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.
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.