Today we will start with the Q and A if that’s OK with you. ………..let’s crack on.


Carol Ingersoll asks:
Your decision to allow jeans in dining room is reason enough for me and thousands of customers like me to cruise elsewhere. You have let standards slip over the years inviting more and more people with no standards to cruise with Carnival.  If you want people with no class on your ships then keep going the way you are and see thousands of people like me disappear into the sunset.

John says:
Hello Carol Ingersoll

We do allow nice jeans in the dining room and I can assure you that we have not seen “thousands of customers” stop sailing with us. I also think to say people who wear jeans have “no class” is just plain wrong, as well. I would hope that what others are wearing at dinner would not affect your dining experience.  Instead I would hope you would focus on the quality of the food and the company and conversation you have at dinner, all of which, of course, is complemented by the wonderful service from our crew. And with that in mind, I do hope we see you again very soon and I remain here to help you in any way I can. Best wishes.


David asks:
Hello John we just booked another cruise in December 13, 2014 on Carnival Liberty who will be the cruise director on that cruise?

John says:
Hello David

Congratulations on booking this wonderful cruise. I apologise that as the CD schedule remains fluid and I will not have this for you until the end of July when I will post here on the blog. Have a brilliant time and please let me know if you have any questions. Best wishes.


Michael Gomez asks:
My brother Edmund Gomez is cruising on the Carnival Liberty June 20. He spent 14 years serving in the United States Coast Guard, so I want him to be treated to a visit to the bridge on the ship and dinner with the captain. My brother is a quiet man who has served his country so I hope you do the right thing by him and not let me down on this request. I am platinum just so you know and have two cruises booked this year, just saying!!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Michael Gomez

You must be so very proud of your brother and, while it will be the captain’s decision if he can invite him to the bridge, I will send your brother something to say welcome aboard and thanks for your superb service in the Coast Guard. I am afraid I cannot help with dinner with the captain but I will write to the captain and let him see your request. I hope your brother has a wonderful cruise and I hope you will let me know if you need anything. Best wishes to all.


Barbara Johnson asks:
John, I received a bottle of Prosecco wine from Zanet Zic, manager of guest services on the Carnival Miracle last April. I’m going on the Carnival Imagination June 15, I’ve lost my gift tag, can I take the bottle of wine to the dining room? I’ve saved it for a special event, and this is it! Seven of us are going on this voyage, and I’m (old cheapskate here) trying to avoid the corkage fee. Can you arrange for me to take this bottle to the dining room. I have no proof that it’s a gift from her, she’s wonderful. My booking #1J3NJ3, Cabin E69. Thanks, I love your blog. Barbara Johnson

John says:
Hello Barbara Johnson

I am so glad to see you are sailing and as this wine is a gift from the company we will waive the corkage fee and I will let them know. I hope you have a brilliant time and please do let me know if there is anything else I can do for you. Best wishes to you all.


Mike Powell asks:
John: Thanks so much for making our 20th anniversary so special!  We just got back from the 5/24 sailing on the Carnival Breeze and had a great time. Thanks for your note and treats in our cabin!  We will be sure to remember this anniversary for years to come. Everyone made us feel so special (with one exception: Enrique in the Cloud 9 Spa – his bad attitude toward my wife and other guests on two different days caused her not to want to return to the spa).  But I talked her into going back and one Cloud 9 Spa staff member (Lea, from The Netherlands) took a personal interest in my wife’s concerns and took time to exhibit extraordinary customer service which got our vacation back on track.  I definitely understand that anyone can have a bad day or make a mistake, but what they do about it can make all the difference in the world.  My wife is still talking about Lea! I didn’t get a chance to meet Lea or to thank her, so if you could somehow please let her know how much we both appreciated her taking a genuine personal interest in a guest’s concerns, I would be immensely grateful! By the way, it was our first time on the Breeze; we LOVED the ship’s layout and design!  We think it’s the best Carnival ship we’ve sailed on.  Hats off to you guys on this one, we’ll definitely be booking another sailing on the Carnival Breeze! Thanks so much for all you do!

Mike (and Sandy) Powell

John says:
Hello Mike and Sandy Powell

It is so very important that we get feedback like this and I thank you for writing to me about the spa staff member. I have sent this to the hotel director on the ship and, knowing him as I do, I have no doubt he will take a look at this situation. Please apologise to your good lady and I will make sure that Lea gets the thanks you asked her to receive. I am so glad you had fun and I do hope that we will see you again very soon.  Best wishes to you both.


Bob Nielsen asks:
John: Do you have any idea if the Carnival Splendor out of NY next week will televise the NHL Stanley Cup games? I called the cruise line and they just said, “Ask when I get on the ship”. That response really does me no good. My entire family are huge fans of the New York Rangers and the thought of missing the Stanley Cup because we are on a cruise is causing much concern. If I could at least be assured that some of the games will be broadcast on the ship would be very helpful. Any chance you can shed some light on this for us? Thank you.

John says:
Hello Bob Nielsen

I apologise for the late reply and if the games are shown on ABC, ESPN LATIN AMERICA, NBC, FOX or CBS then we will have them in the sports bar and in-cabin TVs. I hope that helps calm any concerns you may have and I wish you all the best of times.  Best wishes.


Janis Allison asks:
Hello John: My fiancé and I will be cruising September 27 out of Miami. This will be our honeymoon cruise! YAY! My second and his first cruise. Do you have any tips for things to do on the Carnival Glory? I would like to do something special. We already booked the steak restaurant on the first night but I thought there should be something else that we could do that would make this cruise a little more memorable. Thank you for any help you may be able to give us!

John says:
Hello Janis Allison

Congratulations and I thank you for spending this special time with us. Please send me a reminder via my page the day before you get on the ship and please include your cabin number. Have a brilliant time. Best wishes to you booth.


Nanisa Overman asks:
Mr. Heald: To deny the fact that you are obese is delusional and to fail to do something about it is weak willed of you. Your refusal and denial to accept the help of others to lose weight is pre-judgmental and selfish because it is in the long run or short run possibly that your family will be the ones who suffer when your weight kills you. Take the bag off you,r head Mr. Heald.

John says:
Hello Nanisa Overman

I want to thank you for thinking of me. I am not certain what prompted you to write this but I thank you for doing so. I have lost some weight and I am very much aware I have lots more to lose in the days ahead. Thank you again. Best wishes.


Lynn Rubio asks:
On the Cruise Critic boards it has been widely discussed about the lack of suite perks at Carnival in comparison to other cruise lines. Posters Tom and Cheryl, two of Cruise Critic’s most celebrated posters made a comparison list which you NEED TO LOOK AT!! You should be embarrassed at the lack of amenities and perks offered to those who pay extra $$ for a suite on your ships. Tom and Cheryl should be employed by Carnival because their words and advice decides what cruise line hundreds decide to spend their $$ on.

John says:
Hello Lynn Rubio

I must apologise for not posting the link because I honestly do not feel I should have to advertise specifics for other lines on my blog, I am sure you understand. I am not an expert in pricing by any means but what that list did not show was the price that each suite was costing. I may be wrong but I am sure there were substantial differences between us and the other lines mentioned. It is also very rare that our suites are not sold each cruise, each week on each ship as they continue to be great value and appreciated by many. I hope you get to stay in one soon. Best wishes to you and to Tom and Cheryl, too.


Linda Farrell asks:
John, I’ll be cruising on the Carnival Freedom from Jan 10-25… any chance will you be on that ship and, if not, can you tell me who the cruise director is? Hope he is as fun as you are!

John says:
Hello Linda Farrell

I am so sorry that I won’t be the cruise director and indeed we have not decided who will be just yet. I will post that information as soon as I can and, until then, please let me know if you have any questions and I wish you the very best of times. Best wishes.


And that’s all for today. It was a wonderful cruise and I was sad to see a brilliant group of guests leave today. The ship is charging up the review scores and in the top five, so I hope we can knock Carnival Magic off her top spot by the end of June. Today we start another cruise and, as always, let’s see who is going to be with us.

Total Guests                            2,417
United States                          2,229
Taiwan                                                47
Canada                                                29
French Canadian                     17
UK                                          12
Australia                                  9
Men with 3 nipples                 1
Guests under 18                      414
Diamond Guests                     3
Platinum Guests                      132

I am sure they will have the most wonderful time. It would be nice if every blog I write is full only of cheer and happiness and certainly most are and today’s blog, later down the page will most likely contain some mirth and a dollop of my usual juvenile humor.

But we start today with one of the most terrible, tragic and quite honestly disturbing things I have seen during my 27 years at sea and, indeed, I am troubled even writing about it. But this blog has always had the “my life on board” as its common denominator so let me tell you the story.

Two nights ago, the second elegant night, I did the finale of Ticket to Ride, sent the show off and thanked the audience. As I came out of the stage right door and walked through the lounge to start my wander down Promenade deck, I saw a lady in tears. Now these were not isolated single drops of water. No, this was a cascade of emotion falling from her eyes and the sobbing that accompanied them showed me that something seriously was wrong. And so I walked over and sat next to this lady and her husband and………her son. I asked what was wrong and, even with all my experience, I was not prepared for what I was told. I had seen this family at the shows and around the ship but had not had the opportunity to speak with them until now. Mum and Dad were in their mid-forties and traveling with their son. He was in a large wheelchair and had obvious physical disabilities which I am not going to describe here.

I calmed Mum down and, as she sobbed gently into her husband’s shoulder, Dad told me what happened. It is widely accepted that you should not laugh at amputations and life-threatening conditions. But said Dad, “We are used to the comments and lingering looks and have been used to that for the 15 years of Connor’s life.”  What they had never experienced before was when at the shows end a small group of five or more people came up and, without a word, started taking photos of Connor. Not with Connor…… of Connor. They just stepped in front of his wheelchair and took photos.

As I write this, I am shaking my head still in disbelief. Obviously Connor’s Dad was furious and told them to “go away” in very strong terms and thank goodness he held his temper because I am not sure if Connor were my flesh and blood that I would have been able to. As for Connor, he couldn’t say or do anything as his disabilities prevented him for understanding what these bastards were doing. Usually, when guests are upset, I have the words to calm them and help them but, in this case, I was lost. I apologised and sympathised but it felt hollow, there was nothing I could say that would take away the excruciating despair they were feeling.

I stayed and talked with them and, then for the remainder of the cruise, I checked on them over and over again and by the time. They will leave tomorrow (today) in Seattle and I wonder what their overall memory will be. I hope it will be of some wonderful family time and the beauty that is Alaska. But I fear it won’t be and, despite their praise of the Carnival Miracle crew and especially of Ken and the dining room staff and the care and attention they gave Connor, I have a feeling they will remember most the time when these people decided to take photos of their beloved son.

Why did they do that? Maybe they had never seen someone with Connor’s afflictions before. I asked the parents if they wanted me to pursue this, to inform security even though I was pretty sure there would have been nothing they could have done. But the parents did not want to, they just wanted to “forget and move on.” What troubles me now is………..can they? They will forever be in my thoughts and as they gave me permission to write about this and, knowing they are reading, I want to say to Shawn and Karla how sorry I am for what happened and how humbled I was to meet you and Connor and to see the incomparable amount of love you have for him.


Your friend,


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174 Responses to One Of The Most Heartless Things I Have Ever Encountered During My 27 Years At Sea

  1. Shawn Ware says:

    This is horrible. I guess at times we have all caught ourselves taking a second glance at someone like this. Usually it’s subconsciously but even then it has to be hurtful. I have healthy children and I’m very thankful for that. My heart goes out to this family and I hope they know that they are special people for being as tolerant as they apparently were. As you said, John, if this were my flesh and blood things may have been handled a little differently.

  2. Cathy says:

    There are absolutely no words. I cried as I read this…can’t believe the insensitivity. God bless these people and their son.

  3. Cathy says:

    There are just no words….I cannot believe the insensitivity of these people. God bless Connor and his parents.

  4. Judy Schroeder says:

    I am so very sad to read this. I don’t understand people’s lack of common since and compassion for their fellow man. I don’t know how the father kept his composure and I commend him for being the better person. I wish for them the ability to find the good in people and hope their memories of their trip is a good one.

  5. Mary Dagostino says:

    Dear John,
    How very kind you are! I think that they will remember how kind you and the staff are and how you made up for this terrible act towards their precious son. The good really does outweigh the bad most of the time. The staff, including you, are what make the cruises so amazing…then, throw in the beauty everywhere you look and you have pure bliss! You’re the best.
    Mary Dagostino

  6. sandra brooks says:

    John, I pray for these parents and their precious son. I do not understand why people are like this. I am so sorry these parents that God has chosen for a special precious child had to witness the behavior of a few, but please if you see them again assure them the majority of us are not like those people, and wish we could take the Mother’s tears away and replace that few minutes with a wonderful memory.

  7. Shelly C. says:

    I’m speechless.

    I would have sat there and cried, too.

  8. Susann Hutt says:

    Oh John, your blog has left me with tears in my eyes. I’m happy you were there to witness this and attempt to offer some consolation.

    And to Nanisa Overman…you sound like a very mean person and you forgot to add which beauty contest you’ve won.

  9. Melissa Bennett says:

    Oh that poor family. I just don’t understand how people can be so heartless and cruel. Thank you for taking the time to comfort them. I am sure that is something they will cherish about the cruise, knowing that someone saw their pain and wanted in someway to let them know you cared, Carnival cared. Hope karma kicks those individuals who took the pictures very hard in the back side.

  10. My heart goes out to this family . The have learned to deal with the caliousness of ignorant people all of the years of their son’s life. It truly disturbs me that people actually did this to them on their cruise. Please let them know that we are sending love and best wishes to them and if we had been there, we probably would have been kicked off of the ship for slugging the picture takers. We also would have taken and thrown their cameras overboard. I know that sounds horrible and we probably would not have hit them, but in the heat of the moment, who knows. This just makes me so angry.

  11. Angela Swiffen says:

    John – I cried when I read this. There really is no excuse for the pig ignorant manners of some people. Im so sorry for this family. I hope they realise that your average person is not like that. My heart goes out to them all. Thank you for caring and sharing John, your compassion is a credit to you.

  12. Sofia says:

    Holy Cow.. that is so so wrong on so many levels. I have been blessed with 2 healthy children but have friends with severly handicapped children. I couldn’t imagine having someone come up and take a picture. I have to hope they were very drunk and did not have their faculties about them. I am with you John, I don’t believe I could have held my temper at all. The cameras would have been smashed and maybe even a few faces.

  13. Karen Poulin-Sparnon says:

    John, I’m sure you handled the situation as best you could and as professional as I’m sure you always do. I too am a parent of 4 children including a special needs child, and I must admit I am simply horrified at the lack of respect and integrity the people who took pictures showed. I am also impressed with Shawn and Karla’s ability to not make a scene and their reserve to not lose their temper when faced with such lack of humanity.
    Taking pictures of someone else’s child (with or without a disability) is wrong an quite frankly more than a bit creepy. Special needs parents are given their special children because they possess incredible abilities to love, nurture, guide, protect, and care for their children all while fighting for those children every day. We spend years wrestling with the school system, fighting for the things parents of “typical” children take for granted. We fight for access to parks, restaurants, shops, public spaces, and strive to educate the public every step of the way. We are fierce advocates, and compassionate friends.
    My family recently went on our first cruise together and I must say the staff on the Freedom were wonderful with all my children, especially my special needs son. They were patient with him in a way most people today don’t seem to have the time for. We were worried our dining room staff would have difficulty understanding him as his speech is very hard to understand, but they never missed a beat. He ordered his own meal every night and it always came out perfectly. They even gave him high fives and shook his hand when he got up to dance a couple nights while the staff was performing to some of his favorite songs.
    Shawn and Karla, I’m sorry your experience was not perfectly flawless. I understand it’s no fault of the Carnival staff, but due to a small portion of uneducated, insensitive people who should really learn how to behave in public. I once again extend my praise to you not only for being wonderful caring parents who want their son to experience the beauty of Alaska and the fun that is cruising, but for handling a situation far better and with more grace and class than most of us special needs parents would ever bee able to do.
    John, continue to be helpful and supportive to those you meet. I’m sure your compassion will not soon be forgotten.

  14. Damaris N says:

    As I sit here at work reading this, I have tears in my eyes and am speechless also. I don’t know what to say. All I can say is I’m sorry for what those heartless things (not people) did. I hope that the parents are able to remember the good times that I’m sure they had aboard the ship. And you John, that was very well written. I always enjoy your posts and share them with my husband and daughter but this was very nice. You truly, truly care for your guests. Thank you for what you did for that family. 🙂

  15. Carol Hoefs says:

    John, What happened to Connor and his parents is so ignorant, inconsiderate, hateful, and so much more. Those types of people should not be considered humans, more like animals. They prey on people and have no concept of what being a human being is about.
    I know this is a little strong but I CANNOT deal with those types either. I have had to in the past and like I said they are not a human being.
    My heart goes out to this family.
    Carol Hoefs

  16. Karyl says:

    I finally understand your distress, and theirs. I cannot even imagine what their (the picture takers) agenda was. Unfortunately, these days, these pictures may show up in some social media environment in a most unpleasant way. I wish you had pursued it and asked for all of their memory cards to remove the pics they took. How incredibly inconsiderate. It borders on illegal and a form of assault. I sincerely hope this couple and their son do not have to deal with further distress, and really can put it behind them.

  17. Bonnie says:

    I worked in a classroom with teenage special needs children for a couple of years. The staff and student body were wonderful with our students who had a variety of “special needs”. We regularly took our small class out into the community for excursions and field trips. Generally, people paid no extra attention to us, but occasionally we would come across ignorant individuals who acted inappropriately. It’s hurtful, rude and totally unacceptable! I hope this family is able to remember the wonderful family time they had and will cruise again.

  18. Carolyn Bickel says:

    This brings tears to my eyes and sadness to my heart for this family. I can’t believe how low some people will stoop for their own pleasure. People that took the pictures, what if this would have been a member of your family? Would you want others treating your family like you did to them? Think about it. This is a human being that you are humiliating. Go look up the word respect and try putting it into your life. I hope this family had many more good memories of this trip and can think about those rather than this one incident. John, I think you talking to them and checking on them during the week, shows them that Carnival cares and you all have big hearts. Thanks John for being there for them.

  19. Michael Gomez,

    Would you PLEASE tell your brother THANK YOU for his many years of service.

    I’m also sure John will “DO THE RIGHT THING” and “NOT LET YOU DOWN”. A please and thank you may have been better then those two choices of words.

  20. Linda Krause says:

    What horrible, HORRIBLE people !! John…I personally think you SHOULD, if at all possible, pursue this matter. Those people should never, NEVER be allowed on a Carnival ship again!! Much less anywhere else ‘normal’ people are. they are without conscience, morals, or class. What a horrible bunch of people. I feel so sorry for this family, and wish to extend my own personal sympathies to them for having to endure these ‘animals’. God bless the whole family.

  21. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Actually these photo thugs could have been charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult, conspiracy and photographing or filming of a person without permission where there is an expectation of privacy.

    It is against the law in America. I wish the ship had known this….because having law enforcement ruining the debarkation of these photo thugs would have given Connor some justice.

    We have had a similar incident on a Carnival ship by Carnival employees years ago with DJ. We handled it and never reported them because a dear friend assured me that this just a youthful indescetion on the part of these 2 Carnival employees.

    Your photo thugs got away with this one….but one day it will catch up with them!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  22. Christopher Butler says:

    I was going to comment on Ms. (or Mrs.) Overman’s head up bum attitude…but those people. I have a feeling I would have spent the entire rest of the cruise in the brig for attempting to force feed those people their cameras, even if it wasn’t my child.

  23. Kathy Grieve says:

    Dear John,
    I don’t post much but I always read your blog and follow you on Facebook. I feel compelled to congratulate you on your weight loss. This isn’t a subject that I would normally bring up but after nasty, uncalled for posts I feel you should know most of us do understand how hard and slow weight loss can be. Keep up your hard work, we are rooting for you.

    Kathy G

  24. Tina says:

    That’s heartbreaking. My younger sister is Downs, and now an adult. I will never cease to be amazed how callous and cruel fellow humans can be. My hope is that they’ll read your blog and feel remorse, but probably won’t happen.

  25. Lynn Rubio,

    If you want all those other suite “perks” you can always go and pay more on those other cruise lines for their suites. I happy with the price I pay for Carnival and happy with their perks.

  26. Andrea Smith says:

    Sending up prayers for Conner and his parents. What a cruel and thoughtless society we live amongst. God will handle those who make fun of his special, precious, loved, beautiful creations.

  27. Paula J says:

    As a mother of a son with a disability, this brought tears to my eyes. My son, 22 years old, has only been on one cruise. He had a wonderful time, the staff quickly identified him as someone who would need special care and was wonderful with him. We did have an issue at embarkment with one carnival employee who was a little rude to him. We just shrugged it off and had a fabulous vacation. I had almost forgotten about that issue and our memories are of the good times we all had together as a family.

  28. Deborah says:

    I am in tears over your description of what happened to Shawn, Karla and Connor. As a nurse, I understand the differences in each of us as human beings. When we see someone who is “different” than we are, many times we don’t know how to react. Do we stare, do we smile, do we look away? There is never a “right” decision because we don’t know how the family is feeling. But there are obvious things we do not do….those are things that humiliate, embarrass, and degrade another human being. I don’t care whether the difference is blue hair, physical deformities or another difference. God does not make mistakes, we are exactly as we are made to be. God bless this family! I sure wish they could come on a cruise with all of us supporters some day and we’d show them a really good time!

  29. Gail Gerard says:

    Oh FFS people! A person with disabilities is just that..A PERSON! Not a circus freak to be gawked at, made fun and have pictures taken without their consent just because they don’t look or act the same as you do!

    I hope Connor’s family is reading heart goes out to you as a fellow parent with a special needs child. When people stare or make comments while I’m trying to deal with my son’s behavioral issues, it’s really hard not to snap at them. I have to really bite my tongue and not go all mama bear on them.

    These things that happen to us and to our kids aren’t always under our control. There are certainly days when I wish to Bob (or God or WHATEVER) that I could wave a magic wand over my son and make his Asperger’s (and all the sometimes but not always fun comorbid conditions like echolalia and apraxia that go with having Asperger’s) go away. But I can’t. So I suck it up and deal the best I can.

    People need to freaking learn to be more compassionate. What those people did was BEYOND rude.

  30. Kyla C says:

    The disrespect you wrote about toward Conner seriously made me cry. People these days have no heart. They should be ashamed of themselves….karma comes full circle…

  31. Amber says:

    It breaks my heart reading how rude those individuals were to another person. I see such a decline in respect and courtesy in people of all ages, not just our youth but every age. It’s almost as if people continue to search for self-gratification by any means possible. Those types people value degrading another to feel superior, will go to any extent to become the next YouTube viral sensation or get the most shares or likes to a photo. Unfortunately we haven’t seen the end to this decline.

    If I were in their shoes, I can only think of putting the individual on the spot by asking “Why do you greet me and my child so strangely when I greet you and your child with a smile?” But this I know is allowing the other to win by changing the focus.

    I hope Shawn, Karla, and Connor know that I think they are so very blessed to have Connor. It takes parents that are stronger and greater than you and I combined, John, to show the world how we should treat others that are different than we are. They are a model to every parent.

  32. lisa pietz says:

    I still can’t belive the balls people have throwing around that they are platinum! So what so am I big deal! It does not mean you get to push people around and tell them they have to let so and so on the bridge and dine with the Captain! SMH I’m sorry you have to listen to all of this every day I know you can’t even begin to post all that write in to you. Thank you for always raising the bar of politeness! Oh and the lady that yelled at you about being over weight. ..I just can’t comment! Lol wish I was there!

  33. Sherri says:

    People continue to amaze me! For people on the ship to do that is so very wrong. My mother has Parkinson’s and even when it was in the first stages, she didn’t want to go out to eat because she didn’t want to be stared at because of her shaking. This story infuriates me the more I think about it. I am happy Connor’s parents were able to hold their tempers – I don’t think I could have.

    Please pass on my thoughts, prayers and hugs to Connor and his family. I hope that they can get past the ignorance of some people.

  34. Joy Troutman says:

    However rude and insensitive and down right hurtful those guests were to Connor and his family, the Answer to your question is yes. They will be able to move on and have those memories of a beautiful family trip that you so want for them. Mainly because of what you and the other Carnival staff did to show care and concern. The bullies of this world can not define us. Shawn and Karla will forgive their tormentors. I have a feeling faith is a big part of this loving family and they will move past it. You, however, they will remember always.

  35. Sharon H says:

    That poor family. Taking pics of anyone to make fun of them is horribly wrong. It doesn’t matter if you are skinny, fat, disabled, bald, hairy, short, tall… All people should be treated with respect. Unfortunately, in this day and age of smartphones and social media, this happens every day to many, many people. This family just happened to know when it was happening to them.

    Personally, I cringe at websites that dehumanize people – like People of Walmart, etc. we’ve lost our sensitivity to folks over the years. I say be nicer to people and live and let live.

  36. John, I continue to be amazed at the insensitivity of my fellow human beings. Yes, the family will remember this incident but it will be added to a long list of things that have happened to them during the lifetime of their son. I applaud them for going on a cruise and not hiding at home. If their son received one glimmer of happiness, the whole trip was well worth their going. I am sure there were some kind people on the ship and I hope the parents enjoyed the cruise and their son being there with them. I wish you could have had security order all the cruel and thoughtless people taking pictures to a sensitivity class for 8 hours! You were kind, caring and compassionate with the family and that was exactly what they needed after the incident.

  37. Claire Smith says:

    I was so saddened to read your blog today 🙁 how careless , thoughtless and shameful of those people ! All I can say is they are definitely the exception to the rule and the very great majority of people have humanity and respect ! I hope that this experience will not stop these devoted parents from cruising with carnival again as it is a wonderful vacation choice and I apologise to Shawn, Karla and Connor on behalf of those ignorant people (I won’t dignify them by calling them human ! ) and hope to have the privilege of meeting them one day .

  38. rudechuck says:

    Dear Carol Ingersoll:

    There are plenty of stuffy cruise lines for you to cruise. Please let us have this one. As we sail by, feel free to look down your nose at us.

    Ok? Thanks.

  39. Bill Nash says:


    If you could find out who the tormentors were you could at least ban them from Carnival ships in the future. And I mean all the lines controled by Carnival. Wouldn’t help your new friends but might help someone else.


  40. Jack Conway says:

    This story truly touched me because of the complete lack of humanity these people showed by invading Connors private space. I pray that they don’t take this stupid insensitive event as their rememberance of their holiday.

    I travel often with friends that are wheel chair bound and know their limitations. There are always the stares but for the most part people are warm kind and generous. There is NO excuse for the obscene behavior and what I suggest is probably the best for this family.
    The need to stay on the high ground and forgive these stupid people. That way they wont carry this burden with them

    Thank you for sharing this. I wish I had been there

  41. Gertrud pegg says:

    Very sad … it is hard enough on parents to take care of “special” children, but to have to deal with such rude behavior is heartbreaking!

  42. Gertrud pegg says:

    Heartbreaking ….

  43. Kate Daley says:

    Reading Mike Powell’s report on Cloud 9 made me remember I was remiss in providing feedback from my 01-March cruise on the Breeze. I remember Enrique. I purchased the Cloud 9 VIP package and Enrique quite possibly was the worst example of a Carnival staff member I have even encountered in 24 (who’s counting?) cruises. He never remembered who I was although I was there at least once a day, he was distracted, inattentive and basically appeared disinterested in anything other than himself. On the other hand, and I am so sorry but due to the delay I don’t recall her name, the lady in reception was a delight. I wanted to purchase several products and she ran all around up and down and got me just what I needed.

    Kate Daley

  44. Holly says:

    John Heald I say this all of the time but you are so kind hearted. It’s such a crying shame that people behave like that. I hope they will remember that too. Xoxo

  45. Reenea Ehle says:


    This is horrible and is a horrible feeling as we have been through the same thing with our daughter who has dwarfism. People think it’s ok to just gauke and stare and photograph people of difference. It’s the cruelest thing anyone could do. I feel for the parents but also commend them. If They are able to move on and forget the ordeal they are very strong. I will pray for them. Thank you for everything you did for this loving family!

  46. Mary says:

    I am continuously amazed at the cruelty God’s creations show to others (including children & animals). I can’t imagine the pain these parents must feel and pray God will ease their sorrow. They are truly special people and lucky to have a caring, sensitive CD on the ship.

  47. Michael Begley says:


    Thank you for sharing this disturbing incident, not only to show us the dark side of “a day in the life”, but to reassure us with this family’s obvious love for their son, and especially for your elemental decency. I believe it is that – as much as your humor – which keeps me coming back, again and again, to read your blog. You represent so many caring Carnival staff, and you do an outstanding job of it. But you represent your parents so much better! Thank you.

  48. Michael Carter says:

    Three things stuck me in this blog John. First, the “lady” who has issues with jeans in the Dining Room. If she follows through with her threat never to cruise Carnival again she’ll be missed.

    Second, that person who had a comment about your weight. To be as perfect as that person obviously is (at least in her own mind) is now a goal of mine.

    Thirdly, that family with their son in a wheelchair. I’m totally speechless that people would take pictures of him. Sick! Times like this I wish I wasn’t a member of the human race.

    John, I realize you represent Carnival (and you do a great job) but I really wish you would just let go and berate the losers who obviously don’t have a clue how to act.

  49. Darlene Taylor says:

    How sad that Connor and his parents had their beautiful cruise spoiled by such ignorant people. I like to think that people are basically good, but then along comes a group like this that makes me wonder. And then there are people like Nanisa who thinks nothing of bashing someone who may have some pounds to lose. That is so rude. Those of us who read your updates know you have been losing weight. And, those of us who struggle with this daily, know how very difficult it is. We are not delusional or weak willed, we are human. It amazes me how well you deal with people. It must be a gift. I know I could not handle the comments that you deal with so graciously. Keep up the good work. There are a lot of us out here who appreciate all you do.

  50. Marie Wolff says:

    Dear John:
    I feel so sorry for those loving parents, and, the fact that humans can be so stupid and cruel to one less lucky. I am sure these lovely people will in time forget these stupid people, but, I am sure they will always remember your kindness towards them in their sad moment. I hope the people who did such a stupid thing are reading this, and, I hope this lovely family will cruise again.
    On another note, I hate it when someone needs something and is making their request by saying I am Platinum. There is no reason for that as you are equally generous and do all you can for everyone whether they have sailed once or 20 times. Keep up your wonderful work for Carnival.
    I am Platinum too!

  51. Carol Ensign says:

    Well John, seems like someone thinks they are your mother. If you are happy the weight you are what business is it of a passenger what you do about it. And to the person that doesn’t like jeans and thinks they are low class, that is what I live in. If they watch shows with any of the popular singers or groups, guess what? they wear jeans too. Does that make them low class? Just saying. Maybe if they are so hoity toity that it upsets them to eat in the dining room with jeans wearers they might want to eat in their cabin. Of course seeing what pants people are wearing involves going around the dining room and checking under the table. Sounds a little snoopy to me.

  52. Linda Spanky Warhaftig says:

    Don’t know what to do for Shawn, Karla & Connor? I do. This is going world wide John with your blog after it dear.
    This was written by John Heald the Senior Cruise Director with Carnival Cruise Line. I took it from his blog today. This is terribly disgusting and Mr. Heald didn’t know what to do to perhaps make things a little better for these heart broken parents. I DO! SHARE this all over Face Book. Let the scum who did this know the rest of us WILL stand up for Conner who is just 15 years old and unable to do so himself. This story should go coast to coast so Connor’s parents Shawn & Carla know ALL OF US support them! -Spanky SHARE THE HECK OUT OF THIS PEOPLE!!!

  53. Jim Hopkins says:

    John I cannot even believe what these photo happy people did to this family. Good Grief! As for “pretty sure nothing could be done” I have to agree that out of the blue your hands were tied. However, it is about time we stop putting up with inconsiderate people and find a way to send a message. If I may suggest, Carnival should give the CD the option of banning these people from future cruising. Setting a policy in place ahead of time would give you the option to do more than apologize for something you, the crew and the company could not prevent happening, but can prevent from ever happening again. I’m also wishing that the Captain could have made them all walk the plank, on the Starboard side with the Killer Whales! A good photo-op for Mr. Radu.

  54. Ralph says:

    Nanisa Overman,
    To deny the fact that you’re rude, inconsiderate and classless is delusional. To fail to do anything about it..shows how weak willed and small minded you are!

  55. Just when you think you have heard or seen it all, you have not. Very sad for the family and disguist for the people who committed this atrocity!

  56. I applaud the family of that young man. I would have lost it just like his mom did. In this day and age I cannot imagine what would possess anyone to cause that kind of pain. I hope they know that most of us that cruise with Carnival are NOT that kind of people. God Bless them!

  57. Kathleen says:

    There’s no words…..This just makes me cry……There are some sick people out there and I hope I never have to share…well, anywhere with them! I hope this family can get past it, although I’m not sure how they could. I send hugs and love to them for being as strong as they are and for providing their son with the opportunity to cruise, and hope this won’t keep them from doing it again if they enjoyed the rest of the cruise!

  58. jgeraci says:

    Please let Shawn & Karla know that I applaud them for making it possible for Connor to enjoy cruising with Carnival!
    Shame on those thoughtless people who felt that they had the right to do what they did. Wherever did compassion and love for others go?
    It’s a good thing I did not see this happening, or I’d probably be in BIG trouble for my big mouth!

  59. Eileene says:

    Shawn & Karla, what happened to you made me angry & very sad. I have offered a prayer for you & Conner, and prayed that whoever is responsible is made aware of their insensitivity & truly regrets it. I am very glad that John was your cruise director as I know how compassionate he is. And I hope you had a wonderful cruise despite that incident.

    John, all I can say is, God bless you for being you.

  60. David Doziet says:

    John, God bless you for your humility and compassion. Had I been there, I would have wanted to run those punks overboard. God bless that Connor’s family and may they remember the good times, even meeting a bloke like you.

    While it may not be customary for the beards to offer another cruise for them?

  61. I’m shocked John of the story that you told us about that family. People can be so cruel. I’m so sorry to here about their cruise ended in such a manner. The world has changed unfortunately for the worst even to have a small group of idiots taking photos of an unfortunate young man in a wheelchair. Anger is the only feeling I have at the moment.
    I’ve experienced such things on my cruises maybe not as bad. I’ve had people stare at me because of my limp but they never took photos of me. I even had a man laugh at my wife & I when were dancing once because I slipped and fell. Others assisted me but that man continued to laugh. I wonder why he laughed. I will never know.
    John, if possible, inform the parents of Conner that my prayers will be for them and for those that were taking the photos. They need to grow up. See you again my friend.


  62. Carolyn Kethcart says:

    Some people are just totally ignorant and I hope those people are reading this so you know just what a piece of crap you are. Until you have lived the life these parents are living, you will never understand your total stupidity that you bestowed on this struggling family. But remember, what goes around will come around and you will get yours. Karma has a way of finding a way. I can’t believe how horrible you people are. God Bless Connor and his family.

  63. Barbara Thompson says:

    Hello John. I sailed for the first time May 20th on the Miracle to Alaska, my bucket list trip. I have to say I was extremely nervous as I am obese and getting around is not easy for me. This is mainly from an injury keeping me from being active when I used to be very active and from having a job where I sit 10 to 12 + hours a day. I had a rented scooter in my room waiting but was not sure how I would get onto the ship. I have to say that from the time I arrived at the terminal Carnival and their employees made sure that there were no issues. Everyone put me at ease. I feel sorry for those people that feel it is their mission to tell you and I am sure others how they think you are or better yet how they perceive you and others. Karma is a bitch pardon my language so they better watch out. Next for the photographers SHAME ON THEM! It takes all kinds to make this world go round but my it would sure be a better place without some. I hope that family can find the peace and joy of the rest of their experience in Alaska. I will cruise again with Carnival. Your crew was amazing Pablo was our steward, Paul was our waiter at dinner and K who was always cleaning was so very kind to me and my daughter and its amazing they all remember our names! Alaska was unbelievable and it was made even more spectacular by our experience with Carnival. John. Keep up the great work and blow off rude hateful selfish STUPID people! Thank you. Barbara Thompson. Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

  64. Michael Kaplan says:

    Nanisa O., your comments posted in the last blog were not only disrespectful to a man who deserves more respect than most but were also down-right rude. Please place whatever bag you think is on Mr. Heald’s head and place it on your own so you can be ignored by all thus making the world a better place to live in.

  65. Debra Cartwright says:

    John, you are such a gallant man with strong values. I don’t even know you but I can get that from reading your blog. Thank you so much for being a kind human being. My heart goes out to this couple and their son. If that would have been me passing by this child, I would have given him the biggest smile I had. God bless you John!!

  66. Michael Hester says:

    John, how could these people be so heartless, I hope that they read what they have done and find somewhere in their hearts to find these people and beg for forgiveness though I don’t know how. You know the old saying what goes around comes around. I don’t know the people but I wished I could have been there and told them how ashamed of them I was. They should apoligize for being so cruel.

  67. Pam says:

    unfortunately it will always haunt them. I have a disabled daughter and on one cruise she was dancing to music at one of the areas. a group of kids came over. the ring master made everyone point at her and started to laugh. I was so hurt that I went over to her and. told her off. she ran to her mommy. this girl was around the age of 12. old enough to know. I then went at onto the hallway and cried. people can be so mean. my heart goes out to the parents of this child. just stay strong because unfortunately you will run into more mean people. my daughter is 26 and loves to be around people but I am always with her to protect her.

  68. Laura Bales says:

    I am so lost for words right now!!!! I just can’t believe how horrible people these days are!!!! I too have experienced something like this as my son has had a lifetime of medical problems from many surgeries to cancer at age 7 (now17) and the strange looks and staring that we would have from people was horrible…I understand people may be courious even shocked when they see someone especially a child with disabilities or illness…BUT PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THEY ARE HUMAN TOO AND HAVE FEELINGS and like my son and this couples son…NEVER ASKED TO BE BORN THIS WAY!!!! Instead of staring or worse what these animals did to Connor…smile at them and the parents and even a handshake or just a head nod means a lot!!!!! I hope that overtime this familes memories of their amazing Carnival cruise will overcome the horrible actions of others!!!!!

  69. Edie Bruce says:

    This is so unbelievably awful. The horrible people that did this should be prosecuted, somehow. Could you at least ban them from any other Carnival cruise for the rest of their lives. You are right that the incredible insensitivity of these people will probably be what the poor family remembers. Although I’m sure you helped them.

  70. Daniel West says:

    Wow! And all along John I thought that the people who felt they had a right to insult you because of your weight were the lowest of the low…sad to know that there are lower out there! My sympathies to the family.

  71. Shirley Anderson says:

    My heart is breaking for those parents what cold heartless people to do such a thing. John you did the right thing and offer comfort and understanding and I hope and pray the people who took the photos read your blog and see how much they hurt those wonderful parents.

  72. Stillmissingthesmokefreeparadise says:

    Lynn Rubio – tell me, if the Cruise Critics are so upset with Carnival’s suites, why the H-E-double hockey sticks do they cruise in Carnival suites. Get over yourselves already.

    John – I agree with you. These guest’s treatment of Connor was abhorent. No other way to describe it.

  73. Sandee Hill says:

    I feel for the parents. Why in the world strangers decided to take pictures is way beyond anything I could come up with. Iam glad you took a special interest in these wonderful parents.

  74. Debbie says:

    Oh my Gosh! I probably would have snatched their camera. That is unbelievable. I too don’t know what you could do, throw them overboard would be my advice…. I guess that’s a little harsh! If they publish the photos in any way, I am assuming they could be liable since they did not have permission. Were they from another country maybe and just have no clue as to common courtesy?? This is sad, it has to be hard enough to cruise or vacation with this young man and all that entails without having to endure rude, unfeeling people! I am incensed and I wasn’t even there!

  75. Cindy Jennings says:


    We are just home from the most relaxing cruise we have ever been in. Freedom on June 1st was a pleasant breath of fresh air! The crew was outstanding. Our dinner partners were so much fun-all frequent cruisers with careers, families, and long-term marriages. We had a lot in common. I used to be an event planner and I know that one of the hardest things to do is a seating chart – well, this time they hit a home run. Monday and Tuesday were sea days. On Wednesday, we reached St. Marrten. There at a great little pub that had free WiFi, I found out that my brother-in-law had passed away. He had been ill for several years and had recently taken a turn for the worst. We had not expected him to survive until we got home, but it was still difficult. We kept it at the back and tried to carry on. He was a fun-loving guy and would have wanted us to enjoy ourselves. The crew made it easier than I would have imagined. Thank you as well for your thoughtful gift! The strawberries were wonderful and the champagne will be enjoyed when we celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary in August. We can’t wait to sail with Carnival again, soon.

    Cindy Jennings

  76. Robert Townsend says:

    Having an autistic son I am well aware of what it is like to see people staring at your child and making comments to each other as though no one else can hear. Idiocy and complete disregard for peoples feelings are rampant and I cannot imagine how anyone could think that taking pictures of anyone, especially a handicapped child, for their enjoyment is ok. This sickens me. John Heald, I think you did the best anyone could have done, and I’m sure the parents appreciated everything you have done for them and hopefully they understand people of that breed are far and few between.

  77. Marlene Forbes says:

    I’m sitting here crying as I write this…People can be so heartless….no one can understand the pain of raising a child with a disability other than another parent of a disabled child. I took care of a beautiful angel with Rett Syndrome for 2 years, but I still did not know the utter and life and death…of her parents. She is now a wonderful 9 years old, and is thriving with her parents and brother and sisters love, but I know they still worry about her future. There may one day be a cure for this horrible thing, but until that time comes, they will deal with it 24/7 because this is the hand they were dealt…and that’s just what you do, keep plugging away. Prayers for them and connor…

  78. Chrystal says:

    Some people are so self centered and shallow– how absolutely rude and un called for. GOD puts beauty in different packages — I actually feel sorrow for the guests taking the pictures because they are not blessed enough to see that true beauty isnt the shell (body), true beauty is the soul that the shell carries. May God bless an soothe the hearts of Shawn, Karla, and Connor.

  79. Debbie Geis says:

    John, that is a horrible story. As a parent of a child with a disability I can tell you that I would have not been able to control myself had these sorry souls done this to my child. I am wondering if these individuals are from somewhere other than the US? I was just reading a gook written by a pother parent that has a child with the same disability as my son and she mentioned a few times that in other countries even will physicians tell parents of children with physical or mental disabilities to institutionalize them. That there is actually fear to this day that if the disability is genetic that some action may be taken against the family. And these are not third world countries. Not that this excuses this behavior I just think there are many uneducated, ignorant fools in the world that don’t even understand the hurt they caused this poor family. I give these parents credit for not physically attacking these passengers. God bless them.

  80. Klaudia & Don Weston says:

    Dear John,

    My husband and I and our 13-year old will be undertaking our FIRST cruise on the Carnival Triumph from Jul 5-10th. We are super excited since July 7th will be our 25th wedding anniversary. We will be in Progresso that day. What do you suggest I (we) should plan on board to celebrate? thanks for your wonderful blog….Ps, my dear friends Kim And Steve Nash love you too…..!

  81. Elaine Brovero says:

    John, I feel for that family. We were on the Dream a few years ago and boy of around 11 or 12 kept following my husband around. Now, my husband is some what disabled and uses a cane, but that hardly stands out in a crowd, but still has a hard time walking. This child following him made him most uncomfortable. We did our best to ignore him, but the brat got himself a camera, and started taking pictures of my husband, non stop. We asked the boy nicely to stop, we asked the boys mother to make him stop, we left the area, still he followed. Time to head to the MDR for dinner, and there he is, with his mother, still taking pictures. Well, this time my husband told him to stop quite rudely, and loudly. That sure got the mothers attention. When we were seated at our table, she came over to my husband and threatened to beat him up for “daring to talk” to her son in that manner. I stood up, told her to shut up, and asked for security to remove her. An embarrassing scene to be sure, but the kid (and his mother) did not bother us for the rest of the cruise. No doubt, that kid will grow up and be as disgustingly rude as the group you describe.

  82. Steven Johnson says:

    John, as I read this I felt so much anger that it shook me to the core. I commend you and Conner’s parents for your restraint. Had I witnessed this, I probably would have had the pleasure of enjoying the accommodations of your lovely brig. Those clowns should be banned for life!

  83. Carol says:

    John- This story is absolutely heartbreaking. I cannot imaging a single person, let alone a group of five or six together, so insensitive, rude and with any compassion or decency, to put this family through this ordeal. Karma will come about, but too bad that someone didn’t just bitch slap these low lifes when it was happening. Blessings to Connor and his family.

  84. Sharon Carter says:

    Hi John, first I want to say thank you for your honest, heartwarming, happy, sometimes sad, sometimes angry but always entertaining blog. I look forward to it daily. I just want to say that my husband and I cruise several times a year. Our honeymoon cruise was on the Freedom in June 2010. It was the best cruise we had ever been on ( and they are all pretty good) completely because of one staff member. His name was Kim. He was the karaoke DJ and he really knew how to entertain the crowd. I don’t know what ship he’s on now and would love to find out. He is a true asset to Carnival Cruise Lines and I would book just to be on the ship he’s working on. If you have any information, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks John.

  85. Cheri says:

    I am losing faith in humanity. I used to see the positive in almost everyone. Even when an individual would do something that would bother others, I could make excuses for their behavior because of something that may have happened previously in their lives. Now I am done making excuses for bad behavior & the plain ignorance of others It saddens me to say, that people have become self serving and self centered and aren’t aware of the feelings of others. I get tears in my eyes when I see suffering. I smile at all people I pass and say hello while looking them in the eye. Every person deserves the same respect and treatment whether you are the president of the United States or a homeless person on the street. Who said “True character is how you act when no one is looking”?

  86. Sonia Harper says:

    John, you sir are a class act. I think Carnival is very lucky to have a gentleman such as yourself employed with the company. God Bless you.

  87. michelle says:

    John hopefully Shawn and Karla will see these responses. If I had been in that crowd I would have found a way to stop those idiots from taking pictures period, and been there for whatever support they needed. I work daily with the developmentally disabled and they are the high point of my day, the pure joy and happiness they bring to the world should be a lesson to us all, to trust and to love unconditionally is what we should all strive for in our own lives. Tell them to forget the stupid people, remember the wonderful memories and be happy they were blessed with such an awesome child.

  88. Suzanne says:

    this was hard to read, my sympathies go out to the family. people these days are rude, ignorant and disrespectful. how could they have the heart to do those kinds of things to another human being. to Shawn, Karla and to Connor on behalf of the decent human beings im so sorry this happened to you. John you handled it well and there is nothing more you can say or do do these people they wont change unfortunately. hope you guys enjoyed the cruise regardless of that incident.

  89. How awful I cannot imagine what these morons were thinking. Unfortunately there are people like this but hopefully they will remember the kindness of yourself and others.

  90. Lesley says:

    I am appalled and angered by the actions of such heartless people to take photos of Connor. I have worked with children like Connor for a good deal of my nursing career. I can empathize with this family ..Connor included. I also have become close friends with a former patient of mine and his wonderful family. The struggles and heartbreak that persons (and their families) with profound disabilities are beyond what most folk can comprehend. Unfortunately we are powerless over other peoples actions in these situations. I pray that Shawn, Karla and Connor can find some resolve and forgive the senseless and selfish actions of those ignorant s-oh-bees. If you have contact with Connor and his family please let them know they are in my prayers. And if they need an “ear” please forward them my e mail address and I would be more than pleased to correspond with them.
    John, thank you for your blog and all you put up with. All the best and with Godspeed …

  91. dixie white says:

    Oh John! Please be advised – if I had seen this happen – I would now be in the brig and the camera people would be in the infirmary! What the heck is wrong with some people?

  92. Shelly whittle says:

    Hi John.
    Love reading your stories and post. I will be cruising from New Orleans this Saturday June 14 on the carnival elation. Who is our captain and can I meet him? This is my first time and I want to take a selfie with him. Thx.

    • Rick Williamson says:

      The best way is to go on the behind the fun tour. The tour ends up on the bridge and you do meet the Captain and can ask questions on him. And Carinval takes a group picture with him. Then they take one of you and him. Go to the tour deck asap when you get on the ship and sign up for the tour. 15 people per tour so it sales out fast.

  93. Dona Armstrong says:

    Oh John, your post just breaks my heart! I cannot understand or even fathom the despicable behavior of those taking the pictures. I am employed as an aide to adults who have intellectual disabilities, and many have varying degrees of physical limitations and challenges. When I started in my position, I thought I was helping my clients. However, over twelve years, I have discovered that these wonderful individuals have done more for me than I could ever possibly do for them! They have taught me an infectious love of life, an appreciation of humor, the joy of laughter, and a deep sense of gratitude for the blessings I have been given. The people who did this awful deed should spend some time with those who they apparently enjoy making fun of. And something that EVERYONE should remember, Karma (or as I prefer, God)has a funny way of coming around. ANYONE can find themselves confined to a wheelchair or a hospital bed for the rest of their lives due to an accident or illness. ANYONE can suddenly find themselves totally dependent on others to do everything for them. ANYONE can have a child or grandchild with challenges such as Connor and his family bravely face everyday. I hope, as you do, that Connor’s family can remember the wonderful time and the fantastic people they met on their cruise, and forget about the rude, inexcusable behavior of those who aren’t worthy of a second thought.

  94. Tammy guess says:

    Conner is very lucky to have the mom and dad that he does. Those people did not have any respect for others and were not taught proper behavior by loving parents such as you. Try and forget the bad behavior of others, you r a wonderful example of the way parents should love and care for their children and so many children do not get that.

  95. Clark Bearden says:

    I was saddened to read of the parents’ experience w/ their son. How unkind, un thoughtful, and insensitive an act; however, your actions and words were brilliant! Thank you for reminding us all that kind words, kind actions, and simply being present to others are balm for the soul in a world that can often be very cruel. Thank you John!

  96. carolyn coleman says:

    Dear John, it breaks my heart that this couple had to endure the cruelty of some people,I guess it’s true you can’t fix stupid…I hope you will pass on to this couple that this is not how the carnival family acts..that as a family we share their pain at the injustice done to them and their son…many prayers and well wishes for this special family..

  97. Steve Owen says:


    Thank God that we have great people like you to comfort the parents of Connor for the horrendous deeds of such callous, small people.

    After reading the comments above your post today from people complaining about everything from “jeans at dinner” to “comparing perks for suites”, it was indeed heart breaking to read your post today. Matters such as detailed in your blog today are so much more important than these petty comments and requests.

    Keep up the great efforts to make Carnival such an awesome cruise line.

  98. Linda Leach says:

    John, my heart is hurting for Connor and his parents. It is beyond my thinking as to why and how human beings could be this hardhearted. This is so upsetting that I feel sick to my stomach. I’m so glad that you were there with them. I don’t know what else to say.

  99. Regina Schwartz says:

    I’m completely shocked! I’m so angry right now!
    I probably would have been kicked off the ship if I had seen this…

  100. John, I am so deeply moved by this story. Having been blessed with 2 healthy beautiful girls who have grown into successful awesome young women, I cannot pretend to understand the depth of difficulty and hardship these dear people deal with daily, but to go on the greatest cruise line on the 7 seas and be treated like this is incomprehensible. Please as you stay in touch with these loving giving parents let them know that those horrid people are of limited use to the world and that they are raising a young man who will amount to great things because of the love and care they give him daily. On a side note, if you ever find the horrid people, feel free to throw them overboard, and not turn the ship back to retrieve them.

  101. Donna Gregory says:

    On behalf of humanity, I would like to apologize to Connor, Karla, and Shawn for the most despicable display of rudeness and insensitivity I’ve ever heard of. Human beings suck sometimes. The good news is that the majority of us are not like this.

    John, I, too, hope these folks are able to focus on the beauty they saw and the good friendship they made with you instead of the dregs of human behavior they witnessed.

  102. Lambie Lambknuckles says:

    What a sad world we live in, and what does it say when people lose courtesy??? My prayers and wishes are for this family and all the love and care they share! Mom is in a wheelchair, only for mobility and ability, as she is close to 90. I know what it takes caring for her, but I can’t even begin to compare that to caring and loving someone with other, differing abilities!! God Bless the family: Connor, Shawn and Karla!!! HUGS!!

  103. Cheryl Kent says:

    I had to read your post three times before I could put my thoughts together to comment. I’m don’t know what could be wrong with those people who took the pictures. Are they truly cruel or just ignorant and rude? Children are curious and have no filter. I’m sure if a child came upon Connor, he might have blurted out, “What’s wrong with him?” That might have even embarassed his parents, but I imagine Connor’s parents would be happy to use that as a teaching moment. They probably would appreciate adults asking about their son and be able to educate them as to his condition as well. Staring, gawking, and taking pictures without permission is unconscionable by people I suspect are adults. Obviously, I don’t know what Connor’s condition is, but it sounds like he has had disabilities all his life. Kudos to Connor’s parents for showing him the world (cruel as it can be sometimes), and not isolating him from life’s pleasures (such as a show on a cruise ship!). I’m sure like all parents, they just want their child to be happy and have the best life possible. Remember, but for the grace of God goes I.

  104. Karen Work says:

    I am so shocked reading this and quite upset. How dare another human being do this. Thank you for taking the time with this family- they will remember your kindness. I wish it could have been pursed and the photos requiring to be deleted- shame on them.

  105. Janice fain says:

    Will you be on the magic july 27th. My family will be on it. We take a family trip every year

    • Cathy H. says:

      Michael Gomez: If you are Platinum as you say you are, then why aren’t you aware of the rules? You’ve had ample time to learn them. No bridge tours and no dinners with the Captain. And perhaps you can be polite the next time you demand something. Now THAT would be the “right thing to do”

  106. Tonya says:

    Praying for this family and the people that did this. It is obvious that they didn’t realize what they were doing and how bad they hurt these people.

  107. Scott says:

    People can oft be such cruel idiots. What can anyone say. Heartbreaking.

    I am glad I was not there as I would have ended up in the brig. Actually strike that. I’d have gladly spent the night in the pokey to slap some respect into those morons.

    Makes me embarrassed to be a human.

  108. Teresa Cooper says:

    Wow. Just wow. 🙁

  109. Sue says:

    I feel so sad that people don’t have common courtesy when someone is different than they are. I feel for the parents to have their family time disrupted by these lowlifes. They took the high road in not pursing them they just don’t get it and they probably bully people at home. I don’t think I would be able to sit by while they were being so blatenly rude to their son. Life is difficult everyday for them they should be able to enjoy a vacation without this being done. God be with you and your family, John thank you for sharing such a sad story.

  110. Jeanne says:

    my heart goes out to you all…crying trying to read this. How can people be so heartless. Thank you Shawn and Karla for being real parents who truly understand what “unconditional love” is.
    I wish more people in this world did also.

  111. Cheryl Garcia says:

    Shawn and Karla,
    I am so sorry you and your son were disrespected by these insensitive morons. Unfortunately, many people today lack consideration of the feelings of others. I am disgusted and embarrassed by their behavior. May God bless you all.

  112. Tammy Ward says:

    John, that is so disturbing. It hurt to read your recount of what happened and thoroughly understand why you 1) felt the need to share and asked permission to do so by the family and 2) couldn’t put the words in print until sometime later. There was nothing that you could have said to the parents so please don’t feel bad about that – I’m sure the parents knew what you were feeling without the words. I sincerely hope that they will leave with happy memories of their cruise and that the passengers that felt the need to exploit this young man are never put in the same position as Shawn and Karla but that someday, they will realize their behavior was wrong.

  113. summer Cochran says:

    All I can say is God bless them for being strong loving parents. There are no words to express how sad I am that “people” would do something like that.

  114. Susan Budds says:

    To Shawn and Karla I am so sorry that the group of people had to ruin your evening on the cruise. I hope they did not ruin your whole cruise. To bad these people didn’t use the brains God gave them. I hope they are also reading this and maybe sometime realize what they did was so wrong….there is just no words to even say how wrong they were. Connor’s dad showed an amazing about of restraint! I have tears running down my face as I type this. I hope telling the story will keep people from doing this to anyone else. May God Bless your wonderful family.

    We know how good of a CD you are; but I know what a good hearted guy you are and how hard this must of hit you. They were lucky you were there for them! I am sure everything you said helped them greatly. They had the best CD there for them. Thank you for taking care of them and keeping an eye on them the rest of the cruise. I’m sure this will bother you for a long time, but just remember I am sure you went above and beyond your job and did all you could for this family. I’m getting really angry the more I write about this, so I will end this by saying God Bless you John.

  115. Chuck (the one with the hat) says:

    I am truly saddened to hear about what happened to Connor and his parents. That is immoral and you are correct calling them bastards. As my wife was reading your blog and me driving, she was filled with emotion of sadness and disgust as the tears started to flow from her eyes, she had a hard time finishing your blog.

    I wish that there was something that another passenger who might have witnessed this incident could have done to set this terrible situation not right but a little easier for this family to bear.

    This families hearts go out to Shawn, Karla and Connor for having to deal with this situation on what should have been a beautiful cruise to Alaska. We hope and pray that you have the fond memories of the scenery, food, the Carnival Miracle, Shows and the family time that you all shared together. God bless all of you!

    I know that nothing I say will change what happened, but please know that we may not understand your challenges, but we are all brother ans sisters in Christ. Shawn, Carla and Connor, you are loved and cared about.


  116. John says:

    Well John you have given us alot to think about in our daily lives. As a kid I was picked on because of the way I walked, but once they got to know me it stopped and others would back me up, as it were, to other bullies. What the family experienced was other disbelief “that person is real” fad. these are people that have not experienced Life as you and I know it. They have no concept of what it is to walk on by with a “hello” from the heart. They are a sad bunch of misfits of life that were raised by people that have no real values in life or about life. We see them all the time But since we were raised “Not to Judge” we know better and they don’t. Conner & his family will let this pass but will always be on their mind whenever they see someone with a camera pointing in his way. You did all you could do. And for future if this happens again ask the family if you could take a group picture ” when they are ready” so as to give the family one and one for the Computer beard so they can watch out for any postings that might appear on the internet of the child/person that was hurt by the incident. Be safe and keep up the great work.

  117. Ronald Moyer says:

    I knew this was going to be a story to make me so upset when you told us the seriousness ahead of time. I pray also that besides Shawn and Karla, I hope the “Bastards” are reading this also so they know the negative impact they had on such a good family.

  118. Julie Chandlen says:

    John, thank you for sharing. How distressing for the parents, and what were those people thinking?! To Shawn and Karla, I hope this isn’t something that happens to you often (or even, ever!). Those people are not worth wasting your energy on. Bunch of uneducated and insensitive morons! I hope that you do take away happy memories from your cruise and won’t be put off going again. Love from Jersey UK

  119. David Goldman says:

    John –
    As Mark Twain once said. “You cannot argue with an ignorant man.” I have learned you cannot control stupid either. Who knows why these people were so heartless as to take pictures of Connor? Maybe it is because their parents were also brother and sister. Maybe it is because their parents failed to teach them anything other than to be idiots. Maybe it is because they are just eat up with the dumbass. Regardless, we have a fungus among us and it is sorry people like these. I am sure Connor’s parents will get over this. However, the Polaroid Putzs will be vermin their entire life. I will pray for Connor and his parents. Thanks for all you do.

  120. tess says:

    Regarding jeans, maybe that snob is thinking about the Steakhouse? If I’m mistaken, they allow jeans on non -elegant nigthts. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

  121. tess says:

    The person that berated you for being overweight.. what a miserable, judgemental person! I’d rather be overweight and a kind, generous, funny person than a miserable, skinny, self righteous beatch 🙂

  122. Sandy Hanson says:

    I never cease to be amazed at the extremes of how rude and cruel some people can be. So sorry they had to experience this terrible event. God bless them.

  123. Eve ONeal says:

    John, this also sickens me, as someone who takes care of people with special needs for 30 some years in various positions from aide to now mgment, I would have had to say something to these thoughtless people. As employees we are not allowed to let people (strangers) take pictures as it is what is called a HIPPA violation, and exploits the person. I wish with all my heart I was on that cruise, sitting near the family, because, while I understand their need to protect Conner I would have followed these heartless sad examples of people making such noise that I would have gotten these pictures deleted. (And maybe myself thrown off the ship). My heart breaks as yours does for this family. As more and more families are giving their handicapped kids a normal like, morons of the world seem to get crueler. What my prayer is that they remember you took the time to listen, care and feel their anger, hurt, frustration and pain with them moved on, and enjoyed the rest of the cruise, and this blog educates people to know everybody deserves respect and dignity. even the freaks with scary piercing s everywhere, and their ears misshapen. And while those people amaze me as why would they do that, I would never assume its ok to walk up and take their picture. Have 3 cruises booked this year and can’t wait to next month to kick them off, hope at some point in my cruises I have the honor of meeting you. Loving Carnival – Eve ONeal

  124. Terrie Reuvers says:

    I am shocked by some people’s lack of compassion. Who takes pictures of someone else’s handicaps or someone’s handicap child? I wish security could do something for those wonderful parents.

    As for Lynn Rubio, I am on CC all the time and I have no idea who Tom & Cheryl are, much less let some unknown poster have any influence over whether I cruise Carnival or not! As a CC member I hate it when someone gets on this blog and makes some innane comment about something said on CC. People – get a life CC is not the gospel!

    Between Lynn and Nanisa Overman criticizing John’s weight I am not sure which one deserves the award for biggest crazy!

  125. Andy says:

    Although I read your blog regularly, I’m not sure I have ever commented – but after reading this post, I feel I must…

    When I was 28, I had a stroke. A stroke caused by a virus – something that could happen to anyone. I could tell you all about insensitive comments made or actions taken or lack thereof but I try to focus instead on the positive. I’m sure Shawn, Karla and Connor have had the same experiences. That does not deminish the impact of this incredibly cold, heartless, pathetic act. I would assume it was performed by young people and was alcohol fueled – there is no excuse.

    It took me several years before I felt strong enough to brave a cruise – but I have always been treated so incredibly well by almost all of Carnival’s staff. I have written to you and you have gone above and beyond in making me and my family feel special.

    I wish you could have jerked them up and given them a lecture on life and having class. Unfortunately, it probably would not of had much impact if any. By you writing this blog, and increasing awareness of how much it hurt someone – maybe, just maybe, it will prevent it from happening to some other family.

    Thanks for all you do John.

  126. Melodie says:

    This breaks my heart and like you I have no words of comfort. I have an Autistic son and I know the rude things people can say and do but this is just so unreal and cruel. Who would do such a thing? What have people become?? I am just heart sick for this couple that they had to go through this. Your family are in my thoughts and prayers and my prayer is that you never have to go through this again!! Many blessings to you and your son Connor!! <3

  127. steves542 says:

    Regarding Connor and his family, As the great philospher Forrest Gump once said “Stupid is as stupid does”

    Regarding Carol Ingersoll, See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya. I will proudly wear my blue jeans as I cruise into the sunset on a Carnival ship while you’re at home sending letters of complaints.

  128. John Lavelle says:

    What an incredible lack of humanity!

  129. Elaine Wiljinson says:

    What a sad story to read. God created us each in his vision and for this to happen is so sad. As we prepare for our 2nd Alaska cruise, I pray they are able to remember the wonder of Alaska and let the utter disrespect of people pass away. John keep up the hard work of weight loss, my hubby and I are right beside you! In fact we will be in the fitness center when we sail on the 8th of July.

  130. Yolanda says:

    John, this is the first time your blog leaves me in tears. What is wrong with people? How do they become so insensitive and what makes them think they are better than others. What kind of people raised them? For starters the person who scolded you about your weight. How dare she? What is so wrong in her life that she has to go around putting others down? Did her nasty comments bring her some sort of satisfaction? That really angered me. About Connor, what cruelty of these idiots. Grown adults disrespecting Connor and his family this way. I wish security had tracked them down and forced them to delete the photos taken of Connor. After all Connor is a minor and they had no right to photograph him without the permission of his parents. My heart goes out to Connor’s parents. I would not have handled it as well as they did. Thank you John for looking after the family and doing all you could for them.

  131. Hello John, My heart broke for the family featured in today’s blog. I sit here weeping for thm as I type this. I had a brother with disabilities and for many years I worked with folks with disabilities. I can honestly say I never met a client I didn’t love. I fully understand the hurt this family felt for their child. I wish I could hug them and offer some comfort.
    I have put up with the same behavior for many years. I am not disabled but I am not an attractive person. People take photos of me all the time. All the while they make rude remarks and laugh and snicker amongst themselves. It hurts to my heart and I struggle to hold on to my composure. The most recent one was on Carnival Dream last December. I was in the lido on my way to get lunch. I saw a woman brazenly grab her camera and take several pictures as I walked into the restaurant. She was giggling as if it were a big joke. She knew I saw her and I know she knew I was upset over it. I went on and got my lunch and I sat where she had to look directly at me if she were talking to her companion. I sat there smiling at her while I enjoyed my lunch. It was some comfort to see her squirm uncomfortably as she tried to avoid eye contact. She sat there with her body facing her companion and her head turned so far around she was almost looking backward.

  132. Bryan HEMMERLE says:

    How rude! John, these are the people whom you should give something to rather than someone who wines about game answer or other trivial nonsense. I would like to see Carnival give them another cruise to make up for the inconsiderate behavior of other guests. I was just blessed with the birth of my first grandchild and thank my lord everyday that she appears to be healthy in all ways. Although I’m certainly not wealthy, I would be happy to contribute to a fund to help send Connor and his family on another Carnival cruise if you could set it up. Even at $30 each, if only 100 of your readers contributed we could invite them back to see that most of us are caring and considerate families. Thank you, for your incredible work and dedication to trying to see we all enjoy our cruise vacations!

    • Linda krause says:

      This is a WONDERFUL idea !! If Carnival can’t do it…can you, John, set it up for donations from your readers such as I ?? We wouldn’t be able to send this wonderful family on another cruise to show them those idiots were a minority without you !! Can it be done? Please post something on FB to let us know. I, like Bryan Hemmerle, would be honored to get this family on another cruise to show them Carnival supporters are 99.99% decent caring people !!!

  133. Cynthia Ravenscraft says:

    My heart goes out to Shawn,Karla and Connor. I have a son with Tourette Syndrome and Aspergers and although his afflictions are not always evident as apparently Connor’s are it is so hard to get people to understand and respect others. All too often when Eric’s tics were throat clearing I had so many people at stores or other places we were visiting either give me dirty looks or flat out ask if he needed water or a throat lozenge. I will pray for this family and hope as you do John that they go home remembering the great times on the vacation and not these very insensitive, rude IDIOTS (and that is putting it mildly). God Speed to all.

  134. Rus Franklin says:

    John, thank you for sharing this, and many thanks to those loving parents for allowing you to do so. It takes special people to raise a child in those circumstances, and I praise God for now putting that couple into ours.

    Please continue too be disturbed and aghast at such behavior; it’s the only way to preserve your humanity and your sanity. Much love, Rus.

  135. carol milse says:

    John I just want to say that people like Karla and her husband Shawn are very special to have been chosen by God as the parents for Connor. Those people that chose to show they’re ignorance and unfeeling manner towards this wonderful family will be facing their own hell and karma for this behavior. Karla and her husband Shawn will have many crowns in heaven. As a mother my heart goes out to them.

  136. There really are no words. but it’s something along the lines of atrocious…

    God bless Shawn and Karla and Connor… and I pray God will help those people who committed this horrible act to become better people and have a better understanding of why what they did was so terrible.


  137. Ruth Dean says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to them. For many years I worked as a volunteer for The Billy Barty Foundation for Little People. The number one problem Little People face is with society treating them as sub-human. Billy Barty, Gid rest his excellent soul, in addition to being a fine actor and entertainer, was one of the most compassionate humanitarians we were blessed to have on this planet with us.
    Billy was a huge driving force with the creation of the Anericans with Disabilities act, and he spoke to and with hundreds of all kinds of disabled people every month until he passed away. His message was always the same– be proud of yourself, be your own advicate, be gentle but firm in insisting you be treated with respect.
    I do believe that things have come a long way just in my lifetime, now children are actively taught at school that racial discrimination, gender bias, lifestyle bias, and disability bias are wrong.
    There will always be cretins among us, but I have high hopes that my grandchildres’s generation will universally condemn anyone mocking disabled people.
    Thanks for being there for those parents, John, Billy would have handed you one of his finest cigars.
    Well done.

  138. Vicki Greenwood says:

    As a mother and human being, I am appalled at the behavior of these individuals. God bless Connor and his mom and dad. I, also, hope that they can remember the good times they had on the cruise! I am still weeping…

  139. Aida Fonseca says:

    My heart is aching terribly while reading this? My husband has muscular dystrophy,his legs are just bones and skin, no muscles, it has taken a lot of courage to wear shorts, especially during our 13 cruises. We are used by now to people looking at him as he is a strange bird. But for somebody to come and take a picture of his legs? I can tell you I would be in jail now because the show would be performed by me, I have no tolerance for stupidity. I will be screaming my lungs out in every language I know. Shame on these people and my love to this humble and special family.

  140. Angela J says:

    It is because of heartless people like this that my students were encouraged to read a book last summer about a disabled boy. They got to see from his point of view how he felt when people stared at him, or cringed when they looked at him. Thank goodness the students were able to understand that the child had feelings just like them. I wish more people could attend school with severely disabled kids, so they would be used to diversity.

  141. Ken says:

    My hat is off to the father. If I had been him, the picture takers would have learned of a unique (and painful) place to store their cameras.

  142. Mary says:


    I have some birth defects myself, although they are visible, they are not that severe. But I know how it feels to have people stare and worse yet, ask questions. I can only imagine, as a parent, how it would feel to have someone be this heartless and cruel to your child. It is heartbreaking. I hope, like you, that they will be able to put it behind them and remember only the good times on the vacation, but I am sure that will always remain in the back of their mind, at the very least. How sad. Those people should be ashamed!

  143. Marsha says:

    I cried as I read this … Thereare no words to describe some people. John you are wonderful for what you did. May God continue to bless them.

  144. James Eager says:

    It is with sadness that I read most of this blog. What those photographers did gives all photographers a bad name. It was wrong, it was disrespectful, and it served no purpose.

    On a what can you do about it lsit, you did abotu all you could do. Unfortunately, even if the ship was in US waters, the law stands that you can take any photo of anyone in a public place. The only thing they can not do is to sell the photo. To ban peole from future cruises would lose in court, and also, the staff would become the “photo police” and have to worry about politic correctness.

    As for the overweight comments, people forget that not everyone is the same. I found out years ago that I was BORN with extra fat cells as a defense against my own mother’s deseases. (And fat cells never go away). Add in the deseases I have suffered and I am lucky I am not twice my current overweight. So, no it is not just a matter of will power. So, the “fat lady” can go sing. As for accepting “help” to lose weight may actaully be DANGEROUS to your health. Discuss it with your physician(s) is the only advice worth anything (I talk with mine and due to a recent drug change lost 25-30 lbs).
    As for suite perks – so? One must compare everything – including the price of the suite and the price of the perks. A perk not used is a waste of money. Sometimes it is better to pay as you go, expecially when you don’t need things. I would never pay for a vacation with unlimited liquer, because it is bundled into the price – and I don’t drink!
    John, you do a good job promoting your brand, and you showed compasion for some upset people this week. Count this as a week in the plus ledger of your life, bacause you made a difference.

  145. Donna Lawrence says:

    Hi John,
    I would like to share my thoughts on being honored as a Carnival Diamond guest. When I first reached Diamond status I was on FD with Brad. We had a cocktail party and a picture of all diamond guests w/officers at Past Guest party. I thought that was going to be the norm and was surprised when next cruise was on BR with Butch – no captain invite and just stand – 3 diamond present. Next with Josh on LI where we had a cocktail party and a picture at PG party – 11 present. Next with Brad again on FD – cocktail party and picture at PG – 2 present. Next on GL with Matt. I was invited to TEA with the Captain and was highly insulted. Picture at PG – 5 present. Next on CQ with Pete. Cocktail party but only recognition of Diamond with most days. Next was CQ with Gary – Invited to TEA again and most cruises recognized. Gentleman had 440 days and was cruising for 5 weeks so obviously he will be the one to get the picture each week. Just got off FD with Skip. We had a cocktail party but the Captain did not come. I, therefore, do not have a picture with Captain for this cruise. Person with most days recognized. I asked Skip why no picture with the group of about 10 and he said CDs had received an email telling them not to bring all onstage. Surely Carnival can afford (if they don’t get them free)to pay to have all Diamond with officers and have picture taken.

    My feeling is that there should be a cocktail party and all Diamond recognized on stage and picture taken with Officers. This is the least you can do for loyalty of 45 cruises. Don’t you think we should be treated the same on all ships? What are you doing for your 3 Diamond guests this cruise?

    Can I have your thoughts on this?

    Thanks. Donn

  146. The Cruzin2some says:

    It always amazes me how clueless and heartless some people are. What possible reason could someone have to take a photo of a child in a wheelchair. To the parents and family members who have had to deal with this I would like to apologize to you for all cruising passengers who are for the most part a very cari8ng group of people. God be with you and Conner.
    The Cruzin2some
    James & Nancy

  147. Mike says:

    Just wondering is there any way they could add extra omelet stations outside where they do the deli and other food during the day this could help move the lines along in the morning I was on the repo cruise of the sunshine and the extra omelet stations made for a fast smooth line

    • Karen Howard says:

      Is this blog the appropriate place to ask a question about omelet stations? I think not.

  148. Loretta Brown says:

    Having a special needs child in my family, I feel for that family. To the persons who did this hurtful thing, there is a special place in HELL especially for you. Ignorant idiots (not even people).

  149. Christine Accornero says:

    There are no adequate words to describe the sympathy for this family’s experience and the embarrassment that should have been felt from this pathetic, bullying group for behaving I this manner. I know that this mean behavior will scar, but hopefully, these wonderful parents experienced friendliness and compassion in addition to John. We were on this last cruise and wish we could have met you.

  150. Karen Deitemeyer says:

    I also just posted this to your FB page:

    John, I am so very sorry for how Connor and his family were treated by the group of people who thought it would be “cool” to take pictures of him!! I volunteered for several years at “Give Kids The World” which is a resort in Kissimmee, FL that provides free week-long vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, if their “wish” is to go to Disney or any of the Central Florida theme park venues. There were children there with all types of disabilities and I always came away from my volunteer shift with the utmost admiration and respect for the children and their parents. My heart is hurting for Connor and his parents and hope that the comments from readers of your blogs and FB pages have helped them to feel better about the incident.

  151. Peggy Arenburg says:

    Hi John,

    My husband & I was also on the Miracle last week and saw this family you are talking about. Of course with working in the health care profession we never approached or stared at them or especially their precious son. How would those people who took the pics of him feel if that was their son??? I can not imagine what the hell is wrong with people these days. No respect for themselves or others, no integrity or honor! I hope they read your blog & see themselves for the “bastards” they are!

    I wanted to tell you what a joy it was to get to cruise with you again. Thank you for the goodies you sent to my cabin. That was really special! I have always wanted a “ship on a stick” & now I have one!

    Having you, the awesome Mr. Radu & the wonderful Ken in the MDR was the highlight of our trip! We have sailed with Ken before too & just love him! His singing every night was something to look forward to. It was my first time to meet the great Mr. Radu & get to attend his seminar. Thanks so much to all of you for making our cruise so special! Carnival has the BEST in you three!

  152. Richard Smith says:

    My wife and I are 60+ year old parents of a 26 year old son who was in a horrific auto accident a year ago, an no fault of his own. He barely survived the helicopter flight and the following three months in NICU. He has a traumatic brain injury, as well as loss of use of his right side of his body. We are going through extensive rehab, but the worse part was his future taken from him. He has a masters degree in microbiology and a degree in percussion performance. He was auditioning and applying for The Blue Man Group as well as with Carnival in his love for music and percussion. This will never be now. We plan on taking him on a Cruise in January. While from the outside he does not have Connors apparent injuries, he is destroyed on the inside. Hopefully we will not encounter the rudeness of the passengers Connor met with. I am not sure I would be able to hold back my years as a navy seal.

  153. Rafael Noble says:

    Dear John,
    The callousness of those individuals are but one side of the coin. On the other is you. We often hear stories of the cruelty that human beings inflict upon one another but there is hope and redemption when warm, compassionate people like yourself stand up. I’ll be taking my first cruise on my birthday, June 19, 2014, on the Imagination. I was a little apprehensive because I have some physical challenges and I am going alone. Reading this has eased my apprehension because if there are other Carnival crew like you on board I have nothing to worry about. Thanks John!

  154. Alfonso Biscardi says:

    Enjoyed the june 7 week aboard “Sunshine cruise”. But I noticed a difference between the staff’s of “Dream” out of Port Canaveral in January of this year. “Dream” had it all,
    from dining to stateroom attendents. Although the casino cashiers were outstanding. we’ll be back

  155. Evan says:

    When I read something upsetting like this, my first thought is despair at the insensitivity of some stupid people. As I ponder and reflect deeper, I realize that the people taking the photos are themselves shallow, self-absorbed, unsatisfied and mindless. Are they successful in life; I would bet no. Do others look to them as leaders to follow; no. Do they have the depth of soul to view the beauty of nature around them and bask in the glory of the wonderful world around them; I say no. I say that these people are drawn to things that they can not understand, and instead of loving and helping others, look for things that on the surface make them feel better about themselves, because they themselves are unhappy and unfulfilled in their own lives. Perhaps it is the people taking the photos we need to feel sorry for. I thank G-d for allowing me the gift of being born healthy and somewhat intelligent. This gift I do not take lightly. This gift implores me to have empathy for others not as fortunate as I am, and it is my duty to help anyone who is in need, that I am able to help. People who have the same gifts that I have and act in an inappropriate manner to lesser fortunate people are truly “lost”, and we should feel sorry for them.

  156. Jackie & Bob V. 6-17-14 Miracle says:

    Connor and you are in our thoughts; We’ll be with you on the June 17th Miracle cruise.
    I hope you and your family are well; Happy Fathers Day.
    My wife and 2 boys and I will be with you and have cruised 2 times before with you.
    You are a great and compassionate CD.
    No one can compare to; You are the best.
    See you in 2 days.
    Jackie & Bob Von Hoene

  157. Shawn Harrison says:

    I cannot believe the rudeness of some people both to talk about someone’s weight and most certainly to take pics of someone different. Stuff like this makes me so mad! I feel for those parents and want to express my support for them. As for for the weight comment, as someone who is overweight as well we know we are overweight and don’t need some rude Bitch telling us! I applaud your civil response, I don’t have to be as civil. Live long and Prosper John!!

  158. Roy Michael Paravagna says:

    First of all, John, thank you for demonstrating the compassion that all of us wish we would have been able to provide to the family noted above. As someone who has devoted my professional life to human dignity and the disability experience, I wish to remind the picture takers that someday they too may be persons with disabilities. Our Country has a sad history, once upon a time there were “ugly laws” upon the books. These statutes prohibited a person with a disability to be in public after dark as it was felt their appearance would be disturbing to women and children. Most of us have progressed far beyond that mentality. People with disabilities have the same wants and dreams as any one else. And by the time we are 65 years old, approximately 50% of us will be persons with disabilities. I hope society continues to expand its compassion through building accessible environment and open attitudes. My best to the family. There are people out there who really care.

  159. dan mccracken says:

    Gutless pukes with cameras:
    I do not know how this father was able to stop himself from trampling these alleged humans who are examples of what makes up our society today.These camera freaks should have been kicked off the ship at the next port.

  160. Karen Howard says:

    As the parent of three adopted special needs teenagers, I immediately broke out into tears when I read this. God bless you for putting pen to paper to bring issues like this to the public. We know what horrible abuse our children have endured, and the pain it brings. My prayers go out to this family.

  161. Milton finkelstein says:

    John my wife and I are sailing on the liberty September 13th. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary a few weeks early it is the first week of October. I know we will have a great time. Don’t know if you can do anything either way I know it will be wonderful. I know you get a lot of I will not be disappointed if you can’t thank you either way. Love reading your reports

  162. The people who took pictures of a handicapped child are what worries me for the future of our world. I’m 41 now but even at age 12 I knew to ask if I wanted a photo of strangers. On a school field trip there was a couple with absolutely adorable twin baby girls. I prob could have snapped a shot with them non the wiser, but that wouldn’t be right. I asked and they were delighted to let me snap a couple of photo’s. Most parents are flattered when someone respectfully find their kids adorable. With someone disabled it is a knee jerk reaction to look twice, but you know I’ve never hurt or offended anyone that way cause the second eye contact is made I smile and nod to them the same as I would any stranger who caught my attention no matter the reason. A smile and a nod such a simple thing to not hurt feelings.

  163. Jeffery Green says:

    I was on that cruise and my family remembers seeing this family. My wife teaches children with disabilities and I also teach. It infuriates me that people are so inconsiderate. As a teacher all I see are people there is no handicapped just challenge/ I hope this family heals from this and that those who insensitive remember that God has a wicked sense of humor.

  164. Frances says:

    We are so excited to have the opportunity to sail agaiin.’ Our last trip was in 2005. Our trip is August 2nd for 5 days leaving from Galveston. I looked at other lines but they do not cater to families with a pre-teen and a teenager. We do wrry. In 2005 we traveled with Id’s and birth Certificats. Has this changed?

  165. Terry Southworth says:

    Good Morning John, My three sisters, my husband and I are booked on the Carnival Pride sailing out of Baltimore, Md on Sept 14-21st. My sisters and I were booked on this exact cruise in 2012 that was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. This time my husband is going because it is our 30th wedding anniversay gift to ourselves. My sister, Frances Beazley, also had her husband booked to go but sadly he passed away on April 25th. We all paid for the vacation protection plan as we usually do. When my sister called to notify Carnival of his passing they charged her a $250 cancellation fee. The protection plan reimbursed her for that $250. However, she is having a terrible time trying to get the cost of his cruise reimbursed. The protection plan states that it will waive the non-refundable cancellation fee (which it did) and “pay you the value of the unused portion to your prepaid cruise vacation in the event that you or your traveling companion need to cancel your cruise vacation.” My sister has gone through enough grief with her husband passing so unexpectedly and now she has to deal with this. Since she has gotten no satisfaction from Carnival she has notified the Insurance Commission. My sisters and I are very close and our first cruise together was in 2010 on the Carnival Imagination out of Miami. Frances was the only one that had cruised before and it was not on Carnival. It took some convincing to get her to go Carnival and she had a wonderful time as did the rest of us. She has told me that with this experience she will never sail Carnival again. I would certainly think that death would be a covered reason for reimbursement. John, any help you could give on this would be much appreciated. Thank you, Terry

  166. elaine shorkey says:

    taking Carnival Legend Aug 30 to Sydney – want to know what ship does on crossing the equator

  167. David Jones says:

    Sometimes there just aren’t any words that could make a situation like this one better. You really showed a lot of compassion and heart to be there for this family. You did everything possible to ease the suffering caused by the ignorant and poorly raised people who took those pictures. You are living proof that angels come in all shapes and sizes and some walk with us here on earth. You were a blessing to those people. Even though this was a terrible and sad situation, the way you handled it warmed my heart. Thanks for being there for them and thanks for sharing this story.

  168. mary says:

    I’m the mother of a 27 y/o mentally and physically disabled daughter. Let me start by saying “bravo” for you John, to stop and ask this family what was wrong and then being a voice for them, to remind us, your readers, of the hurt that we may be causing without our knowledge. It’s such a shame this family had to experience this, and I’ve got my share of stories too, but I hope and really think they will remember how you dealt with it, how kind you were to reach out to them and now how you are spreading their story.

  169. paige says:

    I cried when reading the last of your blog. Boggles my mind how people can be so insensitive, rude, and down right sodding(got that from you) jerks! God bless Connor, his parents and you for walking out when you did and being there for them. Karma will get those jerks! Big hugs to Connor and his mom&Dad!! They say god only gives special kids to special people and with out meeting this family I know they are special!!

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