This is the longest contract I completed as cruise director without a break for some years, not to mention, it is the longest time I have been away from my family, ever, so I must admit I am finding it hard. I was really hoping that Heidi and Kye would come to Alaska but that is now not going to happen. That’s because of our two Mums. I can’t say any more than that at the moment except to say that Heidi is needed in England and Holland and needed by the two ladies who brought us into this world and, right now, need her. I am, of course, racked with guilt and miss them all so very much. Maybe I will write more about this in the days ahead but today is not the time. Kye was looking forward to seeing where “Elsa and Anna” live and for those who have been living in a cave or an Amish community, they are the characters from the movie Frozen. If you haven’t seen it, don’t. Get help, gouge your own eyes out with a toothpick, do whatever you have to avoid seeing it. Heidi just wanted a break, somewhere to relax and enjoy the service and fun that you all enjoy plus, of course, for us to be a family again. Pausing here because it appears something has flown into my eyes making them water. OK, I am back.

Now, Heidi loves the sun and, for her, as much as she would have loved Alaska, she would have preferred beaches and sun and a Guy’s burger or 10. She is the exact opposite of me. Whereas I love the fresh air that Alaska brings, my wife loves golden beaches and blue water, that’s her idea of paradise. My idea of that is a hotel room full of Latvian women but that’s another story.

The worst holiday I ever had was the best holiday Heidi ever had. It cost a sodding fortune and although it was in my favourite island in the Caribbean, Jamaica, it was bloody awful. We were with two other couples, great friends but they all had beach bodies, while I looked like a manatee. Don’t get me wrong, the place was amazing in the sense of the staff, the service and location overlooking the sea in Montego Bay. They have one of those huge infinity pools and well….that’s it. No TV, no entertainment …….and each night after Heidi and I would come back to our villa, I would have to remove the two tons of rose petals that would be sprinkled over the bed. And despite the fact that I thought I had always gotten every one of them off the bed, I would always wake up with one secreted between my buttocks. Heidi loved it though….of course she did. Just the words “no TV” had her drooling, although her opinion changed somewhat when an insect with the head and upper torso of a mosquito and the rear end of a yak landed on her arm.

This experience was supposed to show us a taste of what life is like in paradise. That is as ridiculous as thinking you can get a taste of beef by licking a cow. On a real tropical island, like Tom Hanks did in that movie (forget the sodding name now), you have to smash your own teeth out with ice skates and talk to a basketball. I guess though that many bloggers reading this will, despite my misgivings, think that this does indeed sound like paradise……….I guess though we dream the tropical dream. But a few others and I were built to live indoors, with a huge flat screen TV and not wake up every morning with a rose petal shoved up your arse.

Anyway, I digress. The girls are not coming….and I am…….well ……..sad……….very sad and quite lonely, actually.

Time for today’s Q and A……… we go

Jana asks:
Alaska was everything you said it would be, John. Thank you for your hospitality and friendship and for providing us and so many with the gift of laughter. You are as funny live as you are here on the blog, funnier even. The ship has other stars on it and they include our cabin steward Jose and waiter, Deepak, and his crew. We are big coffee snobs and loved the girls at the coffee shop especially Anita from Romania who made the best mochas ever!! Everywhere we went we saw smiling happy crew except security people in the ports. I tried to get a smile out of one of them but it was impossible – are they not allowed to smile? ha ha ha. Thank you and the Carnival Miracle team for a wonderful cruise – we will be back on the Carnival Magic for Thanksgiving.

John says:
Hello Jana

Thank you for the very kind words and I am thrilled that, like so many you, fell in love with Alaska. I will make sure those you mentioned received the words of praise and they also will be so proud. Have another wonderful cruise on the Carnival Magic and let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


Donald Bollin asks:
You often shout out how good you are and your KAN fans pat you on the back, yet when it comes to fixing real problems, you bury your fat head in the sand. This was posted on Cruise Critic and the OP said that you have not responded to her attempts to contact you. READ THIS!!

I have been a very loyal customer and have overlooked the decline in food/service over the years because I felt I was still getting good value for my money. I overlooked Carnival ruining my luggage on my December Carnival Dream cruise and being told they would only consider paying for a repair (even though the repair man told me there was no way to repair it), I overlooked when my ocean view cabin on the Carnival Sensation had the window boarded up for the duration of the cruise with no offer of compensation of the difference between an ocean view rate and inside rate, I’ve overlooked cabins with constant construction noise and my request to be moved denied, I’ve overlooked the free cruises going to many others but never having anything like that offered to me, I’ve overlooked my Platinum status being downgraded, but they have finally pushed me over the edge. I booked in June on a special rate which gave $200 OBC for my 7/26/14 cruise on the Carnival Freedom. Today I called to find out why the credit isn’t showing on my cruise documents. They insist that is not the rate I booked, even though I know for a fact that is the rate I chose. They have website problems (admitted by the tech I talked to), but they won’t fix my problem. A $200 on-board credit is not a huge thing, but combined with all the other aggravation I’ve dealt with over the last two years, I have had it. I have always been positive on all my cruises and have never let little things ruin my cruise. Carnival supervisors are totally unwilling to admit their website has problems and will not give me any type of compensation for their problem. This may sound petty to a lot of you, but I’m just not willing to keep allowing Carnival to get away with their poor customer service any longer. So, you won’t see me posting here anymore, and you won’t see me booking anymore Carnival cruises. The aggravation has now outweighed the enjoyment of the cruise. Goodbye to Carnival. Let the flaming begin. So put down that sandwich and do your job so we can see if your actions are as big as your stomach, LOL!!

John says:
Hello Donald Bollin

I read this and indeed I can sense how frustrated this person is. I have no idea who or what an OP is so please can you ask him/her to contact me immediately on  for my attention so that I can help all I can. Please ask them to include the booking number etc. Thanks for letting me know and I send my immediate apologies to the person who wrote this for the problems they have had and I will do all I can to insure we see them sail with us again. Best wishes.


Ricky Alexie asks:
Hi John, was wondering if this rule still exists? I remember this from a previous cruise. If I booked a cabin as a Platinum Guest this verified VIP boarding, but if someone was in a different cabin and different booking number as long as you used the same onboard account both cabins could check in through VIP. We sail in about two weeks, any information will be welcomed. Thanks Ricky

John says:
Hello Ricky Alexie

I hope that you have not already cruised and that you see this reply before you do. The rules have changed now and we no longer allow this, I am afraid. But your friends/family will be right behind you and ready to meet you on board and for the fun to start. Have a brilliant time. Best wishes.


Scott Vinson asks:
Carnival will lose my business if they don’t allow me to be vaping on my balcony or in my cabin or in a non-smoking area on the boat. I have been vaping for over a year. My doctor has now put on my notes “ex-smoker.” I am from New Jersey and have been doing this everywhere, just this morning with my wife in the Westfield Garden State Plaza and nobody stopped me and none of the thousands who walked past me complained. Carnival must get the fact that vaping save lives and change the rules.

John says:
Hello Scott Vinson

Thank you for writing and over the last few weeks since we changed our smoking rules, I have been learning lots more about this “vaping.” It seems to me that we may need to take another look at vaping at some point down the road but I must admit that this technology is very new so I’m sure there is going to be another side of this argument but, as I said, it is worthy of discussion and that’s what I assure you will happen. Best wishes.


Wanda Epps asks:
When is the smoking stopped on the Carnival Dream I have booked a cruise on the Carnival Dream in October. There are five of us going and we have balcony rooms since we all smoke. I feel that this is a big mistake for the cruise line. I have cruised seven times trying to get to platinum but I will have to think twice about booking anymore. This is the same thought of a lot of guests. I see that this is going to really hurt the cruise line

John says:
Hello Wanda Epps

The smoking ban on the balconies starts on October 9 and I understand that you are disappointed by this. We are looking at ways to make our smoking areas more comfortable.  I thank you for your loyalty and please let me know if you need anything before you sail. Have a brilliant time. Best wishes.


Kenny Lozano asks:
I have questions for our first Carnival cruise because we did NCL twice from New York and was told this was the place to come!!!!  My cruise is on Carnival Splendor 8/20 with my wife and two kids. My son is 22 and my daughter 17. We are all a big family and need a table not a booth with armless chairs for us all. Is there a weight limit on the horseback riding in Half Moon Cay? If so what is it? My travel agent ________-from ______ emailed Carnival but they did not know so was told to ask you. My daughter and wife want to go so will need to know if they can, both are over 250 pounds.  It is our 30th wedding anniversary on the 17th and the boat is in Nassau so can you send us something nice. My travel agent said to ask you that too and she said she is a big fan of yours and knows you.

Kenny Lozano

John says:
Hello Kenny Lozano

Thanks for writing and I am sure that this first experience of the fun we have at Carnival will not be your last. There is, I am afraid, a weight limit of 250 pounds for the horseback riding tour in Half Moon Cay but there will be so much more for you to do on this island paradise. Have a chat with the shore excursion team on board or indeed your cruise director and they will help you decide what to do. I have asked the maître d to assign you a table as you requested so that will not be a problem. Please can I ask that the day before your cruise you send me your cabin number to my page and that way I will remember to send you a little something for your anniversary? I wish you all the best of times. Best wishes.


Mark Bailey asks:
We returned from two back-to-back eastern and western Caribbean cruises on the Carnival Sunshine a couple of weeks ago. The energy of Jamie Dee is something else! We are Platinum and I just received a post cruise survey about the new VIFP. It asked some questions that made me think, what extra privileges would I want to see? This is what I said: I am not sure I would load up too much on the privileges. I love the treatment on embarkation and disembarkation, I love the party and I love the laundry. It is fun to feel a bit special for a couple of weeks. Everyone is extra nice to you but Carnival staff is routinely nice to everyone anyway. On the other hand, you do get the occasional dirty look when you skip the lines getting on or off the ship. I think having privileges is great but I wouldn’t overdo it. Carnival needs new cruisers to come back again, you don’t want them to feel resentful at feeling they are second class. Like all things it is a balance, you want your loyal cruisers to be appreciated but you don’t want to alienate new cruisers. We enjoyed our red and blue cruises just as much. I don’t need more privileges to make me come back to Carnival, we would anyway, it’s what we like to do. That’s how we got to Platinum, not why we did it. Just a comment, you do a great job and thanks for listening.

John says:
Hello Mark Bailey

What a refreshing post to read and one I thank you so very much for writing. I have always hoped that people continue to cruise for the experience. Certainly, loyalty deserves recognition through various perks and we will continue to try and enhance them. But I can see that you cruise because, well, you love cruising and that is simply brilliant. There will be news on our loyalty program soon and, until then, I thank you so much for writing and hope to see you soon

Best wishes.


Debbie Beyers asks:
Mr. Heald – we will be sailing on the Carnival Sunshine on April 18, 2015 – we finally convinced my brother and his family to sail with us. Unfortunately, one of his sons will be missing as he is in Afghanistan (US Air Force). We will be celebrating two birthdays…..BUT because I am such a planner and I like having as much info as possible – I have three questions….First, do you know who will be our cruise director; second, what is the “American Menu” and third, what are the rules of the contest (not sure it’s really a contest) I’ve seen on Facebook — the pictures of the “first guest receiving their free cocktail at the Red Frog?” Looking forward to hearing back from you. Thank you in advance for your time.

John says:
Hello Debbie Beyers

You must be looking forward so much to your cruise and I am sorry to see one of your family will not be with you and, please, if you get chance, thank him for his service. OK, the American Table is a new menu we’re testing with lots of exciting choices including the new Ports Of Call items celebrating the culinary dishes of the place where the ship is docked. The contest on Facebook for the first guests in the pub is simple. The first guests to walk in on embarkation day and order a drink, get that drink or drinks for free. Providing they are not on a back to back cruise everyone, has a half decent chance of winning and I hope you do indeed win. I cannot say yet who the CD will be as we are still working on the schedule for next year. I am here if you need me and on Facebook, so let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Have a brilliant time. Best wishes.


Gail Keilty asks:
Hi John:  we have been fortunate enough to sail with you. I am turning to you because I have had a myriad of problems with Carnival and less than cooperative customer service reps. However, we keep booking because we take our grandchildren who love the kids club. We booked the 8/9 cruise on the Carnival Liberty out of Port Canaveral. We selected early dining. I called back the next day to request a table for five only since last Thanksgiving cruise we were seated with a family who would not speak to us and who were rude because apparently they requested to sit alone, too. The rep told me they could not take any requests only aboard the ship that was what we did when seated with the rude family and were told no room. Sorry. So, the rep suggested I contact you, the cruise director guru. I was surprised that she would refer me to your blog, isn’t that her job to resolve these issues? In any event, I could take all the help I can get since no one from Carnival never listens to me. I have heard of my friends getting perks, upgrades, etc. we never get any offers even though we have had problem after problem. Not relevant, so sorry to bother you with thus nonsense, but how does one get a table for five in early seating? Thank you so much and hope all is well with you.

John says:
Hello Gail Keilty

I can see how frustrated you are and I am glad, therefore, that you have written to me. The customer service people in Miami cannot take dining requests as in table sizes, etc. This is arranged only by the maître d on board. However, the simple fact is that is you would like a table for five that I will be able to help you. Please can I ask that you to send me the cabin numbers five days before the cruise to my page and I will do all I can for you. Have a great time together and I am here if you need me.  Best wishes.


Leslie Norvell asks:
I will be cruising with 40 other Cruise Critic members on the Carnival Breeze August 16 to St Maarten, St Kitts, San Juan and Grand Turk. On the 17th we have paid for a party with open drinks at the piano bar. I have read that Carnival does not provide wrist bands like NCL does so I would like to request a security staff person to stand at the door and check the printed invitation that each person who has been invited to attend will have. Right now the drinks have been paid for on my credit card so I need to make sure non-invited Cruise Critic members or any other passengers don’t come in and get drinks. Can you arrange a security staff to make sure this does not happen? My cabin number is **** and the booking for this cruise is ****** I also need to ask for door prizes as well for our raffle prize drawings. We are all excited about this cruise and need to make sure their party goes well. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Leslie Norvell

It is going to be a great cruise for you all and those ports are some of my favourites. I will be happy to send you four raffle prizes to the party and a staff member will deliver them there for you. I won’t though be able to have a security person there, they are very busy and I would hope that maybe you or another person attending could stand at the door and check the invitations. I hope that will be OK and I wish you all the best of times together. Best wishes.


Michael Kelly asks:
Hi John:  I almost hate to say this but I am a Diamond VIFP with Carnival. I have read your blog and when I read that people want special treatment in cruising because they think they are so special and deserve it, I kind of understand it but when it comes out in print, they really do sound like the uptight people of class distinction we saw when I watched the Titanic. I have seen this when cruising before. I am retired and worked hard as a butcher/meatcutter in a store for years. It paid my bills and gave me a pretty good life. I remember when cruising years ago, I ran into some guys what seemed like nice people at our table and they were all professional business men bragging about their lives. I was never ashamed of my work and I listened to their boring conversations of money and uppity ways. When they asked me what I did for a living, I told them I was a butcher for 35 years. The looks on their faces were priceless. One even commented that, I think I knew a butcher one time. I returned with, I think I met a banker one time too but he didn’t impress me at that time either. Class is something people think they have but if you have to talk about it, you really don’t have any class at all. Carnival is a cruise line for the regular person who wants to enjoy life without having to put on a top hat and cane to impress the next guy. I am sorry I haven’t been cruising with Carnival for about three years now. My wife passed away and I won’t travel alone, so I started taking my wheelchair bound handicap daughter along with me. Living in Northern California, it is difficult to fly with her to get to one of Carnival’s piers in L.A, so we have been traveling out of San Francisco on Princess Cruises which is also owned by Carnival. Princess is nice but the class distinction is even worse on Princess. They have people that almost live on ships and have done over 100 cruises which makes my 28 seem like nothing. I am running out of destinations to go leaving and returning out of San Francisco with Princess and I really do miss cruising with Carnival. Do you think Carnival will ever start cruising out of SF? A quick note to the smokers. Carnival was one of the last cruise lines to allow smoking on balconies staterooms. I, too, am a cigar smoker and life is always changing, so either stay home and enjoy smoking or change with the times and smoke in the areas allowed. The world isn’t going to put up with second hand smoke anymore and we all have to live with that or die with it your way. Thanks John.

John says:
Hello Michael Kelly

Please never be afraid to say that you are a Diamond guest with us. I read your post carefully and it shows that you have worked hard and saved hard and you have spent your money and your vacation time with us and, for that, we are forever grateful. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your wife.  I am sure you must miss her terribly and I send you my sincere condolences. I hope that one day we shall see you back with us at Carnival but, of course, I understand the challenges you face traveling with your daughter and if there is anything at all I can ever do for you please ask me. Until then I thank you for this wonderfully written post and hope to shake your hand one day soon. Best wishes.


Morris asks:
I am a practicing member of the Jewish religion and cruising with you on the Carnival Miracle to Alaska 8/19 with my family. We have ordered kosher food and have read reports that the quality is awful. Do you have kosher kitchens? My other concern is that the current attacks by Palestine terrorists and as family we need to pray each day for Israel and our family there. Is there a room you can offer me to do this and invite other Jewish passengers? This is our first try at a Carnival cruise.

John says:
Hello Morris

It will be my pleasure to welcome you for your first Carnival cruise with us and I hope it will be a brilliant time for you and the family. We do not have a kosher kitchen, I am afraid, and bring our prepackaged and cooked food onboard through a vendor, I am sure you will be pleased at what we offer. I would be happy to help you with organizing a place for you and other members of the Jewish faith to meet and one of the staff members here will be in touch with you when you get on board. Please let me know if there is anything else we can do to help and I wish you the best of times. Best wishes to you all.


And that’s all we have time for today. Thanks everyone for your continued support of the blog.

Here is the list of the Dive In Movies we will show on the 12 ships that have the big screens on Lido.





Plot: Now 25 years old, Elsa has rumpy pumpy on top of a glacier with Olaf. She is screaming “let it go, let it go” but her passion is so intense that her powers are unleashed and she freezes his snowman’s carrot and it falls off

RIO 2 (G)








NOAH (PG‐13)



Enjoy these wonderful movies with your complimentary popcorn. Being here on the Carnival Miracle I do miss the big screen and I am going to talk to the beards about adding a big screen to the stage area on this class of ship. I really think we could use one……let’s see what they say. Anyway, the lady beards in Miami are really investing a lot of time and money to make sure we have more great movies and content on the big screen and wait, just wait for Carnival Vista.

Let’ see who is sailing with us today as we start another Alaskan cruise:

Total Guests                                        2,587
USA                                                    2,333
Canada                                                            63
French Canada                                    7
UK                                                      20
Australia                                              16
India                                                    23
China                                                   38
Guests under 18                                  502
Diamond Guests                                 3
Platinum Guests                                  119

Most Popular Last Names
Yang – 18
Smith – 15
Johnson – 11

Top Three Most Represented States

Guests whose last name begins with the letter “X”                4

It has been a busy few days on board and on Carnival’s social media where Mischelle who runs our Carnival Facebook page and I have found ourselves having to keep an eye on some interesting conversations from writers who simply make things up in order to get a huge wooden spoon out and stir the pot.

Take the two examples from last week. First, I had to write an apology and a retraction to the message of sympathy I had written about crew members being on the plane that was so tragically shot down in Ukraine. I had read what looked like two credible reports which turned out to be …… well……….not credible. I felt terrible, I felt like an idiot.

Next up were comments saying how angry people were that we had decided to cancel the turndown service, which we hadn’t, and will not be doing…, where, why, who?  Then a few days later someone posted on Facebook that their friend was on the Carnival Legend and he/she had reported that the lights had all gone out, the engines had stopped and the ship was in trouble. Again…………not credible. Not even a shred of truth. Why would someone say that the lights were going on and off ………..maybe that person was …..? Oh I don’t know……… blinking?

The problem is that when someone writes bollocks like these two examples above, it causes a tsunami of comments and conjecture and it causes the conspiracy theorists to dive right into the conversation. Wonder if he is part of a conspiracy theory club. There must be conspiracy theory clubs around the world. I bet they have a secret handshake to get through the door.

I bet they sit at their meetings telling each other that Princess Diana was killed by the Association of World Florists so that they would make millions as the world mourned and bought flowers. Another plaid shirt-wearing theorist would have told him to bugger off saying that she was killed by MI6 on the orders of the Queen who sent James Bond to have her whacked.

Some people’s desperation for conspiracy theories seems to be as great as ever and people like these continue to say that JFK was the victim of a CIA assassination plot. The moon landing was faked. September 11 was staged by the government. And although not obviously on the same level there are the conspiracy theories that believe Carnival will next week be holding daily Scientologist meetings and that for elegant night everyone will be required to wear a green graduation cap and gown. Anyway, Wonder Woman Mischelle and I are on the lookout for these ridiculous and inflammatory conspiracy theories and those who post blatant bollocks in order to stir up people on Carnival’s social media pages. Honestly, people who write these kinds of posts fill me with an uncontrollable need to use my cigar cutter on their nipples.

And, finally, the prodigal son has returned. Yes, joining me today is my new Assistant Cruise Director, Calvyn Sean Champagne Hyphen Martens. Yes Laurel and Hardy are reunited again and suddenly the Carnival Miracle is a lot ummmm………ummmmm……..well, let’s just say it’s more happy and light on its propellers. Calvyn is so many things. He is brilliantly funny, he is hysterical to be with, he dresses like a vagrant and his hair looks like it was washed in the left over grease from Guy’s Burger Joint. His improv skills are sensational; he is caring, loving and as manly as a pair of Richard Simmons shorts.

He is inspiring and he loves and he has breath straight from Satan’s arm pit. He is a great friend. Yep, Calvyn is all these things and by covering as CD on the Carnival Pride these past few weeks he has proven he is ready to be a full-time cruise director and, over the next few months, he will be just that. I am only with him here for two weeks before he goes to cover as CD on the Magic for three weeks and then he will be back here on Carnival Miracle. Calvyn Shawn Champagne Hyphen Martens is quite simply unique and it’s great to have him back. Wish you were here.

Your friend,

Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous, unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

49 Responses to A daughter won’t be sailing :( but a son has returned

  1. Serena Sandlin says:

    I am highly offended when folks feel the need to bring your size in to the conversation when they have a complaint. Frankly Cruise Critic has always felt a little snobby to me but lately it is sounding like it is where the whiners hang out and bash everyone. Donald Bollin went way over the top with his hurtful comments and I think any complaint like that should be tossed in the trash immediately. Please help these awful people find another cruise line that would be a better fit. (so I want have to cruise with them).

  2. Mike says:


    I just wanted to give some input as a non-smoker. Let the vapers have their indoor smoking! I don’t care if someone near me is drinking alcohol as long as they’re not spilling it on me, so since vaping is effectively smoking without pumping secondhand smoke at me, why not?

  3. rudechuck says:

    I have a complaint about your blog today, John. Wilson was a VOLLEYBALL, not a basketball.

    Other than that, I am sorry to hear your wife and daughter won’t be joining you. I know how hard it is being separated from the ones you love most. Chin up.

  4. Marsha Breen says:

    John – I know it is a pain to wade through those idiotic posts from people trying to stir up trouble, but I truly wish you would not print or respond to anyone that is blatantly rude or nasty. It’s one thing to say “I’m upset about….”, but the posters that use derogatory comments in their questions should not receive any space here on your blog. It just encourages them to continue the pattern. I remember telling my kids when they were in school to not be bothered when someone tried to bully them, but to ignore them and pretend it doesn’t bother you. Eventually the bullying would stop because the bully wasn’t getting the expected response. I think the same thing would be true here.

    I’m sorry that your girls aren’t able to join you but hopefully Calvyn’s arrival will bring you some cheerfulness.

  5. Daniel Fisher says:

    As a professional photographer who has worked closely on several occasions with a local bakery, I have seen what damage can be caused to a business by ‘the competition’. This particular bakery owner actually has not only had to deal with the rumors and mis-truths that have been spread by social media but has even had someone call in and say that she’s moving and wanted her water service turned off… and… it happened. The Internet was never designed as a NEWS OUTLET, and anyone who wants to hurt someone personally, or in business, it’s all too easy to do the way things are today… It’s sad, but it’s true.

  6. Gail Daves says:

    I am so sorry you have seen your family & hope u get to be with them soon.

  7. Valerie Elliot says:

    John….Even though I have not been on one cruise yet I enjoy reading your blog , I find myself laughing out loud at some of the things you say and the things people write to you about. (My favorite has got to be about Mrs. Robinson and the green gown ! ) Anyway for somone like me who is fearful of the open water and wants to try a cruise, what type of cabin would be best.(I.e. balcony , inside etc. ) how long of a trip should I try first ? And where are the calmer waters ? Thank you for all you do for your customers !

  8. Sharon Rideout says:

    Hi John,
    So sorry to hear your wife and daughter won’t be joining you. I hope that both of your mothers are OK.
    Just a quick question…
    Why in the ‘who is sailing with us today’ section, do you have ‘Canada’ and ‘French Canada’? As a Canadian, I’m assuming you’re referring to Quebec, although there’s a lot of French Canadians all over Canada. ‘French Canada’ is not a term we hear often. Just wondering! Thanks! 🙂

  9. Gail Gerard says:


    Plot: Now 25 years old, Elsa has rumpy pumpy on top of a glacier with Olaf. She is screaming “let it go, let it go” but her passion is so intense that her powers are unleashed and she freezes his snowman’s carrot and it falls off.


    Keep bringing the funny. 😀

  10. Eileene Plummer says:

    Oh, John, we were SO happy/excited to hear that Calvyn is back with you, anticipating an even-more-fantastic Alaska cruise with you, Calvyn & Ken. About 30 seconds later, we crashed when we read that he’d be leaving the ship again in 2 weeks, and not back for our mid-August cruise. 🙁 First time your blog has ever done that to us! 😀

  11. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    So sorry to hear that Heidi and Kye will not be able to sail with you on this contract.

    If I could suggest, Calvyn can handle it for a couple of weeks so that you could see the family.

    He did a fabulous job as Cruise Director in the past.


    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  12. Bobbi Davis says:

    You are a marvel of a man. I have just recently found your blog, look forward to it all the time and love your posts on FB. You make me laugh out loud and so hard at times I end up crying with laughter. This one today brought a mist in my eyes for you personally. I just recently retired having worked in the Hospitality Industry for about 30 years. I personally know the sacrifices you and all the staff make every day for us the guests. Your ability to keep your humor, show compassion when necessary, being genuine at all times while maintainig your professionalism is truly a gift and a work of art. People either have it or they don’t. True leaders are born and lead by example. I ached when I read about Heidi and Kyle not being able to be with you for I endured some of the same. A long time away from our loved ones is tough but you keep pluggin on. Stay strong mate and stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel. I am jealous of all who have had the privilege of being on one of your cruises. Maybe we’ll get lucky one day. We are on The Liberty on 8/9. You have the passion for the people. May God Bless you.

  13. Sandra Dunlop says:

    I cannot believe these people from Cruise Critics that continually ask for things. Why do they think they are so much more important than the other passengers. It never ceases to amaze me. Tell them to get a grip!!

  14. Debra Cartwright says:

    I just wanted to let you know John. The people who say they are going to pay the $250 smoking fee? It’s $250 PER DAY!! Yikes!! I am a smoker, but I don’t need one that bad..LOL Have a great day John, and keep up the great work you do!!

  15. Steven Hecht says:


  16. Ed O'Connor says:

    My wife and I will be on the Freedom 10/26. This will be our 10th Carnival cruise 11th overall.
    We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary on 10/27. We would like a table for 2 at the early seating. When should I email the request to the ship?

  17. Greg Ecklund says:

    Hi John, My wife and I have taken several Carnival Cruises, one of which when you were the Cruise Director. We certainly have enjoyed our Cruises and we especially enjoyed the Cruise on the Dream a few years ago when, as I mentioned, you were the Cruise Director. Unfortunately, we have not had the opportunity to cruise with you again and, unfortunately, we haven’t had the opportunity to cruise when Calvyn has been onboard – at least not yet 🙂 But we have enjoyed those short videos that you and Calvyn used to post as part of your Blogs. Will you be doing those John/Calvyn videos again ?


    Greg Ecklund

  18. Sherry Laemmle says:

    Today’s comment on VIP status… I just confirmed with Carnival. I am Platinum. We have two cabins, traveling with children. We all check in together under VIP status. Please clarify John.

  19. Elaine Hughes says:

    Sorry you are missing your family

  20. Marty says:

    Your closing comments wondering why the conspiracy theorists post their drivel reminded me of a ‘Dear Abby’ letter I once read. She discovered that, like you, she was being deliberately punked or scammed by various unknown college kids. It was a sort of ‘drinking game’ challenge to write a totally fictitious letter that ‘Dear Abby’ would answer and have it published in the newspaper. I don’t know what prize was won but the point was to stir the pot and/or get noticed. It must be aggravating but too a sign you’ve reached the big time?

  21. Catherine Thomas says:

    I sailed on the Legend with the 2 of you. Calvyn was a treat. I loved my interactions with him and left him with a Canadian button. Everytime I look at my walker and the lonely button that is left, I think of him and our conversations.

  22. Dutchman says:

    Glad to see Calvyn will be a full CD, we had tea with him and Capt on the Pride a few weeks ago. He is a very likable gem.

  23. Jeanie says:

    “Joe Versus the Volcano” – we LOVED that movie!!! Wapani Wu!

  24. I must say John, when Calvyn Sean Champagne Hyphen Martens is with you, you both work so well together. He’s quite a character and I’m so happy that he’ll be a Cruise Director soon. Congratulation Calvyn Sean Champagne Hyphen Martens,
    So that your wife & Daughter could be be with on the Miracle. It must be hell not having them with you. Hang in there my good friend. Time will come when you will see them again.
    Awhile ago when I could email you and you could email me back was lovely but since you have so great now, even you and do all that has to be done and that is why there are others that have to write back to me. Oh how I miss those days.
    Take care my smaller friend. I’m so proud of you in your quest of losing weight. I know how difficult it is. I’ve lost 54 pounds but its so hard keeping it down. The challenge is to try and continue with the challenge. Life is hard but we all have to deal with it. Keep at it. I know that you can it. Keep strong John. See you my friend.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  25. Kathryn Temkow says:

    John, love your blog and Facebook page. They keep me informed of Carnival “happenings” along with a smile on my face. In today’s blog, you mentioned there will be changes to the loyalty program. Has any thought been given to awards based on the cost of a cabin? I know many folks reach levels rather quickly by booking interior and ocean view cabins. We always book the ocean suites and therefore travel less often. Regardless of how the loyalty program changes, we will remain loyal Carnival customers! Thanks for all you do, John!

  26. Dan Atkins says:

    John is Calvyn going to be with you and us on the Sept. 10th sailing?????

  27. Dan Atkins says:

    John, when did the policy change on families traveling together with the same account not getting VIP boarding together? I recently booked a family cruise for 11, 5 cabins, and was told that if the bookings were linked to the same account we could all board together. You know me John, I will hold CCL to what I was told at the time of booking……Just trying to head off a problem on arrival…..Breeze, Jan. 3rd, 2015 all five cabins booked by me and linked to my credit card (Diamond) and my Daughter, who is Platinum, and her husband have the 5th cabin and already have this perk. Hope I didn’t receive wrong information and if I did that CCL will stand behind their representative’s statement. I made all the Bookings personally on the Diamond phone line provided, and yes John, I’m the lucky stiff that’s picking up the tab on the cruise…..LOL Let me know if you need the booking numbers, still hoping for some price reductions so we can possibly move up on the ship….Thanks Mate, WIWT

  28. Rob Holloway says:

    It sounds like you did marry a fantastic woman considering she is looking after two mums that mean a lot to you.
    Course you miss all the woman in your life though you would be the first to admit that your contact pails in comparison to majority of the crew you sail with. The only thing I take issue with you mate is that Barbados is the Island to visit not Jamaica 🙂 Actually we are now building a Sandals for you and your friends. The people are friendly , rum shops abound, flying fish will find its way into your stomach not other places and Heidi will be in heaven though I guess any place with sun and sand will make her happy and of course if you were with them .. That is what it is all about. Cheers mate ,, glad we in Victoria were able to offer you sun and clear sky’s yesterday.

  29. Janey Winford says:

    John, Great blog today. So sorry to hear that your family will not be able to join you in Alaska. How many more weeks will it be before you are headed home? Less than 8 isn’t it?

    My sister Donna and I are sorry we will miss Calvyn on the Magic. We leave this Sunday for another great cruise and would have loved to see him in the CD roll. I hope he enjoys his time in Texas…..

    Calvyn…….Buckle Up Buttercup!!!

  30. Atoya says:

    John, you talk a lot about “contracts” and the length of time you and other employees are away from home, so I was wondering just how long is a normal contract?

  31. Johnny Hendrickson says:

    Please John, don’t put anymore big screens on ships. Leave at least some for those of us who want to enjoy a cruise without the intrusion of rerun TV shows at breakfast or less live music.

  32. Kitty Leftwich says:

    Hey John;

    It’s been a little more than a month since my husband and I sailed with you. The voyage was all I hoped for and more. The ship and the staff were wonderful. Alaska was as beautiful as ever. Still, the highlight of the trip was finally getting to meet you in person. I thank you again for the gifts you sent to the cabin. My “ship on a stick” is proudly displayed with the rest of our trip memorabilia. I hope you enjoyed the story of “Rob in the Hood” and the “You can’t scare me picture”.

    Although it’s hard to be away from loved ones, remember as I said in the note you are appreciated for all that you do.

    Looking forward to sailing with you again sometime.

    Kitty (not the litterer) Leftwich

  33. Cynthia Ravenscraft says:

    John, so sorry that your family will not be able to join you this trip. I completely understand missing the family. My husband was on sea duty with the US Navy our first 3 1/2 years of our marriage and he was gone most of it including 8 months out of our first year and he left on a 6 1/2 month cruise three days before our son was due (he was 12 days late) so my husband chose to come home when his enlistment was up 3 1/2 months later so he could meet his little boy instead of staying in the Navy and not meeting him for another three months. Of course this changed his career path but I think it was for the best.

    I would like to applaud Michael Kelly, you Diamond guest. He is a man with the true meaning of being a Diamond Club Member. It is not about how much money you make, how far up the perks chain you have gotten or what you think you deserve. It is all about the fact that you had so much fun you kept coming back and you were fortunate to have enough money to do so. These idiots that say “I paid thousands to get to this level so I deserve my own gang way, more free drinks, a private lounge, etc” did not pay all this money to get those perks. They paid all this money over the years because they were having FUN!!!!! If they were not having fun they would have never gotten to any higher levels.

    Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. grizel robertson says:

    John, I am reverting to posting here as I simply cannot keep up with comments etc. on your Facebook page due to the time zone difference between N America and the UK and inability to access Facebook in the workplace (banned access). I am delighted to know that Calvyn will be teaming up with you again soon and sad that I shall miss the opportunity to sail with both of you again on Miracle. I truly empathise with your sentiments concerning Heidi and Kye and do hope that there is a positive outcome for Heidi and you in the UK and Holland. I get so annoyed with the folks who accuse you of being a mouthpiece for the Beards and party to corporate decisions – it beggars belief. I love Michael Kelly’s post and agree totally with his comments about Diamond status from the angle that he cruises with CCL because he loves cruising and not to attain a particular loyalty level. I qualified for Diamond status on BC6 in 2013 but actually qualified for current Platinum status in 1998(77 sea days) when you were CD on my BtoB on Destiny. However, at that time there was no loyalty programme and no bitching or boasting about how many cruises folks had taken etc. I wholly appreciate my Diamond privileges. It takes me over 16 hours to reach and return from ports in the US, + expensive air fares and, as an UK citizen, I cannot obtain a Carnival MasterCard. I cannot avail myself of the wonderful offers available in the US because my transit costs make it unviable However, I shall continue to cruise with CCL as I have met so many wonderful friends and crew members over the last 22 years. Looking forward to my 36 days on Legend from Tampa via LA to Sydney with old and new friends. Take care of yourself and try to ignore the constant rumour mongers and whiners!

  35. Linda Evans says:

    OMG does this mean John, you and Calvin will be on the Miracle for the. Sept 2, 2014 cruise? It does not get any better than this. OK dinner invitation to be our guest extends not only for you but also for Calvin at the Nick and Nora’s steak House any night that week. Yes we have reservations every night. The comical senior twins and the comical duo what a dinner.
    Linda Evans

  36. Tammy S. says:


    My family and I just wrapped up a wonderful week on the Carnival Miracle. Thank you for an amazing experience! YOU are a delight and we looked forward to every announcement or entertainment hosting you made. I’ve never enjoyed life boat drill before but you made it a blast.

    I know that Zumba was being tested out as an event…LOVED IT! Strongly suggest making it a regular entertainment fleet wide and consider daily for a 30- 45 min session. Likewise, the dance classes are always fun. I would suggest more line dancing and adding belly dancing as well.

    My only true negative about the trip was the excessive smoking on the ship and balconies. We are very much a non-smoking family and it was frustrating to not be able to enjoy the suite balcony because everyone around us smoked. I see that Carnival is fixing that for future cruises. Good for you!

    Again, thanks to you and the crew for making our Alaskan holiday so memorable.

  37. lisa says:

    Hi john! We will be taking our 2nd carnival cruise in Nov., first time on the Liberty. We will be celebrating our 25th anniversary and the couple we are traveling with their 50th!! Is there any little perk you can provide them? I think 50 years is something to be celebrated! Thanks!!

  38. Julia says:

    I am now a diamond status with Carnival too My husband and I met you on three different cruises and totally enjoyed you and Carnival. My husband made his 25th before passing away alittle over two years ago. What you all give up to ensure our vacations are outstanding is why Carnival was our 1st and only!!! What you need to change for us that are platinum or above I totally agree with one who commented on the past blogs! YOU all already make our vacation above and beyond just because of the quality of people that work in all stages of the vacation, booking(Marla Cabrela) embarking, the vessel, the staff on board (to many to comment on all), OUTSTANDING! Every ship! It matters how you treat them too! We have seen people that don’t appeciate what your team does, and that just makes us upset!I wish they could or would understand what they give up to be there to make your vacation awesome! I can’t always afford a longer cruise like Ray and I would do but I still enjoy Carnival and the GREAT associates that you hire to make my experience awesome! Thank you John

  39. Charlene Trullinger says:

    Will be sailing on 8/9/14 aboard Carnival Liberty. We are Platinum members and love Carnival. I am a non-smoker and glad that Carnival has taken notice of my rights to be able to breathe. Love your blog,

  40. cg says:

    thank you to Michael Kelly for his great post.
    I have over 100 days sailed on various cruise linses and his comments are spot on.
    If you are a snob, then you have no class.

  41. Charles F-M says:

    I know what you mean by false information online. I was on the Carnival Valor 02/09 that had a cabin fire in St. Thomas. What had really happened was not communicated well until later that night. As we were all lined up waiting for late dinner there must have been 200 different versions of the story (none turned out to be correct). The next day we had a medical diversion to Martinique so someone could go to hospital, this time the Captain was very quick at eliminating the rumors. As a perk there was the most amazing double rainbow I had ever seen as we left Martinique that we would have missed if we didn’t divert.

  42. Nancy Grimm says:


    I am an avid Carnival cruiser/fan. I am currently lying in a chair on the serenity deck of the Elation. I love cruising on Carnival. Two things are concerning me on this cruise. First, we are on the serenity Ty deck, and they are blasting music through the speakers…..NOT serene. Secondly,we elected to eat on Lido last night. There were dishes and filthy tables everywhere, and no one there to clean them. I am not used to this on Carnival. Regardless these two things, I will still have a wonderful time. If you could get them to turn the blasted music off, I would be eternally grateful!

  43. TESS says:

    OP = original poster.
    Sucks that she’s had some many issues, but to personally attack you and make fun of your weight?? Ridiculous, crude and juvenile. Seriously? some people..

  44. brad says:


    • brad says:

      What is community developmetn?
      Community development includes not only providing a neighbor hood to offer living arrangements but a community with opportunity full of growth and achievement. Ptoential home owners look to grow as functioning citizens of society. Development should offer an economic structure thats invotes commercial interest and affords individuals the opporutunity for jobs in the market place. With the increase in value of properity with a commercial interst, it increases the taxable dollars from collected businesses that build schools and libraries and further fund programs that aid the community. Providing a sense of wealth and belonging allows residence to take pride and ownership of one’s personal property and committment to the neighborhood. With htese foundations in place, implementations of parks and walking trails are able to connect with other communities infrastructure will allow for sustainable communities. Active programing for surrounding areas provide functions for all age group and creeds of people. A well developed plan attract families that are looking to contribute and support the area as a hold.

      • brad says:

        Political influences on low income communities often translate to some one from the community withing sharing their voice of the people in time of injustice or tragedy. Low income communitys tend to not be involved in the polical process as a whole as the local process may has failed them or fails to show how their vote has rarely made a change. As elected officials have changed over a period of time, not so much their circumstances are current statrus.

        If an individual community lacks economic structure, there are less opportunity for jobs which gives access to afforadble housing. As a result some of these traits may influence poor choices made in a lower income community.

        Education becomes secondary over food and jobs. This element introduces a lack of understanding and a viable way to communicate with potential employers which will result into intemidation and lack of interest. Not being able to communicate with certain groups can lead to isolation, withdrawning from a ever changing society, placing the lower income in hte dgital divided.

        Generations must be prepared to compete for jobs in an unstable industry. No prior education beyond highschool presents challenges for those who seek employment. With no opporutinity of a higher paying job provides very little chance for the impoverish to rise out of the lowerincome class.

        Community Labs and programs should be created and implemented were lower income residence are afforded the opportunity to educate themselves and increase jobs skills and communication. Increasing vocal and computer communication will remove barriers that certain groups face from isolation and intemidation.

      • Brad says:

        I attended Prairie View A&M university and recieved my BS in Architecture. I currently work for the University of Houston Downtown as a Capital Project Manager. I am the current liason fir UHD between the City of Houston, TXDOT, Harris County Flood control and METRO. I have served as a board director on a MUD for over seven years. Through my experience i have learned alot of information as it relates to developers in commercial realestate and residential communities.

        I am taking this class to be come more familar of the thought process and decision making for land usage and its selction. Investigating areas who have complete access versus those with out.

        As being one of the required courses, I think its important to grasp as much information as possible through case studies and different issues through the discussion threads.

        One of the most interesting things about me is my creative personality. If I can dream it, Im sure it can truly happen.

        I am from Dallas, TX but I reside in Fresno, TX outside of Houston city limits. I am originally form the US.

        I hold a BS in ARCH from Prairie View University class of 1998.

        My community is facing lack of options for mid teens to occupy their time during the summer and after school.

        I will hoope to continue top gain the thought process of construction and development prior to the committment level. I am interested in learning key steps in hte decison making process.

  45. Daphanie Jenkins says:

    Hi John just wondering , why when booking , does carnival ask if your celebrating anything, but they don’t give you a little trinket, or at least decorate your room, send a bottle of champagne. I am getting ready to sail on my 20 the Carnival cruise, celebrating my 48th Birthday, on Feb 17th. I will also be celebrating my 26th wedding Anniversary aboard the Carnival Breeze. I am a dedicated Carnival cruiser. I have never, nor will I ever travel on any other cruise line. Reward that with something other than my usual platinum gift, I have earned my self. It can’t always be about the dollar.

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