Carnival Cruise Line Addresses Cruise Director Situation

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Following the recent news of a popular cruise director’s retirement, Carnival Cruise Line has made some clarifications about which cruise directors will be taking over aboard the immensely popular Mardi Gras.

While permanent assignments have not yet been made, the cruise line is ensuring that all guests will enjoy their time aboard the ship with excellent and energetic leadership.

Mardi Gras Cruise Director Changes

With the news that wildly popular cruise director Jonathan “Cookie” Adams is retiring from Carnival Cruise Line, guests booked on upcoming sailings of Mardi Gras are wondering who will be taking his place to direct the fun on the line’s first Excel-class ship.

Adams was scheduled to remain as cruise director on Mardi Gras through February 3, 2024, but will not be finishing his assignment.

“It comes with a heavy heart that I have officially decided to announce that I’m stepping down from my position as Cruise Director here at Carnival Cruise Lines,” Adams announced on social media. “This was a decision made by me for me. No I wasn’t fired, no I wasn’t forced to do it, I decided after 9 years of giving myself to everyone around me it’s now time to focus on me and what I want for my next chapter.”

Jonathan “Cookie” Adams Carnival Cruise Director
Jonathan “Cookie” Adams Carnival Cruise Director

A flurry of good wishes have come Adams’ way since his announcement, including from Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald.

“All of us thank him for providing so much fun for so many people and wish him nothing but happiness in his journey ahead,” said Heald. “No Cruise Director ever has looked as good in tight leather shorts and a Captain’s hat. We will all miss you, Cookie.”

But who will be at the helm of all the fun aboard Mardi Gras at this point? Heald addressed the changes and confirmed that Marty Pitts will serve as the ship’s cruise director for one week, having just finished a cruise director contract aboard Carnival Luminosa.

Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise Ship
Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line)

Jacky Tang will then move to Mardi Gras, and will stay in the position until mid-January. Tang is also scheduled as the cruise director for Mardi Gras from mid-May through mid-July, 2024.

From mid-January through early February, Joseph Boyes is scheduled for Mardi Gras, followed by TJ Partida.

Cruise director assignments can always change as staffing needs are shifted throughout the fleet, but guests can check the live assignment table to see which cruise directors are scheduled on which Carnival ships in the upcoming months.

Does a Cruise Director Matter?

A cruise director manages the ship’s onboard activities staff, the “Fun Squad” that runs trivia matches, deck parties, games, and other great activities all cruise long. They will also coordinate with the entertainment staff to introduce shows, as well as make announcements to guests about each day’s activities or special notices.

Because of their leadership role, a cruise director is often the “face of the fun” onboard, and is a memorable personality that many passengers enjoy. Some travelers enjoy the energy and charisma of particular cruise directors so much that they book specific sailings to ensure that their favorite cruise director is onboard.

Carnival Cruise Directors
Carnival Cruise Directors

Just like any leadership position, a cruise director sets the tone and energy of the team members they lead. A bolder, more vibrant personality will inspire those under their leadership to stretch themselves and make each cruise more memorable and exciting for everyone aboard.

Carnival Cruise Line understands the vital importance of cruise directors, and provides tremendous support and training to ensure their fleet of cruise directors is always prepared to give guests the best possible vacations.

In January 2022, the cruise line introduced the “Fleet Cruise Director” position to provide further leadership and training to all cruise directors, with popular cruise director Mike Pack becoming the first to hold that title.

In March 2023, Chris “Donkey” Salazar was promoted as the second fleet cruise director, and the third – Chris “The Flying Scotsman” Williams – also assumed the title just days ago, having announced his promotion in early November.

Carnival Cruise Line has not detailed how many fleet cruise directors may eventually be part of the overall leadership team, but each one brings distinction and broad experiences to their role, which they can use to help all cruise directors create the very best getaways for every guest, no matter which ship they sail on.

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