Good Afternoon from Rome where it’s another sunny day. Today, the Vatican Museum is closed as it is a Holy Friday celebrating Sts. Peter and Paul. The Pope is giving Mass this morning and some 8,000 people are expected in St. Peters square.

I have to talk to you quickly about something a guest said to Stephanie, one of the entertainment staff yesterday. After the travel talk she saw Stephanie and said ” Why was the cruise director talking about the Pope – doesn’t he know he died?”

Today, I want to start by slapping on three more photos from Heidi’s collection.

1. This is a beautiful photo of the “Walk Of Life” at Ephesus with Hadrian’s Grand Library in the back ground

This is a beautiful photo of the “Walk Of Life” at Ephesus with Hadrian’s Grand Library in the back ground

2. The second photo is of Ephesus again. Note the lights and rigging which were being set for a concert which is being played tonight (Friday) by a full 52 piece orchestra from Germany.

The second photo is of Ephesus again. Note the lights and rigging which were being set for a concert which is being played tonight (Friday) by a full 52 piece orchestra from Germany.

3. Finally for today and also from Ephesus is the statue of the Goddess Nike. Look carefully and you can see where the Nike symbol comes from

Finally for today and also from Ephesus is the statue of the Goddess Nike. Look carefully and you can see where the Nike symbol comes from

More photos later.

Today, I have a full staff meeting to discuss various events and procedures and also to say goodbye to various staff members whose contract is completed and tomorrow will be heading off on a well-deserved vacation. I have lots of paperwork and hopefully I will get this done quickly so that I can take Heidi out to dinner ashore tonight, if not it’s a first class, non-stop trip to the Dog House for me.

I think the guests have had a great time this cruise. The only area that has been a concern was the heat in Turkey and Greece but that aside I am very satisfied with the cruise but as always there are always areas we can improve on and we must do so.

Sorry, just stopped blogging for an hour as I see on the news that a car bomb has been discovered in London and defused……………what a world we live in.

OK, back to the blog and now I present a gentlemen called Steve Williams who is Carnival’s director of medical services and responsible for all the nurses and doctors on board our ships. I asked him some questions and here are his answers.

Steve Williams

Can you tell us about your medical background and your career with Carnival leading to your current position? I trained as a nurse in the UK at St Mary’s Hospital in London. I have been a nurse for 21 years. I worked in Accident & Emergency before moving to the US. I have worked mainly in trauma and emergency departments. My previous work was as Director of Nursing for Mount Sinai Medical Center, Emergency Department on Miami Beach, where I also worked as Chief Flight Nurse for the Lifeflight Critical Care Transport program, where we flew a Sikorsky S – 76 helicopter. I joined Carnival in October 1999, and now am responsible for coordinating the work of the shipboard physicians and nurses, hiring and scheduling and the logistics involved in managing medical centers on 22 ships. I work with our Medical Director Dr. Art Diskin, and our Senior Fleet Physician Dr. John Bradberry.

How many Doctors and Nurses are currently employed throughout the fleet? Please can you tell us a little about their demographics and qualifications you look for in both positions? We have a total of 24 senior physicians, and 28 ship’s physicians, who rotate through the ships on contracts that range from four- six months. We have approximately 90 registered nurses working for us at any given time. All our physicians and nurses have to had emergency and critical care experience, and are certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support. Most of our physicians and nurses come from the UK, South Africa, Europe or Australia and New Zealand. Our infirmaries exceed the CLIA/ACEP guidelines and are designed to treat and stabilize most emergent medical conditions until we can get the patient to the hospital.

The old image of a ship’s doctor is long gone although it still has a certain “romantic image “about it. Obviously you cannot discuss individual cases but can you tell us something about the diversity of today’s “doctor onboard.” Our medical teams deal with everything from seasickness and colds and flu, to heart attacks and traumatic injuries from falls or accidents, such as moped and Jet Ski accidents. One minute they may be advising a mother on how to treat symptoms of a sore throat in a child, the next running to a call about an unconscious guest, or helping to manage a patient in an emergency situation.

Let’s chat about the nurses who are often the unsung heroes onboard. What is a typical day like for a cruise ship nurse? Our nursing staff typically works long hours, often times many hours more than they are scheduled to work. As well as the very varied clinical cases, there is a lot of paperwork involved, because of US Coastguard and CDC regulations. There is emergency equipment and supplies to check, reports and medical records to copy, endless copying and scanning…..Then some of our staff are also involved in on board and shipboard activities, such as training staff, or working with a shoreside clinic or charity. They really are the core and backbone of our shipboard medical centers, and we are very fortunate to have an amazingly talented, hardworking and compassionate group of nurses.
Now, onto the dreaded word…………………….Norwalk Virus. There seems to be a perception that this can only occur on a cruise ship. Can you give us your perspective on this and what cruise ship guests should do to try and prevent this from happening to them? Now we call it Noro, the citizens of Norwalk, Connecticut got a little ticked off at continually being associated with diarrhea and vomiting! It is the most common cause of gastro-enteritis or “stomach flu” in the world. Probably 30 – 40 million shoreside cases a year in the US alone. If guests frequently wash their hands, especially before eating, smoking (if they really cannot give up), putting on make up or touching their mouths for any reason, we would have far less cases. Folks also need to understand that the alcohol-based hand gels are also pretty ineffective in killing Noro, because they evaporate before they can kill the virus. We are in the process of trialing a new disposable hand wipe, which we believe will be far more effective than the alcohol based gels.

OK, as always we finish with a couple of personal “lighthearted ” questions. What’s your favorite Doctor/Nurse/Medical Joke? A young woman, who has a bit of a lisp, goes to the doctor with a case of bronchitis. During the medical exam he takes his stethoscope out of his coat pocket, and places the listening piece on her back, the other end in his ears, leans forward and says to her… “Big Breaths”…. She blushes, and says,…. “Yesth, and I am only sixthteen”

If you had to treat one of these people for an upper thigh injury, who would you choose

Angelina Jolie
Pamela Andersen
Hale Berry
Tom Cruise
John Heald

I have to say that Angelina Jolie would certainly be a pleasure to look after, although you would always be very good for a laugh…!!!!

My thanks to Steve and we pay tribute to all ships doctors and nurses who have treated and saved so many guests………….THANK YOU ALL.

I hope you are enjoying the guest interviews, many more will follow.

Yesterday’s anagrams were pretty easy but incase you were having trouble, here are the answers.




Here are today’s




And with much fanfare we herald the arrival of today’s Q & A

LUV 2 CRUISE – What wonderful words when you said “I am still glowing after my cruise.” I think this glow also has something to do with your husband and once again I thank him for all he did to make sure the cruise was a special one for all. I will make sure I add to my talk the fact that clothes do shrink on a cruise and even more so this cruise from the weather being so hot, there has been a lot of “sweating” going on this week. Anyway, Heidi and I send our best to you both and hope you are having a yabba dabba doo time.
STACY – It seems to me that both you and Big Ed have come up with great names for the new Carnival Splendor’s spa. It seems that in the event of a draw the decision will be made by deciding who looks the best for the spa’s promotional photos. This will include.
Stacy and Ed wrapped in a towel by the entrance of the spa
Stacy and Ed covered in oils and creams
Stacy and Ed using all the keep fit equipment
So it is obvious therefore that the winner is…………………………………………….BIG ED.
BIG ED – I’m Spartacus!
LINDA HERNACKI – Of course you will get a signed photo and a book. Please let us know when your grandson arrives and we wish him, his parents and of course his grandparents many happy times ahead. I hope Daniel is as good at changing light bulbs as his granddad. Let us know the news.
IVANA – Thank you so much on behalf of Alan and I for the Prague information which will prove so very useful. I especially enjoyed the food and pub recommendations which I shall pay special attention to. You must be very proud of your hometown and I will be sure to take some photos and put them on the blog. Thanks again, I owe you one so let me know if you need anything.
MTSFPBLFTTNSFCF – I am glad you liked the story about my over friendly Russian friend, who by the way was found fast asleep in one of the public bathrooms last night at 2 am……I say asleep……..more sleep induced by his favorite tipple. He has become famous this cruise and really is harmless. I understand how smoke can bring on asthma for many people and I know your wife is concerned. As far as the ship is concerned there is no smoking in any restraint or theater and if you stay out of the casino, cigar bar and disco you will not come into contact with any smoke. I am at your service as your friend and as cruise director should require any help. My best to you and your wife…Heidi still needs a mask, especially as I am eating some pistachios.
BARB AND HER BEAR – It is always great to hear from you both and your comments are so kind as always. The young kids from Istanbul really enjoyed their time onboard and I hope we can do it again before too long. People do think that I can control the weather, it’s only a few out of 3,000 but they never cease to amaze me. I am sure your grand kids must really appreciate you sending them so many postcards and photos of all the amazing and historic places you have visited. Again, thank you so much for your kind words which mean so much to Heidi and I.
RONANOKE HOO – I remember very well the tour which arrived late from Panama and as you said it was good that it was a Carnival organized tour so we knew where you all were.
You asked about the dress code for the mosques in Turkey for ladies. Ladies must have their shoulders covered when entering the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. If you are wearing shorts they should be on or over your knees please. However, there will be no need to cover your head. Remember that everyone must remove their shoes and therefore we recommend that your wear socks if you do not want to walk around barefooted. Now, apart from the taking your shoes off, the same applies to the Vatican and is one of the many similarities between the two religions.
The Private Vatican Tour is one of the most amazing things I have ever done as you explore the areas of the Vatican that nobody else gets to see……….the Pope’s Cars and Carriages, the Private Chambers and art collections and of course the highlight is being alone ion the Sistine Chapel. There is nothing else like it. See you in a few days and let me know if you need anything else.
MARK CHAMBLISS – I have a feeling that you need to be on stage with me as its time to make you a star. See you in January on the Bloggers Cruise and I look forward to seeing you and your family……………..It will be a brilliant cruise and I cannot wait to spend valuable time with my friends from cruise critic and cruise Mates. Keep reading the blog thingy until then and I am glad you got a call from Vicki, she is one of a kind.
LOVE TO TEACH – The weather was 12 degrees above the normal monthly average in Athens this week. I hope it is a bit cooler but do come prepared with a sun hat and lots of sunscreen with a high SPF factor. Twelve days and counting and we will get to meet each other……..hope you have a safe flight and if you need anything before you travel I remain at your service.
ELVIRA AND ALEXANDER – Congratulations on writing one of the most beautiful postings I have read on the blog so far and in perfect English. I remember you both very well and remember you dancing so beautifully at the talent show and also showing the ship your photos on the morning show. You have written so many wonderful things that I don’t know where to start but I will say thank you to all the crew you mentioned especially Darko, Dino and the dancers who you loved so much. All of us who are going to the Carnival Splendor as crew or as guests are so looking forward to St. Petersburg or Peter as you said it is known and hopefully we can see you there one time so we can meet again. I am sure all the bloggers enjoyed reading your letter and we thank you so much for taking the time to do so. I wish you and Alexander much happiness as does Heidi. Spasiba my friends.
ESSEXMAN – For you, I would happily sign a copy of anything as would Heidi and even Alan will sign an old pair of his Y Fronts.
J – JOHN – hello J -John, its John here John and yes there will be lots of Johns on the Carnival Splendor John. Great to hear your friends have now booked the ship as well and Ken will be here and Heidi some of the time. I have never been to Arizona but if you invite me then indeed I may. Stay cool and write soon.
LISA AND ELAINE – Glad you enjoyed the story about my Russian friend. The T-shirts will be ready within the next few days. Watch this space.
COLEEN O’LEARY. – Just to confirm that I will make supper club reservations as follows:
Table for two on July 14 at 8 pm.
Table for four on July 21 at 8 pm
Heidi is e-mailing the supper club as we speak. Look forward to meeting you all.
SWEETSUNSHINE – Welcome to my blog thingy, I am glad you found the site. I see that you are sailing on the Carnival Splendor and until then please let me know if you have any questions on the ship or ports of call, etc. and I will be happy to help and answer them.

That’s all the time I have for Q&A for today, otherwise I will be in the doghouse for not taking Heidi out for dinner.

Today, we received a care package from NANCI KOPERSKI. It contained a beautiful card, Heidi thinks it has been hand made and delicious sugar-free chocolate, a wonderful CD and vanilla shower gels. Nanci, from Heidi and I a very big thank you. Getting packages like that is such a nice surprise and we really appreciate it!!

I am also very privileged to have had an article written about the blog by our Cruise Critic friends.

Here is the link:

I am looking forward to meeting all my Cruise Critic friends very soon. It was a brilliant article and thanks again.



For the first time, Carnival Cruise Lines will operate voyages to South America with 14- to 18-day departures featuring extended visits to magnificent destinations in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Chile and Peru aboard the new 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor beginning in January 2009.

Representing a new class of “Fun Ship,” the 3,006-passenger SuperLiner will offer a host of innovations including a luxurious 21,000-square-foot health club and the line’s first spa staterooms and suites.

Carnival Splendor will operate three special South America departures in 2009 — a 17-day, six-port cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan. 31-Feb. 17; a 14-day, six-port voyage from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile, Feb. 17-March 3, and an 18-day, six-port South America/Mexican Riviera cruise from Santiago (Valparaiso) to San Francisco March 3-21.

Carnival Splendor will become the first Carnival “Fun Ship” to operate a South American itinerary when it embarks on a 17-day, six-port cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Buenos Aires Jan. 31 – Feb. 17, 2009. The voyage, which will sail across two hemispheres with the crossing of the equator, will feature visits to the tropical islands of Dominica and Barbados as well as day-long calls at four spectacular Brazilian ports — Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, each of which offers a rich history with architecture dating back to mid-16th century, along with gorgeous beaches, outstanding restaurants and shops, and unique cultural experiences.

Following this voyage, Carnival Splendor will sail on a 14-day, six-port “Cape Horn/Strait of Magellan” cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso) Feb. 17 – March 3, 2009. The voyage begins with an overnight call in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital, then visits the charming cities of Montevideo, Uruguay; and Puerto Madryn, Argentina, followed by scenic cruising of historic Cape Horn – South America’s southernmost point. The voyage continues with a visit to Ushuaia, Argentina, a charming fishing village in the territory of Tierra del Fuego home to unique sub-Antarctic forests; another day of scenic cruising of Cape Horn/Beagle Island, and a call at Punta Arenas, Chile, which lies at the entrance to the Straits of Magellan and is considered the gateway to Antarctica. Highlighting this voyage is a day-long cruise of Chile’s majestic fjords and a visit to Puerto Montt, Chile, founded by German colonists in 1853 and boasts sparkling lakes and lush mountainous landscape.

Carnival Splendor will then operate an 18-day “Andes, Peru and Mexican Riviera” cruise from Santiago (Valparaiso) to San Francisco March 3-21, 2009. Prior to crossing the equator, Carnival Splendor will visit Arica, Chile, nestled in the Andes Mountains and founded in 1570, with exquisite collections of pre-Columbian artifacts; Lima (Callao), Peru, whose historic city center was declared a Word Heritage Site by UNESCO; Manta (Quito), Ecuador, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in 1534 and featuring the Monastery and Church of San Francisco, one of the oldest religious structures in the New World. The voyage concludes with visits to the popular destinations of Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Long Beach, Calif., before arriving in San Francisco.

The first in a new series, as well as the largest Carnival Cruise Lines ship ever constructed, Carnival Splendor will feature an innovative new design introducing a host of guest-driven features that will usher in an exciting new era in “Fun Ship” vacations, highlighted by a luxurious 21,000-square-foot spa.

Adjacent to the elegant and modern facility will be 68 spa staterooms and suites, which will be accessible by a private elevator and offer exclusive privileges and amenities for guests. Also featured within the spa will be the line’s first thalassotherapy pool covered by a glass dome and an elaborate thermal suite, with four rooms offering varying degrees of warmth and coolness.

Other features include a 5,500-square-foot children’s play area – the largest in the “Fun Ship” fleet – as well as a water spray park and a mid-ship pool covered by a sliding Sky Dome. The line’s signature amenities such as cell phone and Wi-Fi service, a reservations-only supper club and the Carnival Seaside Theatre – a massive LED screen displaying movies, concerts and other programming – will also be featured.

Prior to its new South America program, Carnival Splendor will launch the line’s first-ever Northern Europe cruise program from London (Dover) July 13, 2008, followed by a series of voyages to the Mediterranean and Greek Isles through October 17, 2008.

Carnival Splendor will then sail on a transatlantic voyage from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Fort Lauderdale, positioning the vessel for a series of seven-day Caribbean cruises from that port beginning November 22, 2008. The ship will then sail on the three South America voyages, then reposition to Long Beach to launch year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises beginning March 29, 2009, continuing the line’s expansion of its West Coast operations.


So, it looks like the Carnival Splendor will have one of the most exciting inaugural seasons of any ship in the world as she travels the world.

The only thing missing is you and ……………………………..Angelina Jolie.

However, I just can’t stop thinking about Catherine Zeta Jones.

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.