Goodbye to the Queen of the Seven Seas

June 18, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning……………….It is now 5:45am and I am here with Heidi preparing to start debarkation in Rome. The sun is already shining and it looks like it will be a beautiful day. I found it hard to get out of bed today and I feel quite tired. Heidi and I have now been working flat out since February 10th and I guess it is catching up on me today. So, as I stiffle a big yawn and in between disembarking the guests I will attempt to catch up on some questions and also have a bit of fun with you all as well.

Oh, by the way, talking of February which was when Heidi and I arrived in the shipyard, here are some photos that I thought you would enjoy. These photos are of the ship a few months before it was ready to sail and also some of the Cunard ship Queen Victoria which was being built alongside us. I have been wondering when to post these. But as you will see from below today is the perfect day.

Queen Victoria side by side with the Carnival Freedom The bulbous bow of the Queen Victoria Queen Victoria in dry dock
Carnival Freedom February 2007 Queen Victoria February 2007 Victoriana Lounge (Main Show Lounge) on the Carnival Freedom
Casino on the Carnival Freedom without the tables Promenade Deck of the Carnival Freedom under construction The disco dance floor
John’s favorite bar The Habana Cigar Bar Seaside Theatre without the big screen Slide wrapped up for the winter
Queen Victoria as seen from the Carnival Freedom The Gym….Allegedly The rope and mooring deck
One of the propeller shafts of the Queen Victoria And now both Carnival Freedom’s lifeboats delivered from Holland
A resting place for the seagulls Queen Victoria bow at night John and Heidi’s House
Queen Victoria on her way to sea trials Another ship under construction, don’t know which one

Last night the cast held a party backstage to say goodbye to Heather our Senior Entertainment Technician who is responsible for the backstage operations during the shows. Heather will be missed and as I know her family are blog readers I wanted to make sure they knew how proud they should be of her work here. We will miss her.

This morning, we are at our new terminal in Civitavecchia and things are going a little slower than usual but that is to be expected. I said goosbye to as many of the BLOGGERS as I vould but I missed some so I hope they got the messages I left on their voice mails. I enjoyed meeting you all and wish my job allowed me more time to spend with you and I hope you all continue to read the blog thingy until we meet again.

I spoke to my mate Alan yesterday who is loving all the attention he is getting on the blog. He and his family are sailing in August so I will make sure we take lots of photos of him in his Speedos. As we chatted yesterday Alan was give me a good ” bollocking ” which means he was not happy about me discussing with thousands of people that he used to have a van with The A Team Stripe down the side. I apologized and told him it could have been worse if I told everyone about the time he was coming home from an office party on the train……………..he asked me not to mention it, so I won’t……….for now.

Back on board we have been debarking guests for about 1 hour and 45 minutes ( shows you how long it has taken me to type the little I have ) and we have 1200 guests off the vessel.
I read stories all the time about private transportation that arrives late and some not at all. This is the case this morning with a group of 42 from a group called ………actually, maybe I should not mention the travel agency as they are a very large organization and I do not want to be sued. So, this group have been waiting outside on the pier since 6:30am, I know because they are right outside my window. I asked a staff member to go over and talk to them and they have people within the group with 9:45am flights. It is now 7:44am and if the bus does not come soon, I think they may have problems making the flight. The Group Leader is trying to call the bus company but from what I understand, she is having no joy.
The problem is that we don’t have spare buses for people just to hop on. All the buses we use have to pre ordered and therefore at this point there is little we can do. I hope the bus comes.
Now, some of you may be thinking that this is John’s way of telling us to buy Carnival transportation but honestly it is not. All I am saying is that the sort of thing that is happening to this group is common wheras the gentlemen who is charge of our transportation Perry is the king of his world and provides a 100% service.
So, please be careful and make sure you research the company you are using. Most are excellent, some definatley are not………………..the bus is still not here.

Heidi just called me on the radio and said the group leader is now really desperate. We are all trying to get hold of the bus company she has used ( I would love to publish the name but I cannot ) but we are getting a voice mail message.

On a lighter note and just before I start the Q and A, I wanted to let you know about a guest who last night did something that is common place. She packed all her clothes, put her suitcase outside the door as required and woke up this morning ……………with nothing to wear except her nightdress. Now, you would have expected her to call someone to help her but she decided to walk ashore with her husband who also had nothing to wear except what he slept in wearing bathrobes.
Guests walking of in bathrobes have no place to hide and they might as well hang a big sign round their necks saying ” we left nothing out to wear, please laugh at us “………………………and everyone did. Heidi escorted them off the vessel and I asked if I could mention them in the blog – they had no idea what I was talking about but they were happy to share their embaressment if it would help others and as heidi gave them the blog page adress thingy, I know they are reading this.

Therefore, good morning to Mr and Mrs Margret and Harold Chambers who are home now and had to change into their clothes in the terminal bathrobes. Harold was apprently dressed only in the bathrobe when he disembarked but got through customs because he had NOTHING TO DECLARE. Thanks to you both for adding to this fun cruise.

Just received a care package from Carl and Barb, my favorite Bears. I received some sugar free chocolates, Heidi got some starburst and most importantly I got a matchbox DB7 car. Thank you so much for your generosity, I am truly touched by this. I also got 11 other letters from bloggers and past cruisers so I guess slapping on my address was a good idea. I will reply to you all via the blog ASAP, but thank you so much.

Here is today’s trivia question.

THE MOVIE TRIOLOGY ” LETHAL WEAPON ” HAS A CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE CONNECTION – WHAT IS IT?
Ok, its off we go with today’s Q and A.

JO MYERLY – Yes Jo, the Eiffel Tower lady was indeed a trip but she unfortunatley blamed me saying that I had called it this and spoke about it during my Cannes Travel Talk. I apologized and said I was sorry if I had mislead her…………….sometimes it is better to admit defeat before the battle starts. I hope she enjyed her trip to the Leaning Tower Of Eiffel, we all make mistakes, it is what makes the world so much fun, wouldn’t it be boring if everything was perfect all the time?
Hope you are well Jo and talk to you soon.
THE PRIVATE GROUP’S BUS HAS JUST COME – 1 HOUR AND 40 MINUTES LATE – I DOUBT SOME WILL MAKE THEIR FLIGHT
ROCHELLE – That is very interesting. So RCCL had saved all the clothes that people leave behind for guests with missing luggage. I am not sure our guests leave too much behind but it certainly it is a good idea. I am going to make a call to the Pursers and Houskepping now and see how many items are left.
Ok, we do have some items but not enough to start handing out clothes to guests with missing luggage. However, I think it is a good idea and maybe we can pool our resources from around the fleet. Thank you Rochelle and I will let you know how this goes. Hope you keep reading the blog thingy and all the best.
HEIDI – BETH – I am glad you like the blog so much and Heidi really likes your name. There is as you have seen always something going on here that will make you smile or sometimes laugh out loud. Then, there are situations that make you ver sad indeed………………..thats life on a cruise ship.
The best thing about your comment was that you mentioned Aston Martin and asked if there is room on the ship to drive one……………..yes – round the jogging track although that might be difficult because I have never been able to find the jogging track.
I am sure you are excited about your Carnival Glory trip and if I can help in anyway before hand please let me know.
BOB HICKLY – And of course I rember you and your group, how could I not as you and the entire group were so much fun, all the time. You must be exhausted. I am happy to hear that you are cruising with me in April next year and I hopw we can have just as much fun as we did a few weeks ago. Please say hello to all the family from Heidi and I and don’t worry about my Alabama friend, it is people like her that brighten my day. Missing you all here very much. Yaba Daba Doo.
STORMIN NORMAN – I had heard about Lorraine Artz the passenger who was Godmother of the Royal Princess from PA 007. Apparently she did a great job and PA 007 reported that Mrs Artz was resplendent in a beautiful dress by top designer T.A. Too ( Honk Kong’s top designer ) and as she stood a breast of the vessel the bottle smashed first time which is the main thing. Congratulatioons to princess and congratulations to Lorraine who must be so proud. She has spent as you said 4,100 days at sea and to thank her Princess gave her this honour……..and as a special gift………………….they gave her a free cruise!
Hope all is well Norman and Ausie, Ausie, Ausie.
DOUGNEWMANATSEA – The sun story is brilliant and proves yest again that the tourist is the best source of comedy in the world. I will pass your thaks to PA 007 who does indeed have some great sources but I am concerned that soon PA’s boss – M – will indeed that instead of doing what PA is supposed to time is being spent in clandestine operations for me. I have this image of PA turning up for work back in Miami in the corner cubicle wearing all black and a black balaclava.
I am sorry you cannot open any of the Grand Turk photos but thank you for correcting me on the name of the Holland America ship. I was told by the chap that took them that it vws the Prinsendam but after research you are correct that it is indeed The Oosterdam.
I would love to sail on a Holland America ship and you are correct Mr Arison did buy them first and even though some people were concerned that Carnival would change the lines tradition and style all Mr Arison did was make sure they were elevated into a postion of strength thanks to marketing and of course providing them with new vessels in which to keep those traditions front and center at least that is what I think but when the decision was made to buy Holland America I could not attend the board meeting as I was having my hemeroids seen to, otherwise I would have been there.
When are you on the Carnival Victory? Hope to hear from you soon and if you have any more missions for PA 007 – let me know.
JERRY CALVERT – Thanks for the comments and Carnival is as you say working very hard to make sure that the piers in Cozumel are indeed rebuilt after the dreadufl hurricane damage they endured. With regard to your TransAtlantic information, can you be a liitle more specific on what details you need help with and I will be more than happy to make sure you get the right information. Looking forward to hearing from you.
ESSEXMAN – You forgot Pater Pans Playground and Alan’s favorite Leigh Tip. Your three serious suggestions are spot on especialy Colchester being the oldest town in England. Sometimes we take the micky out of Essex but it is a beautiful county. Heidi sends her best to you and asks if you know any Essex Girl Jokes?
HIJEAN – If you were here, I would kiss you ( on the cheek ) and then have you tel;l this story on stage tonight. I am sure that when we sail that we will have people with missing luggage and maybe your comments will reasure them that our onboard staff will do their best to make sure the airlines work hard to get the missing bags here. I am going to forward your comments to the Pursers to let them know that their efforts are appreciated. I hope things improve in the airline industry and with the ever increasing costs, smaller seats, long lines, extra security and the chance of arriving with no bags, those little bags of peanuts they give us should be little bags of lobsters and caviar.
So, thank you for this and all the support you give the blog thingy.
R – D- C-ETTE DEBBIE – The weather this cruise was much better apart from the rough seas in Cannes so the guests were very lucky. I have no idea how I will manage without Heidi next year on the Carnival Splendor. She will obviously visit me as much as possible and we will see how it goes. Thank you for thinking of me and Heidi and your kind thoughts help me get through the busy day ahead.
JUDY MICHAELS – It is a small world is it not that just at the start of this blog I was typing how a group had booked a bus to pick them up and that it was nearley two hours late, and then I read your comments. I am sorry that you went through the misery of being stung for $186 dollars when your transport did not arrive and hopefully people will indeed be wary of the perils of private transportation here in Italy and indeed other destinations.
I am so glad you enjoyed the cruise and I thank you and your family for spending your valuable time on the vessel with us and I hope the overall memory will be one of fun and great exploration rather than the issues we just discussed. Until the next time, please keep reading the blog thingy.
LINDA HERNACKI – As always Linda your comments brighten my day. Thursdays indeed may not be enough and I am looking at the possible adition of Monday afternoons as well, I will keep you posted.
When you said that the bloggers were extended family for Heidi and I ayou are indeed correct and I am sure that whatever happens in our lives we will be sharing it all, the good and the bad with you all. Best to you and Mike the Head Of Bulb Exchange.
Essexman – Smart man !
THERESA TAYLOR – Larry would not take my call. Oh well, there will be other oppertunities to make AJ see that this is one chance she should take to be by my side……………………and of course to be Godmother of the CS. With your support and others on this blog I will not give up the Quest For The Holy Jolie.
Hope to see you soon Theresa.
VIKKI – Look for Heidi’s next blog which is due soon and she will be telling you all about the joys of Herring. Personaly, I like my fish to come in newspaper and accomponied by chips and not with the head still on and a pair of eyes staring at me saying ” you bas%$#@ ” for eating me.
Where is Mat?
FREDDY BEACH – Great Name. October will be here before you know it and yes, you are considering a great tour and one I love…………Mount Etna at 2900.
Up you go to the bottom crater by bus, then its all on a cable car and from there the 20 minute ride to the top. Once there you get in a Unimog 4 wheel drive truck and down into the top crater you go. You will need a coat, there will be snow on the ground and all I can say is WOW…………..this is an amazing indescribable place. There you will be, standing atop a live volcanoe……………………..incomparable.
So Freedy, book it now because this is one tour that does indeed always sell out.Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
JAMES NOLAN – Good Morning Iraq. This is indeed an honour ( spelt correctly ) to have you grace our website from where you are. How fantastic that you enjoyed your cruise so much, it feels like you were just here and now you are back serving your country. We all salute you kames and hope you stay safe. Please let us know when you can how you are doing.
SEWINGNUT – How is my wollen G String coming along. Crossfire was a game…………..you know what, Mum, please can you take a photo of my crossfire game please………………….one will be here on the next blog. Until then, get sewing, winter will soon be here and I refuse to wear these boxer shorts as heidi wants. It is always great to hear from you.
BREAKING NEWS FROM PA 007
QE2 To Leave Cunard Fleet And Be Sold To Dubai World To Begin A New Life At The Palm
June 18, 2007
Cunard Line today announced the sale of QE2 to Dubai World, in a US$100 million deal which will turn the iconic liner into a first-class tourism destination at The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.
QE2 will be delivered to Dubai World in November 2008, where she will cease her role as an ocean-going passenger vessel and be refurbished and adapted for her new home. From 2009, the vessel will be berthed at a specially-constructed pier to create a luxury floating hotel, retail and entertainment destination at The Palm Jumeirah, the world’s largest man-made island.
The ship, which was launched by Her Majesty The Queen in September 1967, 40 years ago this year, is the longest-serving ship in Cunard’s 168-year history, and was their longest-serving flagship. Since she came into service in 1969, she has undertaken 25 world cruises, has crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and has carried more than 2.5 million passengers.
QE2 has been purchased by Istithmar, the investment arm of Dubai World, a wholly owned company of the Government of Dubai. Nakheel, developer of The Palm Jumeirah, is also a Dubai World company
.
Carol Marlow, president and managing director of Cunard, said:”We are delighted that when her legendary career as an ocean liner ends there will continue to be a permanent home for her that will enable future generations to continue to experience fully both the ship and her history.”
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai World, said:
“QE2 is without a doubt one of the wonders of the maritime world, and is easily the most famous serving liner in the world today. I am delighted we will be able to create a home for her on the newest wonder of the world, The Palm Jumeirah.”
“QE2 at The Palm Jumeirah will become one of the must-see experiences of Dubai and of the Middle East. We are investing in creating a truly global tourism destination.”
“Dubai is a maritime nation and we understand the rich heritage of QE2. She is coming to a home where she will be cherished.”
Istithmar said its refurbishment programme will aim to recreate QE2’s original interior décor and fittings. QE2 at The Palm Jumeirah will also include a museum celebrating the rich history of the ship.

So, now you know why I decided to print the photos of the Queen Victoria being constructed in the Marghera Ship Yard outside of Venice.
As one grand old Queen leaves us another takes her place. So it is goodbye to probably the most famous Cruise Ship in the world ( still afloat ) and hello to a new addition and one who I am sure will take her place with regal dignaty beside her fellow royal The Queen Mary 2.

I wonder if there will be a third Queen soon. I obviously have no way of knowing but I am sure the brilliant minds at Carnival Coperation are already thinking of adding a third Queen to the fleet of this famous line………………………….I wonder what Queen she will be named after…………………….Maybe Queen Elizabeth 3, how about Queen Vamilla…………..oh no, forget that ……………………………what other Queens…………………………………….ah yes……………………………perfect………………………..Queen Elton John………………………….he can be the Godmother as well.

I have to go and do some proper work now and host my Welcome Aboard Talk…………………….wish you were here.

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.