The first day of the first 12-day cruise!

March 14, 2007 -

John Heald

There are many supposed cures for jet lag. I have tried them all and I can promise you none of them work. I always feel like somebody has given me a wake up call with a baseball bat, my mouth feels like the inside of a basketball player’s shoe after overtime and I generate a smell that a skunk would be proud of.

So, why is it that after similar flights, 3,000 guests are fresh-looking and smelling like a rose on a summer day. As I walk around during embarkation, I see the excitement in the air as people wander around getting to know their brand new home for the next 12 days.

Someone once asked me if they should do a pre- or post-package in Rome. Personally, I would see Rome at the end of the cruise. Why not let the friendly crew serve and entertain you on that first night, just walk into your cabin unpack for 12 days and then at the end of the cruise you will be able to see the wonders of Rome without the feeling that is unique to long distance flying.

On the Carnival Freedom run to the eastern Mediterranean we now have a 24-hour stop in Rome at the end of the cruise. You can now use the ship as a hotel and take one of our exclusive tours and then come home to the ship rather than booking into a hotel….it is fantastic.

One of the questions I was asked on the web site was for a top FIVE list of must see places and things to do in Europe on our current Itinerary. After much thought, here is my personal list.

  1. Visit the Vatican by taking our unique, exclusive behind the scenes tour – it is one of a kind, and regardless of your beliefs, will leave you speechless.
  2. Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia – Islam and Christianity living together side by side in this architectural masterpiece. (Here’s a picture of the skyline of Istanbul) Skyline of Istanbul
  3. Ephesus – walking the path of emperors. (This is my wife Heidi at Ephesus) My wife Heidi in Ephesus
  4. Sorrento, Pompeii and Capri – the three must-see places while the Freedom is in Naples.
  5. The Leaning Tower of Pisa and Miracle Square

Now, I did not include any food in that list so I will add my top 5 “must-EAT” items sometime soon.

We are currently sailing to Naples. 3,023 guests are onboard and the weather in Naples tomorrow is expected to be 68 degrees and sunny. Heidi has just made me a cup of tea and 18,000 people have read my new blog on the Freedom web site. I am truly blessed to have found a job that allows me to entertain and now allows me to share my experiences in public.

I want to say a special hello to all the people who have added comments. I am sorry that time does not allow me to write to you all but please know I read every single one. If anyone does cruise with me in the future, please drop me a line at the Information Desk saying you read this site and I will send you a little thank you gift for doing so.

Now it is 10:50 pm. I have two hours of paper work in front of me and then a 7 am start tomorrow. I am tired, but you know what, I do not care. Why? Because 18,000 people read my site, I may not be rich, I may look like someone who has run a 100-yard sprint in a 90-yard gym, but tonight, I feel fantastic.

Below are some additional pictures I took during the inaugural cruise. One is of me during at tour of Pergamum and the other is one of my favorite signs that I saw in Turkey. (Click on the images to view them in a larger format.)

John salutes the fantastic tour in Pergamum My favorite sign from a shop in Turkey


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.