The end of one. The beginning of another.

March 14, 2007 -

John Heald

It is 6 am and I am sitting here typing between announcements for the debarkation process in Civitavechia. The first cruise has flown by and now we start our regular 12-day Mediterranean & Greek Isles cruise program calling at ports in Greece, Turkey and Italy. I am particularly looking forward to Istanbul, which is a city that really feels vibrant and still has mysterious qualities that give it a certain edge.

This cruise went well. You only really know if what you have planned is going to work until you put 3,000 guests onboard. It is only then that you can see the traffic flow and what works and what does not. Overall though, it does appear that the guests had a great time. Although we need to change a few small things, I think everyone left happy.

As usual, I was asked some great questions throughout the cruise, some of which were unforgettable. Yesterday while walking off the ship in Naples, Heidi and I were stopped by a guest who was very upset because the local shops refused to take U.S. dollars. I explained that in Europe the euro was the accepted currency but this lady was adamant that the dollar is accepted all over the world. (Hope she is not reading this ).

One of the hardest things about working on a cruise ship is, of course, being away from your family. I am sure all of the 1,200 crew feel the same emotions in this regard. I was speaking to a housekeeping assistant who is on his first contract. His name is Alex and he is from Russia. He was telling me that he is able to support both his parents by working on the ship and also help his young brother through school. He has a degree in civil engineering but by working here on the ship he is able to earn more money – not for himself, but for his family. This is not uncommon and often the reason so many of our crew are here. I salute them all for their hard work and dedication to their families.

Talking of the dining room, I want to welcome back maitre d’ Ken Byrne. Ken was with us for many years and left in 2005 for some time at home. He is back now and I hope some of you will have him as your host in the dining room when you cruise. He is as warm-hearted a man as you will ever meet and also a lover of big band music. You will be treated to some great songs by him during your dinner. It is great to have him back as he really is one of a kind.

It is now 8:30 am and we are nearly done with our debarkation. So, it is one last announcement for me and then a staff meeting before which I had better put some clothes on 🙂

I’ve included some pictures below of some of the sights we’ve seen. (Click on the picture to see it in a larger version as well as location information.)
The magnificent theatre of Athens The magnificent Acropolis of Athens awaits your discovery Shore Excursion Manager Wayne and I discuss the fantastic tours offered to guests on the Freedom while atop the Acropolis in Lindos, Rhodes ,Greece.

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.