Sleepless at Sea

April 23, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning…..how are you ? Here we are again in the land of blog together. I feel drained today having had one of those nights where sleep feels as far away as sharing a Jacuzzi with Angelina Jolie while Brad Pitt serves me Fish and Chips.

Anyway, no time to complain as it is already 6:30 am and a very busy day is ahead. Yesterday, Carnival Freedom was at sea and the sea was really not happy with the world and decided to move around in large swells which caused the ship to roll every know and then in a gentle motion. Most people seemed not to be affected because the Lido deck was doing a roaring trade in FOOD and the formal night dinner was very popular with guests as they dove into Lobster or Prime Rib.

One thing that passengers may not realize is when the ship moves one of the things that may be effected most are the shows. “A ship is not Broadway” as a wise man once said and how correct he was. There are times (rare that they be) that we have to cancel the shows because of the moving of the vessel and the consequent danger to the dancers who could sustain injury. Imagine jumping in the air as they do and find that at the moment of landing the floor has moved to the left!

Anyway, last night was one of those nights and at 6:00 pm I talked to our Dance Captain Ian and we discussed what to do, it was touch and go.

Then, at 7:45pm, just 45 minutes before Showtime, the sea suddenly said “OK, I am in a better mood and I think I will have a nap “…..and it did and the shows went on as scheduled. The show last night was AMAZING. Ticket to Ride is the Beatles tribute show and the audience loved every minute of it especially the second sitting who stood as ONE to sing Let It Be and Hey Dude (sorry Jude)…………………I think Bob was singing louder than anyone and I saw, I think, a president who knew that Carnival still had the BEST ENTERTAINMENT AT SEA.

The cast consists of 16 dancers, two singers, two backstage managers, seven backstage hands, one lighting technician and one sound technician plus a separate technician for the other lounges and entertainment areas. They come from six different countries,: The UK, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, Russia & New Zealand. The cast stays together for nine months and then a new cast will join the ship. During this time they become very close which is no surprise as unlike on land you never say goodnight, see you tomorrow as everyone is always together. For this reason people tend to fall in love much quicker on ships than on land. The bit where you say, “See you next week and let’s get together” never happens as again you are always together and for this reason relationships are formed at warp speed.This is a good thing for the most part but sometimes the moving in together so quickly can result in the relationship ending as quickly as it started.

Today, we are in Rhodes, Greece and apart from a three-minute sprinkle of rain (or “liquid sunshine, mon” as they say in Jamaica ) it was a beautiful day and the ship was empty by 1 pm with only 57 people out of 3,000 opting not to get off the ship. There are on every cruise on every ship people who never disembark and I guess they are the ones who just love the ship and the relative peace that can be found while everyone is ashore ………….or they simply just can’t find the gangway!
Time for Q & A…..and also an apology as I found a load of questions that I had not answered from the Doghouse Blog thing, so again sorry for the delay.

MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE – And there is me thinking that you and I were from Essex U.K and now I find out your Essex is in Vermont! I wonder if they have anything in common, hopefully when you sail we will have time for a cigar. We do use dance instructors for the trans-Atlantic crossings and maybe if your interested you should check out www.carnivalentertainment.com for information, etc. It is one of my ambitions to do a crossing on the QM2 or QE2 and I have asked my PA if they can book me passage. Hope to see you soon mate and thanks for your continued support of the blog.
KENA AND DAVID – Thanks for confirming what I think is a good combination of some shows before and some after dinner as it seems to be working. You also mentioned about the 500 guests who went to Sorrento, Capri, etc., and that same time. We actually split them up in two groups with one group going to Capri first and another Pompeii. Saying that, Capri is a very small island and although it is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see it is always busy. Please keep writing and sorry I took so long to reply.
ED MILAN – I am glad you like the blog and thanks for the compliments. I am going to ask FRANK or ROBERTO who work in Miami on the technical side of this blog to find out exactly where the CARNIVAL FREEDOM will be sailing to on February 23. I am also happy to hear that your favorite Caribbean port is also Jamaica as you are correct when you say that sometimes it gets bad press only when it deserves so much good said about it and its people. I will get back to you re: the route and sorry for the delay in writing.
LINDA AND GEORGE – I investigated your question about lamb served in the dining room and have attached the menus that include lamb as a main course. If you love lamb chops you must try the ones from the supper club, they are…well mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.Here are the menus featuring lamb.
Menu with Lamb 1
Menu with Lamb 2  
Menu with Lamb 3  
BARBARA PHARO – I hope you get to have your gondola ride and I am very much looking forward to welcoming you onboard. Thanks for the support on the blog thingy and see you soon.
SHIRLEY – Thank you for your kind words and suggestions about show time. I have added two early shows between Istanbul and Athens with the remaining ones after dinner. This seems to be good for everyone and I hope you will find it works for you as well. If you want you can stay at both shows and I will have dinner brought to you  🙂 I hope you are indeed ready to get off your diet because the CHOCOLATE MELTING CAKE IS WAITING! See you soon.
KAREN STEWART – I have just finished the schedules for the first GRAND MED cruise (Venice, Dubrovnik, etc.) and because of the later port times I have to host shows ONLY AFTER DINNER for the late sitting as the time in port is longer. However, the port times are mostly shorter on the Greece and Turkey run so as I noticed attendance at the second show was 50% less by the middle of the cruise I have adapted a few shows to be presented before dinner but with no loss of time in port. Like you I need naps now and I also miss the Midnight Specials with people like; MALCOLM KENNEDY, EDDIE CAPONE, HAPPY COLE AND AL ERNST ETC.
Again, sorry for the delay in the reply and see you soon.
CHRIS IN TN – Hello mate and congratulations on marring a blond. Do you ever tell blond jokes? Thank you for remembering Heidi and I from the Victory back in 2002.That feels so long ago and I am humbled by your generous comments. We will be on the Freedom again next year…..I mean the CARNIVAL FREEDOM and as soon as I know my dates I will let you know. Thanks for reading my incoherent ramblings and I hope Heidi and I can meet with you and your blonde bombshell very soon.
WENDY – Your vote has been counted and you won 9 well mostly ). Thanks for your comment and sorry for the delay in the reply blog thing.
SUE GROHOL – Your daughter is a very lucky young lady to have cruised so many times ( unless she is not 14 like I am thinking and in fact she is my age or older and then what I just said does not make any sense so its best I shut up now ). The shows on the crossing will all be late shows as with seven straight sea days you do get to stay in bed for as long as you want. The only negative aspect is that we have to change the clocks one hour forward – SIX TIMES ! Anyway, it will be great to have you here and I look forward to our fun time together.
SHARON – Again sorry that it has been a few days in getting back to you but I did not see that so many folks had blogged back. I agree with what you said about the drink, dinner, show scenario and again I think on the Freedom you will be very happy with the mixture we have. As for a little about myself, actually at the bottom of this blog are the answers as requested by a bloggerist to what I like and don’t like. Hope you and family are well and I hope to see you soon.
MEAN JEAN – Thank you for the explanation of why you are called MEANJEAN. I think I am going to change to HIJEAN ( HYGEINE ). I appreciate your feedback as well about the shows and you are correct when you say that “You do not have to drive ” when you take a cruise. So, please let it be known at work that to me and the 155,000 bloggers you are henceforth to be called HIJEAN.
BIG ED – You and I have a lot in common mate as the Porterhouse is indeed a MAN’S STEAK. I will take a photo to add to your collection. Best to Mrs. ED and see you soon.
MARY – I am happy that the family liked seeing Ayr’s photo on the blog and they are correct when the say their Aunty is “COOL. ” I will post another of her again soon.
Stingray 310 – Do you really think I should write a book? Maybe its is something we can do in the future. I remember the cruise after 9/11 well and the spirit shown among the guests was unforgettable. A big “hello” to KUKI and the gang from that memorable week. I hope our schedules do work out so we can do it all over again.
RICHARD – I am sorry to report that you are about to get “THAT LOOK” because we do not have Dr Pepper onboard. I know when you tell her that you will get that stare that sends beads of cold sweat down my back when I get it for leaving underwear on the floor. On a happier note we do have COKE products and hopefully amongst them is one she will enjoy. Hope you survive and if you do, see you soon. PS – STAY CLEAR OF THAT DOG THAT NEARLY ATTACKED YOU BUT GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN THE DOG AND THE MRS WITH NO DR PEPPER, I THINK I WOULD TAKE MY CHANCES WITH FIDO!
KATHY – When you get onboard go straight to the CHIC DINING ROOM and check your table is what you want. If not, ask KEN or DINO for a table change and I will let them know to help you out. See you in may.
CHRISTINE AND BERNIE – Thank you for the message of condolence for Joanne. I know it came as quite a shock to the people who had sailed that cruise to learn of his passing. I have passed your thanks on to Ken and I am glad that your friend Althea had such a nice surprise. I am hoping that the itinerary of the Splendor will be announced soon and I can then pass it on to all of you. Thanks and please keep reading the blog.
MEHYDER – Thank you for your comments on the show times and they are noted. I am sure September feels a long time away but before you know it you will be here. See you than and my best regards to you and your family.
BIG ED – The comments about the places of worship are well noted and a great idea which I will make sure is standard practice. Thanks mate, and that’s you promoted again to DIRECTOR OF NEW IDEAS AND SECURITY SECRETARY CHEF.
SUE – Sounds like you have your seven days of trans-Atlantic “fun” already planned. I will add a few activities for the times when you are not eating, sleeping, gambling, eating, hot tubbing, eating, drinking, shopping, eating and dancing. It will be a seven-day cruise to FUNWHERE.
LINDA – I am sorry to hear you got the wrong tags for your cruise on the Glory. As I do not have your address I will need your booking number or can I suggest you call CARNIVAL directly and ask for ORANGE TAGS to be sent. Personally though you should not stress as you can easily change them upon arrival. Please have Mike put the drill down and let me know a booking number so I can help further. Don’t worry, all will be well.
BELLA – The couples massage is $220 for two people and it is, I am told, divine. I am not much into massages, creams and lotions, I prefer soap on a rope! However, the spa treatments are divine – let me know if you want me to book for you before you cruise (does not matter what ship). Thanks for reading the blog.
VICKI – I will pass the message onto Robert and Suzann as you requested. They are eating in the supper club tonight !
CARLO – Actually a free cruise is part of the package we offer for Ministers to sail so I hopefully we will see an increase as I know it means a lot to some people to be able to worship while onboard. Hope you are enjoying the blog and see you soon.
KENA AND DAVID – I can only imagine how much fun it must be to be at the Kentucky Derby for the pre-race celebrations and the race itself. The fireworks video is a great idea and I have already passed the idea onto ANDREW WICKS who works in our Audio Visual Department and hopefully we can get together with Zambelle as the display would look great on the big screen. Sorry about the extra pounds but the chocolate cake is heaven in a bowl (or so they say as I am not allowed it) 🙁
As I mentioned above Capri is always busy but we do divide our tours between the various locations so they are never to many of our people there at one time. Thanks for all your comments and see you soon.
JOYCE – First of all, on behalf of all in blog land, we salute the amazing work you do with the kids who need that extra attention and compassion that you obviously provide them with. Secondly, please do not worry about the mushroom allergy you have. Our staff handle concerns like this every day and all you need to do is to tell your maitre d’ when you arrive onboard. There will be a dining room reservation inquiry time listed in the Carnival Capers and you can meet the maitre d’ there. Also, every time you order something just remind your waiter to check with the chef to make sure there are no mushroom ingredients included. Most importantly please do not worry as this is very common and our friendly staff will assist you as they do many others each and every week. I am allergic to penicillin and coconut. Heidi is allergic to underwear on the floor, it makes her face go read and her arms pick up things and throw them at me……..strange one that. Let me know if I can be of any further help.
DOUG – Please do not skip the shows. The only thing that is possibly slightly PG – 13 would be the shows with the dancers that do include some ‘skimpy ‘ costumes but nothing bad. As for Camp Carnival, it is fantastic and will leave you to relax while your kids enjoy the times of their lives. Looking forward to seeing you very soon.
JERRY – Your training methods are to be applauded by all as I am doing now. Eating as much as you can before boarding makes perfect sense and it is a regime that I have adopted over the years and it has worked for me, If you need a training partner then I volunteer BIG ED and myself ! See you in June.
JIM – Unfortunately we can only do early shows on a few occasions as the ports of Cannes, Venice and Livorno are all late ports. The weather in June will be perfect for you to cruise so I hope you are looking forward to it and Heidi and I will be ready to welcome you home.
CINDY – It is always a pleasure to welcome travel agents to the blog. I will be here on the Carnival Freedom in October but as yet I am unsure about February but will let you know as soon as I can. Thank you for all your support and see you soon.
WWWWW – welcome back from your spring break. Yesterday – April 22 we were at sea all day and as I said above the sea was a little choppy. With regard to Herculaneum and Pompeii you can indeed do both tours with one in the morning and another in the afternoon with a nice break for lunch in between. If you do not fancy dinner in the dining room one night we have alternative dining every evening from 6 – 9 pm. This includes special selections, a carvery, salads and nightly specials and of course 24 hour a day Pizza with or without Mushroom 🙂  Keep reading the blog and see you soon.
ANDY – I love the TEA and TANGO idea and tomorrow (it’s 12:30 am) will discuss this with the musicians to see if they can provide the music. You are very kind to provide everyone with the details of the mask shop so thanks on their behalf. We do have another brilliant lobby duo who play music for dancing every night until 1 am so I know they at least will know one tango. Don’t worry about the Queen’s English as I understand she does not read this blog…………………yet.
SHEREE – please don’t worry about me with this blog thing. I hope it is something that our parent lines take up as well as what better way to get information about a cruise than to ask someone who is actually there. Now to the tours. I checked and none of the tours are sold out and I am not sure why it saying that online and will find the reason tomorrow. Naples is a beautiful town and the area around is simply stunning. Now, I do not want to influence you, but honestly we do not come to these areas for beaches and quite honestly the beaches cannot compare to those in the Caribbean and therefore please think seriously about seeing the real reason we call at this port. I suggest Sorrento with Pompeii as a combination, they are two highlights of most people’s trip. Remember also that you have a sea day between Naples and Venice so you can catch up on sleep and do nothing at all. These ports are not like the Caribbean where a quick trip around the island followed by shopping or beach time is the norm. These ports are full of history, culture and a chance to step back in time with the Carnival Freedom as your time machine. Still unsure? Then wait until you get onboard and come to my Adventure Talks which I host before each port and afterwards at the Q & A session we can design a package just for you. See you then and get ready for some time traveling.
ESSEX MAN – Smoking is allowed on the starboard side of the outside decks mate so you will not be met by the “smoke police.”  While 90% of the public areas are non-smoking there are still a few bastions of pleasure available. BLOGGER CRUISE INFORMATION WILL BE FORTHCOMING – PROMISE.

AND FINALLY……………………..QUESTIONS POSTED BY FRANK FAIRCLOUGH WHO POSTED THESE FOR ME TO ANSWER ( SORRY ITS BEEN SO LONG BUT I JUST NOTICED THESE ON AN OLD BLOG AND I NEVER DID ANSWER THEM ).

Why you want to know these I will never know but here goes…….sorry I cut and paste but I couldn’t be asked to type them all out again

FRANK FAIRCLOUGH
Myself and my wife cruised with you last year on the Liberty and thought you were brilliant.. Anyway, although we saw you on stage we never got to know the real John so I thought the people reading your blog would like to know the answers to these questions.
WHEN IS YOUR BIRTHDAY AND HOW OLD ARE YOU     
I was born on January 22nd 1965  – that makes me %$, sorry &!, bugger I just cant bring myself to write it !
WHEN DID YOU START WORKING FOR CARNIVAL CRUISES
I started as a bar waiter (the worst they ever had) in June 1987
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST SHIP AS A CRUISE DIRECTOR
My first ship was the TSS Carnivale in 1990
WHO HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CARREER AS A CRUISE DIRECTOR
Wow, that is a tough one. I think there are quite a few from the people in the office who first gave me the chance (Roger, Brendan) to  Gary Hunter who trained me. In more recent times, It has been Heidi who always keeps me on the straight and narrow and most importantly mum and dad who have always been there for me as I traveled the world. Mum tapes all my favorite TV programs that I miss and I know Dad prints each blog out and is keeping them in a file. My Dad looks after all our finances, etc. while we are away and they has always been a major influence on my life .
WE ALL READ HOW DIFFICULT THE CRUISE OF SEPTEMBER 11TH WAS – ARE THERE ANY OTHERS THAT STAND OUT AS DIFFICULT OR CHALLENGING.
Each cruise has its own challenges and you never know what is going to happen. It may look routine but each cruise is always difficult. I do have one or two that stand out but I think I will save them for a later date !
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DRINK
I do not drink alcohol at all and have not for 11 years. Now I know what you are thinking but that’s not the reason. I never really liked it and I always feel that if there was ever an emergency onboard that the most important person to the guests is the Cruise Director so he or she must always have a clear head. So, my favorite drink is my Mum’s good old Cuppa Tea.
WHAT BOOK IS BY YOUR BEDSIDE
A Novel by Ex SAS soldier Andy McNab called CRISIS FOUR and the Auto Biography of Richard Branson – chairman Of Virgin Atlantic.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO THAT YOU HAVE NOT YET DONE WITHIN THE CRUISE INDUSTRY
OK, I paused here for ten minutes to think about this one and considering it is 1:30 am I hope these answers make sense.

1. I WOULD LIKE TO HOST A TALK SHOW WITH GUESTS FROM THE TRAVEL AND CRUISE INDUSTRY – CRUISE TV – MAYBE ON THE TRAVEL CHANNEL OR SIMILAR. THERE ARE ENOUGH PEOPLE WHO LOVE CRUISES WHO WOULD WATCH – ANY BLOGGERS AGREE
2. AS STATED ABOVE, I WOULD LOVE TO DO A TRANS-ATLANTIC ON A CUNARD SHIP – THERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT THAT I AM SURE
3. MOSTLY, I WANT TO CONTINUE FOR AS LONG AS I CAN MAKING PEOPLE LAUGH – YOU CAN NEVER GET ENOUGH OF THAT.

FINALLY, IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANYONE FAMOUS IN THE WORLD ALIVE OR DEAD WHICH FOUR WOULD YOU CHOOSE
Frank – this one is easy:

WINSTON CHURCHILL – MY PERSONAL HERO
JOHN CLEESE – MY COMEDY HERO
MARGARET THATCHER – MY POLITICAL HERO
ANGELINA JOLIE –  IF THE OTHER THREE CAN’T MAKE IT – OH WELL.

On that note, I am off to bed for hopefully a better nights sleep than last night.

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.