Good Afternoon from Rome where it’s another sunny day. Today, the Vatican Museum is closed as it is a Holy Friday celebrating Sts. Peter and Paul. The Pope is giving Mass this morning and some 8,000 people are expected in St. Peters square.

I have to talk to you quickly about something a guest said to Stephanie, one of the entertainment staff yesterday. After the travel talk she saw Stephanie and said ” Why was the cruise director talking about the Pope – doesn’t he know he died?”

Today, I want to start by slapping on three more photos from Heidi’s collection.

1. This is a beautiful photo of the “Walk Of Life” at Ephesus with Hadrian’s Grand Library in the back ground

This is a beautiful photo of the “Walk Of Life” at Ephesus with Hadrian’s Grand Library in the back ground

2. The second photo is of Ephesus again. Note the lights and rigging which were being set for a concert which is being played tonight (Friday) by a full 52 piece orchestra from Germany.

The second photo is of Ephesus again. Note the lights and rigging which were being set for a concert which is being played tonight (Friday) by a full 52 piece orchestra from Germany.

3. Finally for today and also from Ephesus is the statue of the Goddess Nike. Look carefully and you can see where the Nike symbol comes from

Finally for today and also from Ephesus is the statue of the Goddess Nike. Look carefully and you can see where the Nike symbol comes from

More photos later.

Today, I have a full staff meeting to discuss various events and procedures and also to say goodbye to various staff members whose contract is completed and tomorrow will be heading off on a well-deserved vacation. I have lots of paperwork and hopefully I will get this done quickly so that I can take Heidi out to dinner ashore tonight, if not it’s a first class, non-stop trip to the Dog House for me.

I think the guests have had a great time this cruise. The only area that has been a concern was the heat in Turkey and Greece but that aside I am very satisfied with the cruise but as always there are always areas we can improve on and we must do so.

Sorry, just stopped blogging for an hour as I see on the news that a car bomb has been discovered in London and defused……………what a world we live in.

OK, back to the blog and now I present a gentlemen called Steve Williams who is Carnival’s director of medical services and responsible for all the nurses and doctors on board our ships. I asked him some questions and here are his answers.

Steve Williams

Can you tell us about your medical background and your career with Carnival leading to your current position? I trained as a nurse in the UK at St Mary’s Hospital in London. I have been a nurse for 21 years. I worked in Accident & Emergency before moving to the US. I have worked mainly in trauma and emergency departments. My previous work was as Director of Nursing for Mount Sinai Medical Center, Emergency Department on Miami Beach, where I also worked as Chief Flight Nurse for the Lifeflight Critical Care Transport program, where we flew a Sikorsky S – 76 helicopter. I joined Carnival in October 1999, and now am responsible for coordinating the work of the shipboard physicians and nurses, hiring and scheduling and the logistics involved in managing medical centers on 22 ships. I work with our Medical Director Dr. Art Diskin, and our Senior Fleet Physician Dr. John Bradberry.

How many Doctors and Nurses are currently employed throughout the fleet? Please can you tell us a little about their demographics and qualifications you look for in both positions? We have a total of 24 senior physicians, and 28 ship’s physicians, who rotate through the ships on contracts that range from four- six months. We have approximately 90 registered nurses working for us at any given time. All our physicians and nurses have to had emergency and critical care experience, and are certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support. Most of our physicians and nurses come from the UK, South Africa, Europe or Australia and New Zealand. Our infirmaries exceed the CLIA/ACEP guidelines and are designed to treat and stabilize most emergent medical conditions until we can get the patient to the hospital.

The old image of a ship’s doctor is long gone although it still has a certain “romantic image “about it. Obviously you cannot discuss individual cases but can you tell us something about the diversity of today’s “doctor onboard.” Our medical teams deal with everything from seasickness and colds and flu, to heart attacks and traumatic injuries from falls or accidents, such as moped and Jet Ski accidents. One minute they may be advising a mother on how to treat symptoms of a sore throat in a child, the next running to a call about an unconscious guest, or helping to manage a patient in an emergency situation.

Let’s chat about the nurses who are often the unsung heroes onboard. What is a typical day like for a cruise ship nurse? Our nursing staff typically works long hours, often times many hours more than they are scheduled to work. As well as the very varied clinical cases, there is a lot of paperwork involved, because of US Coastguard and CDC regulations. There is emergency equipment and supplies to check, reports and medical records to copy, endless copying and scanning…..Then some of our staff are also involved in on board and shipboard activities, such as training staff, or working with a shoreside clinic or charity. They really are the core and backbone of our shipboard medical centers, and we are very fortunate to have an amazingly talented, hardworking and compassionate group of nurses.
Now, onto the dreaded word…………………….Norwalk Virus. There seems to be a perception that this can only occur on a cruise ship. Can you give us your perspective on this and what cruise ship guests should do to try and prevent this from happening to them? Now we call it Noro, the citizens of Norwalk, Connecticut got a little ticked off at continually being associated with diarrhea and vomiting! It is the most common cause of gastro-enteritis or “stomach flu” in the world. Probably 30 – 40 million shoreside cases a year in the US alone. If guests frequently wash their hands, especially before eating, smoking (if they really cannot give up), putting on make up or touching their mouths for any reason, we would have far less cases. Folks also need to understand that the alcohol-based hand gels are also pretty ineffective in killing Noro, because they evaporate before they can kill the virus. We are in the process of trialing a new disposable hand wipe, which we believe will be far more effective than the alcohol based gels.

OK, as always we finish with a couple of personal “lighthearted ” questions. What’s your favorite Doctor/Nurse/Medical Joke? A young woman, who has a bit of a lisp, goes to the doctor with a case of bronchitis. During the medical exam he takes his stethoscope out of his coat pocket, and places the listening piece on her back, the other end in his ears, leans forward and says to her… “Big Breaths”…. She blushes, and says,…. “Yesth, and I am only sixthteen”

If you had to treat one of these people for an upper thigh injury, who would you choose

Angelina Jolie
Pamela Andersen
Hale Berry
Tom Cruise
John Heald

I have to say that Angelina Jolie would certainly be a pleasure to look after, although you would always be very good for a laugh…!!!!

My thanks to Steve and we pay tribute to all ships doctors and nurses who have treated and saved so many guests………….THANK YOU ALL.

I hope you are enjoying the guest interviews, many more will follow.

Yesterday’s anagrams were pretty easy but incase you were having trouble, here are the answers.




Here are today’s




And with much fanfare we herald the arrival of today’s Q & A

LUV 2 CRUISE – What wonderful words when you said “I am still glowing after my cruise.” I think this glow also has something to do with your husband and once again I thank him for all he did to make sure the cruise was a special one for all. I will make sure I add to my talk the fact that clothes do shrink on a cruise and even more so this cruise from the weather being so hot, there has been a lot of “sweating” going on this week. Anyway, Heidi and I send our best to you both and hope you are having a yabba dabba doo time.
STACY – It seems to me that both you and Big Ed have come up with great names for the new Carnival Splendor’s spa. It seems that in the event of a draw the decision will be made by deciding who looks the best for the spa’s promotional photos. This will include.
Stacy and Ed wrapped in a towel by the entrance of the spa
Stacy and Ed covered in oils and creams
Stacy and Ed using all the keep fit equipment
So it is obvious therefore that the winner is…………………………………………….BIG ED.
BIG ED – I’m Spartacus!
LINDA HERNACKI – Of course you will get a signed photo and a book. Please let us know when your grandson arrives and we wish him, his parents and of course his grandparents many happy times ahead. I hope Daniel is as good at changing light bulbs as his granddad. Let us know the news.
IVANA – Thank you so much on behalf of Alan and I for the Prague information which will prove so very useful. I especially enjoyed the food and pub recommendations which I shall pay special attention to. You must be very proud of your hometown and I will be sure to take some photos and put them on the blog. Thanks again, I owe you one so let me know if you need anything.
MTSFPBLFTTNSFCF – I am glad you liked the story about my over friendly Russian friend, who by the way was found fast asleep in one of the public bathrooms last night at 2 am……I say asleep……..more sleep induced by his favorite tipple. He has become famous this cruise and really is harmless. I understand how smoke can bring on asthma for many people and I know your wife is concerned. As far as the ship is concerned there is no smoking in any restraint or theater and if you stay out of the casino, cigar bar and disco you will not come into contact with any smoke. I am at your service as your friend and as cruise director should require any help. My best to you and your wife…Heidi still needs a mask, especially as I am eating some pistachios.
BARB AND HER BEAR – It is always great to hear from you both and your comments are so kind as always. The young kids from Istanbul really enjoyed their time onboard and I hope we can do it again before too long. People do think that I can control the weather, it’s only a few out of 3,000 but they never cease to amaze me. I am sure your grand kids must really appreciate you sending them so many postcards and photos of all the amazing and historic places you have visited. Again, thank you so much for your kind words which mean so much to Heidi and I.
RONANOKE HOO – I remember very well the tour which arrived late from Panama and as you said it was good that it was a Carnival organized tour so we knew where you all were.
You asked about the dress code for the mosques in Turkey for ladies. Ladies must have their shoulders covered when entering the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. If you are wearing shorts they should be on or over your knees please. However, there will be no need to cover your head. Remember that everyone must remove their shoes and therefore we recommend that your wear socks if you do not want to walk around barefooted. Now, apart from the taking your shoes off, the same applies to the Vatican and is one of the many similarities between the two religions.
The Private Vatican Tour is one of the most amazing things I have ever done as you explore the areas of the Vatican that nobody else gets to see……….the Pope’s Cars and Carriages, the Private Chambers and art collections and of course the highlight is being alone ion the Sistine Chapel. There is nothing else like it. See you in a few days and let me know if you need anything else.
MARK CHAMBLISS – I have a feeling that you need to be on stage with me as its time to make you a star. See you in January on the Bloggers Cruise and I look forward to seeing you and your family……………..It will be a brilliant cruise and I cannot wait to spend valuable time with my friends from cruise critic and cruise Mates. Keep reading the blog thingy until then and I am glad you got a call from Vicki, she is one of a kind.
LOVE TO TEACH – The weather was 12 degrees above the normal monthly average in Athens this week. I hope it is a bit cooler but do come prepared with a sun hat and lots of sunscreen with a high SPF factor. Twelve days and counting and we will get to meet each other……..hope you have a safe flight and if you need anything before you travel I remain at your service.
ELVIRA AND ALEXANDER – Congratulations on writing one of the most beautiful postings I have read on the blog so far and in perfect English. I remember you both very well and remember you dancing so beautifully at the talent show and also showing the ship your photos on the morning show. You have written so many wonderful things that I don’t know where to start but I will say thank you to all the crew you mentioned especially Darko, Dino and the dancers who you loved so much. All of us who are going to the Carnival Splendor as crew or as guests are so looking forward to St. Petersburg or Peter as you said it is known and hopefully we can see you there one time so we can meet again. I am sure all the bloggers enjoyed reading your letter and we thank you so much for taking the time to do so. I wish you and Alexander much happiness as does Heidi. Spasiba my friends.
ESSEXMAN – For you, I would happily sign a copy of anything as would Heidi and even Alan will sign an old pair of his Y Fronts.
J – JOHN – hello J -John, its John here John and yes there will be lots of Johns on the Carnival Splendor John. Great to hear your friends have now booked the ship as well and Ken will be here and Heidi some of the time. I have never been to Arizona but if you invite me then indeed I may. Stay cool and write soon.
LISA AND ELAINE – Glad you enjoyed the story about my Russian friend. The T-shirts will be ready within the next few days. Watch this space.
COLEEN O’LEARY. – Just to confirm that I will make supper club reservations as follows:
Table for two on July 14 at 8 pm.
Table for four on July 21 at 8 pm
Heidi is e-mailing the supper club as we speak. Look forward to meeting you all.
SWEETSUNSHINE – Welcome to my blog thingy, I am glad you found the site. I see that you are sailing on the Carnival Splendor and until then please let me know if you have any questions on the ship or ports of call, etc. and I will be happy to help and answer them.

That’s all the time I have for Q&A for today, otherwise I will be in the doghouse for not taking Heidi out for dinner.

Today, we received a care package from NANCI KOPERSKI. It contained a beautiful card, Heidi thinks it has been hand made and delicious sugar-free chocolate, a wonderful CD and vanilla shower gels. Nanci, from Heidi and I a very big thank you. Getting packages like that is such a nice surprise and we really appreciate it!!

I am also very privileged to have had an article written about the blog by our Cruise Critic friends.

Here is the link:

I am looking forward to meeting all my Cruise Critic friends very soon. It was a brilliant article and thanks again.



For the first time, Carnival Cruise Lines will operate voyages to South America with 14- to 18-day departures featuring extended visits to magnificent destinations in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Chile and Peru aboard the new 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor beginning in January 2009.

Representing a new class of “Fun Ship,” the 3,006-passenger SuperLiner will offer a host of innovations including a luxurious 21,000-square-foot health club and the line’s first spa staterooms and suites.

Carnival Splendor will operate three special South America departures in 2009 — a 17-day, six-port cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan. 31-Feb. 17; a 14-day, six-port voyage from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile, Feb. 17-March 3, and an 18-day, six-port South America/Mexican Riviera cruise from Santiago (Valparaiso) to San Francisco March 3-21.

Carnival Splendor will become the first Carnival “Fun Ship” to operate a South American itinerary when it embarks on a 17-day, six-port cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Buenos Aires Jan. 31 – Feb. 17, 2009. The voyage, which will sail across two hemispheres with the crossing of the equator, will feature visits to the tropical islands of Dominica and Barbados as well as day-long calls at four spectacular Brazilian ports — Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, each of which offers a rich history with architecture dating back to mid-16th century, along with gorgeous beaches, outstanding restaurants and shops, and unique cultural experiences.

Following this voyage, Carnival Splendor will sail on a 14-day, six-port “Cape Horn/Strait of Magellan” cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso) Feb. 17 – March 3, 2009. The voyage begins with an overnight call in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital, then visits the charming cities of Montevideo, Uruguay; and Puerto Madryn, Argentina, followed by scenic cruising of historic Cape Horn – South America’s southernmost point. The voyage continues with a visit to Ushuaia, Argentina, a charming fishing village in the territory of Tierra del Fuego home to unique sub-Antarctic forests; another day of scenic cruising of Cape Horn/Beagle Island, and a call at Punta Arenas, Chile, which lies at the entrance to the Straits of Magellan and is considered the gateway to Antarctica. Highlighting this voyage is a day-long cruise of Chile’s majestic fjords and a visit to Puerto Montt, Chile, founded by German colonists in 1853 and boasts sparkling lakes and lush mountainous landscape.

Carnival Splendor will then operate an 18-day “Andes, Peru and Mexican Riviera” cruise from Santiago (Valparaiso) to San Francisco March 3-21, 2009. Prior to crossing the equator, Carnival Splendor will visit Arica, Chile, nestled in the Andes Mountains and founded in 1570, with exquisite collections of pre-Columbian artifacts; Lima (Callao), Peru, whose historic city center was declared a Word Heritage Site by UNESCO; Manta (Quito), Ecuador, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in 1534 and featuring the Monastery and Church of San Francisco, one of the oldest religious structures in the New World. The voyage concludes with visits to the popular destinations of Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Long Beach, Calif., before arriving in San Francisco.

The first in a new series, as well as the largest Carnival Cruise Lines ship ever constructed, Carnival Splendor will feature an innovative new design introducing a host of guest-driven features that will usher in an exciting new era in “Fun Ship” vacations, highlighted by a luxurious 21,000-square-foot spa.

Adjacent to the elegant and modern facility will be 68 spa staterooms and suites, which will be accessible by a private elevator and offer exclusive privileges and amenities for guests. Also featured within the spa will be the line’s first thalassotherapy pool covered by a glass dome and an elaborate thermal suite, with four rooms offering varying degrees of warmth and coolness.

Other features include a 5,500-square-foot children’s play area – the largest in the “Fun Ship” fleet – as well as a water spray park and a mid-ship pool covered by a sliding Sky Dome. The line’s signature amenities such as cell phone and Wi-Fi service, a reservations-only supper club and the Carnival Seaside Theatre – a massive LED screen displaying movies, concerts and other programming – will also be featured.

Prior to its new South America program, Carnival Splendor will launch the line’s first-ever Northern Europe cruise program from London (Dover) July 13, 2008, followed by a series of voyages to the Mediterranean and Greek Isles through October 17, 2008.

Carnival Splendor will then sail on a transatlantic voyage from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Fort Lauderdale, positioning the vessel for a series of seven-day Caribbean cruises from that port beginning November 22, 2008. The ship will then sail on the three South America voyages, then reposition to Long Beach to launch year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises beginning March 29, 2009, continuing the line’s expansion of its West Coast operations.


So, it looks like the Carnival Splendor will have one of the most exciting inaugural seasons of any ship in the world as she travels the world.

The only thing missing is you and ……………………………..Angelina Jolie.

However, I just can’t stop thinking about Catherine Zeta Jones.

Your friends,

John and Heidi

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.

36 Responses to Hot Off the Presses, Well…the Photo Copy Machine

  1. Scott says:

    The pictures are looking good. Thanks to Heidi for taking them and to you for getting them glued to the page:) The pic of Steve Williams was a good idea presenting it that way instead of a regular bio type shot.

    All the way around cape horn sounds great. If only we had the time to book from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco all together that would be a splendid trip.

    Starboard Side
    Supper Club
    Alan Adkins is ugly – a good thing alan is your mate

    Keep up the GREAT work, you and everyone else behind the scenes.

  2. lookingforwardtothenearlysmokefreecarnivalfreedom says:

    John –

    I must compliment PA 007 for his ability to get insider information.

    I realize the importance of his maintaining anonymity in this world, but an interview with him would be an interesting read.


    PS – as far as Heidi and the mask for pistacio’s, it seems to me that she is dealing with a potential weapon of mass destruction 😉 – a mask may not be enough.


  3. Mark Goecke says:

    We love your blog. Your sense of humor really comes through. Keep it up (the blog that is).

    Now, my question. “What is a list of the typical provisions/supplies/food that is loaded aboard the Freedom for a typical week?


  4. Coleen O'Leary says:

    Hi John:

    I really feel uncomfortable about asking you to do this for us.

    Unfortunately, the numbers were wrong for the second evening.

    It should be:

    Party of 2 – July 14
    Party of 5 – July 21st

    Please tell Heidi I’m sorry for any inconvenience.

    Also John, maybe you can answer a question for me. We have booked a 2 night stay through Carnival – post cruise. What time do the buses transferring guests to their hotels leave? What time should be expect to be in Rome.

    We currently have plans to meet others at 9 a.m. and I’m afraid this will not be feasible. Please let me know as the information I gather via Carnival, internet, etc. gives me all different answers. Again, I apologize for any inconvenience, it’s just that we’re on major countdown and I’d love to tie up all loose ends. Thank you so much for your time . . .


  5. Coleen O'Leary says:

    OMG – I’m so sorry. I just received confirmation on my computer that the three replies I sent yesterday did go through – all three of them. You must think I can’t operate a computer. I can – I really can. I’m just – well, delerious from all of this planning.

    Please accept my apologies for sending you redundant questions. Once would have been enough. Well, now, instead of responding to 162 comments, you only have to respond to 160. Again, my apolgies:)

    See you soon!

    Coleen O’Leary

  6. Wow. I see the Glasgow airport was hit by a burning vehicle. Hope everything is alright.

    What crazy times. If part of a plot I hope they end it fast.

  7. On a more amusing note – I see one of the age old questions was touched upon in your CC interview:

    “CC: On your blog, problems onboard occasionally are a point of discussion. Have you solved any (specifically the ongoing challenge surrounding deck chair hogs)?
    JH: Some suggestions have been to give out numbers for chairs or to just take the guests’ belongings and have a “white elephant” sale. We haven’t really been able to solve it — it happens on every ship on every line.”

    It is a problem, for sure! 😉

  8. LoveToTeach says:

    The new South American Itinerary sounds wonderful, too bad I can’t get that much time off of school. Quick question, I ordered room decorations for my son’s birthday, I was just wondering if they were going to already be up when we arrived. I assume they will be, but I just wanted to check. July 12 will be upon us soon, My family and I can’t wait to meet you and Heidi!

  9. Bryan says:

    I can’t afford any of the new Splendor cruises up there–I’m only a university student–but I’d like to take the Northern European itinerary. What do you think the ports-of-call could possibly be for that intinerary?

  10. Jenn says:

    (Hope this isn’t a repeat entry, but my browser shut down when I hit submit before…)

    Hi, John! How many little kids do you have on your European cruises? I’d like to book the July 13 Splendor, but amd wondering if we bring the kids (who will be ages 8 and 3), or leave them with their grandparents. On one hand, hubby and I haven’t had a vacation alone since 1999, on the other hand, I’d miss them terribly for two weeks.

    What do you think? I love the itinerary and would want to take it all in, which is probably a strike against the kids. Also, the Spa Suite is just screaming to me. 🙂

    Decisions, decisions…

    Any advice/insight would be appreciated.



  11. Stacy says:

    John, oh John *SIGH*

    You have it all wrong. Not Big Ed. He is not going to win! It will be me.

    Stacy and Ed wrapped in a towel by the entrance of the spa
    Stacy and Ed covered in oils and creams
    Stacy and Ed using all the keep fit equipment
    So it is obvious therefore that the winner is……………………………………………. NEITHER!!!

    You had me chuckling today. Thanks. I really would like to win, since I am the stay at home mummy of an almost 3 yr old little boy who likes to climb. I need a free vacation. 🙂

    I really enjoy your blog thingy. I look forward to reading it every time you have written a new one. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

  12. Eve & Ian says:

    Love the blog – looking forward to join you & Heidi on 29 August

    Can you detail smoking areas in the public areas of the ship?


    Eve & Ian

  13. Kersplott says:

    Good afternoon John and Heidi

    Every time you laugh it is supposed to add an hour to your life so I am guessing that with reading your daily blogs I will live for ever……………..thank you. You include just enough of those things that tug at your heart strings…………….like the party for the orphans and the letter from Shelly French ……so we can all be thankful for what we have. Shelly’s letter about her weight loss makes my goal of 20 pounds seem very trivial indeed. By the way you are looking tremendous!!

    91 days and counting until Sept 29 when I sail on the Victory out of New York to New England/Canada. Had to slip this cruise in because it is still 379 days until July 23, 2008 on the Carnival Splendor. What is really ridiculous is that the Freedom B2B cruises are 483 days off and now 007 throws out the South American cruise information. Wonder what it would be like to do all 49 days Ft Lauderdale to San Francisco? Hey at least it would be a short flight home to Juneau.

    I did a cooking class tour in Ensenada while on the Paradise and it was great. There are cooking class tours offered in Juneau which concentrate on local cuisine. You could count me in for cooking class tours.

    Who might the CD be on my Sept 29 cruise on the Victory?

    Keep me laughing.

  14. With regards to Nike, perhaps these pics might help?

    For way to many pics from Izmir, including House of the Virgin Mary, Ephesus, Artemis Temple, the museum thingy, and more:

  15. JIMNI says:

    I found one interesting cooking school site.

    I don’t know if it is any good or not, but wine, cooking, more wine, a castle tour and then eating sure sounds like fun, to me.

  16. Barb & Carl the Bears says:

    Hi John,
    Thanks for the info on the South American Splendor cruises. I can hardly wait. Sounds like Carl and I are going to have a wonderful time. We are hoping to do all 3…. at least that’s the plan right now.
    Hope we might see you and Heidi on at least one of them?!!? But we will see you next July on the Splendor for sure.
    Barb and her Bear

    PS… the pictures are great! What wonderful memories they bring up of our cruise last March.

  17. JanfrWA says:

    Oh my gosh! Do I hear a BTBTB coming? That is pretty tempting ~ Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco, via South America?

    Hmmmm, where there’s a will, there’s a way. The wheels are spinning. Sounds like a quarter of homeschooling is in order. Altho the pre-teen is telling me that she would miss her friends? How many kids would rather stay at school than go on a two month cruise? geez.

    John ~ can Carnival add some tutoring for a 14 yr old 8th grader? Or ~ maybe we could just put her to work as a musician on board? She does play the piano and flute.

    Brainstorming in Puyallup . . .


  18. Jennifer says:


    I love reading your blog. I look forward to reading it daily.

    The South American cruises sound great. My fiance and I will definitely be looking into the 3rd leg once the pricing comes out. Any idea when that would be?

    My fiance and I have yet to make it on a cruise despite having booked 2 in the past. The first cruise was cancelled due to financial reasons and the second was cancelled due to my fiance being diagnosed with a brain tumor (non-cancerous) weeks before our wedding/honeymoon cruise in October. He has fully recovered now and are looking at a future cruise but we will have to wait until at least late 2008 as we are expecting a little bundle of joy in December. 🙂

  19. Nancy Liedel says:

    I’ve always wanted to got to Italy. Now I feel like I really need to go to Italy. Your photos and comments are heavenly.

  20. pHiL says:

    Hi John – thanks for an informative entertaining blog! further to todays interview, would you please let me know who’s job it is to overlook public health onboard Carnival ships – ie. food/water safety etc. Is there health officers onboard? or a team of them based at central hq? Thank you in advance for the response.

  21. Longin2cruise says:

    I love your blog! I was on the April 19th Freedom cruise & this blog makes a part of me feel like I’m still cruising. I admit that at first I was skeptical about all the rave reviews you get on Cruise Critic, but now I’m convinced that you really are the best Cruise Director. You were everywhere & I’ve never known another CD to be so visible. I don’t know how you manage. I’ll be on the first Splendor cruise to the Baltics next year & am now anxiously awaiting the pricing for the South America sailings.

  22. Kathy Kroll says:

    Carnival Splendor!

    Thanks for all the information on the Splendor, can’t wait for the Inagural Cruise!
    When you first mentioned the Splendor was coming to Long Beach on a previous blog and that she may add South American ports to her shedule, I was speaking to my friend at Air and Sea. I told her about the Splendor coming out my way and said it was nice they may add South America to her Ports of Call…..she asked me how I knew all this info as it had just come out at Carnival……and she didn’t know anything about South America yet! I said …read John’s Blog!!!!

    Kathy and Paul

  23. Lisa and Elaine says:

    Your interview with Cruise Critic was wonderful. I have a question about the bloggers cruise..Will PA 007 be joining us, so that we can all see this “mystery” person?
    As to the bombs in London, yes, this is a scary time we live in. Has the cruise industry done anything different to ensure everyone’s safety?
    Counting down the days til we meet you and Heidi!

  24. Paul F. Pietrangelo says:

    Good day Mr. Heald. Once again you hit a home fun with the Carnival’s director of medical services. I often worried what goes on a ship if someone should be sick or injured. Steve Williams explained it fully and to the point. Thanks again for his educational part of Carnival’s medical services. I’m very excited about the many different Carnival Splendor’s itinerary. The one I’m most excited about is the transAtlantic one. Could you please tell me fully about this itinerary if possible. Tell Heidi that her three photos were excellent, showing much detail and beauty. I wonder every time I read about Big Ed, I wonder who the gentleman is. Would he mind if you could explain to us who this man is. If not don’t worry about it. Once again a great blog Mr. Heald. Ciao.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  25. Someone inquired about the price of donkeys at Lindos.

    They weren’t available when Freedom stopped in Rhodes on the Inaugural voyage – perhaps it was too early in the season or because it was Sunday or both.

    They are usually available.

    For too many pics from Rhodes, Lindos and more:

  26. Lisa Bisti says:

    I love the blog. Each time I read it I get more excited for our upcoming cruise on July 24th!!! But I hear that the heat is really unbearable in Italy right now. Is that true?? I know that yesterday you said that it was really ho tin Greece. Can’t wait to come aboard!!!! See you in three weeks.

  27. hi john and heidi!

    i just read the cruise critic article and thanks for the mention! what do you want? sf chocolate? ha ha

    the leaves are slowly growing in podunk. i have been watching daily and one or two fell off yesterday.

    i am still waiting for my get out of jail free card from roscoe p. cotrane. he’s an elusive little devil.

    have a nice dinner off ship guys…

    smiles, bonnie and prince charlie

  28. It looks like sole will be in season for the Carnival Splendor Inaugural cruise. Not sure if there will be any on the ship, but I’m sure going to try to have in Dover the night before the cruise!

    What’s this I hear about Harry Connick?

  29. leasa says:

    Hi John and Heidi,

    I haven’t been able to post for a couple of days because I’ve been working a lot. I work for a company here in Ft Walton Beach Fl. That does vacation reservations for people that want to visit the beautiful Gulf of Mexico here in Fl. This is our busiest time of the year. I absolutely loved the story about your little Russian friend. That gave me such a great laugh. The mental picture was hysterical! Any way, how are you and Heidi? I hope dinner ashore was relaxing for the 2 of you. You deserve it. Thank you again for making me and so many others laugh and for giving us so much valuable info on cruising. Did I already ask you who the CD will be on Carnival Liberty on the Feb. 2 cruise? I’m trying to talk Geoff into doing the supper club this time. Time for bed. Back to another busy day tomorrow. Give your selves a big hug from me.


  30. John! Are you trying to kill me?!

    Carnival Splendor will operate three special South America departures in 2009…

    I’ve book the Freedom for a B2B Nov 30 & Dec 6 2008. I can’t go on another long one so soon. Oh the pain!

  31. Msqpon - Jo Myerly says:

    Hi John, Can you do a blog on luggage problems? We are going on the Carnival Freedom August 29 cruise. We all know airports are a mess and flying is not the fun it used to be. I have heard of some people who send their luggage Fedex a few days ahead of the trip. Is it possible to send a bag or two to the Rome port so they are there for our arrival and take the rest on the flight with us? We have had bags arrive several days late. That really starts a cruise off badly. Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated.



  32. Faith says:

    We just returned home from Roma aboard the Freedom. My husband, Tom and I are curious about Willy Banger. Was he for real?

  33. John:

    Out of those three “special” cruises you are about to announce which one would you take???????

    Careful on your answer that is the one we are going to pick (NO PRESSURE!!!!!!!!)


  34. "BIG" ED says:

    John, BTBTBTB That’s what it would be for all us bloggers if we did the CARNIVAL SPLENDOR BLOGGERS CRUISE on January 24, 2009 and the around South America 3 part cruise. YES that is the date for the 2009 Bloggers Cruise. The list has been on my site since April. BOY! a 2 month Bloggers Cruise. Just think 2 months of ” HARDY & HARDY” we would be the talk of the cruise world. HOLLYWOOD here we come, ROTFLMAO. Now all I got to do is figure how to pay for it and get back home from Calif., train I guess.

    FYI: Mrs. “BIG” ED said you and I have created a monster and the words BACK TO BACK have crossed her lips. (she just smiled when I read this comment to her)

    “BIG” ED

    PETER F. Pietrangelo, I’m just a blogger like the rest of us in here. A cruiser that never blogged before. Then I found the JOHN HEALD BLOG when the CARNIVAL FREEDOM launched this site. And like a good sitcom I spun off my own blog site to tell others about JOHN’S blog and my love of CARNIVAL. You can go to my blog by just clicking on my underlined name at the top of this comment.

    “BIG” ED

  35. Cathy says:


    This blog thingy is the BEST thing to happen for us cruise addicts between cruises! What a wonderful considerate person you are to take your valuable time to write most every day.

    You were the Cruise Director on our very first cruise, which was on the Ecstasy in 1992. I wanted to attach a photo of (a much younger) you with our daughter, but cannot seem to figure out how. Any ideas??? It is the same picture that I presented to you a few years back before you married Heidi. Doubt that you would remember it though.

    In addition to working with Special Education students for the past 22 years, I am also a home-based travel agent. I continue to sell more Carnival cruises than any other vacation. I especially love to escort some of the groups that I arrange…..last November there were 130 of us on the Miracle. The only thing missing was YOU as our Cruise Director!

    In closing, thanks for all the “belly laughs” that we have had over the years courtesy of your jokes! You are truly the best……and so is Heidi!!!

    Sea ya,

  36. sandra magglos says:

    Dear John , My husband ‘s family is fro sparta, he was born in the us & has nevber seen his home land we have been married 35 yrs . he is a 100o/o DAV & has both shoulders & both hips total replaced. he is going to gon into the hoapital for his 4th back operation. he almost dided when he had the 3rd one but if makes it out of this one I would like to take him to Sparta in july of 08 our annv. is 6/02 so we would like to be their for taht occasion. we live on a fixed income, can you please let me know whe the best price is , so i can make payments on this trip. He will need a handy cap room & a wheel chair for shoer tours please keep us in mind this would be the best annv. gift i could ever give him if he lives that long .thank you for any help sandra magglos

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