Love Me Tender

June 18, 2007 -

John Heald

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL DADS – WHERE WOULD WE BE WITHOUT YOU?

Wow, What A Day………………..I am very tired as I start this blog at 8 pm. The ship was in Cannes, South Of France today and I awoke at 7 m ready to start the tendering operation. Yesterday evening, Captain Marino had discussed with me that due to high winds that were expected the afternoon we would be there that he may have to maneuver the vessel away from the usual anchoring spot to the other side of Cannes behind a small island called San Michel.

I decided therefore that it would be best to alert guests to this fact because they would return to the tender station ashore from their tours and exploration and see the ship GONE. This would be due to the fact the ship would be the other side of the island in front of Cannes and I imagined the panic in peoples mind when they see nothing but ocean and their cruise ship nowhere to be seen.

So, I had prepared the guests for this and I awoke this morning hoping that it would not be the case. We started tendering guests ashore in calm seas and, by 11 a.m., 2,800 guests were ashore leaving only 400 onboard. The winds were calm and the sun was shining as I made a general clearance announcement and then headed back to the cabin.

Then, at 12:10 pm the phone rang and the Captain said shortly he would have to move the ship as it was unsafe to take guests ashore and to have guests return to the vessel. Why, well we have two platforms or pontoons that are used for guests to board the tenders from and these were now virtually underwater, the swells were getting bigger and the wind was reaching 50 knots.

Heidi and I got ready quickly and grabbed Stephanie one of the entertainment staff and we caught the last tender going ashore before the Captain took up the anchor.

Previous to this, I had made an announcement that we would be moving the ship and therefore the tender service would stop for approximately one hour and 30 minutes.

The ride across to the pier was very rough as the tender danced to Mother Nature’s anger, so I knew we had made the right choice. Once at the pier we positioned ourselves around the entrance to the tender service pier and talked to guests suggesting that they take a walk into Cannes and return in an hour. Most did, some did choose to stay and wait.

The wait lasted one hour and 30 minutes and during this time Heidi, Stephanie and I spoke to guests and I remained in contact with the ship by my cell phone as the radio was out of distance (thanks to Roger in advance for paying my cell phone bill):

By 2:20 pm we were ready to start the tender service again, it had been a wait of 1hour and 45 minutes. I had called the ships agent Roberto (thanks for your help today, MERCI) and asked for an extra tender. By the time we started we had about 400 guests waiting to return and as they boarded I stood by the gangway and thanked them all for their patience. It is amazing 390 people said how they understood, a few said “What about lunch?” and, of course, there was one guest – there always is – who looked at me and said that this was “organized chaos and Carnival should be ashamed.” I tried to explain but after just a few words he said I was “full of sh#@” and got on the tender. I admit now, to the thousands of readers that I was close to losing my temper but I did control it and said nothing.

Anyway, I had called the ship and asked F&B to keep all the lunch options open until 5 pm which I am sure helped the guests – as to how many felt hungry after the roller coaster ride back to the ship. I am not sure.

Heidi and I stayed on the pier until 3 pm. I felt a bit “wobbly” as I had not eaten all day and my sugar level was probably low so that was a good excuse to go and have lunch/tea ashore.

The ship has just left and we were only 40 minutes late in sailing and, considering the tender ride was double the length of time it normally is, that’s not too shabby.

Here are two photos, one of the ship a long way away from the shoreline and one we took on the bridge of the tender boat.

A photo of the ship a long way away from the shoreline A photo on the bridge of the tender boat.

OK, it is show time so I will continue later.

OK, I am back and I have an hour and 30 minutes before the next show so while Heidi prepares the schedules for next cruise I will get on with some Q & A.

Oh, by the way, someone had a great time in Cannes today. Here is why with a message from Nate, our onboard golf pro.

John,

If you wouldn’t mind mentioning in one of your talks or on one of your shows before the end of this cruise, that Leland Stoddard III (age 17) of Beaufort South Carolina had a hole in one today on hole #8 at the Royal Mougins Golf Club. The hole was 160 meters long and he used a 5-wood.

And maybe could put it your blog as well. Here is a picture of him and his father.
Leland Stoddard III (age 17) of Beaufort South Carolina had a hole in one today on hole #8 at the Royal Mougins Golf Club.

Congratulations mate. I nearly hit a hole in one once but the clown’s arm came down from behind the windmill and blocked the ball.

Let me start by answering a few things from yesterday courtesy of my PA 007 who has provided us with the following information.

HERE IS TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION……………………….On what Carnival Ship would you find a lounge called TERRACES IN THE GROVE?

First of all, to the worried blogger who was concerned that the HOLIDAY was going to leave Alabama at the end of the year, I have this message.

There are no plans to remove the Holiday from Mobile. All programs are out thru 08 and Holiday is there.

So, great news for Alabama and I hope that PA 007 does not get into trouble for releasing this information. PA is after all only a filing clerk but has great connections in all of Carnival’s departments thanks to being part of Carnival Cruise Lines bowling team……………..PA tells me that there is always lots of gossip round the bowling lanes.

Also: I mentioned that P & O has Carnival’s ex-Jubilee ship sailing out of Australia and we were wondering about her name. PA 007 tells me it is PACIFIC STAR.

Finally, the godmother issue. The question was has anyone been godmother twice. The answer is yes, Madeleine Arison, the beautiful wife of Carnival Corporation & plc’s Chairman and CEO Micky Arison. Now, you are going to ask what ships? PA 007 will have to figure that one out as that information was not provided. Maybe, during the next bowling match PA can find out.

BREAKING NEWS JUST IN……………AS 007 IS FANTASTIC AT MULTI-TASKING. I RECEIVED THIS INFORMATION WHILE PA WAS BOWLING THIS EVENING IN A CARNIVAL vs COSTA BOWLING TOURNAMENT.

Tropicale, Carnival Triumph as well as Holland America Line’s Ryndam Costa Cruises’ Costa Tropicale ARE THE SHIPS NAMED BY MRS ARISON………………by the way, I am wearing am wearing a pair of hired bowling shoes……ouch!

Let’s start the Q & A from the BLOG WITH NO NAME addition……………….I have decided to tell you which blogs I am answering questions from as I am falling behind. This is due to the average comments reaching 60 per blog and I do not want people to think I have forgotten them.

Here we go.

VIKKI AND MATT – And this is the perfect place to start. Yes, I do remember when I only had five comments and questions to answer. Oh well, at least it shows that people are still reading the blog thingy. Thank you for saying you love the blog and that is the perfect way to give me energy to answer the next 14 pages of comments. Thanks Vikki.
BILL, MICHIGAN – Go ahead and link the photos Bill. We all look forward to seeing them mate.
I&MsMOM – At the time of writing PA 007 has not been able to glean any further information on the South America cruise in 2009. That information is locked in a vault well away from PA’s corner cubicle and only the top people at Carnival know what, where and when. However, I have the utmost faith using his skill and expertise PA 007 will be providing us with more information within the next few weeks. Stand by, PA always comes through. I am glad you are excited though as you are correct, it is going to be a great adventure.
BARBARA LYLE… – Now the MAGIC reference makes sense. Let me know when your Cruise Critic party is and if I am not on stage I will, of course, be there. You asked about the Rijksmuseum (it is one word in Dutch and notice the J) and if it is open. Heidi has checked and it will be open. Here is the link thingy that takes you to the information page.http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/index.jsp
While you are there you must go to Anne Frank’s House and also another Dutch tourist attraction called The Banana……..never mind. Have fun, Amsterdam is amazing and we will see you here in September.
RowdyCamperetteDebbie – I now acknowledge that you have indeed changed the name of Ma Jong to MaJohn, it is just that even writing the word gives me goose bumps and gas! I spoke to your friend live on the Morning Show and she was shocked and surprised to know that she had a big birthday and now the entire ship knew as well. We had a lot of fun and you sent her a gift as well. I loved the words “I am living a cruise through this blog” because that is one of my major objectives to make you all feel at home here. Thanks again from me MaJohn.
BIG ED – Spoke to all the bloggers onboard this week and your name as usual came up. To have you NOT on the Bloggers Cruise would be like Carnival without the Fun, Eggs without Bacon and Angelina without me…….Come on mate, I even promised to wash your underwear. I have spoken to my PA 007 about you becoming the assistant PA 0000001 and once PA is promoted then the job is yours along with a small corner cubicle. What do you think? As I was saying to Carol, it is a very small world. I DO NOT THINK I AM BEING CRUEL to Alan and when you meet him on the BLOGGERS CRUISE I am sure he will spill the beans on many things I got up to as a lad.
Here is today’s photo of Alan at 14 in his school uniform.
Here is today’s photo of Alan at 14 in his school uniform.
Thanks mate for the heads up with regards to Anita. We will be taking special care of her while she in on board.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – I cannot believe that you not only got the trivia question write but you WERE THERE. So was I and in 1988 I was a social host for the first time with Gary Hunter as cruise director. It really is a small world and indeed a fantastic one that nearly 20 years later we can reminisce about this awful movie………………and it was, awful. I am so happy you got the question correct but I would have rather you had won the island. I thought it was a charter but I guess I was wrong. I do remember Cyndi performing her hit “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and I also remember her bodyguard was a wrestler who for some unknown reason had a elastic band round his long moustache. Do you remember his name? I wish I could send you a prize but I hope instead that you consider my thanks for writing and my friendship good enough until we meet again when I will bestow chocolate covered strawberries upon you. Thanks Carol…………………..we go way back eh.
DWA76 – George and Ante were indeed maitre d’s and, as far as I know, both are still with us……………let me check and get back to you. I will indeed provide you of a photo of Alan’s A Team van, as I am sure I have one somewhere at home. Sorry the trivia question was so tough and how crazy that Carol was on the cruise it was shown. Maybe you will get today’s trivia question. Thanks for your comments and hop to hear from you very soon.
LINDA HERNACKI – I hope things work out for you and you are reunited with your brother. There is nothing more important in this world then family. Heidi is back on board now, all is well, except for I can’t find any clean socks as she has moved them somewhere. My best to you and Mike the Bulb.
KATHY KROLL – What a wonderful cruise history you have. Starting in 1969 till the present day. How funny that you mentioned Nick Navarro who, you are correct, did indeed choreograph our shows on the Ecstasy, Sensation and Imagination. Glad to hear that he is still going strong, please pass on my best regards to him, if you ever see him. As regards to you, I am sure you and Paul are still going very strong and hopefully strong enough to cruise soon.
Best Regards to you both.
LisaMarie & Sean – Welcome back home and I love hearing from people who have recently cruised on the Carnival Freedom. I am glad you took the rain in Venice and the angry seas we encountered in good spirits and I hope you had your sea legs. Comparing me to Julie from the Love Boat was interesting. I must admit, I have never have seen an episode, however, maybe it is time for a remake. Set on a ship where there is more than one bartender and from what I understand they show the cruise director doing a bit more than making sure people fall in love. You asked for a refund because of the rain and instead of money I am giving you a free Ma John set. I hope to see you soon, send my best to Sean and if I had known you were a dietician I would have asked you for some herbal tea.
HIJEAN – Although I am working very hard to include transfers from Ciampino, I do not think we will have them up and running for your cruise at the end of June. So, unfortunately I suggest you book yourself private transportation ahead of time as on the spot taxis are very expensive – approx. 150 Euros. Don’t worry about having wrinkled clothes, every one is wrinkled after flying for nine hours your hair will be a mess, everybody looks awful, so what’s the first thing we do…………………………………..WE TAKE YOUR PHOTO. This is one photo everybody buys very quickly, so that no one else can see how bad you look. It’s our most popular photo :)) See you in 12 days time. Have a safe flight.
JO MYERLY – Jo, I will of course keep you informed and if my PA 007 hears anything I am sure he will let me know. It will I am sure be a wonderful experience which I hope we share together.
JANET GUARDINO – What wonderful ideas for movies on the Carnival Splendor. I shall have to give the Carnival Splendor’s activities some serious thought soon I guess. I will keep you posted on the T-shirts and I promise we will have big sizes. I am glad that we have been able to include Russia as it is one of your dream ports and who knows, soon your other dream ports of Australia and Tahiti may be on the Carnival list of places to go. Thank you for your kind comments to me, it really made me smile. Please keep reading the blog thingy.
TORNWORDO – Welcome to the world of Blog. I am happy that you have discovered a new group of friends and hopefully you will find the information fun and informative ready for your cruise in June 2008. Please let me know if I can help in any way.
LINDA THE MOUSE – I am not surprised that shopping came first and I do not think you will be seeing the Titanic movie very soon on Carnival ships, however, I agree you haven’t really lived until you have seen a cruise ship sink on a big screen while on a cruise ship. Thanks as always for your kind comments, hope to hear from you soon.
SHEREE – Not long now and you will be here and I am sure the weather will be just perfect. Cell phone charges on board apply specific to your provider. While it is great to have constant service, I do have to admit that it is not cheap. So, I would advise that Courtney checks her messages as little as possible. Congratulations to her on her interview and I am glad you are enjoying the blog so much. I look forward to meeting you very soon.
SHARONR – You should right now have read my answer to your posting. I am working approximately three days behind in answering questions. I hope you understand sometimes it’s difficult every question on the day they are posted. Keep reading the blog and I am so happy that you have discovered it.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – I hope you are wrong too mate. It is getting harder to keep up with all the comments and questions, especially now we are averaging 60 per blog. I also have to say, that you are correct that I do not have much of a social life, however, I have an obligation to 350,000+ people who have thumbed on this blog thingy. The most important thing is, I will try very hard to continue to find a median in which I can provide a fun time for the guests on board and still provide my new friends on this blog as much fun and information as I can. Thanks for your concern mate.
Maybe if there was a chance of an Aston Martin at the end of the year it might help me get through this. :))
CINDY GESKEY – Cindy, I think you have made the right choice in not taking a tour upon arrival in Rome and instead waiting till the following day. There will be a Carnival representative in the hotel so you can wake up in the morning and see if you feel like taking a tour. You may also want to just walk around on your own. Again, depending on the yet lag. I hope your passports arrive and if you have any other questions before your cruise starts, I am at your service.
LFTTNSFCF – Congratulations on being chosen as editor of Flatulence Magazine which will offer fashion advice for travelers. I suggest your first article be about your wife, as she obviously needs as much space for her suitcases as possible. May I suggest you charter the Holiday, just for your wife’s luggage? I am not sure about your choice of Alan as European fashion related traveler or E-FART, as Alan’s idea of dressing up is to put up his Tinky Winky costume. Big Ed is the natural choice for your staff and he, I am sure, will provide wonderful articles about the correct dress code for being stuck in a booth in the dining room. Please send my regards to Mrs. Lfttnsfcf and I look forward to the launch of the magazine and suggest the front cover of the magazine of Alan (Tinky Winky) and Big Ed on the bridge of the Carnival Freedom. Thank you also for your continuing help to get AJ to be Godmother. I know we have 13 months yet, but I am feeling a little despondent today; don’t know why, I just hope somehow we can get through to her. Thanks again mate.
JAKE BROWN – Really happy that you discovered the blog and it sounds like you had a fantastic time on the Carnival Miracle. I will pass on your congratulations to Brent and I am sure that everyone else who will be going to St. Thomas will be grateful of your tour recommendations. Heidi is a great fan of the horse riding in Puerto Rico. I am happy to hear that the free champagne at the art auction worked and you bought a painting. I once bought a painting after a few glasses of champagne and it’s proudly hanging on my wall at home. Unfortunately it has a lady revealing her breasts, which Heidi does not care for. The painting therefore is now hanging proudly in my shed. Let me know if you need help deciding on your next cruise and if you love the ports then maybe a European cruise is for you. You are one of many thousands of guests who have discovered our supper clubs to be one of the highlights of the cruise. It really does provide a different kind of evening on board. I am always here for you, I am glad you are enjoying the blog.
JOAN CHRISTIAN – First of all, thank you for your comments and let me start by answering your question about Pisa. I am not sure why somebody would say Pisa is not worth your time as you are seeing one of the 7 Wonders of the World and how often can you say you saw that? Pisa is not just about the tower, has there is a beautiful cathedral, wonderful shopping all set in a charming Italian village. It does get very busy, but that only goes to show how popular that destination is. So, personally I think a trip to Florence and Pisa is a fantastic combination. I think you are very wise to have a rest day in Katakolon especially considering the wide ranges of your family’s ages. Please let me know if you consider any more tours and need advise for them and I will be happy to help you. I look forward to meeting your entire family soon.
CATMAMA044 – You are correct in saying that I cannot talk further about the cruise to South America on the Carnival Splendor. I do not want to get my PA 007 in trouble. PA is an office junior and is providing this information to me as a favor. The PA’s boss is a beautiful lady, but definitely would not be happy with him spending so much time talking to me. However, more news I am sure will be forthcoming. Which ship are you sailing through the Panama Canal on? Thanks for writing; I always look forward to hearing from you.
KENT SMOLL – Welcome home from your Carnival Freedom cruise and I am glad you had such a wonderful time. You are indeed correct that the Private and Exclusive View Of The Vatican is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and seeing the places most people never get to see inside this incomparable country is breathtaking. I know Luigi very well and he himself is a walking history of the Vatican and the perfect man to take you around. I know how you felt when you were in the Sistine Chapel, all alone with the thousands of regular guests having left……….words cannot describe how I felt and I am sure you feel the same. So, I hope we sail together very soon and thank you so much for sharing your valuable vacation time onboard the Carnival Freedom.
SUSAN B – It is funny that you should ask about dictating the blog every day. There is something strange happening to me though, I feel like I want to wear women’s und……..sorry, not that…..I mean that I seem to be a better writer when I type as I think, I don’t even know if that makes sense, but the words seem to flow better if I am writing them myself. I have tried dictating with Heidi typing but it seems to take longer and when I look back at the content I do not think it is as good as when I type it myself. Saying that, I am now reading what I have just written and typed myself and it is dreadful and makes no sense so I guess I am just going slowly mad……..oh well. Thanks for the promotion saying I should be paid more but honestly I am happy to do this for the love of the job, the laughter it provides, the information that makes guests enjoy their cruise that bit more, the chance to meet new people, the joy of knowing I have helped my fellow human beings and most of all because……..one day an Aston martin Dealer may read this and give me a great deal on my dream car. Thanks again for all your kind words and offers and I hope we meet in person one day soon.
DOUG NEWMAN AT SEA – It is interesting that the identity of my PA is causing a bit of a commotion and even more interesting that some have already taken it for granted that PA IS A SHE. I am not saying she is and I am not saying he is not. What I can tell you is that I have to protect their identity as PA 007 is not exactly at the top of the tree so the last thing I want is to get them fired……………….although PA is Heidi tells me very good looking/pretty and could easily be on the front cover of Vogue/GQ/Solider of Fortune/Playboy/Playgirl. You are right, of course, that I should be M not Moneypenny although naked I do look like a Q. If you need any more information on the Marco Polo sale, etc., please let me know and I will activate 007.
Thanks mate.
JAMES SPEELMAN – I think your ideas on the Web Cam are great. It would be nice to have a title stating where the vessel is. I will speak to Roger about this. You asked about the difference between GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and where we are. The answer is ONE HOUR. So, if it is 6 am in London it is 7 am in Rome and Cannes while in Istanbul and Athens it will be 8 am. There are no clock changes on our Grand Med cruises while on the Greece/Turkey cruises we change our watches twice. Hope this helps and please let me know if you need anything else. Thanks for reading the blog thingy.
LUV CRUISIN – Welcome first time blog reader and welcome first time Carnival cruiser who will be having her first vacation experience on a Fun Ship, the Carnival Freedom in December. What a generous gift you are giving your daughter Nikki, this will be a graduation gift she will never forget. You asked about what activities and public events there are onboard. There are so many but here are a few you can look forward to.
Pool Games
Deck parties
Big Screen Movies and concerts under the stars
Trivia
Newly Wed Game
Cooking Demos
The hairy Chest Contest
The Ladies hairy Chest – oops – that’s been canceled
Bingo
Karaoke
Dance Classes

And the list goes on
As you are new to Carnival, please feel free to use this blog thingy if you have any specific questions. Remember there is a few days delay in me answering them but I always will. Welcome Aboard.
ROBERT J COLONNA – Thank you kind Sir for your comments. I have no say that your comments do prove that for many the Carnival way of dining makes sense although I am sure that there are many loyal fans who would disagree. You know, there are enough lines these days created by the sheer number of people on a ship and the one place you should not have to line up at is dinner. That’s my opinion anyway. NCL is a great cruise line and Freestyle seems to work for them but if this blog is anything to go by I think the old tradition of knowing your tablemates and your wait staff knowing you seems to be the most popular. Let the debate continue. Enjoy your cruise on the Carnival Liberty mate and I hope also that you try Harry’s supper club — it is brilliant. Hope to hear from you very soon.
MRS MTSFPBLFTTNSFCF – I know what you are saying about your luggage and the collection and dragging and carrying, etc., however, your problems are solved because your wonderful husband has just chartered the Holiday for your luggage. Seriously, I know how difficult it is to travel. Heidi and I have our entire lives in suitcases as we travel on the ships…it never gets easier and I am sure it is the one part of taking a vacation that we all dread. Maybe we should sell cruises with clothes already included. You buy a cabin and then tell us what clothes you want hanging in the cabin……………..what do you think?
SHEILA – My advice is that unless you are unsure what tours you want then please wait until you are onboard, come to the travel talks and then decide. I will also host a Q & A after each talk should you have any questions. The sunshine will be waiting for you and if I provide that can you provide some Scottish cheddar cheese? Och Eye the Noo and see you soon.
SUSAN B – I am unhappy to read that on a seven-day cruise that you do not go to the dining room because you do not want to “dress up.” While the food in our Lido deck restaurants is delicious you really are missing two great meals and that is a shame. Would you consider semi formal/elegant casual – this just means no T-shirts or jeans, maybe a blouse and pants, etc.? What do you think? You would not be refused entrance and you would enjoy two sumptuous meals? I have now made sure that fleetwide a large variety of non-alcoholic drinks will be served at the formal parties. Let me know your thoughts please. Many thanks and I appreciate your time.
JAMES EMM – The article you are reading about P & O being taken over by Royal Caribbean is an old one indeed. Carnival Corporation & plc now includes P & O Cruises under its umbrella of companies and they have been and continue to be a brilliant cruise line and we are proud to have them in the family along with Cunard, Costa, Princess, Aida, Seabourn, Ocean Village and Holland America. Thank you for your kind words about Heidi and I look forward to hearing more from you soon.
JOHN FROM MOUNT HOLLY – John, call any travel agent or 1-800-CARNIVAL and you will be provided with the best rates for the Bloggers Cruise. Please let me know if you have any concerns……………we missed you here this cruise.

That is all the time I have for Q & A…………………….more tomorrow I promise.

MEN, I NEED YOUR HELP.
Heidi has read in one of her women’s magazines that boxer shorts are much healthier for men than briefs and has now told me that I have to change what I have enjoyed for all these years and move to boxers. I argued but she says she is unanimous and that’s that…………..have any of you heard this nonsense? Again, I know this has nothing to do with cruising but please help me, I nee your support — in fact that’s why I hate boxers, no support!

I await your advice.

I want to thank all of you who have been trying so hard to get AJ to be the GM of the CS.
I was disappointed that our question was not answered on Larry King as many of you have noted in this blog. I am getting a bit despondent but after hearing your words of encouragement and the various online petitions you have all started I must keep going and with myself, Carnival and all of you trying we shall succeed. I shall think positive.

We have just left Livorno today and the weather was nice and dry although a little humid. The guests are always full of mixed emotions knowing tomorrow it’s the long flight home and back to everyday life.

It has been a great cruise and I want to say goodbye to all the bloggers I met. I am sorry that we did not get time to spend more time together but the time we did spend was excellent and proof positive that I must keep doing this blog as much as possible

I want to end today’s blog not with the usual amusing story built with the overriding memory of this cruise.

It involves Jason who I found crying by the coffee bar on the second night of the cruise.

I know that this should have been 12 days of joy and fun for Jason and his fiancée but instead it was instead 12 days of thinking what should have been.

Jason has promised to read this blog upon his return home and I know that we all send our thoughts and prayers to Jason and the family of his beloved fiancé who lost her life while just simply going to Virginia Tech…………………………as Jason said as I called him to say goodbye…………. “She would have loved this cruise “.

Enjoy life now.

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.