Chapter Three

July 11, 2007 -

John Heald

Some of you have asked what it is like to work on the ship, so I thought I’d highlight one of the things I do in every port of call.My main part of the job on this ship (and last year on the Carnival Liberty) is the Shore Excursions in the morning.

On average, 2,000 guests leave the ship in the morning to go on one of our exiting Shore Excursions. It’s the best way to visit all the great places we go to.

Of course, when so many guests need to leave within as little as one hour, I am sure you understand that it takes quite a bit of organization and planning. I work closely with the Shore Excursion Manager and his team and of course our team of Social Hosts and Dancers, who all work very hard to make it as easy as possible for the guests to disembark the ship and get to their designated tour bus on time.

After the guests receive the tour tickets in their cabin, they come to one of the lounges on the ship where they meet with their groups.  Naples morning is normally the busiest of them all as our guests are still finding their way around the ship. The most important thing on these mornings is for the guests to come to the lounge with their whole group of friends or family members together. We give the guests stickers and every sticker number is also the number of the tour bus, so when half the group comes in 10 minutes before the rest of the group, the guests might end up with different numbers, which then means that they would end up on a different bus. Now, I am sure while you read the above, you think….that sounds like a problem…and you are so right….IT IS!!!

But as many times as we tell the guests before they even enter the lounge…….there are still groups of friends or family members that come in at a totally different time and then it’s up to me to try and find groups of three or four guests who are willing to exchange their stickers. Most of the time we are able to do this though, although it can cause complications for me and the guests. I joke about it when I make my announcements, “the best things to do when you don’t want to spend the day with your husband, you just come in to the lounge 20 minutes after him and you won’t see him until dinner time,” but in most cases the ladies DO want to spend the day with their husbands though….strange.

Sometimes the “silly questions” really do get asked, but that keeps the job interesting. Like a lady asked me two days ago: “Heidi I need an elevator to deck 0.” “OK”, I said, “you may use any of these six elevators here in the lobby, just don’t use the glass ones, as they only go down as far as deck 1.” I then walked back in to the lounge and I felt somebody pulling the sleeve of my polo shirt. It was the same lady, now upset with me: “Heidi, I said that I needed an elevator!!” It took me a minute before I realized that this lady wanted me to press the button for her and ride the elevator with her…..so I did…. 🙂

So, the guests wait in the lounge, as soon as their group is complete, and the bus and guide are ready on the pier, one of the staff members guides the guest to the pier. It sounds really simple, but believe me, with 2,000 guests each morning, it’s always a challenge, but one we are more than capable of meeting and it is a great feeling to see 2,000 guests disembark the ship in an organized way and knowing that they are about to see some amazing sites.

That is just one of my many jobs, however, one of my biggest responsibilities is looking after John and following up on the things that he forgets to do. He has an incredible memory about things that happened 20 years ago, but things I said to him yesterday, well…..his mind becomes like Swiss cheese (full of holes).

Let me catch up on some comments:

SOUTHERNDREAMS – Thank you for the comments on my 2nd blog. John is so busy writing that sometimes I feel guilty, when I take over sometimes and he is just dictating, I hardly have time to squeeze some things in there like I did in the beginning, because he is keeping an eye on me now. So, no more photos of him in compromising places (like our bed). Our cabin is comfortable, but by no means big. We have a separate bed room and a bathroom with a bath tub, which is very nice to unwind once in a while.
Then we have a part where the desk is and a sofa, and that’s about it. No balcony, although the Cruise Director cabin on the Spirit-class ships do. But then again, I rather have the extra space in the cabin as most of the time it is too hot to sit on the balcony anyway. When we brought out the Carnival Legend, and sailed in to Amsterdam and all the other wonderful places that we will be visiting again on the Carnival Splendor, the balcony was a plus. Of course, sailing in to your own country is fantastic and sailing through Holland to the port of Amsterdam was an unforgettable experience for me. Cows were staring at me when we sailed toward Amsterdam as the water was so narrow there. I wondered what those cows were thinking when they saw this monster of a cruise ship sailing past them…..
ESSEXMAN – Hello Mr. Essex. Is it still raining there? I think the best thing to do is take a walk down the pier……maybe not. My sister-in-law Suzanne and I walked down the pier one time in the middle of the winter. It was cold, actually, it was so cold, that John dropped us of with the car at the top of the pier and picked us up later. We walked and when we got half way, we had to cover our ears on one side as we felt like they were about to freeze and fall off. Luckily at the end of the pier we were able to find some shelter in one of the cafes and had a Cadbury hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream on top. These days you have to take a flask with you as after the big fire there isn’t much left on the pier.  For all other bloggers, the Southend Pier is the longest wooden pier in the world.  
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(Southend Pier is a major landmark in Southend-on-Sea. Extending 2,158 m (a mile and a third) into the Thames Estuary, it is the longest pleasure pier in the world. Since 1986, a diesel-hydraulic railway has been running the length of the famous pier, replacing the original electric service which opened in 1890. A fire in October 2005 seriously damaged the far end of the pier.)
To get back to your question: Statutory breaks are something we don’t get on board. As and when we have time we take some time for ourselves.
(having some lunch ashore, watching a movie or sunbathing (for me)
I hope the sun is shining in Southend today!!
MARIJ – Jullie zijn nu vast al onderweg, dus nog eventjes en we mogen jullie aan boord begroeten, dus dit lees je denk ik pas als jullie weer thuis zijn.
De koffie staat klaar!!!
CAPT CHUCK Our cabin is comfortable, but by no means large. A few months a year in the cabin makes you appreciate the space more when you get home.
But, when at home I have to hoover myself and make my own bed, because we too are spoiled by our cabin steward, Nyoman.
He is a lovely man from Indonesia and looks after us very well.
I have to say that each cruise is unique, even though some activities are the same. Something as simple as a trivia quiz is different every time. You ask the same questions, but sometimes a guest has such a funny answer or explanation for their answer that the whole crowd is “in stitches” ….
LINDA HERNACKI – If you sailed on the Carnival Imagination in 1998, I probably worked as an International Rep@Sea, after 2000 I have been working with John as his assistant. You are right about the Valentine’s cruise, my dad passed away on the 15th of February. We left the ship in Belize. And you are right as well when you say that I have a wonderful man in John. I couldn’t ask for anyone better to share my life with. (picture of our wedding day is on the way)
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – Hello Sir, I hope your wife didn’t have too many things for you to do….
My job title is Assistant Cruise Director. I take care of the Carnival Capers (your daily program), a lot of paperwork, schedules and of course the more important things as : making sure John’s tie matches his shirt, making sure that he wears two socks of the same color and all those important things…..I enjoy living on the ship with John and working together. Of course there are times when you think, I wish we had a Friday afternoon and a Monday morning, but on the ship all days are “working” days and the word “weekend” doesn’t exist, but like I said before about the space in the cabin, that too makes you appreciate being at home and the first thing I do when getting home is taking off my watch. What a wonderful thing not to have a care in the world what time it is….
BARB DONNEGAN –  Well, time to cruise is almost here for you. I bet you are excited now!
We don’t teach Italian classes on board, but we have great books in the library, you can copy some words/phrases from them if you would like to. Most Italian people speak English, so you don’t have to worry about that when getting around in the places we go to. Don’t worry about the food on a stick…..we worked with somebody from Minnesota and he told us about the fairs where all the food is served on a stick, which made us giggle. Just bring yourselves and make sure you come and say HI~!
HEIDI-BETH – I see that you are counting down till your cruise on the Carnival Glory.
Your Cruise Director will be Ralph Valente AKA Wee Jimmy. He worked with us on the Carnival Triumph and on the Carnival Glory. He is a charmer and I am sure he will have you laughing all week. Send him our love when you get on board. He loves teddy bears!!!
JANFRWA – Janet, next time when you are in Cannes, you should definitely try the crepes. Mmmmm. Covered in banana and chocolate and of course lots of whipped cream.  A real treat, and you can have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner!!! I love frites as well, as long as there is a lot of mayonnaise involved. None of that English vinegar ……not my “cup of tea” at all.
We use the mayonnaise in many different combinations in Holland and my favorite is: a large plate of “friet”, then mayonnaise on top, peanut (sateh) sauce on top of that and then finish it off with lots of onions……You’ve got to try it!!!
LOVETOTEACH – I promised to write one blog a cruise and I will keep my promise. I bet you are super busy, I can only imagine. A job and looking after the children. But, now your cruise is almost here, so make sure you come and say hi!!
ROBERT – Thank you for your sweet words. Who would have thought I would be here on the Carnival Freedom, writing blogs???? 11 years after bringing out the Carnival Destiny. But we are still enjoying ourselves and you and Suzann are still cruising, that’s the main thing.
KATHY KROLL – Wow, a suite with a Jacuzzi….I like your thoughts Kathy……
And about the book, there definitely will be a book, after we retire though, I don’t know where we would find the time now, John is already typing around 6,000 words a day on top of all the “regular” work…
Hi to Paul from both of us.
BIG ED – Thank you for your BRIEF comment, any other tips? (hee hee 🙂 )
I will make sure that I will stay involved in the blog-thingy, don’t worry.
Hi to Mrs. Ed for me please.
SHARONR – Looking forward to meeting you too!! When are you sailing with us??
JUANNEVERLY-PRISCO – Jann and Sal, are you coming to see us on the Carnival Freedom or the Carnival Splendor??

As promised I will close with a photo of John and I on our wedding day.

If you look carefully at John he looks more nervous than he ever is on stage. To the left of me is John’s Dad, next to him is my Dad and next to him is my brother. The second one is of my dad walking me down the isle and giving me away to John…

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It was a wonderful day and one I will never forget………….neither will John, especially when he saw the bill!

Until next time I wish you all the best.

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.