That's Why They Call Him "Wee Jimmy"

April 24, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning.  I hope this blog finds you all well as we sail away from Izmir, Turkey. A very sunny day but also very windy as well in fact the wind has been with us for two straight days now (Heidi may say the wind has been with me for much longer than that).

We had a life boat rehearsal drill for all the crew today at 10 am after most of the guests were ashore exploring Ephesus. I then had a meeting with the Shore Excursion Manager and the Tour Operator followed by a very exciting trip to the local supermarket where I tried to find out what sugar free was in Turkish – it’s SEKERSIZ by the way.

We have just sailed from Izmir leaving behind a couple who obviously enjoyed the port of Izmir so much that they are still there. The couple who will remain ” nameless ” for now failed to arrive even though we waited as long as we can, I wonder where they are?

And here is the answer. The Chief Purser informs me that they had in fact thought the ship sailed at 6 pm even though everything in print and spoken word from me says 3:30 pm back on board. Luckily, in each port we have an agency who takes care of all the ships needs and they will assist the guests with their journey to Istanbul tomorrow to meet the vessel……………………………………….and with their permission maybe a photo will appear in the blog !

And now the moment you have all been waiting for as I type out on one finger the Q & A.

TONYA – I hope you are enjoying your time living in Spain and we salute your husband as her serves his country in the United States Navy. I am sure it will be a special cruise and I will ask the captain if he will give permission for your husband to visit the bridge. I must inform you however that this is very hard to do these days and we operate under very strict security guidelines as you mentioned. Regardless, I will make sure that you and your husband have a fantastic cruise and I will make sure we do something special for him. See you in September.
GLORIA – Your training regime does sound much more energetic than the one Mr. Freidman and I are doing. In fact, I am training now at my desk and eating some cashews. Thank you for your kind words about the blog and I am sure Carnival are enjoying as I am the number of hit thingies on the site. It will not be long before you are climbing the Dubrovnik City walls, exploring Pompeii and climbing mount Etna so if I were you and would sit down and prepare yourself by eating a large piece of apple pie and a double scoop of ice cream. See you soon.
NATE’S MUM – I love the Caribbean and as listed in a previous blog my favorite ports are Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico. I have never had the pleasure of cruising Alaska but as Bob Dickinson was telling us today, he is taking his children and grandchildren there as it is a vacation that the different generations can enjoy. Therefore, try Alaska on the beautiful Carnival Spirit and then maybe next year come to Europe on the Carnival Freedom. See you soon and Nate sends his love.
ANETTEALI – Gracias para el huggo de Puerto rico. San Juan is muy bueno con mucho bueno señoritas y mucho bueno comida (food). Rapido and you will be hereo abordo with me o. Un grande huggo para you o nader hug o para el husbando 🙂
RICHARD – please tell your Mum not to worry. We will provide a fridge for her. Please have her contact Carnival Cruise Lines’ Guest Access Services Desk at 305 599 2600 and tell them your cabin number and sailing date and they will make sure all is ready for her. This is very common, so all will be well. I hope she enjoys her cruise on the Carnival Destiny and let me know if I can be of any other assistance.
BIG ED – I really wanted to change my hair colour (spelled the correct way) but Heidi seems to think that it makes me look distinguished as opposed to 300 years old. How are you mate ? There are more photos on your blog to add to the files. Best to Mrs. Big Ed.
MR AND MRS SMITH – sorry but my screen is not showing the name of the person who asked about the digital photos onboard so you are going to be MR and MRS SMITH. The gallery will place all your photos onto a disk for you but they cannot empty it as that would mean using a computer and with so many it may not be adaptable so you may want to think about bringing another chip thingy. How many have you done. Please send my best to Mr. Smith.
LOVE TO TEACH – Thanks for the kind words and as a teacher and a waitress I am sure you will be ready for some relaxation. May I suggest the Spa Special which is  A FULL BODY SCRUB, MASSAGE AND FACIAL ALL FOR ONLY $99. As far as the activities are concerned I have many favorites but mostly I love the shows that involve audience participation. Please do not miss the Marriage Show, The Talent Show and the Single’s Dance Classes. It will I promise be the best vacation of your life.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – As usual you and Bonnie Prince Charlie raise a good point about the longer cruises and your Platinum membership which I shall bring to the attention of the right people as it makes great sense. Hopefully I will get a positive response and your Southerndreams will be happy ones. See yallllllllllllllllllllllll later.
LINDA AND MIKE THE BUILDER – Did you get to call anyone about your missing tags yet? In answer to your questions about my cabin, you are correct in your assumption that Heidi and I are lucky enough to have a nice cabin. I also have an office but I mostly work from my cabin so I don’t have to put clothes on before sitting and blogging and making announcements  🙂
The cabin is quite big with a separate bedroom to the living room but it soon gets very small when you have 5 months of clothes and personal effects. Heidi has all the cupboard space and I have been relegated to one coat hanger! We also have a luxury that I cannot do without. a bath tub with a Jacuzzi. If I have time each day I have a 10 minute soak and enjoy the relaxing feeling of the Jacuzzi……………………..Oh, apparently I do not have a Jacuzzi I have been told. So where do all the bubbles come from then?
Best to you both and see you soon
BELLA – a couples massage is $242 on a port day and $292 on a sea day and it is FANTASTIC! See you in June 9 — not for a massage, I mean on the ship ).
MARION – Have a great time in the UK, can I ask a HUGE favor, can you get me a magazine called WHAT’S ON T.V. – it costs a pound. In return I will send you champagne – how does that sound? See you in a few days.
DAVID – The backstage tour can be arranged directly with me onboard mate. You did indeed see a can of Diet Coke on the desk (product placement). I am looking forward to seeing you and the group soon.
BOB AND MARY – welcome back. I hope you had a great time on the Carnival Liberty last year and are excited to be on the Carnival Freedom for our trip to Istanbul and Turkey. The gift shop will have Venetian masks and I hope they have one that you will like. They will not put them out on the cruise you are on but if you ask the shop manager I am sure he will be able to help you.
With regard to your question about Rome Tours, it is impossible to do a full day and night tour and come back to the ship first. May I suggest that after a full day touring Rome and with an early debarkation the following morning you may want to think about just one or the other………….for me, as beautiful as Rome at night I do think that the day tour with entrance to the Vatican is the one to do. Please let me know if you need any specific information. See you soon.
JAMES – We do have videos on the building of the ship and I am not sure if they are available for purchase but I will check and let you know. Please remind me if I do not answer within 7 blog thingies. Cheers.
VACATION MARY – There are very few tables for two onboard but if you would like one that I will see what I can do. I need your last name and cabin number ASAP and I will speak to my mate Ken. Thanks for the kind words about the blog and I will keep going as long as I can. I do hope that you all do not mind me writing the things I do. Like any job there are good, bad, happy and sad things that happen every day so I feel I must represent all of them in the things I write. See you in a few days and please let me know your details.
MARK AND SHELLEY – Actually, as Shelley looks like Angelina I will address the reply directly to her………….sigh. Anyway, back from the world of dreams, I have forwarded the e-mail to Bob and I am sure he will let me know if indeed his house is still near to where you lived. Please feel free to post a photo of yourself (Shelley, not Mark). See you both in June.
AUSSIEJAZZ – thinking of you on ANZAC day !
MARION REYNO – 50 pounds for a trans-Atlantic – and on the Carmania. Just interested to know if there was a cruise director, do you remember?
HIJEAN – Thanks for letting me call you this, I much prefer it to MEANJEAN or BLUEJEAN. As far as your question on which tour to take in Cannes, that is easy…two words………………….MONTE CARLO, the second smallest country in the world. Let’s have a chat when you come onboard as there will be plenty of time. See you then.
BIG ED – Not only are you my Director of New Ideas, Head of Security Chief Secretary and Marketing Manager but now you are my drug supplier as well with the offer of Preparation H. Actually and because you asked, well you didn’t but I will tell you anyway I am a little……um……………….backed up at the moment so maybe “the H” will come in handy. I am currently therefore cruise director of Carnival’s new ship the CONSTIPATION, the ship that never moves. I am kidding of course as the CONSTIPATION has not come out yet. I think it is time to watch a very scary Horror Film!
MAISTRAZO – Thanks for the kind words mate, you have no idea how happy I am to know so many of you are enjoying the blog. I did find the repeat of Desperate Housewives but I am keeping it a secret so that the next time I mess up I have a get out of jail free card. Please keep reading.

I wanted to take a few minutes to introduce the entertainment staff onboard who along with myself will be hosting all of the activities. Here is a sunset photo of them.

Picture of the Entertainment Staff

They are a great bunch and I assure you that you will get to know them all and enjoy their sense of fun. Here they are

  • Stephanie Meads ~ Richmond Virginia, USA ………..”I like Red Wine “. See you soon for the best vacation ever.
  • Lloyd Goldstone ~ Durban, South Africa ………….” Look forward to meeting you, I’ll be here all week….please try the fish”
  • Shawn Hale ~ Atlanta, Georgia ………” Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans”
  • Adele Hall ~ Liverpool, England ……….” Can’t wait to see you on this Exciting, awesome Super fun Mega Liner”. I am much better than any of the other Entertainment Staff so come to everything I do.
  • Gary Brierley ~ Manchester, England ………. ” Hey everybody, Come and join us on the newest addition to the Carnival Fleet, If you see me and say ” Hey Gary ” and give me a hug I will buy you a drink !

Do you remember when you were a kid?  What was the family vacation like. I am sure like me you never got to go on a cruise and look what facilities they get when they do. Here are a few photos of the 15 – 17 year olds CLUB O2 and  Camp Carnival. Oh, to be young again.

Club O2 Club O2
Camp Carnival Camp Carnival Camp Carnival

Tonight we held our Past Guest reception which along with the normal entertainment we had the proud addition of Bob Dickinson who came along and gave a special welcome to the 1,400 guests who were back with us again. Here are some photos of Bob, myself and the Captain.

Bob Dickinson, President and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines Bob and Me on stage Captain D’Aita and Me

So, what should we chat about tonight?

When you work aboard a ship in a close community practical jokes are very commonplace and I thought I would share two with you tonight. They may not have anything to do with your cruise but it is certainly part of life onboard and I hope you will allow me to share these with you.

The first one goes back to the mid 1990’s and involves an old mate called Lewis Nixon. Lewis is a brilliant comedian and used to work with me on board the Fantasy and Ecstasy. Lewis and I had a running battle to see who could create the most elaborate practical joke. He once had every thing from my cabin taken out, the bed, the wardrobe, all my clothes, I mean everything. So, revenge needed to be had and pretty quickly. I knew which flight Lewis was leaving on and his booking number so I called the Airline (PAN AM  – shows you how long ago this was) and pretended to be Lewis. I told their guests satisfaction department that I  (Lewis) was suffering from a very bad gastro illness and needed to be sat on the very back row and could I please have instead of the meal DRIED MUSLIX.

So, Lewis boarded the plane and was immediately seated on the back of the plane. The flight attendant was very nice to the point of giving Lewis his own roll of toilet paper and, of course, he was extra mad when instead of being asked if he wanted the chicken or the beef he was given a bowl of cereal! Still, he got his own back on me when we rehearsed a full 20 minutes of comedy where I was going to be a ventriloquist and he and another entertainer Gaetano would be the puppets. We practiced and practiced for days and it was a really funny bit. Showtime came and I went out and the crowd were expectantly waiting for a great show. I welcomed everyone and then said “Please Welcome To the Stage My Puppets.” Applause from the audience and then……………………………..nothing……………………nothing, I said it again thinking they had missed their cue to appear from backstage………………still nothing………the audience fell silent…………… was just me on stage in the spotlight with 800 people starring at me………….still nothing………..and then as the realization hit me that I had been set up a voice similar to Mr. Nixon’s shouted from the back of the room……………….boooooo, you suck, get off the stage, we want the show, we want the show, 800 people joined in and my evening was complete !

The second joke was a wonderful but very simple joke I played on my mate Ralph “Wee Jimmy” Valente, the now brilliant cruise director of the Carnival Glory and one day I hope all my blogging friends get to sail with him. Ralph had tried a few harmless jokes on me which had mostly backfired so I decided to teach him a lesson. I had the carpenter take off his cabin door while Ralph was on stage. He turned the peephole around. This meant that Ralph could not see out but everyone could see in! Ralph did not discover this for days and wondered why every time he left his cabin there was a line of people outside. I won’t tell you what they saw through the peep hole but it was no big thing and now we now why they call him “Wee Jimmy!”

And on that note I am off to bed. Tomorrow Heidi returns so it is time to tidy the cabin and retrieve the various items I have discarded onto the cabin floor.


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.