Hello From Katakolon, Greece

Just before I start someone had asked for photos of the crew so I thought you might like this one of all the crew taken while we were still in the Venice shipyard.

Inaugural Crew aboard the Carnival Freedom

The weather was fine today but the smell was not. No, you do not need glasses, I did say smell. There are natural gas reserves in this area of Greece and today those reserves were being…….well………less than reserved. The sea smelled like it had eaten 1 million eggs for breakfast and was giving our guests the resulting good news.

Apart from the slight aroma in the air, it was a beautiful day. It was also a landmark day as we were in port with another big cruise liner for the first time this season, Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess. That meant 6,000 guests were ashore in Katakolon, which considering the town’s population is only 11,000, shows you how the town’s restaurant and shop owners were jumping up and down for joy and rubbing their hands with glee.

The temperature was in the mid-60s today — a little cooler than the previous ports but still a wonderful day as many guests headed to Olympia. Olympia is not only famous for the stadium and Temple of Zeus but also for the stunning collection of statues that were found during the excavations. Here are two that stood out for me at the Olympia Museum. The one of Zeus is PG-13!

Picture from the Olympia Museum Picture of Zeus at the Olympia Museum

This will be a shorter blog than usual because I will not be hosting the Q & A session today, however, I will reply to your questions tomorrow I promise.

Oh, and by the way, Heidi and I had very strong words this morning concerning a certain picture that she posted of me in bed watching a DVD. So, payback will be just around the corner! At least she showed you the one where I have the covers over me.

So, before we talk about the exciting news about the bloggers cruise, here is a little something I thought I would share from this cruise.

As you know from a blog a few days ago we had a couple who missed the vessel in Izmir who I can (with their kind permission) unveil as Mr. and Mrs. Leong from …are you ready for it…………….a town called………………………..BORING, OREGON.

Now their cruise has been nothing like BORING and I had a chance to chat with them today over a cup of coffee. Here, is their story. The Leongs decided on Monday morning over breakfast that they would get off the ship and try and get to Ephesus. They had a cab drive them for an hour to the site and they enjoyed the famous Grand Walk, The Old Wells, The Great Band Room and Emperor Hadrian’s Library. They had asked the driver to come back at 2:30 pm which would mean they would have been back at the ship by 3:30 pm. No problem as the ship sails at 4:00 pm.

Unfortunately, they both had made a bit of a boo-boo (is that a word?). The night before we had asked the guests to turn their watches one hour forward and they had both turned their watches one hour BACK. So, the driver had been told to come back at 2:00 pm and arrived a little late at 2:15 pm, which, of course, was actually 3:15 pm. They eventually arrived at the ship at 4:35 pm and we had sailed at 4:15 pm having waited as long as we could.

Now, you are probably thinking why did they both change their watches the wrong way? I asked the same question and here is the answer from Mrs. Leong: “IT WAS HIS FAULT, I SAID IT WAS FORWARD BUT HE SAID, ‘NO ITS BACK.’ I SAID LET’S GO BACK TO THE CABIN AND CHECK THE CAPERS AND NOTE THAT IS LEFT ON THE PILLOW. BUT HE SAID, ‘NO, LET’S JUST GO!'”

So, no shocker then — it was the man’s fault.

That is, unfortunately, not the end of the story as you will now discover. Having realized they had missed the ship they asked a port official for help who eventually found our ship’s agent. They arranged a hotel in Izmir……..cost……….100 euros. The problem was the only room available had two single beds (it was their anniversary cruise) and they both had a sleepless night.

The next morning they awoke at 5 am for the flight – yes a flight – to Istanbul…………total cost 277 euros. Then at the airport a taxi to the ship cost another 30 euros. They arrived at the ship and were met by our staff who welcomed them . They got to the gangway, Mr. Leong reached into his pocket to get his Sail & Sign Card which is used as the boarding pass out of his wallet and………………..he had left it in the taxi! Luckily, just as he thought the ground would swallow him up, his luck changed when the port security officer walked up to the gangway with his wallet in his hand, the taxi driver had turned it with everything intact.

The couple have had quite an adventure and they really don’t want to get off the ship. They admitted that they were feeling a little down as the money they had spent on flights and hotels had been budgeted for other things. I felt really sad and had actually planned to bring them on stage tonight for a bit of fun. But I didn’t have the heart so I paid for them to have dinner at the Supper Club tonight instead.

Right now, fasten your seat belts because here is the news you have all been waiting for.


Oh, and


There was a lot of discussion about what, when and where to do this but we finally decided on the Carnival Freedom on the January 19 sailing to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios Jamaica.

What will happen on this cruise?

Well, now that I have finally got the date I will start to plan some very special things including:


These are just some of the things that I have planned but there will be lots more.

I hope you will all join Heidi and I (and possibly some special guest stars) for what I know will be the BEST BLOG CRUISE IN THE WORLD…………….EVER.

Click on the thing up there for more information.


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.