June 27, 2014 -

John Heald

This past week, a gentleman posted on Facebook that, because the captain had decided that the winds were too strong for Carnival Liberty to safely dock in Roatan, it was……….drum roll please …………….”the cruise from hell.” Now while I have sympathy for anyone who misses a port, is it really the “cruise from hell?” ……..The worst vacation of their lives? Has this family never had massive arguments because no one remembered to pack the toothbrushes? Have their children not gotten car sick and vomited all over the rental car? Have the kids never fallen over while riding their bikes and spent two weeks screaming as Mum picks gravel out of their knees? Did they all remember their passports? Are none of the children so embarrassed by their parents’ summer outfits as their Dad wears the briefest of Speedos on the beach? Is the air-conditioning working perfectly in every car they have rented and every hotel bedroom they have stayed in? Did nobody get lazy about the sun cream because it was a bit cloudy and then blister like purple bubble wrap? Has Dad never drunk a few too many and spent rather too long talking to the lady on Lido in the G string and with breasts the size of beach balls? Has a camera has been lost? Or an eyephone dropped in a hot tub or maybe Mum and Dad want some rumpy pumpy in the tiny hotel room just for once………you little bastards ………….. it isn’t too much to ask. Can’t you just go and play on your own for a bit like other children? 

I heard the “cruise from hell” sentence last cruise from two guests who wanted monetary compensation for the fog horn disturbing them. Yep, it was, for them, “the cruise from hell.” But no, it wasn’t. The toilets flushed, the air conditioning worked, the service was in full flow, the fun was never ending, the food was fantastic and the Alaskan scenery breathtaking. It is when you speak to people like this that you realise that, just as having your nipple pierced isn’t for everyone……occasionally, you are going to meet someone who doesn’t have a great time no matter what you do. But the worst vacation ever? The cruise from hell? Nope. Sorry. That’s simply bollocks.

Time for today’s Q and A. Let’s crack on.

Brenda Carothers asks:
Just thought you should know that on the Cruise Critic boards your “fans” are “brilliantly” referred to as KANS. ROFLMAO!

John says:
Hello Brenda Carothers

It’s when they stop talking about me on Cruise Critic that I shall start to worry. Best wishes.


Rich Quinely asks:
Good Morning, John: I have a question that I am hoping you can shed some light on. I will be sailing on the Splendor for the second time on Aug 4. I would like to bring along my grandmother who is 85 and is suffering from mild Alzheimer’s disease. She has never been on a cruise but always wanted to. I’m a bit concerned about her getting lost though and I was wondering if you have ever dealt with a situation like this? Does Carnival have any options available to assist with people with memory problems? The other thing I am concerned about is waiting in the long lines at the pier. Is there another place where elderly people who can’t stand long can check in?

John says:
Hello Rich Quinely

Thank you for writing and I am glad that you have asked me. I can tell you that we have various protocols in place should our staff see a guest they may think needs help or is in distress. Obviously, you know your grandmother’s limitations but, rest assured, we are here will do all we can for her to make her comfortable and happy. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


Stephen Crews asks:
John: My wife and I are taking our third cruise in October on Carnival Elation when I return from Afghanistan and are curious if she is going to be receiving any of the Fun Ship 2.0 additions while she is in dry dock in September?  Thank you.

Stephen Crews

John says:
Hello Stephen Crews

Thank you for your service and please stay safe and well. I am not aware of any upgrades to Carnival Elation but, when and if I do, will surely post them here for you. Thanks, Stephen, and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


Mark Eckstein asks:
If Carnival is concerned so much, how come they don’t respond to bad experiences? Last cruise, our third, we found dirty clothes in our room, and when we left after our cruise we discovered that one of our new suitcases had a large rip in the bottom that was not there earlier. We filled out a comment card that was sent to our email and never heard nothing back from Carnival.  We are thinking about taking another cruise this fall, but now not sure with who yet.

John says:
Hello Mark Eckstein

We truly do care and I would ask that you send me your report, sailing date and concerns along with your booking number to cclsupport@carnival.com so that myself and my colleagues can help you. I hope we will see you again and I apologise for the concerns you have had. Please write soon. Best wishes.


Bryce Kautz asks:
I had heard that Carnival employees will pamper you but that was not the case on the Carnival Pride. We are just off the Pride and asked at dinner to our waiter, Sunny, for plates of fries with melted cheese and chili. He told us “NO” and walked away. This upset us so we complained and wrote a letter to the captain and it was not until three days before the end of the cruise that we got what we wanted. We also had to beg for ice in the cabins. PUT ICE BUCKETS IN THERE like basic motels do. This was not the service we expected.

John says:
Hello Bryce Kautz

I do hope that, apart from these two concerns, you had a wonderful time. Let me mention the ice first. We used to put ice in the cabins but so much went unused, that it became an immense waste of water. Now we just put ice in the cabins upon request and all you have to do is ask and the stateroom steward will comply without question. We also try and help with special food orders although they are not always possible. You can imagine if we took special orders from 2,000 guests, the galley simply could not cope. I am glad that we could help you eventually and I am sure you appreciated that they did. I do also hope you had fun and that we see you soon.  Best wishes.


Sally N Inglis asks:
John: I started reading your blog mainly because of your last name. That is my birth name.  I was born Deanna Dale Heald, in Augusta, Maine. I was since adopted, grew up in New Orleans, married in Edinburgh, Scotland; and now live in San Diego. In doing my genealogy, I don’t get back to England until 1568 with a Thomas Heald (if this info is accurate.)  For sure, I’ve proven direct lineage to Joseph Heald in 1806 in Maine.  Six generations proven, seven to go, perhaps 8.  Anyway, love your blog.  Going on Carnival Inspiration in September for the Styx concert.  Looking forward to it.

John says:
Hello Sally Inglis

It is an honour to meet a true Heald and I am sure that, as we follow our lines back, we may have a connection somewhere and from some period of past times. Please send me your cabin number on my facebook.com/johnheald page the day before you sail and enjoy the band and the ship. Best wishes from your long lost cousin.


Gary Warner asks:
John: Disconnections over on your favorite Cruise Critic site posted your email address as _____ I have sent three emails to you about our meet and greet but you have not responded to date which is very disappointing. I am now trying this forum which I hope I have better success with. Our Roll Call for Carnival Magic’s cruise staring from Galveston on July 20, 2015, now has 50 guaranteed people coming. We need a place to meet on the 21st which is the sea day and the time should be 2pm. Our preferred location is the piano bar!!! Can you also have a bar server there for us to buy drinks? I know that Carnival supplies door prizes, so will this be for each person attending because it may go to 60, so please have that as the count of prizes to be supplied. We have three platinum cruises plus me in the roll call!! Thank you!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Gary Warner

I should point out that Disconnections should, when posting my email address, note that most emails not recognised through Carnival’s filter system go to our spam box and that I do not have time to reply to those emails, as well as write blogs and spend the time that I do on Facebook. Maybe you would pass that on. But I am glad to see that you have such a good group of new friends ready to have fun. I will make sure a place is reserved and listed in the Fun Times so you all know where to go. I will also ask for bar service using your own individual Sail & Sign cards and I will provide two trophies and two bottles of champagne as prizes. I wish you all a great time and please do contact me here or on Facebook if you need anything. Best wishes.


April Mellers asks:
John: There are disturbing reports on Cruise Critic today that Carnival has started allowing 20- year-olds to be in Club 02. This is what the OP says is FACT: “I asked where on the ship she met him and she explained that he was in the Club O2 every day hanging out with them. He told them he didn’t like people his own age so he’d go hang out with them.” According to the post, there was another guy the same age hanging out part time in there with them? The scary thing is he is supposedly dating another 15-year-old he met on the cruise and making plans with her to go see her. My daughter decided to tell me about it when she found out the other girl she met and talks to daily is dating him and planning on meeting up with him as soon as she can. It’s very scary to think about. I just wanted to let everyone know our experience so you’re not as trusting of Club O2 club. I should have been more aware of the ages of the kids my daughter was hanging out with. I’m not sure what Carnival’s policy is on age limits or how they enforce it but it was not enforced on our cruise.” If this is correct then I have serious concerns and I bet I am not the only one!! What do you have to say for yourself on this!!

John says:
Hello April Mellers

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.  Your post contains no specifics on the ship or the name of the guest who allegedly had this concern, but I can assure you that Carnival has very strict policies regarding who can participate in our youth programs and we would simply not allow this to happen. Anyone participating in our youth programs has their dates of birth checked from our guest manifest and other official listings. We do not allow anyone outside of the designated age brackets to participate in our youth programs when our supervised activities are being run — it is that simple. If a 20-year-old was trying to participate in Club O2, he would have been asked to leave immediately by the Club O2 director.  Further, since all kids who are registered in the program by their parents are the only ones who are allowed into program, we place a special sticker on the kids’ Sail & Sign cards so it makes the process easier to identify who is allowed into the teen venues and who are not (we have different stickers for each of the teen programs).  Carnival is the top-rated cruise line for families for a reason and safety is our number one concern, particularly as children are concerned.  Please feel free to write to me with any other questions or concerns. Best wishes.


Heather Smith asks:
We sailed on Carnival Sunshine on May 10-17. It was our first cruise, and we loved it.  We are already looking forward to booking our next cruise.  The only negative comment I have is that

when we went to the Epic Rock show on Friday night, it was incredibly loud – so much so that we left after 30 minutes.  Maybe we are the only ones who felt that way, but could you mention it to the appropriate people?  It promised to be a good show and we would’ve really enjoyed ourselves and stayed for the duration had the volume been at a reasonable level.  Thanks!

John says:
Hello Heather Smith

I am sorry you left as it’s a great show. I will certainly pass this very important post from you on to those who need to know because we need to monitor volumes very carefully and I am sorry that you found it so uncomfortable. Thanks, Heather, I do hope you had fun and hope we see you soon. Best wishes.


Thomas Nurman asks:
John. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the wonderful care you gave my father on the Carnival Miracle. I know you have lost your father in past weeks and the fact that you sat and listened to his stories and laughed at his jokes made his 80th birthday so special. The gifts you sent to him were enjoyed by us all but the highlight was when you personally had the audience applaud and thank him for his 34 years in the United States Marine Corps serving God and Country. You should be proud, John, and we love you for what you did.

John says:
Hello Thomas Nurman

It was a true honour and a privilege to meet your father and help celebrate his birthday. I think you saw from the audience reaction just how much they appreciated and applauded his service. I hope you all have many wonderful memories of the cruise and that we will see you all again very soon. Best wishes to you all.


Anne Nikanovich asks:
John, why does Carnival not have a more extensive program for interns working on your ships? Ridiculous that this huge company offers nothing to graduates like me. How idiotic!!

John says:
Hello Anne Nikanovich

Good question. The simple answer is that space is limited for crew and every bed we have is filled by crew who are here for a full contract. Plus there really is not any position on the ship that warrants an intern program, I am afraid. Please do check cclcarrers.com and see if there is anything shoreside that you may be interested in and I am here if you have any questions. Best wishes.


Denise Greenberg asks:
Will Carnival have a dry dock and upgrades for the Carnival Fascination!! Please respond!!!

John says:
Hello Denise Greenberg

We’re just finalizing the dry dock schedule for 2015, so I will let you know once I hear anything. Stay tuned and best wishes.


Todd Belue asks:
On Cruise Critic there is a disturbing review of the Carnival Liberty’s steakhouse and how the steak was incorrectly prepared and that the service was abysmal. I sent this to Carnival management and they have not responded to my email. We have a roll call of 22 experienced cruisers some of who have booked the steakhouse. We are now very worried if the chef cannot even cook a piece of rib eye steak correctly. Why has Carnival not addressed this? Cruise Critic has millions of members. It is the number one cruise site in the world with thousands of people reading every report, every review, yet Carnival does not even respond despite knowing this. Cruise Critic readers are saying that the flat iron steak in the main dining hall is better than the meat at the steakhouse Do you want my money at the steakhouse or not? We sail in October!!!!

John says:
Hello Todd Belue

Thank you for writing and I am very sorry that the people who had the problems mentioned here had such a negative experience and if I knew their real names or had their information I would write to them and say just that and see what else we could do. Each and every week we have thousands of people who enjoy the most wonderful meal with amazing service at the steakhouse and I am sure you will too. I wish you the best of times on the ship and have my favourite, the cowboy steak.


That’s all for today.  Let’s talk steak shall we.

The comment about the flat iron steak (as good as they are) being better than the steaks we serve at the steakhouse is, respectfully, utter nonsense.  There are people though who will always tell you that they have had better meat. These professors of steak are always just back from New York or Argentina or Miami Beach’s Prime 112 ready to lecture you about cows that were massaged by Latvian women in stocking’s and suspenders. They tell you (the steak experts, not the cows) about the cut, the taste and that Kobe beef is the best and……and, oh, shut up ……..You went to a restaurant and ordered steak. The end.

For years I would never order a steak in a restaurant because…….well, it was a steak, a steak that, if I wanted Heidi would cook me at home. But then I discovered the Carnival steakhouse and I discovered that it wasn’t just a fact of throwing a piece of a cow on a hot grill and adding a dollop of ketchup next to it…….nope, it was much more. It’s the saltiness, that deep, juicy redness revealed when the cut halves of the meat are peeled open and shoved apart; that moment when you pause the fork in front of your nose to breathe in the amount of fine beef just before it enters the mouth. Coupled with the fact that there are amazing appetizers, salads and desserts and that the price is only $35, makes a meal in our steakhouses simply unforgettable.  I now consider the steakhouse to be a fantastic place to eat and the one here on the Carnival Miracle to be as good as any I have ever eaten in. Oh, I do have to admit that the chef hates me because I ask for my steak well done…….very well done.

Just last week, someone posted a copy of the Carnival Sensation’s Carnival Capers………yes Capers not Fun Times…….on my facebook.com/johnheald page. Inside, it showed we were offering trapshooting which involved the possibility of giving a 12-gauge shot gun to someone who had drunk the equivalent of three Cheers programs, pillow fighting where couples and strangers would beat the living crap out of each other with a 20-year-old pillow that was as fluffy as my inner thigh while sitting six feet off the ground on a slippery pole. And should they fall off, they landed on a mat that was so thread bear and thin it was basically a towel. All of this along with the beer drinking contest, the lovely legs contest, the belly flop contest have gone thanks to new world order, men in high visibility jackets armed with clipboards and, of course….global warming.

Back then, our advertisements featured people with perfect teeth and perfect breasts as the song “If you could see me now” played in the background. But times have changed and today’s commercials need to be short, sharp, hip and cool and that is, I think, what Jim Berra, our marketing genius, brought with the last few commercials. The water slide ad that played during the winter Olympics was a huge success as was the Moments That Matter campaign that featured all the great photos from you, our guests.

Nowadays, many ads tend to be ironic and funny just on their own but on the other hand there these days, it seems, anyone will endorse anything if the price is right. I would be a represent a company in an ad – but I have my limit as I like to think I still have principles. Let me explain. If Gerry Cahill, our president, personally asked me to host a charter of the National Association of Incontinent Farmers or for phase two of Carnival Live, I was asked to play the part of the “bitch” in a Jay Z video then I would say, “Yes, boss,” of course. Whereas, if our president asked me to host a charter for a certain herbal tea company, I would say, “No, sorry, you’ll have to find someone else.” Sorry, I draw the line and spending seven days with people chasing my fat arse around Lido Deck screaming “I lost 30 pounds big fella, ask me how.”  I know how — your teas give you constant explosive diarrhea so of course you lose weight, FFS!

But, I wonder……….there are many celebrities who, when offered a bucket load of cash, asks the question “Where do I park my wheelbarrow” followed by “Will it buy me a vacation villa next to Kim sodding Kardasian?” In the UK we have Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan McGregor, Angelina Jolie, Hugh Laurie, Dame Judy Dench, Dame Helen Mirren and Dame David Beckham, all of whom are people who have surprised me by lending themselves to the ad man or woman. I mean, Brad Pitt is selling Levi’s for God’s sake. Do people buy Levi’s because Brad wears them?……..the fact that he probably wears Versace or some other Italian designer jeans is probably missed on most people.

So, no I don’t think a celebrity is needed to advertise Carnival Cruise Lines like we did back in the “If You Could See Me Now” days but if we did ever go that way again…….who would you like to see as the star of the commercials?….It would be interesting to read who you think is right for the role……. hhmmmm…..Megan Fox’s bottom on Lido Deck …….now that would make be buy a cruise.

But hold on, how about we relive the good old days. Yes, Jim and the beards, I have the answer for our new commercial which I’m sure would be a smashing success. Let’s dust off that old song and have me hurtling down the water slide singing “If you could see me now” while eating a Guy’s Burger in a pair of speedos. I could even be singing my own version of the song, staring down over my immense stomach at my gentleman’s sausage singing, “If I could see it now.”


Your friend,

Comment Policy

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  1. Linda says:

    I am responding about the person who thought the Epic Rock show was way too loud. I’m not sure if this event took place in the theater or somewhere else but I have to say that we find the sound levels way to high for the shows in the theater. BUT…we now bring earplugs and the sound level is just perfect then. Yes, I do think the sound is too loud for the shows but for pete sake, we adjust and we certainly aren’t going to ask for monetary compensation like some people do if they are in the slightest bit inconvenienced. Carnival does a great job of providing quality cruises at a good price and we will continue to be loyal (Platinum) customers.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I think that the sound level is too high on the Lido. I would not ask for money, just to have it turned down a bit. That has not happened.

  2. Ralph says:

    April Mellers & Todd Belue,
    I feel sorry for you….for 2 reasons. You think Cruise Critic is important and you believe everything you read on it!

  3. Cynthia Ravenscraft says:

    John, I must say I enjoy some of the stories you tell or other people tell about their cruises. I frequently laugh with my husband and kids about the antics that seem to go on. The “cruise form Hell” stories have me in stitches. If you are that hard to please perhaps you should stay home. Our first cruise was in May 2012 for our 30th Anniversary. We almost missed the tour of the ship but when we went for help to find out where we could catch up with the group we were met a smile and a very willing team member to catch us up with the group. They even sent us a trophy and medal for our troubles (the tour left just a couple of minutes early). Later in the cruise as we pulled into Nassau I was up on the decks taking pictures and tripped on a chair, fell flat on my face, busted my lip pretty bad, bruised my hand and broke my camera. I did not go screaming that the ship or crew owed me anything. A nice lady near me gave me some tissues. I went down to the hostess desk by the buffet at the lido deck and they brought me a napkin (cloth) full of ice and then I went back to my room to get my husband so we could go into port. Later that evening at dinner the hostess was in our main dining room and she was so glad to see me because she had been worried about me all day. We were with another couple on the cruise and the four of us joke that it was not a matter of if I was going to fall but when. Since I was a little sore and stiff from the fall my husband treated me to the spa (something I would not have paid for otherwise). Also on our first cruise the water came out of the shower extremely hot and was stuck that way but a simple phone call to maintenance took care of that right away as well. Despite these little problems and mishaps we had so much fun we cruised again in January of 2013 and then again in November of 2013 (taking my father-in-law, daughter and her boyfriend that time). I have had many adventures in my life including moving cross country from California to South Carolina (stopping in Las Vegas to get married first) with a 2 year old on my lap the whole trip, because the only car we had was a Corvette (before I get any comments…. this was in the early 80’s before car seats, not the best way to travel but the Navy was moving us)and half way through the trip my son threw up all over me and it was about 30 miles to the next exit. So a fog horn or the lack of a special request to me is not a vacation from HELL. I for one plan to cruise with Carnival as often as I can and we would be pleased as punch come retirement time to do back to back cruises often. Keep up the great work John.

    • Tx Lady Di says:

      Good for you, great attitude. My last cruise was quite the adventure: Had my cruise cash in my wallet, went to Walmart for a few last minute things, dropped my wallet in the parking lot, but didn’t notice until after I got home. Searched the house and car, went back to Walmart, no wallet turned in. Well, dang there goes my cash, and my ID and my credit card for the S&S card! Daughter had to drive to Galveston, used her Dad’s credit card cause they have the same initials. Get to Galveston, and the ship is delayed coming in because of fog. Have to spend the night in a hotel. Got lost in Houston. When I cancelled my card, that messed up a bunch of auto-pay bills.

      It’s all an adventure! How boring our lives would be without some adventure! LOL

      OH, we loved the cruise to celebrate her college graduation!

  4. Jena says:

    John, I’ve seen the movie “Titanic” and in my opinion, THAT would be a cruise from hell. I’m sure this man is never happy or pleased. What a sad existence he must live.

  5. Michael Hawkins says:

    I am always so dismayed by any comment with the words, “Cruise Critic” in the body of the statement. This always means that some sort of complaint is on the way. I shall offer the suggestion that Cruise Critic change its name to “Carnival” Critics.

    Carnival always delivers a great and incredible service and product so keep it going my Carnival friends!

  6. Leslie Martin says:

    Any one who believes the “misinformation” that comes out of cruise critic is extremely gullible. I quit reading anything about Carnival on there and only read posts about the islands I am going to visit on Carnival. My 15th cruise is Nov. 1 and we have never has anything to complain about, but then we are people who realize not everything will be perfect.

  7. Donna Catania says:

    Hi John, my family has been on 6 Carnival cruises and myself and my husband have been on 7 and have 3 future cruises booked. I don’t complain about the small stuff because it clouds the memory of the fabulous vacation we had. There are sometimes things that we cannot control. Our last cruise on in February on the Splendor it rained I could complain about it or just dance in the rain. You know what dancing in the rain is so much more fun than complaining. Have a fabulous time in life make it the way you want it.

  8. Robin says:

    Hi John. Love your blog! You and I are of the same opinion about a lot of things and I really have no patience for whiners. My husband and I have completed 10 cruises with Carnival and have loved every one of them. Oh, yes, there have been glitches, but none of them have turned my wonderful vacation into a cruise from Hell. Really …… these people need a reality check. So the fog horn woke them up – much better than a collision with another vessel, right? Get a cup of coffee and greet the day and take a nap later. And about the strong winds preventing a stop in Roatan – much better than a collision with another ship or the pier, right? I encourage those whiney complainers to put themselves in the shoes of the Captain and others who have to make decisions regarding the safety of passengers. I am truly thankful that, when I’m on a ship, my safety is more important than silence or a port stop or anything else.

  9. Bill says:

    Loved the blog today, I have to say one of my closest friends is a butcher, so the supply of wonderful aged steaks has be avoiding them when I dine out. That said, the group I was with on Sunshine wanted to do the Steak House, and I am glad I did, WOW Carnival got it right with that time last January, one of the best meals I have had. But then again the Asian, and Italian were darn good on board too.

  10. Dennis says:

    John, we have missed Roatan twice on our last two Carnival cruises. Now we don’t complain because we know the Captain is doing all he can to get us there. We have missed 4 ports in over 50 cruises so we know why we can’t go thru the cut into the port. Isn’t there anything Carnival can do to widen the cut into that port as I know Carnival built that pier just for their own use.

  11. Pete turner says:


    I just have to take a moment to again say, my wife and I LOVE YOU! We love carnival, we love the steakhouse, we love the way the staff makes us feel like royalty every time we Cruise (14 so far). Our cruises are the best vacations we have ever taken! THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU CONSTANTLY DO.

  12. Pam walker says:

    Our son wanted us to go to the steakhouse bc he had gone before. I wasn’t sure bc I’m thinking extra money for food? He said it is well worth it. My husband and I along with our son and his friend ate there and it really was awesome. He also wanted us to dine with the captain which we did and it too was just a wonderful experience. I would recommend it to everyone.

  13. Jeanie in CenFla says:

    First, you are spot-on in your comments about the “cruise from hell” label. I’ve been on some “vacations from hell”, and they involved things such as being flooded out of our room(twice),sustaining an injury that made me unable to walk for a while, sleeping on rocks, etc. Missed one port of call for safety’s sake? Puh-leeeeze!
    Second, regarding the Steakhouse: I have never had a bad meal at a Carnival Steakhouse, so I really hope the Cruise Critic person was WRONG about the Liberty, as my fiance & I will be on it in September for a back-to-back (and will be wed on the 2nd leg, woo hoo!), and we both LOVE steak – we usually go 2-3 times per week. And the chef who has to prepare your well-done abomination to beef has my deepest sympathies!
    Finally, about celebrity endorsements: personally, they don’t mean jack-**** to me. If they use a celebrity because they have a pleasing voice, or charming personality, that will make the commercial less onerous, great. But, does that particular person’s presence in said commercial influence my purchasing decision? Not just no, but h*** no! As if I were that brainless, thank you! And please, if you do make the commercial starring you on the waterslide, make sure it only airs after 2AM or on the sports and shopping channels (which I never watch)!
    Cheers, and thanks for blogging – I look forward to your posts and your humorous point of view.
    P.S. Thank you for posting the piano player schedule; we just discovered that our favorite, most entertaining piano man, Milburn Dumas, will be on our Sept. prewedding/honeymoon B2B, and we are so excited!!

    • Becky Noll says:

      Dear Jeannie,
      MY DH and I went to the steakhouse on the Liberty on our last cruise and it was simply WONDERFUL! The staff was attentive and helpful, and the food was out of this world (tuna tartare! Yum!) The following day we were on the “Behind the Fun” tour which ended in the steakhouse – the maitre’d saw us, hurried over and asked how we had enjoyed our meal the night before. If I’m any judge of good food and outstanding service – you will have a great time at the steakhouse on the Liberty! Best wishes!

  14. Marianne Gilmore says:

    Our first cruise was a real cruise from hell. It was a cruise to Hawaii and it started out with very rough seas for 3 days and an outbreak of Noro. It got to the point where 3 corridors of cabins had inoperable potties and the smell got quite bad. We went to the ports and enjoyed our tours and then we headed home. A man became ill and needed surgery so we had to go back to Hawaii. That meant that we would not get back to San Diego as scheduled which meant that most people’s travel arrangements were shot to hell. A large group of German tourists were VERY ANGRY despite the cruise line giving access to a phone(Take a number at tour desk and wait your turn) and an hour of free internet. They were nasty to everyone…singers, dancers,,,everyone! We were given permission to skip Ensenada (boo hoo) in order to make up time. Oops, forgot the bar fight which gave two men an upgrade to the Brig!
    Our first cruise was certainly memorable. As my husband is a chocoholic, we shared some of his stash with the staff, greeting them with “I can;t shake your hand because of the virus but we can give you a (Hershey’s) Kiss. The smiles we received as a result of that gesture were priceless!
    I booked another cruise 2 weeks later but not on that line.
    It is now almost 5 years later and we are Platinum on 3 different cruise lines owned by Carnival Corp. (We switched around for a change of MENU as we usually do b2b2b cruises)
    (By the way, I am sitting here typing sans underpants wearing a strapless summer dress. If you can’t be comfortable what’s the purpose of life in the golden years? Just sitting by the phone waiting for the upgrade fairy who never calls. C’mon girl…I have 5 weeks of cruises booked…gimme a jingle or at least 2 pens, 2 Fun Times(my husband hogs it) and a bucket of ice in our cabin.

  15. Don R says:

    Todd Belue… You are funny! Seasoned cruise and you don’t even have personal experience with a flatiron steak? And then you write to CCL HQ asking about A steak in the steakhouse? That’s like me writing to Bill Marriott to ask if they fluffed the pillows in the Courtyard Hotel in Des Moines, IA. Geesh…

  16. Laura Meurin says:

    Referring to the Steakhouse….we enjoyed our steakhouse experience so much on our first night of our first cruise on Sunshine in March, that we also ate there on the last night of our cruise. Already have reservations for our 30th wedding anniversary cruise on the Conquest July 6. Best Steak ever.

  17. John L says:

    I read Cruise Critic for the reviews and to obtain answers However far to often a few not the majority like they try and make it seem bash Carnival. I have eaten in the steakhouse on the Miracle and can say with 100% certainty that it was one of the best experiences I have had.

    Anytime I hear “on Cruise Critic” I think to myself here comes another whinny female dog.

  18. Fern says:

    “But hold on, how about we relive the good old days. Yes, Jim and the beards, I have the answer for our new commercial which I’m sure would be a smashing success. Let’s dust off that old song and have me hurtling down the water slide singing “If you could see me now” while eating a Guy’s Burger in a pair of speedos. I could even be singing my own version of the song, staring down over my immense stomach at my gentleman’s sausage singing, “If I could see it now.””

    Good one, John! I’m still hopeful that we can cruise with you SOMEDAY ! We enjoy your post’s here and on FB!

  19. Shirley Anderson says:

    The cruise from hell for missing port? My very first cruise was during a hurricane, we missed a post, there were people being sick all over the ship. So missing a port is NO big deal! We had a great time! Even with rough waters scared to death at first, it hooked me. I have now been on 6 other cruises all on Carnival. No it wasn’t perfect but Carnival did everything they could to make sure everyone was safe and had a good time. We had a blast they had extra things going on to keep everyone busy. On the fog horns, we were on the way back to New Orleans and it was foggy and yes the horn was going off the only thing about that you really want to hear it loud. Be on the lido. It scared me and I jumped every time it went off. All I did was make my husband and grand kids laugh. Like I said Carnival just wants you safe! Thanks John for all you do I LOVE your blogs.

  20. Julie Tyler says:

    Dear John,

    Regarding the Club 02 policy, I had emailed you earlier regarding just the opposite–kids who were still in high school but were 18 were no longer allowed to be in Club 02; they felt like there was no place for them to go. I’m sure the poster was being truthful when she said that a 20 year old was meeting up with some younger cruisers, but I highly doubt they were during Club 02 hours. Our 17 year old stayed out with her little group of Club 02 friends until quite late; my husband and I ran into them on the Lido Deck while going for midnight pizza and decided to embarrass her–it’s just what good parents do. I just think there needs to be another group 18-20 year olds (maybe the 18 year olds could go either with the high school or the college group if they choose) with activities designed for them. They’re old enough to gamble, old enough to vote, but not old enough to drink, and they certainly don’t need to be hanging around 15 year olds.

  21. sharon hewitt says:

    John, Thank you for the perspectives and many smiles and belly laughs you bring to me. I keep hoping the calories expended by laughing with you will translate in more lbs lost by us both! Cheers for continuing to add to my funny way to burn calories!

    • Missy says:

      RE the club 02 situation. On the Pride in December 2012, our son had turned 18 in late October and was still in high school. He was allowed to go to the 02 with is 17 year old best friend from home. So exceptions are sometimes made, but I doubt a 20 year old was officially included.

  22. Sherylyn Davis says:

    Just wanted to say that my all time favorite Carnival commercial was the “New Ship Smell”. I laughed so hard every time I saw it that my sides hurt for hours.

  23. kruiserkanuck says:

    Oh dear….
    1. Using second hand info to bash the Steakhouse when hundreds of others (including me!) have raved about it is just ridiculous. But to send someone else’s review to Carnival HQ and then be upset when they don’t answer, is just ludicrous!

    2. If you ever, EVER see or suspect 20 yr old pervs are hanging around young girls, do not go home and write on CC or any other board. Contact the CD, the Captain, and security immediately! If there’s any truth to that post, it should have been addressed and dealt with at the time.

    3. Just a comment to Anne Nikanovich : If you are seriously attempting to secure internship for yourself, you may want to refrain from calling the company in question “idiotic”. Just sayin’ …

    /rant off

  24. Paige says:

    I just got back from the Imagination yesterday. It was my first cruise and it was really enjoyable. I loved the entertainment; Goose was good but Sam was my favorite. I believe he’s assistant director…maybe. Do you know his last name. I thought he was amazing…so much personality and energy.

  25. Paige says:

    Who are the entertainment assistant directors on the Imagination? It was my first cruise and they were amazing!!

  26. Desiree says:

    It’s funny how ones idea of “cruise from hell” and another’s is so different. Bad things happen everywhere…but I can only imagine if the Captain had tried to dock the ship in Roatan and something really awful had happened to ship and/or passengers one might have called than called it the “cruise from hell”. Seems to me I would want to thank the Captain for making a really unpopular call to keep all safe. The next comment I can hear…you wouldn’t say that if it happened on your cruise…well, it has, on NCL many years ago we didn’t make to Roatan or Belize due to a hurricane and the only port we visited was Progresso on a 7 day cruise. We weren’t happy about missing the ports but really happy we made it home in one piece. We still had fun, food, all the comforts of the ship. The crew went above and beyond the call of duty to make-up for our disappointment. So congratulations to the Captain for making the best decision for the ship, passengers and crew!

  27. Paul Zanolini says:

    Great Finish !!!

  28. brad Broadbeck says:

    John I was on the Miracle on Feb 2nd. I had dinner at the steakhouse there and I loved the apps and desert. I personally did not like the cowboy steak at all. It was more well done and tough than I like. I ordered it Med rare and it was more medium to medium well. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to cause a ruckus. But I figured I would send you a note about it now that I know about your blog, and you posted about it. I am looking forward to trying the Filet on the Glory in November so hopefully it will be better. I would also love if you could add a Bone in Filet. Simply the best cut of meat in the world. Second I commend you on your dieting. I myself have done some as well.. Giving up Dairy(that was hard!) But so far I have lost 20 lbs in three months doing it. Keep up the great work, and thank you for what you do on here!!


  29. Carol says:

    A cruise from hell would be the one where the captain wouldn’t mind about passengers safety. Forget about the ‘passenger from hell’. lol! Maybe all he needed was a piece of cow and hopefully he was received at his local restaurant with a flavorless ‘flat-from-hell-steak’. LOL

  30. Linda - Spanky says:

    John- We are on Splendor right now. Uhm… If you get a report of a 20 year old in Club o2… Its probably my son. I never know what age he will tell the “Ladies” he is! Gotta love a 17 year old with an imagination! I will say that last year on the Miracle my newly 18 year old daughter was sad about outgrowing Camp Carnival. The young lady asked her birth date, looked at her ID and said since she was still in High School she was welcome to tag along. My daughter spent maybe 1 time there but it was a very sweet offer from an understanding employee. As for the CRUISE FROM HELL… Here are some incidents fir you… I broke several toes, daughter chipped a bone in her leg, allergic reaction to a sea urchin, locked in an out house, poison ivy… HURRICANE SANDY AND A CRUISE!!!! Ok our list is long.. NONE equate to a ruined vacation unless you allow it! You know I love your blog John!

  31. Jim Roberts says:

    Re: “The Cruise from Hell”

    More to the point, John…nobody died.

  32. Wade Woodard says:

    Missing a port does not make it a vacation from hell. However, there are certain ports like Roatan that are missed on fairly regular basis (due to high winds making it a safety issue). The US airlines are required to tell you basic flight fact info like the flight has an 82% on time departure rate. I think cruise lines should do the same; IE – we made the Roatan port on 72% of Carnival cruises in last 12 months. At least that way passengers would know up front and it would temper their disappointment.

  33. grizel robertson says:

    It never fails to amaze me that so many cruisers complain about minor issues that are outwith the control of Carnival. As an UK resident who has taken 30 cruises (all 7 days or longer & only 2 in Europe) with CCL, I cannot understand the bitching and/or biting comments. I have encountered missed ports and rescheduling in the Caribbean during hurricane season and been disappointed. However, I have never demanded a refund because the safety of the guests and ship are the top priority of CCL and that is how it should remain.

  34. Len says:

    We are experienced cruisers [27] on Carnival , Princess and Royal Caribbean. We have eaten in all of their steak houses and while all were very good and worth the extra charge , Carnivals steak house’s are the best for quality of the whole meal, and their service has always been top notch. I also find having to ask for ice in our cabin annoying but certainly not a deal breaker. As far as missing a port s–t happens it is not the end of the world. No cruise line can control the weather.

  35. Cheryl Mullins says:

    I thought you could bring Baileys on board in place of a bottle of wine? I did last year and they said ok. It is a dessert liquear and I would appreciate it if you could get them to deliver it back to my room. Coffee on the balcony with Baileys and my hubby is what I have dreamed of! Please help John!

  36. Duane spencer says:

    Hello John, In response to Complaint about request for special fries, I have been on four carnival cruises, going on #5 in Nov. When I ask for something not normally with my meal I always got it, for example I asked for peanut butter on my 1st night to put on my rolls, I had peanut butter every night after that with out asking.

    • Char says:

      We will be sailing aboard Carnival Liberty on Augusst 9th. Can’t wait!!! Carnival has never disappointed us. I am a great believer in having a great time no matter what…Cruises are “real adventures” not a ride at Disney!! Stuff happens to everyone, what is important is how you handle it!!

  37. Kim Wilczynski says:

    John –

    I have been reading your blog for the past few weeks, in anticipation of my cruise in July, and have enjoyed it. Can’t wait to cruise again on Carnival and to meet you!

  38. Jennifer says:

    John, Thank you for the laughs and the unique perspective of working on the ships. I hated dealing with crazy customers in retail and I can’t imagine not being able to get rid of them for a week!

    For your “cruise from hell” guests, my first cruise was on Dream and due to a wicked storm, the water was very choppy and I was sick for 3 days from it. My daughter & I couldn’t make it through a dinner. Did we complain? No. We asked the crew for suggestions and chatted with experienced cruisers at a nearby table for ideas. After a few days, the meds were working, we were better and loving our trip. We visited with Ken, our matre’d every night and had a wonderful time. It was a fabulous trip and the little hiccups were just part of life.

    Thank you for your hard work and sense of humor. For every grumpy Gus, you have thousands of happy guests. Keep up the brilliant work and keep smiling.

  39. suzanne walker says:

    I agree that the shows are too loud. On our first, I had to leave a show and did not attend any others, and on the second I brought ear plugs. Wouldn’t it be easier just to turn the volume down? I have to be careful of my hearing due to a medical condition and still I “Don’t want to miss a thing!”

  40. Steve Owen says:

    Here I go again; I have to write in response to the posts concerning the Steakhouse. My wife and I dined in the Steakhouse last September aboard the Carnival Dream on nights 1, 3 and 6 of our last cruise. The meals were each incredble and memorable. I am somewhat of an expert(in my own humble opinion) of great steaks and great preparation and we found both during each of our dining experiences aboard our last Carnival cruise. Michelle and I will be celebrating our 33rd anniversary aboard the Carnival Breeze in just 88 days and we have again booked Steakhouse reservations for that occasion. I know that we once again will enjoy GREAT steaks, expertly prepared, well done Steakhouse teams, keep giving us great dining at a great value. Comparable to a flatiron steak….surely you jest. Now if I could just get one of those Faster to the Fun thingys. LOL

  41. Tina says:

    On the last cruise we took to Conzumel with “Temptation” and Triumph.out of Galveston last August, there was a Latin band that played every night in one of the clubs.. and it was sensational!!! Our next cruise is going to be August 9 out of New Orleans on “Eleation” Do you think they will have a latin band too?

  42. DICK says:


  43. Steven Hall says:

    Jimmy Buffet; I’d buy a cruise from Jimmy Buffet.

  44. Gene Tyler says:

    I was put off at first when I found out that the steak is frozen. I only buy steak or any meat fresh and eat it prior to expiration because when I cook steak after freezing it there is a loss of flavor.
    That being said, we just had dinner at the steak house on the breeze and it truly was first rate. As you said, with the sides it was a great experience.
    I agree with the chef; anyone who would turn a great piece of meat into gray protein should not be allowed to post commentary on anything but the decor!

  45. Clinton Sheehy says:

    All of my past cruises have been “cruises from hell”. I ate way too much, danced too much, laughed too much, made way too many friends, and the time between cruises is killing me. Suggestions?

    • jeffery garcia says:

      if its a cruise from hell then just stop waisting your money on it and find a new way to explore the world, why not fly places?

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