It Takes All Sorts

July 2, 2007 -

John Heald

As we sail form Civitavecchia, I wish you all a very good evening.

One cruise finishes and another starts today with 3,409 guests including 700 under the age of 18, our largest number of children so far. I am writing tonight’s blog as I listen to the news about the two car bombs that were discovered before exploding in the heart of London and now tonight two lunatics have driven a car into the terminal at Glasgow Airport in Scotland and tried to explode the vehicle. I have no reason to discuss or comment about this on the blog however, it would be amiss of me if I did not spare a thought for the UK and my fellow countrymen.

OK, let’s get back to normal and let me start by telling you that I am writing this blog before I read any comments slapped on by all of you regarding the blog which broke the news of the Carnival Splendor’s South American cruises. I am being questioned by many at Carnival as to whom my PA 007 is but I can never reveal his/her identity as it would mean opening a huge tin of trouble for PA 007 from M and the other Carnival bosses. However, let us all say thank you to PA 007 for risking their job to provide me with this information.

We just finished boat drill and now guests are eating dinner, dancing to the brilliant live music, watching tonight’s Big Screen Movie “Night At The Museum” or more than likely and even though it is only 9:05 pm ………..many are in bed.

The Coloseum In Rome……………….you HAVE to see this for yourself.

The stunning Island Of Capri

The stunning Island Of Capri

The theatre at the Acropolis in Athens which was preparing for a concert by Andrea Bocelli

Time for the answers to yesterday’s anagrams…………..they were too easy.


Here are today’s………….by the way is anyone actually doing these as they take ages to think up?


I hope you are enjoying the guest interviews and here is another very special one. The lady I am about to introduce is respected and loved, yes, loved by a very discriminating breed of people, travel agents. She is Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and marketing the one and only Mrs. Vicki Freed.

Vicki Freed

1. Vicki, please can you tell us something about your career in the cruise industry from the beginning to where you are today. I have been blessed to have worked for Carnival Cruise Lines for 29 years. As you can tell, Carnival grabbed me back before the labor industry had child labor laws in place 🙂 Actually, I started right out of college as a sales representative for Carnival Cruise Lines in the Southern California area. After several years as a sales rep, a new position was created – director of sales, western region. It became my responsibility to oversea all the Western states and the sales team which serviced them. Then, in 1993 — when Bob Dickinson was promoted to president — I was asked to move to Miami to take over his role as senior V.P. sales and marketing.

2. Vicki, can you tell us what your job as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing involves and what your main responsibilities cover. There are many facets to my job, but my everyday focus is the “view from the guest.” I want our guest experience to be the best in the travel industry. Our goal is to treat people with respect and offer all of our guests a vacation experience they will enjoy and remember throughout their lives. As you know John, there are many “magic” moments that take place on board a Carnival ship. When people recall their vacation experience, those special moments come to mind. John, you and your incredible staff really make my job easy because you make the guest experience come to life. You and your team make it easy for us to fulfill our vision statement. We know that when people buy a Carnival Cruise, it is not only their money they are spending but their precious time. At the end of the day, we need to do more than meet our guest expectations, we need to exceed them.

3. You are (and stop blushing) one of the most popular people in the industry especially with travel agents. Can you tell us about Carnival’s relationship with travel agents and why they are so important to you and to Carnival? Travel agents have been instrumental in making Carnival the most successful and popular cruise line in the world. Today, more then ever, the role of the travel agent is vital because of the crazy and hectic lifestyles so many of us have. Their expert knowledge and experience save the consumer time and energy. There is no replacement for a professional travel agent.

4. I understand you are writing your own blog directed specifically towards travel agents. What can you tell us about it? First of all, I’ve had a great time doing it. I’ve heard from a lot of old friends in the business. Second, and more importantly, it helps us to maintain a close relationship with our primary distribution system. We do not reside in an “ivory tower” and this blog is a fantastic way to touch our valued travel agent partners. Of course, we still use old fashion methods of communication such as personal visits and phone calls to our travel agents. Here is a link to the blog at

5. I am asked a lot on the blog thingy about the Platinum Rewards card that is so popular with our guests. Please can you discuss the benefits of this card and is there anything new in the future we can look for. The Platinum Rewards card is one thing no cruiser should be without. Once you reach your tenth sailing, you’re entitled to a whole series of exclusive events including: Priority embarkation and debarkation, personalized stationery, guaranteed dining times and supper club reservations, Spa Carnival priority reservations, Complimentary wash and fold laundry service and much more. We even have a gold Program that guests are eligible for after only two sailings. You can visit for details on both programs. We are working on a few ideas for future programs. Don’t worry John, you’ll be the first to know.

6. Repeat guests are so important to us. Can you tell us some facts and figures about repeat passengers? About 50 percent of our guests are, in fact, repeat and experienced cruisers. The saw what a “Fun Ship” cruise is all about and they know that is what a vacation should be. We are extremely grateful for their repeat business and are always looking for new ways to show it. The Carnival Concierge Club is a good example of that. And, we make it a point to feature great rates and special promotions that are exclusively for our past guests. But, what is equally gratifying to us is the number of experienced cruisers – who have sailed with other brands — who are trying Carnival for the first time. It shows us that people are talking about the fact that our product keeps getting better. Word of mouth from our past guests is playing a big role in attracting experienced cruise guests to try the Carnival brand.

7. How important is the Internet to Carnival with regard to Marketing and Sales. is a fantastic resource for both prospects and guests alike. Virtually anything they are looking for about Carnival is just a few clicks away. We’ve worked very hard to develop an immersive online experience where guests can experience our brand and see the scope of our product. Whether it’s images, video or virtual tours, is more than informative, it’s interactive. John, be sure to look out for new and exciting internet endeavors coming real soon.

8. During your many years with Carnival, what has been the one biggest change within the industry that has impacted your job? An easier question to answer would be “What hasn’t changed?” But, at the end of the day, brand strength and guest satisfaction have always been a constant. The means in which we market and sell cruises may be different, but the mission remains the same. We are here to provide fabulous cruise vacations that everyone can afford. From expanded dining and entertainment options, to new itineraries and ships, we’ve continued to raise the bar while remaining one of the best values in the business.

9. Please let us know a few of your favorite things

Favorite Ship The ships are almost like children to me. And while I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite, I do have soft spot for the Carnival Legend. That’s because two out of my six annual Christmas group cruises were on this beautiful ship. This year, though, we’re sailing on the nine-day Carnival Miracle cruise departing December 24 out of Port Everglades. Who knows, maybe the Miracle will become my new favorite ship? Christmas and miracles do go hand-in-hand. I’m very excited about this – our 6th annual cruise — because we’ll have over 150 family and friends on board. What makes it so special is we bring along family, friends from college, from all over really. The great thing about it is I don’t have to worry about anyone not having fun. Our “Fun Ships” have something everyone will like, no matter what your idea of fun is.

Favorite Port Believe it or not John, the ships themselves are some of my favorite destinations. And, of course, anywhere that involves shopping. J Actually, we love Belize because of the cave tubing excursion that we did as a family. Barcelona was another unforgettable port. We toured around as a family on bikes and got a real feel for what an amazing city it actually is.

Favorite Movie As you know John, I’m a romantic at heart. That being said, here are a few of my favorites: Serendipity, Sleepless in Seattle, Notting Hill, Love Actually, The American President

Favorite Band/Singer/Style of Music Barbra Streisand and Harry Connick Jr.

Favorite Cruise Director Hmmm, let me think. JOHN

10. As you know we are trying via the blog to have Angelina Jolie be the Godmother of the Carnival Splendor. What do you think of this idea and if she says NO, please choose someone from this list to replace her.


Thank you Vicki and I’m sure some of you may have follow up questions and if you do hold onto them and we will arrange a special Q and A session with Vicki very soon.

Time for me to blister my fingers with tonight’s Q & A.

DAVE MYERLY – Congratulations on 42 years of marriage mate, Heidi and I should be so lucky. I see you will be with me in August and I have a feeling the temperatures will be pretty high if last weeks Greece/Turkey cruise is anything to go by. You mentioned the Web Cams and the fact that you want them updated more often. I assure this will happen and it is being worked on as we speak by Roger and his team so just like the photos we will fix this ASAP.
I am sorry that the photos took so long to fix. No excuses here except that the popularity of this blog took me by surprise and I really had no idea what I was doing – I still don’t. Roberto however does and he and Frank are working on new ideas each and every day that will eventually make this humble blog the best in the world……well………..the best at sea. Heidi will be writing a new blog tomorrow and she is very happy to be called a blond bombshell. I look forward to seeing you in August and maybe you and Jo can tell Heidi and I the secret to 42 years of marital bliss.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – Typing your name I feel like I have known you for years even though we have never met. You asked about the Russian man who wanted to be closer to me and if it was my after-shave. I have no idea if Old Spice is popular in Moscow but it certainly brought out his wild side. Now, as for the caricature. This was given to me by Anita Dunham Potter and I would need her permission to auction this off as someone suggested and give the money to one of the orphanages we support. Anita, what do you think? I can make copies as well and Roberto is going to help me with this. I have a feeling that the caricature is the closet I will every get to AJ as she is being pretty elusive. Also, I received a magazine from a blogger from the UK called Bill………Thanks Bill, I am very grateful. As I was saying, on the front page is a photo of AJ and she has had her lips pierced and she looks like Brad attacked her with a stapler! What should I do, I am finding myself thinking more and more about Catherine Zeta Jones. I have no more an idea of how to reach her than I do AJ ………….I am so confused. Heidi sends her best Paul and also we both say hello to your son and your future daughter in law.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – As I said in yesterday’s blog thingy I would also be thinking that some of these stories are made up but I assure you they are all true and can only happen in real life. There are many days that are normal and uneventful but as you have seen there are days when the cruise ship characters come to life. You asked about paying to upgrade your cabin that you won during bingo, who’s a lucky captain then. Please send me your sailing date and full names with booking number and I will see what I can do mate…sorry, shouldn’t call you mate……….I meant, Captain. I wish my dreams were the same as a Benny Hill sketch but believe it or not they tend to be about the blog and Big Ed, My Mate Alan and a large bowl of whipped cream. I need help.
SUSAN B – Let’s start with the bit where I say “never worry about asking questions or my fingers” it is why I am doing this blog — to help people. You asked about tender ports on the Bloggers Cruise and the answer is we have just one – Grand Cayman and it is a very quick system indeed. The T-Shirts will be ready soon to buy and the special addition Bloggers Cruise Shirts will be a gift to each guest along with loads of other goodies. Hope this answers your questions and I hope you send me some more soon.
PA DUTCHMAN How funny that you should ask and I just talked a little about it as above. I can also tell you that we will have special guest stars from the press who will discuss their blogs and Internet reporting. I have also finalized some of the gifts that everyone will get and I want most of them to be a surprise. More will follow soon I promise….are you a PA?………….are you Dutch?
LYNN – Thank to you and please contact me as soon as you come onboard.
GARY – I am happy to hear that you will keep what you know to yourself as 410,000 readers would revel in what you could tell them. Maybe we should do a reunion, Carl, Barry, Tim, Andrew, Alan, etc……………what do you think. I am not sure we could get Sid Kneller to come though. I saw your website and it looks great, congratulations. Send my best to the family and FAV.
DWA76 – Glad you are enjoying the blogs so much. You asked about cruising out of Galveston. I see that you are considering a Royal Caribbean cruise and I would never dream of trying to talk you out of sailing on the Rhapsody of the Seas……..OK…that was a lie……don’t sail on her….come and have some fun. You have two choices.
Carnival Ecstasy
Offers four- and five-day cruises to locations along the Mexican coast and the Western Caribbean.
Carnival Conquest
Sails year round every Sunday offering 7-day cruises on to various ports in the Western Caribbean including Montego Bay, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico.
What can I do to talk you into taking one of these cruises….why should you…….simple……you will have more fun. Bombard me with questions and let’s chat. Thanks mate.
MARIJ………………Here is Heidi to speak Dutch .. dooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiii..
Hallo Marij. Heidi hier. Niet lang meer voordat jullie aan boord komen nu. Je moet helaas heeeeeel lang op de foto wachten, sommige dingen moeten we helaas voor onszelf houden. Ha ha! Voor de trip in Rhodos wil ik je graag een tip geven, zorg er alsjeblieft voor dat jullie op tijd terug worden gebracht naar de pier en neem een Carnival Caper mee waar een telefoon nummer opstaat in geval van nood. Je weet maar nooit.
Tot gauw.
A CRUISE BY ANY OTHER NAME – It sounds like you have had quite a varied selection of cruises but now, it’s my turn to meet you and the family. Have you considered the Carnival Freedom or the Carnival Splendor in 2009? If so, please allow me to be your guide and try and help you decide what to do. How long did it take you to read all 96 blogs at once? I send my best to you and the family and I truly hope you try the Carnival brand soon……….you will not be disappointed.
BONNIE AND PRINCE CHARLIE – Hello Bonnie and here are the answers to your questions.
1. You asked how much a nice ass costs to get you to the top of Lindos in Rhodes. This is not included in the price of the tour however you can pay an extra 10 euros once you are there. You can get a big ass or a small ass, Heidi had an ass called Bella which means beautiful…it’s the first time she has ever had a beautiful……………never mind. Best to you, the Prince and the leaves.
VICKI – What great news. Congratulations on booking the Holiday, she may be our oldest ship but she has the most character and the fun will be never ending. The cruise director will be Steve Cassel who is from California. Steve is a juggler and a violin player and is part of the country show along with the dancers and if you get to meet him I would ask that you pass on my kind regards. So, sit back now, relax and September will be here before you know it. Keep reading the blog and I will be here should you need any advice.
JTODDINMAN – So, you met two of my great friends Rocco and Vincenzo. Well, Rocco is the perfect example about promotions from within. Rocco and I started on the same ship and in the same year and we have been life long friends. Rocco started as a Fire Patrol Officer. He then was promoted to a Cadet Bridge Officer and now he is Captain of the Carnival Conquest. He is a lot of fun and although we see little of each other we have stayed great friends. As for Vincenzo, he is one of a kind. The Bosun, or first mate works closely with the ship’s command and is responsible for the maintenance of the outside of the ship, the rope decks, lifeboats and so much more. The Bosun has a big team of deck hands and usually you find that they have been at sea all their lives. Vincenzo is a firm favorite with everyone and I have worked with him many times on new ship deliveries. What a voice he has and he loves nothing more than coming on stage and performing for the guests. How lucky that you have met them both. There are many success stories about people who have started in position onboard and end up doing another……….and I will share more with you soon. Great to hear from you as always.
LYLEBA – Thank you for sharing the Houston chronicle article written by Harry Shattuck, it was a fantastic article and I thank Harry so very much for the kind words. Harry, if you are reading this I want you to know how honored I am that you took the time to write it………thanks mate. You asked about a shuttle service to Rome. We do indeed offer such a service, the tour is called ROME ON YOUR OWN………great name eh. Basically, the bus will take you with a guide and for about 30 minutes around Rome to show you were everything is. They will then provide you with a map and then you are, as the tour says, on your own for the next 9 hours. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you and I look forward to seeing you.
BOB HICKLY – Indeed, as you said, great minds think a like, however, the Noel Coward quote I referred to is the only one I know. The book is really a great idea and I am working with Christine and others in the office to get this accomplished. You are the first person also to tell me it’s OK to have thoughts about Catherine Zeta Jones and therefore I feel a little better. I still go weak at the knees when I think about AJ but suddenly, something has started to happen and as AJ continues to be my wanted woman, Catherine is getting me all of a dither.
I shall expect more therapy from you again very soon mate.
SHERRIFF ROSCOE P COLTRANE – Flash, that’s right. Thanks Sherriff and now, what was the name of the police officer?
HEIDI – BETH – Thank you for the beautiful words that once again you have found the time to write. I am sure you and Kevin are getting excited as your cruise is not that far away. I hope you and Kevin are well and your comments about Shelly were truly kind. I hope you keep reading the blog and slapping on your thoughts.
KEVIN – So, you are a chef at what sounds like a very exclusive restaurant. Feel free to give it a plug sometime and maybe a 1% discount to my PA 007 should they ever be in the Big Apple, a small reward for helping out with the breaking news. PA 007 earns an average salary and will even help with the washing up. So, you have a bit of a thing for (CAZ – SHE WILL NOW BE OFFICIALLY KNOWN AS THIS) do you…….I can understand why. It’s not that I don’t think AJ would be a great Godmother, of course I do, it’s just proving impossible to get to her and I have to start thinking about another choice in case someone at Carnival decides that as we can’t get AJ that they decide to choose someone with ………ummm……………well let’s just say someone who doesn’t light my fire. You are so lucky to drive an Aston. I looked into hiring one the other day for the two months I will be home and let’s just say I maybe could have offered to hire one wheel. Oh, well a boy can dream. If though, you do become a chef onboard I will take over as chef at your restaurant and drive your Aston, although. I don’t think you will have many stars left when you get back as Mr. Michelin doesn’t award culinary stars for Baked Beans on Toast.
So, let’s advertise your restaurant and would love a photo of the Aston.
NANCY LIEDEL – Glad you like the photos and the new layout, thanks to Roberto. We had 56 people miss the vessel again tonight and they will join us in Naples tomorrow. This is due once again to flight delays and cancellations. Hope you are enjoying the blog and more beautiful photos of the ship and ports will follow. All the best Nancy.
NANETTEALI – .Grasyarse para el Cruiseo Critico Articalyo……Meo bino mucho famoso…….buenos sombreo amego. I don’t ask for canolis usually and when I do I just have a nibble of one……the rest are shared amongst guests and crew. The most I have ever received is 67. I am going to ask for an Aston Martin this time:)
KAREN TESSIER – Thank you for your tour suggestions Karen. You will be happy to know that we offer varied Wine Tours in Barcelona, Messina, Dubrovnik, Tuscany and Cannes. The one you have chosen with the Pisa visit is particularly brilliant and I know it will be one of the many highlights of the cruise. See you in a few weeks and please let me know if you need any other assistance.
GORDON – It’s great to hear from you and I am happy to know that you have been enjoying the blog thingy so much. I do try and find a balance between important facts and information and fun as well as bringing you the good and the bad days from my life at sea. I am thinking of new things to add all the time and wonder what this blog will look like by the end of the year.
You mentioned how popular cooking shows are on TV in the U.S. and it is the same in the U.K. as well. It seems that these days the only thing on tele (as we Brits call it) are reality TV shows and cooking shows. Heidi loves a chef called Gordon Ramsey and it is one of her dreams to eat in his restaurant at a five-star hotel in London called Claridges…..maybe one day I can pull up outside in my Aston Martin, escort my beautiful lady to the table, Gordon Ramsey himself will cook a special meal for us and I can sit and look at the gorgeous lady in front of me and realize I forgot to call Heidi to tell her AJ and I were having a great time…….I nearly wrote CZT then, dam, I can’t get her out of my mind. Anyway, we are seriously looking at a cooking class for Europe however I don’t think there will be a chance for one on the Carnival Liberty when you sail but hopefully, next year, when you decide to sail in Europe you will have a chance to experience Italian for yourself. However, how hard can it be to cook Pasta? Just throw a load in water, when the water starts bubbling it’s done. Put the pasta on a plate, pour loads of ketchup over it and watch football. Cheers Kevin, write soon mate.
BIG ED – Indeed mate, you are my sidekick, of that there is no doubt and with Alan (who by the way can’t wait to meet you ) along for the ride as well the Bloggers Cruise will be something special. You hit the nail on the head when you asked if I was surprised that the Blog had gone over 400,000 hits in four months…………….well indeed I am. Honestly, I intended to stop on May 1. That had been the date that I and the folks in Miami had talked about but now, there is no way I can stop as I know that so many people would be disappointed. The big question that needs to be answered next is what do I do with this blog when I take two months off in November? Do I pass it over to someone else or do I blog from home………..BLOGGERS, WHAT DO YOU THINK. Maybe, I have to get one of those Blue Berry Things. Any movement from Mrs. Big Ed? I mean……..on the Bloggers Cruise……..not……….movement induced by her love of prune juice.
Ed, you are indeed a very special person and I thank you for your continued support and friendship.
MRS. MATS – Wow, I think that is the most I have ever seen you or Mr MTSFPBLFTTNSFCF write. If I had any doubts that cooking tours were something we should add they have been dispelled by your exuberant posting. We are currently working on adding cooking tours in Italy and France and also maybe one or two Caribbean destinations as well. I also expect that my pasta dish that I mentioned above will also become universally popular. I loved your reference to the yacht cruise. I think you are referring to The Americas Cup tour in St. Maarten. This is where the retired boats used in previous competitions are used to race each other in the stunning waters around the Dutch side of the island. The passengers act as crew and are responsible for pushing up the sail thing and winding in the Spinach sail or whatever it’s called. The real race is being run now in Spain and I understand from Heidi’s gossip magazines that Catherine Zeta Jones is there and was photographed with a very sun tanned mystery man on her arm as they danced the night away…………………lucky git. Anyway, back to cooking. I am going to make this my new project and of course it will be done in a smoke free environment. Thanks as always and I will let you know when we get this going.
GIRLDOC – OK, another vote for cooking classes ashore…………….watch this space Doc……………do doc’s have a favorite food? A guy walks into a doctor’s office and says “Please help me. In the morning I dream of being a Wigwam and in the evening I dream of being a Marquee.” The Doctor says………….”Sir, you are two tense”
COLEEN O ‘LEARY – Being confused is a normal symptom common among tourists 🙂 Therefore let me ease your trouble and strife. You asked about debarkation times from the Carnival Freedom once we arrive back into Civitavecchia. I see that you have a meeting planned with friends in Rome at 9 am. This will be fine as we start debarkation at 6 am. It takes an hour to arrive from the ship into Rome so I would purchase a shuttle service to the center of Rome or if you are booking private transportation arrange to pick you up at 7:45 am. Hope this is ok and let me know if I can help further.
JO MYERLY – .What’s the best bargain you ever bought from QVC? The people who missed the ship arrived ok and as we start this next cruise I hope that it is a voyage where nobody misses the vessel at all. Keep laughing Jo and hope you enjoy this blog.
PEG FORGOTCH – Thank you for your kind words and I am glad we got to sail together on the Carnival Glory. I always feel honored when I see that a Travel Agent is reading the blog and if there is anything I can do to help you or perspective clients I will be here for you. My regards to you and your colleagues.
LINDA HERNACKI – I love Laurel and Hardy but I think Big Ed and Ugly Alan Adkins would make great partners and can just see them playing around together. Many of the bloggers have asked for signed photos of the caricature and we will have those soon and of course T Shirts and Photos etc are on the way. I will be sending Mike one of a ship’s light bulbs. I hope you are both well and it will soon be Turkey time!
TAZMAN – Yep, one more cruise and you walk up the gangway. You asked if the Supper Club is open on the last night of the cruise and indeed it is. In fact, the last night carries a casual dress code to allow people to wear what they want with packing having to be done as well. If you need help with reservations, please let me know. See you soon mate.
JENN – Good morning. What an awful way to spend your birthday, in bed, with a sinus infection and having to read my blog thingy. I see that you sailed on the Carnival Inspiration, a beautiful ship. Well, once the nose is unblocked and you and the family are deciding where to go on vacation, why not slap a few questions on the blog and let me try and help persuade you to try one of the Inspirations beautiful sisters. Hope you feel better and thanks for reading the blog.
JIMINI – The cooking tour seems to have struck a positive cord and the Shore Excursion Department and myself will try and have this up and running within a few days. You asked about Gondola Rides in Venice where you will be visiting after the cruise. I have two words of advice when it comes to this.
1. Always ask the price of the tour and how long it will last. You should expect to pay 100 euros up until 6 pm and after dark, when the canals are romantically lit up, well, the skies the limit, so please fix the price.
2. As for the Champagne Dinner we sell with a gondola trip, some hotels will offer a package like this so shop around a little.Can you tell me where you are staying in Venice and then I can help you out more specifically. There you go then, I will wait to hear from you and Heidi and I send you our best.
OKTEACH – Thank you for the nice words about the Cruise Critic article. Seeing myself on the front page was very strange but made me fell very proud and grateful to all of you who have made this blog so popular. I look forward to meeting your group and let me arrange a place and time for you all to meet and of course, Heidi and I will be there with you. Carry on teaching; it’s the most important job in the world.
MRS. MTSFP – I think the Sipper Club has been named “The Pinnacle” as it sits atop of the vessel…………but I am checking to confirm. We shall find out very soon who has won the name the spa contest, what were your entries?
VJROMANO – I am glad I was able to help with your cabin problem and of course I will be available to help with your questions about the right tours for you and Mum to take. Just sit back and relax in the knowledge that all the staff and crew will do their utmost to make sure you have a wonderful time. Keep reading the blog thingy and see you soon.
TOM RACHFORD – Thanks to you both for saying how much you enjoy the blog. I will be on the Bloggers Cruise and the cruise after that as well but probably during the month of February I will be elsewhere. I am excited to hear that you have booked this cruise and I promise both you and Jane a fun and exciting voyage. The biggest vote of thanks though goes to you for sailing with Carnival 35 TIMES…………….We here, salute you both.
RAY MCTEAGUE – Hello Mate. I am glad your aunt and uncle enjoyed the book. I was going to send champagne but the book is indeed an everlasting memory of the cruise. It sounds like you and the family had a fantastic time on the Carnival miracle. I have never actually stepped foot on the ship but it sounds like the staff and crew gave you eight fantastic days. I have passed on your heartfelt thanks to the Hotel Director and Brent the CD as requested. If there are any other comments you want to post here please go right ahead. Believe it or not, we do not filter any comments, I want to hear about the good and the things that need improving on so please let me know your thoughts. It seems that you are true carnival fans and therefore I thank you so very much for booking the Carnival Splendor and it will be tremendous to sail with you again. All the best Ray and I look forward to your next posting.
LISA AND ELAINE – I am indeed proud that we have reached 400,000 plus readers. I hope to hit the half a million mark by the end of the month of July. I am glad you are enjoying the photos and I will continue to place as many as I can on the blog thingy. You asked what Heidi and I do for vacation. Well, this time very little. Spending time with family and doing everyday normal things is a vacation for us. I miss driving a lot although I wish it were in an Aston Martin 🙂
I will see you soon Elaine and please keep reading the blog for more information and fun.
JAMES EMM – Bring a wide angle lens mate 🙂
BARB AND CARL THE BEARS – Always good to hear from the bear family. Thank you for comments about Shelly and her family. They are what a family is all about, supporting each other through the good and the bad times. I will be hopefully telling you about the T Shirts very soon and as for Catherine and AJ I guess we have to see what happens. AJ feels further out of reach than ever. I have no idea why but I feel like we have hit a wall trying to get to her. It may be the same with CZJ but for some reason I have a strange feeling that she may be the one.
What do other bloggers think? See you for a Gelato soon and best to both the Bears from Heidi and I.
BILL (ZYDECO CRUISER) – I really enjoyed the Brian Jack album and as for the front cover of Cruise Critic, well, I am humbled by the whole thing but it is a great feeling to know that my hours of typing and follow ups are appreciated by so many people including of course your good self. See what an influence you have on me, just typing your name has made me put the Brian Jack album on again.
DAVE S – How wonderful to know that you have booked the Carnival Splendor. You asked about the back-to-back situation should you decide to sail for 24 days. The answer to your question is that you certainly do not have to disembark and check in all over again. All that needs to be done is for you to have your security photo taken for new cruise and this is done at the gangway onboard, it is that simple mate. Hope this answers your question and if you have others, please let me know.
TVLADY – Hello Vladimir. I have checked for the cruise that you are sailing on and there will be 49 other Russian-speaking guests onboard. We have nobody sailing from Israel but we do have many Russian speaking crew onboard who will be able to help you and your family every day. I have no idea how many of the 49 Russians are children until the cruise starts but I am sure there will be others. Please let me know if you need help. You will have a wonderful time.
BOB POLAND – Thank you for the story about your ass experience and the advice is well taken. The cooking demonstration tour is in the works and I expect to have it up and running very soon. Shelly’s letter was inspirational as you said and I am sure she will appreciate reading your kind wishes and congratulations. Thank to you mate and thanks from Heidi and I for the kind words about us and this blog thingy.

That’s it for today’s Q & A except to say WELCOME HOME TO GEORGE AND LINDA. They have been reading the blog from the start. They sailed with me for 24 days and were so kind and thoughtful. I apologize to you both that time ran away with me and we didn’t get to spend much time together but Heidi and I enjoyed having you here. We miss you already.

Next week, you can look forward to guest blogs from some very important people in the Carnival family ………………..and………………as requested an interview with My PA 007.

As usual I started this blog on Naples morning and am finishing it on the sea day on the way to Venice where we sold out all 500 spots on the Gondola tours, those are going to be some very busy men tomorrow. I hope the weather stays fine.

And now, a sensitive subject. This is one of those that I am in two minds to tell you about and I decided to run this past the folks in the office before I did….they gave me the OK……….normally, I write what I feel without a care but this one, well I needed a sound board and the timing of this is very relevant.

I met with two guests this morning at 9 am in the Lobby. They had asked to meet with me and the Captain. I apologized for the Captain’s absence and said I would pass on the discussion with him later this morning. The two men who were both from the U.S. were very upset…why…because they had seen the family we have onboard from Jeddah who have the three women wearing the traditional Burkas. For those not familiar with this form of dress, it is the all in one black robe that just have the eyes showing. It is a religious statement and the guests were very angry about the fact we allowed them onboard. I asked why and was informed that they were scaring the children and that it could be a “security risk.”

As usual I tried to explain that the photos of the women were taken with their faces revealed so they could be checked by security staff on returning to the vessel and that the family in question was understanding about. In fact, this family from Jeddah had sailed three times previously on a Carnival ship. However, as I expected, the conversation turned to the state of the world and that they may be…………………….and I stopped them both there. I said that was a conversation that I was not prepared to have with them and that they had passed through various immigration checks in the European airports and before boarding the ship.

The men were really getting wound up so I suggested that they just enjoy their cruise and not to worry about something that was not going to change. I had no more right to ask the ladies to remove the Burkas as I do to ask someone not to wear a Christian Cross or a Star of David……….that’s my thoughts anyway.

They seemed much calmer and more understanding when I finished talking to them and hopefully they will relax now and not worry about something they cannot change.

The guests were from a remote destination in the U.S. and not one we usually see folks from and I think they may not have come into contact with this sort of thing before. I totally understand why they may feel like this, the world is on guard, just look at the UK these last few days. Here though, we have a family on vacation and we want them and everyone else to have fun…….life’s to short not to.

Finally, I want to say hello to a blogger who is onboard. Mr. Bill Peden. ……….he reads the blog a lot and is here with his wife Erika. Bob is a special man………why…………………..because even though he was paralyzed by a drunk driver last year as folks who are onboard this week will tell you, he was the star of the show last night and a shining example to us all.

Just one final note from last cruise and it’s another great comment. This morning during debarkation three guests approached the Information Desk and asked if they could leave the ship because they had all their own luggage with them and had not placed it outside the cabin door and had private transportation picking them up. The Purser (Joanne) told them this was OK and she though that was that……..until she noticed that one of the guests had a garbage bag with what looked like one of our Carnival Comfort Bed duvets inside it. Noticing this, Joanne and another Purser (Alex) followed them and as they went down to the gangway they stopped them at security. Asking to see in the garbage bag there, sure enough was one of our duvets.

When security asked why she had taken it her reply was “I thought that they were for the guests to take home.” Anyway, we removed the duvet and returned it to its rightful owner but not before checking the cabin to make sure the TV, towels and toilet paper were still there. Heidi was on the gangway organizing debarkation and witnessed this and she said the surprising thing was the lady (who was in her 30’s) showed no guilt and looked angry that we dare take it back from her. I am surprised she didn’t complain that the towels were so fluffy that she couldn’t close her suitcase.

That’s it for now. Heidi and I are looking forward to a nice dinner with friends in Venice tomorrow……………………….I bet I end up paying 🙂


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.