A Photo Finish

June 7, 2007 -

John Heald

Good morning – and I mean Good Morning because I am sitting at the computer at 4:46 am. I just can’t sleep. I don’t know why, it was just one of those nights. Heidi not being here is the major factor I am sure but we have all had those
nights where sleep evades us and tonight is my turn.

So, as there was nothing on TV except me doing my travel talk (guaranteed to put most people to sleep) I have decided to come and sit at the computer and start a blog thingy. I have Heidi’s bathrobe on, well, half on and I have just made my self a cup of tea. What shall I talk about? I don’t want to start the Q & A yet so I think I will waffle for a few minutes. This cruise we have 3,300 guests of which 1,600 are repeat cruisers with Carnival. We have large groups from Russia (178), Hong Kong (155) and Australia (90).

I guess as Heidi is away, I can talk about Angelina some more. I am very excited that last night (after I posted my blog thingy) I received an e-mail from all of the Carnival Executives expressing their 100% support on my request on having Angelina Jolie as the godmother of the Carnival Splendor. All I have to do is get her to do it. Therefore, I am sitting here, scratching my head at 4:59 am trying to figure out how I do this.

Carnival has give me permission to organize the event, how then do I get one of the world’s leading actresses to know that I and the Society Of Bloggers (S.O.B’s ) of which you are all members want her to do this. If I can get her to see she is wanted by many of the thousands of readers to do this then maybe she will accept.

Let us not forget that this is a huge privilege and past godmothers have included Dame Judi Dench, Katie Couric and many others. We could hold a charity dinner for her on board with the rich and famous paying money to her charity to
dine with her (and me). So, all we have to do is let her know that she is a lady in demand.

Carnival is onboard and all we need now is to get her onboard.

But How?

Any ideas?

How about letters to People Magazine, now that might be a great article for them. An article about the blog and our wish to get Angelina – mmmmmmmmm. I wonder what our public relations department thinks about that? Hey guys, can I call them, tell them about the blog and my wish, what do you think? I am off to bed to think about Angelina? That didn’t come out right! Sorry, Heidi.

See you in a few hours.
Buon Giorno from a humid but cloudy Napoli.

I just finished tour departures with 2,010 people on tour today. That is the most we have sent this season so far. There was a long line at one point and on the first morning, even though it is explained, people still get confused on what to do. Then, by the second port things smooth out as people get used to where they need to be.

If it is O.K. with you I will get on with today’s Q & A as I have 17 pages of comments to reply to? My poor fingers.

Let’s start with the answer to the question that Captain Chuck asked a yesterday about Alaska. Here is the answer as posted by my good friend Shawn Bussey who has been the cruise director of the Carnival Spirit for some years. She will be leaving on vacation though soon to continue her tour through Italy. Here coming up Chuck? Up Chuck..:)..:) is the beautiful Shawn’s answer.
OK? Whittier is the size of, well ..tiny. We are docked at the lovely new pier next to a brand new building built just for our purposes. It’s actually very convenient. The only issues we have out
here are on a rainy day is that the rain falls sideways (famous in Alaska) and so debark is sometimes a wet one. They are covered walkways for the most part. The rest just makes the experience very “Alaskan.” This morning, however, is just beautiful – foggy, misty, waterfalls all-around.
Avis is the only rental company in the area and is located, conveniently, in the nearby tackle and mini mart shop. (the owner of the shop is also the Avis rep – a VERY small town). Everything in Whittier is within walking distance. :O) Independent guests in Whittier usually disembark between 9 – 10am. Their luggage will be right outside the ship in the terminal building. One of
the guests can easily make the five-minute walk to the Avis/Mini Mart/Tackle Shop building to pick up the car, while the other sits with the luggage in the terminal building. Once they are packed up in the car … it’s a drive in a one-way tunnel through the mountain to get out of town and on your way.
First stop would be the wildlife center just outside of Whittier, and on the way to Anchorage. Here they can see bears up close as they are rehabilitated after wounds in the wild. There are tons of other cool animals to see there as well. The Portage Glacier is also before this and a great photo stop.
There is a great burger/pizza place between the Wildlife Center and Anchorage for lunch. I don’t the name right now, but if they’re coming to cruise this summer they can ask me when they arrive – or anyone along the way! (It’s an “everyone knows everyone” kind of area). :O)
We bring our guests to the Alyeska Mountain Resort to ride the ski lift and see beautiful view from the top. About a 1/4 mile to Anchorage.
The drive is a beautiful one! Anchorage city itself is not that large, but there are a few interesting sights. The Native Heritage Center is a cool attraction; there is also a unique zoo. The downtown is pretty small and will only take an hour or so to see it all.
I hope that helps a bit.
:O) Shawn
Thanks Shawn, sounds fantastic.
SPLENDOR GROUP – I see from your comments that you were on the Carnival Liberty with me last year, I truly hope you had a fantastic time and again this year on the Carnival Miracle. I will be on the Carnival Freedom in January from the 12th to the end of the month including the Bloggers Cruise on the 19th. I do not know my schedule yet for December 2008 but hopefully I will get to see you and your group on at least one of your forthcoming cruises. Please keep
reading the blog thingy until then and if you need any more information I will be here for you.
JO MYERLY – You asked about the tour, which gives you the most shopping time in Florence. We just started a new one called Highlights of Florence and Shopping. This includes a guided tour of all the top sights in Florence including the Duomo Cathedral and the Ponte Vecchio Bridge and then the entire afternoon for free time shopping. There are loads of shops to choose from and
plenty of seats for husband s to sit together, hold hands and pray they will have some money left when you return. I should now, my wife wanted a dress from Florence by someone called Roberto Cavalli that was the same price as a small island off the coast of the Bahamas so its Marks and Spencers for her from now on (a British store similar to JC Penney in the States). I don’t think you will have time to do all three of the sights you mentioned and still have lots of free shopping time however if you do the Florence On Your Own tour you will be able to see the Statue of David at the Acadamia Museum and then have shopping time. Hope this helps Jo and see you soon.
HENRY DENNIS – Let me apologize for not answering your question the first time you sent across to me. I think it must have gotten lost somewhere between Italy and Spain! Thank you also for all your support to Carnival as a travel agent for AAAAAAAAAA (I gave you a few more A’s, you can never have enough) Vacations in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now, you mentioned a client that had a huge balcony on the stern of the ship on the Carnival Leg End and how much he loved it. I know those cabins and they are amazing and a bit of a secret as many do not realize just how much space
those corner balconies give you. Therefore, you asked about the same cabin on the Carnival Freedom for the transatlantic (is that one word or two, I never know) but after checking I am
sorry to say that the answer is no. The balconies on the 9A cabins are indeed, as reservations told you, 80 square feet – I measured it myself! I cannot begin to tell you the looks myself and one of the entertainment staff got yesterday before the guests boarded from the stateroom steward as we measured the balcony. The cabins are wonderful though and they have the best views as you watch the ship’s wake, the sunrise, sunset and the changing horizons. The
Carnival Legend is part of the Spirit class while this one is part of the Carnival Conquest class and therefore they are quite different. Please ask your client if there is anything else I can do, I am quite handy with a hammer and I can also move the furniture around if needed. I send my
best to you and your colleagues and I remain at your disposal.
LINDA AND MIKE THE BULB CHANGER – Thank you once again for your kind posting and especially your words of congratulations about the blog and your wish for these to be put into a book. I have asked the office in Miami for direction on this but so far we have not gotten it off the ground, hopefully we will soon. I plan to stay here for your cruise which will probably be my last before a break as I am going flat out like an Aston Martin Vanquish (186 mph) and I hope I will still be fully functioning by then. As for Heidi being worried about me being faithful while she was away, she knows she has nothing to worry about. Although, I did have a lady banging on my door all nigh long and finally I had to let her out. With regard to your other question about adjoining cabins, I am happy to report that on all Conquest class ships this option is available. They are booked as family rooms. My best friend Alan Adkins has a tough time because he is a sex object. He asks all the girls for sex and they object 🙂 Wow. Just read the postings you made for Angelina and the address. I have passed this on to our friends in Miami to continue the follow up. You are quiet the detective Miss Marple. OK, send my best to Mike and the bulbs are ready for him to change.
DAVID FROM BARBADOS MON – I have decided never to speak the ladies name again and hopefully my marketing ploy worked and she will be gracing the beautiful ships of Holland America next time. I also never want to see a mah jong game ever again, if I do I think I may break all the environmental rules and regulations and send it overboard for the fish to play. Hope things in paradise are well and one day I may come and have a game of beach cricket with you mon.
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF – You know what? It is 5:40 pm here, I have been up since 6:30am, I just finished a meeting with a group of 64 guests who missed the ship in Rome and joined today in Naples, Heidi is not here, I stubbed my toe on the fridge, the only Aston Martin I have is a toy one (grateful as I am), my fingers ache from typing, I couldn’t sleep last night, I can’t find
Angelina’s name in the phone book and I have a hemorrhoid. Then, I read your posting that you have decided, even though you had no intention of taking a cruise next year, to book the Bloggers Cruise. Now, most of my troubles seem so far away although I have to find someone to apply the hemorrhoid cream. Where’s my PA? Seriously though, what can I say, another person who has planned their hard-earned vacation time to be with me. All I can do for now is promise you that I will do my very best to make sure you have the most brilliant vacation ever.
Thanks mate.
MJS – Good to know that the information on the Spirit class proved useful and as I see from your posting it seems that I picked the correct ship for you. There are no plans at the moment that I am aware of to send a Spirit- class ship to Europe but the exciting runs to the western and eastern Caribbean that they all sail to are definitely something you should consider. Also, have
you consider Alaska? Have a good read through the website and if you have any questions please let me know. I do not know any of the cruise directors on Holland America but I am sure they will probably handle the lady whose name cannot be mentioned better than I did. I really let her get to me and I am a little ashamed. Please keep reading the blog thingy and hope to hear from you soon.
DON IN KENTUCKY – You are correct. Seeing Heidi leave a few days ago was very hard. We are both really bad at saying goodbye and as always there are a few tears. It was also hard because I really could do with 12 days off but this blog thingy has opened so many doors and one of them is that many people have booked a cruise just to visit with me and I cannot let them down. How wonderful that after paying for so many vacations for your daughter, she is paying her
way on the Holiday this week for graduation, she and her friends will have the most wonderful time I am sure. Thank you again for your kind words of support and I am typing this blog while starring at a photo of my stunningly attractive lady. And next to Angelina’s is one of Heidi. That’s me in the house of hounds then.
BIG ED – Alan has been busy the last few days saving lives around the Essex coast. He has the weekend off though and no doubt will be in the corner of the Cliff Pub (located on Wrongen Avenue) drinking his pint of Benders Best Bitter. Alan will be joining us on the bloggers cruise and I will make sure he takes us to the supper club one night and he will be paying. Here is a photo taken yesterday of Alan Adkins, can we do a
wanted poster as you suggested please?
a photo taken yesterday of Alan Adkins
Now, the name of the Spa. I think you have probably won the contest already with your idea of BOADACIOUS SPA. I know what the word means and I think it is a brilliant name for the Spa on the Carnival Splendor. We need to build an elevator that goes directly there and instead of using the treadmills for walking on, we can put all 20 of the machines together and use it as a conveyor
belt to transport food like they do at those Sushi places. See, together we have a winning brand. How can they possibly not make us the winners? Now, I just read your posting about wanting to be like the kid from the Subway commercial. Let’s discuss this when you sail over a porterhouse steak with all the trimmings. I tried to open the link for the Esquire articles but I got blocked however, my PA tells me it was a great article and that she looks like “quiet a handful.” Well, I am the man to tame her and I intend to boldly go where no cruise director has gone before and get her to be the Carnival Splendor’s Godmother. Big Ed, you can be a Klingon. Please tell Mrs Big Ed not to be sad. I have my Aston Martin DB9 but I don’t have the Vanquish yet – hint, hint .
I have asked permission to write a letter to Angelina, and my colleague Vance is working on this as we speak and it should be ready soon. I will then post it on the blog and my PA will work on forwarding it onto others. I am confident we can get this done.
DEBBIE WAGNER – Do you have the names of your friends who are here at the moment as part of the “Camping Singles Group.” I hope they found somewhere to pitch their tent, maybe Lido deck? I am also glad to hear that you have just discovered this blog thingy through the CruiseMates web site and it will not be long before you are here yourself for your Thanksgiving cruise. Let me know your friends name and I will pass a message on to them for you. Keep reading the blog and see you soon.
LOUISE AND MICHEL – On July the 1, your vacation begins and you asked about renting a tuxedo onboard. We do offer a full range for both men and ladies. The price is $85 for an elegant tuxedo and you can reserve one onboard at the Formalities shop on Deck 5. As for excursions for you and your family, may I suggest the following based on your family’s demographics. Then, have a read about these tours online at www.carnival.com/freedom and then smash your mouse over the thingy that says shore excursions. Here are the ones I think you and your family will enjoy and I have not gone for the long tours as you have the 12 year old with you.
The only long tour there is Florence and Pisa, the rest are around four to five hours. They include must not miss sites such as Ephasus and the mosques of Istanbul and most leave time for the family to spend together ashore after the tours. If you have any questions please let me know. My best to you and the family and see you soon.
BETSY – Welcome home from what sounds like the perfect vacation aboard the Carnival Glory. I am not surprised you fell in love with very small wee Jimmy. Did you know that before he was a cruise director he used to be a model on top of wedding cakes. He is a charmer is he not and certainly if you feel that you want to express your feelings for him go right ahead. Your kind words about cruise directors are indeed well received and well taken. I am so lucky to have found something that I never even new I could do but thanks to Carnival I am here today doing what I love. The best thing you said in your posting was “once you cruise, you want to again and again.” That is great news to everyone in the cruise industry and I am sure that when you will book your next cruise you will feel the same again. Thank you again for all your wonderful words.
PAULETTE’S MUM – Always great to hear from you and its nice to hear that P&O Cruises took care of you despite the problems you had with the delayed disembarking of guests. Have a great time in China and if you meet the lady whose name cannot be mentioned please send her best regards and remind her Holland America is the most amazing cruise line in the world. Have a safe trip.
ROBERT KERR – Unfortunately our Thursday date cannot be moved, it is a ritual and even in the Today At A Glance section of The Carnival Capers. I agree with you that as your flight lands at 11:10 am that you should indeed come straight to the ship, settle into your new home, relax and enjoy. The next day, remember you will be in Naples and have a long day touring. I tried the Grits but I have to say they are not for me. It was strange because I walked into our restaurant and said to Ken the maitre d’, “Do you serve Grits?” ” Sure ” he said, ” We serve anyone – sit down.” See you very soon.
BARB AND HER TEDDY BEAR CUDDLY CARL – The joke was very funny; I will send you one of the same sort in a moment. I cannot believe you bought a copy of the Olsen movie I was in on ebay. I am so embarrassed. Talking of ebay, is there any Carnival memorabilia on sale? I just do not have time to look. Thank you for sending me a big hug, I need it with Heidi away. Here is a joke for you. WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOOGERS AND BROCOLI? KIDS WON’T EAT BROCOLI. See you soon.
HOTLANTA – The Dance Club is called the 70’s Dance Club because of the interior design. However, we do have dedicated theme nights, which include a 70’s happy hour and also one from the 80’s as well. I think Mr Hotlanta will be very happy. Don’t forget we have a Talent Show and our Carnival Legends Show, maybe your husband can audition for Elton John! See you in 23 days and let me know if you think of any other questions.
DOUG NEWMAN – Welcome back mate and thank you for the review. I see you had some rough weather as well and I can imagine that on a smaller ship it must be even more exhilarating seeing the waves break over the bow. Your reviews are so well-written and I am truly honored to have a distinguished writer and cruise historian read this humble blog thingy. I had no idea that NCL had sold the Marco Polo. I know the company is making lots of changes at the moment and I guess this is another. The information you also provided on mah jong is very valuable as well. I had no idea that it was played so frequently in the United States as well as China. I have ordered five sets for the ship and I have suggested that we order them fleetwide as well. I look forward to your article and I am sure I speak for all the people reading this blog that we appreciate your insight into this wonderful industry and hope you provide us with many more. Thanks mate.
DARA – Dara, let me say a big hello to the TRAVEL AND TOURISM CLASS AT YTI CAREER INSTITUTE IN YORK, PA. Welcome to the best industry in the world and I hope you are enjoying your time discovering all the wonderful opportunities that being part of this industry offers. If you have any questions on the cruise world please send me a wish list and I will answer them for you as best I can. Until the, have fun and hope to hear from you all soon. Thank you Dara for reading the blog and passing it onto the rest of the class.
ZYDECOCRUISER – Hello Mate. You and Big Ed have both spotted that the Carnival Splendor’s Baltic cruises are indeed all sold out. I think the blog helped a little in making this happen so I am very proud. Don’t forget that the Carnival Freedom has a full season of European cruising next year to both the Grand Med and Greece and Turkey. I have yet to read Bob’s new book but hopefully I will get a copy soon. Would you read mine if I did one? Thanks mate and please keep the comments coming.
LES/LOREE – Thanks, mate, I needed that. I really was beginning to get self conscious about my comments about the lady who cannot be named so I am glad to hear that you did not interpret this as so. The curse is lifted. Cheers for that.
GREG – Hope you are enjoying the French Open and we will have the highlights of Wimbledon on the Sky News channel which is played 24 hours a day on the ships TVs. You also asked about tipping ashore in Europe. You will find that gratuities are usually added to most restaurant bills in Italy, France, Spain etc. This is usually 10 percent although it is 15 percent Rome I believe. As for taxis, just twp euros on top of the fare are standard and bellman etc about the same. Remember therefore, to have some Euro coins in your pocket at all times. Enjoy the tennis and see you in a few weeks.
DEBY – Did you see the blog from yesterday? In there was what the lady who cannot be mentioned did to Ken. It is hilarious. Please keep reading the blog thingy and all the best.
DENISE AND GARO – OK, first of all, eject the Aerosmith CD and put in some soothing jazz, maybe some Coltrane or Bud Powell. Then, pour yourself some fine wine, I recommend Mad Dog 20/20 and then close your eyes and repeat. I will relax, I will relax – 100 times. While you are doing that let me tell you that you are doing the write thing by taking the Vatican Tour with the transfer to the Hilton Hotel and that you can always book, no, I need to be definite you I think, You WILL book the Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri Tour when you get onboard after you will attend my welcome aboard talk at 4:30pm. You will then kiss Garo and tell him you love him and then you will have a wonderful cruise. Who needs Doctor Phil?
CAROL – I am sad with Heidi. Does this show in my writing? Thank you for offering to lobby the TV shows for Angelina to be our Godmother. I can only hope that somehow she will get to know. Carnival fully supports me on this and I have if all else fails I will ask my PA to stand outside the studios with a large banner reading “Angelina, please be the Splendor’s godmother.” Carol, thank you for all your support to this blog and all the best from Heidi and I.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – How slow is it in Podunk. How do you spend your day? Do you eat grits/ Do you drink moonshine/ for some reason I have an episode of the Dukes of Hazzard in my mind. Hope you are enjoying yourselves. Write soon.
JTODDINMAN – That is a great idea. We do this for travel agents during familiarization trips. The only problem is the one you pointed out, that if the ship is sold out we cannot show any cabins to other guests. Therefore, I am asking Roberto and Frank who are the brains behind the website and this blog to see if we can add links to the cabins on this site for the various class of
ships. I will also pass this suggestion on to sales and marketing that if indeed we have open cabins that we can show them to other guests. Please keep the idea coming that is what this blog thingy is for. Hope to hear from you soon and I will get back to you about the cabin shots.
LYLEBA – Congratulations on your son’s marriage this past weekend. I am sure it was a very special day and please pass all of our best wishes to your son and daughter in law. Where did they honeymoon? I am also looking forward to meeting your Cruise Critic group in September and I am sure we will have a lot of fun together. Now, as far as transportation to Rome’s other airport FCO at this time we do not offer any transport to there, but, we should and I am
working on it. Please give me a few days and I will let you know what we can arrange as we have many UK and European guests fly out of there. Leave it with me and I will return soon with an answer. Thanks and best regards.
ESSEXMAN – my mate Alan Adkins is an ion!
TOMMY AND AUXILLA TANG – I am so sorry that you did not get a DVD of the Welcome Show and I will make sure that you do. Please post your mailing address. It will not be made public but I will be able to send it to you. Thank you for al the fun you gave the guests and most of all please do not feel it necessary to apologize on behalf of Chinese people for the behavior of the lady who cannot be mentioned. I have been doing this for 20 years (next week and I know never to judge a nation, religion group on the actions of one person. She was just…interesting ..and of course no reflection on the heritage that I know you are so proud of and one of which I have great affection for. I look forward to hearing from you soon and again thanks for saying how much fun you had on your cruise and I hope we get to do it again someday soon.
DORTHE CALIMBAS – Thank you for sharing your Kleenex story and it goes to show that some people are just more vocal than others. I am glad you are one of the many who pay attention in Life Boat Drill. The majority of folks do these days as I think world events have made it a clear and present necessarily to do so. Thank you for your support of Angelina to be godmother, please go forth and shout it from the streets and please keep reading the blog thingy.
MRS HOT STUFF – So, thank to you we have Brad’s publicist’s name. I will research this and see if we can make contact. Maybe Brad can be a complimentary godfather. Hearing that you “laugh so hard ” at the blog each time you read it makes me very happy, so thank you and I will try and keep the laughs coming.
MARIA – Thank you for offering to search high and low for Angelina’s contact information. I wonder if she will see the spike in her name being searched on the world wide webbing thing? I appreciate your help and if there is anything I can do in return, please let me know.
KATHY KROLL – Thanks for wishing Heidi a great vacation at home with Mum, she deserves as she works so very hard. Thank you for adding the site of all your photos, they are fantastic. Also, I will indeed pass on a message to Joan who is in cabin 8455 and wish her a happy vacation from you. Not long now to your Carnival Splendor cruise, only 400 days, that’s nothing. See you soon Kathy.
CHAZON – I spoke with the lady who is putting all the tours together for the Baltic last week. Her name is Tracey and she is working very hard to put an exciting and unique program together. As soon as everything is finalized, I promise to make sure that I inform, all of you via this blog as I know so many of you are sailing. Watch this space. Thanks Chazer — your new name:)
KEVIN AND BARBARA EHRINGER – It sounds like you are very excited and what a fabulous way to spend your fourth wedding anniversary here on the Carnival Freedom. It will be an anniversary to remember. See you soon.
JAMES EMM – Thank you for the link to www.angelinajolie.com. I am noticing that is an unofficial web site but I will try and post a comment there and if any others want to, well, I would appreciate it. maybe she does read it. I can’t promise you a free cruise if you help lobby for her to be the godmother, but I will promise you some very special behind the scenes footage of what happens. Thanks mate and please keep reading.
ROY AND TERRY – How FANTASTIC. Mum at the age of 81, is coming on the Bloggers Cruise. I am so grateful that you booked this and she, I am sure, will have the most fantastic time. Thank you for the story, which did the trick and brought a smile to my face. I hope you both are well and please tell Mum I send her my best regards and want a dance with her when she is onboard.
MTSFPBLFTTNSFCF – There, that’s better. Thank you mate for your support in getting Angelina to be the Godmother. Carnival executives are all supporting this and are working furiously behind the scenes to try and get the word out. However, we must continue to lobby from this blog and together we can make this happen. Hope you like your new name. Write soon please.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – Thank you for your support about the lifeboat drill. Also, your story about other guests and crew helping you due to your walking difficulties leads me to repeat myself. This would never happen in a hotel, most of the time you are lucky just to get a hello out of another hotel guest. I will take your advice mate and add more information about safety on other blogs. Thank you for your support on Angelina. The force is with us!
THE JOHNSTON 4 – What a great story. I look forward to meeting all four of you soon. It must be hard as a Dad having such a beautiful daughter and always having the boys following her around. I shall arrange for them all to be locked up in their cabins when you cruise. The trip will be fun, peaceful and exciting all at the same time, promise. See you soon and thank you for your support of this blog.
SHERRI – I will be reading your message out on my Morning Show tomorrow and I shall make sure Steve gets the weather update. Hope the weather stays fine where you are and for the first time this season, I am hoping Venice stays dry. Thank you for your support of Carnival Cruise Lines and I will make sure the group has a brilliant time.
NANCINURSE – No stats on the age of guests on your cruise yet Nanci but should have them by July 1st. Shops in Florence and the area will ship wine home from Italy and also there is a post office at Rome airport so you can always mail from there. Keep in touch and it will not be long until you are here.

That’s the Q & A — Back after the show.

Ok, here I am. I started this blog at 4:46 am and finishing at 12:15 am. What a day.

The show went well and there were some great characters, especially a choirmaster from Texas! The crowd was a little quiet tonight and all of sudden there are kids on board. We have nearly 300 but it feels like more. I was thinking how lucky kids are these days to take a European vacation cruise.

I have been showered with gifts from bloggers — toy cars, a hat from Australia, sugar-free candy, train books, T – Shirts, bagels from N.Y, Tim Horton’s coffee from Canada and even a photo of me from 1994. I want to thank all the bloggers for your gifts, it really is not necessary but I am so thankful. I won’t mention you all by name as I don’t want to forget anyone but to all the bloggers sailing this cruise, thank you. We have a meeting planned for the second sea day.

By the way, one of the photos I got was of the Sensation and a Holland America ship (I can’t work out which one) sailing side by side. This was taken on the inaugural of the Sensation and I remember the sailing together of the then two brands well. It got me thinking, what a great photo it would be today with a ship from each of the family sailing side by side. I wonder if that could ever be done, a photo like that at sea would be terrific. A ship from:

P & O

All sailing in a row in formation taken by helicopter? Probably could never happen. Could it?
Just one quick story from tonight. I was getting my pre-show coffee from the café when I noticed a young man about 20 years of age sitting in a chair crying. I watched a few guests walk by and some looked very concerned but kept walking. I asked the café server if she knew what was wrong but she said he had just been sitting there sobbing his heart out for the last few minutes. So, I went over and introduced myself and passed him a few napkins to dry his eyes. I asked him if I could help in anyway. He shook his head and said nothing. I was not certain what to do next so I called someone from medical. Then, a lady came over and sat next to him. She put her arm around him and he buried his head in her neck.

She introduced her self as his Mum; I won’t mention her name. She told me that this cruise had been planned for the last few years as a family, however, the son’s fiancé who was supposed to be here with them had recently passed away at just 19 years of age and seeing other couples smile and laugh together and really upset him.

Now, I do not feel comfortable telling you how, as I don’t have permission but, I can tell you that she passed away during an event that shocked the world a few months ago and something I wrote about in a blog. I did not know what to say. His Mum just hugged her son and I wrote my cabin telephone number down for her (something I never do) and told her to please call me if they needed anything. One of the nurses arrived and walked them back to their cabin. I will
call them tomorrow and ask the stupid question, is there anything I can do because I know there is not. All I can do is try and bring a touch of joy back into their lives even if for just a brief minute and call them every day to offer my support.

So, that was a tough way to go into the show and now it’s time for bed. Thank you to everyone for making this blog so popular. I owe you all so much. Here is a press release from today.

And now its bedtime but before I go and I am sure this is going to get me in trouble but here she is. Note the clenched fists, this was her usual posture and the poor lad who took the photo was paid danger money as she screamed at him. So, I proudly present OUR PHOTO FINISH the lady who cannot be named having her photo taken for reasons hopefully she will never know and soon to be found sailing on Holland America.

the lady who cannot be named


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.