A leg end is born

April 6, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning Bloggers …….the score so far is 95,812 blog hits, which considering at no point have I been naked is not bad for a fledgling blog thingy.

I would like to pass on my thoughts and I am sure yours to the passengers and crew of the stricen liner Sea Diamond. We were docked next to her in Athens on Saturday.

When something like this happens we all feel affected and tonight we pause for thought for the two missing passengers who are in our prayers.

Just before the Q and A session, I learnt something today that I wanted to pass on to you all – or yaaaaaa’lllllllll for those from the south. My P.A. (yes I have a personal assistant) who works in the Carnival H.Q. in Miami, Florida wrote me an e mail telling me that DAME JUDI DENCH has been the only Godmother who has indeed kept in touch with her godchild the Carnival Legend. She even sent the Carnival Legend a Christmas Card last year. As my Personal Assistant said, ” she really is a special Lady.”

Ok, Q & A.

BIG ED – Even though I will not be on your January cruise I will make sure you get a huge chair with no arms and a booth. Your wifes’s hair appointment is indeed important and if you remind me via this site closer to the end of the year I will make sure she gets the appointment she wants. IT WOULD BE NICE IF GUESTS COULD BOOK IN ADVANCE ONLINE AS YOU CAN SHORE EXCURSIONS…….MAYBE SOMEONE FROM CCL COULD PASS THIS ONTO OUR FRIENDS AT THE STEINER ORGANIZATION.
Anyway, send me your booking number, etc. in November and I will make sure you get a chair the size of texas 9 or my chair ) as we both are obviously size extra medium.
KATHY KROLL – as you can see from above Dame Judy is one of a kind even though her program on PBS is called Two Of A Kind. Now, difficult question about your cruise. May 13th, I think you should go ahead and bring a light jacket and maybe one sweater but also shorts or the longer ones (Heidi says they are called capris ) as I am sure by then the weather will be much warmer. Remember, ladies will need to cover their knees when entering the Mosques of Istanbul and the Cathedrals of Italy.Thanks for the nice words about my voice overs. Looking forward to seeing you.
KERRY – Can you give me a bit more of a hint as to what new programs you are interested in so I can point you in the right direction for support. Thank and please write soon.
CARLOS – When someone takes their first cruise it is always an amazing occasion. Hearing that yours will be with your family on the Carnival Freedom is great news. If you have any questions about your new born baby (not breast feeding or diaper changing) please let me know. I can promise that the long trip from Uruguay will be worth it. See you soon mate.
RICH – well guess what, I returned to the cabin today and there above the toilet was a sign, as dictated by you that says “put me down “. However, the “fly” situation is something I always check before going on stage. Thanks for the advice mate.
JINMMY–  Thanks for the wonderful comments and I congratulate you on your choice of wanting to be a Cruise Director which next to being Angelina Jolie’s bodyguard is the best job in the world. I have had a few people shadow me and many of Carnival’s brilliant C.D’s have worked alongside me. May I suggest that you book a cruise, let me know which one you take and I will arrange for you to sit down with the Entertainment Staff so they can spend time really telling you what is involved. Alternativley, you can apply online for a Entertainment Staff position. The link FUNJOBS is at the bottom of the www.carnival.com home page. Good luck mate and please keep reading.
BIG ED – AGAIN – Wouldn’t a bloggers cruise be great!
MELLISA – Of course I remember Bert, how can I forget such a character. If he is sailing with you in June I really must get him on stage with me again.We should have toured Vegas!
ROBOCOP – hello old pal, how are you. You are right, the Carnival legend was a great trip as we sailed the Atlantic. Did you know Ralph (A.K.A. WEE JIMMY ) is now a Cruise Director on the Carnival Glory. It was a fun trip and I wish you much success with your web site and many thanks for the kind words …….
P.S.  – another carnival legend story coming up in a few minutes.
CINDY – hello Cindy from Canada. Hope you had a great time on The Triumph and Valor. I think the Cruise Director you are refering to is Chris Jeffersen. He is from the U.K. like me and is great guy and a terrific Cruise Director. He was recently voted the second most handsome cruise Director in the fleet. Chris, if you are reading this maybe you will beat me next year. Cindy, thanks for saying Carnival is the best……………….come and sail with me sometime and I will let you know my schedule as soon as I do.
PAM – I wish you were here as well Pam. It is amazing that there are still so many misconceptions about cruising. Tell you brother that after his first Carnival Cruise if he does not think it was the best vacation he ever had that I will ride up and down in the glass elevators of the atrium wearing a bikini. Seriously, thank you for trying to become a Platinum Member and your loyalty is to be applauded ( I am doing it right now ).
BERNIECE – Morning Dr. I promise their will be no OB/GYN jokes ( well not yet ) and first of all thank you for your wonderful comments about your recent Carnival Freedom cruise.My job does have an element of Fantasy about it and to continue with ship names it allows me to make a daily Celebration of Life and has indeed taking me to Paradise. Like any job you can have a bad day at work but the thing about being a Cruise Director is that you can never let it show once you step out of the cabin.I hope you enjoyed your wonderful Shore Excursions and most of all if you are serious about beig a Doc aboard one of our ships let me know and I will point you in the right direction, we always have WOMB for another Doctor……………..sorry:)
SHEILA – Och Aye The Noo……..( Scottish for Good Morning ). I am now as excited as you to welcome you baoard for your first Carnival Cruise. I promise you a fun time and the ports are sensational.Thanks for admitting publicly that you have an addiction and I am happy that its to this blog thingy.C U Soon.

So, the last day of the cruise and as you may have seen from the Web Cam that it has been another glorious day of unbroken sunshine. Mixed emotion was on the menu.

Today as many guests are sad to leave tomorrow and the dreaded packing begins. Can I take time to say goodbye to a man called PRESTON BIRCHER. Preston is a major part of the Entertainment Team in Miami. He is responsible for all the lighting design and installation of the massive sets that mak our spectacular shows even more so. Preston has been with carnival for 18 years and has been on the Carnival Freedom from January 3rd while it was still in the shipyard until today. I know Preston’s Mum reads this blog thingy and I know like me she is very proud of his dedication to helping Carnival stay WAY AHEAD OF THE OTHER LINES WITH THE BEST ENTERTAINMENT AFLOAT. Thanks Preston.

Many guests onboard have told me they have been reading the blog so expect a lot of them to write their comments on the blog thingy and join our ever expanding circle of friends.

I want to return to the Carnival Legend and it’s inaugural season. I was reminded of this story today by Heidi and by an e mail from my personal assistant in Miami.

The ship was still in the yard in Helsinki, Finland. Picture the scene, I was sitting in the cabin at the computer with Heidi preparing for the hand over ceremony and show. This is where Carnival takes delivery of the vessel from the shipbuilders and there is a lot of pomp and circumstance. The door to my cabin was as always on the latch and I heard yet another knock on the door. I shouted for the knocker to come in without even turning around to see who it was.There, as large as life, was Micky Arison, Carnival Coperation’s Chairman and Vice Chairman Howard Frank. Now, I was expecting these two esteemed gents to walk in my cabin as much as I was expecting Angelina Jolie to walk in saying ” I dumped Brad and I want you ” ( Heidi is not amused ).

Anyway, to cut to the chase I was asked by Mr. Arison to help him at the hand over ceremony. Just a few months earlier the same ceremony had been completed on the then brand new vessel Carnival Pride and Mr. Arison wanted to have a bit of fun with this one.

He had devised a plan where during his speech thanking the shipyard for the wonderful vessel they had built I would start to heccle him from the back of the theatre and eventually walk on stage and say that his speech was boring and that it was the same speech he had done just a few months ago.

Now when the Chairman of the Board asks you to do this you say ” Yes Sir ” and he left comfortable in the knowledge that this would happen.

So, what was I going to do. There would be 1000 people in the room, all from Finland and 99% of them spoke as much English as I spoke Finnish.

The idea had been that I would do the heccling in English and then 5 minutes of jokes etc. in English knowing that the boss and a few others would be the only ones to understand.

However, I decided ( and quite bravely I might add ) to turn the tables around and do the whole thing in Finnish. The problem was, I only new two words in Finnish and they were words that were not going to put me on anyones Christmas card list.

I therefore got the help of one of our Finnish Pursers the wonderful Maarit who translated all my jokes into Finnish and wrote them out pheniticaly. I practiced for two hours even trying them out on another Finnish crew member until they understood me and laughed.

Now, I want to cut to the time when I actually get on stage and come back to the best bit. Once on stage I stood next to Mr. Arison, Mr. Frank and the Captain and they waited for me to do my speach in English but I then started to do it in Finnish and the audience laughed they looked very bemused. It had worked and the ceremony was succesful and a whole lot of fun!

Now, the best bit. Let me set the scene. There are 1,000 shipyard workers, all the Carnival executives and shipboard department heads. The thing was, I had not told anyone apart from Heidi that I was going to do this. Mr. Arison started his speech and I immediatley started whispering quietly from the back that I was so bored with this and I couldn’t take it anymore.

Then, without warning I shouted from the back of the room “Get off the stage, you said the same thing last time, boooooooooooooooo.”

One thousand heads turned to look at me in horror, but none more so than the Hotel Director Shanaz Kashanipour. Now Shanaz is one of the best &  most respected Hotel Director’s in the company and a great friend of mine, but at that moment she must have thought I had lost my mind.

I continued to shout “boring ” and “get of the stage ” to the most influential man in the Cruise Industry and as I shouted I started to walk towards the stage.

Like a linebacker Shanaz threw herself at my legs trying to rugby tackle me to the floor and I walked the last few meteres towards the stage with Shanaz hanging on my leg like a child grabbing onto their parents leg. It was a wonderful memory.

Oh, and by the way, during the ceremony the Mayor of Helsinki gave a very passionate speech where she mentioned the word Carnival Legend a dozen times. Unfortunatley she called it the Carnival Leg  End and to this day the crew of this fine ship still refer to it as the Leg End.

Ok, I have to be up at 5:30am for debarkation as another cruise full of memories is over and another one begins.

Please come and sail with me soon and lets give you all some meories to cheerish forever.

Goodnight bloogers

Your friends

John and Heidi

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.