Many bloggers have asked me how I got work on ships and how that was for me etc. So, I thought my second blog will be dedicated to my start at Carnival Cruise Lines.

I am sitting here in the entertainment staff office, the computer in our cabin is totally John’s now and I have no music or t.v. to listen to, while I am writing this and still no PA …………everybody aaaaaahhhhhh…..

I started working for Carnival in November of 1996, pfff, that makes me feel old now…but anyway, prior to that, I had met John in March of 1996, finished my exams, passed them all, except for some random subject which was called D-Base……our scores in Holland go from 0 – 10 with 10 of course being the best and 6 meaning you pass, well, I scored a 1. My teacher and I soon came to the conclusion that a re-exam would not really make any difference, so we left it that way. I suppose the only thing correct on my exam sheet was the spelling of my name. I have never been good with numbers (except for anniversaries and birthdays J), languages were always my favorite along with all the theories on marketing and management. (I scored a 9 for my final Dutch and final English exams, an 8 for German and all other subjects were sevens.) So anyway, after John and I met, he went back to the ship he was working on at that time. When we met he told me all about what he did etc. and of course I thought, wow, that sounds great, but at the same time I thought, yeah right, you are a cruise director…a male Julie….

We kept in contact and we saw each other again in May, when he came to visit me again in Holland. We both soon knew that this was “meant to be” as they say and plans were made to see each other again, this time on the ship the Fascination of which he was the cruise director at that time. He told me to bring along a friend so when he would be working, I would have someone to hang out with. So I brought my dad.

We flew to Miami from Amsterdam, then on to Puerto Rico. It was our first time to the U.S.A. so an experience for us both.

I knew that nobody would have expected me to bring my dad along and John definitely didn’t expect that, but soon after those two met, his shock of my changed into a wonderful friendship between these two men. (My dad passed away totally unexpected in 2005.

I am sure you all understand, this is a very sensitive subject, so this is all I will write about that, but it explains my stories about visiting my mum and me not mentioning my dad in the visits to Holland.)

I got to meet all the staff on board the Fascination and I was made feel at home very quickly. Everything was so impressive, nothing that I ever expected it to be. My dad became good friends with Captain Angelo Los and the staff captain, Claudio Cupisti, at the time (who is now a captain as well) and we got to see incredible places like Aruba, wow, the beaches are beautiful, we played tennis, swam in the blue sea. It was like a dream.

After 2 cruises, my dad and I were supposed to go back to Holland, but John persuaded me to stay and my dad went back to my mum and I stayed on board for the next 7 (!) weeks. After a few weeks, I was getting anxious to start doing something as this was probably my first vacation during which I wasn’t working. Every other vacation before I used to work at the Flower Auction and make flower and plant arrangements. I have always said, that one day I will have my own little flower shop. Until I moved to the UK, and the prices for flowers and plants are out of this world and therefore people hardly have any fresh flowers in the house. Well, except for John and Heidi Heald, as I will make flower arrangements from a cheap bunch of flowers and then go into the garden or the woods and “help myself” to some branches and leaves and finish it that way…. But we are moving from the subject….

I started showing interest in helping John out with his paperwork, started looking around the ship to see what job I would like to do etc.

Then in November 1996, I started on the Carnival Destiny, then the biggest ship in the world, as a youth staff member in Camp Carnival.

Not really a choice that I thought I would ever make, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Camp Carnival is such an amazing program for the children, they are never bored as there are activities organized for them from hour to hour. They can have lunch with the staff if you are on tour and even dinner on some evenings. I worked as a youth staff on the Destiny and the Imagination and then moved to a new job, which was called an international rep@sea. With 2 other girls on board the Sensation we translated the Capers (our daily program), the tour descriptions etc.

We would hold a Welcome Aboard meeting for the international guests and escort them on tours. We had a desk where they could come and see us if they had any questions. I took care of the Dutch and German guests. It was hard work, but a lot of fun. Now we have international pursers who take care of out international guests.

After doing that for a few contracts, I started working as a groups host, now called groups coordinator. The groups host position came under the entertainment department, just like the int. rep@sea position, so I was already working “for John” from the beginning. (myself really being the boss, of course). When the groups host position was no longer and I wanted to stay within the entertainment department, I worked as a social host for a while and then moved on to assistant cruise director.

So, it’s been 11 years now in November and I think if you can work and live with your other half in such an enclosed space (no, we don’t have a suite with Jacuzzi) then you are definitely meant to be together.

We have met so many wonderful people from all over the world over the last 11 years that we have been together, we have thousands of photos, lots of letters and uncountable memories. We’ve had the possibility to share cruising with friends and family members and seen so much of the world. It has sometimes been hard not to see the family as much as we would have wanted to, not having a garden, not having a Monday morning and Friday afternoon, but it has all been worth it.

The wonderful thing about bringing out new ships is that you get to see a lot of people that we have worked with on different ships that now work in the office in Miami and then it’s like a big reunion when we all get together in Italy.

I have met many bloggers since John started writing and it is so nice to put faces to the names that we read on the screen.

If anyone has any questions or suggestions for my 3rd blog, I am happy to include them.

Your friend on the Carnival Freedom.

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.