Happy Birth Day

March 22, 2007 -

John Heald

It’s funny how things just happen. Today, was one of those days.

It started badly when I received news that a family member of one of our cast members had been tragically killed in a car accident. A Cruise Director is also a manager, a big brother and a Dad and I needed to be all three today. Obviously I am not going to discuss names etc, but I can tell you that there is nothing harder in the world then telling someone news like this and I have had to do it too many times. Those moments stay with you forever.
Being away from your family is the hardest part of being on a ship and I do my best to make sure that I look after each and everyone of the 65 staff members as best I can.
It was a sad start to the day and Heidi and I send our deepest sympathies to this particular family as they deal with their sudden loss on the other side of the world.

We were in Katakolon, Greece today and the weather reflected the day so far; cold and damp. My spirits were not exactly high as I carried out the normal duties of the day including a Public Address system test, a meeting with department heads and the final rehearsals for our new show which will open tomorrow night, Jump, Jive and Wail.

So, as 5:00pm approached and I prepared for my live afternoon show on the big screen and cabin television, I knew I would have to dig deep to find my Cruise Director smile.
I had the usual letters of romance, love etc and a couple of requests etc and I have to admit with the days memories on my mind I think I was probably running on auto pilot, something I hate to do.

I then read a letter from Kevin and Laura Usherman. Kevin had written a letter of praise about one of our crew members, the Internet Café Manager Tim. The letter stated that Tim had helped them purchase a laptop computer and wireless internet card while ashore in Greece, due to the popularity of the Carnival Freedom being totally Wi-Fi friendly.

I called the cabin live on my show to chat with them to acknowledge their gratitude to Tim. The phone was immediately answered by Kevin who said I could not have called at a better time. In answer to my question, why, Kevin told me that he was watching the birth of his grandchild live on his laptop. You see, his son had placed a web cam in the delivery room in the hospital in Tampa, Florida and here they were 4,000 miles away in the middle of the Mediterranean watching it live. Kevin stayed on the phone and gave me and the hundreds of viewers watching in their cabins a live report on what was happening right up to the point where he said he could see the head. I hung up then as it is really not a spectator sport.

Skip forward to now, midnight and I have just finished the talent show. I had brought Kevin and his wife Laura on stage and they proudly announced the birth of a 7 pound 3 ounce baby boy (Stuart). We all gave him a big cheer and a copy of the DVD of the show so Stuart will be able to hear and see that so many people were present during his birth.

So, from a very sad start but a very happy ending, this job never ceases to surprise me………………………………just like life itself.



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.