The Devil Inside

June 4, 2007 -

John Heald

I woke up this morning – oh, sorry, forgot to say Good Evening – Good Evening.

Good Morning One and All!

Right, I woke up this morning feeling guilty, I really did. Guilty on two counts.

1. I want to apologize if my blog of the last two days came across as being specifically uncaring to people of Chinese origin. Now, nobody has said anything and this just may be me thinking this but for peace of mind I wanted to say this. The only reason I mentioned her nationality was to try and portray the way she was speaking to me and the fact that her accent and her …..well……….size, made it a visual feast. I realize that this lady is one in a million (thank goodness) and does not represent an entire nation of people. There, I feel better now especially when I tell you what she did to Ken the maitre d’ last night. Actually, I won’t as I think it is time to move on.

Let me start by saying that there are few prettier places in Europe when the sun is shining that Cannes. We arrived at 7 am and there was a brief shower and sunshine at the same time, resulting in a rainbow which is pictured below. Also, here is a photo of Ken our maitre‘d who is having his cute cheeks pinched by a Mrs. Muriel Colebear whom I promised some champagne if she did.  She did.

 Rainbow in Cannes Ken our maitre‘d who is having his cute cheeks pinched by a Mrs. Muriel Colebear

We disembarked 2,500 people in one hour and 50 minutes by tender and the day became hot and sunny, just as the guests deserved after the rough weather of the previous sea day. Since we were talking about rough seas, I wanted to show you this photo of a photo. This is of the Carnival Triumph taken back in 2001, I think.

Carnival Triumph taken back in 2001

We were coming out of New York heading to Nova Scotia and the seas were still very rough after a tropical storm had passed the area the day before. This amazing photo was taken by a Canadian Coast Plane. I remember standing on the bridge with the wonderful Captain Salvatore Rassello and we watched in awe as the ship held firm and ploughed her way effortlessly through the swells. Here is the photo and sorry for the quality but the original is in Dad’s office (shrine to Carnival) back home.

Shall we do some Q & A?

JENN AND MEYER – Let me start that if, as you said, my blog makes you smile every day then I too am smiling because my late nights are definitely worth it. I am glad your entire family is now “cruise addicts” and it sounds like you had a great time on the Carnival Liberty. Regarding the people you are referring to who were with me on stage, I do remember very well but unfortunately I have not heard from them again. I just hope that as he returned to Iraq that he has remained safe as he certainly added to everyone’s cruise. There is something magical about our gangways. When guests walk up it some of them become instant celebrities, again, this would never happen in any other kind of vacation.  Thank you so much for wanting to cruise with Heidi and me. We will be on the Carnival Freedom in the spring but at this time I am not sure of the dates but as soon as I am I will, of course, let you know. I hope this happens so we can renew our friendship and the feelings you described in your comments can be rekindled and exceeded. Please keep reading the blog and my best to you and the family.
MELISSA – I Thank you as well for taking time each day to read the blog.  To answer your question, I do suggest that as the Carnival Freedom docks in Rome on the Sunday and the Vatican will be closed, that you consider taking the Vatican tour upon arrival as you are there a day early. If you are booking a pre-cruise tour, the most popular is The Highlights of Rome with Regular Vatican Museum. This is a complete tour of everything that is Rome plus the Vatican in full. If you would like to upgrade that then have a read about our Exclusive and Private View tour. This one is a behind the scenes visit and happens once the Vatican is closed to the general public. It is a once-in-a-life time experience. So, you have two choices and I hope this gives you something to think about and as always I am here should you need further help. Heidi and I will see you in August.
MARIJ VAN DINTER – Please do not apologize for your English which is much better than my Dutch. Your group will have a wonderful time onboard and if you leave me a note with some information about your nephew at the purser information desk, I will make sure the ship knows it is a special birthday for him. My wife, Heidi, is asking for some Dutch DROP (licorice). Isn’t she cheeky? Have a safe trip and see you soon. Dooooeeee, icc poopa noo.
SHEREE – It is never a bother mon sheree amour. The tower entrance for Pisa may be sold out which is why it may not be able to be booked online. However, we often manage to get extra tickets so please check at the shore excursion desk once you board. Remind me again, when are you sailing?
LINDA – Buenos Tachos Linda. Let’s talk about David. The Statue of David by Michelangelo is one of the most incredible works of genius I have ever seen. To think one man, with one hammer and one chisel crafted this jaw-dropping masterpiece in just 18 months is quite extraordinary. The statue is located in the Acadamia Museum in Florence. Now, if you want to see the statue you have two excursions to choose from.
1. THE BEST OF FLORENCE……………..This has immediate entrance to the museum and means you cut the line, stick your tongue out at the hundreds of others who are waiting in the heat and walk right in.  After a full VIP tour of the museum and all its glory, you then enjoy a fabulous Italian lunch and then some free time for shopping.
2. The other tour to take would be FLORENCE ON YOUR OWN. This will include a full one-hour tour of where everything is located with your guide and then you decide how you spend the day in Florence which could include a visit to the Academia Museum. The only problem with this is that you would be the one in line having to see someone on the BEST OF FLORENCE poke their tongue out at you. However, both are great excursions and now it is up to you to decide. The only problem is you will not have time to do Florence and Pisa with the museum as well. You can do the brilliant and top selling Florence and Pisa tour but the Florence portion would mean that you would only have time to see the statue and nothing else. I should also point out that there is a full replica of the Statue of David in the square (forget the name) located by the Ufizi Museum.
Hope that was some help. If you do not get a chance to see David then I will pose in a fig leaf on Lido Deck for you. Please keep reading the blog thingy.
DEBBIE MANG – By the time you will read this you will be here, or, you will be home after the cruise. So, you had a great time. The weather was beautiful but awful as well. Thank you for laughing at all my jokes and I am sorry you thought all my jokes were boring. Congratulations on winning huge money in the casino and I am sorry you won nothing. See you soon.
ESSEX MAN – Brilliant puns that only an Essex Man could come up with. Patience is indeed part of the recipe of a cruise director’s job and sometimes you need an extra helping. Unfortunately, we do not provide a shuttle service to Ciampino airport as I know you are flying Easy Jet or Ryan Air back home. You can take one of our tours (Rome at a Glance) or Best Of Rome, disembark the bus at the end of the tour in the center of Rome, and then make your way by taxi to the airport. I have to say this can be quite expensive with a price of approximately 120 euros for the taxi. As more people from the UK are taking the cruise, I think we must start investigating transportation and shuttle services from Ciampino, it makes sense. Let me know please if I can help further. Awright, son, you are a diamond Geezer – Essex talk.
JANET AND PHIL – Welcome to Rome. I hope the rain dissipates for you and I will se you tomorrow.
Bill – Your information on the shuttle and vaporetto service is spot on and the only addition to add is that the shuttles run every 15 minutes up until midnight and then they run on the hour every hour until 3 am. Thanks for all the help you give this blog thingy and hope to hear from you soon.
ALISON W – I read your comments around the time I heard that the first tropical storm of the season was around western Florida. I hope for all concerned that this year is as quiet as last year and that there are no major storms. Have a wonderful time on the Carnival Glory and enjoy Wee Jimmy the cruise director. I am so happy to hear you love the blog and I hope you will keep reading it for a long time to come.
LINDA – I am typing this reply to you in the kneeling position as you’re an esteemed travel agent. I just read this and even though tomorrow is the last day of the cruise I sent a signed photo to Ross and Ana and two trophies (one is for your office) from me and you tonight. I hope also that they were not in any discomfort from the rough sea day we had. Thank you for all your support toward Carnival and anytime you have clients onboard that need extra special attention please let me know.
TAMMY AND MIKE FROM N.Y. – First of all, and I mean this with much affection and respect even though we have never met……………………..CALM DOWN, IT’S A VACATION. You do not need to worry about any of the things you mentioned — shuttles, tendering, arrival, departure, etc.  That is what I am here for. So, sit down, make a cup of tea with milk, not lemon and not that iced tea stuff that would have my grandma turning in her grave. Then, as you sip on a tea, write me your three points that you would like clarified or what ports you are uncertain what to do in. Then, press send or whatever button sticks your comments on my screen and as if by magic a reply will appear very soon. The weather in September is beautiful, 60 – 70 degrees in the day and a light jacket needed in the evening. The perfect mix. Seriously, I know that graduating can be stressful and I can imagine that your husband Tom Cruise is finding his first year at “The Firm” quite intense. Therefore, as you are not cruising until September, relax and use me to sooth your troubled breast…………………..oops, I didn’t mean it like that, it’s just a saying….maybe I should delete it…….nah. So, I am your humble servant and will await your questions. See you both soon and sorry about the breast remark.
JO MYERLY – So, this blog puts you to sleep. I am the Nyquil of blogs. I am glad you laughed before I put you in a coma though. As for the rough seas, it does put you to sleep but in this case the rocking was nearly as bad as Thursday nights in my cabin……no sleep there then.
DP – WA – Thanks for your suggestion on doing an in-depth look at the crew quarters, etc. I will indeed add more information about the crew very soon, perhaps before the end of this week. Please don’t you (or anyone) be embarrassed about praising another cruise line outside of the Carnival family. I see you wrote only the first letter of NCL and I am sure you had a wonderful time. It was also great to hear you want to try Carnival, that’s brilliant. When, where and on what ship? If you need help deciding I will be glad to offer my assistance. Look out for more crew blog stuff very soon.
NATE’S MOM – Your comments on the crew being a United Nations are indeed relevant especially in the age that we live in. All crew on every ship live in very close conditions and,  although it may sound like a cliché, it really is exactly that — a group of United Nations of crew from every region and religion and of every creed and colour (spelled correctly) all working together. You may find this in hotels and land-based resorts but the main difference is that ship crew never go home at night; there is no break from it and your working and social life are always with the same people. Once again, cruising proves itself to be such a wonderful and unique experience. Thanks again and hope to hear from you very soon
DAN – First of all, happy anniversary today from me and the blog family. Your first cruise is just around the corner and what a first cruise! Twelve days sailing the Mediterranean and wow, the ports. So, as this is your first cruise, do you have any questions? If so, type away and I will answer them as best I can. You will not be cruise virgins for long….this is a great blog, I have got the word virgin and breast in but can’t find a way to include the word bum……oh well.
MJS – Right, the Spirit class. This includes the Carnival Spirit, Carnival Pride, Carnival Leg End and Carnival Miracle. They were all built in Helsinki and have proven to be some of our most beautiful and most popular ships. They are smaller that the Destiny- and Conquest-class ships and were the first ever to have our supper club restaurants on board. The ships carry 2,124 guests so it is right at the size you are looking for and as you enjoy the western Caribbean so much I suggest you go to Carnival Legend page .  The ship is my favorite Spirit-class ship and is currently sailing out of Tampa. Have a look at the ports of call, the lounges and deck plans and I promise you that this cruise will be one you will cherish forever. If you have further questions please let me know.  All the best until then.
KATHY – Hello Kathy. How are you and welcome back home. Hope you had a good flight. It was a joy to meet you and all the Mellow Yellow’s and I hope that is something that happens again very soon. Now, you are correct that Carnival does not offer 10-day cruises within the Caribbean and maybe that is something we need to look at and of course I will pass your suggestions up the line. However, Princess does have 10-day cruises in the Caribbean as you say so hopefully you will have just a great a time on there as you appear to have had on your Carnival Freedom cruise. I am glad you enjoyed the champagne and please send my best to all the other Mellowers. Hope to see you soon and please keep reading the blog thingy.
KATHIE BENNET – This week I have become more international. I now know the inner workings of mah jong and now also, thanks to you, consider myself a world expert when it comes to grits. I am going to ask the chef if he can make me some tonight. I was going to have a Chateau Briand in a light Bordeaux reduced sauce with drizzled caramelized onions and soft and fluffy mashed potatoes with a hint of horseradish garnished by roasted parsnips and country-grown peas. But NO, I am going to have GRITS which I am sure will be just as good.
OOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhh baby.  Well, Papa can say it then so can I. Please tell him Heidi and have been thinking of him and wish him a continued and speedy recovery. I will send a full report on the grits tomorrow. Can I have ketchup with them?
JRSC 1030 – I see from your comments that you to have experienced rough seas during your adventure on the Carnival Valor in 2005. Rough seas are uncommon in the majority of the places where we sail our ships but sometimes Mother Nature gets angry. As I said, although the ships these days are so strong so people do occasionally get sea sick during these conditions and I always feel so sorry for them. Hopefully, in 50 days time when you cruise you will have calm seas and fair winds. See you then.
ANDREAS GOEDDE – Know I know you love to salsa, there will be salsa when you cruise, along with chips and guacamole and maybe those Jimmy Chunga things. Seriously, we will make sure on the Carnival Splendor that we have a salsa night for you. What a GREAT cabin you have booked for the London to Rome trip. Can I come and stand on your balcony with you? Send my best to Sharon and before long you will both be in London!
ANITA – DUNHAM – POTTER – It looks like there will be 150 teens aged between 15 and 18 so I am sure many of them will be boys. As a mum you feel that this is not good for your teenage daughter, I will arrange to have all the boys locked up at night. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be great that if Miss Potter met her first-ever true love on the Carnival Freedom and even better if his name was HARRY. See you in 12 days.
VIKKI AND MATT – Heidi and I send our deepest sympathies for your loss and how thoughtful of you to send congratulations to other bloggers. That makes you very special people.
LES/LOREE – I think Mrs. Knee High has put a curse on me. I woke up this morning, looked in the mirror and she had turned me into an overweight, grey-haired ugly bloke!
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF – Saxon TV – good grief, you could be a cruise director! Great idea about the boat drill information. I will definitely do this next week. Would do so today but my fingers are beginning to numb. I promise to do this next week though mate.
ESSEX MAN – here is Bill’s applause………..I am really clapping………that makes me a little crazy I think.
ROBOCOP – I hope you make it as well mate and continued congratulations on your web site. Please send wee Jimmy my best and I hope I see you walk up that gangway soon.
ALAN & SALLY – Hope you had a nice time at Grandma’s house while she was away and let me know if you still can’t decide what cruise to come on. Maybe you can both come on the Bloggers Cruise. Have a think about it and let me know. Send my best to Grandma and thank her for allowing you to use her computer to blog on.

Ok, that’s today’s Q & A over, if I missed yours I promise I will catch up tomorrow.

Ok, so time to admit to something. Tomorrow, June 5, I was supposed to go on vacation for 12 days. This had been planned as far back as February and then, I started this blog. As the blog progressed it became clear that so many people were depending on me being on their cruise that if I had decided to take these 12 days off I would have let many people down. So, I am still here but Heidi is not. She leaves tomorrow and will not be back until Barcelona on June 15. Heidi needs the rest as much as me if not more and her mum needs to see her daughter. So, from tomorrow, I am alone again for 10 days. Just me, my toy Aston Martin DB9 and assorted photos of Angelina.

Now, I am not after a collective ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh and not looking for sympathy that my vacation now will not be until November – well, maybe just a bit of sympathy. The reason for telling you is that if my blogs sound a little different it is because the boss has gone home. I will miss her so very much.

OK, here is the last installment of Mrs. Knee High’s Carnival Freedom adventure and after this her name will never pass my lips again.

She has her mah jong set which cost me 29 euros in Cannes and instead of being brave enough to give it to her personally (it was probably the wrong color anyway), I left her a letter apologizing for what she had called “this dam ship” while her finger became best friends with my stomach and hoped that she would enjoy the rest of her cruise.

And that was that……………….well……………………….nearly………….because that little devil that occasional sits on my shoulder made me write a P.S. that said.

On Holland America, every cabin has a mah jong set, they allow seat saving for every show, it is a Dam ship and most importantly, if it rains, everyone gets a free Rolex.

1:43 am – time for bed


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.