Good morning, and when I say morning, it really is, as it is 5:43am and I am going to be writing this blog as we start debarkation. Overall, it has been a great cruise and although I have met my normal share of characters, I would say that everything has gone very smoothly. I did receive
one comment from a guest who said he was going to write to the blog about the tender service in Dubrovnik and that he should have been allowed off earlier but I will address that when and if the guests posts a comment. I awoke this morning at 3:30am from the noise of the thrusters pushing us alongside the pier. Even though we do not start debarkation until 6:00am we need to be alongside at 4:00am to start unloading luggage – all ten thousand pieces.

So, here I sit, waiting for the kettle to boil so I can make my morning cup of tea and I will be making the first announcement in a few minutes to start the process. I often wonder (never having taken a cruise as a passenger) what guests must think when they hear my voice at 6:00am???? I am sure those still in bed greet my announcements with varied levels of happiness and I am glad I am not there to hear them in person.It’s funny though, I always try and talk in a very low and soothing voice this early in the morning and as guests rise and shine the last thing they want to hear is a happy and over exuberant voice…..can you tell its 5:47am? I am rambling and waffling a lot this morning. I had better start talking about something specific.

We are starting to have a big turnover of management now with everyone going on vacation. We have a new housekeeping manager, a new food and beverage manager, a new hotel director and new officers on the bridge. This is always an interesting time as the managers place their own style on the operation of the ship. Change is always good with fresh new ideas but I will miss the old crew who have been here since the ship was born with me back in February. Just think, it will be my turn soon…only 4 months and a bit to go.

Oh yes, last night I was walking down to see the Gavin Ahern Jazz Trio who are also leaving today, to say thanks and goodbye. As I walked into the lounge the guys were already packing up their equipment. I had my back to the drummer Christian and was talking to Gavin when Christian accidentally dropped his large cymbal right behind me. Now, I cannot describe the noise a cymbal makes when it is dropped from head height bit I don’t mind telling you I almost succumbed to an involuntary bowel movement!!!..Again, I am waffling so here are some photos of ROME AND THE VATICAN which will be the highlight of what so far is a boring blog.

ROME AND THE VATICAN

ROME AND THE VATICAN

ROME AND THE VATICAN

ROME AND THE VATICAN

Here are today’s letters from the IN THEIR OWN WORDS SECTION:

IN THEIR OWN WORDS
IN THEIR OWN WORDS

IN THEIR OWN WORDS
IN THEIR OWN WORDS

It is Q and A time…here we go….please excuse any typos as my eyes are barely open and my two typing fingers feel like lumps of lead this morning so I may spall thangs pong and af eye doo pleuse fourgave mi.

MEDCRUISER – MANUEL – You said “You slay me ” – ???..is that a good thing? I am never sure with some of these hip words. Yesterday someone said “I was a pisser” and I was very offended until they explained that being a pisser is a good thing so I hope being a slayer is as well. You mentioned the WEBCAM lens was dirty and needed cleaning. Please have a check this morning because I personally went up there, climbed up a ladder with a bucket of hot soapy water and cleaned the lens….Ok, I didn’t but someone did and they both should be ok now. Please confirm and thanks for letting me know. Your message of admiration has indeed been passed to Diana, the photographer, and I can understand why you do because she is so helpful and a lovely person. I shall await your report on the web cams and hope all is well mate.
LINDA HERNACKI – I hope you like the t-shirts and I hope you also like the weekend blog which I just posted. I may even get this one finished in time to post another. I have forgotten what a weekend feels like as each day feels pretty much the same. I certainly miss the weekends, just reading my newspapers and watching sports. I hope Mike likes his t-shirt and I look forward to seeing you and him wearing them one day soon. You are correct that we are always ready to help in an emergency as was the case when we received a distress call on our way into Barcelona. It is the law of the ocean that you must help those in need and Carnival ships are always ready should these situations ever happen. In this case the story had a happy ending as those people were found but they were very lucky. Sometimes we forget how dangerous the oceans can be. Hope you had a great weekend and my best to Mike.
SEWING NUT – Yes, your cruise is just 2 weeks away and I can see from your posting that you are very excited. You asked about the mini golf course and if you need to make a booking. The answer is no, you just show up when you are ready to play. There is never a line and it is open from 9:00am – 10:00pm every day so there are lots of chances to have a round. You also asked about restaurants in Rome. Rather than recommend one I will recommend an area where there are lots of ones to choose from. The area is called Via Veneto and has everything form small cafes to 5 star hotels and restaurants…..you will find something there for sure. Have a safe flight and see you very soon.
RIKKI BOYCE – Not quite sure that we will be offering any lap dancing classes as you received on your last trans-Atlantic cruise….what ship was that? Anyway, you will not be disappointed as we have arts and craft lessons, dance instructors, guest lecturers, digital photography classes and, yes, as requested, there will be a big Halloween party as well. There will be of course many
activities on the seven sea days coming back so you will not be bored, that is for certain. Lap dancing??.Mmmmmmmmm…something to think about, please tell me more.
LUV CRUISIN – I am so glad you liked the interview with Alan who by the way should be getting on a plane shortly to fly over here to start his cruise. We were very “naughty” growing up but he is a great mate. I will keep you informed as to what he gets up to this cruise, I am sure I will have lots to tell. I know it is hard to match up my answers to the questions in this section sometimes. I really do try to place a hint as to what the question was in my answer but sometimes I forget. It was much easier when I had a few to answer but when I have 50 plus each blog it gets harder. Anyway, I will renew my efforts and try harder. Glad you are laughing at the blog and that’s something that makes me happy.
TAMMIE – You mentioned how great Alaska was (see Luv Cruising, I am trying:) and it is something that Heidi and I must do one day. Shawn is a wonderful lady and a very talented Cruise Director who I know loves what she does. Come and try Europe sometime, you may not see a whale but you will see some amazing sites. Thanks for reading the blog thingy and I hope you will continue to do so.
GREY KITT N – Thank you for your kind words by asking if there are any treats the crew may like for guests to bring them when they cruise. You know what, as I think I mentioned way back in another blog, it is the small things that can mean so much. If therefore you would like to say thank you at the end of the cruise with something apart from the gratuities you have left, may I suggest something from home. By this, I mean something denoting where you are from, such as a key ring or maybe a t-shirt. Having something like that means a lot to the crew and many thanks for asking, you are very kind. For me, nothing says thank you like an Aston Martin or a bag of sugar free jelly beans — it is the gift that keeps on giving. Please let me know if you have any other questions and all the best to you and your family.
CARRIE – If only that were possible!
GIRLDOC – I have decided to add a morning meet for singles. You mentioned this was something that you would enjoy so let me see how it goes and I will let you know. I see you are still trying to get the Poet Laureate to sail, how’s that going Doc?
DWA76 – I really am glad that you and many others are enjoying the CD interviews and there is another heading your way in a few minutes. Glad also to see you enjoyed the photos although standing next to a big stall serving nothing but candy was very hard. My sugar level went up just by looking at it. Hope all is well mate.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – Thank you for the congratulations, Paul, I really am very grateful Sir. I look forward to your postings as well, Paul, and together we make a great team.
FRANK C – You are welcome Frank. I am very proud to have reached 500,000 slaps and I appreciate your kind words of congratulations. See you very soon and please let me know if you need anything. Have a safe flight here and leave me a note when you arrive.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Thank you Carol for the kind words of congratulations and I know that you have been a supporter of the blog thingy since we started 5 months ago. Do not worry about Mrs. Barsby, the story has a happy ending and I will reveal all in a moment. Hope all is well and again thank you for everything ESPECIALLY SAYING I DESERVE AN ASTON MARTIN…..funny how my caps button and bold button got accidentally pressed then.
GREG BALDASARRI – Greg, I have a feeling that when you take your upcoming cruise on the Carnival Conquest you will no doubt get a few looks of “why is he wearing a t-shirt saying he has seen John’s thingy.” In fact, in Texas (the Conquest’s homeport) walking around with that t-shirt could get you locked up.
Please say hello to Mark the Cruise Director, he is a great friend and please tell him he owes me $20. Have you booked a Supper Club reservation yet? Please let me know if you would like me to do so for you. Thank you for buying the t-shirts and I hope to hear from you soon.
HEIDI – BETH AND KEVIN – Thank you for the support, it means a lot to know that all three of you are such fans of the blog thingy. The kids corner is very popular and I shall keep it going while the counts are high. Yep, Alan and I really did get into some mischief and I will share more stories with you as the blog continues and I hope all three of you enjoy them. Heidi sends her best by the way to Heidi but not to Beth, she prefers Heidi as does Heidi.
KEVIN – Thanks mate, I hope you will still be reading if and when we reach 1 million slaps. Maybe by then I will have driven an Aston Martin.
THE BEARS, CARL AND BARB – Thank you my cute and cuddly bears. I am so grateful to you for all that you do for me and the blog. Heidi and I send you our best regards.
LOIS GROWATOSTIE – Yes, I agree, let’s celebrate and take a cruise…..l spelt your name correctly this time:)
KAREN TESSIER – Thank you for your kind words and I am very proud to have reached the 500,000 mark. You will be here very soon and I look forward to saying “welcome on board.” You mentioned I should do an interview for the Travel Channel, if you know anyone there put a good word in for me. See you in two weeks and please let me know if you need anything.
DWA76 – Thank you David, you are too kind. If we do ever reach one million then we must celebrate. It is thanks to people like you that the million mark may actually be reachable. Thanks again mate.
MILLIE S – Please do not worry about the tour time for the Exclusive View of the Vatican. The ship will wait until the tour returns before we sail. The official departure time is 7:00pm but as I said, we will of course wait until all the tours return. It is an amazing trip and one you really must do if you possibly can. I checked and you have been confirmed on the tour and you will get confirmation very soon so no need to worry. I will be here should you need any other help.
SHERYL PELTON – Your Supper Club reservation has been confirmed for 7;30pm on the night we sail from Venice, please post your cabin number when you can……try the sushi platter.
You said there are 700 of you sailing from California. Is this a personal group or business group? Please do tell me more and I am here for you should you need more help.
JOKO JOAN – Congratulations on booking 50 days on the Carnival Splendor and hearing one of the reasons you did so was to sail with me again makes me feel very humble. I am sure I will be there with you and I am in discussion with Chris Prideaux and Roger Blum and I will confirm this shortly. Meanwhile, you will have a fantastic time on the Carnival Legend and I look forward to hearing all about it when you return. Please pass on my regards to Bubba and you will love his Blues Brothers routine.
NED RIFKEN – Thanks mate for the kind words. I am not surprised you speak so highly of Shawn, she is a wonderful person with a heart the size of Texas. I wish you continued success with your shows which I hear are going very well and I truly hope we get to work together soon. Thanks mate.
LISA K – I forwarded your kind words to Shawn and I know she will be thrilled to read them I am sure. Shawn is a great CD and a great friend and I am sure you must have many happy memories of your times with her and I am sure she will also remember your flotation devices!
Thank you for your nice words about the blog and I hope you will continue to read it. Thanks again, I know this will make Shawn’s day.
MTSFPBLFTTNSFCF……can you tell its early in the morning? I abbreviated you today. I am sorry that I mentioned that your wife needed an Italian purse to go with her Italian shoes. Please do not doubt our friendship it’s just that if I have to suffer the hell that is shopping for handbags….then so do you. That’s what friends are for….be thankful I did not mention matching belts….yet.
KHANH – Your Supper Club reservation has been reserved as requested….try the crab cakes.
I will see you in October and please let me know if you need anything else.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – As soon as you get confirmation please let me know your cabin number. If not, can you send me your full name. Hope to hear from you soon. My dad had fish and chips again the other night and I thought of you when he told me…there we go, food again!
PHARMACY 2007 – You asked if you should book your tours for the cruise of the 17th. May I suggest that as it is just 12 days away that you wait until you are on board. Please come along to my travel talks and hopefully I can point you in the right direction and after the talk you can ask me any questions you may have. So, see you in 12 days and have a safe flight.
MATT EDMUNDS – Hello mate. I did notice that, as you said, one of the kids’ photos had me walking the plank. I love doing this kids corner and I will keep posting the best of the drawings and letters for you all to enjoy. You also asked when my interview with NBC Miami Channel 6 will be aired. I am not sure but I will make sure that I tell you in advance so you can make sure you are tuned to channel 7!
I still love your cruise clock showing how many days, hours, minutes and seconds until your next cruise….that is real dedication. All the best mate and see you soon.
JO MYERLY – You asked when you should eat at the Supper Club. Out of the days you gave me I think the second sea day will be the best. Please let me know and I will make the booking for you as it the most popular evening in the Supper Club. Just send me your cabin number and reservation time and I will be happy to make the booking for you. See you soon Jo and best to Dave.
MRS MTSFP – maybe we should have a contest to name the next Supper Club on the Carnival Magic….what do you think?
STEVE GARROD – Your website looks awesome mate. How are things over at Holland America? Please pass on my best to everyone and maybe I should do an interview with your President.
FRANK C – Yipeeeeeeee, your tickets arrived although I think you and your wife may be suffering from PPS – Premature Packing Syndrome.See you soon mate and let me know once you are here by leaving a note at the information desk.
DAVE – Thanks mate, I am really glad you are enjoying the blog thingy so much. I also hope that you and Dad sail here soon and we can indeed get your dad involved in all the singles fun. Please keep reading the blog thingy.
ALLIE DONNEGAN – Good Irish name. I enjoyed our fun time on the Morning Show together and thank you for posting your review. As I am writing this blog I am calling off the colour tags so probably you are on your way home by now. I truly hope you had a wonderful cruise and please let me know that you have arrived safe and sound. My best to you and the family and it was an honour to have you here with us.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – there is cake but it’s sugar free.
MRS MTSFP – Thanks for the poem of congratulations…on behalf of my two very tired and I think slightly smaller fingers.
MARY AND MOE – Thank you for asking if I will be the Cruise Director on the Carnival Splendor’s South American trip. I am in the process of discussing this with Chris and Roger in the office but I think it is safe to say that I will be there. I will confirm this shortly Mary. Thank you for mentioning Heidi and, you are correct, I could never have gotten this far without her….how lucky I am.
See you in Argentina.
JENNIFER HAMMOND – You say you have cruised with me 4 times and that makes me feel very special. Thank you for your kind words and I look forward to number five with you on the Carnival Splendor.
DEBBIE IN LOUISIANA – Happy Anniversary and I hope the Chocolate Melting Warming Cake makes it an extra special day for you. Congratulations and best wishes from us both.

AND THAT’S WHERE TIME HAS BEATEN ME….MORE QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS ANSWERED, I PROMISE, IN THE NEXT BLOG LATER TODAY OR TOMORROW…starting with Dave, Famiglia, Bausch and of course BIG ED.

Well, we are just finishing debarkation and it is 9:03am. This means we disembarked 3400 people in 3 hours and a few minutes I must admit that’s not bad. I also have to admit that I am a little apprehensive about today’s cruise because of the HIGH number of non-English speaking guests we have sailing. It always makes me feel very inadequate when I know some people have no clue what I am saying and I truly wish I could speak more languages.

Also, we have a big group of French people sailing and I must behave…no French jokes….I promise.

Let’s get on with today’s guest interview.

Here then is Chris Jefferson who is the Cruise Director of the Carnival Valor. Chris is a very talented Cruise Director and you will not find anyone more dedicated to making sure his ship is the best in the fleet and that the guests of the Carnival Valor have the best time. Always cool under pressure, Chris has risen through the ranks and is now one of our best. Here he is and I hope you enjoy his interview.

Chris Jefferson who is the Cruise Director of the Carnival Valor

Chris Jefferson who is the Cruise Director of the Carnival Valor

1. Please can you tell us about your career with Carnival so far. How did you start and when?
I have now been with CCL 8 years. I started on the baby Tropicale (an amazing ship) in 1999. My first position held was as a dancer/singer and it didn’t take me long to realize I wanted to be a CD. I hung up the dancing shoes and worked my way from host to CD in 3 years. I cannot believe that I have now been a CD for almost 4 years. It’s crazy! It’s gone so fast – but it has been a good laugh!

2. What ship are you currently on and what is it’s itinerary?
I am currently on the Carnival Valor. A great ship. Great entertainment. Great shows. Great crew. Great décor. Did I stress enough that this is a great ship! We do Eastern and Western Caribbean Itineraries. Eastern: Nassau, St. Thomas, St. Maarten. Western: Grand Cayman, Isla Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya.

3.Please can you pick two excursions from each port and tell us why you recommend them so much?

Nassau: Discover Atlantis Tour – the hotel is amazing, a must see!

Thriller Boat to Blackbeard Cay – a wild ride!
St Thomas: Discover Scuba – this is where I did my diving course. The guides and staff are just brilliant.
5 Star St John & Trunk Bay – simply a stunning beach!
St Maarten: America’s Cup Regatta – a great fun opportunity to race in actual yachts used in the Americas cup race. Cool!
Golden Eagle Catamaran – Excellent service and staff
Grand Cayman: Any Stingray tour – you have to encounter Stingrays – you just have to.

Atlantis Submarine – want to see the underwater world and stay dry? This one’s for you.
Isla Roatan: Pirates, Birds & Monkeys – Easy, fun, relaxing, interesting.
Any Diving & Snorkel Tours – You have the opportunity here to dive/snorkel at the world’s 2nd largest reef.
Belize: Cave Tubing – Very popular and a great way to spend the day.
Lost World Canopy – the location is like something out of the Jurassic Park Movie.

Again any Diving & Snorkel Tours – You have the opportunity here to dive/snorkel at the world’s 2nd largest reef.
Costa Maya: Dune Buggy Adventure: fun and upbeat.
Dolphin Swim. Just like the Stingrays, if you have the option to encounter these amazing creatures, then do!

4.What are your favorite activities or events that you host and why?
I really think my favorite activity to host is the Welcome Show. And I do look at this like an activity as well as a show. This is where the scene can be set for the entire cruise. When I have the opportunity to make people feel utterly at home and to have some fun. I do often come off stage from this show feeling utterly exhausted but also exhilarated and excited about the week ahead.

5. Fill in the blank please….People should sail on the Carnival Valor because…..
Even though its one of the larger ships we still have a real family feeling here, I think that’s why I like it so much. All our crew just get on really well and that atmosphere translates to our guests. The ship has a good vibe about it.

6. What do you enjoy most about being a Cruise Director?

The challenge that every new day brings. Each day/cruise is never the same and I am constantly learning as I go along.

7. Share your favorite story with us that involve our guests and your job?

Through the years there have been so many great guests and so many great stories, but the most recent one has been while working with the Susan G. Komen foundation. I ‘host’ and attend the Walk every cruise, and without going into too much detail, last cruise I met a lovely family and the mum who is losing her fight to cancer. I don’t want to go into detail as the story is pretty
heartbreaking, but from the hour we spent talking (and I admit a few tears were shed in the process) I can say that this lady was one of the most positive and inspirational ladies I have ever met. Her 2 eldest boys (aged 7 & 9) have vowed to become doctors and fight cancer. Her youngest (aged 2) will surely do the same. The whole situation, and meeting her entire family of brothers and sisters who were also cruising, was both wonderful and upsetting to be a part
of.
So, the positive side of the story – Carnival teaming up with this Foundation is a wonderful thing. Let’s keep it going and raise money to fight cancer. And after meeting this family I quit smoking,,, I haven’t had one for 7 days now.

8. List your three favorite ports you have visited?
Puerto Vallarta (because of the restaurants – amazing!); Isla Roatan (because of the beaches and scenery); Portland, Maine (amazing Lobster!)

9. Name three ports you would really like to see that you have never been to?
Of Course Hawaii & Alaska – doesn’t everyone? I would also like to go Bora Bora.. But alas none of our CCL ships sail there!

10. Finally, if you could introduce on stage any star, alive or not who would it be and why?
STING (from The Police) – the man is just talented, cool and a super star.

Thanks Chris and congratulations on all you have achieved. I am sure many bloggers will now look forward to their Carnival Valor cruise knowing you are there to make sure they have the best vacation ever.

So, back to Mrs. Barsby. Heidi met with her today and made sure she was on the last bus. Her departing words to Heidi were “you need to be more organized .” No thank you or goodbye…..just that. As I mentioned yesterday, I never have and never will make fun of anyone who is suffering from anything and as she left and Heidi told me how mean she had been to her this morning, I could not help remembering that her daughter had said she and her father refused to travel with her….it maybe a nasty thing to think, but I can see why. Anyway, she is on her way home. I tipped the guide on the bus myself to walk her to the check-in desk with her trolley and luggage and then to security…after that she should arrive in Pittsburgh this evening….I hope.

It seems strange to me that so many people are buying t-shirts with my name on it. I am so humbled by this and a little embarrassed. The humbling is because people I have never met are now wearing a statement that they know me, they like me and they have seen my thingy.

I am embarrassed because….well….I haven’t seen my thingy in years….hopefully the diet will help.

Good Morning

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. If it is something that's unrelated, please use the Ask John tab 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.

42 Responses to Highlighting the Carnival Valor and Cruise Director Chris Jefferson

  1. Msqpon - Jo Myerly says:

    Hi John, WOW. You are spoiling us. Two blogs in one day and a Sunday. Love it.
    Thanks for the Supper Club answer. Please book the Supper Club for Dave and Jo Myerly on the second sea day of the August 29 sailing of the Carnival Freedom. Our cabin is 7202. Is 6:30 possible? If not 6:00 would be my second choice. We usually eat a late breakfast, no lunch and an early dinner. A window seat would be fantastic.
    Thanks so much. Let me know if you need more information.
    I bought our airline tickets for the bloggers cruise this week so we are set for that. Airfares are really good right now. We are going to order tee shirts. Thanks for the info on the tooth whitening. I will do that.
    We are looking forward to seeing you again. You were the CD on the Legend, Triumph, and the Liberty when we were on them. The Tropicale was our first Carnival ship. That was before your time. We are doing BTB on the Carnival Splendor to Northern Europe and South America. Platinum here we come. :))))
    Thanks for all your help.

    Jo and Dave

  2. Greg Baldasarri says:

    John, thanks so much for your reply. I shall wear my ‘John’s thingy’ T-shirt proudly but only after we clear Texas waters! Additionally, I’ll be glad to pass along your greeting to Mark. As for the twenty he owes you, I’m afraid you’re on your own. My days as an ‘enforcer’ are long gone, but I will mention it… ;)

    No, I’ve not yet made reservations at the Point and I would truly appreciate you taking care of that for me. We sail on the 23rd of September. My cabin is 6319 and my brother, Ed Baldasari, is in cabin 7366. We would like to make reservations for both Monday evening and Thursday. The time isn’t critical but our scheduled seating is 6:15.

    As always, you blog continues to enchant me. The photos of Rome and the Vatican bring back memories of the months I spent in there during my college days. I wonder, was that BC or AD??? It’s been a while.

    Thanks so much and keep up the wonderful work and I promise I’ll keep on reading.

    Regards,

    Greg Baldasarri

  3. Bryan says:

    Evening John,

    At least the wake-up alarm at 6:00 A.M. to debark isn’t a loud buzzing noise. Then that’d be too much like waking up for work. Although, you know, the cruise is ending when you address them, so yeah, you’re probably right, the reaction’s the same.

    Chris’s note that the America’s Cup Regatta is in St. Martaan… I need to go back there and check it out. I was just there too. Heh, darn.

  4. ThePlaz says:

    You asked on the 2nd, why ThePlaz. Well I wrote about that on my site a while ago. See: http://theplaz.com/wiki/index.php?title=My_Nicknames

    Also, you and your readers might be interested in my pictures from the Valor over Spring Break in the Western Caribbean: http://www.flickr.com/photos/theplaz/collections/72157600076620142/ I am a real camera nut as I have 881 photos from the trip. (I emphasize quantity, not quality.)

    However the Valor photos should be helpful to anyone who hasn’t been on a Carnival sailing before (as the ships are almost the same; only the design and fantastic Joe Farcus “themes” vary).

    PS. You should get Joe Farcus on the blog sometime. And good job on the blog; blogging is a real way to connect with customers, especially the way you respond to every comment. It’s far better then corporate speak you get from Carnival.com
    I hope Carnival is paying you extra for all of your time!

  5. Bryant says:

    Hey John-
    My name is Bryant, and I’m writting to you from Wisconsin, US.
    I’ve read your blog for quite some time now, and I’ve really enjoyed it! You’re funny, and often times, I believe it’s just you being you.
    I decided to finally post a comment to this blog because in October, me and a group of my friends are hitting the Valor for the Eastern Caribbean. It was nice to see the CD for our cruise. This will be our first cruise, and I cannot tell you enough how excited I am.
    I am also a little nervous for seasickness and because it is also during hurricane season. yikes. I have fast grown a huge fondness for cruise ships, they are amazing vessels, and I try to learn as much as I can about them. Being in the hospitality industry, it feels right up my alley.
    Alright, well before this becomes a book, I have to say your comments here and the stature at which people hold you speaks for itself. You must be pretty amazing.

    Have an awesome day!

  6. John Hair-old (Heidi too!),

    It took me years to get my name right. Dang Hank had to have one heck of a difficult name. I went from Smith to Grebowski…

    I’m loving the spelling derivations. They have me rolling on the floor. Nope, some day you’ll get it… try Lois Grab-a-hot-ski … or Lois Theres-a-hot- flea. Bwahahahaha… I could go one for days…

    Btw, LOVE the notes from the paxs.

    Enjoy your spot o’tea! A bit of Earl Grey today or just breakfast tea?

  7. Kevin says:

    John,
    I will be reading your blog till the day you stop it. 1,000,000 and beyond. Strange how I’ve never meet you, but I really feel like i know you (Heidi too). Sorry to hear about your colon check this morning, I’m still awaiting you and Heidi for dinner at some point. And it won’t cost as much as Harry’s I promise. I’m really trying to decide what voyage to take on the splendor with you next year, any suggestions ? Airfare is a large part of my decision process because some flights can be rather pricey as I’m sure you know. But I should really start working on that soon before all the cheap bargain cabins are gone. Can’t wait to read tommrow’s saga on the freedom.

    Best Wishes,
    Kevin
    Official Assistant to the Assistant Cruise Director Mr. Big ED.

    Dear Boss (Big ED),
    I haven’t been given any work to do yet, do i still get paid ?

    Your Assistant
    Kevin

  8. For Southerndreams (and John, my new friend, too!).

    I **AM** considering the blogger cruise! :-D) The trick is getting hubby to come along. Getting Hank to commit to something this far in advance is like like Getting Angelina Jolie to be godmother of the Carnival Splendor.

    Lemme just say Hank “Grab-ouch- your-key” can be a bit stubborn. I’ll keep working on him. Gonna have to make extra meatloaf and pot roast for months to butter him up! ::wink wink::

  9. Congratulations, Chris Jefferson! Hang in there!

  10. Carol Schoenberger says:

    Happy (?) Monday John,

    Your blog thingy is a great way to start the week. Very touching stories from you and Kevin about Jess and Brian. It is good to know they have people who care so much about them.

    I want to get one of the t-shirts, but my problem is I don’t use credit cards – any way I can get one paying by check or money order?

    Thanks for posting the interview with Chris Jefferson. The Valor was the last ship I was on (with Josh as the CD), and to paraphrase Chris, the ship is Great. I told you I especially liked the Bronx Bar – felt like home. That was one of the reasons I booked that ship – it was also a past guest reunion cruise. But I would go back on another cruise on the Valor in a heartbeat.

    What I’m thinking about now for 2008 are either the 4 or 5-day cruise to Canada on the Victory, one of the 8-day Caribbean cruises on the Miracle out of NY or one of the 1st 7-day Caribbean cruises on the Splendor in late November when she gets to Florida. I’ll just have to see what my finances can handle. But planning helps me combat ATCOCS. As I am now in a countdown for my December cruise, I am beginning to experience PPS. My suitcase is already in the living room where one of my cats has decided to use it as a scratching post. Either that or she wants to go with me.

    I will check back on the blog thingy later in the day, so for now my regards to you and Heidi.

    Carol

  11. Karen Maguire says:

    Hello John,
    I am enjoying all the information on your blog thingy. I am getting ready for our cruise on the 29th of August.
    Would you be able to make reservations for the Sun King Supper Club for Thursday, September 6?
    I would like a window table if possible, one of our group will be celebrating a birthday that day.
    The reservation will be for four and either 6:30 or 7:00pm would be appreciated.
    Thank you in advance, and looking forward to meeting you on the 29th!
    KC Maguire
    cabin 6336

  12. Ruth Jamison says:

    Good Morning John and Heidi!
    I was certainly glad to hear that your ordeal with the guest who thought she was suppose to stay in Rome had a successful end. She actually got on one of the buses!
    John, you were asking what hubby was doing as we passed Stromboli, he was actually trying to get a little extra rest. I had gotten the kids to Camp Carnival and I had gone to get breakfast in the Freedom Restaurant. (Poor guy, he had endured all those days with the grandkids and me.)
    I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of our Blog T-shirts! I wanted it to be a Christmas present for hubby, but I am afraid he will end up seeing it just as soon as it arrives.
    You are back on the Istanbul run this week. I hope it will be a great voyage.
    Take care and keep the blog thingy going! As I have said before, You are our lifeline to Carnival!

  13. Dear John-John:

    Strange ~ we are counting that we only have 144 days until we get on the Freedom and Heidi and you are counting how days until you get off the Freedom, by the way how many days is that???? I have something to send the two of you and was wondering how many days do I have????

    We are so much looking forward to our trip but are a bit sad that you two won’t be there, however the next trip is on the Splendor so hopefully! Even though I am not an “official” anything, just a fan I still look forward to saying a hello even if it just a nod of head and a smile.

    Vikki

  14. FrankC says:

    John, Did you say Crew Change day? I am sure the off going crew will be happy to see their family! Like you, I see many crew changes before it is my turn to leave…
    Thanks for the Laugh..(Always)……..

    They that go down to the sea in ships,
    that do business in great waters………………………..

    FrankC

  15. SharonR says:

    Counting the minutes now! We leave for London in 6 days and see you in 11. Already tasting the chocolate cake! With my work schedule this week I will be more than ready for vacation.

    Any last minute requests from the states or London before we go?

  16. Ruth Jamison says:

    John and Heidi,
    Just had to send another reply.(Second one today!) My friend Pat was on the ship on a recent Istanbul run. She just stopped by to talk to me about the trip. I had remembered seeing a note from someone named Pat on your blog. She had written a song for you to sing to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. (I am sure you remember this letter.) Anyway, we were discussing what a wonderful CD you were and she told me she had gotten a phone call from your morning show. I could not believe she was the same Pat! Anyway, we both had a wonderful time discussing the great job you do as the CD. I told her she needed to get hooked up to your blog and how fantastic it was.
    Isn’t it strange how these little connections emerge when you least expect it? (By the way, she did not see the value of the Grand Bazaar experience either! We also discussed that!)
    Hope your voyage with this group is wonderful!

  17. robert says:

    them 530/600 am annoucement do really suck, but last cruise we up and dress waiting to get off, we had 10am flight back home, you do a great job with getting people off so early in rome great job.

    That must feel funny you still there and other staff managers are leaving hard to believe it been almost 6 months (time of contract). Who is going to be new hotel manger, duncan who is leaving does a great job. Hang tough john and heidi time will come for your vacation it must be hard start of another cruise but you are so good at it.

    Also do you still have the same Captain?

  18. John from Arkansas says:

    John,
    Way to go on 500,000 hits!! I look forward to reading when they add another zero to the end of that number!!!! Well you made the papers in Arkansas! My wife was reading the Sunday Arkansas Democrat- Gazette yesterday when she let out a yell….”Come here!!!!” she screamed…and being married 31 years…..I jumped up and ran in there to see what she wanted. And in the Travel section was an story from the Chicago Tribune written by Arlene and Sam Bleecker about you and your blog!!! A great read!! I’m quoting here “Heald..is the nearest thing crusing has to a Pied Piper”. And they also mentioned “Big Ed” and the “Bloggers Cruise”. All this press makes us more excited that we will join you on that trip in January! As I have stated before, the ship departs on January 19th, which is my wife’s birthday. The closer we get to sailing, I will need some advice on how to make her day a wee more special. Keep up the great work and with the press behind you….it will just be a matter of time before AJ or CJJ calls you and begs to be on your ships!!!!!

  19. Rikki Boyce says:

    Did I type “lap dancing?!” I meant tap dancing.

    BTW, I want to thank you for your quick and kind response to the CC group that’s going on the Trans-Atlantic cruise. What a far cry from the Grand Princess. There were over 100 CCers on that cruise with us and the Cruise Director never even answered a single email about organizing a get together. We just picked some places and got together on our own.

    You, on the other hand, suggested two get togethers and said you and Heidi would come.

    But here’s my question — what’s this blogger’s cruise? I keep seeing it reference and know it’s in January. But when exactly?

  20. Shar says:

    John,
    Enjoying your blog as always – what wonderful stories you have about the people you meet. You can turn your blog into a book later on, you know.
    I have a small group sailing this week on the Freedom – the Xi (zy) Gamma Omicron sorority. If you could mention that Sharon wishes them a happy & fun voyage I would appreciate it very much. They are a fun group and I know they’d enjoy meeting you – I suggested they read your blog prior to the cruise, to get to know you and the ship a little. Thanks for the hard work you put into the blog & your job!

  21. DWA76 says:

    “I am embarrassed because….well….I haven’t seen my thingy in years….hopefully the diet will help.”…I am laughing my butt off…Too funny.

    I wouldn’t let people like Mrs. Barsby get you down. Its people like her and mah-jong lady that make traveling frustrating. However, you have so many other wonderful people that come to travel with you that these 2 are so forgettable.

    Gorgeous pictures of Rome and the Vatican. You almost feel like you are there.

    In answering your question about hearing your voice at 6am, all i want to say is “SHUT UP!! I”M TRYING TO SLEEP”. Doesn’t matter who’s talking (even if its CZJ or Mrs. Jolie).

    Great blog today. Thanks again,
    David

  22. "BIG" Ed says:

    John, see your thingy isn’t that what a full length mirror is for. With my front porch that don’t even work. You could take a PG-13 picture of me on one of those beaches you like. LOL

    “BIG” ED

    PS. Your getting warm

  23. Good morning from sunny California! Thank you so much for arranging Supper Club reservations for us for Sept. 14th. We would LOVE to have you and Heidi join us if at all possible!! We are so looking forward to meeting both of you, as reading the blog has us feeling like we know you so well already!! You asked about our “group” of 700 people traveling from California–the group was organized by a Santa Rosa Radio station, KZST, and a wonderful trio of women from Flying Dutchmen Travel, Cece, Ann and Tracy. We will be sailing 5 weeks from today, and can’t wait! My cabin number is 7440–you probably need that for the Supper Club reservation. Would you and Heidi like some Sonoma County wine? If so, what do you prefer, red or white? Again, thank you and we will see you soon! Sheryl

  24. "BIG" Ed says:

    John, I see SUPPER CLUB RSVP where you can now make your own reservations on line pre-cruise. My comment from April 19th (below)suggested that along with the SPAs. One down and one to go. Now to start pushing to get the Spa reservation, most of all the hair salon, on-line.

    “BIG” Ed
    April 19th, 2007 at 11:57 am
    John, with all the ideas that are coming from this blog it should be mandatory reading for all CARNIVAL management. I would save you the trouble of forwarding the remarks to them. But if they don’t here is one to forward to them;

    I believe it would be a very good idea to, just like you do shore excursions, pre-book the dinner clubs and spas on all ships. It would be a big help to cruisers. We wouldn’t have to run around the ship when we first embark setting up appointments and reservation. We could enjoy the ship right from the start of our cruise knowing everything was pre-booked our excursions, dinner club reservations and all our spa appointments. When we make our choices on line we would be able to print out our confirmation of all times and days. You would even be able to have confirmation cards printed out ahead of time for deliver to our cabins the first day of cruise. With people pre-booked you would have less people standing in line to make appointments. As you know lines make unhappy cruisers. This would give your personal more time to spend with the people that didn’t pre-book to get them signed up.

    “BIG” ED

  25. debra hehn says:

    John Can you please make Sun King reservations for my group of 6. We would like to go at 7:30 p.m. on August 22 ,2007. We are in cabin 2406. Thank you, Debbi

  26. John,

    I would be thrilled to see our (HAL) president featured in an interview! Let me know if you’d like for me to get the ball rolling on that and/or do any coordinating. I’d be happy to help!

    Steve

  27. Kevin:
    Round Trip airfare from NYC to London doesn’t induce psychotic episodes, try the Northern Europe route, and it doesn’t make you change planes.
    The Plaz:
    You were asked a polite question. Everybody else always answers.

  28. Heidi-Beth (and Kevin) says:

    Well… I… Hmmmm….. O_o Ok I see we are at an impass, at least you did not add more to that little cabin, not sure where to put 10 to a cabin but maybe they can share the space under the bed with the room steward ;)

    The interview of the CDs are great, they all have a unique way of working with their ship and passangers and at the same time all have a heart for their work to make everyones vacation a memory.

    as always full of laughs

    the One and only 1
    Heidi-Beth

  29. IndyGirl says:

    John,

    Whew! I have now read all of the postings starting at the beginning and made it up to now! Congratulations on all the slaps on your blog thingy!

    Do you know yet if you will still be on the Freedom in March 2008? I am planning my 3rd cruise with my new husband (our first two were fantastic on Carnival Triumph and Carnival Miracle-our honeymoon ship!) and we are bringing along some friends this time! They are all new to cruising… Any suggestions? We are also all pretty young if that helps (23-26). Thanks for any advice!

    I look forward to more blog thingies…

    Kristin

  30. Leasa says:

    Hi John and Heidi,

    I want to tell you both how wonderful I think the 2 of you are. Heidi, how are you? Has John been spending enough time with you? We all love you and John and I really appreciate your giving hearts. John, I just finished the last 2 bloggs. Between you and Kevin, I’m just ready to cry my eyes out. You handled Jess with such grace and kindness. There’s a special place for people like you in Heaven. Then that was followed up by Kevin’s story. Thank you Kevin for being so sweet to that little boy. Way to go on the half a mil slaps! I’ll be reading well past the million mark! I’m loving all the cd interviews. Keep them coming. I’m glad the little lady got on the bus. Between that 1 and the lap dance question, I’m still cracking up! Love and hugs to you both.

    Leasa

  31. Linda Hernacki says:

    Hi John & Heidi: Yes, can’t wait to get our shirts, I am gonna keep them a surprise till our cruise, I was gonna give Mike his for his 60th birthday on 8/20 but I think I will wait, anyhow I got him a shirt and hat to match for his birthday that says, ” I was born in 1947 and I’m still raising hell! ” HA! I will probably pull the shirts out on the first day at sea and give Mike his to wear, I got him the Heidi fan club shirt, and I got the I LOVE Blogging shirt, with the dates November 17-24, 2007 on the back and our names on back too. You say you will be leaving in 4 mos. and a few days, so if I am calculating right you WILL be there on our cruise so you can see the shirts for yourself! I love having blogs every day, and I can’t believe you actually did blogs on Sat. and Sun. – you are wonderful! I know how tired you must be though, how much sleep do you actually get every night? Bet not even 6 hrs. huh? SLOW down John! How is the no carb diet going? Well, I will close for now, God Bless you both, talk soon! Linda & Mike (my Mr. bulb man)

  32. "BIG" ED says:

    ATTENTION ALL CARNIVAL CRUISERS

    You can now book your own Dinner Club reservations. On the right near the top you will now see “Supper Club RSVP”. You just fill out the form and all is done automatically. We can save John’s bloody stumps from further abuse. Or you can go here http://surv.cheetahmail.com/s?aid=982238741&o=1&n=28

    “BIG” ED
    Roberto is HOT on my trail

  33. Tom & Jane says:

    hello john & heidi
    keep blogging,,we love what you do,,,,its almost like being on a cruise,,,,we look forword to your next blog,,,me and jane both got our blog shirts,,
    we got yours,,,,,and heidi too,,,jane wants you to e-mail her some steak frys,,,,from LIDO deck,,you can send me some FISH& CHIPS yum,,yum,,,
    thank again for the time you spend bloggin
    to us ,,,we enjoy its so much,,,
    thank you,,,,,really THANKS
    your the best C D ever

    regards
    Tom & Jane

  34. JaBee says:

    Hi John…
    I will be on the Freedom on Dec. 29 for a New Years Cruise…

    Are you going to be back by then?

    We are going to have a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet, and I am thinking of Sunday morning at 11:00 just before lunch. Do you think that would be a good time. Also do you have a suggestion of a place we could meet?

    I am enjoing your blog, and sure wish I could join you in Europe, but I look forward to New Years too (what a great way to welcome in a New year.

    Hope you will be on board, because I know you will have something great planned…of course if not I guess we have to settle for Toddy, (I heard he will be on board while you are gone.)

    have a great one…

    Jimmy

  35. Msqpon - Jo Myerly says:

    Hi John, I have a question about Naples. We have been to Pompeii. I am thinking about doing either the Island of Capri or Sorrento and Amalfi Coast this time. Any recommendations?

    Thanks,

    Jo and Dave

  36. kiciaski says:

    Hello John and Heidi,

    You did a wonderful job with Jess and I’m sure you made her day. She sounds like a special girl.

    People like Mrs. Barsby should not travel. They only inflict themselves on other people that don’t want to have to deal with them. How could you leave the country and not even know if you’re staying in a hotel or flying home? I fully understand why her husband and daughter didn’t want to come with her.

    News flash – just watching the WGN Chicago news and there was a short news story that playing mahjong can cause seizures. I googled it and found a lot of articles on this. Apparently it can also be caused just by watching the game. There is no cure except to stop playing. Thought you might be interested in this.

    Keep up the good work on the blog and can’t wait until you get to 1,000,000.

    Linda (kicia) and George

  37. Kevin says:

    John, Heidi, & Everyone else,
    First of all thank you all so much for your kind words, but I’m sure many of you would have done the same thing. Pizza class went well messy but well, sadly the photographer forgot the key to taking pictures, REMOVE THE LENS CAP !! but I did get one on my cell phone before we started using the camera. Just gotta figure out how to get it from phone to computer to post. Anyone have a idea ? I’m totally lost here on that one. Oh back to Brian we made 3 pizza’s together 2 looked like cheese melted on a bun and the third looked great (he had some help on that one) We ate the third together over a cup of chocolate milk, and he took home the other two to cook later.

    Kevin
    Official Assistant to the Assistant CD BIG ED

  38. Uncle Doug says:

    John & Heidi, Congrats from East Texas on the 500,000 slaps as you call them. Took me a while to figure out what a slap was.

    As far as movie rolls I think John Goodman should play you as he is a rather large and jolly fellow. I am also a rather large fellow, not sure what my weight would convert into stones but I would guess it would be a whole sack full.

    Maybe Steve Martin as PA007 as I am sure there is a lot of comical stuff that go on. I would need to think on the other rolls, as its 0400 here I am not doing so well on the thinking part. One of the draw backs of working the night shift.

    I did get a chance to visit England back in the early 70′s and actually spent over 2 years living there. It was a new world for a young teen. I did fall in love with the fish and chips and the public transportation. The USA could learn a lot about both. I will make sure to include it again on my retirement tour of Europe in a few short years.

  39. Sharon and Jeff says:

    OMG !! John we booked the Carnival Spendor for 49 nights to South America!! We are so excited.
    This will be our 5th (or techinically 5th , 6th and 7th Carnival cruise ) and by Jan 2009 I will be on my 23rd,24th and 25th cruise overall.

    The ship is selling so well that we will be changing staterooms for each segment, but that is okay with us.

    The only thing that would make it better is if you were on board for 7 weeks with us. Please say you will be there!!!!!! It would make things perfect!

  40. Dale S says:

    This message is for Chris Jefferson, CD for Carnival Valor.
    Chris my mother, Kathleen Deroin, from Canada is so darn excited. I booked my mom to take her 1st crusie and she is coming down next week.
    She will also be onboard for her Birthday and I was wondering if you could, well you know, sing a song or something for her. She also wants to take the “gally tour” and I instructed here to go to the shore excursion desk once on board.

    You know I hope she does not get lost on there in that there are lots of things for her to remember with respect to the shore excursions I set up for her. I also know she is a little worried as well about the whole thing.

    Please take care of her ok Chris.

  41. Connie K. says:

    I would like to know if there is anyone who booked room 8101 and if so, could they see when on the balcony beyond the bridge or does the bridge interfere with looking forward.

    Thanks much.

  42. Connie K. says:

    Sorry, I should have given the name of the ship, it is the Miracle, room 8101.

    Thanks

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