Two Lips from Amsterdam

April 18, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning to You all from a land called Blog.

It is another beautiful day today here in Civitavecchia. Many guests are ashore exploring Rome and some are just ‘ chilling ‘ onboard. I have added many activities this afternoon as quite a few guests do remain onboard plus the band will be playing 60’s, 70’s and party music on Lido Deck in the sunshine.

Just a footnote on the tragic events in Virginia. Yesterday, upon sailing from Livorno I held a moments silence onboard as we all paused for thought in the memory of those who have been and always will be effected by what happened. The entire ship fell silent as we honored their memories.

Now, on a lighter note ( or heavier depending on how many you eat ) here are some photos as requested of the melting Chocolate cake which is available every day from our restaurants fleet wide.

Are you ready? The let the drooling begin!

The Chocolate Melting Cake

And now, we proudly present the Q and A

LATERIZER – Not long now and June 6th will be here. In answer to your question about the Internet café, here are some facts. We have 8 terminals and I must admit, that’s not enough. However, there is very rarely a long wait and most of the time you can get straight on. The secret is to check your e mails at the quieter times of the day which are late evening or early morning. The busy times are 10;00am – Noon and 5:00pm – 9:00pm. As far as the lap top is concerned, I do not think you should lug ( is that a word?) the thing all the way over here but remember if you do decide to bring it the entire ship is something called WiFi which means you can read my blog from the comfort of your own bathroom. Regardless, you will be able to check on the welfare of Mum which is of course very important. Looking forward to meeting you in June.
MOTHER NEEDING A VACATION SOON – Thank you for taking the time to read this blog thingy everyday. You will love the Carnival Liberty and the Caribbean ports it visits are spectacular. The Cruise Director will probably be Todd Whittmer. He is a great guy and will make sure he gives you a fantastic cruise vacation. You are correct that all of our Camp Carnival programs have the BUILD A BEAR activity. There is a cost of $19 but this includes a cute Teddy Bear and a T Shirt etc, your kids will love it ! So hang in there Mum and you will get the vacation you need soon.
JO – Thanks for your question on the Soda Card and if it is good for CAFFEINE FREE SODA. As of now I understand that it is not, however I am addressing this fact with Our Food and beverage director and will see if I can influence a policy change. Watch this space and I will do my best to assist you.
WILL – Hello to you in Manchester, U.K. Will. Are you a red or a blue ( soccer ) ? Anyway, I totally agree that on the ships Carnival Miracle and Carnival Liberty while in the Caribbean that the shows should be at 10:45pm for the late sitting guests. My concern here is that after long back to back port days with 8 plus hours of long touring that the 10:45pm shows are not being well attended. I did try some 7:00pm shows 9 before dinner ) and I have to say attendance increased by 50%.I myself agree with you that I prefer the shows after dinner but on here it seems here we are in the minority. I am trying to find a happy medium where half the cruise the shows after dinner and when needed before. What do you think? Hope to hear from you soon.
JULIE TAYLOR – The fact that I have become part of your kids reading curriculum is somewhat scary. I guess I had better start using spell check and checking my grammar is correct. Can you please start grading me to make sure I am setting a good example for your kids. I thank you for taking the time to read the blog everyday. I notice you state that the Carnival Web Site needs to change more often. Can you let me know what you would like to see and I will try and implement some of your suggestions?
I congratulate you all on your graduation and the achievement of a master’s degree for yourself and a Doctorate for your husband. We will be happy to help you celebrate. I suggest you let me know when you onboard and I will make sure that the entire ship knows of your achievements.
You are to kind in stating that you feel like part of the Freedom family already and intern I am looking forward to meeting yours.
MARGARIDA – Interesting that you mentioned that Princess plays Bocelli as you enter Venice. We started this two years ago ( copy cats ) and this year we will play something on the big screen as we enter Venice that will really reduce you to tears as Andrea Bocelli did on your Princess cruise…….we will be playing…………………………………..BRITNEY SPEARS !
Kidding of course, you will be able to listen and enjoy, PAVAROTTI, THE LAST TENOR as we sail into the most Romantic City In the World………CLEVELAND, OHIO.
KATHY KROLL – It was very nice of you to post so many photos and the great video clips on your web page. Sorry to hear about your HD video camera. Not quite sure what that is as I am a bit behind when it comes to technology as I am still using my 8 Track Stereo. As you are concerned about the Toilet’s in Europe I have commissioned a special report which will be written by Heidi who I have made Chief Register About Pee and Poo ( C.R.A.P.P. ) and she will issue her report very soon.
NOTE: This could have been my last blog because if I had not moved to the left with the agility of the African Cheetah I would not have dodged the large industrial size stapler which Heidi for some unexplained reason threw at me. Thanks again K & P and see you soon.
JODI – First of all this blog is completely open. As I mentioned in the last blog although I do not have the time to look into individual comments about a cruise ( we have a great guest relations department for that ) I do encourage anyone who feels that they have an idea that may benefit the many then that is what I am here for. I will give my opinions and you please all give me yours. You are correct of course. If you sail a lot it would make sense if we changed the gifts for Platinum Members. Having 5 bags does not make sense (unless you are going to open a bag shop). So, your suggestions have been forwarded on to the correct people and I hope that I will have answers for you soon. Until then, I appreciate you reading and commenting so please do not stop. By the way, as you are A PLATINUM MEMBER as per company policy I have been typing this blog thingy on one knee and with my head bowed.
LINDA AND HANDY MIKE – I notice from your list that you have cruised with me three times already, that is worthy of something free so I am going to ask Kathy ( above ) to send you one of her three thousand Carnival bags she has. Thank you for the special statement about your FEB 2004 cruise 🙂 I seem to be inundated with requests on the engagement story so I will indeed pass this on in a moment once I am done with Q & A. As for my favorite ships – well along with Imagination I think I have to say Carnival Triumph. I was there for three years and I grew to know her every nook and cranny and I always loved the stage there and have had some of my best shows and experiences performing on it.E.G. One time on the Triumph I was performing the bedtime story with an older guest. He got so into his part that as he shouted his lines his false teeth fell out. He bent down to pick them up and as he did so he dropped them again. He was having difficulty bending over and looked at me with Cocker Spaniel eyes. So, yep, I picked them up gave them to him and he put them straight back into his mouth.
I appreciate your kind words so much about the blog thingy and tell Mike to put his tools down and take you for dinner.
JAMIE AND KEVIN – Congratulations on booking a suite. The Cat 12 suites are gorgeous and as stunning as Angelina Jolie’s neck. ( Glare from Heidi ).
Being in a suite will entitle you to some ” surprises ” which I am not going to spoil for you. Also, please drop me a line when you are onboard and I will call you for a chat……that’s not a privilege I hear you cry……well, it will be for me so please let me know your cabin number. Have a great time and bring a good book for some luxury “you ” time on your balcony.
JOYCE – Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about the dreadful happenings at Virginia Tech. As a teacher it must be extra difficult for you to reassure your pupils that their school is a safe and happy place of learning. The tours you have booked are some of our very best and lets chat with our Shore Excursion team to make sure that they are suitable for all your party – if not we can change them over. The ship’s photographers will be taking photos of many of our behind the scenes areas, is there anything particular you would like to see?
I know you said you are off to grade papers so give everyone an A from me. What grade do you teach?
BIG ED – Or Big “M” as you are now known. Thaks for taking care of Sergei and more importantly thank you for your kind words in thinking of our guests who may have had relatives at Virginia Tech.
It is always great to hear from you and please keep writing mate.
PAUL – It was my pleasure to write some details about the Caribbean ports you will visit. I am hear for you all and although in Europe I have many fond memories of my time in the Caribbean so please let me know if you need further assistance. As for your comments about the students, you are indeed correct and I share your thoughts and prayers.
SHIRLEY – First of all please tell your husband that he has no chance with Angelina Jolie. She will one day read my blog and realize that looks, the body of a god, perfect jaw and teeth, and being richer than Solomon are not everything and when she does, I am first in line !
As for Venice, there is no curfew. You can stay out as long as you like as the gangway will always be open for you. Sitting in St Mark’s Square listening to the chamber orchestras, eating a gelato is one of life’s must do experiences and I encourage all of you to do this when you visit Venice.
NOTE: St. Mark’s while beautiful and memorizing is expensive………….be prepared to spend 5 euros just to sit at the table plus an average of 10 euros for an ice cream…………but……………….you really cannot put a price on how it feels just to be there. See you soon. As you stated you want to ” make a baby “, this might be the perfect night to do this……………………let me know if you need any help…………………….with Venice…………………….not the baby making stuff…………..but I am here to help with that if you need me to……………………………ok, actually I have just been informed by Heidi that I am not.
SEWINGNUTS – The individual cans of soda are $1.50 so I guess you have to weigh up how much soda you are going to drink before trying to decide if or not to buy a Fountain Fun card. The free beverage list includes water, ice tea, water, lemonade, orange juice, water, fruit punch and water.

BREAKING NEWS……………………………………As requested by blooger Jo, I have just heard from the Beverage Department that effective immediately all ships will include caffeine free Diet Coke and caffeine Free Sprite with purchase of the soda card. The power of this blog is incredible:)
As for the galley tour. I will try and get this done, however until then, if anyone wants to see the Galley – yes this code word on a letter and drop it to me at the information Desk on day 2 of the cruise – the code is – ANGELINA JOLIE SHOULD BE THE GODMOTHER OF THE CARNIVAL SPLENDOR. This will get you access.
Until then, thanks for reading and your comments, now go and sew.

BREAKING NEWS: With regard to Linda’s question about the gifts for Platinum Members – here is some news as sent by a very beautiful and very important Senior Vice President. This person is stunning, clever and is just below Angelina Jolie on my dream list………
Always a pleasure to hear from you.  As far as the gifts, we are changing the tote bag to a different gift for exactly the reason stated below.
So, how about that for service. Your request has been accepted and I have been challenged with finding a replacement for the Tote bag…………I am thinking Ferrari, Cartier, Diamonds…………………………….I know……………………….a photo of me in my Gladiator costume……no seriously, you deserve it.

JOHN CANTELE – Thank you for your kind words about enjoying the blog. I apologize if you think I took a ” cheap shot ” at your constitution which was never my intention. I was simply expressing my lack of understanding of it. Again, my apologies and this blog is certainly not the place for political comment. Thanks again and please keep reading. How about you sail one day, lets sit and talk over a beverage and you can explain your thoughts to me. I would really like that.
JANET – I know how difficult it will be to be enjoying this beautiful cruise experience and at the same time knowing your son is off to Kuwait. I am sure he will be in your thoughts but I am positive he will be wanting you to relax and enjoy this deserved vacation.
You do not need Katherine’s last name – her I.D. number is included in the address and she will receive the mail and thank you for taking the time to do so. Do you know, in all my years at sea I have never sailed to Alaska. It is somewhere I have always wanted to go and from what guests and crew have told me it is simply stunning. I am sorry I made you cry ( twice ) but this blog has given me the chance to express myself as never before. The U.S. Navy Ship docked next to us was a special moment.
Thanks for reading and take care.
TERI910 – I have shown ( yet again ) that when it comes to spelling and the American Constitution I am indeed inept. as shown with the word ” bare ” instead of “bare “.
It was an awful day and I spent some time sitting with a family who were so distressed because both their sons attend the school. However, after some time they both were contacted and found to be O.K. There are however many parents who will have had their lives torn apart and we must continue to think of them as we continue our own everyday lives. Thanks for writing back Teri910.
JIM AND PEG – Thank you so very much for your special comments. I am looking forward to doing as you said and sitting down and discussing the pros and cons of gun laws in the United States. As I was just writing to John Cantele about, the Constitution is a subject well worth discussing and it will I am sure give me a chance to understand it more. As for Peg, the punishment for leaving the toilet seat up is very harsh and I am formally announcing that I am running for President of the Free To Pee Club and need members to raise the ranks.
Can’t wait to meet you.
JAN IN WA – It seems the majority are voting for early shows but I think that I have been able to find a happy mix. Thank you for your kind words and I am sure we all share your thoughts that one day there will be peace in the world.
JIM CARROLL…………………..As far as I know the Platinum card is exclusive to carnival Ships…….however……………..I am checking and will get back to you mate.
LEAHANE – The four days cruise on the Freedom will be non stop fun, food and entertainment. Thank you so much for reading this blog thingy from the beginning and I am glad that you are enjoying it so much. See you Soon.
Bob Means – Your comments are well noted. There are no excuses for this and I will be conducting a full investigation. I sincerely apologize and will follow up with you. Please never apologize, this blog is here for help, assistance and opinions. Thanks again.
FAVE – Sorry about not replying to the ping pong tournament question. I must have missed it. Ok., normally we do not do this but I will be happy to organize one for you when you sail in August 9 remind me when you are onboard ). I have tried it in Europe before but it was not well attended. I secretly think you are a World Champion Table Tennis Player and are desperate to add one of our solid gold trophies to your collection. So, lets see if you become Freedom Champion. I will have one of the entertainment Staff ANNETTE – ( GET IT AN NET – PING PONG NET – NEVER MIND ) sort this out for you.
MARY – Thank you so much for saying I am your favorite CD and you are right to mention Goose – he is going to be a very important part of Carnival’s future. I must admit it is hard work writing this blog. I am spending most of any free time I have doing it but I do enjoy it and will keep going as long as I can. So the thanks must go to all of you on Planet Blog for reading my random thoughts each and every day.
JEAN – There are guest laundries on each and every deck so do as I do when I go on vacation. take one pair of underwear and a $10 bill and don’t change either of them. Thanks and best wishes to you and your family.
ADAM – I am very happy to know that all your friends at Virginia University are all OK and as mentioned above we continue to remember those who were lost.
Thank you for your kind words about this blog. They are rejuvenating and uplifting…..hope to see you soon.
DEBRA HEHN – It will be our job to make sure your friends who are cruise virgins have the most incredible of experiences. How old are you kids. let me know and maybe I can help with some must do events for them. All the best until we see you in August.
MARK AND SHELLY – Your comments about the second day in Rome are being agreed with by many others. Rome is an incomparable city but your views also make a lot of sense. I have Forwarded them on and we shall see what happens. I see you are a avid Carnival Cruiser and I will do my best to make sure this one is the best EVER.
ANITA DUNHAM – POTTER – Your article left me speechless. As I read it I kept thinking that it must be about someone else, not me surely. I am truly honored by what you have written and I have printed the article and it will be framed and placed on my office wall next to the photo of my wife ( and just below the one of Angelina Jolie ).
I am very much looking forward to meeting you and your family and will do my best to make sure you all have the time of your lives. Thanks again and my best to Harry ( Potter ).
HYACINTH1 – Your offer to bring gifts for the crew is so very kind and really not necessary. However, if you insist than may I suggest the new Aston Martin DB9.If not, anything that is local to where you are from, maybe a pin or badge or maybe a local food etc. The most important gift you can give our crew however will be just thanking them for their hard work with a big smile. You are a special person and I am looking forward to meeting you soon.
STEPHAN COCHSUKOV – I recognize that name. Were you not recently involved in that Secret Agent Affair?
NATE’S MUM – I heard your son was coming and you have nothing to worry about. The ship’s crew will welcome him into their family and I will keep a personal eye on him. I will make sure he cleans his teeth and wears clean underwear at all times. Family rates are great and I will explain it all to him so you can cruise………..cheers Mum and don’t worry.

Wow, I just did this all at once – it’s Showtime now so back at Midnight to finish.

Here I am. The weather has been fantastic for the entire cruise with only Istanbul slightly overcast but dry. The guests are all happy but again mixed emotion is in the air as the packing starts. The perfect definition of mixed emotion is watching your mother in law drive off a cliff in your brand new Rolls Royce:)

I decide today to host extra activities all day while docked in Civi ( I am too tired to type the whole thing but guess if I had have I wouldn’t have had to type all this ). We had Trivia’s, games and events from 1;00pm because last cruise over 1000 people were onboard as of 1:00pm. So, today , guess what, as of 1:00pm only 206 people onboard and none of them came to the games and events….they were, I am guessing, resting in their Staterooms. This proves that trying to calculate what and when to schedule events is one of the hardest parts of the job. Demographics change every cruise and sometimes you guess wrong as I did today.

So, I am sad…………………………..why I hear all 133,000 of you cry………………….Well, Heidi has left to a few days home with her Mum and I am sitting here all alone.

We met in Amsterdam in 1995, at a restaurant where she was eating with a group of her college friends celebrating their graduation. I was in Amsterdam with my best mate Alan Adkins. I had spent the day touring the Ann Frank House and Van Gogh Museum while Alan had spent the day enjoying Amsterdam’s attributes. Anyway, Alan for some strange reason had the munchies and needed refueling so we WENT TO DINNER.
We found a beautiful restaurant which served a fusion of Asian and Indian which Alan loves to eat and sat down. While Alan was studding the beautiful dishes I was studding this beautiful and gorgeous blonde on the table opposite and the………..Heidi walked in:) Joking.
I could not take my eyes of her and eventually I did what all romantic gentlemen do I sent Alan over to talk to them and invite them to our table. Alan had refused at first but when I told him that I would pay for dinner he was off like a shot…….cheap git that he is. So, the girls joined us as I stared into Heidi’s deep blue eyes Alan stared into her friends one red and one green eye.
We were leaving Amsterdam the next day and I had found a reason not to. The rest is pretty simple. I made flying visits to Holland and eventually chaperoned by her father Heidi came to cruise on the Fascination. Eventually, she agreed not to pursue her life on land and came to work onboard the Carnival Destiny in Camp Carnival. Heidi then went on to work with our International Guest Program and then became Assistant Cruise Director  a position she has held for three years. It is easy for me to get all the praise but without her, I would not be where I am today. She never takes the ovations or asks for the limelight but I assure you that any small success I have is because of her support and attention to detail which as my peers will tell you is not my greatest strength.
So tonight, I am all alone in the cabin thinking of my wife and how lucky I was to meet her – it really was Destiny and how thankful I am to Alan whose love of Asian delicacies brought Heidi into my life.

Tomorrow, it’s debarkation and the start of another cruise. Our President Bob Dickinson is sailing with a group of 1400 repeat guests and we have some special events lined up for them I will make sure I include you in them all through this blog thingy.

For now though it’s goodnight as I go off to bed………………with just a photo of the most beautiful woman in the world at my bedside and tonight I will also put one of Heidi next to Angelina’s.

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.