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Interview with Captain Carnival

Carnival Captain
Your Carnival Captain!

If you’ve sailed on a Carnival cruise through the port in Tampa, chances you know the famous, “Captain Carnival.” When I was touring the Carnival Mardi Gras in Port Canaveral several months ago, I shouted a “hello” to the Captain, and he happily waved back!

I was watching one of his live Facebook videos recently where he was answering viewers questions, and sharing his thoughts on cruising. Afterwards, I sent the Captain an email asking for an interview, and boom, he responded. Enjoy the interview below, and be sure to reach out to him soon!

The Cruise Genius, Scott Lara

The Cruise Genius:  Literally you’ve greeted over 100,000 guests boarding Carnival cruise ships during your career. Can you share a bit of your personal background and what prompted you to become, “The Captain”?

YOUR Carnival Captain: “Great question Scott and thank you for inviting me to be interviewed here on your blog.  For starters my entire career has been based on service whether it be as a retired policeman after 33 years, an adjunct professor for 10 years and now as the face and voice of “Captain Carnival” here at Port Tampa Bay and of course on “YOUR Carnival Captain” on Facebook.

When I retired from the Police Department and from teaching I thought it might be FUN to work for Carnival at the port so I applied for a positon and was hired on the spot.  Not longafterwards, just a couple of weeks actually, I was approached by management who asked if I would like to be the port announcer.  

They stated that even though this was a part-time job I seemed to really love what I was doing, very quick witted making all of my guests laugh and relax when they came to check in with me.  Just a few weeks later someone started calling me “Captain Carnival” and thus I became this FUN entity by accident.  I hear all the time that what I do out in the middle of the crowd during pre-boarding and beyond is such a FUN experience that should happen at others homeports as well.  Perhaps I should clone myself!

When I was a policeman I never had a Facebook account so when I finally decided to create one I also thought that perhaps I could start a little Facebook fan club that remarkably took off and well the rest is history.

I then began to branch out as an official Carnival Travel Advisor offering not only my insights, expertise and advice but on assisting guests book their cruises with the sole goal of making them happy.  

As a cruiser, and as an advisor I NEVER book a stateroom cabin for a guest that I would NOT be willing or happy to stay in myself.  As a retired professional, with a pension, my total focus is on creating the BEST Guest experience and not excessive remuneration at the expense of the Guest.  I’m not driven by quotas nor finances but rather giving and getting the very BEST for each and every Guest.”

The Cruise Genius: Your wife is also a part of this experience and you’ve been married for a long time. Does she share your passion for cruising?

Captain Carnival
Captain Carnival

YOUR Carnival Captain:  “Susan Marie and I met over 40 years ago and will be celebrating our 39th Wedding Anniversary on May 1st.  We started cruising together quite out of accident or perhaps shear necessity.  I had planned a trip to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary however that trip was planned for July so I needed to have something “BIG” for our actually anniversary in May to through her off the track.  So I thought why not take a cruise as we had never done so and booked a 4-day cruise aboard YOUR Carnival Inspiration that actually started on our anniversary date.  Needless to say we were hooked from that point onward and of course we both share in the excitement of starting the FUN here working together as a couple too.”

The Cruise Genius: Besides the financial impact of COVID on cruising, what are your thoughts about the cruise industry as we are coming back from this pandemic.

YOUR Carnival Captain: “We have all been impacted on so many levels during the pandemic and perhaps the cruise industry as a whole has suffered the most. It was tough being out of the loop as an employee for 19 months and despite the industry as a whole slowly but surely returning to service the seas haven’t always been particularly calm.

Between the current protocols and financial strains associated with keeping the fleet afloat has been an enormous task and included some related losses such as the elimination of key positions and of course most recently having to retire several ships out of necessity.  Things are looking better and brighter and hopefully we will have the pandemic protocols in the rearview mirror.”

The Cruise Genius:  What are the top 3 things you would want people to know before boarding their first Carnival cruise?

YOUR Carnival Captain: “Well long before boarding I would first start by planning just what you want to do, where to go for how long and of course just how much you can financially afford.  Even though you are going on vacation and most everything onboard is included there are some things that you may have overlooked or not been aware of.  It is here that having a Carnival Travel Advisor (like me) is so very important.

After that – bring on the FUN.  Be guided by all of the pre-boarding information that can be found on Carnival.Com including the Have Fun – Be Safe Protocols”  

You’re on vacation so seek out all of the FUN and also be the FUN by experiencing everything imaginable aboard and ashore.  Get out there and do some out of the ordinary activities that you can’t do at home.

Obviously as a first time cruiser you should have a checklist of all of the important items you need just to get onboard in your hand BEFORE stepping inside the cruise terminal such as YOU’RE boarding pass and proof of citizenship.  Of course now one also MUST have their proof of vaccination and negative covid-19 test too.

Finally, as a new first time Carnival Cruiser please know that you will be issued a “BLUE” Sail and Sign Card and that if they mention my name onboard along with showing their BLUE Card that shall receive FREE Ice Cream for the entire cruise!

Thank you again Scott for this opportunity and both Susan Marie and I can be found online at YOUR Carnival Captain Facebook Group as well as “Captain Carnival Cruises” on Facebook too.  Welcome To The FUN – BOOM and BAM!!”

Check out the Captain’s links below:

About Scott Lara

Navy Veteran, Travel Agent, love to cruise!

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