Constantinople is a very long word, how do you spell it? I T

Did you ever do that joke at school…………….nope……………….OK probably just me then………Anyway, hello from the former Constantinople or Istanbul as it is known today.

It was a beautiful day, hot, but not scorching as it was in Rhodes and probably will be in Athens as well. Heidi and I went off the ship and did an inspection on the meeting points which are the areas where people meet to take the shuttle bus service back to the ship. I must say that in Dubrovnik this system needs major surgery but in Istanbul the system is flawless and runs as smooth as any operation I have seen.

We sent 2,300 people on ship purchased tours today and everyone I spoke to was enthralled by this enchanting city.

So, with that in mind, here are some of Heidi’s photos.

1. The Blue Mosque at sunset – The Blue Mosque is the only one in Istanbul with six minarets, all the others have four.

1. The Blue Mosque at sunset - The Blue Mosque is the only one in Istanbul with six minarets, all the others have four.

2. The Hagia Sofia – You must see this place one day, it is indescribable.

2. The Hagia Sofia - You must see this place one day, it is indescribable.

3 The Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque.

3 The Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque.

I hope you are enjoying these beautiful photos which have been taken by Heidi and Jamie and Lloyd, from the entertainment staff.

The continuing saga of entertainment mishaps has continued. First, we had Richard Gauntlett who arrived at the ship without luggage and props. This meant that I had to replace his show with another entertainer, who luckily was already on board. This meant I had to request an extra entertainer who would need to fly into Istanbul. This was arranged with the office and our agent in London and we expected a comedy juggler to arrive in Istanbul. However, this act was getting off a Princess ship in a port in Italy before flying to join us in Istanbul but due to the late arrival of the Princess ship, he missed his flight. Are you still with me?…….WAKE UP! The story continues. I then had to get on the phone in Turkey and ask for another entertainer who could arrive to the vessel today. This was arranged and a new act who would perform a “Rat Pack Tribute” would arrive to the ship at 2:30pm. Brilliant! Then at 1:00pm, our agent Jonathan Blackburn, called my cell phone (which by the way I have to pay for) to tell me that the entertainer had ……..guess what……………..yep, you guessed it, missed his flight. I was told he would take a later flight, which should get him to the ship before the ship sailed at 8 pm. He arrived at 7:30pm. The story continues, because now, the singer needs a two-hour rehearsal with the band before he performs the show at 10:30 pm. This meant that I would have to move all the activities from the main lounge to the aft lounge to allow for the rehearsal to continue. Go and have a cup of coffee and I will continue the story in 10 minutes.

OK, I am back.

Let’s carry on. Now moving activities and changing shows is a big thing because all the printed material (The Capers) are now wrong so I had to make announcements and ask the maitre d’s to do the same in the dining rooms. Then, position staff at the six entrances to the lounge to make sure people know what is happening. Finally, I then have to go out on stage, introduce the act that all though most people know is different to the one advertised I know that there are some who missed the announcement and will now be wondering why they are listening to “Fly Me To The Moon” instead of watching someone juggle and tell jokes. All in all it was a trying day but one that as flying anywhere gets more complicated and more flights are delayed a day that I and all Cruise Directors will no doubt face again and again. Just though I would share that story with you.

The result of this was also NO SUPPER CLUB for Heidi so I am once again back in the Dog House.

Today, while having lunch at our favorite restaurant in Istanbul Heidi and I were approached by the wonderful statement “I don’t mean to bother you………..but” from a very sunburned lady. I asked what I could do for her and said it was no bother (even though it was as my mouth was stuffed having taken a huge bite of my shish kebab) and the lady unperturbed by the fact that I was splattering her with pieces of freshly slaughtered lamb (my apologies to the vegetarians, oh, by the way, it was smoked lamb, so my apologies to missingthesmokefreeparadise) and proceeded to tell me how upset she was and I needed to listen.

Before I continue, I am sharing this with you not to have you all defend me, which I appreciate so very much, but as this blog continues, to continue to pass on what really happens and that includes the comments from unhappy guests. So, this lady was extremely upset with the movie that I had played the previous night on the Seaside Theatre big screen on Lido deck. The lady said that she had to leave because of a (nudity scene) which had upset her so much that she needed to tell me how disgusted she was that Carnival will play and I quote “pornographic material.”

Now, I will tell you all about the movie in a moment, however, because I wanted to investigate her claim and make sure I had all the evidence I apologized, took her cabin number and told her I would contact her once I was back on board.

This was not the real reason, as I already knew the movie and the scene she refers to, the reason I wanted her to leave because my lamb kebab was getting cold and I didn’t not want that lamb to die for nothing (again, apologies for the vegetarians).

OK, the movie she was referring to is National Lampoons European Vacation which is a classic American comedy which is enjoyed each cruise by hundreds of guests who laugh out loud at the antics of the Griswald family during their trip to Italy, France and other destination that this ship calls on. The scene she is referring to is a brief, and I mean brief, as in half a second glimpse of a pair of breasts which are covered so quickly you need to have bionic vision to see them fully. Here is the official rating which I have slapped on directly from the Internet.

National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo Director: Amy Heckerling Rating P.G. 13

This rating is also listed in the Carnival Capers and movie description. So, I called the guest and the guest said that she was horrified and that she is sure that I will receive “hundreds of complaints.” She is correct, just 99 short….. Seriously, I did apologize and told her that the National board of movie ratings had given it at parental guidance for anybody under 13 to watch, however, I apologized if she was offended and hoped that she could put this behind her and to enjoy the rest of her cruise.

I forgot to mention that we are showing the new James Bond movie “Casino Royale” tomorrow night and that she maybe shaken and stirred by the sight of Daniel Craig in a very tight pair of Speedos.

Here are today’s letters from “In Their Own Words” section. This includes a letter I received from a guest who went through a traumatic experience before coming on board. I will be talking to her tomorrow.

Talking of eating, well, I wasn’t but I will now…I have had a craving for the last few days for a Nathan’s hotdog. A friend of mine is in New York and promised to have one in my honor; however, this particular avenue of pleasure was closed off by a salad eating healthy person.

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words


My two fingers are in the air and ready to start their dance across the keyboard as we begin today’s Q & A:

STORMIN’ NORMAN – I am really happy you enjoyed the interview with Bob Dickinson. The dedication he showed to Carnival Cruise Lines will now continue in his crusade to combat homelessness in Miami. Hopefully one day soon, we get to talk and to continue your Australian theme, Heidi and I wish you a BONZA day.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – Heidi and I have been thinking of you and your dad, I am glad he is out of hospital and I am sure he will be blessed with continuing health and with his sons’ help he will learn to walk again. On a happier note, it’s good to hear that you are considering a European cruise and yes, you may see George Hamilton. I see him in all the ports and I am sure that was him in Naples as only he can transmit a tan glare strong enough to blind me through a pair of binoculars. Once again, he had a brunette on his arm……..she wasn’t as tanned as he was. You mentioned your neighbor lost his luggage and it certainly is something that is happening more and more. This cruise many guests have answered my appeal for spare clothes and it has been great to see. Later this week I will be posting an interview with our chief purser, who will explain a little bit more about the process of what happens once luggage is reported missing. Wishing you and your father continued blessings.
JENN – Congratulations on getting the anagrams correct. I am going to stop those for a while and we will do some more in the weeks to come. The low-carb diet is indeed difficult on both of us although Heidi has learned to keep a can of “Oust” spray near her at all times. I am glad also that yesterday’s blog cheered you up and if you are ever feeling down I hope I continue to make you smile. Having a difficult boss makes your life at work difficult I am sure but try not to let her get you down and as I often do in these situations the kinder and happier you are in the work place, the more frustrated your boss will be and eventually she will have no choice but to become affected by your smile and she too may change her outlook on life. Wishing you all the best and remember “always look on the bright side of life.”
TAMI STARR – First of all, welcome home and Heidi is grateful for the kind words you have written about her. Secondly, I am horrified that the Carnival employee you spoke to gave you so much wrong information about the cruise and what you could and could not do. Some of it, like not having blow dryers in the room is terrible. I am going to ask ROGER BLUM to forward your comments to the right people in Miami so we can educate our staff in what is and is not allowed on board. ACTUALLY, A THOUGHT, ROGER, MAYBE WE COULD ENCOURAGE OUR FRIENDS IN RESERVATIONS, SALES, ETC. TO READ THE BELOW AS IT DOES GIVE SO MUCH INFORMATION, NOT JUST ABOUT THE CARNIVAL FREEDOM BUT ABOUT THE COMPANY IN GENERAL AS WELL AS IMPORTANT FEEDBACK FROM THE GUESTS………………….WHAT DO YOU THINK?
I believe one of the problems is that the company has gotten so big so quickly that maybe we are not passing on the information well enough from the ship to the folks in the office and this must and will improve. Let’s start by getting as many of them to read this blog as possible and hopefully by underlining various points, the next time they are asked a question the words “I don’t know ” will not be heard.
Let’s see what Roger can do to assist with this, I will let you know. You also mentioned how useful this blog was in obtaining information before the cruise and that you wish one was available for every ship in the fleet. I want to stress to all of you that I am here to give any information you need on any of our ships or ports of call and even if necessary I can find out the answers to questions regarding our sister companies such as Princess, Holland America etc. It sounds to me as though you and your family have so many memories to
look back on with great happiness except your experience on the Pisa by Trolley tour. Tami, I wish you and your family all the best for the future and please keep reading the blog and I will always be here for you.
SUSAN B – Susan, it is very kind of you to be concerned about me being paid to do these blogs. I know that at the end of the year Carnival will do the right thing by me. Whether that is in money form or by presenting me with a brand new Aston Martin. Heidi and I are now singing “Love Me Tender ” and practice for our next tendering port in Dubrovnik. Let’s hope it goes better than last time as I was so mad at myself because of the lines even though it was out of our control. If things don’t work out at the end of the year, consider yourself hired as my public relations manager. All the best.
BIG ED – The labels on the bathrobes that says one size fits all are indeed talking nonsense. And I can understand your resolve in getting this changed. We also need to increase our stock of larges clothing sizes in our on board shops. I am working hard on this and if you take the bloggers cruise, I will personally buy you a bathrobe that fits.
Working on it mate…..
Thank you for your poem, have you thought any more about the bloggers cruise?
Ahhhhhh… I understand. The lady with the long stretchy thing whose picture I posted was using it in the casino for her player bankcard. Thanks for the insight, see, there are things that even I don’t know after 20 years.
JO MYERLY – Your request has been noted and this will be part of my conference call on Thursday. Thank you also for the great movie suggestions, I have already ordered Indiana Jones. Thanks as always Jo.
VALENTIN 10 – Thank you for the congratulations, I appreciate it very much and I hope now you have discovered the blog, you will keep reading it.
JTODDINMAN – Thank you for the link that you slapped on about Bob Dickinson and in particular his work with CAMILLUS HOUSE. Bob is indeed a special a special person and how fortunate we are to have one in the same with our new President Mr. Cahill. You asked about Carnival’s charity work which is present and on going and much of this is in partnership with the United Way. You have given me a great idea for a guest blog where we can discuss charity work with some people from Carnival’s main office. On a personal note, Heidi and I work with a company in the UK and Holland that sponsors children and orphans from Africa which we hope to continue for many years. Thank you as always for your comments and all the best.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – I am so happy that you are enjoying the photos and I am sorry one of the letters made you cry but I understand why. I am looking forward to seeing the photos from the Male Nightgown Contest ………….I think. Sounds to me that if you ever give up your day job you could be a travel agent. Have you ever thought about that? Often the best travel agents are people who just love cruising and enjoy sharing their experiences with others. You fit that description perfectly. Just a thought. Heidi is well, thank you for asking. We both send our best to you.
FABIAN AND THAIS – Heel hartelijk dank voor de suggesties voor de films voor de Splendor. Ik zal er zoveel mogelijk proberen te bestellen. Onze allerbeste wensen voor jullie beiden.
AYR – Great to hear from you. We miss you too! Things are not the same without you here. For the rest of the bloggers, Ayr was our backstage manager who left for a well-deserved vacation. Keep in touch. The best to you and your family from us both.
DWA76 – I am glad you enjoyed the interview with Mrs. Dickinson and also the photos from the top of Naples. The two ladies in Rhodes arguing about the fur was indeed interesting and while I understand there believes on animal cruelty, some of which I share, I agree with you that while in a foreign country they should respect the rights of the people that live there. I am glad that you are enjoying the blog; it is certainly something that I am continuing to enjoy writing.
NANETTEALI – I asked Tina for her e-mail address and at the moment she does not have one, however, she did want me to pass on her best regards to you and especially she mentioned how much fun your children were every night at dinner. Every time I see your name I smile. I will be in the Caribbean at some point and if I am lucky enough to come to San Juan, of course, we shall meet. Grasy arse para todos.
A CRUISE BY ANY OTHER NAME – A guest interview about provisions will be forthcoming from an expert. I am happy to see my steak on my plate every night but have no idea where it comes from…………..well I know it comes from a cow, but I mean where on the ship. Great idea, look out for that down the road.
BILL (ZYDECOCRUISER) – Just read your posting ribs, steak, that’s one rotisserie that I will be visiting every day. Everything has gone quiet on the AJ front and I am letting things take their natural course over the next few weeks. If I hear nothing then I will start making a play to have CZJ as Godmother. Great to hear from you Bill, as always.
SHERIFF ROSCOE P. COLTRANE – Haven’t seen a posting from you for a while, just wanted to make sure that the bad guys weren’t running there moonshine during your watch. Heidi and I were talking about how long ago it seems that you were both here. Let me know that you are OK.
PAM – Your Supper Club reservation is confirmed. Bon Appetit!
MELISSA – I am happy to tell you that your supper club reservation is confirmed as well. Try the porterhouse.
TON AND ANGELIQUE VISSER – Great to hear from you. When your son is ready to apply for a job on board, I suggest first of all he reads the information which can be found on our website and at the bottom of the page, click on the word jobs. Working as a chef on the ship is very rewarding however, very different to working on land. I would suggest that when your son is ready, that you let me know and I will direct him to the person in charge of hiring our chefs so let me know when you can. It was great having you on board. Groeten van ons beiden.
BRYAN – Thank you also for your appreciation for Mr. Dickinson. I know he is still reading this blog and is very grateful for everybody’s kind words. You asked about mail, which is send directly to the address I posted so hopefully I will receive a card from you soon :))
Thanks mate, keep reading the blog thingy.
TIM KRIEBEL – Tim, first of all we all salute you for your many years of service as a Master Chief Petty Officer. Also, your kind words of how Carnival Cruise Lines offers discounts to serving military personnel were so beautifully written. I forwarded them to Mr. Dickinson as you had addressed them directly to him and this was his reply.
John, we are very proud of our military rates as a small way Carnival can recognize the fine efforts of the folks who protect our Country. Bob
I am sure Mr. Cahill will be continuing these special rates and once again, we salute you and all serving personnel and it will be our honor to host them aboard one of our “Fun Ships.”
DOROTHE CALIMBAS – Glad you enjoyed the photos from Venice, maybe one day you will visit this romantic city as part of a Carnival cruise. More photos will follow each day and thank you as always for writing.
LISA BISTA – You are indeed excited, I can tell, so hurry up and get here and have a safe flight.
DAVID – Hi David. Did we ever work together? Thank you for your inside into your job as a lighting technician and as I know from here, your job is very skilled and sometimes overlooked in the grand scheme of things. I take it also that you work for Royal Caribbean — don’t be shy, I won’t throw myself overboard at the mere mention of our friendly rivals. Who is your cruise director? Please pass on my best regards to him/her and maybe he/she can have a read of the blog and we can communicate. I wish you all the best mate and if you ever want to come back for us, please let me know.
LORI – Now I understand. The marriage renewal that you have booked is at your discretion as far as what time the service starts. May I suggest that the service begins at 7 pm and we make 8 pm Supper Club reservations for your 16 people. I would suggest this be done on the second formal night, toward the end of the cruise. If you want, I can go ahead and arrange the time, lounge and the supper club, so just let me know and of course if our schedule permits, Heidi and I would be honored to join you for the ceremony. My best to you all.
KICIASKI – Thank you for your note of gratitude for Bob and I am sure that Mr. Cahill will be as popular within the industry as he continues to build on the foundations that Bob has laid. Isn’t it a small world? There you are in Paris in a department store and you meet people who were on the Carnival Freedom. So, you will be home by the time you are reading this and hopefully the weather in Chicago will welcome you warmly. I have not been keeping an eye on the prices for the Carnival Splendor, however, hopefully you will find them competitive and you will book at least one of the routes. I am sure you and George will have so many memories of the last few weeks and Heidi and I are privileged to be a part of them. Please let us know that you got home safe.
KATE – The square I was referring to was Fells Point. My friends and I had a wonderful time and if I wasn’t married and if Heidi wasn’t sitting here with me, I would tell you all about it.
You asked for suggestions for a reunion group and which destinations would be best. Without knowing the demographics of the group, this is not easy to answer, however, I think a Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Triumph from Miami which includes the new HOT destination of Grand Turk, may be the answer. Will you let me know a little bit more about the group itself and I will be able to help you further. Let me know what questions you have and we will find the right cruise for you.
VICKY – You are the first person to write a review on the movie HAIRSPRAY. The activities we are holding on board across the fleet are very popular and all of us now want to see the movie. I have forwarded your review to our marketing department for their review.
Thanks again and I can’t wait to see John Travolta in this movie.
BONNIE AND PRINCE CHARLIE – Big robes will be coming. If we don’t get them then myself, Big Ed, my mate Alan and Prince Charlie will protest without robes or anything else in the lobby. It should be quite a sight. How are the leaves?
PAUL F. PITRANGELO – Paul, it is wonderful to read all the glowing tributes toward Bob Dickinson. I am sure he is reading them now and they are a testament to his long and successful career. I am glad you found the information on strobe lighting useful and more importantly, I am glad you are relaxed in the knowledge that our show lighting will cause you no ill health. Heidi and I send you our kindest regards, hope to hear from you soon.
CYRIL AND SYLVIA BERNSTEIN – Your supper club reservation has been confirmed. Try the surf and turf.
BARB HARMON NUMBER 1 BEAR – Brilliant joke. Heidi laughed very hard, as did I. Here is one for you.
Juan & El Big Eddo worked together and both were laid off, so they went to the unemployment office.
When asked his occupation, Juan answered, “Panty Stitcher. I sew da elastic onto ladies’ cotton panties.”
The clerk looked up Panty Stitcher. Finding it classified as “unskilled labor,” she gave him $300 a week unemployment pay.
El Big Eddo was asked his occupation. “Diesel Fitter,” he replied. Since diesel fitter was a skilled job, the clerk gave Juan $600 a week.
When El Big Eddo found out he was furious. He stormed back into the office to find out why his friend and coworker were collecting double his pay.
The clerk explained, “Panty stitchers are unskilled and diesel fitters are skilled labor”
“What skill?!” yelled Juan. “I sew the elastic on da panties, El Big Eddo puts dem over his head and says: ‘Yeah, diesel fitter.'”
All the best. Keep the jokes coming.
HOTLANTA – Welcome home Betty and thank you again for the candy. I was sorry to hear about the lady that fell in Rome and broke her foot. Please send her our best regards. You asked if you can still order a DVD from the cruise but unfortunately we do not keep the master copies after the cruise is over, something that we really must change. I am very sorry. I am glad you are enjoying your 14-carat gold plastic trophy and next time I hope you and your Philadelphia family will cruise with us again. Until then, please keep reading the blog.


RUS AND NINA FRANKLIN – As you can see from the above message, I have just discovered about the web cam not working. The boffins back in Miami are working on this as we speak and hopefully normal service will be resumed very soon. You also asked about the web site link for Platinum card membership, I am not sure if there is a direct link to this, however I am checking now and will get back to you as soon as possible. If you have not heard back from me about this in three days, please remind me again. Hope you are both well and I will talk to you soon.
THOMAS AND JEANETTE TURNIPSEED – First of all, is this your real name or do you just have a turnip fetish? :)) Anyway, I am glad to confirm your supper club reservation has been confirmed……try the Turnip Soup.
HEIDI-BETH AND KEVIN – Saying that you feel like part of the Carnival family means a lot to us all. Carnival prides itself on still being a family-oriented company even though we continue to grow bigger each and every day. Thank you for pointing out how wonderful your Personal Vacation Planner Mike Alvira is and I have passed your words of congratulations up the chain of command. Please keep laughing and sharing in these blog experiences and best wishes from us both.
LINDA HERNACKI – How are you and Mike? Heidi and I had a wonderful wedding day and even though I joke about the bill, it was a fantastic day. The next time I get married though, I think I will let the bride pay. :)) Do you remember how Mike proposed to you?
RAY Mc Teague – Goodness me, Heidi and I are in awe of you. You were honeymooners on the Carnivale in 1979 and you are still cruising together now. It is also amazing to meet people who have traveled as much as you have yet have never lost a suitcase. You must have the luck of the Irish on your side. I remember the cruise you took on the Carnival Liberty and I hope like me, you have many wonderful memories of our Grand Med voyage together. I know it takes a lot of time to read each blog, so I appreciate so much the fact that you do so. Continued best wishes to you and your wife.
JUDI – Welcome home Judi and hope the city of Chicago is not too windy. They should name our cabin that, not Chicago, but the windy cabin especially with the diet I am on. I passed on your thanks to your dining room staff who were thrilled to hear from you and I also forwarded your comments about them to the maitre ‘d. Sorry that the volume on the Lido deck was too loud for you; I will monitor this very carefully. There are places where, if you sit directly under a speaker, it is indeed very loud but I will be checking this evening. So, until the next time you sail, I hope this blog will keep you entertained and I wish you all the best.
KERSPLOTT – I see we are having trouble with the anagram. FENCE HINGE IRE which as I see you got eventually was chief engineer. If you thought it was making your brain hurt, try and thinking of them…that’s why I have stopped them for a while. However, as we have 49 days together (hopefully) on the Carnival Splendor, I will do an anagram for you every day and of course I will reserve a chair for you, that’s the least I can do.
MAXWELL 1100 – Glad to hear that you are still enjoying the blog and of course Heidi and I would love to come to your Cruise Critic get together on the first sea day, so please remind me a couple of days before you cruise. I will not be able to join you for the one on the first day as I have my Welcome Aboard talk at the same time at 4:30 pm. Can’t wait to meet you and as always it brings a smile to my face knowing I have so many Cruise Critic friends joining me. See you in a few months.
VICKY AND MATT TILL – Vicky, everybody seems very excited about the Spa cabins on the Carnival Splendor. I wait for further information myself and as soon as I get it I will pass it directly to you and the other bloggers. Where is Matt? Haven’t heard from him for a while.
DAWN AND ALAN – You will soon be here for your sixth Carnival cruise and I will book the supper club as you requested however, as you were not specific for a date and time, I have booked it for the middle of the cruise, on the second sea day at 8 pm. I hope this is OK. Please confirm yes or no and can you also include your sir name or cabin number. Thank you for your kind words about the Carnival crew, who are all standing by to make cruise number six the best ever.
BONNIE AND PRINCE CHARLIE – Thank you very much for the inside of into my blog figures, I still do not quite understand what it all means, but I do know that I am very proud to have you all read my ditherings every day. If you are going to pay me $20 that would equal about 5 pounds Sterling right now, so I think I will wait for the dollar to be stronger. Is there anything Charlie can do about that???
BIG ED – Great plan. Heidi and Mrs. Ed go shopping, you and I go to a nude beach. It’s the stuff dreams are made off.
MRS. MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE – Your insight to the trans-Atlantic cruise is spot on however, I still have no idea what November will bring, I just hope one of them is an Aston Martin. As far as the seats by the pool are concerned, I still think common courtesy dictates waking up to reserve a sunbed two or three hours before you intend to use it, is wrong. Just my opinion. I believe it is a different scenario on the tour buses but apparently having spoken to many of the tour operators, staying in the same seat for the entire tour is standard. What is your opinion?
RUTH JAMISON – Yes indeed, shopping in the Grand Bazaar is something quite extraordinary. Yesterday, I was very close to inserting my foot in a shopkeeper’s bottom when he started to rub my stomach asking if there was a genie inside. If there had have been, one of my three wishes would have been for him to go away very quickly taking all 40,000 people who work there with him. That place is a great advert for Advil, however, you have to see it. Glad you enjoyed your dinner at the supper club and I hope you will now be a regular reader at the blog – thingy.
BIG ED – Great letter to Mr. Cahill and I can tell you that things are really moving in the XXXXXXXXXXXL direction
TERRI 910 – I am glad this blog can magically take you on a flying carpet ride back to Izmir and Istanbul. It was an honor to have you on board.
DAWN – You certainly will get a better rate from your own bank at home than changing Euros here on board. You can also use your ATM card in most of the ports of call. I hope this is useful.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – You have just made me very happy captain when you tell me that the hit rate for this blog is “outstanding.” What a fantastic story you shared with us from the airlines, if you have any more, I would love to hear them. When was the last time you flew a plane? Please also let me know how your dad is doing. Thanks mate.
BRYAN – Bryan, all I can say is Thank You. It is great to know that this humble blog is doing so well and yes, although I don’t want to blow my own trumpet (actually, I play trombone, my dad plays trumpet), guess Heidi and I are quite proud of ourselves. Thanks again Bryan.
KATHY RITENOUR – I am happy to confirm that your supper club reservation has been made………try the French Onion Soup.
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF – It’s amazing how many people come close to missing the ship as you experienced recently. I really didn’t mean to upset my friends from the Jehovah’s Witness and felt really guilty that I had not checked to see that they were on board. Oh well, I actually have a very rare photo of a Jehovah’s Witness inside a house!………sorry, that was terrible. Thanks mate, hope you enjoy today’s blog.
IVERNON – Congratulations, how fantastic, you are going to South America on the Carnival Splendor, which means you are confirmed before I am. Hopefully, I will get to join you. Thank you for admitting your addiction to the blog and I agree, I think the Bloggers Cruise would be the perfect scenario for Mr. Cahill to join us on board. Congratulations again, and Heidi and I hope to see you in South America.
DOTTIE – You mentioned that after reading the blog, you are considering coming back to Carnival. Where did you go? And why did you leave? I will be very interested to know. If you do come back and as you miss the Male Nightgown Contest so much, I will even bring that back, just for you. I wait to hear from you and I am very happy that you have found the blog.
ROBERT – Hello mate, I can’t believe you are writing to me while you are on board the ship and how brilliant to hear that you are enjoying yourself so much. The photo I put of you on the Morning Show is now famous across the ship and it’s also brilliant that you are a blog reader. Please send me the picture of you and your brother and I will call you in your cabin soon.
CINDY – Did the passports come? Please let me know. Unfortunately the Exclusive Vatican Tour is not available on 22 July as the Pope is in residence. Please leave me a note when you arrive at the Information Desk so that I and send you a Welcome Aboard gift. Have a safe flight.
LEASA – I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the interview with Andy and Sue. They are a great couple and yes, they were on the Carnival Liberty last year and I have passed your regards on to them both. I am glad the smile on your face is a result of you reading this blog and I hope there are many more smiles ahead for you.
PEG FORGOTCH – You asked how Heidi and I met. As my two fingers are very tired, can I refer you to Heidi’s blog Called “A Student, A Cruise Director and a Ship in Puerto Rico.” It certainly was the most important day of my life, which Heidi has certainly changed for the better. If you are considering the Bloggers Cruise, can I please persuade you? It will be a brilliant seven days and I will have further details after the conference call tomorrow. Please say hello to John and Jackson and I can see you do indeed have a thing for men called John.
KTMAE – I hope you read this in time, so that Heidi and I can wish you a safe flight. Please drop us a line, once on board. Thank you Katie and our best to Lori.
KERSPLOTT – Great idea to show March of the Penguins on the big screen for the Carnival Splendor cruise. Do you know, I have been so busy, I have not even looked to see what the weather will be like in Argentina in January. Anybody know? Anyway, if you keep reading the blog, I will keep writing them.
JAMES STOCKSTILL – James, thank you very much for this new information, which I had no idea about. I wonder if this is specific just to Atlanta? I understand the rules of not taking alcohol into the aircraft but surely there must be an opportunity to take it as checked luggage. Has anybody else had similar problems at other airports? I will look forward to welcoming you home in September and until then, leave this with me and I will investigate.
DEBRA HEHN – I can’t believe you found a snorkeling tour in Dubrovnik. It’s not something I have heard of before. Give it a go and let me know how it is, maybe we can add it to our shipboard tours. You asked which night to go to the supper club. I always like to go in the middle of the cruise, as it is always something to look forward to. Let me know if you would like to make a reservation and I will be here for you.
DAVE AND BARB – I see you have some questions about the trans-Atlantic cruise. Let me answer them for you.
1. There will be three formal nights on the Transatlantic Cruise. One in the beginning, one in the middle, one at the end
2. My vacation at the moment is not planned however, I do expect to be on board
3. I always try to type the questions as well as the answer however, it is not always possible as my two fingers are already reduced to bleeding stumps. I am sure you understand.
4. There are indeed tables for two in the dining room and you can certainly request it once on board, however, I would say, that eating for 14 days at a table for two maybe something you will regret. I am sure you and Dave love each other very much however, making new friends on a trans-atlantic will so enhance the cruise……just a thought.
5. I can indeed make a reservation for you at the Supper Club as it’s not too early, so please let me know when and at what time and include your sir name or cabin number and I will be happy to help you.
Can’t wait to meet you and please keep enjoying the blog.
JEANETTE TURNIPSEEP – I love that name… You asked if I could check if the Spa has yoga mats, the answer is yes, they are there for your use, the only problem is that I may be using them myself. If you need help with your Backward Dog or your Inside Twisted Snail, please let me know as I am a Yoga Master.
You can use your debit cards to obtain Euros, but this is not from on board, only ashore and you will need your 4-digit PIN code. Let me know if you need anything else (or a yoga lesson from me)

That is the end of today’s Q & A. Can I ask you all a question? How many of you read all the questions and answers? Just interested. I was forwarded a comment from Cruise Critic where some people said they thought the question and answered had got in the way of the rest of the blog, what do you all think?

Here then is today’s guest interview and I have great pleasure in introducing my friend and Captain of the Carnival Glory Salvatore Rassello.





1. Captain, please can you tell us about your life at sea from your schooldays to your current position and how you rose through the ranks at Carnival.

Before starting the sea life, I lived in the small Island of Procida, in the beautiful gulf of Naples (Italy). You can see the Island when the Carnival Freedom makes the approach to Naples, on your port side). The sea has always been part of my daily life since day one. My first ship was an old tanker sailing out of Galveston (TX) to various regions of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean in 1976. The life on board was awful, and I do not wish to go into details. The good thing was , that sailing in these areas, I had the chance to see my first cruise ship, I believe was the Mardi Gras or Carnivale , with all the lights on in the dark night. I was only a junior officer, and keeping asking the watch leader to get close to these ships, then getting my binoculars and trying to catch any small detail of these ships. Sometimes I could even hear, from the bridge wing, in the silent nights, the loud music of the Lido deck parties. On every vacation, I would call the recruiting agent for Carnival in Genova (Italy) and check on the possibility of getting me on one of these white ships. But no luck! My sea life continued on the cargo vessels, sailing around the world, where I rose to the rank of first officer until February 16, 1983, when I was called by the Carnival agent who offered me a position of third officer on the newest “Tropicale.” I thought I could not lose this chance, and I accepted the job, even with a lower rank and a cut in pay. I found it very challenging in the beginning, but in the same time very interesting. The days flew by and here I am now.

2. Today’s captains are very different not just because of the modern equipment but the huge amount of rules and safety regulations that are all your responsibility. Can you tell us something about what being a modern cruise ship Captain is all about?

I could say a lot about this but to main point is that to be a good captain you need a good crew. I always tell my crew the following: “You are going nowhere without me, but I cannot go anywhere without you.”

3. As we enjoy the hotel side of the ship with the shows, food and fun, we sometimes forget that there are always people who are “driving the ship.” Can you tell us something about how the bridge is manned and what hours the officers work?

We have three teams of professional Deck and Engine officers along with the ratings, who take care of the ship’s navigation when the Captain is not “conning.” The teams (two officers and two quartermasters) work four hours shift each (two shifts in a 24-hour period) with 10 hours of rest in between.

4. I know you and I are often asked “is it possible to see the bridge?” Can you explain why this is not possible anymore?

The bridge, like other restricted areas on board, is “off limits.” Since Sept. 11, 2001, we have requested by the authorities to increase security on board, just like the rest of the world.

I enjoyed the days when guests were allowed on the bridge.

5. I know you could talk forever about the modern state of the art equipment that can be found on our ships but is there one piece of equipment that has surfaced in the last five years which you consider has made your job easier or has really changed the way you navigate?

A good Italian Coffee machine! Just joking! Electronic Integrated Navigation system has definitely make my job and the deck officers’ easier. But I never detach and forget the old way we use to navigate when we did not have all these electronic equipment in our hands, and I always encourage the young officers to continue practicing the “old way,” in case the equipment may fail. The sextant is still on the bridge – and that one will never fail. To navigate a ship is not just to rely on a good piece of equipment, but is a complexity of things and considerations you need to take care of. Otherwise …. Have a nice day!!!

6. What has been your proudest moment as a Carnival Captain. Definitely when you are appointed to a brand new vessel. Following her construction since day one.

7. If I don’t ask this question I am sure the 440,000 bloggers will ask why? What has been the roughest seas you have had to take a ship through and can you describe the conditions.

One of the good qualities seamen must possess is a short memory when it comes to bad weather. Because unconsciously they know they may get another bad day in their life at sea. I’ve had many of those days, especially on the cargo ships. Answering your question now! The one I remember was the Hurricane Floyd, New York, 17 September 1999, 0000 UTC, Carnival Triumph, sailing to Halifax in the North Atlantic Ocean. Floyd was a large and intense Hurricane, which neared the threshold of category five, striking the east coast of United States, in particular North Carolina, into New England. The port Authority ordered me to depart, because the Hurricane was heading to Manhattan. Well, the hurricane was waiting for me outside Ambrose Light House, but it was too late and I had to deal with it. Not a good night folks, and no happy people on board, except one the New Yorker Pilot, who could not disembark the ship, and therefore he took, against his will of course, a free cruise. Weren’t you on board John?

8. When you are not wearing the Captain’s hat and your are on vacation, what are your favorite things to do. I cannot stay away from the water, so I love to go fishing.

9. If you could be Captain of any of the following which one would you choose and why.



Definitely the first option, perhaps, departing surprisingly early from ports, hoping that Mr. Pitt would “miss the ship.”

Thanks Captain. I hope we get to sail together again soon.

I see that some of you don’t agree with the naming of the Carnival Splendor’s Spa as Cloud 9. This is what I was told:

The contest was a huge success with more than 24,000 entries and after careful consideration, Cloud 9 Spa was selected as the top choice as it conveys the feeling of relaxation and pampering that guests will experience in this magnificent facility.

Therefore, it was chosen out of a field of finalists and I also looked up the definition of Cloud 9 and this is what I got.

Cloud 9 infers a state of euphoria

I guess that is everything you want a Spa to be and regardless of its name I know it will be an incomparable experience especially if they take my advice and put the rotisserie inside the gym.

Back to life on board and of course I must tell you about the Marriage Show today which always brings with it a great story. I asked for some honeymooners to come and tell me how their husbands to be proposed to them. I have been doing this for a long time and I thought I had heard some unusual ones until this one today.

Meet, this lady, Andrea Wiseman who has been married for three weeks to Brett, they are both from Atlanta, Georgia. Here is a photo of me on stage with Andrea.


Brett had done what many men before him had tried during a wedding proposal. He had taken the ring to the restaurant and had it placed inside Andrea’s favorite dessert, a piece of cheesecake. The cake was presented by the waiter and Brett was nervously waiting for her to dig into the luxurious piece of chocolate cheesecake and for her to exclaim” There Is Something In My Cake………..but she never did…………..Why, well because she had taken a huge first bite…….and swallowed it…….yep…she had swallowed a one-carat diamond ring set on white gold…………………she just said, that was a lumpy bit and swallowed again…….it was then that Brett realized what had happened. Panic took over and before she knew what was happening Andrea was being whisked off to the ER where X-Rays showed her ring lodged in her intestine. How was she going to get it out…………….yep………… guessed it……………………..she had to wait for mother nature to take its course, which it did 48 hours later.

The audience was crying with laughter as she told the story and of course I had so many different directions I could go to with this, it was a comedians dream. I asked her where she …….well………you know………..because she surely didn’t want to chance it going down the toilet…….so she went……….in a bucket…………..and I will leave the rest to your imagination !

Anyway, once the ring was restored back to its former glory Brett decided to propose straight away and as he did so he produced the ring wearing a pair of plastic gloves and had the ring in an empty packet of X Lax. The audience gave the story a standing ovation and that was certainly one for the book.

I wish them all the best and thank goodness Brett was cheap and only bought her a one carat, imagines if it had been a huge three-carat!

Andrea told the story so well and I wish her nothing but happiness……………after all………she has been through enough crap 🙂

It is show time know so I will talk to you all soon.


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.