These are a few of my favorite things…

March 25, 2007 -

John Heald

Morning all……It is 7:10am and we are just arriving in Livorno, Italy. I would like to say the weather looks nice, but it actually looks very grey and damp. Livorno is the gateway port to discover such beautiful and stunning places as Tuscany, Florence and of course Pisa. Note the spelling I used here as I have noticed many ” tourists ” spell it the same as Pizza.

This leads me quickly to a story from 1997 onboard the Carnival Destiny. Just before I start this story, there are some stories told by Cruise Directors (myself included) that sometimes are a little – far from the truth lets say. However, this one is absolutely true – you just cannot make something like this up.

A lady guest went to the Information Desk very upset that the cruise was not going to the destinations that her travel agent had promised her. When the Purser (a great girl called Cassandra) asked which port she was referring to, the guest replied angrily “The Grand Canyon“. Cassandra looked at her and started to laugh thinking she was joking with her but when she saw the look on the guests face she realized she was serious. So, to cut a long story short it turned out after investigation that the passenger had thought that we were going to the Grand Canyon as promised by her agent. In fact of course we were going to Grand Cayman. She still was angry and promised that her agent would hear of her dissatisfaction when she returned home.

Anyway, back to the present and today 1600 people are leaving on ship tours to explore his beautiful region. Which to choose is hard and while I love Tuscany I do think that the tour to take is the Florence and Pisa combination. Pisa is a (get ready to groan) a slice of history (told you) that you must not miss. The tower really does lean at an acute angle and Miracle Square where it and the Basilica are set is a stunning place to explore. After lunch it is off to Florence to explore this beautiful town with all is glories.

It is now 10:00am and we are about to hold our life boat drill for crew only. A lot of guests think that we do this just at the beginning of every cruise but that is far from the truth. Safety is the number one concern onboard and before anything else all the crew must know what to do in a real emergency in order to save themselves and of course 3000 guests. So, each and every day there are drills and training that are undertaken all under the watchful eye of our Safety Officer who is responsible for all of these events.
So, time for boat drill, back soon.

It is now 12:45am. I just finished boat drill and then another Plaque Ceremony with officials from Livorno as this was the Freedom’s first call here. My wife is ashore getting essential items such as toothpaste, razor blades and hemorrhoid cream (we are friends now so we can talk about everything).

I am going to finish this blog by answering the questions that were posted by a blog reader called “Secret Agent” – some of you have great names, Stingray,Alannonce, Robocop etc, so I am going to change my blog name to spermofthedevil.hell.:)

Anyway here are the answers you requested, though goodness knows why.

Favorite Film
Tough one this and I had to go with two tied for first place.

The Godfather ( the original of course although 2 was intense and brilliantly acted nothing can beat Brando’s amazing portrayal )
The Hunt for Red October ( There is something about this movie that makes me want to see it over and over again )

Favorite Book
I read everyday. As tired as I am I cannot sleep without reading a few pages. I prefer biographies to fiction however I love the novels by Andy Macnab who is an ex British Special Forces soldier who writes about what he actually did on a fictional basis.
However my favorite book is also by him called Bravo Two Zero about how he was captured in the 1st Iraqi war……… man’s personal nightmare captured in a book that will haunt you for weeks after you have finished it.

Who Makes Me Laugh
Well, that’s a tough one. The best laugh comes from you, yes you. Cruise ship guests are a wonderful source of entertainment ( as seen in the story I just mentioned ). However, from the world of entertainment there are two men who really do make me laugh very hard.

John Cleese – He is the master. Please, go rent Fawlty Towere today and see what I mean.

Ricky Gervais – He is the writer and star of “The Office” that I know is now so popular in the states.

Hardest thing about being a Cruise Director

Well, I guess you mean about the job itself and it is not easy to answer. I can not speak for other Cruise Directors for me it is not letting that one person get to you. In entertainment you are always going to have people who do not like what you say and do. My biggest trouble is not taking that personally however most of the time I do not succeed and do end up getting down on myself……………that’s show business I guess.

Of course there are other difficult areas just like any job but overall I am so lucky that Carnival gave a chance to the worst bar waiter in the history of Piña Coladas to become a Cruise Director……I am eternally grateful to them.

I apologize that this blog had no real subject, but some days are like this here onboard and I wanted to ” keep it real ” – wow, I have started using street slang now

So, its goodnight blogger  from me and ” stay cool my dog ” !

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.