‘organizers’ who wield passive-aggressiveness like a sword. It always goes something like this: ‘We have 50 seasoned cruisers who write lots of reviews so we want to be treated like royalty, given a whole section of the ship for our meeting along with lots of free merchandise and lots of catered food. While you’re at it have the Captain, Chef and Cruise Director come and kiss our rings. All the other cruise line Captains give us full body massages so we expect no less from Carnival or it might just be reflected in our reviews’
    I know better than to read those requests that start with ‘I am the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet organizer’ because I know, without a doubt what is coming next. It just makes me cringe. So again, I apologize for this unbelievably crude tactic and assure you that during my next Cruise Critic Meet and Greet I would very happy if the Captain was on the Bridge, the Chef was creating a superb menu for dinner and the Cruise Director was otherwise engaged in created a fun filled agenda for the cruise.
    Your friend,
    Ken Wilson

  4. charlie kelson says:

    john i am one of “those people” on scooters that we need to use to get around the ship.vince tyers complained about us, but i have had many instances where people walk right in front of my scooter, or just stop and block the the walkways. same on the elevators, many times, we travel with friends and they try to stop people from diving into the elevator not giving us a chance to get is a 2 way street, the lucky people that can walk long distances should be aware of their surrounding, and i know that i try to avoid making contact with anyone, but sometimes it is impossible.

  5. Teresa Cooper says:

    Vince Tyers,

    Not every obese person is on a scooter because of their weight. And so what if they are? I used to be one of those obese people on a scooter. I am no longer obese but because of other health issues not related to obesity I will always need a scooter on a cruise. My own experience on a scooter while cruising is that a lot of people don’t pay attention or are just downright rude and step right in front of me as if I’m not even there.

    Alice Wintour,

    Stop trying to threaten Carnival with your CC status. No one cares. I am, like thousands of other Carnival passengers, also a CC member. It gives you no special perks and is meant for informational purposes only. We like our cruise prices low and not spent on perks for “special” groups.

    John W. Redman,

    Laws? Really? Well next time call the clothing police.

  6. Mike says:

    John W’s comment is funny to me. I’ve seen the dress code enforced before, but when an person warring flip flops, swim trunks and a sleeveless shirt attempted to join Formal night. Wait staff let him know that was in appropriate and had him leave the dinning room. I agree though that what people ware doesn’t spoil my trip and I really like the loose dress code on formal nights. Suits I don’t ware often and I find them very uncomfortable (HOT). Our last formal night I went with a long sleeve shirt with collar, and Dockers with dress shoes. I’m glad I was allowed to ware this as it made for a much more comfortable meal for me and I didn’t loose 12 ounces of fluid via sweat. Please don’t force suits or tuxes for formal night; one big reason like Carnival is for relaxed unstuffified environment it provides. Our last dinner table on the Sunshine was the best ever by the way. The people we met were a riot!
    I do agree with earlier that Sunshine ship is good with great staff, but feels crammed with people with long lines at shows with seats being unavailable even 25 min before comedy show start. I really hope you find a solution to this problem as the staff are some of the best we’ve ever had with Carnival. If you have a way to have the serenity, comedy and main shows not so hard to find a seat in; that would make it one of the best ships in the fleet to sail on; in my top 3.
    Last thing: I really hope Carnival goes back to Europe in 2016. I was on the Legend with you in Sept and that cruise was great (British Isles). We had a lot of rain and I still had a blast; how about that last stop in Paris. Now that was a perfect day weather and stop wise. Wow what a city! Let the beards know if Carnival goes to Europe in 2016 so will I. Keep up the great work John.

  7. John, Cruising Grandma and Stained Glass Man here. You should see a group of Marines sitting in there undershirts & underpants singing this at the top of their lungs. It was on facebook a couple of days ago.

  8. Helen says:

    Do you want to build a snowman, it doesn’t have to be a snowman!

  9. Ernest Ortenburg says:

    John, just come home from a excellent cruise on the Carnival Sunshine. We could see some of the ideas from the C. Breeze, passageways Lido, etc. Had a wonderful time with CD Jamie and Weezie. Joey & Michalle were the best as cabin stewards. When we boarded, I headed up to the cabin so I could put my insulin in the mini fridge, and found that someone had stolen the fridge. Had to go to GS and they had a little machine that would hold 3 pens, (I had 6 with me). Joey found a “Beer Bucket” that he filled with ice and I floated the other 3 in a zip lock bag, it worked, but IF I would have known, I would have taken a small ice cooler with us. Not happy about the fridge tho.
    Kenneth, Hardy & Jimmy were fantastic waitstaff in the Sunset dining room, we had early dining, sometimes they were able to talk to us as some tables were not always full, just as they used to be able to converse.
    The shows were OK, but louder than we would wish, sat most evenings outside of the Red Frog Pub in the Ocean Plaza. The ports were nice as we had never been to Aruba & Curacao, Grand Turk, yes.
    Enjoyed the cruise we booked our 19th for a year from next September on the Liberty. Also enjoy both your FB page as well as your blog.

  10. Catherine Thomas says:

    My 4 yr. old granddaughter sings that sone all the time. I look after her while her parents work and I have now seen that movie several times. I find myself singing it now sometimes until I catch myself.

  11. Martha Fields says:

    John, I enjoy your blogs so much. Your ability to handle crazy passengers is amazing. After the years you have been CD I hope you don’t give them another thought except to think H82CUGO. I love that Kye has you singing “Let It Go”. There is another popular song “Happy” that Pharrel (spelling?) that she might pick up so you can have two to keep in mind! When will the new CD schedule be posted? I hope you enjoy your Alaska cruises and know you miss Kye, Heidi and Breeze.

  12. John, not only was this a well written and heartfelt blog post, but it was incredibly moving. I don’t think most people understand the special bond between service dogs and their owners. It certainly never crossed my mind -but thanks to you it now forever will.

    As a travel writer, you have inspired me to think about this a little more, and even talk t i my editor about writing an article on it. You never know -crazier things have happened on a cruise to Mexico!

    From the wee hours of 6am aboard the Carnival Paradise,


  13. Beverly Jane Winford says:

    Congratulations John on the end of what sounds like a very successful 1st Alaska voyage as the CD on the Carnival Miracle. Alaska is very much a bucket list cruise for my sister Donna and I.

    I wanted to comment on the elegant evening dress code. We usually dress nicely for dinner on those nights, but we also frequently change back into casual attire for the remainder of the evening.

    I noticed on the Cunard FAQ website they advise guests that after 6pm if you are not dressed formally (Dinner Jacket, Tux, Evening or Cocktail Dress) you are “invited” to dine in the buffet and relax in a single lounge but should avoid other public areas.

    Shorts, denim, sandals, and sleeveless shirts(for men) are not considered appropriate attire in any public area after 6pm.

    I only bring this up because I’m wondering if some of the people who complain about how people are dressed on Elegant Evening are actually seeing them in other parts of the ship and assuming that they went to dinner that way. Perhaps these people have experienced the more formal atmosphere of Cunard.

  14. Marjorie ("Bonnie") Jones says:

    I have to tell you about Meagan, our Seeing Eye dog. No one is blind and she was what was called a ‘reject’ when we adopted her, now they are ‘adoptables’. She was in harness training when rejected as an emotional piddler- what my husband calls a foot pisser. We broke her of this.
    The only reward the Seeing Eye uses is very high praise. When praised, she just couldn’t hold it. The Seeing Eye will not take the time to correct any problems the dogs has.
    When rejected the dogs are offered back to the family who raised them. (I had student who raised the puppies, for now, about 18 months.) If they don’t want them they are then put up for adoption.
    I called them in November and we adopted Meagan in February at no cost for us (we made a nice donation). Now it is a 3 to 5 year wait and costs $500.She was completely trained, had all her shots and had been spayed. She thought she was a water dog and would go out to the breakers with me in the ocean, would leap off the diving board at our pool but at the Jersey Shore would not jump in the water until I told her she could. We had her for 12 years and that is very old for a Shepard. We were without a dog for a while but now have Daisy, also a Shepard.
    We got off the Fantasy Sept. 1 and adopted her the next day. She was 5 months old, only knew her name, was house broken and thought the best place to get water was the toilet! She had been depressed, hadn’t been eating and weighted only 40 lbs. Now she is 65 lbs. and at 1 year now old still thinks she’s a puppy with all sort of energy!
    Did you know male Seeing Rye dogs dogs do not lift their legs, they ate taught to squat, don’t chase cats or squirrels, and do not bark!
    And, never pet a service dog unless the owner says you may- they are working.
    Know you will enjoy and love your Germain Shepard as much as we love ours!

  15. George Meyer says:


    Loved sailing the Baltic with you and Cavin it was a great trip. Maybe we will sail with you again. You never know

  16. Kathy Preis says:

    Like Charles Black said in his post, my DH and I also enjoyed Jason Apps at the CD role on the Inspiration and give him huge kudos! We hope to sail again with him in the future. He was especially precious during his “Thriller” dance lesson and directly afterward gave a beautiful little speech about how we were all family on this earth. Brought a tear to my eyes, it was sweet. Thank you for passing this on to him, John.

  17. Richard Taylor says:

    Regards European cruises, does Carnival not think there would be enough interest in Europe for them? Air fares would be much cheaper for us, and there is also the options of trains.
    And maybe even using Dover?
    Then how about using different European ports, and cruising between them?

  18. Linda Lawson says:

    Hi John! My husband and I will join you on the Miracle July 29th. We will be with our church group. I want you to know how much I enjoy our blog’s. And as far as you looking at the beautiful young lady. Keep it up, when my husband stops looking I will know that he is dead. The is our 32nd cruise with Carnival. We met you once before on the Splendor on her inaugural cruise for travel agents out of San Francisco. I know you don’t remember us but we look forward to seeing you again. PS: This will also be our 23rd wedding anniversary!

  19. Doug Hite says:

    John, just wanted to say we were on the Miracle May 6 cruise with you. I have always read your blogs and enjoy them. It was great actually having you as our CD. You made our Alaskan Cruise the best ever. Also want to commend you and Carnival about the alternate port of Sitka, it was great and have no regrets about Skagway. We have sailed with Carnival 8 times and looking forward to many more. In 2008 we sailed on the Inspiration out of Tampa and the CD was Resa, she was great and her mother lived in a small town in South Carolina just a few miles from my family’s home. Is she still a CD and what ship ?

  20. Colleen says:

    I apologize if this is the wrong place to post this but I really wanted to give some huge compliments to Jase (Jason Apps) from our cruise (May 19-23) on Inspiration.

    To preface this, my family went on a cruise in 2007 and I honestly don’t remember the cruise director. I asked my kids and they said there wasn’t one.

    My husband and I went on the 4 night cruise on the Inspiration for my birthday. My husband put a note in guest services and I got what I assume is a standard wonderful birthday gift. However, Jase had not met me, but knew my name and when I asked to be one of the contestants on the “Love and Marriage” game he said “Oh, Colleen?”.

    He is a wonderful entertainer and truly funny! I feel like he treated us all like we were important to him. He made this cruise soooo much better. I hope he gets his own ship soon and I will book on his ship, just to see him!

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