For those in peril on the sea

March 23, 2007 -

John Heald

They say that things happen in threes.

After the emotional rollercoaster of yesterday I was hoping for a normal day of FUNSHIP cruising and indeed it was until the phone rang at 6:50am. It was the voice you dread at that time of the morning – his masters voice – Captain D’Aita. Sure enough the news was not good and I was asked to come to the bridge.
I engaged automatic mode and quickly dressed and started to head for the bridge as quickly as I could (remembering to put the toilet seat down before I left).

Once there I was met by the Captain who told me that within the last 2 hours two guests had become seriously ill and the ship’s medical staff felt it best that we disembark them for immediate medical attention ashore. The Captain diverted the ship to Calabria, which is part of the Italian island of Sicily.
We arrived at approximately 7:30am and waited for the Italian Coast Guard boat to come from inshore to the vessel.

I made an announcement on the open decks and made sure that people understood what was happening. In the day and age that we live in, I think it is so vital that in any abnormal situation that a Cruise Director must keep everyone informed as much as possible.

Medical evacuations are not just a strenuous time for the patient but also the members of their family. It is not always possible to have the family member go with them as it depends on the size of the rescue craft.
Luckily, the boat was able to take both patients and their spouses along with the ship’s doctor and a nurse who accompanied them ashore and into the ambulance.
We waited for the medical staff to return and we resumed our course.

I always have a lump in my throat when this happens and I send my thoughts to them all.

I would like to take this time to pay tribute to Coast Guard agencies all over the world, from the Italians who helped us today to the volunteer service the RNLI in the UK and of course the brave men and women of the U.S.C.G. all who have rescued countless lives…………we sailors salute you all!

So, it was now time to head for Stromboli – what is that I hear you ask? Stromboli is a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily, containing one of the active volcanos in Italy. It is one of the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago north of Sicily. This name is a corruption of the ancient Greek name Στρογγυλή (Stroŋgule) which was given to it because of its round swelling form. The island has a population between 400 and 750.

It has been especially active recently and I asked the Captain if we could cruise slowly pass the island to allow guests a chance to view the continuous
eruption and hopefully see the lava flow into the sea. At 10:45am the guests all came out in the cold and somewhat windy weather and indeed saw something special. Instead of me describing it, here is a photo of what we saw today.

Pictures of Stromboli, Italy Pictures of Stromboli, Italy

I hope during your cruise on the Carnival Freedom you see the same majestic power that this awesome volcano can produce during it’s constant eruptions.

The day settled down after that and I hosted the debarkation talk and also described the many tours we have available in Rome. This year we arrive in Rome a full day and night before debarkation starts. This gives guests time to explore Rome and return to the ship instead of having to book a hotel for the night in after cruise package. This proved very popular as many guests booked tours. Bloggers – remind me in a future blog to tell you about a tour exclusive to our guests on the Freedom, the private and exclusive view of the Vatican.
I lunched today with some passengers on Lido deck and for the first time I tried our new Tandoor Barbecue. This features zesty Indian food which is just
wonderful. You must try it!. Indian food has always been a favorite of mine and I overindulged today with two large helpings of the spicy chicken; mmmmmmm.

It is now 11:35pm and I have just returned from the opening of our last new show here called Jump, Jive and Wail . This is a tribute to the era of swing music and received great applause from the audience. It has a surprise ending and you will have to cruise here yourself to discover what it is.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have asked me not to stop blogging. As long as I know people still want to read I will write. We reached 60,000 readers for which I am still unsure as to why.
A big hello to all those people who leave comments and the occasional question. I only wish I had time to answer them all.
Another big hello to the Mums of two of my friends who play in our Big Band on the ship. That’s Ben Burget’s Mum ,what a fantastic musician he is and I am sure you are very proud of him. Then there is Jana James’s Mum. I have known your daughter a long time and she is truly a great friend and I know she misses you very much and like Ben’s Mum you must be so proud of her.

So, it is bedtime………………I shall go to bed thinking of the two guests we disembarked, get well soon and of Stromboli and the eruption we all witnessed.

And …………………………..thanks to my over indulgence at the fantastic Tandoor barbecue, the telling of my wife is now giving me after I had my own quite large eruption !!!


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.