Feeling Better……FINALLY!

May 16, 2007 -

John Heald

Hello Bloggers:

I managed to get through the day and hosted my Morning Show (more about that later), the Rhodes, Izmir and Istanbul Travel Talk and then met with THE MELLOW YELLOWS group from Cruise Critic. We had 40 minutes of fun and I answered some questions and met many bloggers personally, which was just great.

Then it was time for the Captain’s Cocktail parties and then the two Big Easy Shows for early and late seating diners. Right now it is midnight and we have to put our watches forward one hour because Greece and Turkey are one hour ahead. Adrenalin is a wonderful thing but I think my tank is a little empty, so I will refill with a cup of tea, the British kind, as that herbal stuff would be like throwing petrol on a fire!

Let’s move on to a very sensitive subject that I faced today.  I had received a letter from one of our guests who was asking about some recent incidents in Turkey.  Rather than asking me about this during the Q&A, the guest wrote to me directly so that I could give him a private response.  However, I thought that this topic was important to our guests so I decided to include it in my travel talk.
While I am certainly not qualified to comment on the geopolitical situation in Turkey, I offered the following information to guests who attended the travel talk:

1. NO WARNINGS HAD BEEN ISSUED BY ANY WESTERN GOVERNMENTS ADVISING AGAINST TRAVELING TO TURKEY
2. THE BOMB HAD EXPLODED IN A RESIDENTIAL, I.E., NON-TOURIST AREA, AND WAS NOT AIMED AT TOURISTS IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM
3. THE LAST THING THAT TURKEY WANTS OR COULD AFFORD WOULD BE AN INCIDENT AGAINST TOURISTS
4. CRUISE SHIPS FROM HOLLAND AMERICA, COSTA AND OTHER LINES HAVE CALLED AT IZMIR SINCE THE INCIDENT WITHOUT ANY SECURITY-RELATED INCIDENTS.
I went on to reiterate that Carnival has never and will never do anything to jeopardize the safety of its guests, crew or vessel. Everyone should look forward to a wonderful day in an historic and city and experience a culture that would embrace them with Turkish delight! Applause followed.

OK, hope this information is helpful. Let’s get on with the today’s Q & A: 

Thank you for all your kind words. So many of you have written with get-well messages and rather than reply individually to all of them, can I say a big collective “thank you.” I am still feeling a bit drained and my temperature is still a bit high but at least I have stopped praising before the altar of the porcelain. My headache is still with me, except Paris Hilton has moved out and she has been replaced by a slightly hung over French person. So once again, my sincere thanks to all of you who posted get well soon messages and I feel like I am amongst real friends. A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO ALL MY REGULAR COMMENT POSTERS, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND I THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMPASSION.
JACKEVANS – Thank you for sharing the link to the www.themarinerscabin.com and my thanks to this web site for featuring the blog (cheers, Jim). I am glad you are taking the time to read the blog everyday. Hope to see you soon.
BIG ED – ok, Ed I will double what I was paying you before and I will make your business cards and have them ready for when we meet next year. I am hoping that Aston martin (the best car in the world) will allow me a complimentary car so you and I can drive Route 66 together, the wind in our hair and in our hotel room no doubt. I will make sure that all the light bulbs are totally burnt out when you sail and I will pay you one warm chocolate pudding for every bulb you change. Deal or No Deal?
SUSAN JORDAN – Sorry to hear your husband was not feeling well during Hurricane Ernesto on the Leg End, there is no worse feeling in the world then feeling sick. Well, except realizing that your fly is open as you stand in front of 1,500 people. Heidi says it’s no big thing! I will be ready by the May \25 cruise and we are really looking forward to seeing you then.
NANETTEALI – Buenos Borito me amigo para siempre. Mi mucho sicko in the toileto, no bweno para Heidi, mucho sicko on the flooro. Thanks you so much for the DVD you are making, I am so excited to see the good old days with Michael again. Phantom is ready to play and gifts are waiting for you. Adios astra la yugo.
KENA AND DAVID – Thank you for your kind invitation to the racing in Kentucky; that would certainly be a thrill. I have always loved horses. My mate Alan Adkins and I found a horse that had been treated really badly and we called the police. They were going to put it down but we found someone who would look after it and we helped clean out the stable. It was a big old thing we called SPOT and Alan and I used to play cowboys together down at Bulbous farm……sorry, I went back in time for a minute but I am back now. What a great choice to take the Carnival Liberty to the Caribbean. I have not been to Grand Turk and I will therefore contact a colleague to get you some first-hand advice. Thanks for writing and I will get back to you soon.
NANETTEALI – Teachers are the best of the best.  Don’t worry about a thing and just keep looking forward to your cruise, it will be here soon.
THE RED NECKS – Thank you for the education on what makes a redneck. I particularly loved the RESTLIN one. This will certainly prove useful when I visit the South. I am heading to South Beach in Miami, is that the same? I admit I was a big baby when I was being sick; I guess all of us me are. I am sorry that there was a big gap in the postings but as promised I will be doing extras this week. I thank you again for reading and see y’all after supper!
IVERNON – So firstly , thank you for booking the bloggers cruise, you will not regret it. Then secondly, your husband is not sure if he wants to cruise on the Carnival Splendor for your 14th wedding anniversary. Here the, are the top ten reasons to for your husband to take that cruise.
10. The Carnival Splendor is a brand new design to the Carnival fleet and will be the largest and most exclusive “Fun Ship” thus far.
9. The ship features a 21,000-square-foot spa and wellness center, which I will personally show you around
8. The ship will cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia, one of the most beautiful and amazing cities in the world.
7. Also featured is Amsterdam so while Inez is in the wellness center I can show you the sights of Amsterdam
6. I will send free alcohol to your cabin
5. The ship leaves out of the UK, so you can come to my house for tea and crumpets
4. I will send more free alcohol to your cabin
3. I will get the ship’s godmother Angelina Jolie to sign a pair of my underwear for you
2. It will be the best 12-day cruise you have ever had. Imagine sailing this incomparable ship into Russia, Estonia, Denmark, etc.
AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON YOU SHOULD TAKE THIS CRUISE.
1. Because you love your wife and she really wants to go…………….enough said.
CAPT CHUCK – Thanks for finding the blog thing and coming up Chuck (something I have been doing the last few days) is confirmation that I was indeed the cruise director of the Carnival Triumph. I remember the man who had sang “I Believe I Can Fly” and I do remember my awful attempt to sing like him. I apologize, my voice sounds like a cat being neutered with a blunt spoon. Congratulations on winning the free cruise while on the Carnival Spirit. What cruise are you going to take? Let me know if you need advice. Now, as for protocol with the blog, there is none. Say what you think and write it down, I do. Welcome to the blog thingy world, you are amongst friends.
LINDA HERNACKI – How could I ever ignore you? Actually, I should explain that sometimes, I write these blogs and answer the questions that have been posted. Then, sometimes, I forget to go back and look at previous blogs to see if new questions have been posted and then sometimes I forget to answer the original questions after the new ones but before the next blog and sometimes I get confused and then write the same blog I did the day after and before and sometimes I run around the smokestack naked with a feather sticking out of my……………sorry, lost it for a minute………but I am OK now. Linda, Mike’s job is secure as he has first dibs on the light bulb changing job. Anyway, Big Ed and I will still be trying to get our selves out of the booth we are going to share at dinner. I have not secured a date for the Carnival Splendor’s bloggers cruise just yet but I will soon, promise. I honestly think that I had eaten something as usually I don’t get sick but you are also correct about being diabetic –it does mess with your insides. It is funny that I ate nothing for two days but my sugar level was higher than usual….any doctor bloggers like to advise why that is? I send my best to you and Mike the All Round Master Engineer and King of Bulb Changers.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – Sorry to hear you have been sick, as well. I got it from a dodgy piece of Italian fish and you from your granddaughters Cheerios. I am happy to hear that the future honeymooners have chosen to spend the start of their married lives on a Carnival ship, we are honored. Please can you remind me when they sail so Heidi and I can look after them? My best to Mary Lou and I hope my days of kneeling in the place named after the second part of her name are over. See you soon.
WENDY – I am not sure what Princess ship Heidi and I will be on. Roger Blum, my boss and friend, is booking the cabin for Heidi and I for mid-November. He is contacting my PA to make sure I get a suite with an unlimited supply of Diet Coke and an Angelina Jolie movie ready in the DVD player. Seriously, it will just be nice to have seven days together in any kind of cabin that does not have a phone ringing 24 hours a day. However, I promise to write a daily blog from their Internet café. We were hoping to cruise the Queen Mary 2 but I think that will have to wait until next year before we deliver the Carnival Splendor but it will be great to see a cruise……from the other side. See you soon and please keep reading the blog thingy.
NED RIFKEN – I am glad you found the blog mate. I am sure many readers will find it fascinating that one of our entertainers is taking the time to read it and mail a reply. I hope you are enjoying working for the best cruise company in the world and thank you for entertaining all our guests each and every week. Now, as for Sean, the cruise director, she loves goldfish, not the snack, but a real goldfish.. I just heard that her fish died last week and she is a little upset, if you want to get in her good books and more, buy her a goldfish………..call it BLOG.
PAM – let me know if  your bosses need their minds changing into letting you cruise……..if not…………….I am calling in………………BIG ED !
JERRY FRIEDMAN – You are correct. Being sick is the only time I can make music from both ends at the same time!  Sorry, but hey, we are friends aren’t we?
JULIE TAYLOR – Correct on all three. The kids just won trophies for themselves and champagne for Mum. Drop me a note when you board and I will deliver them personally. See you soon.
BILL – At the moment it has not been decided if there will be a revenue cruise from Genoa to Dover but rest assured if there is, then you and Brad will have a cabin together. Thank you for the links and please keep reading and soon as I hear anything I will let you, “Bill Pitt,“ know.
KAY – You can ask as many questions as you like, that is one of the main purposes of this blog thingy. A convertible sofa is a very comfortable sofa and indeed it converts every night to a very comfortable bed which your stateroom steward will do each and every night. Hopefully someone will cruise with you but if not I know you will make many new friends. See you soon.
GRACE – There are very few certainties in life but one of them is that I will do my best to make sure your parents 50th anniversary cruise is the best vacation they have ever had. I look forward to meeting them, you and your family in August.
MIKE – Glad you liked the formula. Our Camp Carnival staff is standing by and I am sure that mum and dad will be content and happy as they tour historic Europe knowing that their kids are in a safe and fun environment. See you all soon.
RPS – It seems there is a lot of people who have booked or are going to book the Carnival Splendor so your question about its home port Dover, UK gives me a chance to tell you something about it. Dover, is in the county of Kent, which is called the Garden County because of it’s beautiful villages with contain many typical English country gardens. Dover is reached by flying into one of the two London Airports.
LONDON HEATHROW   2 HOURS TRAVEL TIME
LONDON GATWICK   1 HOUR, 30 MINUTES TRAVEL TIME
Of course, Carnival can as always arrange great flights for you and I am sure they can assist on pre-cruise packages as well. If you have never been to London then, of course, you must see this great city but also, the county of Kent is stunning and if you prefer the countryside there is plenty of the finest examples close to the port.
The most famous landmark in Dover is, of course, the White Cliffs. Sir Winston Churchill wrote his most famous speech atop of the cliffs as he looked out to France during World War II as he scribed “we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender………………….and he never did.Then, there is the song, by Dame Vera Lynn, “The White Cliffs of Dover,” which was probably one of the most famous songs of the same period.
So, as you can see Dover, Kent and London are places that if you can, a pre- or post-cruise package of a few days is really a must. Please let me know if you need any further information. See you soon.
KIM GALLAGHER – Wow, sounds like you need a vacation. In reply to your supper club reservation question, may I suggest you book for the night we leave Venice. It is the perfect finish to two perfect days in the most romantic city in the world. Please let me know if you would like me to make advance bookings for you and I of course will. My best to your family and see you in a few days.
ANN – We are all working very hard now on the tour package for the Carnival Splendor and the tours are going to be amazing. Please let me know if there is anything anybody really wants to see and I will make sure I pass on your suggestions. What is everyone excited to see the most?  Thanks for reading the blog thingy.
PAULETTES MUM – Hello from us both and please say hi to your two beautiful daughters.
VICKI AND MATT – Thank you for the kind offer of bringing me something to make me feel better but I am sure you could not fit an Aston Martin in your suitcase. Therefore, just a photo of Angelina Jolie, please, which I am sure will soothe my troubled breast. See you soon………….I knew I could get the word breast in this blog somehow!
MRS BIG ED – You are correct to ask me rather than John about laundry. He thinks it is done by small pixies who come out at night and when he wakes up his laundry is folded and hung back in the closet. There is a laundry on every deck and they are forward, midship and aft. Also, twice a cruise there is a $15 set fee for as much laundry as you can stuff into a bag provided by your stateroom steward. If you move cabins on a back-to-back cruise, the moving is done by us on board (not me and John) but by the wonderful crew who will do it for you. John has also volunteered to wash your husband’s underwear by hand if you book the bloggers cruise.
AMBER – I am ecstatic that you are so ecstatic about your cruise. See you soon.

Today, I would like to feature the Carnival Freedom’s Musical Director, Mr. Charlie Rounds, whom I asked a few questions to. Here is Charlie and his answers.

Carnival Freedom’s Musical Director, Mr. Charlie Rounds

HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD A LOVE FOR MUSIC AND WHERE DID YOU FIRST START PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT?
I first started playing an instrument when I was fairly young.  My parents started me with piano lessons with a family friend Bonnie Edwards, and then I started playing trumpet in summer after my 4th grade year.  I really started to enjoy music in junior high school, which in the U.S. is from grades 7-9, as that was when I switched over to low brass, moving to the euphonium.  Our high school music program in Rapid City, South Dakota, was very strong under the direction on Milo Winters, and I think that is what led me to choose a career in music.  It was also in High school when I first played the trombone.

HOW DID YOU GET A JOB WITH CARNIVAL AND HOW DID YOU GET PROMOTED TO MUSICAL DIRECTOR AND CHOSEN TO BE THE MUSICAL DIRECTOR ON THE FLAG SHIP

I was first hired by Carnival in 1998 to play trombone in the band on the Carnival Destiny.  I didn’t know it at the time, but my current lead trumpet player Floyd, whom I had met while at the University of Wyoming, had put my name into the Miami office as someone to bring to that ship. 

As far as becoming a musical director, I think that is related to who I have been dating for the last seven years.  I was following around my girlfriend Wendy Andrews as she was at the time an assistant youth director, and then was promoted to youth director.  By following her, I was able to work with some amazing musical directors, and eventually had a chance to fill in for a good friend Rich Ellis, and from there I eventually took over the band on the Carnival Ecstasy in Oct. 2002.   Wendy and I both here on the Freedom, and will be getting married this October.

It was a true honor to be chosen to be the musical director here on the Carnival Freedom.  I’d had the opportunity to work with John Heald early on in my career, and was very fortunate to meet him again on the Carnival Liberty in January 2006.  I was lucky enough to sail with him for 11 months, from the ports of the Caribbean over to the beautiful ports in the Mediterranean.  Myself and nine other musicians had a great time on the Carnival Liberty, and when John brought up the opportunity to work with him again, there was no question.  How can a musician pass up working with the best entertainers, the best technicians, and the best people in charge of your department?  It makes all of our lives easier, and much more fun. 

TELL US ABOUT THE ORCHESTRA, HOW MANY MEMBERS AND WHAT SORT OF MUSIC DO THEY PLAY

The orchestra here on the Freedom is a 10-piece band consisting of the following instruments and musicians (I listed their home states and countries, as well):

Alto Sax  – Ben Burget,   Washington
Tenor Sax  – Shannon Stone,   North Carolina
Bari Sax – Jana James,   Kansas
Lead Trumpet – Jason “Floyd” Springston, Wyoming
Solo Trumpet –  Iain McLachlan,   New Zealand
Trombone – Charlie Rounds,   South Dakota
Guitar  –  Jason Cadamy,   Oklahoma
Piano – Misha Shramko,   Ukraine
Bass –   Chris Posteraro,   New York
Drums  – Jim Milner,   Montana

The group of musicians are all players that I had known and worked with in the past, or in the case of drums and bass, I had heard amazing things about them. Luckily for us, they were all true.  The band is very versatile, playing everything from Dixieland to R&B, jazz standards to operatic pieces.  One night we will be backing an opera singer, the next a cellist, and then a Big Band singer, so we always have to be on our toes.  Playing all these different styles has helped us all grow as musicians. 

 

WITH SO MUCH ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND MP3 COMPUTER GENERATED SOUNDS BEING MADE THESE DAYS, DO YOU THINK THERE IS A FUTURE FOR BIG BAND MUSIC AND JAZZ?

I really do believe that there is a future for live jazz and Big Band music, you just have to look at how you package it, and who you choose as your audience.  I honestly think that as long as you are playing the music at a very high level, people will always be there to support it.  The emotions that are in live music cannot be matched by a synthesized sound no matter how good the program.

IF YOU COULD INVITE 4 FAMOUS MUSICIANS TO DINNER FROM NOW OR THE PAST WHO WOULD THEY BE

This is a very hard question, but I think it would be Frank Sinatra, Frank Rosalino, Kia Windig, and Harry Connick Jr.

WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE TOP 5 TUNES
Just Kiss Me –  Harry Connick Jr.
Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Smile  –  Michael Buble’
Send in the Clowns – Stan Kenton 76
Anything from  Gordon Goodwin

YOU ARE TRAPPED IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 5 HOURS AND HAVE TO LISTEN TO THE SAME TUNE THE WHOLE TIME, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE

1. ICE, ICE, BABY – VANILLA ICE

2. OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN – BRITNEY SPEARS

3. Y.M.C.A – VILLAGE PEOPLE

4. IT’S A SMALL WORLD – FROM DISNEY WORLD, thankfully I always carry my company-issued earplugs

John here again…
I made a decision today and that is to take a long vacation at the end of this cruise…………………………….don’t panic May 25 cruises. I will be leaving on May 23 in Livorno, flying home and returning on May 25 ready for the next cruise. This means I have a one and-a-half-day vacation. Heidi will remain onboard and run things but I want to be home for Mum’s birthday.
I will send a blog from home with riveting information about my dinner and how I sat around and did nothing. I will be honest though, I need a little “R & R” even if it’s just for 48 hours
Carnival have decided that I should get the royal treatment for my vacation…………….listen to what I get.

A PRIVATE JET FROM PISA TO LONDON AND LONDON TO ROME
A HUGE LEATHER RECLINING SEAT WITH A HOSTESS THAT LOOKS LIKE ANGELINA JOLIE
I GET TO THE AIRPORT AND FIND THAT CARNIVAL HAS HIRED AN ASTON MARTIN FOR ME

Back from the World Of Dreams
Either that or it will be an Easy Jet flight with a seat on the back row next to someone who smells like my bathroom did 2 days ago and my rent a car will be a Mini.
Oh well (:

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.