MONDAY, APRIL 16TH 2007

April 17, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Evening Bloggers:

I would like to start by re-posting the benefits of being a Platinum Guest (as requested by a few of you) – just 10 cruises will get you a shiny new Platinum Sail & Sign card which when you show our staff will allow you the following value-added benefits.

  • VIP Check-in at the pier
      Personalized stationery and envelopes
      Canapés delivered to the stateroom (5 day voyages and longer)
  • Petit fours delivered to the stateroom
      A special gift “Carnival Concierge Tote Bag” delivered to stateroom
  • Complimentary entrance fee to Blackjack or Slot Tournament
  • Complimentary wash and fold service
  • Guaranteed dining time
  • Guaranteed Supper Club Reservations (on Spirit- and Conquest-class vessels)
  • Exclusive Behind the scenes tour of the Galley
  • Priority Spa Carnival reservations
  • Priority tender boarding
  • Priority debarkation
  • Dinner with Angelina JolieAnd now, as is tradition, here comes the daily Q & A:

LINDA HERNACKI…………………………….I understand your fear of flying as I do not particularly enjoy it either. I am not sure as to where the bloogers cruise will depart from but I promise I will let you all know ASAP. As to the McDonald’s Charity question, I did indeed last year do some charity work with Heidi for the Ronald Mcdonald House for children while in the U.K. We have never done anything more rewarding and I hope to do some more soon. Keep reading this blog and I will let you know any news as and when I have it. My best regards to you until then.

MATT……………………………..Ocho Rios is great and I know you will have a great time if indeed it is one of our ports of call. Thanks for reading the blog thingy and hope to see you soon in 220 days and a few hours.  TYFFNI……………………………Welcome to my blog thingy and thanks for reading it. I am sure you had a great time on Princess, they are a brilliant company with beautiful ships and we are proud they are part of the Carnival family. We have such a wide variety of great itineraries departing from U.S ports that it was hard to pick what would be best for you. Since you have been to the more frequently visited Eastern and Western Caribbean ports, here’s a selection of cruises that offer some new and different destinations.

  1. Carnival Legend from Tampa (7 days) visiting Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya
  2. Carnival Liberty from Miami (7 days) visiting Half Moon Cay (an exclusive private island), St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk (available spring through fall 2008 only). Grand Turk is our new port in the Turks and Caicos islands which has been a huge hit with our guests.
  3. Carnival Valor from Miami (7 days) visiting Grand Cayman, Roatan (an unspoiled island paradise off Honduras), Belize and Costa Maya
  4. Carnival Liberty from Ft. Lauderdale (8 days) visiting Costa Maya, Limon and Colon (available January to May 2008 only). From Colon, you can take an excursion to the spectacular Panama Canal or enjoy a unique train excursion across beautiful Panama.
  5. Carnival Miracle from Ft. Lauderdale (8 days) visiting St Maarten, St. Lucia and St. Kitts
  6. Carnival Miracle from Ft. Lauderdale (8 days) to Colon, Limon and Belize.

In addition, we offer cruises on a seasonal basis from New York to the Caribbean and Canada/New England…spectacular Alaska cruises…as well as our exciting Mediterranean cruises. Plus, we will offer new year-round four- and five-day cruises from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas beginning June 2, 2007.

I hope that one of these option will appeal to you. It would be our great pleasure to welcome you aboard any one of the Carnival ships in 2008. 

MYREEN…………………………Your shoulders need to be covered so T-shirts are fine but tank tops cannot be worn. Your knees must be covered so long shorts (Capris ) are OK. If you want a shawl will be provided for all guests before entering the Blue Mosque. Let me know if I can be of any other help to you. One thing is for certain, you will never forget your trip to Istanbul. 

KENTUCKY CRUISERS…………………………..Your dining time is scheduled according to how long ago you booked. Usually we try and put people with the same demographics together, meaning that we will not put three honeymoon couples and two single people together, etc. If you are not happy with your assignment, you could go and see the maitre ‘d and change it. This is done on the first day (embarkation) and the location will be posted in Carnival Capers, the daily shipboard newsletter. Regardless of your seat assignment, I assure you that you will have a fantastic time in the dining room. Heidi is rubbing my feet as requested and occasional feeding me chilled grapes………sorry about that, started day dreaming there. 

KATHY KROLL…………………………………….I saw a photo of Robin Leach online today. This is the first time I have been told I sound like this man (usually I get that I sound like the English one from the Monkees – Davey Jones). Glad you loved Dubrovnik. Croatia is a country deserving of a huge tourist boom and that seems to be happening. The country has been through hell and it is so wonderful that their stunning and historic towns and their strikingly beautiful coastline have become must see places in Europe. Our first Grand Med cruise starts on May 1 and I must say I am looking forward to it. 

ESSEXMAN
……………….Thaks for the positive feedback, mate. When I first started as a cruise director I really learned quickly that the British and American sense of humors can be so different. It’s Interesting that few British comedians have made it big in the U.S.A and the same for American Comics in the UK. Maybe with the exception of Monty Python and, of course, Benny Hill none have really managed to cross the pond succesfully. Anyway, my best to Essex and see you soon.

BIG ED…………………………I feel that I need to give you a raise and pay you double what I was paying you before as my personal secretary. Thanks for posting the photos and there are more for you all to see today, many thanks mate and see you in the booth.

MARY AND RANDY……………….This is (as you say) such a strange business and sometimes it is hard not to take things personally. I have learned over the years to develop very broad shoulders as critics are everywhere. It is strange that whereas 1,000 guests will say “The show was great, the best I have ever seen,” invariably one will say “The entertainment is dreadful” and guess which one you go to bed thinking about……….yep, the negative one. It seems the needs of the one outweighs the needs of the many. Thanks again for the encouragement, I appreciate it so very much. By the way, I usual find that dreaming of Angelina Jolie really helps me stop thinking about bad comments.

ANGIE…………………………….Most of the bathrooms are as you said “holes in the ground,” however, at all the major sites there are pay toilets that are much more modern and always very clean. The men have it easy but us ladies may find some of the local bathrooms “very interesting.” See me on board and I will let you know where the best ones are – your toilet expert Heidi.

SHARON………………………….In answer to your question about Mother’s Day I am happy to inform you that indeed we acknowledge Mum’s among the guests and also we do the same for the crew. You will have a great time in may and I hope you leave me a letter at the front desk so I can say “Hi” back. See you soon.

JOYCE…………………………….Your friend will be able to rent a wheelchair on board. Please make sure you speak to me or one of our shore excursion staff to see what tours are the best for him to go. See you very soon.

SOUTHERNDREAMS…………..Welcome back and I am happy you had great seas on the Miracle. Captain Volpi is indeed a terrific captain. My Mum cooked something called Tripe yesterday, it’s one of my Dad’s favorites, thanks for asking. What was your favorite port you called at on the Miracle and did you see any of the shows? Welcome Home.

LANCE AND ILDA………………I apologize if I offended your dog “Duke ” with my awful puns, please give him a treat and tell him it was from me. The blog thing cruise will be next year and I will be working on this over the coming weeks.

VALERIE…………………………It was a pleasure and an honor to have you on the inaugural cruise of the Carnival Freedom. Your comments on how much you enjoyed the tours have been passed on to the operators and the shore excursion team. As for Ken, he is the most wonderful of men and I cannot tell you how popular he is each and every cruise. Heidi and I send our best to you and I truly hope that one day we get to do this again (maybe on the Splendor). Heidi and I send our best to you and your husband for a very happy 45th wedding anniversary and see you in blog land.

JAMES EMM…………………Many thanks for the compliment which are worth their weight (or mine) in gold. Glad you like the blog and please keep reading.

WENDY………………………Heidi is used to me doing silly things on stage and usually finds in her heart to forgive me but the toilet seat, that is another story ! Hope you enjoyed your time on the Liberty and I truly hope we see each other soon. Heidi will be back after seven days during which I will be miserable and the toilet seat will be in the up position.

MEANJEAN………………After those comments nobody can ever accuse you of being mean. I apologize that you have ruined two keyboards that are now splattered with a skinny latte froth…..oops. I guess T.V. is important to some people wherever they are and I am sorry I was not able to help provide him with the entertainment he wanted. Give my best to your computer less friend and I hope we share some laughter together soon.

ANDREAS GOEDDE……………The menu in the supper club does cause you to use words such as you have posted. It is an amazing menu and only $30 per person. Remember also that is available on all our Spirit- and Conquest-class ships. The glass steps leading up to the Spirit class supper club’s are interesting and can cause some people to have a sharp intake of breath but the reward is at the top. You will be happy to hear that the steps are not like this on here. Thanks also for the kind words and start that diet because the supper club is waiting for you. See you soon.

PAUL………………………..Ocho Rios has had some bad press over the years but many of the guests I have sailed with do come back and say that they had the best time in this beautiful and charismatic port of call. I suggest you take a tour to Dunn’s River Falls and the rain forest. I also recommend the Cool Runnings party boat as this is a tour you will never forget. The shopping is brilliant and the art of bartering is alive and well there. Go there with no preconceptions and let me know what you think. No Problem Mon.

SANDRA CLARK…………..Thank you for the kind words. I am really happy to hear how much you enjoyed the Glory and I know you will love the Liberty, say hello to Todd the cruise director. Please keep reading the blog thingy.

SHEREE……………………I know that good table mates can make a great cruise even better. Please write to me on this blog a few days before you sail and I will talk to our maitre d and make sure you have a great group at your table. I look forward to meeting your daughter and please congratulate your daughter on her graduation. Please accept my deepest sympathies at your loss and my thanks for sharing your condolences with Joanne over the loss of her husband. Tonight, you will be in my thoughts and, on a happier note, I cannot wait to meet you very soon.

RICH AND JEN……………..I have taken the liberty of taking the toilet seat out of your cabin in preparation of your cruise. See you soon and my best to you both.

BILL AND SUE………………I did the T.V. bit for Sky T.V last year, I have not seen it myself as I hate watching myself on T.V. Saying that, I have been asked to star in a new movie with Angelina Jolie. See you soon mate.

STEPH AND TRENT………………You asked for tips for honeymooners. I guess you meant for your cruise. Well, I will be hosting a honeymooner show on the second sea day. It is always very funny because of the people I have on stage sharing their secrets with the rest of the guests. I also suggest: 

TAKE A WALK ON DECK EVERY NIGHT

TAKE OUR NIGHT TIME GONDOLA TOUR IN VENICE

STAND ON THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS ( VENICE) AND PROMISE TO LOVE EACH OTHER FOREVER

TRENT – THROW ALL YOUR PHOTOS OF ANGELINA JOLIE AWAY BEFORE THE WEDDING DAY

MOST IMPORTANTLY – TREASURE THIS SPECIAL TIME TOGETHER AND STAY OUT OF BED AND GET SOME REST

PAULETTES MUM………………….I am sorry I never had a chance to work with Yvette, I heard so many wonderful things about her. As for Paulette, she is a very special lady. Heidi and I enjoyed working with her on the Carnival Liberty. She is a beautiful dancer blessed with so much elegance and grace – wow, you must be so proud of them both. I know how hard it is for Mum’s whose sons and daughters are away from home but you should know that she is representing the Ward family with great dignity. I wish you all well and thanks for reading this blog thingy.

SERGEI………………………………I have a feeling that Quentin, aka Tarquin has morphed into Segei. I now call upon Big Ed to arrange to have Sergei removed from the land of blog and returned to a web site far, far away.

BIG ED……………………………….Please see above, this message will self destruct in three minutes.

BELLA………………………….I am sure we can help you with your dining requests. The maitre’ d will be either Ken or Dino. Both are wonderful people and the good news is that our chef is from India so I am sure they will be able to assist you with your dietary needs. I will do my best with the movie. See you very soon and thanks for reading the blog (I love Indian food, by the way ).

CHAZON………………………Please can you do me a big favor and when you sail on the Holiday next week give a big hello to Steve Cassel. He is a true character. Cinco De Mayo is a great time and Cozumel’s Carnival is one not to miss. Try a restaurant called Pancho’s backyard, I think they have the best Guacamole in town. Have a brilliant time and let me know when you return how the cruise went. Cheers.

M & M……………………….Are you a green one? In Australia, M & M’s are called W W’s (upside down…..in Australia – Never mind). I am not sure of my schedule yet for next year but Heidi and I will certainly do our best to be with you and if we do host a bloggers cruise then I hope you can join us. Your first cruise will bring you many happy memories and I am sure it will not be your last with us at Carnival.

MAXWELL1100……………….Thanks for the compliment on the use of the Carnival ships in the last blog. I appreciate your kind words and please keep reading.

SOUTHERNDREAMS………….I imagine you saying lobster bisque with a southern accent, ” lobsrterrrrrrr bissqqqueee ” They did bring it as you described. It was a wonderful evening and sailing on a ship with a supper club and not eating there is like going to Egypt and not seeing the Pyramids. Hope you are well Bonnie and my best to Prince Charlie.

PAUL F PIETRANGELO…………As requested I will give you some brief highlights of the ports you are going to visit when you sail on the Freedom in February. 

COZUMEL 
One of the most powerful hurricanes on record, hit the island in 2005 with devastating effect. The usually lush rainforest was sheared off. The tops of trees disappeared and there no leaves were left on the highest five feet of almost every tree. A significant amount of vegetation was ruined when salt water washed over the island. The sewers of San Miguel were also heavily damaged.

Reconstruction was swift and concerted. Even before the hurricane cleared the area, the supplies needed to restore the island were already being gathered on mainland Mexico and Carnival Cruise Lines were ready to send a ship with supplies as well. Now, the island is nearly back to being fully restored and ready to give you a fantastic time.
  
Carnival has a HUGE excursion program including:

  • SNORKELING
  • SCUBA DIVING
  • OFF ROAD JEEPING
  • DRIVING BEACH BUGGYS AROUND THE ISLAND AND ON THE BEACH (one of my favorites).
     

Tours are also offered to the main land of Mexico including a spectacular trip to the Mayan Ruins of Tulum.

You should also eat at one of the local restaurants and try some authentic Mexican food. The shopping is also brilliant and overall it will be a place that will make it your AMIGO for life.
Watch out for the Margaritas at all the island’s restaurants and bars. They are potent and just one will make your face go numb, drink two and you will try and swim back to the ship 🙂  

GRAND CAYMAN 
A very different place to Cozumel. Grand Cayman is part of the British Commonwealth and, therefore, many British people live and work there. The cars drive on the CORRECT side of the road so be careful when crossing the road. It is a very rich and prosperous island with many banks holding offshore accounts there. Have you ever seen the movie based on the John Grisham book “The Firm?” This depicts Grand Cayman as mentioned but Cayman is much more than banks and money. My recommendations are.

SWIM WITH THE STINGRAYS AT STINGRAY CITY… Stingray’s were in the news of course last year with the tragic death of one of my personal heroes, naturalist Steve Irwin. This was a rare occurrence as I have been sending thousands of guests to this amazing place during my time as a cruise director. The location where you swim with them is dramatic. One mile out by boat you suddenly stop on a sandbank and there you are in the middle of the deep blue Caribbean Sea with the water lapping at waist level. Before you see anything you will probably hear something, the shrieks of surprise as these majestic creatures swim and play with you. So take one of our tours to a place that will leave you with a permanent smile on your face. Then, have a walk around the Capital Georgetown and try a piece of Tortuga Rum Cake, mmmmmmmm.

OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA 
As you have seen from my previous blog I love Ocho Rios. Please go there with an open mind and your visit will be a memorable one I promise. Climb Dunn’s River Falls and go downtown and soak up the Jamaican atmosphere and if you have time try the local Jerk Chicken.

Have a wonderful cruise.

LOVETOTEACH……………………Of course you can order a cake for your son. Just go to the Formalities Shop on Promenade Deck or speak to your maitre d.The waiters will sing a special version of Happy Birthday to him as well. Also, leave me a note about him and I will announce his birthday on one of my morning shows. See you in July.

ESSEXMAN………………………Two packets will be great and the questions I think were for someone else but you can answer them if you wish. Looks like West Ham are going down 🙁

CATMAMA…………………….In answer to your “will I be onboard in January” question, I am still not sure. I will sort my schedule out for next year ASAP and let you know. As for which night to eat at the supper club on a seven day cruise, that is a tough one. Personally, I like the second formal night which is day five of the cruise. Being dressed formally will enhance your evening even more. Whatever night you choose I know it will be the best meal you have had at sea…..ever. Hope to see you in January.

TOM………………………………Honestly, we have the same “DEMOGRAPHICS ” this cruise as when you were onboard but I have learnt by my mistakes and have organized them accordingly this time so Istanbul went very smoothly. Thanks for your kind words about Joanne which I know will really move her. As you mentioned doing laundry, I thought I would post a few photos of our Laundry Lads. These young men are some of the hardest working people onboard any ship and never get the limelight….until now.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I PROUDLY PRESENT, THE CARNIVAL FREEDOM LAUNDRY TEAM.

BIG ED………………………..You must be studying every photo in detail if you can see that I did indeed bring my phone and pager to dinner. Unfortunately I am on call 24 hours a day and where I go, the phone goes…I even have a phone in my bathroom !

You are more than welcome to walk Heidi around the open decks if Mrs. Big Ed looks like Angelina Jolie………………fair swap? 

JAMIE IN TEXAS……………….I cannot believe you made my blog your HOMEPAGE> I will send you a link for my homepage and see if you want to swap. www.angelinajolielovesjohn.not and see what you think. I am glad you found the blog though and I am honored that you are reading it so often. Each ship including the Ecstasy has a cigar bar for you to enjoy a fine glass of scotch and a cigar. Have fun onboard, take a photo for me of your cigar experience and send it to www.cigaraficionado.com. They love to publish photos of people enjoying cigars and it will be a great advert for the Ecstasy as well. Have a great cruise.

BELLA…………………Interesting that you mentioned you prefer shows before dinner because of long tours. This definitely applies here in Europe so at the moment I am leaning towards implementing this. Thanks for the help, it really is useful.

BOB AND EMILY…………..Thank you so very much for your comments. Constructive criticism is worth its weight in gold and you certainly bring up some great points. I (as well as many others) was so surprised that many guests did not get off the vessel in Rome. Last season on the Carnival Liberty so many guests were disappointed that they could not see Rome as their flights left to early. Therefore, this year we decided to give the guests a day in Rome to explore and I was flabbergasted to discover that so many did not even go ashore. Obviously, generating revenue for shore excursions is important as you stated but nothing is more important than guest satisfaction. I have therefore, forwarded your comments along with this reply to various senior management and I will let you know their thoughts and any changes that may be made as soon as I can. I always want to point out that you are indeed correct, John Courtney was a fantastic entertainer and I have also forwarded this to his web site so he can see for himself how much he was enjoyed.

You also made mention of Stephanie. Please can you let me know a few more details about what happened.

I do not want to this blog to become an extension of our guest relations department who are so good at what they do but if anyone has a comment that pertains specifically to me or my staff please let me know. I will share my honest and open opinions with you all and hope you will do the same.

Thank you also for your compliments about me, I am humbled by them. There is a very good chance that I will be on the Splendor and as soon as I know which ports we will visit I promise to let you know.

J0 AND DAVE………………looks to me like you have made the right choice for your supper club experience and I know you will be thrilled with the food and the service. I was never a C.D. on the Tropicale infact I never even once walked up the gangway. I have however been on the Carnival Triumph many times and had some of my favorite Caribbean experiences on that ship. Heidi has never been on the Wind Spirit but she has been next to me when I have hand Spirited Wind !

Doug………………………..I have never met Alastair Greene but his reputation as an excellent cruise director is well known. I just looked up Paul Zerdin on the web site and he looks very entertaining, good vents are hard to find. I think crossing the Atlantic on any Cunard ship must be a thrill and I would love the chance to do this one day. I will e mail you at the link you sent me once I finish this blog thingy. All the best mate.

At this point I was going to share some things with you from our day at sea but I have just heard the terrible news about 33 young people who have had their young lives tragically brought to an end at Virginia Tech this evening. Suddenly, what I was about to write does not seem important and I will therefore stop this blog now. I would not dare use this blog to make political statements but I do want to say this as someone not from the United States. I understand that the constitution gives the right to bare arms…………….but at what price?

This is an argument that I see both sides being correct, maybe if the students had guns themselves they could have returned fire and protected themselves.

We may all have different opinions on this but I am sure that every blogger agrees that;

There are too many new Angels in heaven tonight.

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.