Can I start this blog by welcoming all the new readers who have hit this page web thing because of the write ups in Cruise Critic and CruiseMates. I welcome each and everyone of you and thank you for adding to the 223,000 smashes we have had on the blog thingy.

Today we are in Barcelona…………what a day……..here’s why.

9 CRUISE SHIPS IN
13,000 PASSENGERS
HALF-TERM SCHOOL HOLIDAYS IN SPAIN
FORMULA ONE GRAND PRIX PRACTICE

The shuttle bus service provided for all the guests to return to their various ships were very, very busy and the lines were long and long lines = unhappy guests = unhappy cruise director……………………..we have to do better and I will make sure that we do.

On the plus side there was a majestic site in front of our bow as the Queen Mary 2 docked next to us, here sleek and regal lines glimmering in the Spanish sun. (Wow, that was good stuff. Maybe I should write a romance novel). The QM2 is stunning and I want to use that segue into thanking somebody for contacting Cunard regarding my dream to sail on a trans-Atlantic cruise because Heidi and I have been offered the chance to go. I am not sure if my schedule will allow us to sail this year but next year we will for sure and can I say a HUGE thank you to all concerned for allowing me this chance. What a blog that will be, LIVE FROM THE QM2. We also will be taking a Princess cruise in November and will be blogging from there, it will be nice to meet other family members.

The weather was the hottest it has been yet this season with temperatures touching 80 degrees. I just spoke to some guests who went to Montserrat. For those who have no idea what Montserrat is all about, it is a place that defines the word “tranquility.”  Two thousand meters high and accessible by a mountain train it is the home of 185 Monks who spend their entire adult life there. It also has the most beautiful cathedral where, if you are lucky, you will get to hear the world famous Montserrat Boys Choir. Their music resonates around the Cathedral while you discover this amazing monument to faith and visit the Black Madonna which people come here from all over the world to see. The guests I just spoke with, Mr. and Mrs. Roper, told me that it was the highlight of their port days so far. It is certainly on my “must see” list and you can do so on our Montserrat and Barcelona tour. Mr. Roper was celebrating his 80th birthday and said in a letter he wrote to me that this would probably be his last trip from Kansas City to Europe. He was stationed in parts of Europe during World War II and he wanted to come back to “let rip” one more time. Not sure what that means but he and his wife Christine are having the times of their lifes. Here are a few photos of Montserrat.

Pictures of Montserrat, Spain Pictures of Montserrat, Spain Pictures of Montserrat, Spain

OK, it is time for the Q & A session which is brought to you by GAS X tablets.

NATE’S MUM – Thank you for the congratulations message on being promoted to the front page of the Web site. In answer to your question, I will keep writing the blog thingy for as long as possible or as long as people keep reading it. Many thanks and please keep reading.
JTODDINMAN – Thank you for your questions and I will have the answers posted on my next blog. Watch this space.
BIG ED – Maybe once your photo album of bloggers is complete you could sell it on eBay, I am sure it will fetch a dollar and you could then be chief auctioneer with the title eBay auctioneer targeting price, originality & ordering – E.A.T.P.O.O. Congratulations………………………I have a feeling that you should have been a cruise director  🙂
DEBRA HEHN – Do you pronounce that Hen? I am glad you enjoy meeting the crew. Is there any where else in the world where you can live along side people from 50 different countries? The Carnival crew are simply the best……………Bloggers, are there any that have made a huge difference to your cruise experience? Tell me about them. Thaks Debra and please keep reading the blog thingy.
LORRAINE AND BOB – How fantastic that your Grandkids first European trip will be here on the Carnival Freedom. You ask if I have any advice for a successful trip? Most important I think is that you come to the travel talks where I will do my best to give you the information that will in turn help you decide what is best to do ashore for you and your family. After each talk, I will host a Q & A so that we can have a chance to chat one on one. Please do not let your family miss any of the shows and, most importantly, relax and let this vacation become the most amazing family time you have ever had. I will be here to help you throughout. See you soon.
MIKE M – June 6 is going to be like a mini Bloggers cruise as you are sailing as well. Let me answer your questions.
1. Should You Bring Your Laptop? – If you are the sort who cannot live without being attached to the World Wide Web thing then, YES, bring the Laptop. The entire ship has no wires and you can open it and use it anywhere. Do not ask me how, you just can. We also have an Internet Café which if to be honest does get very busy and at times, you may have a short wait before getting on to the line or whatever. So, you have options.
2.Now to the more series stuff about leaving your kids onboard while you take a shore excursion. Judging by your comments, I think you are feeling a little guilty about this, well you should be. How could you possibly think…………..I am kidding. Of course, you should not feel guilty although you would not be the first. Simply, this is what Camp Carnival is for. Here is the mathematical equation to prove that leaving them there is the right thing to do.
KIDS, 5 + 7 ON A 10  HOUR TOUR  IN FLORENCE = SCREAMS + ARE WE THERE YET+ I NEED TO PEE = TEARS AND STRESSED MUM AND DAD

CORRECT MATHEMATICAL SOLUTION
KIDS, 5 + 7 + CAMP CARNIVAL + PLAYING+MOVIES + ICE CREAM + NAP + SAFE ENVIROMENT + PROFESSIONAL STAFF= HAPPY KIDS = HAPPY MUM AND DAD.

AS I AM DOING MATH:
UNDERPANTS + FLOOR = 0 THAT NIGHT FOR ME.
See you soon.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – What a question. According to you in Norwegian Viking Times instead of a godmother new ships would be offered a human sacrifice to bless them. You ask, can I think of anyone I would like to sacrifice for the Carnival Splendor………………………no……………………….but I would like to give the man who called me Sperm Of The Devil a swift kick in the Fjords! Thanks for the laughs Carol and write soon.
BIG ED – If you win the royal flush at the poker table then I would be a happy man, you and Mrs. Big Ed deserve it. Think BIG.
BELLA – I do try and not think about Angelina and I am going to seek professional help:) Let me answer your questions and this may help me forget.
1. What is the average age of the cruise guests. ……………..This week it is 51 but that gets a bit younger as we go through the summer.
2. Which dining room is better, The Posh or the Chiq……………They are both fantastic. They serve the same food and have the same fun and courteous ambiance. It just depends on what time you want to eat.
3.What is the front and the back of the ship called. ……………..The front is called the forward and the back the aft. The left hand side facing forward is the port side and the right hand side facing forward is the starboard side.
If you need an explanation on the facts of life, please ask Big Ed  🙂
I appreciate you writing and reading every day and I look forward to meeting you.
VICKI AND MATT TILL – Thank you for your kind words and Heidi and I cherish every moment we have together.
CANUCKCRUISER – Please send me your postal address, it will not be posted on the blog thingy but will be sent straight to me and I will mail you that book. I am so sorry it did not reach you. I will be on the Carnival Splendor in September and I hope you will be too.
M MORAN – Children on cruises go together naturally. The experience is a family vacation in the safest and most fun environment in the world. Your cruise of May 25 will be a chance for your kids to see Pompeii, volcanoes, Venice, as well as play and have fun with other lucky youngsters. The only island I got see when I was a kid was Canvey Island, Essex UK, look it up on the web!  I do think that there are times that you should let your kids stay at Camp Carnival allowing you and Mrs. Mike to enjoy some romantic, quality time together. If you need anything while onboard please do not hesitate to ask.
KATHY KROLL – I hope you and Paul have a safe flight and if your suitcases do not make it please tell Paul that he is welcome to borrow some of my underwear. See you in a couple of days.
JIM AND ARLENE – I want to say a huge thank you for being a bloggist since day 1. I have no idea how many blog thingies I have done. I would think I will soon reach 50. Can anyone tell me? In 14 days you will be here, so let me answer your questions.
1. Upon arrival, please call 1078 to confirm your supper club reservation which I have made for 7:30 pm. If you wish you change the time you may do so. We will be leaving Dubrovnik that evening.
2. With regard to transportation to and from Rome, this can be done via the internet or directly at the airport for $75
Shuttle services will be provided as well at the end of the cruise back to the airport. However, you also asked about the Papal Audience, we will be offering tours for this also on board. Heidi and I are looking forward to seeing you soon. Have a safe flight.
DAVE (AND KATHY) – You have given me 2 big smiles in the last 20 seconds as I read your comments. The first was at the reminder of your husband being my “Trigger” and the second, hearing the name Gary Hunter, you are correct he had a wonderful style and could reduce an audience from laughter to tears within a few minutes. Have a wonderful time in Alaska. Please give my  best regards to “Trigger.”
GLENN AND LEANNE – What size head to I have? It’s a big one. How about swapping a boomerang for a special bottle of wine for dinner? Looking forward to seeing you and to my becoming Australian.
INGRID Z – Heidi and I thank you for your lovely words and we are both sure that you and Lillian are going to have the most fantastic time on board. What a way to celebrate your graduation. See you in June.
TAZMAN – Glad to hear you are still reading the blog every day, we certainly can provide you with a table for 7 at the supper club.In answer to your question, the craps tables do tend to get busy later into the night and often are a great place to meet new friends as they create a great party atmosphere. Looking forward to meeting you in July.
BARBARA AND JIM – I am not sure, as you asked, if the big wigs have time to read my blog, but I am sure if they do they will enjoy reading statements like yours. I agree with your comments about Big Ed and as time goes along, I can assure you, he will receive his just rewards. We will do a roll call of bloggers as you requested and I hope you enjoyed the Leg-End. Heidi and I will see you on May 25. Cheers!
ROBERT AND SUZANN – Thank you for posting the Cruise Critic article. If I get only get on the front page of GQ, I would be even happier.
BIG ED – I hope all the Bloggers take the time on day one, to drop me a note with their cabin number so I can arrange a time for us all to get together. We will start this next cruise, and drinks will be on me. (OK, Bob, Roger, and my PA will be paying ).
PAM – Tell Office Depot that unless they do not give you vacation time then I will buy my pencil from someone else. Seriously, do not worry as I am sure we will be able to see each other soon. You asked what ships I have been on and the answer is, mostly all of them except the Carnival Spirit, Miracle and Pride. You asked for my postal address: It Is.
MV CARNIVAL FREEDOM
JOHN HEALD – SENIOR CRUISE DIRECTOR
CEMAR CIVITAVECCHIA
LUNGOPORTO GRAMSCI N.19
00053 CIVITAVECCHIA (ROMA) – ITALIA
I hope you will keep reading the blog and if you send me anything please make sure it includes a return address. Thanks and best wishes to you and your family.
ADIAS.ANGEL – I promise whoever the Cruise Director is on your New Year’s cruise that he or she will be part of an amazing way to bring in 2008. Happy New Year in advance.
BIG ED – I did not get a chance to see the Big Queen 🙂 By the way, I love Elton John. Anyway, I did get a very gracious invitation for Heidi and I to take a cruise and hopefully next year our dream of sailing into or out of New York on a trans- Atlantic on the QM2 will come true.
RAY McTEAGUE – Thank you for your kind words and I hope that your Carnival Miracle cruise is a very special one. I also hope that you know what a difference your wonderful comments make to Heidi and I. I will now check on your aunt and uncle and give them your kind regards. Keep on blogging, see you soon.

So, another Q & A is over, if I did not answer yours, I promise I will tomorrow.

I just received a photo of a cruise director from another cruise line trying to jump the fence at Carnival’s Headquarters in Miami and he was caught on our security cameras. He even had the cheek to wear a Carnival Polo shirt.

a photo of a Cruise Director from another cruise line trying to jump the fence at Carnival’s Headquarters

He was arrested and charged with impersonation our Vice President of Cruise Programming, Roger Blum (wearing a Polo shirt was, I admit, a great disguise)

Sometimes, this blog allows me a wonderful avenue to embarrass people :))

I admitted at the start of today’s blog that there are things we can improve on, such as the shuttle service in Barcelona. I am finishing this blog in Cannes, South of France, where today we disembarked 2,800 guests in less than 2 hours on tenders. This may not sound like a big achievement, but I assure you, it is and today was the perfect example of perfect team work from all departments.

Today in Cannes, there are 60,000 people living here plus cruise ship and hotel visitors. The next time we are here, there will be 300,000 people all visiting for the world famous Cannes Film Festival. It is amazing to see already the billboards advertising all the films that will hope to be winners, the mega yachts that are moored in the harbor and the smell of money is in the air. This time last year, when we were here on the Carnival Liberty, the film Du Jour was the Da Vinci Code and it will be interesting to see what blockbuster and its stars will be paraded down the red carpet this year. ………………..please let it be Angelina. If she is, she will have the biggest mega yacht in the harbor, the Carnival Freedom!

I just heard that the phones have been ringing off the hook with people trying to book the Carnival Splendor. Please know that I never want this blog thingy to be just a sales pitch site but it would be remiss of me not to point out the amazing buzz that this ship and its itinerary has caused in the cruise world. I am as excited as you are!

It’s now 5:15 pm and I need to get back to being a cruise director.

Just before I go, it is time to salute two fantastic crew members who have won two very prestigious awards given by the BACARDI RUM company. They are: Mario Jalic who won Bartender of the Year
Bipin Sharma who won Chef of the Year.

Both these young men won these titles by inventing a new cocktail and a new entrée using Bacardi products…………..and here are the winning entries.

bacardi recipe
bacardi

I came 317th with my recipe of BACARDI RUM AND PRUNE JUICE – A COCKTAIL CALLED THE PUERTO RICAN ROAD RUNNER.

Thanks to you all, it really warms the cockles of our hearts to know you are all reading this simple blog thingy.

Your friends

John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.