Hooray for Thursday

May 31, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Evening everyone and welcome to another blog from the good ship Carnival Freedom.

I have just started today’s blog at 6 pm. What a beautiful day it’s been. Nobody deserved sunshine more than our guests after damp and miserable weather in both Venice and Dubrovnik. Here is a photo that Heidi has just taken of the beautiful Med at 6 pm. 

The Beautiful Med at 6pm

I was lucky that only ONE guest blamed Carnival for the weather. Here then, is there comment which I have copied directly from our incident report and of course to protect the writer, I have removed the name.

From: FREEDOM PURSERS
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 6:49 PM
To: FREEDOM CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: FREEDOM CHIEF PURSER; FREEDOM HOTEL DIRECTOR
Subject: Letter From Guest
Good evening
Please find following comments from ………….. in cabin ….:
The following letter was sent to the Cruise Director and Captain:
I would like to speak to the Cruise Director or the Captain regarding the weather in Venice and Dubrovnik
I could not do my tour in Venice and the weather was too cold in Dubrovnik to do anything. My clothes were soaked waiting for a waterbus in Venice. I think it would be a nice gesture if you cleaned my clothes for free and offered your passengers some compensation for the rain.
Would it be possible to call the guest John?
Thank you ,
Elisa
2nd Purser

So, as requested I called the guest. She was adamant that she should receive compensation. I explained the obvious that we were not responsible etc., and she told me that a certain “other cruise line” would do this without thinking. So, I asked her how much she would think we should give her that would adequately compensate her for the weather……………………guess how much……………………………$150………………………..yep, that’s $150. I bit my lip and offered to launder her coat for her for free and she hung up the phone still not happy and informing me that she will be contacting head office. I also sent her a Pina Colada to her dinner table tonight………….with a little umbrella on the side……………..I wonder if she will see the funny side of that…………….probably as much chance as I have of driving an Aston Martin DB9.

I met with 25 Bloggers today. We had a little meeting in one of the lounges and we all introduced ourselves to each other. I can’t remember all their names but it was great to meet them and put faces behind the screen names. One couple will be mentioned later in the cruise as they have been part of “Stars of the Week” and deserve special recognition. It is important that everyone who cruises with me lets me know that they are onboard ASAP so I can make personal contact with them.

What else, oh yes, here is the front cover of this weeks Life and Style weekly which two bloggers brought on the ship for me. As you can see from the cover, Angelina has finally opened her heart to Brad about why she will never marry him.

Why Angelina Won’t Marry Brad

So, the paparazzi are now picking up on this and it won’t belong before Angelina is standing next to me on the podium and christening the Carnival Splendor and embracing me with those luscious ruby lips as I trace my hand slowly down the curve of her back, pausing only to gently remove her…………….AND A STAPLER JUST HIT ME AFTER A PERFECT THROW FROM HEIDI………and I am back from the world of dreams. I think I should write romance novels!
Heidi’s the Q&A

KENA AND DAVID – Kena, you asked if tours are canceled, so you get your money back. The answer is yes. The money is automatically returned to your Sail & Sign card the same day. It looks like on your cruise in a few days we will have a few more families including 175 children. We have a group of 90 Russians and apart from that it will be a normal fun Carnival cruise with all ages represented. Thank you so much for the sugar free candy please leave it at the pursers’ information desk and with a little note and I will return the favor and call you as well. Have a safe flight and see you in a few days.
JANFR WA – Well, you sound excited and so you should be with your cruise just a few days away. I have confirmed your supper club request and I know you will enjoy the delightful setting and amazing food. Have a good trip over and I look forward to seeing you soon.
ANGELINA – I don’t know who this is but your are cruel to play with a man’s emotions. You are tugging on my heartstrings. I wish it were you Angelina but I have a feeling it’s not the most stunning and sexy actress in the world but probably a slightly over weight Phil Collins look-a-like called Alan Adkins who has had one pint too many in the Cliff Pub!
NANCINURSE – We are indeed like a family Nancinurse. Let me answer your questions. The spa does indeed have a big makeover party during the cruise and this is a very popular event for the ladies (and some men) on board. I see that you are traveling with as you put it “a bunch of women” so I guess the romantic spots of Rome may not interest you. I do however think you should see the Trivi Fountain and Spanish Steps — two very special areas and bustling with nightlife, bars and restaurants. Head also for the Via Veneto which has piano bars and live music into the night. How kind of you to ask about Heidi. She does indeed love vanilla, especially bath stuff in that flavor. I can never see what all the fuss is about, give me a piece of soap and I am happy. Heidi’s latest thing is to have me showered using a purple sponge thing using her smelly shower gel. I get into the shower smelling like a man should and then after my shower using her stuff I smell like a girl holding a bunch of roses in a dress.
Anyway, she loves vanilla. Oh, hold on, here is another thing. Heidi loves to be romantic and “have a bath together.” Oh, joy, that’s so much fun. She immerses herself in the hot water, while the plug and I become very good friends as it morphs with bottom. I send you my best regards and also to your Mum although her idea of crucifying people who save seats is a little drastic 🙂
INEZ AND DEAN – One of my favorite things about cruising is when I hear that families use our ships to reunite with members they have not seen for a long time. I am therefore proud and humbled that your sister has now decided to book the Carnival Splendor based on your recommendation which, in turn, was based on the promotion for the ship on this blog thingy. WOW, is right. It seems that you deserve your vacation more than most as a two-time cancer survivor and your salvation has I am sure been your positive and fun outlook on life itself. I will be proud to welcome you onboard. I know you are also coming on the bloggers cruise and don’t worry about your gifts, I will make sure you and all the bloggers get their packages. Stay well, stay positive and I Heidi and I will be thinking about you. See you soon.
LYNN AND MIKE SAGARA – Welcome back from your Carnival Liberty cruise. I am happy to hear my tour recommendations were of some use and it sounds like you had a brilliant time. There are (as you say) many types of cruise directors with varying styles. Some are funny, some are informative and some are just, well, as you say, a little over the top. There is no manual on how to be a good cruise director and many people have different perspectives on what a cruise director should be. The best I have ever seen was Gary Hunter who was just ……himself. He taught me to be just that and if I could be as half as good as he was and is then I will feel good. How was James, what was your opinion of him, I would appreciate the feedback as he is still quite new in the job? Thank you also for mentioning Maddy the little girl who is still missing after being abducted in Portugal. Her parents met with the Pope yesterday and they are desperately trying to keep the image of her in people’s minds. Let’s continue to think and pray for her safe return. So, welcome back and I look forward so very much to seeing you in January and please keep reading the blog thingy until then.
LINDA HERNACKI – The DVD I sent James was from the shipyard and in Italian. I am in the process of seeing if we can edit one to include English subtitles and as soon as we do I will let you know so Mike can build his own ship one day. I always look forward to your comments and I am so looking forward to getting our light bulbs changed by Mike the Bulb. See you soon.
PAULETTE’S MUM – It is interesting that the class system is still alive and well in the UK and some people I know try and exploit and highlight this when on certain ships. I am glad you had a good time. Which P&O ship were you on? They do have a new ship I think due soon but I have no idea as to its size and name but I am sure my faithful PA does so I will kindly ask him/her for an answer. I cannot reveal their identity as he/she needs to remain a man/woman of mystery.  I will e-mail Paulette on the Carnival Spirit and I send my best to you back in the homeland.
VICKI AND MATT TILL – YOU ARE WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME. I am happy to hear you have found a great agency in Burlington, North Carolina and it appears to be no surprise that they won an award from us. No need to thank me as the main purpose of this blog thingy is to be here for you the readers and as you said in your new lyrics for the song “John will always do his best.” Thank you for making me smile and I happy you got your next Carnival cruise booked.
BIG ED – I think the Angelina comment that has been pressed onto this blog thingy is indeed from my mate Alan Adkins. Therefore, I need you to use your powers to find out if indeed he did and if that is the case then he must be punished BIG ED style. I will now make you my official ALAN’S SYSTEM SEARCHER A.S.S. This message will self destruct in five seconds.
BOB – Thank for the compliment Bob. I see from your posting that you love the anytime dining on Princess and I can understand why. For many people this is the way to go, eating when you like. I have not experienced this method for myself so I cannot comment but I can tell you that there are no plans for Carnival to do the same. Many of guests return to us because of the dining experience of sitting with new friends who after a few days become great friends and many become friends for life. Also, having the same waiter each meal means that they get to know what you like and do not like and therefore the friendship you strike up with the dining room team also is for many a highlight. So, let us start a debate. What do our thousands of bloggers feel? Let me know your opinions. This is not to see who is wrong or right because once again it comes down to personal choice. It is also not about which cruise line is better because of the dining options they offer as I am here to support all the Carnival brands. So…………….let’s hear your thoughts AND I SEE BIG ED HAS ALREADY BEGUN………………..Thanks Bob for bringing up this forum and I hope your want to cruise Carnival will become reality soon. Please let me know if you would like help choosing the right cruise for you.
MJS – hello and welcome to the blog thingy. It is super to hear that you are enjoying the stories and it sounds like you and your friends are planning a wonderful vacation. It is a shame that some people still love to say negative things about Carnival, a subject I touched on a few blogs ago. Having read a bit about you I think that you would love a Carnival cruise in the Med or Baltic with us. The demographics you supplied me make it a certainty. Unfortunately, I do not know exactly what ships will be doing what yet in 2009. I know you want to book early however if you can wait a few more weeks, I am sure we will be able to pass something on to you before too long. I have a feeling that due to the success of the Baltic on the Carnival Leg End and now the bookings for the Carnival Splendor that this run may be repeated. Russia, Finland, Denmark, Holland and more make this an incomparable itinerary.  I am sure your Holland America cruise was amazing. I hear such great things about our sister line. Tell me something about where you went and what you like to do onboard and once again welcome to the blog.
LOOKINGFORWARDTOTHENEARLEYSMOKEFREECARNIVALFREEDOM – I am ashamed because the girls were nine at the time and did their lines in one take. I was 31 and it took me 6 takes 🙁
NANETTEALI –  Please bring the sun with you as Venice as been very unpredictable and selfish when it comes to sun. See you soon.
VICKI AND MATT TILL – CUTE. You think my baby photo is cute……….I think you need a new computer monitor. Heidi just called me “CHUBBY CHEEKS.”
NATE’S MUM – Your wish is my command. I will indeed focus on your son (and his girlfriend) in a blog coming soon.
JO MYERLY – I have never heard of the “Rock” method of predicting weather before however it seems like you had faith in the system. I hope the rain stays away otherwise I will have to perform one of my naked rain dances on the Lido Deck……..photos to follow.
MATT AND VICKI TILL – That would have made her Jenny Till!  Poor girl.
CAPT CHUCK – That is one funny story. Is there shopping at Stingray City? Classic. That’s proof that every village has one………..if you know what I mean. Keep reading the blog and please share any more stories if you can.
GHOST LADY – Thank you to you and everyone else who continues to think of little Maddy. There is talk that she may still be in Europe and maybe Spain. As we are in Barcelona in a few days I am asking permission from the tour company to place posters of her in the bus windows………you never know, it may jog a memory.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – I wonder how many entries we have had for the Spa Naming Contest. I think mine are still the best. I once won a contest for a slogan for a sewage trucking company back home. The company was called EDWARDS SEWAGE COMPANY – MY SLOGAN – WE ARE NUMBER ONE IN THE NUMBER TWO BUSINESS. Always great to hear from you so please keep reading and writing.
KICIASKI – Welcome to Rome Linda and George and the rest of the Cruise Critic group. Please let me know if you are having a meet and greet onboard so I can come along. Please have a wonderful time in Rome and watch out for those pick pockets.
Thank you also for your support for Carnival and protecting the small but annoying misconception that Carnival is something only for young.  Well, you know the story. It’s as you and thousands of others prove each and every week. Cruising is for everyone all the time. See you onboard and get ready for the time of your life.
HOTLANTA – At last, a shopping question. I can’t believe it has taken this long to be asked. Now, as far as duty-free is concerned it is a little different. If you are from a non-EU (European Union) country then before you leave Rome airport you can visit the TAX RETURN DESK and claim back your tax which in Europe is included in the purchase price. Now, as far as Customs and Immigration are concerned, when you disembark the ship there are no lines or paper work to stand in or complete. The only time you will go through Customs and Immigration is upon returning to your homeland. As far as jewelry is concerned, what cruise are you going on, Grand Med or Greece/Turkey? Let me know and I will point you toward some good shopping with Heidi’s help of course. Hope this was helpful and if you require more help please let me know. All the best until then.
HIJEAN – You are correct that people who have a bad experience are very quick to pass their experiences on while people who come back from a cruise in a haze of fun, food and relaxation may take a few more days before passing on the good news. It just gets under my skin when others are influenced 100 percent by someone else before trying it for themselves. I paid special tribute to our NYC group of fire and policemen and women today and they received a big standing ovation. Go and have your hair done and can’t wait to meet you.
LINDA – Wish I could have been there for your graduation party, it sounds like you will need a relaxing vacation after organizing that. Venice has to have a sunny day soon, I mean, two rainy ones in a row, that’s not normal. Let’s hope its third Venice lucky. Regardless, you will love this romantic and enchanting city in both the sunshine and with liquid sunshine as my Jamaican friends say. See you very soon.
THE TRAVELING SEEDS FROM ALABAMA – Great news that you have been enjoying the blog from the beginning. I have many special memories of the Carnival Triumph and it is still one of our most popular ships out of Miami. Congratulations on booking the Carnival Freedom for September. You asked about hotels in Rome. I think if you are staying just one night and don’t want to worry about seeing too much then I suggest the Hilton at the airport. If however, you do want to use the time to see as much as you can then I suggest the Visconti Palace which is the heart of Rome. These and transportation to the hotel and then to the ship can be arranged through Carnival if you so desire. I am glad you find the information useful and see you real soon………….that sounded very American, I am one step away from wearing mouse ears.
DOUG – I am going to call you.
CAT MAMA – I have not heard anything about the lady serving in Iraq with the Canadian forces. Has anyone? Please let us know she is ok. I am sure the Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen video is not available these days……………I hope!
THAIS & FABIAN – Great news, thank you for booking and see you in a few weeks.
COOLIOMOM – You are right, wet, dry, hot or cool you will have the best time ever. I will do everything I can for you especially as you are bringing me an Aston Martin.
CARL AND BARB THE BEAR – Kids, we have a lot during school holidays but thanks to the award winning Camp Carnival and our new Club O2 for 15 – 17 year olds, you would never know. How great for Mum and Dad or Mum and Mum or Dad and Dad (I am learning) to leave the kids in these safe and happy environments knowing they are having so much fun and thus leaving parents to do what they want. The Fascination is the perfect example as you said in your comments for families who have never tried cruising before. Pass the word, cruising is the best experience a family will ever have together. Let me know if any first timers out there need some advice, we are all here to help. Thanks to you and huggy bear as always.

I KNOW THERE ARE MORE QUESTIONS TO ANSWER AND I WILL DO SO ON THE NEXT BLOG BUT ITS THURSDAY AND NEARLY BEDTIME – YIPPEE.

I had another run in with my Chinese lady friend today. She accosted me on Promenade Deck while I was getting a coffee with Heidi. I had my back to her, so to get my attention she poked me in the ribs. I turned, looked down and there she was, 4 feet 5 inches and mad at the world. I greeted her with a genuine smile and asked her how she was to which she shouted – “You are a very bad person.” I asked her what I had done wrong and she then berated me because the ship did not have a game called Ma Jung (or something like that). I told her I did not know what that was but if she wrote it down, I would see if I could buy it ashore for her and her friends to play. She did, and I will try and get it in Messina tomorrow. Before she left, she again told me that I was very rude in not letting her save seats and she reminded me that, according to her, I hate all Chinese. All the time she is doing this a small crowd had gathered to watch (some to laugh) as they enjoyed the sight of this tiny ball of fire poking her boney finger into my stomach and chest. I am glad the crowd was there, they were the only thing stopping me reaching over the coffee bar counter and giving her the good news with the whipped cream spray can.

What the heck is Ma Jung anyway? Is it something we should have on board? I mean, we have many different games, card games, board games but, of course, the one my new best friend wants is the Wong we don’t have (sorry for the obvious pun).
OK, it’s Thursday, and again it’s our special night. So, Barry White is singing softly, the lights are dimmed and I have turned into the love machine that Thursday’s bring. I can picture you all laughing now and I don’t blame you. In my “heavier” days Heidi once described our Thursday session as “having a large old fashioned wardrobe fall on you with the key still in the lock.”

On that note……………………..time for four minutes of fun.

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

Bloody Rain (excuse my French)

Sorry, forgot to say “hello” first.

Hello.

OK, bloody weather. We have been to Venice twice since we sailed in March and both times the rain has spoiled the evening. We had great weather for the entrance but by 5 pm the heavens opened as Mother Nature relieved herself right on top of Venice, like it needs more water.

Today (Tuesday) was better. Cloudy and only 66 degrees but at least Mother Nature decided to cross her legs for a few hours.

The mask sail away party was great but I think because of the weather some worried about buying masks. But the few hundred who did had a fantastic time, as ever. Our new “Romeo and Juliet” contest is hilarious!

What else? Oh, yeah, I know what I wanted to tell you. I have officially asked for a Belly Dancer for the ship due to popular demand from this blog. I saw a copy of the Costa “Today” program this morning and see that they have one so we should as well and have made an official request. I will let you know what the answer is but hopefully Blog Power will prevail.

Then, there is the “blog book.” I have a PA already and now my publisher Roger Blum is working on this project. I am seriously shocked as to so many people asking for this and I hope it is something we can do. Roger is also responsible for publishing great books like:

HOW TO MAKE MONEY BY ROBIN BANKS

4 MILES TO THE NEAREST TOILET BY WILLY MAKEIT

THE SCOTTISH ATHLETIC SUPPORTER BY JOCK STRAP

So, I think our book should be in good hands.

We have a group on board this cruise who are all from New York and are all serving firefighters and police officers. They are traveling as part of the Italian-American Association group and are having a wonderful time. A lady in the group told me yesterday during my Morning Show that she and her husband were looking forward to going to Messina. I asked why and she replied she was going to check on her roots. I told her that we had excellent hair stylists on board…………..she didn’t laugh  🙁

After I had explained the joke I wished her well. She is also a blog reader (Karen and Paul Scilatchi) and I promised I would say hello on today’s blog and pay tribute to her husband – a New York Police Officer – and their entire group. I am sure few people need vacations more than these so I hope they are having a wonderful time.

Still not raining, it’s 7:55 pm and the clouds are getting dark.

Time for a few Q&A’s.

SHARON – Sharon, you have every right to be excited. This will be your first trip ever abroad and your first cruise so be as excited as you like. If you want to (as you say) come up and give me a big hug then go right ahead. I do not charge for hugs so have as many as you like. Have a safe flight over here and get ready for the best time of your life. Leave me a note at the pursers’ information desk when you get onboard. See you soon.
HYACINTH 1 – Welcome home to Hornchurch Mrs. Bucket. It was great meeting you and the rest of the Mellow Yellows and, of course, Dad. Every time I saw Dad he seemed to have an even bigger smile on his face than the last time and I am so happy to hear that despite having bad knees and being in his wheelchair most of the time he was always happy and laughing. I have passed your thanks to Toni and Benito from the dining room. You are correct, it does take all sorts but that’s the fun of this job, meeting and dealing with all walks of life. I hope you will come and cruise again sometime soon and until then I hope you keep reading the blog thingy. Heidi and I send our best to you all.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – Thank you for your kind words for Maddy, the little four-year-old whom, at the time of this writing, has yet to be found. Her parents are refusing to leave Portugal where they were on vacation until she is returned to them. I understand that many blog readers have been following the link think I put on the last blog. The more people who have her photo in their minds the better. Thank you again mate and hope to hear from you again soon.
ROBOCOP – Good to hear from you Jim and thank you for your link to your new Web site. I will be checking it out after I have finished this blog. Tracey Stuart is onboard and it is great to see her. I also hope you can join us on the Bloggers Cruise, I think it will be a very memorable seven days. Hope to see you in January.
BELLA – Good news and bad news. The bad………..Oceans 13 is not available yet for ships and hotels and will not be until the end of June. Good news, I have the maid’s uniform ready! Leave me a note with your cabin number and I will deliver something with a French — ooh, la la. See you in a few days.
DEBBIE MANG – So, the packing is finished. Did you remember to pack my Aston Martin DB9? You are staying at a beautiful hotel, The Visconti Palace. There will be Carnival representatives there and they will help you book tours. I would also suggest you have a walk around the Spanish Steps and Trivi Fountain area yourself as both are reasonably close to your hotel. So far, carnival has no plans to be in the Far East but things change every day so I am sure one day the Carnival brand will span the world. Our sister company Princess already cruises to Asia (I think), maybe my PA can help answer this one. So, see you in a few days, then on the Carnival Splendor and then………………who knows? I do know that I am so amazed that you and so many others have decided to book your vacations based on which ship I am on…………I have no words.
MR. PETE – thank you for your kind words about Maddy. I am sure her parents must be feeling guilty as you mentioned and I am sure also that everyone of us like you wish and pray for her safe return.
TERRI 910 – What an amazing posting and it could not have been read by me at a better time. I just got sent a posting from an on-line cruise site by a couple on the same cruise who said so many negative things. They rated the shows as “awful” but then stated they saw no shows at all? Also, they mentioned that the entire staff was rude and unhelpful. Along with this attachment came an e-mail from a lovely lady called Teri whom having read this was “nervous” about her forthcoming cruise. This made me so upset and, if I can be honest, a little angry. I respect these on-line cruise sites very much and the right to an opinion but it is amazing that you and others on this blog can say that it was a fantastic experience but one couple feels that they had the worst time and now try to stamp their opinion on others by saying “do not cruise” with a particular line. Terri, (another Terri) if you are reading this, please come with an open mind and find out for yourself why 99% of people who cruised and filled out the comment and review card the same week said that they had enjoyed their cruise.
We make mistakes, there are many things we could do better and, of course, that includes me especially. But please make up your own minds and come onboard ready to have the best time and you what……………….you will.
Sorry to vent, please send my best to Larry and I am sorry I missed what I am sure was a show stealing performance as Frank Sinatra.
LINDA THE MOUSE – I have not seen the Disney ship yet in the Med but I know she is out here somewhere. Please also send my best to your fellow cast member and I look forward to meeting her on the Carnival Splendor.
SHARON – I too am sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye but glad you got to say “cheerio” to Heidi. I am very blessed to have such a special, beautiful lady who takes care of me. I could never be the person I am today without her and I could never replace her………………………..maybe just for 10 minutes with Angelina.. It was a particular pleasure to meet the Mellow Yellows and I am glad I got to spend time with your group. I am so happy to hear that the cruise was so enjoyable for you and I hope we all get mellow and yellow again very soon. Are any of you coming on the bloggers cruise?
CARL AND BARB THE BEAR – The chances of baby photos are very slim but maybe, just maybe I can find one of me WITH clothes on. I had a nice break and sorry there was such a big gap in postings. Please keep reading and my best to your teddy Bear Carl.
MRS. HOT STUFF – Congratulations on being pregnant again. That is wonderful news and I am sure the new baby will get to experience his or her first cruise before long. Heidi and I are trying for a baby (every Thursday) and she send her best to you and Mr. Hot Stuff. Please keep reading and let us know when the happy day arrives.
NATE’S MOM – How do you spell Sperm Of the Devil in Chinese? I have no idea but I think that is what my friend was trying to say to me. I hope you are well and Nate is doing a great job, and is a big hit with the girls.
MICHELLE MAN – There is nothing sad about writing to me on this blog thingy so tell my near neighbor to apologize or I will come over to his house and have my mate Alan’s very large dog Helmut poo in his front garden! I am excited to meet everyone in your group and please try and get them all to read this blog before they sail. My regards to Thorpe Bay and stop by the Cliff Pub and have Alan buy you a drink on me.
SUE GROHOL – I loved the story about the man thinking Carnival was only for young people. The tour that you mentioned is not offered the cruise of the trans-Atlantic as it will be a national holiday while we are there. I am very sorry. As I have said I think before, in addition to carrying the most families, Carnival carries more people over 55 than any other cruise line. Oh well, hopefully we can all educate people that cruising is for everyone regardless of age. Thank you for your ideas on the activities for the crossing and I will incorporate them into the schedules, not sure about the “Are You Smarter than the Cruise Director?” as I think that’s a gimme! See you in October and I am looking forward to getting to know you all.
KATHY KROLL – I have found your address Kathy and will e-mail you later today for your postal address. I sent you a coffee table book and some photos and I am so sorry they did not get to you so I will make sure you get them via the mail. Glad you had a good flight and sounds like you had more legroom on your flight than I did. I hope to have Carnival upgrade me to business class next time so I can see how the other half lives. Glad you had such a great time on the cruise and I will see you next year.
JTODDINMAN – You asked about why when you are on our Caribbean ships that the network televisions stations came out of Colorado. I have no idea, so I have asked Roger Blum to see if he can tell me and I will post the answer forthwith. I would ask my PA but he/she has no time to watch television as he/she is busy filing and working on this blog thingy.
As for the Platinum gifts I can tell you that this is in the works and a new list of benefits will be issued shortly and as soon as it is, I will make sure you all know. Thanks for writing and hope to see you soon.  Here is the answer from Roger and it’s pretty straightforward.
Unfortunately, this is the only signal that we’re authorized to receive. We realize that this isn’t ideal for most of the country, but it’s Colorado or nothing.
My thanks to Roger who is currently busy hiring me a belly dancer 🙂
MRS KL – Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that Jess. I had a letter from Jess and her husband last week, sorry the name didn’t click and they are still buzzing after their cruise. He really was romantic in the end. I try and find one such couple every cruise as apart from me every man needs help being more romantic. OK…..me as well but never on Thursdays! See you soon AND MY BEST TO New Jersey.
SCOTT AND KIM – Thanks for allowing me a chance to get your questions answered. This blog thingy has been live for 80 days and some of the questions have fallen through the cracks, it’s mostly Heidi’s fault…….you just can’t get the staff these days!
Anyway, I will book a table for you on June 10 at the Supper Club at 6:30 pm. As for the bike tour in Dubrovnik, it’s a fun tour which gets amazing feedback. Croatian countryside is stunning and I highly recommend this tour if you like both bikes and beauty. See you in a week and have a safe flight.
BIG ED – There you are, I had seen anything slapped on the blog by you for a bit. Like Broadway shows, if it works, let it run. Although maybe the premise is the same each show is very different and the whole point is to make the guest the star. I have a feeling that Big Ed will be a star in his own right when you and I perform our Chippendales routine. How is Mrs. Big Ed’s flight phobia? Your photo site is looking fantastic and I will be sending more photos very soon. You were right about the chef; he did need to remove the door when Alan and I left after eating that huge breakfast. Alan of course never pays for anything so it was once again down to me. The only time he paid for anything was when we went to Amsterdam. Alan is coming on the bloggers cruise and I think you and he will become friends as of course will you and I. The porterhouse steak was just for you and I am just like Mrs. Big Ed and you are like Heidi. I have to have my steak well done. Heidi on the other hand has her steak rare and when she cuts it open it looks like the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan. As for the bloggers cruise, I did offer to do your laundry and that along with a chance to perform with me on stage should make Mrs. Big Ed pick up the phone and book now.
STEVE.GARROD – Glad you liked the book mate and I am really happy your cruise was one you enjoyed so much. I send my best to you as does Heidi and also to all our friends at Holland America. Please stay in touch.
NANNETTEALI – Buenos Deaz Senyora. Haveo a safeo flighto. I haveo a bigo hugo waiting for you when you arrivo hereo.El suno riso at sincko o clocko. Grassyarse for the DVDo and mucho funo is waiting for youo hereo.
MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISEBUTLEARNINGTO LOVETHENEARLYSMOKEFREECARNIVALFREEDOM –  LFTTNSCF – Your points are eloquently written and I have to say I can totally understand where you are coming from. The world is definitely changing away from smoking and Carnival as always is adapting ahead of the game. I am not in a position to comment as to why the Paradise did not work from a company prospective except I do know that it was hard to attract family and group bookings. If one person in a family or a group smoked then that would mean the Paradise was not the ship for them and they would book elsewhere. I had a look back at the number of smoking lounges on the Carnival Destiny in 1996 and there were nine, plus you could smoke all along the Promenade Deck. Today on the Carnival Freedom we have just four smoking areas and the promenade is smoke free. I am sure more changes will happen in the future and as always Carnival will research what our guests want and try their best to appease everyone. Most importantly, your comments about Carnival and how many happy cruisers we carry every week was a joy to read and I am sure that all the office personal who will also be reading it will have the same warm feeling as I do, so thank you so much for that. Please keep sticking comments on to the page thing and I hope we meet very soon. By the way, you asked if I could give up cigars for a world cruise with Angelina, for that, I would give up food, cigars, even Thursdays!
DAVID FROM BARBADOS – That’s even more unfair. You got to hold the hand of the girl from Abba. I can only dream of holding the hand of the beautiful Angelina, but one day she will be mine. So, you are going to book your next Carnival cruise, are you? If you need any advice I am your man, or, as you are from Barbados I should say I am your mon. Thank you for mentioning Aston Martin. It has been a few days since I mentioned the best car in the world and I needed to remind them (and Carnival’s president) that they should give me one for all the free advertising I am giving them. We send our best to Barbados and wish we were there with you.
BARB FROM MINNESOTA – hello Barb. I have a friend who is an assistant cruise director called Butch who is from Minnesota and he was telling me about the state fair and how food is served on sticks. I tried a corn dog last week thanks to a wonderfully kind blogger who brought me one. Can I have food on a stick, please? Now, you asked about tipping the crew which is very kind of you. Tipping is automatically placed on your Sail & Sign Card and paid to the dining room staff and your stateroom steward toward the end of the cruise. If you feel they deserve more by the cruise end then, of course, that would be most gracious of you but the amounts that are left on your card is based on the industry standard. Of course, you also have the right to have these amounts taken off if you feel you would rather give cash.
If you need the amounts, these can be found on the Carnival website. I am very much looking forward to seeing you very soon.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – Please send a big get well soon wish to Prince Charlie after his fall and also congratulations on booking your Carnival Miracle Christmas cruise. What a wonderful way to enjoy the holidays with your family.
JAMES EMM – hello mate, I did get the address and the DVD will be mailed from Mimi at the end of this week. Hope you enjoy it.
PAUL F.PIETRANGELO – I’m happy to hear you are on the road of continued recovery mate and I am happy to report that there is indeed a selection of beers that are non-alcoholic which include Buckler and O’Douls. There is also a red, white and Zinfandel selection of non- alcoholic wines so hopefully you will be able to enjoy these. Thank you again for your great comments about the blog and I continue to be surprised at is popularity. I AM HERE SHOULD YOU REQUIRE ANY OTHER QUESTIONS ANSWERED.

Here endeth today’s q and A.

The rain has again followed the ship from Venice to Dubrovnik where we are today. It’s a bit like the cartoon where the man is walking around with the black rain cloud over his head. I sent Gary and Lloyd out to St. Marks Square yesterday to make sure our guests were all OK and here are some photos of them. In one of them, Gary is holding a drawing of his lost pigeon called Flipper. Gary was asking guests if they had seen him.

 Gary and Lloyd in St. Marks Square Gary and Lloyd in St. Marks Square Gary and Lloyd in St. Marks Square

It’s not raining now but its only 66 degrees and I have advised people to wear a light jacket today. I just had to cancel all the water-based tours including the Kayak and yacht trips because of the weather. It’s just been a bad weather few days but again I feel personally responsible for the guests’ disappointment.

Today, in Dubrovnik I arranged for 50 children to come on board next cruise to tour the vessel. These children are from a local orphanage and all have physical challenges. We will perform a part of the show for them and then some will be able to go down the slide on Lido and we will have a party lunch on Lido Deck. I met with the people from the orphanage today to arrange this and thanks to the Igor the tour operator here for his help in getting this done. I am sure it will be wonderful for them and I will take some photos of course.

Now, I am going to reveal something to you all. Something so shocking that some of you may never speak to me again. I feel that this forum is the right place to admit a major mistake I made in my life which I have felt guilty about for the last 15 years. I am embarrassed, I am ashamed and I need to come and out and admit to you all my grave misjudgment. After this, I expect the number of people who read this blog thingy to drastically diminish. OK, here it is…….I suggest you sit down…….because it will shock you all and change the way you feel about me……………stop beating about the bush John and just say it………..OK……………..it’s time……………………….I have to report, that I, John Heald……………………

MADE A MOVIE WITH MARY KATE AND ASHLEY OLSEN.
Here it is.

The Movie I was in with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen

It was shot aboard the Sensation and I played the part of the handsome and sexy cruise director. OK, I played the part of the cruise director. I had a speaking part and got paid $50 and every now and then someone brings this up. The latest was yesterday, when it was played on my morning show without me knowing and thanks to a blogger called Catherine Booth who brought this video who gave it to Heidi and of course the clip was then played for the whole ship to see.

I therefore felt I should come clean and confess now.
Ok, it is now 4 pm and so far the rain has stayed away since 11 am so I hope people have enjoyed their time ashore. Meanwhile, I have to go to a show rehearsal and thought I would leave you with one more photo, its of me at 6 months old…as requested by various bloggers…….why, I have no idea.

John Heald, 6 months old

I still have the hat

Your friends

John and Heidi

Memorial Day

May 28, 2007 -

John Heald

Hello everyone and thank goodness the sun is shining in Venice today as we entered the port. All the guests were outside watching us sail in and as many people onboard who were taking photos there were just as many in St. Marks Square taking photos of this gorgeous lady sailing to her berth.
We were privileged to have the Chief Venice Pilot onboard today, Capt. Mingari. He was telling me that all day yesterday it had rained very hard in Venice and that today the sun was shining because Carnival was here.

We have just docked and I am about to start disembarking the guests so I will be back soon.

OK, I am back……sorry I was gone for such a long time. Everyone is ashore either on tours or on their way to the Vappereto Station called Piazza La Roma. I thought you would like to read the information I place in the Carnival Capers regarding how to use the public transportation system.
Walking distance between Marittima Cruise Terminal and downtown (St. Mark’s area) is about one hour.
From Marittima to Piazzale Roma (the closest place where regular water buses are available), will take 35 minutes. If you do not want to walk, shuttle buses are available for five euros per person, round trip. (NO COINS ACCEPTED)
Shuttle buses run every 15 minutes. From 10 pm – Midnight they run every 30 minutes.
Last departure from Piazzale Roma to Marittima Cruise Terminal at Midnight.
VAPARETTO (WATER BUS). Panoramic Line (via Grand Canal) # 1, 82, N,
Six euros one way.  Water taxi from Marittima Cruise Terminal to downtown
 (St. Mark’s area) between Euro 70.00 and Euro 80.00 per water taxi, depending on the number of passengers. Please note, water taxis are not readily available at Marittima, they must be called on +39 041 5222 303
Please note: the “Vaporetto” runs every 20 minutes during the day.
Between midnight and 5:00am, the “N” vaporetto” runs every hour on the hour.
REMINDER: YOU MUST PURCHASE A TICKET FOR THE VAPORETTO
BEFORE BOARDING.
The last bit about buying a ticket before boarding is very important because if you board without a ticket, and an inspector calls, you will receive a hefty fine.
So, Heidi and I will be hopefully going out tonight but we shall have to see how the day goes. Right now she is on the pier organizing tours and shuttle buses.
We also have 200 technicians joining the vessel today to work onboard while we are in Venice. These technicians are from the Fincantiari Shipyard where the Carnival Freedom was born are here to carry out checks and repairs to the vessel. These little last minute touches are part of our warranty. Yep, just like a car or a washing machine, the ship has a warranty with the shipyard. It’s a one year 10,000 miles warranty and includes a free oil change and new windshield wipers.
I went to bed last night thinking of Rick in his wheelchair, his face beaming as he enjoyed the live music. I had spent the previous 30 minutes pi%^ed
Off with life because of the lady who accused me of being prejudiced towards Chinese people because I would not reserve seats for her group. This morning I awoke feeling guilty. Rick had every right to be mad at the world. He wasn’t — and therefore neither should I.
I sent him some jazz CD’s and a CD player for their cabin this morning…………and I had Chinese for lunch!

Let’s do some Q&A.

SONGBIRD – Firstly, it is interesting that so many people who work within the industry itself have started to read this blog thingy as here with you Songbird as you used to work for Celebrity. I see from your comments that you used to hear negative comments about Carnival Cruise Lines but after sailing on the Ecstasy you discovered the truth. I have expressed this before in a previous blog thingy that everyone is entitled to an opinion but at least base that opinion on fact or personal experience. I am glad therefore that you have joined the blogging community and I hopefully will get to meet you one day soon.
MARK MUNRO – Thank you for your kind comments about your cruise and I am very happy that you and your wife had a wonderful time. I understand your point that the younger people felt a little isolated. The average age on your cruise was 61 and in fact there were only 179 guests under age 30. You are correct when you say that the dance club was very quiet and it certainly does liven up when the staff arrive. I will add, as you suggested, some early evening 90’s music in the dance club and I will study the karaoke schedule to see if we can keep that open longer. Therefore, when you cruise next year I think you may see a difference however that difference is assured in the Caribbean when our nightclubs are buzzing until 3 am or later. Please let me know any specific extras you would suggest and I hope I see you and Mrs. Munro very soon.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – How is Podunk? Hasn’t the world become a smaller place thanks to blog thingies like this one? Here I am in Venice and there you are in Podunk. Your statement that your family cruised on the Carnival Liberty and they were aged from 11 – 69 is proof that Carnival and cruising itself is suitable for any age and Sarah needs to understand this. I will be working to make this happen. Thanks for your comments as always and my best to Prince Charles.
NEW TEXAN FRAN – Hello Fran, let me answer your questions.
The Club O2 states that it is for 15-17. How strict is that age policy? Will my 14 1/2 yr old be able to go in with my 17 yr old?
We do have to be strict on this policy but I am sure as your son/daughter is nearly 15 so I think we may be able to accommodate them. However, most of the kids who attend Club O2 may be a little old for your 14-year-old and therefore they may be happier in the 12 – 14 program run by Camp Carnival. Have a look at the activities run by both programs when you get here and see what you think is best for your 14-year-old. Personally, I think he/she will enjoy the Camp carnival program more.
2. How safe will they be on their own on the ship? If they stay together will they be OK? Any areas they should avoid?
The answer to this question is simple. The ship is the safest vacation environment there is. There are no areas to avoid and if you are content to leave them to their own devices then you should be content to be content.if you know what I mean.
3. Are there curfews for underage minors?
NO……………JUST FOR ME FROM MY WIFE
4. Are they allowed to get on/off the ship on their own?
Yep, however once ashore that may be a different story. I do suggest that you stay together ashore and take a safe and fun family tour. If you need suggestions on which tours to take, please let me know. I hope these answers have been useful to you and if there is anything I can do further please let me know.
CARLOS – I love the name Carlos, that’s what you call a Spanish-speaking man who has had his automobile stolen. Sorry, couldn’t resist that one. I think Sarah the British travel agent has no clue about today’s cruise industry and her mental image of shuffleboard and blankets are antiquated and so far from reality as shown by your good selves as you are both very young (33 and 41) and you will be cruising in August. I am sure I can help my fellow countrymen see that cruising is the way to go regardless of age.
As to your question about downloading photos onto CD’s onboard we can indeed provide that service from our Photo Gallery. I look forward to seeing you in August and please keep reading the blog.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – I think I may just forward this blog to the agency where the young Sarah works. It would certainly be an eye opener for her to see what cruising is really all about. I have never seen a UK commercial similar to the ones used in Canada and the United States. We have a very small team in the UK and they are brilliant ladies and gents and I will now dedicate any spare time I have when I am back home to help them spread the Carnival word. Hope today’s blog finds you well Carol and I will see you very soon.
JO MYERLY – How right you are. One of the things I love about America is that there is no antiquated class system as there are in some other places in the world including the UK. On Carnival you may find a man who has saved up for a year to take a cruise whose job is driving a truck from one end of the country to another. On the same cruise on the same ship is a man who owns the largest trucking company in America and is a millionaire. They are both dressed the same, look the same. Carnival Cruise Lines prides itself on providing a relaxed and fun atmosphere, which is applicable to all ages and all walks of life. Many thanks also for your kind words, I am sorry I was away for so long but I am back now.
DAVID FROM BARBADOS – First of all, it’s not fair. People who live in paradise should not be able to take a cruise to even more paradise, you are indeed a lucky man. What amazing comments from your two mega cool grand daughters who both state that CRUISING IS THE BEST HOLIDAY. I think we should employ them to be Carnival spokespeople (is that one word or two)? You are indeed correct. Perceptions are indeed funny things and all I can do is let this blog thingy be a vessel to promote the joy and fun of taking a cruise………………especially to Barbados. I always wanted to stay at Sandy Lane. I read a column in my newspaper written by the incomparable and eternally grumpy movie director Michael Winner who after complaining about every hotel and restaurant the world over always says how wonderful Sandy Lane is.
Hope to see you on your next cruise, come and see me on the bloggers cruise in January. Cheers until then.
FRANCO AND LYNN, MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE, VICKI AND MATT TILL, I & Ms MOM, CARL HARMON, SUSAN B, DEBRAH , HEHN, WENDY, FANGCLAW – Thank you for prayers for young Maddy who at the time of writing has not been found. The world can be a wicked place and each day I turn on the news and hope that she has been found. Until she has, please join me and the millions of other people in having continued positive thoughts for her safe return. I thank you all for your support and allowing me to use this blog for such an important purpose.
KAREN MC – Is that like MC Hammer…………..Heidi is always saying the words to one of his songs when she gets mad at me “YOU CAN’T TOUCH THIS)! Anyway, yes you have hairdryers and yes you have bathrobes in your cabins. We also have laundry facilities and we charge $4,15 for a BIG bag of laundry. I will also wash underwear and socks for a small fee (food).
Now, relax and before you know it you will be here and having the time of your life. See you soon.
PAULETTE’S MUM – Thank Mum for your comments. I see you to have experienced the difficulty of getting a Carnival brochure from a UK travel agent. I will see what we can do about this. I know many Brits are loyal to P&O Cruises and that’s understandable as they are a wonderful line with stunning ships and excellent service but I would like to see my fellow countrymen given a choice. Poor Sarah the agent, I am starting to feel guilty and I truly hope I have not gotten her into trouble.
One thing, I did not understand your comment that says  “nice ports but could do without the – “they’re letting ordinary people on now!” from your P & O cruise. Can you elaborate on this? Send my best to your girls and thanks for reading the blog.
BOB AND SANDY – Welcome back from your Carnival Glory cruise. It sounds like you and Mike the Handyman had a great time. I was sorry to hear about the ship getting into Nassau later than scheduled but sometimes as in this case Mother Nature takes control. Please tell Mike not to worry about the light bulbs. There are lots for him to change here including the one in my bathroom.
I am happy to hear that you enjoyed Wee Jimmy and how wonderful that you were there to enjoy his promotion. I am very proud of the young man and I think he will grow into the best cruise director in the fleet very soon. Now, as for the Funnel Hat it looks like Mike needs some compensation for his funnel hat design and I will provide that with champagne, strawberries and fun when I see you very soon.
ESSEXMAN – Yep, there is no doubt that getting a brochure (as you discovered) is not easy in the UK and I know I have to help improve this situation and I will…………promise. How’s the weather back home today for bank holiday Monday?  Hope to hear from you soon.
BARB’S SISTER – You are right, right. Right, lets talk about the right way and the right time to catch your flight home. Right, you need to wake up at 5 am, go up to Deck 9 and use the service line on the right side of the ship and have a right good breakfast. Then, right at 6 am you will disembark the ship turning right inside the terminal (not left but right) and we will get you right on the right bust to get you right to the airport getting there right on time. Anything else you need, you will write – right? 🙂
CROWN GOLFER – I wish I was down your local pub right now as I could do with a Ploughman’s Lunch ………………Cheese, bread, pickle and an apple. I am so happy to hear that you and the family will be here with us and Heidi and I will look forward to spending some time with you.  Do you need any advice on excursions, etc.? If not, please keep reading the blog thingy anyway and I will see you all very soon. Have a pint for me.
BOB MEANS………….Hope you have a great cruise and send my best to the Captain and crew of the Carnival Pride.
KATHY KROLL – I am deflated. I cannot understand how you did not get the book and champagne I sent you. Please can you e-mail me your mailing address ASAP so I can mail it to you. I am glad you loved the ship and the ports of call. I have addressed your concerns with my staff  (Sean has since left by the way) and you are correct that disembarking 2,000 people at one time is not an easy process but I think overall we do a good job. You are correct also with regard to Ephesus. There were more people there than ever before with two big ships in Izmir and another two in Kusadasi another Turkish port. It does get very warm there and I always advise guests drink as much water as they can but, as you said, the rewards of the lines and heat are these amazing once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
It was great that Heidi and I got to spend some time with the Mello Yellow Group. The unfortunate thing is that as much as we would both love to spend more time with each and every blogger we meet onboard, the job still has to get done. That’s why, I am looking forward so much to the Bloggers Cruise in January. I will see you on the Carnival Splendor and I hope you send me your address…………I wonder who got your book?
SUSAN – I can see a pattern forming here as you appear also to be finding it difficult to get a Carnival brochure in the UK. I did once do an interview for Sky Travel Shop and I would be happy to help the British Team in anyway I can. Thank you also for your heartfelt words about Madeleine, I know everyone is thinking of her and her family. Have a cup of tea for me and hope to see you soon.
ROBERT.J. COLONNA – hello Bob and Sandy and thanks for brightening my day with your gracious comments. It’s been a long time since we have sailed together, 1998 seems so far away. I know you will have a fun time on the Carnival Liberty and Todd the Cruise Director will really impress you. I am glad you have discovered the blog thingy and even if we don’t get to cruise with each other we can at least stay in touch over the electronic fence. Hope to see you soon and most importantly thanks again for the kind words.
CINDY – Thanks you for writing and I am glad to hear that you and the family are getting ready for a fantastic Carnival Freedom cruise. Now, you asked about tours and I can see you have already bought two brilliant ones for Venice and Dubrovnik. Based on your families’ demographics I would like to give you these suggestions fro tours in the other ports.
NAPLES – POMPEII
This is a must see for you and the girls. You can combine this with a trip to Sorrento or the Amalfi coast if you wish but Pompeii is something you will never forget.
MESSINA…………..TAROMINA ON YOUR OWN
This is a one-hour guided tour followed by six hours of free time in the most beautiful Sicilian town. Great shopping, a stunning Greek Theatre to explore and lost of beautiful walks.
BARCELONA…………….BARCELONA BY BIKE
A fun and fresh way to explore Barcelona.
CANNES………………MONACO AND MONTE CARLO ON YOUR OWN TOUR
The same structure as Taromina On Your Own. I think it would be a real shame to come all this way and not see this amazing one of a kind country, the second smallest country in the world.
LIVORNO……………..PISA
You and the girls have to see The Leaning Tower Of Pisa and you can add Florence to this if you want as well.
Have a think about these suggestions and don’t rush into buying them. Remember, once onboard come to the travel talks and you can listen to what I have to say and then if you have any questions you can see me after the talk.
MICHELLE – How great to get a blog comment thing from someone from my home town and someone who will be having a glass of wine opposite where I live, that’s a small world for you. I remember trying to wake your son up that morning and I hope we can have as much fun this time when we meet each other in August and yes I will be here for you. Give my best to Southend and have a crumpet for me.

That’s the end of today’s Q & A

And, now it’s raining in Venice….AGAIN. I just had to cancel the evening gondola tours and I now have 400 very disappointed people. I am going to host some extra activities and add some more live music but hopefully people will still go and explore St. Marks at night, its only light rain so I think some people will still explore, I hope so.

NOW, LOOK WHAT I GOT TODAY

Kathy Ireland’s Letter

Thank you Kathy. I will treasure this letter, it’s my first personal letter from a famous person …unless you include………this one.

Dear John
I have heard that you want me to be the Godmother of the Carnival Splendor.
I accept on the condition that you be my personal escort and guide.
I will make sure Brad has a movie to shoot or something, so we are “not disturbed “
Love and kisses
Angelina

Today is Memorial Day and I would like to pay tribute to all the men and women who have and continue to protect our freedom through service to their countries. To bring this closer to read this:

Lisa & Paul
May 26th, 2007 at 8:19 pm

Hi John & Heidi,
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog. We were on the 12-day cruise from April 7 to 19 – my husband was on leave from Iraq and I met up with him in Rome. We so enjoyed our time with you all. My husband wrote to you and also told you about our son Matt who is in Iraq as well and you were so generous to send us champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. Yum! Alas, hubby and son are both back in Iraq and I’m here in NY keeping the home fires burning.
Reading this blog brings such special memories for me – I didn’t realize the same Heidi in the mornings getting us out on the tours is your lovely wife! You’re a great couple. We also loved Gary and Sean – great guys and a lot of fun!
Thanks so much and we look forward to sailing with you again!

LISA – I AM SURE THAT MANY OF THE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO READ THIS BLOG DAILY WILL WANT TO PASS ON THEIR SUPPORT TO YOU AND YOUR BRAVE HUSBAND AND SON WHOM I CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW MUCH YOU MISS.
THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO YOU

Goodnight
Your friends
John and Heidi

Back On Board

May 27, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning Everyone

How are you?

I hope you are still all reading the blog thingy even though I have not posted for two days, I am truly sorry and hope you forgive me.
Let me start by saying a big thank you to Heidi for looking after the ship during my two days at home. I left home yesterday at 5 am to catch my flight back to Rome. It was only a two-hour flight but after travel time, security checks and the flight itself, I was quiet tired when I got back to the ship at 2 pm. The flight back was uneventful except for a few a very rude flight attendant named Regina who scowled and tutted anytime anyone asked for anything. Someone had definitely taken all the jam out of her doughnut that morning.
Back on board, I hugged and kissed my wife and then got straight back down to the business of being a cruise director with a travel talk at 4 pm and a mountain of e-mails to catch up on.
The travel talk went well except for a man in the third row who slept from the moment I walked out and forty minutes later when I had finished and walked off stage he was still asleep………..jet lag……………anybody got any home remedy cures?
There is also a heat wave in Italy at the moment with temperatures 10 degrees higher than normal. Today, we are in Naples and it is very, very hot and really muggy, as well. Most guests are ashore and I am trying now (as you can see) to catch up on my blog thingy which by the way, now has 279,000 thumps on it 🙂
I want to thank you all for taking the time to read my blog about Maddy, the little girl who is still missing after being abducted in Portugal. Please keep her photo in your head as you travel the world and keep a prayer in your heart for her safe return.
Here are some great photos of the Carnival Destiny. The ship was in Barbados for the Cricket World Cup final which was played between Australia and South Africa. I would explain the laws of Cricket but time does not allow, however if you need to know please mail, a comment to this blog thingy and ask my PA who is cricket mad and will answer all your questions.
Great photos.

Carnival Destiny in Barbados for the Cricket World Cup final  Carnival Destiny in Barbados for the Cricket World Cup final

Congratulations to Costa Cruise Lines, part of our family who just launched their new ship, the Costa Serena. We all wish her Bon Voyage.

I must push on with the Q&A because I am many days behind, so ……………here it is an XXXXXXL helping of Q &A.
AND WE START WITH, WHO ELSE……………….

BIG ED – We are both famous now in Japan thanks to the links you showed me. I guess we will need to be called John Healdasaki and Big Edushi. Aragato Big Edson.
Thank you for the birthday wishes for Mum and she has been given strict instructions not to send any photos of me as a baby…………I certainly was not BIG JOHN !
How about a photo of you as SMALL ED ?
Hello Mrs. Big Ed – Heidi here. Although I missed John, I really enjoyed a “clean” toilet seat and a full view of the carpet. Still, I was a little nervous not having John here but all was well. Thank you for thinking of me.
ANGELA – I am sure you and your group are getting very excited now as your cruise is just a few weeks away. In answer to your question, we do have tables for 10 but not 12. have you requested a table for 10? If not and you want to, let me know and I will see what I can do for you. See you soon.
DORTHE CALIMBAS – First of all, thank you for your kind words about buying the book. I am talking with our vice president of marketing sales Christine Arnholt and she is working with me to get this done ASAP. Now, you spoke about the Royal Princess. Here then is breaking news from my hard working PA on that subject.
Royal Princess just joined the Princess fleet she was formerly Minerva II formerly R8. If they want to know where is the previous Royal Princess, she is operating happily as P&O’s Artemis.
Many thanks to my PA for this information, I know it takes hours of research from his cubicle back in our HQ in Miami.
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF – Thank you for the book request and I am working on getting all these blogs published as quick as I can as well as adding some new ones. It seems that many of the blog readers want this so I will let you know as and when it happens. I would hope it can be in all good used book stores by Christmas 🙂 Buy them one for Christmas, they will make great stocking fillers. My blog book will also be very useful when camping and you run out of toilet paper as the book will be very absorbing.
Thank you also for your great comments regarding “local and ethnic entertainment.” I agree wholeheartedly that we all need to immerse ourselves as much as possible in diverse cultures which in turn will help us all understand how the other half lives. Heidi says that’s just an excuse to get a Belly Dancer onboard !
On the Carnival Splendor I really want to do some new and exciting things and we have time to plan the. One event we must do is a BEER FEST. We will hire a German “oompa” band (I have no idea how to say that) and have a beer fest with the stein glasses. I also want to get some typical Dutch entertainment but I think its illegal.
On a serious note, I do think that we can do much more to use the local people to show us their history through music. Let’s see if we can. I loved your comment about Guido having to practice to get to the West End. I did feel a little guilty pretending that I was still listening to the MP3 thing but I needed to rest my voice, I wonder if Guido found his way OK? Thanks again for reading the blog thingy and I hope you continue to do so.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – hello Carol and thanks for slapping a comment on the blog thingy. You are correct that the new Royal Princess was named by someone who has been onboard a Princess Ship for 4,000 days. She has never been able to find the gangway to get off. As for the Carnival Splendor’s naming ceremony If it were up to me I would do the following.
1. CEREMONY IN DOVER, U.K.
2. PRE CRUISE ENTERTAINMENT TO BE PROVIDED BY THE BAND OF THE HER MAJESTY’S WELSH GUARDS….we had the Royal Marine Band for the Carnival Legend and they were fantastic. The Welsh guards are the best military band in the world and look so resplendent in their buzzbys (hats).
3. DAME VERA LYNN WILL SING “WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER”……..Dame Vera was called “The Allied Force’s Sweetheart” during WWII and her signature tune was this song. Her singing this to the accompimant of the Welsh Guards would be amazing and if we cannot get Angelina, then Dame Vera Lynn would create a huge buzz in the UK as godmother, I bet nobody has ever had a godmother who sings live at the ceremony and especially a song that means so much to US and Allied veterans of WWII.
4. ANGELINA JOLIE KISSES JOHN AND THE PHOTO APPEARS ON THE FRONT COVER OF HELLO MAGAZINE WITH THE TITLE “ANGELINA DUMPS BRAD FOR SEXY CRUISE DIRECTOR JOHN HEALD.”
So Carol, lets see what happens and thanks for asking, yes I had a great time at home. See you soon.
INEZ AND DEAN – Thank you for giving me a chance to congratulate ALL ABOUT CRUISES based in Burlington, North Carolina who was named by Carnival as their AGENCY OF THE YEAR. I salute them and all the agents around the world for their continuing support. Congratulations also to you for booking THE CARNIVAL SPLENDOR. It will be an historic trip for you both to enjoy and I know your granddaughter will be amazed at what she will see. I am glad I convinced Dean to sail and as I know you invested a whole heap of money on my say so I in turn will do everything I can to make sure this cruise will exceed your wildest expectations. My best to you all.
CARL HARMON – Thank you for your kind wishes and my short break was wonderful. It was great to be at home with Mum and dad and celebrate my Mum’s birthday. I asked my Mum what she wanted for her birthday and she replied “AN ASTON MARTIN DB9 VOLANTE “………………I wish I could afford one for her ):
Here as requested is my mailing address and many thanks for thinking of me.
MV CARNIVAL FREEDOM
JOHN HEALD – CRUISE DIRECTOR
CEMAR CIVITAVECCHIA
LUNGOPORTO GRAMSCI N.19
00053 CIVITAVECCHIA (ROMA) – ITALY
GUIZELL FROM THE BIG EASY – By the time you have read this you will be home following your cruise here on the Carnival Freedom. I will have spoken to you and hopefully we have become great friends.
JOHN FROM ARKANSAS – I am so excited to hear that you have signed up for the bloggers cruise in January and what a birthday your wife will have. The bloggers cruise is going to be very special and I am continuing to work on ideas for the cruise. I remember Carl from Tampa very well and he was a major star on the Crnival Liberty. Maybe it’s your turn on the Carnival Freedom in January?
By the way, when I was first a cruise director, I was hosting a talent show on the Carnivale and said our next guest is from AR…KANSAS…………oops.
See you in January mate.
CINDY BRUCE – I am smiling from ear to ear at the comment you stuck on the blog stating you found my voice “SOOTHING.” I just told Heidi and she said you wouldn’t find me soothing if you saw me actually making the announcement in my Fruit of the Looms. Oh well, I guess TV would not be for me then, better try radio. I wish you were here to Cindy and I will keep writing my blogs in the hope that it will keep you going until you cruise again.
PAPANH – You will buy 10 copies of the book………..wow. I guess I had better press on with this project then. Congratulations on being married for 40 years and I hope that Heidi and I are Lucy enough to be married for that and more. You are correct, she is the boss and I would not be the man I am without her. OK, she’s gone in the next room. I am the boss, I am the king of my castle and I can do what ever I like when………………ssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhh, she’s back !
You asked if I will be on the Carnival Freedom in February 2008. I am not sure yet what my schedule is past January but hopefully I will see you then. My best wishes to you and your good lady.
PAULMEDIK – Paul, you asked if I will be on the reunion cruise on the Carnival Freedom in April. I think there is an excellent chance I will be as just after that cruise we will sail back to Europe for the 2008 season. I will be doing a few cruises before I go across to the Carnival Splendor so I think I may get to see you. I hope so anyway. Please keep reading the blog thingy.
MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE – I always feel guilty when I type those words as I know how much you miss it. I to love Big Band Music and there will be lots for you to enjoy on the cruise. I will make sure Charlie and the guys have some of your favorite Benny Goodman Tunes ready for your enjoyment. I played the trombone when I was young (ger) and my Dad and I loved to go to the Pier Hill Festival and the Three Band festival where we would listen to all our favorite musicians including Don Lusher, Buddy Rich and Ron Ware.
Thank you also for your kind wishes for my break. It was too short but I had a wonderful time. You are correct, the ship was in great hands with Heidi. The only problem is my desk. I can’t find anything, she cleaned it and everything is neat and tidy……………….is nothing sacred? Tme to drop something on the bathroom floor tonight. As for the comment you made about airline seats getting smaller, you are correct. The seat on my plane was tiny and although I ignored Guido through the use of my non-working MP3 player, however, we becoming good friends as my thigh and his thigh went through a strange mating process, if only, just once, I could get a seat next to a beautiful woman…….maybe Angelina Jolie although the chances of her flying on this particular budet airline are about the same as me ever having an Aston Martin………oh well. Keep reading and keep writing and lets change your screen name to LOOKINGFORWARDTOTHE NEARLEYSMOKEFREECARNIVALFREEDOM.

NOTE TO ALL BLOGGERS – If I have not replied to previous older comments and I said I would get back to you and have not, please can you remind me what is outstanding. I want to make sure I do not leave anything unchecked.

SHEREE – Many congratulations to your daughter on graduating college with such high honors (spelt correctly). I am sure you are very proud of her and this I am also sure will have got you through the terrible surgery you had to endure. I hope your forthcoming Carnival cruise will help you recover and if you need anything while onboard, please let me know.
Now, as for your tour questions let us start by confirming that Carnival does have representatives at our listed hotels who can organize pre-cruise tours. These include all the major sites as well as exclusive views in the Vatican. If you do decide to book a hotel through Carnival, we will arrange all the transportation to and from the vessel and of course your tours as well. If you would like a hotel recommendation, please let me know. I am here to help you. As far as a tour on debarkation day, I recommend you take The Rome At A Glance Tour which will drop you back in the center of Rome near the Vatican in time for you to take your Necropolis.
So, have a think and stay in touch via the blog. Congratulations to your daughter and I hope the surgery has gone well.
KEVIN AND SUE – hello my friends, it has been too long since we have sailed together. How are you? So I see you off again, this time on the Carnival Valor. Great ship and wonderful ports. You asked for tour recommendations, here are my favorites.
BELIZE……………………Simple…….CAVE TUBING. It is brilliant and gliding down the calm waters in an inner tube is a incomparable experience. The caves are amazing and the jungle surroundings are truly breathtaking. Did you know that the British Special Forces (THE SAS) do their jungle training in Belize? Take this tour, you will not regret it.
I DID HAVE ONE PROBLEM ON THE TOUR, MY ……..UMMMMM……..BOTTOM………IS A BIT LARGE AND ….UMMMMMM HUNG A BIT LOWER OUT OF THE BOTTOM OF THE INNER TUBE. CONSEQUENTLY, I PICKED UP A FEW SOVENIRS THE TRIP DOWN RIVER !
COSTA MAYA…………..This is how Cozumel used to be years ago. I recommend the BEACH BUGGY TOUR. Driving a buggy around the unspoiled beaches of Costa Maya and having a swim in the Caribbean Sea. Heidi loves this tour as do I.
ROATAN…………………No idea, never been, but let me ask the cruise director over there, Chris Jefferson, for his personal recommendation and I will stick it on to the next blog thingy.
AND HERE IS THE ANSWER FROM CHRS ON THE CARNIVAL VALOR
Pirates, Birds & Monkeys”, “Canopy Tour & Tabyana Beach”… they are the best.
Thank you for your kind words. I think you will love Chris. He is a fellow Brit and he will provide you with wonderful fun and entertainment. I miss Corey!
Hope we see each other very soon and Heidi sends you her best.
NANCINURSE – I am thankful to you for your vacation best wishes. I had some fun times with Mum and dad and also got to see my niece and nephew and my mates Alan and Danny. The only downfall was the car. Heidi has bags that are bigger than that…………….I need an Aston Martin (said in a pitiful sad voice).
I am glad you enjoyed the Hula Lessons on the Carnival Spirit and I really will do my best to add more ” local ” entertainment to the program. See you soon and thanks for your continuing support of the blog.
ASHLEY BLAIR – Angelina and I have a serious relationship and it is not to be laughed at…..well, maybe a bit. How is it being the older sister to 18 year old twin brothers. can you tell them apart?  Congratulations to them on graduating high school, let me to if you want me to ‘ have some fun at their expense ” ? Sorry to sound really thick, but you said they are heading for UT, was does UT stand for?  I was voted ” most likely to do nothing special ” at college while my mate Alan Adkins was voted ” Most likely To have Every female In The Human Race Find Him Boring and Ugly “.
When are you cruising ? Thanks for the comments and please keep reading the blog.
BILL – So you think you have the winning entry for the name the Spa on the carnival Splendor contest do you. Well, here are my entries and I think you will find they are hard to beat. In reverse order.
3. JOHN’S GYM…….The idea here is to have new state of the art equipment like Escalator Master with Angelina Jolie look a like fitness instructors who teach you how to eat a cheeseburger while working out.
2. IT’S CLOSED……………………..This will be very useful because every time Heidi makes me go to the gym, I can say there is a sign there saying, “It’s Closed.”
1. ANGELINA’S (SPONSORED BY ASTON MARTIN)……………………..Need I say more
So, the contest is over.
Hope you are well Bill and please keep the fun replies and comments coming.
TAZMAN – I am glad you are enjoying the blog every day. I am sorry that there are some days that I miss but I will continue to do as many as I can. You asked about the difference between a cat 6 cabin and a cat 6E family cabin. The cat 6E is on deck 11 and the cabins are bigger with a sofa that turns into extra bedding, great views from those cabins by the way.
You must have some amazing stories to tell from your sailings on the Queen Mary and Raffaello, can you share any with us? I know the Carnival Freedom is your first taste of our cruise line. Rest assured that we will all be dedicated in making sure that we give you and your family wonderful service, fun and the finest entertainment at sea. If I cannot find a belly dancer by the time you sail, then I will do a dance for you myself……bring a camera……………………..with a big lens. See you in July.
THAIS AND FABIAN – It’s great to see new people post comments on this blog thingy, so I welcome you today. Eugenio your cruise director on your Costa cruise sounds fantastic. Your wonderful comments about me made me blush, so thank you so very much for what you said. You have cruised a lot haven’t you and I know that the best is yet to come when you sail on the carnival Freedom later this year.
In answer to your question, you can indeed enter the Spa Naming contest even though you do not live in the U.S. and I will also add you to the YES column for the addition of a belly dancer to the program……….even its just me doing it. I hope you have a good flight and as much as you hate flying remember the reward is a fantastic cruise waiting for you. Tot Ziens.
PAULETTE’S MUM – I love black pudding! I think you should cook some for Paulette. How is she by he way?
HOTLANTA – I am happy to hear the information I sent you for the tours has proven useful and I am sure you and your group are getting excited now. Please try to arrive to the vessel by 3 pm. This will give you some time to unpack before sailing and the welcome aboard talk with me. Remember we sail at 7 pm sharp. I had a great time with Mum and Dad and thanks as always for you kind words. See you in June.
TOM POTTER – What a great comment you have glued to the blog. Your cruise director on your Carnival Miracle cruise will be Brent from Canada. He is a very funny (slightly ugly) young man and I know he will add to your cruise enjoyment. He is very personable with bags of energy and please if you have time send him my best regards.
As a star of the Welcome Aboard Show I know you enjoyed your “15 minutes of fame.” That is my main purpose as a cruise director on stage, it should always be about the guests, never about the CD themselves. I enjoy nothing more than seeing a guest recognized the entire cruise for their exploits on stage. I hope you and Peggy are well and I appreciate your time in reading this blog thingy everyday.
FRANCOANDLYNN – June 6 will soon be here. You asked about the supper club and what night to eat there. Really, the answer is any night and maybe apart from Venice night then I think the second sea day is also great as it is right in the middle of the cruise. Your 14-year-old is most welcome and I am sure it will be a family night to remember. Thank you for wishing me a nice break, I had such a brilliant time at home. See you in June.
ADIAS.ANGEL – That’s another plus in the hire a Belly Dancer column. How about a duet. me and you? That should be quiet an attraction for the lobby. I have lots of ideas for the Carnival Splendor. I have already mentioned the beer fest and how about some Russian music for our time in St.Petersburg? All the best until we see you next year and please keep reading the blog thingy.
IGGIPOLKA – What a perfect segue, here is a real live belly dancer who reads the blog. Your statement that belly dancing is a wonderful expression and celebration of culture has made my mind up………ROGER (my boss) are you reading this? Can you teach me to belly dance – not you Roger, I mean Iggipolka.
Watch this space.
DOUGNEWMANATSEA – Hello mate, how are you? Thanks for your comments about the Web site, I always appreciate your comments and expertise. Please have a look now and tell me what you think and any suggestions you have to improve what I am doing. Thanks for the nice words, I did enjoy my brief holiday. Please write soon.
CATMAMA – Thank you for your support of the Blog Book. I can picture the cover now. Me and Angelina both wearing swim wear lying across the front of an Aston Martin. 220 days and counting to your cruise. C U then.
HOTLANTA – Don’t worry about asking questions, that is my purpose of this blog so ask away. In answer to your credit card questions, Vis and MasterCard are both equally excepted all over Europe so you have nothing to worry about. With the exception of Dubrovnik, Izmir and Istanbul there are many ATM’s that issue Euros in all the ports of call. My time is your time, so no need to apologize. See you very soon.

OK, ITS TIME FOR THE WELCOME ABOARD SHOW……………………….BACK SOON.
OK, I AM BACK, DID YOU MISS ME?
I will talk about the welcome aboard show in a moment but back first to more Q&A

TIMOTHY PORTEE SR – This has to be one of the best comments I have personally received. The fact that you were about to quit on taking Carnival Cruises but because of the fun we had together back in 1997 on the Imagination which rejuvenated your love of this great company, well, I have no words. Congratulations on your Platinum membership and also for being a travel agent that sends us so many customers. The word thank you is not enough.
ZSOLT – I want you to know that your Mum remains in mine and Heidi’s thoughts and prayers. We felt so bad when she had to leave the ship but I know that she will get better and we can all be together again soon. I mailed photos and a DVD to you on Wednesday so hopefully you should get them soon, let me know when you do. Until then, I remain your friend always.
DORTHE CALIMBAS – I know how you feel about Yorkshire Pudding, they are so Moorish. I only had one though (well, maybe seven). My dad loves Yorkshire Pudding, he likes to pour treacle syrup in the middle of them. My Mum also makes the best roast potatoes nice and crispy. Anyway, back to the real world and bread and cheese for the next eight months. Thanks for your comments and hope to meet you one day soon.
CINDY BRUCE – Thank you for your kind words. It is great to know that I have such good friends made through this blog thingy. Please keep reading it and I wish you all the best.
VICKI AND MATT – I had a wonderful time at home at my Mum appreciates all the happy birthday wishes so much. My best to you and Matt.
MRS K.L – OK, I have had a brain fart. Remind me what I was supposed to follow up on about “Jess?” feel guilty because I can’t remember what I said I would do for you so please jog my memory and write soon.
NANETTEALI – Heidi here, thank you for asking how I am doing. I am fine and it is good to have John back although the desk is now a complete tip again. John sends his best and we thank you for all your nice words.
HOTLANTA – You asked about the garbage crisis in Naples. There was a situation where the garbage men/women went on strike but this was resolved as of a few days ago. I was in Naples yesterday and all the garbage had been collected as normal. The only smells in the air were of pizza, so all is well.
PAULF.PIETRANGELO – Your comments are never a “waste of my time,” mate. This blog has become so much more than just cruising information. It’s about 5,000 people each and every day reading and writing their thoughts and wishes and emotions to each other and long may it continue. I am glad you got through the difficult times with the damage to your house and I am sure Heidi and I will do the same. Please keep reading and please keep posting your thoughts and comments. Cheers mate.
STORMIN NORMAN – Welcome back from the Carnival Valor. I hope you had a great time and I am sure as always you contributed to everyone’s enjoyment. I hope that we will be reunited on the Bloggers Cruise. I really want Heidi to come to Australia but she is so afraid of spiders she won’t go. She heard about the spider that lives in the toilet and crawls up and bites on your bottom. Any advice on how to change her mind?
THE CHADS – Mary, I am equally excited that you have decided to book the bloggers cruise. Please call your travel agent and tell them to call Carnival reservations and mention that you want to book as part of the bloggers cruise so you get all the benefits. I look forward to meeting you and Randy very soon……..quick…………….book now as there are not many cabins left. Let me know when you are confirmed and see you soon.
MARY AND RANDY – You are correct, that might be a bit awkward if I see Sarah, but I hope she reads this blog and realizes that cruising more than any other vacation is perfect for any and every age group. I am going to work very hard to help promote cruising back home in the U.K. starting with my friend Sarah. Thanks for writing and see you soon.
CARL AND BARB THE TEDDY BEAR – I thought about sending a brochure to the agent who knew nothing about cruising but I felt that might seem a bit condescending. Instead, I am contacting our head office in the U.K. and I know they will “re-educate her” toward the wonders of the cruising. Thank you for saying Brad Pitt has nothing on me, If only Angelina would see that…………………..maybe she will when she is codmother of the Carnival Splendor. Thanks to you and Papa Bear.
GREG – Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, tennis fans. Yes, we will have some Wimbledon coverage for you and I am sure it will be fantastic to see how long it takes before Roger Federer wins again, there really is nobody to compete against him at the moment. I miss the old players, McEnroe, etc who threw rackets and swore!
You will soon be here and what a great way to celebrate your 20th anniversary. See you then.
PETER WARD – What a fantastic group of friends and family you have sailing in September. Stromboli is indeed a wonderful sight to behold and I hope it is in a very naughty mood when we sail past it. I do know West Didsbury near Manchester in fact one of our entertainment staff Gary is from very near to there. I am glad you like the blog and I look forward to meeting you in September.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – I think Sarah the travel agent was just programmed to promote Sandals but I will change her mind as I have a cunning plan up my sleeve. I had a nice time at home so thanks for asking and I hope to hear from you very soon.
JO MYERLY – This reply is simple. As a travel agent who promoted Carnival like you did I thank you for seeing past your nose and looking at what today’s Carnival is all about. We are where we are today because of people like you……………………THANK YOU.
CRYSTAL – June the 6 will be here before you know it and I am sure you have started getting your suitcases ready. You asked about the average age of the guests and the answer is around 50. There will be approximately 200 kids and many families onboard as well so we are lucky enough to have a whole cross section of people. I look forward to sharing time with you onboard as does Heidi.
SARAH RAYMENT – DAVIES – hello Sarah, sorry I didn’t get chance to mention you yet but I am rectifying this now. It’s been many years since we have seen each other and I send my best to you and your beautiful children. Alan is the same as ever, shy and slightly feminine but some things never change. Hope to see you soon and please feel free to share any stories you remember about Alan and I from years ago as 300,000 bloggers would love to know I am sure.

Ok, that sees the end of today’s Q & A. Again, sorry it took so long to get your comments answered but I think I have caught up now.
It is now the formal sea day before Venice and I have just finished the captain’s cocktail party and I am now getting ready for the show. Its been a busy few days with me flying around but all is well.
Tonight I also had the good and the bad.
The bad. A very upset lady was so angry and accosted me in the lobby. She had been told by a member of staff that she could not reserve a whole row of seats and said that if she got there first she should be able to save seats for her friends. I explained that we did not allow this and it was a strict policy. She said I was doing this “because I am Chinese.”  I felt my blood pressure rising at the mere suggestion that this was the reason. I tried my best in a calm voice to explain that this was not the case but all I got was a finger pointing in my face and a sentence shouted at me in Chinese which I am glad I did not understand. The thing that upset me the most about this situation was that it went unresolved as she walked away and would not listen to my reasoning. I hate this and now it will play on my mind for days to come.
Tonight, after the show I went to the jazz bar with Chris Prideaux who works as director of entertainment in our head office. He is spending a few days onboard with us
And we went to listen to the best jazz band on the seven seas, The Gavin Ahern Trio. Sitting next to us was a young man with a group of friends. I went to chat with him while the band was on a break, his name is Rick Arlane. The reason I went to speak to him is I have never seen a man so into the music he was listening to. His face shone and he moved to every beat of the music. When I say he moved, he was moving with the help of his electric wheel chair.
I spoke to him and he answered me through the use of a voice generated computer and the words “I LOVE MUSIC”  were some of the most special words Chris and I had ever heard.
I then had a long chat with his companion and best friend Jamie. He explained that Rick had been confined to the wheelchair and as he is for the last four years following a motorcycle accident. Jamie explained that Rick had been a budding musician and was studying music at a University in Texas. His love of music has not diminished even though he is facing unbelievable challenges. His love of music was clear for all to see. Tonight, this job, yet again has enabled me to meet a very, very special person.
OK, it’s time for bed. This was a very long blog and probably the most unstructured one I have written but I wanted to catch up with the questions and comments. Tomorrow I will start my daily blogs again.
I am being told to hurry up by Heidi so to avoid the doghouse being a permanent place of residence I had better do as I am told.
Goodnight
Your friends
John and Heidi

I have been saddened the last two weeks as have many people by the news about a little four-year-old girl named Madeleine.

Madeleine was abducted while on  holiday in Portugal. She is somewhere in the world . Somewhere, somebody has her. It could be the town, village, city or street where you live. The web site below has been set up by Madeleine’s brave but distraught parents. There is a reward of more than $2.5 million for any news leading to her whereabouts.

This web site has been read by 75 million people from all over the world. Someone, somewhere knows where she is. Here is the address to the website: http://bringmadeleinehome.com/

This blog has 275,000 hits and has thousands of readers a day from all over the world. I thought, therefore,  that I should pass this on to you all. Please visit the site .Who knows?  One of us may have seen her……………………………….we can but pray.

THANK YOU

JOHN

Well, that went quick. It’s now 10 pm and it’s an early night for me as I have to get up at 4:30 am to make my 8 am flight back to Rome.

I had a wonderful but very busy day. It started off with a 9:30 am breakfast with my mate Alan at our favorite waterfront/mudfront (depending on the tide café) called the Waters Edge. They have simply the best breakfasts in the world. Should you bloggers ever travel to Southend On Sea, Essex, U.K. then you must go to the Arches which is a row of cafes and in particular the Waters Edge Cafe. The owners are Steve and Ady Halfreck and also the chef (whose name is CHEF) are great people and if any of the 270,000 readers go there and mention my name you get a free sausage! Anyway, here is a photo of Alan Adkins’ breakfast. I had a slice of toast!

Alan’s Breakfast HERE IS A PHOTO OF ALAN, CHEF AND ADY, THE OWNER, AS WELL AS ALAN’S (GREEDY GIT) BREAKFAST

I didn’t think that there would be an automatic segue into anything about cruising on today’s blog thingy but incredibly there is, even though I am at home and it’s not for a positive reason. While I was with Alan this morning I went with him to a local travel agent so that Alan could finalize his trip for him and his family to Euro Disney next week as it is a school holiday.

While I was there, I thought I would ask someone for a Carnival Cruise Lines brochure. I approached one of the TRAVEL EXECUTIVES as her desk nameplate stated and I saw her name was Sarah. Now, Sarah looked young – and I mean very young. In fact, the pair of underwear I was wearing was older than she was! Anyway, I politely asked if I could have a look at a brochure for Carnival Cruise Lines. I got no response – Sarah looked as if I had just asked her to explain the existence of perpetual motion or to quote the Gettysburg Address.

Sarah looked lost and said in her polite way, “What?” I said it again, “Carnival Cruise Lines.”

Sara this time said, we don’t have any information on that but we do have P&O. Now, although they are an exceptional cruise line and a very important part of the Carnival family, I was very annoyed that she would not help me with my Carnival brochure request. Alan had finished with his Paris Disney booking and was now next to me and could see me getting upset with Sarah and he was loving every minute.  Then Sara added the icing to the cake. “You don’t want to go on a cruise,” she said.  “That’s for old people. How about Sandals resorts?”

Here, we entered the realm of mixed emotion. I was taken aback that even though my hair is the same color as Kenny Rogers that Sarah thought I was too old to go on a cruise. Then reality set in. I said “Isn’t cruising for all ages?” I then asked her if she had been on a cruise and, of course, it was no shock that she said “No.” Anyway, she reluctantly gave me a P&O brochure and I left her to go back to her MTV world.
 
I don’t blame Sarah, I don’t blame anyone. I know Carnival has an incredible group of people working in the UK who market our product and many Brits are sailing on our ships, but not enough. With people like Sarah working in the business, it will be tough to make that change. Maybe therefore, if only in a small way, this blog if read by people from my home country can get the word out that cruising on Carnival, P&O or any of our affiliated lines will provide people of all ages with a brilliant holiday. I want to shout this from the rooftops and I am going to assist the brilliant Lynn Narraway and her team in the UK in anyway I can.
 
Funny isn’t it, when we left the travel agency I looked at Alan and I said “Well, what did you think of that?” expecting my mate to be on my side and as a frequent Carnival cruiser to be as upset as I was.  Alan looked at me and said “Sarah……………….cute, very cute.”
 
So, an early night and then back to Heidi and the ship. I have 78 comments to reply to over the next 48 hours so I will get those answers posted as soon as I can.
 
Great news, our blog thingy has reached more than 270,000 smashes and is number 34 on the WordPress list of blogs. Not bad considering that’s 34 out of 1,001,843. You are all 34 in a million people and I am proud to call you all friends.
 
Thanks to Mum and Dad for a wonderful two days, I will miss you both very much.
 
Goodnight
 
Your Friends
 
John and Heidi and John’s Mum and Dad

Home, Sweet Home

May 24, 2007 -

John Heald

Hello to you all from Southend On Sea in England.

This is going to be a short blog because I am on vacation – sorry, holiday – and I have a cup of tea and a crumpet waiting……………………….I will take a photo of a crumpet and post at a later date.

I will not be answering posted comments today or tomorrow but will play catch-up over the weekend I promise.

My flight was uneventful except that it was on a “budget airline” and I have not seen as much plastic since I watched the Miss Universe Contest. It’s funny but when an “extra medium” sized man such as myself walks down the isle of an aircraft it causes people to look away as if to say “Please don’t put the big guy next to me.”

Today I got my preferred aisle seat and sat next to a man called Guido who was flying to London for a job interview. He started this conversation because he wanted my advice on the best way to get to the West End but luckily we were interrupted by the in-flight safety announcement.  It’s strange but even in today’s world the amount of people who talk and completely ignore what the stewardess says is extraordinary. I guess because I hope that people listen to my lifeboat drill announcements that I will always pay attention to what is said on aircraft.   Anyway, after the safety announcements and the eventual takeoff, I felt that Guido wanted to become my best friend and would have talked my head off for two hours. I know it was rude of me but I put on Heidi’s MP3 player she had given me and completely ignored him. After five minutes, the battery died and not wanting to become Guido’s satellite navigation system I pretended that the music was still playing and every now and then bobbed my head up and down in time to imaginary music.  I arrived at the airport and went through Immigration and Customs and, in my mind, was secretly hoping that some very rich and sympathetic blogger had arranged a brand new Aston Martin to be hired for me. I had even looked this up and found a website that does do it http://www.aston-hire.co.uk/ and, as I walked into the arrivals hall, I looked for an Angelina Jolie look-alike who maybe would be holding a sign that said “John’s Aston Martin – This Way.”  No such luck. 

I went instead to the car hire desk and I was given a “luxury car” which looked like Yoda from Star Wars. I just about have enough room to sit behind the wheel but if the air bag goes off there will not be enough room between me and it to make any difference. Anyway, at least it has air conditioning because it’s 80 degrees in England today.

So, I arrived home and it is great to see my Mum and Dad. I was welcomed with two big hugs and a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich, the perfect homecoming.

I am going to stay with my parents tonight as we have had some problems with our apartment. Heidi and I have a beautiful apartment by the sea. Well, when the sea is in. Because of the tides, sometimes we have a beautiful apartment by the mud. 

I digress. Last month, the apartment above us had a pipe burst and this caused water to flood down three of our living room walls and in the kitchen. It ruined my plasma TV and we have decorators, insurance assessors and the like working on it now. Rather than stay there alone, I am staying with my Mum and Dad tonight so I am not alone and I get a cup of tea in bed tomorrow.  It will be strange sleeping there, as I have not done so since I was 19 and left to work for Carnival.

Tonight, for dinner, my Mum cooked me roast beef and Yorkshire pudding……I had seven and have no intention of checking my sugar level tonight!

Tomorrow, I am meeting my mate Alan and will take a photo of my breakfast, etc., for tomorrow’s blog. Then I will be seeing my niece and nephew and family and a quiet night in after that.

I am very proud of Heidi. She has told me all has gone well and the guests are asking about me, which is nice, as well. Heidi and I hate being apart but we both understand that there is nothing more important than family. 

So, I am off to bed to dream of my luxury car which as I type has stopped looking like Yoda and now seems to look like Camilla (Prince Charles’ wife).

As I am talking about cars, a quick story which I know many of my colleagues always enjoy hearing.

When the Carnival Leg End was in Harwich UK — which is just 40 minutes from where I live — I had a special car for two days. It was loaned to me by a very good friend called Spencer who I miss very much.  Spencer had lent me his FERRARI 360 SPIDER which I proudly parked by the gangway. Everyone, especially the Italian officers, of course, all wanted to sit in it and I refused all kinds of bribes to allow them a drive.

The only person who I said yes to was a man who has been one of the foundation posts of Carnival’s success, Maurice Zarmati, Carnival’s vice president of sales. Maurice is known throughout the industry.  He is quite a character and a real gentleman. Maurice told me he was thinking of buying a Ferrari and could he have a drive. I said yes. How could I refuse such a man as this?

In we got with Maurice behind the wheel. He started up the V12 400 BHP engine, selected first gear and away we went turning out of the pier and started our drive through the port of Harwich. After a few moments Maurice looked in the mirror and alarm spread across his delicate features as he saw what I saw in the wing mirror, a blue flashing light and the siren indicating the port police were behind us and were not happy.

Maurice looked at me as he began to pull over. “Was I driving too fast? I thought I was only doing 30,” he said as he applied the brakes. “Yes,” I replied, you were doing 30 miles an hour……….but unfortunately you were doing 30 ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD. ”

I will write again tomorrow.

Goodnight

Your Friends,

John and Heidi and tonight, goodnight also from Mum and Dad

Vacation Time

May 21, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Afternoon Everyone

It’s 6 pm on Monday, May 21 and Carnival Freedom has just left Katakolon, Greece. The Mediterranean Sea is calm and the sun is shining. The guests were all dancing up a storm at our sail away party and talking of Greece you should have seen the lobby last night. The Wave Duo who perform there every evening hosted a GREEK NIGHT and we had a Greek crew member teach the Zorba the Greek dance as they played their Greek bazooka instruments. There were 300 people packed into the lobby and the same amount on the decks above all trying to learn the dance, it was a great night and wonderful to see.

It led me to think that maybe I need to introduce more “ethnic” entertainment into the mix and will be proposing to my mate Roger Blum back in Miami that we hire a Turkish Belly Dancer to perform in the lobby. Now, I know what you are thinking, but you are wrong, this is not some personal fetish of mine…………..OK, maybe just a little bit.  But I think it would be a fantastic thing to see as we sail between Izmir and Istanbul………………what do you bloggers think? Let me know, and maybe we can add this to our program. I remember on the Carnival Leg End in 2002 we hired a traditional Scottish pipe and dance show during our trip to Glasgow and we even piped in the Haggis! 

What else has happened in the last 24 hours? Ah yes, Mr. and Mrs. Salter were part of the Marriage Show. They have been married an amazing 67 years. Mr. Salter is 95 and his wife Olive is 88. Bill Salter is a veteran of WWI and WWII and he proudly wore all his medals on formal night. I had a lot of fun with them on stage and when I asked if there was any advice he could give to all the honeymooners on surviving a long marriage he said “sex, whisky and poker.” Of course, that brought the house down and they have become quite the stars since then. Afterwards, I went back to the cabin and thought about what he said that sex, whisky and poker were the secrets to a long marriage. This has me worried because I only get to do one of the three….. I love a good game of poker.

Here they are:

 Mr. and Mrs. Salter Mr. and Mrs. Salter

I am looking forward to my long vacation of one-and-one-half days days and Heidi will be the boss when I am away………actually she is the boss when I am here, as well. I fly from Pisa Airport on Wednesday and back into Rome on May 25 and straight back to work. I am really looking forward to seeing the family especially as its my Mum’s birthday. I have hired a car from Stanstead Airport and the word “compact” is worrying me a little bit! I will also have breakfast on May 24 with my mate Alan Adkins. We always go to a little café called The Arches. There we will have a traditional English breakfast. I know I shouldn’t but it’s a special treat once a year. Here it is:

Traditional English Breakfast

A full breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding, mushrooms, baked beans, fried potato, fried bread and half of a tomato.

Alan will no doubt fill me in on his exploits as a commander of our local rescue boat. The organization he works for is called the RNLI. This is a volunteer service that spans the length of Britain’s coastline and they are a wonderful group of men and women who give up their free time to save lives. Here is a link for you to read about. When Alan is not saving lives he can be found cruising at The Cliff Pub………what a life. Here is a photo of Alan.

My mate Alan

So, all in all I shall look forward to a relaxing 48 hours ………….but………….I will miss Heidi very much  🙁
Time for today’s, Q & A.

RACHAEL LOESCH – Welcome back home and thank you for letting me and all the bloggers know how much you enjoyed your Carnival Freedom cruise. I am glad you liked the gift I sent you and also the shows that made you laugh. I have passed your e-mail to Joe your wonderful waiter and he was excited to receive it and will be e mailing you shortly. I hope we get to sail again soon and until then please keep reading the blog thingy.
DORTHE CALIMBAS – This is one addiction that I am happy to hear that someone is suffering from. As long as you need your addiction fed, I will keep blogging. The cruise director you mentioned for Princess who works on the QE2 now “Brian something” sounds like he is right at the top of our profession so to be mentioned in the same paragraph is indeed an honour (spelled correctly ). You mentioned the Royal Princess, I will have to ask my PA if she is still part of the fleet so I will get back to you soon. You mentioned the book, I have had dozens and dozens of requests from the blog and from guests onboard to have these stories put into one book and I am really pursuing the idea with the office………..bloggers, would you buy it? I don’t want to be left with a thousand books and just my Mum reading it! Please let me know if you think its worth doing and, of course, adding more true stories from the ocean wave. Thanks again for cruising with us and I hope to hear from you very soon.
ZSOLT – I have done as you requested and passed on your e-mail address. How is your Mum doing? We have all been thinking of her and I hope she likes the photos that I will mail from Livorno. Best wishes from all of us here.
ASHLEY BLAIR – Thanks for telling your brothers to start reading the blogs, are you their BIG sister? How fantastic that you are all cruising together on June 6. There are a lot of bloggers sailing and I Heidi and I are excited to meet you all. See you soon.
BOB MEANS – Thanks mate for your loyal support to Carnival. I must admit that the comment where the travel agent said, “Only cruise with carnival if you have tattoos” really pi%$ed me off, and anyway, what’s wrong with tattoos? I have one of Angelina Jolie ! Now, as to your question if Carnival will ever cruise to Australia or South America. The answer is YES! Now, I know of no details as to when this will happen but I know that this forward-thinking company will one day fly the flag in every corner of the world and I am sure that will include the places you mentioned. Who would have thought I would be on a Carnival ship blogging to you between Greece and Italy. As soon as I get any information I will let you know………..watch this space. Thanks again for your words of support and if the travel agent is in question is reading this blog, I challenge you to come onboard and see what Today’s Carnival is all about.
BILL ZYDECO CRUISER – Yep, name the spa on the Carnival Splendor is here. Bill, any suggestions?
VERNON – The Trevor you are referring to is Trevor Block now on the Fascination. I see you got a kiss on the cheek, I am now very jealous. Please keep working on Dean and if you need further assistance let me know and I will “send the boys round”  🙂 Thanks for your sincere words and keep reading the blog.
CROWN GOLFER – Have you won a crown playing golf? I love golf, just shot my first 79. I would have shot a 78 but on the last hole the clowns arm came down and blocked my ball! How wonderful to celebrate your silver anniversary on one of our ships. Which ship are you cruising on? I will as requested keep blooging and hope to hear from you soon.
STINGRAY 310 – Wee Jimmy, Karl with a K, Risa Barnes and Mark Price…….all mentioned by you and all very important parts of the best entertainment department in the business. I know them all well except Karl with a K who I have not met but I hear great things about him. I will pass your praise on to them and Chris and Roger in our head office. Thank you also for your kind words about myself and I too hope that we can cruise together again very soon. I am also happy that the blog allows you to take a “cruise in your mind” and, hopefully, this will keep you going until you walk up one of our gangways again and I send you and your family my best wishes until then.
GACRUISER – As the song says, “It’s A Small World.” Fancy meeting people who lived from your hometown just like that. I may have said this before on another blog thingy but its only on cruise ships where people take the time to meet and talk to new friends, you don’t get that with hotels. I hope you can cruise again soon so you get another chance to meet people who live just down the street.
DAISY – Ducks, lions, tigers, oh my!  We do (if requested) have unsupervised meetings for Rotarians and Lion’s Club members and, of course, I will be happy to arrange this once you are here. I will place this in the Carnival Capers on the last sea day and provide a lounge for you to meet in. See you on May 25 and have a safe flight.
MARCO CALDAS – Thank you for your e-mail regarding employment. I have passed this on to the people who are coming to Brazil and they will in turn contact you very soon. I wish you much luck.
KATHY – You see, she touched my knee and I turned into a parking lot. And now a love song entitled  – She Sits Among The Cabbages And Peas. You can kiss a nun once, you can kiss a nun twice but you mustn’t get into the habit.
These were just a few of Malcolm Kennedy’s catch lines that made him a true legend………we all miss him very much and thank you for allowing me a chance to pay tribute to him.
CJ – I feel very privileged that your first cruise ever will be with me here on the Carnival Freedom. I promise to that myself and all of the excellent Carnival crew will do our very best to make sure you have the most fabulous vacation ever and after this you feel that cruising will be the only way to go. See you very soon.
MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE – Depends are now standard issue to all cruise directors as some of the things guests say and do will always ensure laughter beyond belief  🙂 I have a spare pair should you need them when you next sail.
PAM – How happy I am that you are coming on the bloggers cruise. You asked about the Jamaican tours and I will be planning something special for that one cruise and I will let you know all about it very soon. Heidi loves vanilla by the way and she says a HUGE thank you for thinking about her. 237 days and counting…………….until I get my roller ball!
STINA – You asked about how often I get to go home. Carnival is very good to me and I can go home whenever I feel I need a break and usually every four to five months, I take a couple of months off. This year however is a very busy European season and rather than take a large block of time off, I will have a few days here and there and a longer vacation in the winter. Hope this answers your question and if you have anymore I am standing by to answer them. Hope to hear from you soon.
KAY DUCKWORTH – I am glad you choose the Carnival Freedom next year for its return to Europe. This is a wonderful ship and you will enjoy the historic and beautiful ports of call. You asked if I will be onboard in May next year. I will certainly try to be as the plan is to do the first few European cruises before I go to the Carnival Splendor. I have heard great things about the ice show you mentioned on RCI however you wait until you see our Big Easy and Ticket To Ride shows which once again have taken cruise ship entertainment to a new level. As for Heidi and I “Dancing on Ice”…………….I think we have once again entered the realms of fantasy. I want to say a big thank you for your sincere words about Carnival and Heidi and  I will see you next year.
JONATHAN HALL – So, your question, when do I have time to relax………….answer……………November. Seriously, it is  not an easy thing to do especially now with the blog being so important. However, I do make sure that Heidi and I find some time each day, even if for just 30 minutes to switch off and talk about us. The hardest specific about this job is that you can never “not be the cruise director.” If Heidi and I decide to go for a drink (Diet Coke for me) and listen to some music and a guest sees me and wants a chat, I can never say “Sorry, I am off duty.” That part is sometimes hard. I also make sure that before going to bed I read, even if it is just a few pages. Doing this helps me sleep and not think about the next day’s project. So, there you go, its hard but I love the job and Heidi and I are privileged indeed.
BLES1045 – So no pressure then. If I am not the cruise director you say you will cancel your Carnival Splendor cruise. God willing, I will be there to once again share the fun with you as we sail the Baltic.
ALAN and CHRIS – The final payment has been I see for your September cruise. You asked about which night to eat in the supper club. If I had my way it would be every night but if I personally had to choose one it would be the night after we sail from Venice, there is something special about that particular night. If you want to contact me via this blog thingy I will be happy to make reservations for you a few days before the start of the cruise. Thanks for writing and see you in September.
JO MYERLY – Thanks for the Princess link concerning their rewards. I have again passed this up the ladder as it seems to be something that many guests feel strongly about with the counting of days cruised rather than the number of cruises. Thanks again and I will be looking into this further.
SUSAN B – Hello to you, a white-legged, red-haired faithful Carnival Cruiser. Your Ghost Lady story was very funny. Heidi is missing her sun bathing time which is limited at best here with her busy work schedule. Personally, I hate lying in the sun. I find it so boring, I would much rather be doing something that gets me close to the history and culture of the place I am visiting………and………………..I do not look good in Speedos. I am so happy to hear you have booked the bloggers cruise and I will see you in January.
CARRIE AND IAN – Greetings to you both in Germany and thank you for your wonderful service you are currently giving the U.S. Army. You asked about dress code on the Carnival Freedom for your June cruise. Well, we have two formal nights and I must be honest that over the last few years I have seen more men shying away from the traditional tuxedo in favor of a business suit. Both will be fine here and if you wear a tuxedo your husband will not “stick out” as you mentioned………..unless his fly is open of course  🙂 So, I guess the answer is just for him to wear what he is most comfortable in. I know this will be your first Carnival cruise and Heidi and I will do our utmost to make it and your 10th anniversary a very special one.
RUTH AND JOY CAMERON – Sorry for the lack of postings over the weekend. Its hard for me to post something on a Saturday or Sunday but I will try harder, promise as I know people expect a blog thingy every day. I wish the reason had as you mentioned been Angelina Jolie and I meeting for drinks in Cannes but for some strange reason she favors that man Brad. What does he have that I don’t? See you on Friday and travel safe.
JONATHAN HALL – Thank you for the link to the Cruise Gal web site. I have never heard of this site before and you are correct indeed it is very interesting and very useful as well. I am glad you have been enjoying the Web cam on the ship and just think in a few days you will be here for real. See you in a few days.
MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE – What a great idea you had about holding a Veterans Day party onboard using the Big Band and playing music from that era. I am definitely going to do this using some of the ideas that you took the time to suggest and share with us all. I just spoke to Charlie our musical director and we certainly have enough tunes to have the big band play. Hopefully this will be a great salute to those brave men and ladies. Thaks again for taking the time to write such a detailed posting.
KATHY – It sounds to me that you are going to be on the front row at every show. If you are laughing as hard as you are now just by reading the blog thingy I cannot wait for you to see the shows in person. We will continue the Greek Night as requested even if it is a cruise when we do not even go to Greece. See you soon and keep laughing.
DEBBIE MANG – Hello Debbie and congratulations on choosing the Carnival Freedom for your sixth Carnival cruise. The number 13 is often associated with being unlucky, but I promise you, that this, your 13th wedding anniversary will be the best anniversary you ever had. Heidi and I look forward to seeing you soon.
BIG ED – Thank you Big Ed and your son Chad for the pictures of your train layout. My dad is loving the attention and the train information. You continue to be a BIG help to me and this blog thingy. How is Mrs. Big Ed? I am ready to put operation A-Team into effect and drug her milk, so when she wakes up, she is on board the Carnival Splendor in Europe.
GRACE – Thank you for your kind words and YES the weather has really warmed up, it’s going to be 90 degrees tomorrow in Livorno. You asked about taking a tour upon arrival in Rome. I personally would only do this, if you do not have time at the end of the cruise as jetlag is something that could hinder your enjoyment. I am very excited to hear that your six-year-old loves historical sites, when I was six, I loved Scooby Doo. I definetely think your six-year-old will enjoy Pompeii and I am sure, if he has a love of history already that Pompeii will give him everlasting memories. See you in June, have a safe flight.
MELISSA – While beer is not one of my strong subjects, I will pass you to Heidi. Hello Melissa, I am sorry to report that we do not have BUSCH LIGHT beer on the vessel. However, as well as the normal light beers I am proud to say that we offer the best light beer in the world, HEINEKEN LIGHT. Brewed in my home country Holland. I will buy you one and you could tell me what you think. Proost!

It’s a sea day today and we just finished our passage through Stromboli. Here is a photo of how the island looked today.

Stromboli on May 21

Not much lava activity but plenty of smoke. So, this afternoon, after my TV show, I will pack a suitcase for my long vacation. Somebody had posted that my mother was 80 years old, which I have been told by my mother that I am to correct immediately by informing you all of her correct age which is “30 something.”  Here unfortunately, is a photo of my mum and the unfortunate aspect is that she is holding a photo of me taken when I was just a wee lad.

Mum and Me

 I feel very proud that I can leave Heidi in charge of this ship while I am away. She has come a long way from being a part of the youth department on her first ship, the Carnival Destiny, in 1996. I will miss her very much but the ship is in great hands.

I fly tomorrow at 10 am from Pisa to London Stanstead and I have to say, I hate flying. I hate the concept of being at 30,000 feet. Why do they give us oxygen in those little masks, they should give us helium, I want to become a human hot air balloon if anything should happen and if it does, I bequeath all my underwear to Angelina Jolie……something for her to know that I cared.
I once did a 10-hour trans-Atlantic flight from London to Miami with the most annoying woman next to me. She didn’t mean to be annoying, in fact, she never said a word the entire flight, she just sat there……………….from take off…………..to landing……………………and just knitted………….and even with the headphones on I could hear the click….click……click of her needles and I found myself becoming hypnotized by watching whatever the hell it was she was knitting growing in front of me. That was on Virgin Airlines, I like Virgin Airlines but I am worried that they won’t go all the way  🙂

Next week I will be releasing some of the gifts that we will give away in our bloggers cruise mystery bag and I think you will like them.  I will also send a blog home on Friday and tell you a little something about what I have been up to during my vacation.

In 2004 Heidi and I were vacationing in Jamaica at a villa called Silent Waters near Montego Bay. It was paradise for us, quiet, nobody bothering us and most importantly it was eight days where I could rest my voice and enjoy just being “the grey man.” On returning to Miami, Heidi and I stood in line for Immigration. As cruise ship crew we have learned to expect the various questions and finger printing that is part of the job and understandably so. Having had such a relaxing vacation we were not worried about anything and being a cruise director was far from my mind as I approached the Immigration Desk.

We stood there as the Immigration Officer looked me up and down with a quizzical look on his face. He said nothing for a few moments and just fixed me with an icy stare. I started to think that maybe my passport was not in order or that I had suddenly become Americas Most Wanted. A bead of sweat started its path from my neck down my spine. Officer Hernandez as his name tag told me continued to look at me and at my passport and then he leaned forward and said……………You don’t recognize me do you. My voice trembled, “No, sir.”  Officer Hernandez said, “My wife and I were in your Marriage Show and you made me kneel down and sing to my new wife.” ………..He paused….and I had visions of a latex glove and I getting to know each other on a very personal level………….he continued…………”It was the best time we have ever had and thank you for making our honeymoon cruise.”

And then he stamped our passports and waved us off with a huge smile and as we walked away my cheeks unpuckered themselves !

I will write from home.

Goodnight

Your Friends

John and Heidi

Can You Hear Me Now…I Doubt It

May 20, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning Everyone:

Let’s start with the now commonplace apology for the weekend lapse of blog thingys, which again I will make up for with multiple blog thingies during the week. Today, I am writing from a very busy port of Piraeus where three “mega” ships are all docked side by side. I am sure the Athens Acropolis will be very busy and there isn’t even a live sacrifice there today.

I want to start today by talking about pickpockets.  European ports are full of them and they are clever little buggers. I have heard a lot of stories from guests since we started sailing in Europe about how they have fallen victim to these artful dodgers. The most common way people get caught is through the “decoy ” system which usually involves two people — one as a distraction and one actually doing the “picking.” One story I have heard of a few times from our guests has involved the Metro system in Rome. This happened to a Mr. and Mrs. Martin who are blog readers. I asked if I could add their experience to today’s blog for which they have agreed.

David (Martin) and his wife, Anne, were on the Metro system in Rome and were getting off at their stop. As they disembarked there was the usual THRONG of people getting on and off. As David got off a another man embarking spilled soda all down the front of David’s shirt. The man boarded the Metro, leaving David dripping wet. Seeing David’s soaked state, a lady in her 60s came over and apologized for her rude countrymen. As she said her apologies, she had taken out a large wad of tissue from her handbag and started to dry David’s shirt. Thinking nothing more of this, David said thanks and he and Anne continued on their way. A few minutes later, David tried to buy a new T-shirt and only then did he realize that his wallet had been stolen. Putting two and two together David realized while the lovely Italian lady had been cleaning his shirt, she had “dipped her hand” into his inside pocket and taken his wallet.

This sort of crime is certainly not exclusive to Rome and I have heard of guests having similar incidents in Barcelona, Athens and Naples. I am sure this happens in other major cities throughout the world.  My advice is be on your guard and carry your money as safely as possible. You always think it will never happen to you………I know…………….I said the same……………until it did…………………..and that story will unfold after today’s Q&A.

I want to start by thanking everyone who answered the question as to which cruise director had made a difference to their cruise. I guess now I think about it that may have come across as a form of gathering self praise and that certainly was never my intention. I was trying to see which of my colleagues industry wide had made their cruise that extra bit special. Your comments are as always gratefully received. OK, on we go.

NANETTEALI – Buenos dearse mi amigo . Como estad osted. Grassyarse for the nice comments and thanks so much for reminding me to mention two of the guys who were both excellent cruise directors.  Bob “Hi Gang” Hamill and the Unbelievable Mr. Eddie Capone. While I have no idea where Bob is these days, Eddie is still the Godfather of Comedy and working on all of our ships as a guest entertainer. I know your daughter is in love with RCI’s Richard Spacey but hopefully she will find a tiny place in her heart for me. You asked what months I was on the Holiday in 1990 and the answer is…..I haven’t a clue. I just remember it being a fantastic ship and for me, a young 24-year–old cruise director, it was a brilliant experience. See you soon……..asta la yugo.
MAYLEE – Josh Riffe was the name of the cruise director you had onboard the Carnival Valor. He left us last year and is living in California and we miss him a lot. Have a safe flight and see you in June.
DOUGNEWMAN – As always I bow to your expertise. You are correct it was indeed the Norwegian Jewel and not Dream that was in with us during our calls in Izmir and in Istanbul. Today in Athens we have a Princess and a Crystal ship but I cannot see which ones and unfortunately I do not have time to go ashore and see but I am sure you know anyway. I am still very much hoping to meet you soon as I know we have a lot of stories to swap over a good NY hot dog.
MISSINGTHESMOKE FREEPARADISE – It does seem if there is a delay in the comments being stuck on or posted or whatever the correct term is, I will see what I can do to get that corrected. Your comments about cruise directors making a difference were great to read. For some cruises, the cruise director makes no difference but for many, a good cruise director can turn a good cruise into an excellent one. I am happy to hear that this is what you have found. Thanks for kind words and I must admit that I am really looking forward to my long vacation of one-and-one-half days. Write soon mate.
JAMES EMM – I was indeed the cruise director on the Carnival Glory during its inaugural season and I am happy to hear I was able to provide you with a fun and laughter filled cruise. I am still dreaming of my Aston Martin although my dreams are interspersed with moments of Angelina Jolie and a large can of whipped cream but do not tell Heidi. I have been out of the dog house for a record breaking five days and I am going for a full week. Thanks for reading the blog thingy and remember, VOTE ANGELINA JOLIE FOR GODMOTHER OF THE CARNIVAL SPLENDOR…….I have a spare room at my house she can stay in.
BIG ED – I have been told by Heidi that I would a “very bad person” if I was to e mail you the photo of this lady who showed the entire ship her………..support ! I think she truly had no idea what she was doing and was in a state of mind that can only be described as “oblivious.”  Now, on the more serious note of Mrs. Big Ed flying across the pond to join the Carnival Splendor then I think we need to get your wife as “oblivious” as this lady then we should be OK. Hopefully, her oblivion will not involve disrobing and performing a very disturbing Greek dance. Now, as a special treat for you and other meat lovers, here is a photo for your collection of the supper club’s incomparable porterhouse steak.
The Porterhouse Steak from the Supper Club
BLES1045 – What can I say except your comment has left a smile as large as that steak on my face. Thanks 🙂
(RUTH) JOYCE CAMERON – As I think I have mentioned on this blog thingy a few times, there are few people in this world who deserve vacations more than teachers. So, as you grade those last papers, think about Venice and sitting in that gondola, exploring the streets of Taormina and seeing the awesome beauty of Pisa and Florence. I am in mourning as Angelina Jolie leaves Cannes before we get there and that chance meeting that could have changed both our lives for ever will never happen. This is why we all have to vote for her to be the Godmother of the Carnival Splendor. Most importantly, I want you to get ready for the best vacation you have ever had. See you very soon.
JEFF STEVENSON – Jeff, mate, first of congratulations on two great shows and the subsequent standing ovations. I am so sorry I could not meet you in person but I was “laid up in a bed of sickness,” as my Mum says. I am looking forward to your return so we can meet in persona and the guests truly enjoyed your comedy and I cannot wait to see it for myself. Cheers.
KICIASKI – Linda, there are very few things that get my blood boiling but the comment you heard about Carnival is one of those things. Ignorance is bliss they say, and here is a prime case of this. How can anyone say such things about a cruise line they have never even tried….back in a minute, I need a cold shower. OK, I am back and much cooler. I want to thank you so much for your comment about service on our ships. We do indeed pride ourselves on friendly and hospitable service. There is an old saying “treat others how you wish to be treated” and that applies to our ship’s crew. I encourage guests to talk to them get to know them and you will discover that every crew member has their own stories to tell and I am sure these experiences will further enhance your cruise experience. I send my best to you and George and to the person who made such disparaging remarks about the cruise line I love, I send a pair of my underwear !
DON IN KENTUCKY – Glad the Sushi news made Mrs. Don in Kentucky happy. I do not think me and Mr. Sushi are going to be friends for sometime.  IN FACT, after my illness anything that swims or has gills will not be on the menu.
Good question about the acts. They are called “fly-on acts,” because they fly onto one ship, do a show and then fly out of the next port to do a show on another ship. It’s a hard life of flying and living out of a suitcase and I salute them all….even the jugglers. Glad you are enjoying the blog thingy .
BOB MEANS – Bob, next time I am in cyber space I will see if I can see any of your comments floating by. I am so grateful for your kind comments about me and I am also very humbled by them as well. I know you will have a great time on the Carnival Pride. Your cruise director will be Jeff Bronson from Ohio. Let me know when you return what the highlights were. Bon Voyage mate and I am sorry that I cannot be there with you.
JTODDINMAN – Thanks for your comments and of course this blog is open for any discussion including the mention of other lines. I am sorry you did not enjoy the FREESTYLE concept of dining. I am not sure how it works but I do think that having the same waiter for the entire cruise can make a big difference to the cruise experience. I am thrilled that you will be on the Carnival Splendor and I look forward to seeing you there. I am also very happy to see that you enjoyed the Conquest cruise director and I have passed your comment to him. Please keep reading the blog thingy.
KATHY B – You are correct in your praise of Todd Wittmer. He is one of our very best ever cruise directors and, as you can see from your Hurricane Dennis experience, he is extremely calm under pressure. Todd will be taking over the Carnival Freedom next year when I leave to go to the Carnival Splendor. I know that he is very excited to host a ship in Europe. I am honoured that mine is the first blog you have posted a comment on and like you, I hope we get to cruise with each other soon. Enjoy your vacations aboard The Carnival Victory and the Carnival Valor and please keep reading this blog thingy.
KERSPLOTT – And now the sad news. Michael and Jeni Mullane have left us as of April this year. Michael was a first class cruise director. He and jeni have decided to start a new life together on land. 421 days and counting !
LINADA – I see you are learning a little Italian before your cruise in June. It makes me very happy when I see a whole family having the time to spend 12 days together on one of our ships.  I promise to do my best to keep you laughing the whole time. See you in June. Arriva Dertchie.
KIM GALLAGHER – I will make a reservation for you. Please confirm it in writing to me when you arrive. Just drop a note off at the pursers’ information desk with your cabin number and I will make sure the best table is ready and waiting for you at our Supper Club.
TIM AND PAM – YIPEEEEEEEEEE. Great news but telling your employer to &^%$ their job so you can come on the Bloggers Cruise, well I have no words. Just make sure you and Pam get here safe and sound so I can thank you
Properly………..this must be a first………someone quits their job so they can take a cruise………………a blog first I am sure. See you soon and I do feel a little guilty.
CAROL – You are correct, her loss. If a person (as mentioned above) cannot speak from experience he/she has no right to pass an opinion to a would be passenger. Thank you again for your loyalty.  Without people like you we never have gone from one ship to 22 and many more to come.
LINDA – By the time you read this you will have returned from the Carnival Glory. I know you had a great time. Let me know what the highlights were and Heidi and I will see you soon.

CONGRATULATIONS, AS OF SATURDAY MORNING THIS SIMPLE BLOG THINGY HAS RECEIVED 251,000 PUNCHES – thank you all.
Have you seen the latest contest about naming the Carnival Splendor’s spa? Here it is and I want a blog writer to win this so get your thinking caps on. I would like to help but apart from that being insider trading I am not really the man to help as the only time I found the Spa was when I thought they were serving food. It is certainly going to be an awesome spa though and we need a name…so over to you. 

I am thinking “ANGELINA’S”……………. What a great name.

It’s now 2 pm on Sunday and everyone is ashore exploring Athens. The weather forecast looked gloomy predicting thunderstorms but so far they have held off and the sun is shining and it is very humid. Tonight, Heidi and I will dine at the supper club for just the second time in four months. I am taking her tonight early so I do not miss the shows and we will probably just have time for main course but it will be a nice break for us both.

I want to return the pickpocketing subject that I started out with and again mention the fact that you always think that it can’t happen to you…..as I said I thought that too ………………until Barcelona, last year.

Heidi and I were sitting in an outside café on La Rambla, which is the main thoroughfare in the center of Barcelona. All was well with the world, the sun was shining, guests were happy, I had not been living with my four-legged friends for a few days, and was in Heidi’s good books.

As we sat and ate our tapas, out of nowhere arrived two young girls who were in their late teens/early twenties. Both were wearing headscarf’s and one held a baby who could not have been more than six months old. They were at our table before we knew it and the one with the baby just literally threw the youngster at Heidi who was now holding a screaming baby. I got up and told the girl to take the baby back, she in turn held her hand out for money. I told her to “go away.” The girl took the baby and they both walked off. Now this happened in the space of 10 seconds or less. After a few seconds the waiter came over and asked us if we still had our bags, Heidi checked and she did and only then did I notice that my mobile phone was missing. It had left it (as many of us do) on the table and it was nowhere to be seen. I realized immediately what happened and that the girls had taken it by using a poor innocent baby as the distraction.  I then did something I have not done in years………I ran………..yep………. RAN after them.

As I was running, Heidi saw a police officer nearby and ran over to tell him what had happened. He also gave chase behind me. I caught up with the girls and grabbed the one without the baby. She tried to pull away from me and was swearing in what I think was Romanian. Whatever the language, it had something to do with me being part of a mans genital region that she apparently was going set on fire!  Whatever. Me and this girl were never going to be exchanging Christmas cards and as I held her in a vice like grip the police officer and a colleague had reached the scene and had the other girl. After a few seconds of swearing and spitting, the girl I had hold of was searched by one of the policemen. Sure enough, there inside the girl’s underclothes was my precious phone and one other phone, as well. Her underwear had suddenly become Nokia’s headquarters and I doubt the reception would have been very good down there. I thanked the police officers and as I left I found myself giving the girl with the baby a 10-euro note and told her it was for the baby…………..It seemed like the right thing to do.

Two last things about this story.

1. The phone was very precious to me as it had all my numbers in it, family photos and my PA’s number. The phone however received a very deep cleaning once I got back to the ship.

2. I did not want to pass this piece of the story on but Heidi insists. As I was running after the girls, Heidi was laughing hysterically, not just because I was running although that was a sight to see, it was because as I sprinted toward the girls……..MY SHORTS FELL DOWN TO MY ANKLES

Thanks for your time.

Your Friends

John and Heidi

Friends Reunited

May 18, 2007 -

John Heald

Hello From Istanbul, Turkey.

You know, there are very few jobs in the world where you look out of your office window one day and see Mount Vesuvius and a few days later the Blue Mosque. The sun is glistening of this stunning monument today and it looks like another hot one. I have started this blog early today as we have just finished debarking everyone on tours and I am going to try and take an hour off later and get some air and, more importantly, a Kebab. I think I am ready to try solid food again following my internal battle with that damn fish and there is not better test to see if I am back to normal then by eating a spicy Kebab. I will report later and include photos!

The Norwegian Jewel is here with us again today plus I can see one or two smaller ships from lines I do not recognize that sail around Greece and Turkey so I guess the sites will be busy as they were yesterday in Ephesus. I spoke to many guests at our Past Guest Party yesterday who all said that although it was very hot and very busy, Ephesus was the most awesome place they had ever visited…….and I agree.

Oh, yes, an apology from me. I forgot to post the photos of the Freedom Orchestra during my guest blog thingy thing with their conductor and the ship’s Musical Director Charlie Rounds. Here they are now, though. The first one is of the entire orchestra, the second features the brass section and, specifically, our Lead Trumpet Player Floyd “The Tooth “ Springsten who is looking directly at the camera. He is a brilliant trumpet player but a lonely one. Ladies, please have a good look at this man and if you feel compelled, write to me and I will put you in touch with him. Floyd is 30-something and from the mighty state of Wyoming…….PLEASE HELP 🙂

The Freedom Orchestra Lead Trumpet Player Floyd “The Tooth “ Springsten
 

Did you hear the news. A major cruise line have appointed  the industries first LADY CAPTAIN. Karin Stahre-Janson. She is from Sweden and I wonder if she will be the first of many? I am sure she will be a brilliant captain and I wish her well in what has always been a “man’s world. “  I am sure she is going to be the subject of many jokes and this blog is not going to lower itself to be part of the stupid humor that she will no doubt have to face. Let’s wish her good luck and also good luck to the ship’s cruise director who is going to have to provide extra activities every port day morning because by the time she’s parked the ship it will be lunchtime.

I just read that bit to Heidi and I am sure I will have a bruise later where the stapler hit me! Hold on…what am saying …………a Swedish Lady, in uniform …………….I am sending my resume.
Time for today’s Q & A.

JTODDINMAN – Thank you for your kind words and indeed full strength has nearly been achieved. Your question about sea sickness is an interesting one and, over the years, I have seen many different cures although I must admit the Sczipen Cream behind the ear is a new one on me. I spoke to the doctor about this and he recommends the tried-and-tested Dramamine. This does work although it can leave you feeling a little drowsy at times. The best advice the doc told me was that if you feel sick please consult the ship’s doctor as there are various things that they can do to help. Has any other blogger got a cure? These days, of course, the ships are so big and strong that unless the weather is really bad you may take a whole cruise and never feel the movement. How does the cream work and can it be used to get you out of a dog house? Look forward to hearing from you and thanks for writing in.
DOUGNEWMANATSEA – Hello Doug. How are you? The kind offer to sail on the QM2 was so gracious and Heidi and I cannot wait until we can actually go. Nathan’s is fine if I am paying but upscale is wonderful if you are. Are you going to be in Europe at all this year? Thanks for all your contributions and the sympathy illness you had………..let’s hope I never get pregnant.
MRS BIG ED – Hello, Heidi here. Sorry, I did not read your question properly, it was John’s fault mostly though. If you sail back-to-back cruises you do not have to get off the ship if you do not want to. The only requirement is for you to have a new photo taken for your boarding pass which can be done onboard. There are plenty of laundries on the ship and if you tell me your cabin number I will let you know the nearest to you. Can you wash John’s underwear for me?
MR BIG ED – My Dad would love to see the photos of the train layout so thanks in advance. He loves trains that were named after you, AMERICAN BIG BOYS! Now as far as the cruises are concerned, I can promise you this – in front of all the readers. If you book a back-to-back cruise including the Bloggers Cruise, I will pay for one week’s worth of laundry including underwear…………….what do you think?
LINDA HERNACKI AND MIKE THE BRIGHT SPARK – Heidi has asked that if you insist on bringing her something can she have one of her favorite American things – Starburst Candies and she says many thank in advance. I have been drinking lots of water because I guess as people have told me that your sugar level does rise when you are sick.  Strange how the body works. Big Ed’s photo album is indeed a joy to behold and I thought I would add this photo to his collection. Its a famous statue found at the Roman site of Pompeii and is of a distant relative of Big Eds, a  famous Roman Centurion called Smallus Edus…….P.G. RATING
A Roman Centurion
KERSPLOTT – Thanks for the reminder about the wonderful tours we offered in St.Petersburg on the Leg End. I am very excited to see the Hermitage as I never had chance last time, it is apparently just amazing. I am sure the tours we will offer next year on the Carnival Splendor will be just as good and better and as soon as I have any information I will of course let you know. As for Shawn Bussey’s goldfish, it really did pass away and I will mention to her that you may be able to “hook up” another for her, she will be very happy. 422 and counting.
MEDIUM.CRUISER – FORGOT WHAT THE “OK“ WAS FOR………………HELP?
SOUTHERNDREAMS – hello to you and the Prince. I will indeed send a photo of my Mum’s cooking during my trip home. No news on the private plane and the Aston Martin yet but hope springs eternal. See you very soon.
MAUREEN – Hello to you in New Zealand. What a beautiful country you live in. As to your question about adaptors, I do suggest you bring one from home as we do not have spares here on board……do you have electricity in New Zealand :)? I know you have a long flight ahead of you but I promise that your reward will be the best vacation in the world. See you soon.
MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE – What a great idea. I think the Bloggers Cruise could indeed include guests blogging for me……..sounds good, especially as by then my fingers will be down to bare bone after all this typing. I hope to have some more details on the gifts we will be giving all the bloggers by next week so watch this space. See you soon mate.
CARL AND BARB, THE CUDDLY BEARS – The photographer you asked about Zuzana is infact here on the Carnival Freedom. Do you have a message you would like me to pass on? Thanks for reading the blog thingy every day, I really appreciate it. Do you hibernate in the winter?
AUSSIECHIC – You do indeed live in an incredible part of our world, Australia. I realize it is a long way to come to take one of our cruises. Who knows, one day we may come to you. I see by your comments that you are taking an 11-day cruise out of Aussie, what ship are you going on and where are you going? I have passed your comments onto Charlie our musical director from South Dakota and I am sure he will be pleased. Thanks for calling this blog “a window to the cruise world,“ as that is definitely what I want it to be. Please keep reading.
JAMES SPEELMAN – Thanks for the kind words. Let me answer your questions for you. The Carnival Glory Cruise Director was Mark Price when you sailed there and now it is Ralph Valente whom we call “Wee Jimmy.“ Both are wonderful cruise directors. Mark price is now on the Carnival Conquest. As for the Web cams, well I think they are fantastic and indeed it would be great if they were on every ship however at this time it is just a few of our fleet that have them. I will find out if more are to be added and when they are I will let you know. Hope to see you soon.
KAYENTAJANE – When you wrote this, it was 5:07 am and we were entering Izmir, Turkey. Sunrise was at 6:09 am. It was as you said, beautiful.
BILL – I will post security outside your door so that you and Brad have some privacy and that in turn will allow me to show Angelina where a dog bit me.
FLCHELSEA – Thank you for your invitation to meet your group at 5 pm on embarkation day. Unfortunately, I will be on stage from 4:30 pm – 5:15 pm hosting my WELCOME ABOARD TALK which covers the itinerary and do’s and don’t’s, etc., as well as the port information for Naples. I do suggest that you try and come as well if you can. If you have the meeting later Heidi and I will be happy to attend. Have a safe journey here and I will bring you a piece of my Mum’s birthday cake.
JACK EVANS – Thanks for your concern over my alien invasion from Freddie the Fish, all is well now. Glad you like the guest blogging sections and there will be more to follow. I will keep blogging as you requested so long as people keep reading. Evans, that’s a good Welsh name. Do you have Welsh relatives? My Mum and dad’s best friends are called Evans and they are from the heart of the valleys of Wales.
BARBARA – No need to be scared about, I will be here and so will Heidi. I am just going to miss one show at the end of this cruise so I can see Mum and Dad. Looking forward to meeting you both, have a safe flight.
CATMAMA – If you would like the stateroom Stewards to swap your laundry for mine that can be arranged. Seriously, the $15 a bag deal is excellent and each cruise the majority of guests do use this system of cleaning clothes. Unfortunately there are no Panama Canal cruises in 2008 so may I suggest a Alaska cruise if you are looking for something exciting and different?
239 and counting.
PAUL F PIETRANGELO – It seems your Mum is surrounded by a lot of family and a lot of love, as Mums should be. With regard to your nephew, there is no better environment for a young musician to grow up in. If I can help in anyway, please let me know. As long as he does not play any Barry Manilow he will be fine. Please send pre-birthday wishes to your Mum and I wish I could be there to celebrate her 80th birthday with her.
SUSAN JORDAN – Have a safe flight Susan and see you onboard. Please leave me a note with your name and cabin number on it. See you soon  🙂
KUKI – Hello mate, long time no see. Heidi said she had seen you and I am sorry I didn’t get a chance to see you and Mrs. Kuki. I hope you are enjoying your cruise, however, I am a little jealous that you are there and not here. How are the shows and who is the cruise director?  I am excited you will be on the bloggers cruise though and as always, I am sure you will be a very important part of that sailing. Heidi and I send our best to you and see you soon. Hope you have enjoyed reading the blog thingy.
LINDA THE MOUSE – The Vatican postal service is supposedly the best in the world as you just proved in your comment. If you e-mail me your mother’s address, I will send her a postcard! Hope you are well and thanks for your fun comments as always.
JEFF AND KELLY – I am a better Brit, healed of the sickness forced upon me by the evil powers Freddie the Fish who made me Lord Of The Ring Sting! Sail on the Carnival Splendor and alcohol you shall have.
KATHIE – You have certainly been through some rough times with your son and your dad both being so ill at the same time. Heidi and I are happy to hear though that both are making recoveries and I am sure Jeff will be ready for his cruise (and you, as well). Please leave me a note about Jeff so I can praise him on the morning show, he sounds like a son you are very proud of. I am sorry but we do not have a yogurt with a probiotic on board, do you think we should? See you in June and I will do everything I can to make this a special time for you and the family.
KENA AND DAVID – Thanks first of all for the diabetic information. I have only had this for a few months and although my sugar levels are always fine when I was ill they went above normal and now I understand why so thanks again for the kind advice. Please note although I respect that some people do not want to book ship’s tours that you have done THE BEST THING BY BOOKING TOURS IN EACH PORT. We send 2,000 plus people on excursions and we get the pick of the guides as well as special features that you can not get while going on your own. Please do not worry. What tours have you chosen? Let me know and I can tell you the best feature about them. See you and all my friends from Cruise Critic in June.
ITSNOTSTEW – What a great name, I have to ask you why?  OK, answers to questions coming up.
1. There are great Golf Courses in Barcelona and Cannes should you wish to play. We have a wonderful young golf professional on board called Nate (his mum is a regular blog reader) and he will host a seminar and introduce you to all your fellow golfers. You can book these excursions once onboard.
2. We have stopped the soda machines as each and every cabin now has a mini bar in it plus you can purchase as you did on the Carnival Conquest an unlimited soda card which good to use all over the vessel.
If you can think of anything else before you sail, I will be here for you.
CINDY BRUCE – I remember that sneeze last cruise during debarkation and thought, “Oh dear, somethings not right” and indeed it was not. I am really happy that you enjoyed your cruise and I apologize again for the long lines in Barcelona for the shuttle buses. We will do better and I have been in long conversations with the Port Authority to work on ways in which this can be done. Please send my best to BOOOOOOOOB and I also hope we can all be together again very soon. Come and sail on the bloggers cruise.
LINDA – Do not panic, do not panic. I will be there, I will be there. Otherwise, how can I show Mike where the light bulbs that need changing are!
NANETTEALI – Buenos Diaz Senyourita. Si, there are a few tables for ten in the Posh Dining Room so Mum-In-Law and niece will be able to join you. Sorry if I scared you but its just a day and half off at the end of this cruise but I will be onboard to say OLA, BIEN VAN IDO.

I didn’t have time tonight to answer the questions from the latest blog, but I promise to do so over the weekend so please forgive my tardiness.

I wanted to finish this blog by talking about a mate of mine called Carl. I will come back to him in a moment. The reason I have been thinking of him today was because I had an e-mail on my personal account from someone I had not heard from in 25 years, an old mate called Andy. Anyway, Andy had ran into my best mate Alan Adkins who had given him my e-mail address. This situation reminded me of Carl, someone whom I had been friends with at school and had not seen since 1985.

I was onboard the Carnival Destiny back in 1996 and during that time a British Television Company had been filming a “fly on the wall“ documentary about what was then largest cruise ship in the world. The program was called “All At Sea.“ Anyway, the following year the program went to air and Carl was back in my home town of Southend On Sea and saw me on the program.

A few days later he mentioned to a friend of his from work that he had seen an old school chum on T.V. and that he was working on a cruise ship. Carl’s friend said “ Is It John Heald?” Carl said “ Yes.” Carl’s friend from work and someone who lived just a few houses away was my mate Alan Adkins.  So, upon my next trip home I met with Alan and we went to see Carl. I had not seen him for 15 years and it was wonderful to see him again.  It was definitely one of those “meant to be“ meetings because, sadly, Carl passed away the following year. He was only in his thirties.

Heidi and I are still great friends with his beautiful wife Alison and their two gorgeous kids Molly and Callum. Molly has inherited her Dad’s sparkling personality and no doubt one day she will be a star of stage and screen. Carl was every girl’s dream at school, and while he was around none of us stood a chance with the girls. Callum has those same looks that sent the girls crazy. They are a very special family and we always enjoy spending time with them and when we do, I think of Carl and how through a simple T.V. program and even if only for a short while, we were indeed Friends Reunited.
Good Night

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.