The Young Sultans of Istanbul

June 25, 2007 -

John Heald

Hello from the beautiful city of Constantinople or Istanbul as it is known today. It was another hot one with the gauge touching 90 degrees again but compared to yesterday in Ephesus it was the Antarctica.Talking of Ephesus, look at this photo that one of the ship’s photographers took of the Grand Library yesterday……………….you HAVE to come and experience this amazing place yourself next year on the Carnival Freedom. Have a look at this:

Ephesus

Oh, and I am not sure if I have posted this photo before but if I have it’s worth doing so again.

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Oh, and I am not sure if I have posted this photo before but if I have it’s worth doing so again. Oh, and I am not sure if I have posted this photo before but if I have it’s worth doing so again.

Well this will be a very long blog so again I apologize that I may only get to post one blog thingy over the weekend but due to my busy schedule and the fact that I have 25 pages containing 70 plus comments and questions to answer I am sure you will understand.

Talking of the blog, I have a couple of bits of news and also I need your advice please.

1. Thanks to Frank and Roberto in the Miami office there is a device on its way to me that may cut down on the typing that is involved in preparing the blogs. Basically it is a recording device that will allow me to record the blog and then somehow it will be up loaded or sideways loaded or something like that to the office in Miami. Then the blog would be placed as an audio file on the blog page. My question is: Would you all prefer an audio file or written or both. Please let me know as I want to do what is best for all of you.

2. Very soon bloggers t-shirts will be available to buy online. I am not going to give you any further information about this now but as so many of you asked for them they are on the way and yes BIG ED in your kinda size (and mine).

And, as of today (Saturday) we have 386,000 slaps on the blog…………………………………….thank you so much.

Highlights of the coming week include:

1. Q and A session with Steve Williams – Director of Carnival’s Medical Department

2. Q and A session with Mrs. Vicki Freed – Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

3. A very special guest star

4. And, of course, a photo of my very first pair of boxer shorts:(

It was a very busy day for me and Heidi today but certainly one of the most rewarding, I will tell you all about it later.

What else? No more news yet on the guest we disembarked on a medical emergency and everything on board is going well.
The ship has its quarterly internal environmental audit this cruise and the entire ship’s company is being tested to make sure Carnival continues to be at the forefront in the protection of your oceans and seas. Have you ever read this notice which appears in every cabin on every ship and in the daily Carnival Capers?

Carnival Cruise Lines Environmental Compliance Hotline
For all concerns related to Carnival please contact 1-305-406-5863 (International); 1-888-290-5105 (North America)
or 4ENV (4368) from your ship phone

Environmental Compliance web site – www.carnivalcompliance.com
“Carnival’s Goal Is To Be The Industry Leader For Environmental Excellence”

Each ship has an environmental officer on board and we have a large back-up team in the office in Miami…….in fact, let me make a note to include one of them as a guest blogger sometime soon.

Oh, and yes, I need to tell you about a lady who had me laughing yesterday evening during the show. I was introducing the guest entertainer and having fun with the audience when I noticed this lady on the third row stand up and wave her arms madly in the air at me. I stopped…………..mid joke and asked her if she was ok?………………….big mistake. The lady shouted (in a very strong New York accent) “Turn the lights up as I can’t find my husband,” oblivious to the fact that the show had started and that 1000 people were being entertained. So, I obliged and I asked the lady for the name of her husband to which she replied “Morris”. So, being the caring guy that I am, I asked over the microphone if there was a Morris in the lounge. To my left and in the balcony I saw a man half-heartedly waving at me.

Asking if he was Morris he nodded and his wife waved for him to come down during which time I made a few playful comments. However, Morris was going nowhere and refused to move and his wife was not a happy bunny. She waved again and he shook his head remaining firm in his convictions and kept his butt glued to his balcony seat. By now, the audience are all laughing quietly to themselves and I am trying to get the happy couple together again when Morris’s wife looks up at him, and shouts “Please yourself then” and sits down………………no apology for interrupting the show and certainly showing no care that 1000 people are now laughing hysterically at the situation that just unfolded. I should have tried harder to bring them together, I should have been an envoy of peace and built a bridge of troubled water but instead I laughed with everyone else and asked if Judge Judy was in the room.

Let me start with today’s trivia question and first of all the answers to the anagrams were:

MADELEINE ARISON – THE BEAUTIFUL WIFE OF CARNIVAL CORPORATION’S CHAIRMAN AND CEO. MICKY ARISON (except. I spelt it wrong as her name has 3 E’s ) so I apologize to all of you and especially Madeline…………….Oops I Did It Again ………..I mean Madeleine.

The second one is
COSTA CONCORDIA

Here are today’s anagrams all with Carnival connections.

LARDME CEISSNERP

MADE DIJU CHEND

MORETINLANNEV PLACEINMOC TOEHILN

Here is today’s Q and A………………………….hang in there, it’s a long one.

DOUGNEWMAN AT SEA – Hello Doug and many thanks for the information on the old Jubilee. I appreciate your dedication to the blog cause.
Roberto – do you have any idea why Doug can not open any of the photos I am posting and is anyone else having any problems?
I agree mate, I really should sail on the QE2 before she finishes her service. I may have a chance to do a trans-Atlantic in March or April so hopefully then one of my cruising dreams will come true.
I think by the time you have read this you will have had your lunch on the Carnival Victory……….how was it?
Hope to hear from you soon and again thanks as always for the expert information.
LISA AND ELAINE – If your brother can help with the AJ quest that would be so fantastic. Please thank him for me in advance and as I have said before with everyone working together this will happen. I was speaking to my PA 007 yesterday via email (he has just returned from a camping holiday) and even PA 007 reminded me we still have 13 months so the quest will continue. As for “going commando” I am sorry to report my army is not up to the fight. I will report more on the boxer situation very soon. Thanks again for the help and all the best.
SGT. ROCK – Greg, thank you so much for the coin which is sitting here on my desk as we speak. I did “Google” some information but your explanation has shown me the importance of your gift. I shall treasure it forever and thank you for your kindness and your service. I am glad you enjoyed the laughs and Mr. Stout was fantastic wasn’t he. I remain at your service should you need my help and I hope that we get to meet again soon.
LYNN – Your message to Gabriel has been passed and I will see you in August
JO KYLE – Great to hear from you mate and I have been thinking of your “Pole Cat” reference every day – it was the ” saying of the week .” As for sitting in the balcony on the Carnival Ecstasy I don’t think that will matter, you have a face that says pick me!
The cruise director on the Ecstasy will be Goose Newman, a great lad from North Carolina.
You asked about Alaska and which ship will give you the best views and extended shore packages. Well I know that the Carnival Spirit has a fantastic itinerary and the pre or post cruise land tours are second to none. I highly suggest you think about the Carnival Spirit and I know you will have loads of fun. If you sail, I will make sure that the cruise director finds you because you are a natural on stage. If you need any further information on the Carnival Spirit’s cruise options please let me know mate.
It was so much fun and I hope we get to sail together again soon.
KATHY KROLL – Please send my best to Joan and I am happy she got the champagne, I will send you the bill soon 🙂 Best to Paul as well and it will be your turn again soon to cruise.
CANUCK CRUISER – I would love to see the photo of the poor sod who has been burdened with looking like me. Within a few days there will be an e mail address for people to send photos etc. Let me know about your supper club reservation and I promise it will be a beautiful anniversary cruise.
I will indeed post sometime soon the “silly question” list and please keep reading the blog thingy for more information. Looking forward to seeing the photo of my double and until then, all the best to you and Brad.
JAMES EMM – It would do so mate only in my (and Heidi’s) dreams. The “brief war” is over.
NANETTEALI – Thank you for the wonderful review of your recent cruise and I am sure all the bloggers enjoyed your views and experiences that you shared. I had forgotten to mention the announcement I made while munching on a canoli – I hate to think what my sugar level was that day as I didn’t have the courage to check it after eating a canoli. I am sorry I forgot to mention your son. I was so busy meeting you and your beautiful daughter I forgot about him. It is a shame that he did not come to the bloggers party. Anyway, I consider you a great friend and thank you for your generosity and for reminding me what I looked like 15 years ago. I hope to see you soon and until then we will keep in touch through this blog thingy. I have passed on your best to Gary, Heidi, Tina and Luis for you. Mucho Grasyarse en asta la waygo my amego para see em prey.
JIMNI – I have done as requested and many thanks for being so kind .Your behind the scenes view of Alaska was excellent and I am sure very helpful to these bloggers who may be considering a cruise on the Carnival Spirit. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

TIME TO STOP AS ITS 1:00AM AND TIME FOR BED – TO BE CONTINUED

ROBERT – Congratulations on booking the Carnival Splendor and I know you and Suzanne will have a great time. International flights into London will land at either Heathrow (code LHW) or Gatwick (code LGW). The nearest airport to Dover is Gatwick with a time of approx 1 hour 30 minutes to the port. Heathrow is further away and will take approximately 2 hours. However, both will have to take you via the M25 which is the circular road around London and there are always bottlenecks.
As for places to stay, I know Carnival is working on hotels and I understand these will be published very soon including the Crowne Plaza near Victoria Station. It may be better to go through Carnival so we can arrange ground transportation as well to and from the airports. More information will arrive on this soon and of course I will share it with you all. Thanks as always mate and see you next year on the Bloggers Cruise.
BOB HICKLY – Heidi says doubling it would not be a problem 🙂
JOHN AND SUSAN FROM FRISCO – What can I say but thank you for making my night so much better with your kind comments. I truly look forward to meeting you in May and until then please keep reading the laughs and I will do my best to keep you smiling.
PAUL.F. PIETRANGELO – I read your first words of this posting and saw that you said “you do not have to put this on your blog” and now I truly hope that you forgive me for letting this slip through the screening system. I am sure though that all the bloggers will join me not in sympathy for your illness but in happiness and praise for your recovery and your positive outlook on life which is I am sure, the reason you are well and able to take another cruise. Your extended blog family wishes you well and we all hope you have many more cruises ahead of you with your family.
LUV2CRUISE – Leona, I knew I would find a soul mate and how fantastic that it should be John from Mount Holly. It would be advisable never to get in an elevator with us. Hope you are both well and where ere you be let your wind blow free…………………My Dad does.
RDC- ETTE DEBBIE – Tomorrow is the big switch over to boxers and I remain very nervous about the whole thing. Heidi thinks she has thrown all my old briefs away but I have a secret pair hidden away for special occasions………..ssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
VICKI – I am trying the low carb thing and so far its going well although as mentioned above there are side effects. I really miss bread, it is my favorite. I will as requested keep the blog going for as long as possible so please keep enjoying it. See you soon.
JTODDINMAN……………….Roberto, can we do a PDF file on this blog site. It seems like a great idea, what do you think?
My Mum would never let me eat beans when I lived at home, I wonder why? Thanks again for your contributions to the blog and keep the ideas coming. My best to you and your family.
DIVETRASH – Sorry Heidi nearly ruined your monitor by revealing my public display of environmental contamination. I was so embarrassed and still am. My Mum would have been horrified but Dad would have been so proud. I also love hearing that you and others are enjoying the blog so much, it is my inspiration to keep going. Thanks again Laura and congratulations on getting one of the anagrams correct.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – I wondered if people would understand the last title of my blog thingy but I can see that you indeed did. It was embarrassing but the guest’s comeback was so brilliant it softened the blow, so to speak. My Dad always says “In Church and Chapel, let it rattle”……………….so I did.
Thanks Captain and glad to hear all your transportation is booked. Relax, it will be cruising time soon.
CYNSCRUISIN – Congratulations on choosing the Carnival Elation and its great itinerary. I wish Heidi and I could be with you although I promise you will have a great time. You asked about unusual forms of additional tipping. Well, it would be wrong of me if I did not mention that, first and foremost, money is the most popular form of gratuity. Obviously the standard amounts are taken off your Sail and Sign account and paid to the crew on the last day and if you feel that they deserve more then please feel free to give as you desire.
However, saying that, I also know that some guests have clubbed together as a table and bought for their waiter things like t-shirts and clothing as well as the odd waiter getting a watch etc. It does not have to be a gift that costs money either. I know many waiters and state room stewards love to hear from guests after they leave so again feel free to ask for their address and send them a Christmas card or the odd letter with a family photo enclosed.
The other form of reward is to always write their name on the guest survey card which you receive at the end of the cruise.
I hope this has been of some help and please let me know if I can help you or your clients further. My best regards until then……………………………..OH YES, I FORGOT…………….IT IS CUSTOMARY TO TIP THE CRUISE DIRECTOR AN ASTON – Heidi sends a Woo Hoo back…………………me, I am just sad to say goodbye to an old friend…………….my briefs.
JANFR WA – Hello my friends and welcome back home. What a fantastic review and full of so much useful information that I know other bloggers will immerse themselves in. There is so much I could say about you two but in fact I want to mention the guy who was not onboard, Randy. He is in our thoughts and I know he will return home safe to you very soon and we salute him for serving his country in the field of battle.
Heidi sends her best to you and I hope that you and Phil will stay in touch via the blog. Again, thank you for the brilliant review and hope we do it all over again very soon.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – A wise man once said that 3 and 4 day cruises were designed to get people “pregnant on cruising ” and, indeed, he is correct. If your nephew has never cruised, may I recommend a 3 or 4 day cruise with the Carnival Imagination or Carnival Fascination 4 day – two great choices. Have a look at both on www.carnival.com and let me know which one you are considering and I will advise accordingly. Thanks Carol, you should be a travel agent!
LISA – You said in your posting that there was “no need to reply” but how can I not after reading comments like this. I am glad I have you laughing so much but as for being “The Best Thing To Happen To Carnival” I think people would disagree placing the Warm Chocolate Pudding and 24 hour pizza way ahead of me.
I will continue using guest bloggers including other cruise directors and department heads as that seems very popular. All the best and keep laughing.
IVANA – You must be getting very excited about your wedding cruise on the Carnival Valor next year. I wish I could be there with you both, maybe as a bridesmaid?
Anyway, don’t worry about not making the Bloggers Cruise as there will be one in 2009. I have no specific details yet but as soon as I do I will let everyone know and by then you may be able to spend it as n 1-year anniversary vacation. If you have any questions about the Carnival Valor or the ports of call, please let me know.
Not long now and you will be walking down that aisle…………..what will your married name be?
KATHIE ( KAPERINO) – Thank you for saying a prayer for Heidi and I in St. Peters, we both feel blessed.
So, welcome home and I know exactly what you mean about jet lag, it really is a dreadful feeling. How the heck am I going to manage 9 hours in economy class wearing boxer shorts………..help.
Your kind words about my abilities as a cruise director were overwhelming and I am humbled by them. Heidi and I send our warmest regards to you, Dan, Jason and Jeff and hope we can all reunite together again very soon. I would say that you are “the wind beneath my wings ” but under the circumstances of my current diet I won’t.
Stay in touch please via this blog thingy and again, many thanks.
SHARON R – Smart choice not to have your son bring a guitar half way around the world. These days airlines are charging ridiculous amounts for excess baggage and I am sure the guitar would sit in the corner of the cabin unused. Have a wonderful pre-cruise in London and as you asked and if possible could I ask you for TOP GEAR MAGAZINE (it’s the only way I will ever get to my Aston Martin through the photos inside). I will pay you upon arrival, oh and Heidi is asking for OK magazine please.
Now, as for your daughter, I am sure she will meet loads of new friends and if you want I can help with this once you are onboard. If you need any help on what to do in London, please let me know and see you in August, oh………………..any chance of bringing me a tin of baked beans ?
COLEEN O’LEARY – I do remember your posting from one of the early blogs about you and your husband meeting on the Mardi Gras twenty something years ago. How fantastic therefore that you are spending your 20th anniversary on the Carnival Freedom with Heidi and I.
You asked about the differences between the Posh and the Chic dining room. There is really no difference except the Posh is bigger, that’s all. They both have windows and serve the same menu and have the same fun and professional service. As for the supper club, please send me your cabin number on one of the next blogs you reply to and I will make sure you get the best table for two on the second formal night.
See you in a few weeks for what will be an anniversary to remember.
ERIC R THAYER – You are a VIP and a platinum member and don’t you forget it. Your wife is not so she must wait at the end of the line while you are carried onboard by 6 dancers clad only in delicately placed orange peel………………….OK, back to reality. As a platinum member you are allowed one guest to check in with you and to use the benefits that come with this exclusive card…………………………….sorry:) Have a great time on the Carnival Liberty and please let me know if there is anything you need.
SOUTHERN DREAMS – I am glad you found my embarrassment amusing. I shall be joining you to have my abilities after eating beans help your paint dry!
Best to you and the Prince.
HOTLANTA – I hope you get to read this before flying out here and then you will read my wishes for a safe flight and please leave me a note when you arrive.
See you soon.
KAREN TESSIER – I think we may have had some problems with the photos on the last blog (my windy blog) and Roberto will be checking this out today for us. The weather continues to get hotter and definitely Izmir and I think Athens tomorrow will be record setters with temperatures in the high 90’s. I am advising guests to drink lots of water and to bring a sun hat and plenty of sun cream.
Sorry to hear about the passport situation. I wonder why it is taking so long. I am sure it will be here in time and ready for your cruise. Let me know when they arrive and I will see you soon……………………..try the photos again and see if you can open them now.
KAYENTAJANE – I love that “Blog On” it makes me feel like a really hip dude blogger cool cat.
The guest who complained about the TV programs is still upset and says had he known we would not have had American shows in Europe he would have recorded them if indeed he cruised at all. I have really tried to appease him and have offered to have a friend from the office tape his favorite program, “America’s Got Talent ” and we are going to mail him the DVD.
Big Ed, have you read what I just read, a $1 offer for you to take the Bloggers Cruise…………………….I will double that.
I am glad you enjoyed the interviews and there will be many more next week. Thanks again and please keep reading the blog and it’s only one year and two weeks to the Carnival Splendor.
COOLIEOMOM – Welcome home Terri and can I say how great it was to meet you and the family. Thank you for your great review and your recommendations which are going to be very useful to future European cruisers.
I asked the captain about the Baltic sea conditions as you requested and you can tell Nana that she has nothing to be worried about. The captain advises that under normal sea conditions the Baltic is just like the Mediterranean and I am sure that as Nana brought perfect weather to the Carnival Freedom that she will do the same on the Carnival Splendor. Thank you especially for your high praise of the Carnival tours which I am happy to see you shared with everyone. I am glad Emily liked her solid gold ship and I am sorry about the wait ashore for tenders in Cannes. There are very few places to sit ashore and we have to improve on this should the situation we encountered ever happen again.
So, I will keep bloging while you do the laundry. My best to you and the family and see you soon I hope.
KEVIN – Talking to you, the owner of my dream car is as close as I will ever get to having an Aston Martin so thank you for the treat. I am working on AJ and also working on another Bloggers Cruise ASAP. I look forward to seeing the photo of the Aston, I need a new screen saver as I am no longer allowed to have the one of AJ in the shower. Hope to hear from you soon mate and for a drive myself you can have my cabin on the trans-Atlantic.
EMF – Good questions and the answer is I do not know. Is there an extra sailing from the shipyard in Venice to Dover, U.K. ? I have not heard of one just yet but rest assured that my PA 007 is on the case and as soon as anything is discussed it will be leaked onto this blog. Then, 2009 and your question about how many ships in Europe…………….answer, don’t know. I can tell you that Europe is highly successful for Carnival and I am sure that we will continue to fly the Carnival flag here. Again, PA007 will sneak around the corridors of power and see what can be divulged. Keep checking the blog thingy for special breaking news. Cheers until then.
MATT AND VIKKI TILL – Very, very funny. I have no idea how it got there, amazing. I am sure as a probation officer you must come across some great characters and I am sure you are a great influence on their lives and it must be also a very rewarding job.
If you want to be a cruise director let me know and you can come and do your training on here……………………the only qualification you need………………..you must wear boxer shorts and know how to play Mahjong. All the best and thanks for the great posting and the brilliant stories.
LINDA HERNACKI – The carb diet is hard but it seems to be working. The only problem is the side effects that Heidi will tell you are not pleasant. See you and Mike the Bulbman soon and lets hope your predictions of tiny feet are correct………………….and if they are I am sure it will be because I switched to boxers.
BIG ED – THANK YOU MATE………………….Now, how about that $2 offer to take the Bloggers Cruise……………………does Mrs. Big Ed like rum because if she does, trust me she will have a great time. We can even go horse riding together ! They have a horse called Mr. Big Ed Mon. Listen to the left shoulder.
FAMIGLIA BAUSCH – Saturday will be here soon and we will all be off on our Grand Med cruise together. You asked how many formal nights there are? The answer is 2, the first and last sea days are formal which are day 3 and day 9 of your cruise. Have a safe journey and I look forward to meeting your entire family. Leave me a note when you are onboard at the Information Desk please.
LEASA – Thank you for the follow up about your stateroom steward on the Carnival Glory. I have checked with personnel and we have three George’s from South Africa so maybe I can narrow this down knowing now what ship he was on and when. I will get back to you soon on this and if you do not hear from me by the end of the week please send me a reminder slap on the blog thingy. I congratulate you on your family and I hope one day to be a proud father. As nervous as I am about it I love kids and I hope to have my own soon, if for no other reason that to be able to rest on Thursdays. All the best and I will write soon.
SHEREE – I do remember the poster of Farah Fawcett in the red swimsuit and I also had one of a beautiful girl and a ……………never mind.
If you find a wine you like you can bring it on board but unfortunately not into the dining room. We do have a great menu with lots of local cheap wines as well as an incomparable award winning list of spectacular wines.
I am sure you and your daughter are anxious to get here now so have a safe journey. The weather is going to be beautiful and I look forward to meeting you both. I promise there will be no ………..fluffing. Have a safe flight and leave me a note when you get here.
GCOURINGTON – What a great question……………here it is again so everyone will understand my answer.
If you could walk into the chairman’s office and not risk losing your job what would you suggest to him or her about changes to the Western European cruise?
If I could change just one thing it would be the addition of another sea day. I think the last three days are very port intensive and a sea day at the end of the cruise would do everyone the power of good and the ability to relax and get ready for the journey ahead. Barcelona, Cannes and Livorno are three fantastic ports so I have no idea which port I would sacrifice but certainly a sea day at the end of the cruise would be ideal.
Now, if I had three wishes in the chairman’s office it would be.
Please keep a Carnival ship in Europe
Please give my PA 007 a raise
Please make a bigger bathrobe
Oh and deliver the bathrobe and the raise in my new Aston Martin and have Angelina in the front seat.
Hope that answered your question and let me know if you have any more.
GIRLDOC – You asked about a great tour in Barbados. I have not been there for some time so let me check with our excursion department and also Dave from Barbados may be able to help so stand by.
New interviews are on the way this week including a very special one. Hope you and the family are well and I will get back to you soon.
CINDY 56 – I have not done any puffies today……………well not in the last few minutes anyway. OK, your question has been passed to Roberta and I will send you her answer as soon as I can and you will indeed see Heidi and I in March. Back to you soon.
DEBBIE IN LOUISIANA – Heidi and I look forward to seeing you in a few days. Please leave me a note all about your brother-in-law and sister and I will be happy to do something special for them. The note should be left at the Information Desk. Have a safe flight and see you soon.
CYNTHIA IN BAMA – Is that Alabama?
Ron is indeed still here and I will pass on your message, I am sure it will make him laugh. The piano bars are famous on our ships. I know many guests including Robert Schneider who posted on this blog today love to sit and have fun there as well as meet many new friends. As and when you decide to book a cruise, please let me know which you are considering and I will be happy to tell you who the piano bar entertainer is. Meanwhile, let me see where Wally and Brad are and I will let you know ASAP.
I will let you know what Ron has to say when I ask him where Alice is.
KEVIN – Thank you for your comments on your Carnival Inspiration cruise. I am sorry you didn’t see much of the cruise director but I can understand your fascination and that of your kids with the Maitre D, George The Greek. He is one of Carnival’s true characters and has devoted many years to making an impact on his guests as Ken does here on the Carnival Freedom. It is wonderful to hear and I have forwarded this to George who I am sure will be thrilled to read it. He really is special. Hope to hear more about your cruise experiences soon.

OK, I am going to stop there. I know there are a few more questions to answer from the last blog and I promise to answer them tomorrow. It’s very late here and I just finished a very busy day including:

MORNING SHOW
TRAVEL TALK ABOUT ATHENS AND LIVORNO
Q AND A
MARRIAGE SHOW – VERY FUNNY THIS WEEK BY THE WAY – MORE ON THAT LATER
A MEETING WITH A SPECIAL LADY – MORE ON THAT LATER
PAPER WORK
TWO SHOWS
MORE PAPER WORK
ENVIROMENTAL AUDIT MEETING
AND THREE HOURS OF BLOGGING

Why did I just tell you this………………………………not for sympathy but because it does not matter………………it really does not because Heidi and I are so lucky to have what we have.

Yesterday, we were reminded about this up close and personal.

The ship had arranged for 40 orphaned children from Turkey to spend the morning on the ship. They arrived around 11:00am and when they came on they looked a sad group of children with very little sparkle in their eyes. They were aged from 4 years to 15 years. Some had terrible disabilities and most looked like they had the weight of the world on their young shoulders.

The walked onto the ship with their guardians helping them and we escorted them to the disco, where they were met by loud music, Fun Ship Freddy (our mascot) and loads of soda pop, food, cake, presents, toys and gifts……………………. They were shy at first but as Heidi and I and the staff walked and talked to them they began to smile and giggle. One young man who had lost both his arms seemed to be in awe of the 500 TV screens in the disco and was even more so when we wrote his name on the screens.

Then, one by one, they started to laugh and dance and the sparkle that was missing when they arrived slowly began to brighten.

Then, it was up to Lido deck for some fun on the huge slide, burgers and chips for all and then we gave them bags and bags of clothes which the crew had provided on a “clothes drive.” As they left they were grinning from ear to ear and my friend whose name I had written on the screens said “thank you” in perfect English reducing Heidi to tears……………………ok, and me.

I want to say thank you to Duncan the hotel director, Charlene our groups coordinator, and all the crew who helped make this a day of days for these special kids.

Now, I wish I could have posted photos from this event or told you their names but I cannot. You see, these are very special kids and are in hiding from very bad people. I was asked therefore not to take photos or publish names should someone see where they are. I wanted to know more about them but learnt very little except that they had a wonderful time and even just for a few hours, they were normal kids, doing normal kid things. They, however, probably felt like Sultans.

So, that’s is it for another blog. I don’t think there is anything else…………………..oh, actually there is. Guess what I found yesterday, much to Heidi’s disgust?

I found a ……………………….well, see for yourself.

Yep, my very own belly dancer.

Yep, my very own belly dancer.

I love my job.

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.