All Creatures Great and Small

April 20, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning One and All:

It’s 9:45 am today in the beautiful port of Naples. It was a busy morning.  Due to heavy ferry traffic, we were delayed coming in by 20 minutes. This puts tremendous pressure on our department as we are responsible for the debarkation of 1,800 people who booked tours as it is imperative that all 18,00 disembark within one hour of the ship’s arrival.

Our tour process involves giving each guest a sticker with their bus number on it and making sure they are with their families on the same bus. There were lines — and that is something I hate to see — but within 45 minutes everyone was stickered and on their way off the ship.

The temperature today is expected to rise to 75 degrees F (23 degrees C) which makes for a perfect day to explore this stunning area.

I had another wonderful letter this morning from the avid readers “the Blogger Sisters” and also Katharine and Clayton, I will be sending a little surprise to their cabin later today.

And now, time for the daily Q and A:

CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Thank you for your kind words on the MSNBC article. I hope Angelina does read it and realizes what she is missing. I am really hoping we can do a Caribbean Bloggers Cruise and I continue to work on this with the folks in the office. I also want to visit the Turks and Caicos and Half Moon Cay as I hear they are two TOP Caribbean destinations. So, watch this space and I hope to have news soon. Until then, thanks for reading the blog thingy.
SHARON – My words about Heidi were straight from the heart and I must admit again to being a bit “of a moody old sod ” without her here. Drop me a line when you sail and your wish to see the galley will come true but sssshhhhhhhhhhh don’t tell anyone.
BIG ED – I know for a fact that many of the top management read this blog whenever they can. I agree with you 100% about lines onboard……….I hate them with a passion. Now, there are always going to be lines at any location where 3,000 plus people move from A to B at the same time and this applies to ships, hotels, stadiums, etc.However, I think that the future may include the ability to pre-purchase spa appointments, supper club bookings and other amenities online (like we can do now with shore excursions). I will pass this on and I hope this blog can be used to help improve our product. As for paying for ideas – interesting idea but if we do have a bloggers cruise I will make sure we have a special party and I will buy the drinks.
I had a dream last night that I was president of Carnival…………I really did…………………!!!!!!!
Also, sorry you are in the “dog house” about the chocolate pudding that you have made your wallpaper on your computer. To get yourself out of the hound house may I suggest you quickly replace the chocolate pudding with a new wallpaper as attached
Wallpaper 1 Wallpaper 2
DEBRAH HEHN – Firstly, let me say how thrilled I am that you are bringing your family on the Carnival Freedom. Secondly, your daughters birthday will be spent in Dubrovnik which is a fairy tale town. May I suggest that you take the family on the Best Of Dubrovnik Tour. This will feature a trip through the beautiful countryside, a visit to the village of Tafdat which is quaint and so pretty and then up into the hills for a refreshment stop in the mountains by a beautiful water mill. Then it is into the old town which is like stepping into a Hans Christen Andersen book. Take the kids for an ice cream – they are so yummy and enjoy a day with the family. Then, order a cake for your daughter and the wait staff will sing a special “Happy Birthday” to her at dinner. Please bring the kids to the shows and let them enjoy Camp carnival where new friends will be made. Thanks for your kind words about the blog and I am glad to here you had a good laugh today. See you all soon.
LINDA AND MIKE THE MECHANIC – I truly do remember reading your letter on the morning show and the rose episode. My sympathies at the loss of your first husband and also I am happy that you found Mike who obviously loves you very much. My sense of humor is one reason Heidi fell for me, along with the fact that I was with Alan who is so ugly she had to pick me. I think you will like the new range of Platinum Club gifts which hopefully I can let you know about soon. The Carnival Triumph does indeed leave out of Miami and is still one of the best ships in the fleet …don’t know why……it just has a special something about it. I hope we get together soon so Heidi and I get to see you and Mike can repair my coffee machine. Keep reading the blog and the best to you both.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – I was once visiting a friend of mine called Peter Edwards who lived in Georgia. He served me something called “chitlins.” I had no idea what it was and they smelled and tasted awful. Being the typical Englishman I didn’t want to embarrass me or him by saying, “What the hell is this?” so I just sat there and ate as much as I could while making small talk with Peter and his family. After 10 minutes, they all started to smile and then laugh and when I was told what it was….well……lets just say they were all lucky that I did not refill the pot right there and then. Your videos are great and I will take the time to watch them all when I can. Please keep reading and writing.
MATT – I will let you know about Splendor tomorrow. I hope to release some breaking news ASAP. As I mentioned in my reply to El Grande Eduardo, I totally agree that if there is a way to cut down on lines then we should find it. I will get back to you very soon regarding the Carnival Splendor.
KATHY HADOULIS – I had no idea that the Platinum Club benefits are applicable on our sister companies ships. How fantastic is that. But why would you cruise anywhere else? I am sure meeting family you have never met in Rhodes, Greece, will be a very emotional moment for you all. I look forward to meeting you and to find out how the family reunion went. See you soon.
COLEEN O’LEARY – What a wonderful story. You and Richard meeting on the Mardi Gras, falling in love and 20 years later celebrating with your beautiful family.  Your anniversary is worthy of a blog dedicated to you alone. I promise that I will do everything I can to make this voyage aboard the Freedom as special as the cruise you took 20 something years ago where you met the man who correctly stated that you would be together forever. Heidi and I will see you soon. I will keep blogging as long as I can.
MAXWELL1100 – I will be on the Carnival Freedom for your cruise and look forward to seeing you then. As for currency exchange. We do have facilities onboard.  However, bear in mind that we are not a bank and it would be wrong of me not to tell you that a better rate can be found from your bank before you sail or from an ATM machine ashore. Let me know if you need any more information. And see you soon.
JO AND DAVE – I am happy that we got the caffeine thing sorted and a fresh can will be opened when you order and poured directly into the glass for you. Now to the toilets, Europeans to tend to be able to “hold it in.” On the tours, we have planned this year you will find that we have vastly improved this. If you would like to read more about where the best toilets are in Europe may I suggest you read a book called TOILETS OF EUROPE BY I.P. FREELEY. I will keep my fingers (and my legs) crossed that you have a great cruise. Let me know if you need any further help.
ARLIN GUESS – It was great having you onboard and my regards to your husband as he continues his military life in Germany. Please be careful driving the car while watching me as I do not want to be the cause of an accident. Kids today, DVD entertainment in the car. When I was a kid I used to amuse myself by making faces at the car behind and flicking boogers onto the back of my dad’s head and see if they would stick…………..they did ! Anyway, stay well and please send my best regards to your entire family.
NANCI – welcome to the Carnival Family. I have asked Roger from our head office to pass your comment about the Carnival cruise directors on to the entire fleet, it will mean so much to them. I have great memories of the Carnival Leg End and you will discover another wonderful cruise director there called Brent. Please pass on my regards to him and I wish you a happy and fun vacation.
ROBOCOP – That’s all I need. A crime-fighting man of action such as yourself saying my wife looks good! You are right, of course, and I look forward to your e-mail. My best to you and your wife and hope things are well.
SUE GROHOL – Your comments are well noted regarding the Platinum Gifts. We are working hard to come up with the best solution and maybe your gift shop voucher is the way to go. There are great minds at work regarding this as it is very important to us here at Carnival. See you on the TRANSATLANTIC CRUISE. We have SEVEN straight sea days – anything particular you would like activity wise? See you soon and I will let you know the status of the Platinum Gifts as soon as possible.
JERRY FRIEDMAN – I enjoyed your writing about Rebecca, do you have any more? With regard to Venice. you are correct that there are two times listed For departure. This depends as to if we call at Dubrovnik before or after Venice. Just to make sure you know what you are doing, here is the itinerary for your particular cruise. It won’t be long now!

Wed, Jun, 06 Rome – dep @ 7pm   
Thu, Jun, 07 Naples – 7am-6pm   
Fri, Jun, 08 – at sea       
Sat, Jun, 09 Venice – arr @ 2pm   
Sun, Jun, 10 Venice – dep @ 3pm   
Mon, Jun, 11 Dubrovnik – 10am-7pm   
Tue, Jun, 12 – at sea       
Wed, Jun, 13 Messina – 7am-5pm   
Thu, Jun, 14  – at sea       
Fri, Jun, 15 Barcelona – 7am-5pm   
Sat, Jun, 16 Cannes – 9am-8pm   
Sun, Jun, 17 Livorno – 7am-7pm 

CAROLE – I think that is the way we are going to go. Some earlier shows and some later shows. As to why the president of this other cruise line was onboard……will have to ask Roger Blum and get back to you. Best wishes to you until then.
JUNE BEAL – ALOHA ……….to you in Hawaii. The sun is arranged. Temperatures will be an average of 70 degrees and little white fluffy clouds will disapissatate (new official word from the Weather Channel) leading to blue skies and a happy vacation for all. See you very soon.
PATRICK TYE – I have a CD for you. Now, how do I get it to you. Do you feel comfortable adding your address to this blog thingy?
MICHELE – I am so sorry you did not get your Sail & Sign Statement.. I am addressing this immediately. I am informed however that a copy will be mailed to you however as I stated in my debarkation talk it should have been with you by 5 am. Please accept my apologies. Hope you had a great cruise.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Do you know I have never been aboard the CARNIVAL VALOR to see the Bronx Bar. I am glad the blog is making you laugh.  Oh, how I could eat a New York bagel right now. You said you are about to book the Imagination 5 day – BOOK IT
DANO – It is going to be a great run and I hear the Turks and Caicos is the BEST of the new Caribbean locations. This maybe the ship I will host a bloggers cruise on so send me your review. As for the snow do not worry
Because with global warming and the weird weather, it will probably be 80 degrees in New York in November. Have a great cruise on the Imagination and I admit that I am a great Yankees fan, they are my favorite team and hopefully can go all the way and win the Super Bowl this year!…………..LET’S GO HEAT !
ANN MARIE – You are correct that the Q and A session does take so much time and if it does start affecting my job then I will stop. I am glad you rediscovered the blog and please keep reading. Best Wishes to you and your family.
ALBERT GREENSTEIN – what a good question, “How many ships does Carnival Corporation have currently sailing. The answer…………….drum roll please………………………….are you ready………..you will be amazed………………………actually, I have no clue.
However I know someone who probably does, so over to my PA who will I am sure be able to tell you and I and the other 143,999 people. I have a feeling we will be amazed!

Can I quickly take this opportunity to say a big “hello” to all my friends who I know and many I do not know who are such an important part to your cruise enjoyment. I am talking, of course, about the thousands of CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES SHORESIDE EMPLOYEES. I know a few read this site and I want to thank all of you on behalf of the guests and crew.

I.GHEKDITOFF – Another relation of Sergei, I think. I realized that instead of typing the word STUDYING I typed the word STUDDING which is an ancient Dutch art. Van Gogh was attempting to put a stud in his ear and look what happened.
As for my mate Alan he is a great guy and very brave having been in Afghanistan and Iraq with the Royal Marines. We have had so many fun times together and if I ever got myself in trouble as a teenager you can bet Alan was involved. Would you like an example…………………….Yes I hear 144,000 of you shout as one voice..O.K, a quick Alan Adkins story then.

Alan and I were on holiday in Majorca, Spain. We were only 18 and it was our first real ” boys” vacation ever. The first day by the pool Alan was eyeing up the beautiful women ( and I think it was the men, but that’s a story for another day ) when a lovely young lady came over and started talking to us. Her name was Bridgette (she was French).  She was not a pretty girl but that did not matter as Alan is no oil painting and the two started getting on well. She asked Alan what he did for a living and I expected him to say what he did – “he was in the Marines, but no, he says WE ARE BOTH VETS. She did not understand, so Alan then says – WE ARE ANIMAL DOCTORS……….she now understood and seemed very impressed. I just chuckled and got on reading my book and enjoying the sun.  Now, fast forward two days. Alan is getting on famously with his new French friend who it turns out is staying with her Mum and dad and younger sister. So, there we were laying in our usual spot by the pool when all of a sudden I here a very loud French shriek ” Alannnnnnn, Alannnnnnnnnn “. Looking up, I see Bridgette and her young sister walking towards us holding   “A PUPPY!” ( Please read the next bit out loud using a French accent ). ” Alannnnnnnnn,” says Bridgette, “We av found a petite dog and he as cut his leg, heeelp him ” Her sister, Melissa who was only 14 is crying as she holds one of the many stray dogs that inhabit Spain.

( back to the French accent )   “Alannnnnnnnnnn, Johnny, please help this little thing as you are both animal doctors. To make matters worse, the dog is looking at me as if to say, “Listen, can you help me because I just want to get back to lying in the sun and do nothing and this kid is screaming in my ear.”

Alan, looks at me and says, “John will take care of him, he is the dog specialist” and then takes the dog from the very young Melissa and gives him to me. “Come on girls,” says Alan, “let John do what he has to and we will check on him later.” With that, he leads the girls off for an ice cream leaving me and my new best friend Spot (“El Spotto” as we are in Spain) just standing there.

Now, I could have just put El Spotto on the floor and said (adios) but the animal lover in me (if it had been a cat it would have been a different story) said that I had to do something. I carried El Spotto to the front desk and asked if there was an animal shelter nearby. They made a call and one hour later a lady from the shelter came and Took El Spotto away for medical treatment and hopefully to find a new home.

When I saw Alan and his the Frenchies later I explained that I had given El Spotto medical treatment and he was now a happy little doggy. I received big smiles and Mercies from everyone and I was a hero. Since then, I have had my revenge on Alan and maybe one day I will tell you how. I wonder what happened to El Spotto?

Did you know that back in the early 1990s we had a COUGAR that lived onboard? Master Magician and friend Rand Woodbury had Geo the Cougar as part of his amazing magic show. It lived in a special area on one of the open decks on the Celebration. The idea of the show was to change a beautiful dancer into Geo the Cougar. It was the highlight of the show.

After the miracle change, Rand would take Geo out of his cage and walk him around the stage on a long chain lead. During one show, Geo broke free, jumped off the stage and ran through the 800 people in the audience and out of the show room with Rand in hot pursuit. For some reason the guests thought that this was just part of the show and applauded and stood in a wonderful ovation oblivious to the fact that a 300-pound cougar was loose and looking for dinner! Rand got hold of him and told me afterwards that Geo was more scared than the audience.

Right now, I am going to take an hour away from the computer and take a walk into Naples and maybe indulge myself in the traditional Italian art form of eating a Pizza…………back soon.

The Pizza never happened 🙁 I got off the ship, bought a newspaper and was going to sit at the pizzeria that Heidi and I usually go to but I felt sort of strange so I came back……….what a big softie!

Met some guests as I walked down the pier who were from Minnesota. They were relishing the sun as they said it was still cold when they left. They had been to Pompeii and could not believe how amazing it was. They then said they were concerned because what could possibly top this………I replied with one word ”EPHESUS ” and they are excited all over again. They also asked why we do not have a priest onboard.

This is a question I get asked a lot — “Why no priest, why no Rabbi?” For many people, being able to worship while on vacation is very important and I think we need to look at improving this service wherever possible, especially on longer cruises.
However, there is a problem we encounter with this. Finding a priest or rabbi to leave their parish or temple to come on a cruise is difficult. The ones that will are few and far between and there is certainly not enough to cover our entire fleet. As mentioned, we will be looking closely at this and we hopefully can improve the situation.

It is 10 pm and I am now getting ready for the Welcome Aboard Show. I have Deep Purple’s “Highway Star ” playing and I am thinking ahead to the show. This is such an important night for me as first impressions are so important. I find myself missing Heidi the most after a show. I hate coming back to any empty cabin.

And finally, I want to say that we reached another landmark today, 150,000 smacks or hits or whatever they are called on the blog thingy…..thank you.

I can only dream that Angelina is one of them.

Goodnight

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.