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

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.