My wife's number 1

March 21, 2007 -

John Heald

Having had a very busy sea day as I did yesterday, I went to bed last night hoping that the following day in Athens would give me the first opportunity this cruise to relax a little.
So, when my phone rang at 5:30 am I knew either something was amiss or it was one of the many random lady callers who have discovered my cabin number.

I guess by now you have all realized that, yes, something was amiss.

It was the captain on the phone telling me the Port of Piraeus (the access port to Athens) was closed to all ships due to high winds and strong sea swells and therefore, I needed to come to the bridge. So, my body immediately kicked into “automatic mode.” It is amazing how over the years I have learned to shower,shave,clean my tooth,dress and take care of other bathroom activities in a 10-minute period while still virtually fast asleep. Speaking of being asleep, it is also incredible that as fast asleep as my wife may be, her radar is able to detect that I have forgotten to put the toilet seat down!

So, washed, dressed and looking like James Bond, I took the lonely 5:45am walk to the bridge. I had felt the shipping rocking gently throughout the night but I have to admit I was surprised that it was severe enough to cause a delay in our arrival in Piraeus. Once on the bridge, I was met by the Captain and I could see as the sun rose that indeed the swells were rather large. We spoke to the Port Authority who asked us to wait two miles outside the port for the weather and wind to dissipate.

The first tour was due to meet at 7:15 am, so I woke the staff and had them stationed around the vessel to let guests know what was happening. It is always a difficult choice as to when to use the PA system. I always want to keep people informed as In any situation there is nothing worse than not knowing what is going on. So began my three-hour stint on the bridge. I eventually informed the guests what was happening around 7:30 am with an announcement over the PA system — but only on the open decks and lounges (not in the cabins).

It was a long wait but eventually permission was given to enter the Port of Piraeus at 9 am (three hours later than scheduled ). By 10:30 am, 2,700 guests had left the vessel. The Captain and I arranged for the guests to stay an extra two hours which was well received by the guests. It is a huge operation to get everyone ashore so quickly and the staff again was simply outstanding. At 11 am, I met with the staff and we had a little debriefing (not referring to Mrs. Strutt’s underwear!) and made sure our personnel were all getting off the ship for a little rest and relaxation.

I wish I had something exciting to tell you about my afternoon but after two hours of e-mails, phone calls and other office work, Heidi and I went to bed for a blissful 1 hour and 15 minutes nap — until the phone rang, of course. It was the office to tell me that my scheduled entertainer for that night had missed his flight due to bad weather and I would need to reschedule the evening’s events.

Once again, my body kicked into automatic as I washed and showered and, just as I thought my day could not get any worse, I heard Heidi’s voice from deep under the blankets uttering those immortal words “PUT THE SEAT DOWN!

Now maybe you understand the title of this blog!

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.