Day One aboard the Carnival Freedom

March 4, 2007 -

John Heald

Images from the Carnival Freedom InauguralIt seems only yesterday that my wife and Assistant Cruise Director Heidi arrived in the Venice shipyards to board our new home the Carnival Freedom. You think you will have all the time in the world to get your department of 65 entertainers together, prepare the daily schedules and bring all the departments together but that time disappeared faster than a Aston Martin Vanquish with James Bond at the wheel.

It was an incredible feeling of anticipation as we waited for the 1,700 special guests to board our sparkling new mega-liner for a night of entertainment and fun.

The good thing about these functions is that I get to see all my friends from the office. When you are based in Europe you don’t see them as much as you would like so it was wonderful to chat with so many.

At 10 am, Roger Blum, Carnival’s vice president of cruise programming and a great friend for many years, myself and others gathered in our show room the Victoriana Lounge to rehearse for what is always the most nerve racking part of any new ship delivery — THE NAMING CEREMONY.

On paper it looks so easy. Smash a bottle of champagne against the bow, applaud, have a photo and go and drink a glass of champagne .

In reality, it is not as easy as it looks. From the old days of swinging a bottle tied to a piece of old rope, we have developed Space Shuttle Technology to make sure that expensive bottle of French bubbly does indeed break. If not, you will see many a sailor crossing themselves and touching various parts of their bodies as superstition dictates.

Roger had worked hard to make sure this would happen and he explained the process to the ships beautiful Godmother Kathy Ireland I could see that it was going to be another tense affair. Kathy and Captain D’Aita rehearsed along with Maurice Zamarti our Vice president of sales who would Emcee the event and I couldn’t help feeling jealous that I would not be the man on the microphone. I tried to explain to my wife that it had nothing to do with being close to Kathy Ireland.

So, the rehearsal became the real thing and after the speeches were made Mrs. Ireland hacks at the rope with a hatchet. I watch the bottle swing towards the bow, it seems to take forever. Time stands still as everyone waits and then the first thing I see that tells me it was a successful mission is Roger Blum performing a celebration fit for the winning touch down at the Super Bowl.

And so, after a lot of stress and worry the Carnival Freedom is dedicated, our cast performed a show to a huge standing ovation, everyone eats, drinks and there is much merriment and backslapping all round. To view the complete video, visit www.carnival.com/freedom.

After a debrief with Roger and the staff I look at my watch, it is 1:40am. I have to be up for debarkation of our guests at 7 am and then embark 3 ,000 new ones for our inaugural cruise.

I get back to the cabin, write a quick e mail to Mum and Dad and then Heidi and I go to bed at 2 am exhausted but with a huge sense of satisfaction and a lot of pride.

More to follow.

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.