The Crying Game

July 19, 2007 -

John Heald

Kalimera………….and for those who do not speak flatulent Greek like me, that means Hello and a big Kalimera from Athens where the temperature is as hot as Angelina Jolie.Just before I get into anything else on today’s blog I want to address a subject that has to do with the heat. Now, again, before I start this I want to remind you all that this blog is unedited and one of its purposes is to prompt discussion.

Anyway, I received a letter today from a guest about our tour cancellation policy. Let me first go over this policy with you. If a guest purchases a tour and then decides to cancel, a 25% cancellation charge is due. Why do we do this? Well, we have to order buses and pre-pay for guides at least 24 hours before the ship arrives in the port. Therefore, we are still responsible as a company to pay for those guides and the transport. Remember, we are sending at least 2,000 guests each port on tour and this cancellation policy is a normal industry wide policy.

This gentlemen who wrote me the letter and there have been others as well feel that this policy is unfair and that if a guest is too tired to go on a tour then a full refund should be given. I understand where he is coming from and I do think that if obvious medical reasons come into play meaning a guest really is feeling unwell then yes, we should be able to give a refund. However, how do you judge who really is unwell and who is taking advantage of the system? It is a tough one. However, I think our policy is fair and canceling a tour because its too hot is not justification for a full refund……..it is one I am sure some of you have opinions on and I as always welcome them…….One thing, is it a surprise to anyone still that it’s hot in Europe in July?……..I don’t mean to sound flippant but surely people know this before they book or am I wrong?

Today (Thursday)………….yep, its Thursday so it’s spinach for lunch..anyway, I have a conference call at 9 pm my time to discuss the final arrangements for the bloggers cruise and of course I will be letting you all know what will be happening as soon as possible.’

The Web Cam is working again. According to Roberto they got a new server and the old was fired and is now working as a server at Denny’s.

HERE ARE TODAY’S PHOTOS ALL TAKEN TODAY BY ENTERTAINMENT STAFF MEMBER JAMIE AT THE ACROPOLIS IN ATHENS…..ENJOY.

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I got involved today in a bit of a family dispute. Normally, I don’t interfere when I see things like this, but today I had no choice. Heidi, myself and Stephanie the other assistant cruise director onboard were walking to Lido Deck after we had finished tours for some breakfast. There were three children – maybe 14 years of age or so – all pushing and shoving this, how do I say…larger (in size) kid of the same age and trying to throw him in the pool fully clothed. Now that sounds like a bit of fun….well the kid did not seem to think so because he was in tears, I mean crying his eyes out and pleading with them to stop. Anyway, before I could say anything Heidi had turned into Wonder Woman and was now breaking up the three boys and trying to get them to stop…………and you should have heard the language. I mean, the language coming from one of the kids that was directed to Heidi was incredible. Anyway, Stephanie called security and I now stood between the crying child and the other gang of three. I also told the one who was swearing that if I heard him do so again that he would be sent off the ship and would go home. He obviously recognized me as he went very quiet. Security arrived, took the kids names and cabins and the sad thing was, they were all family. The one who was crying was the brother of the one with the bad mouth and the other two were cousins. It turned out that the parents were away on a tour of Athens and had left the kids on their own. A report was made and later tonight I will be calling the parents with the chief security and chief purser. It got me thinking. To have even been able to go on a cruise at their age would have been incredible but to have free run of the ship while Mum and dad were ashore, unbelievable. If my Dad had heard me swear like that then rest assured there would have been a great impression of his slipper on my behind………….99% of children who sail on our ships are the best behaved you will ever find and our Club O2 and Camp Carnival provide them with entertainment and fun all day and night……..but occasionally you get kids like these who really just don’t know how lucky they are.

Here are today’s letters from in their own words. After reading the one about the Turkish Bath we have made drastic changes to the tour and chosen a new location. I will add that a Turkish Bath experience is a unique one which many people enjoy but I urge people to think carefully before taking one.

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Q & A Time.

JO MYERLY – Yep, the web cam is up and one of the things I am going to discuss today at my conference call is ways we can enhance the cameras including faster updates and more close up shots. Please don’t think of yourself as having a boring life watching the web cams as I think it is a great way for all of us to see what’s happening…….trust me………….if AJ had a web cam I would be watching 24 hours a day. Maybe, I could put one in my bathroom……what do you think Jo?
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – Thanks Paul. I was a bit concerned about writing my thoughts. I really was upset with myself about not checking the demographics of the guests however I really didn’t say anything bad and I never use bad language on stage. However, the people from the Jehovah’s Witness group really didn’t like what I said and other aspects of the cruise and they are guests and even though I may not agree with their personal beliefs I was mad at myself for providing them with a fulfilling vacation……….I am my own worse critic Heidi always says. It’s true because rather than remember the words of praise from the many I tend to remember the one or two people who did not like what I had to offer. Anyway, thank you as always for your supportive words and I wish you a great weekend.
DAVE MYERLY – Hello Dave. I did find out that Carnival will at this time not accept any luggage that is not checked in directly by the guests. Now, if you want to send your bags by DHL or FED EX and pick them up from their European Office that is something that may be worth doing but for security reasons carnival will not accept any bags without the owner present. Can you send the cartoon you said reminded you of Heidi and I as it did not show on the blog thingy? Hope you and Jo are well and we will see you very soon.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – Just thought you should now that I now have 12 zydeco songs on that Heidi has stuck into my Eye Pod…………I am a fan.
BIG ED – OK, I guess I will have to go back and look at the clues wearing my Sherlock Holmes hat then but as I do let me remind you of the ones I can remember.
If you book the blogger cruise on January 19 – you get:
FREE LAUNDRY – HEIDI WILL WASH YOUR UNDERWEAR THE LAUNDRY WILL DO THE REST
DINNER ON ME IN THE SUPPER CLUB
A TABLE – NOT A BOOTH AT DINNER
AN XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXL BATHROBE
AN XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXL BLOGGERS T SHIRT
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – LOADS OF FUN WITH ME ONBOARD AND IN JAMAICA
Did I miss any?
RIKKI BOYCE – Glad to hear you are enjoying the blogs so much and it will be great to see you on the trans-Atlantic cruise. We do have that extra day on Monday when we are in Rome overnight and then the most of the next day. As you have already been in Rome and most of the museums etc are closed on Monday, I wondered if you have ever been to the Catacombs under the city. This is a truly unique place and we do have a tour that goes there. Rather than me ramble on about it here is a link think which I think you may find useful. Talk to your Cruise Critic friends and let me know what you think. Here is the link thing.
http://www.catacombe.roma.it/en/storia.html
TAMMIE – I has just done as you requested and I am on the phone with Gaynor as I write this. Hope all is well back in Miami.
DOUGNEWMANATSEA – I was sad to hear that the standard of CHIP on the Cunard ships could do with improvement and I will send my Mum over to show them how to make good old English chips. The Frying Pan has been my Dad’s favorite Fish and Chip shop for many years and he still enjoys Cod and Chips and Mushy Peas once a week. You know they do say that great minds think alike and indeed we have proven that to be true. Yesterday, I completed an interview with Pam Conover from Seabourn as I thought it would be fascinating to see what this special cruise line is all about. Her interview will be posted sometime next week. I am very proud that I will have interviewed four cruise line presidents and I hope by the end of the year to have added those from AIDA, Princess, Holland America and Costa. Sailing down the river Thames must have been a great feeling and although I doubt I will ever have that privilege I do hope to sail out of Southampton on the Queen Elizabeth 2 in December on the Christmas cruise. Hope to share a plate of Fish and Chips with you sometime mate and thanks so much for your continued insights.
CATHY FORMICA – Welcome home and how wonderful to hear from you. It is great to hear that you and your family had such a wonderful time and if you are considering booking again I hope you may consider the Carnival Splendor’s Baltic Cruise or returning on the Carnival Freedom next year and sail on the Greece and Turkey cruise. Please keep reading the blog and I hope you enjoy it. You asked how many Nautical Miles you sailed in total so here they are:
GRAND MED CRUISE………………. 3019.8
GREECE/TURKEY CRUISE …………3084
MARLENE – Hello Marlene. I am not sure who told you that Canadians needed a transit visa for Turkey while on the ship as that is not true. If you were flying into Turkey then yes you would but as you are on the ship we take care of all of that for you. The only thing you need is the Landing Card which we hand you as you exit and no fee is charged. The only other thing you must bring from Canada is a Tim Horton’s Mug as you will not be able to get off the ship unless you replace the one that I broke last week 🙂
Anyway, all is set for your cruise adventure and there is indeed a hair dryer in every cabin so the ladies will be happy………all six of you. Have a safe trip here and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you before you get here so keep reading the blog.
MOERM4 – Welcome to the blog and I hope that you consider booking the Carnival Splendor’s European cruise, which I promise will be just as good, if not better than the Carnival Liberty Grand Med cruise you took in 2005. As always on this blog I want to congratulate you on being a teacher. As a son of a teacher, I know how underappreciated they are so Thank You for your dedication. I admit it is not easy to host a full time blog and carry out my regular duties as a cruise director, however, I am managing at the moment thanks to the help of Heidi and Roberto. It seems that you like reading the Q & A, so I will continue doing them as long as I can. I have contacted a colleague of mine on the Carnival Pride who will be sending me her recommendations for the best tours in all the Mexican Riviera ports. I will slap those answers on as soon as I get them. All the best to you and your family.
KEVIN AND HEIDI-BETH – Glad you enjoyed the photos of the Frying Pan. I put those on the blog for two reasons. 1. I want everyone to see what a real plate of English fish & chips look like. 2. I wanted the Frying Pan to see that 460,000 people have now seen the shop and hopefully I will get the odd free piece of cod. I am sure one of the bloggers ESSEXMAN will have his own view on the best fish & chips shop in Essex, but to me, the Frying Pan beats them all. I see that you are sailing on the Carnival Glory very soon and you are correct, that Captain Rassello is indeed lots of fun and a brilliant Captain whom Heidi and I miss working with very much. Please give him my best regards and Heidi and I are here if you need anything.
LINDA HERNACKI – What a fantastic story on how Bulb Man proposed to you, although he actually never did. How devastating it must have been for you to lose your first husband so young and with your children in their teens. Heidi and I both were thinking of you last night. However, thanks to the personal add in that newspaper you met the man who has been by your side for so many years now. Hopefully, I won’t take after Mike’s dad who was married 6 times, he obviously had a big heart and a big wallet. I am just glad that you and Mike are together and you get 1 million gold stars for that.
LOOKINGFORWARD-TOTHENEARLYSMOKE-FREECARNIVALFREEDOM – It seems everyone is reading the Q & A. The only reason I asked, I guess, was just to make sure that my two poor fingers were serving some purpose. I read a comment on Cruise Critic that put this doubt in my mind, so I wanted to use people like your good self as a sounding board. Anyway, I will not be making any changes. The interview with Captain Rassello was a great insight on to what happens on the bridge, however, I totally agree with you, nothing can compare to the old days where guests were able to visit the heartbeat of the ship for themselves. I live in hope that those days will return. You will be happy to know that I read an article on Cruise Critic, again, which was forwarded to me by my friend Robert Schneider, where the commentator describes the wonderful lack of smoke along the Promenade Deck and most public areas. Indeed, there is probably only one place where you may find the smoke bothering you and that is as you enter the Internet Café through the Habana Bar. Which is one of our three smoking lounges. It is always great to hear from you and your wife and thank you for putting up with me and my smoking lamb.
AS YOU WISH – It is always great to hear from someone who has been reading the blog every day since March and I thank you for your kind comments. Yours is the first posting I have read where someone has mentioned that they do not read the Q & A every day which I totally understand. It does take a lot of time to type but it also takes an equal amount of time to read. Anyway, I will progress as before and I want you to know that if you should ever need a question answered I will be here. Please continue to enjoy the blog.
FENGSHUI TURTLE – What a fantastic name. Heidi and I are arguing at the moment. Is Fengshui a rare Pacific Turtle OR as Heidi thinks, is it the latest designer handbag. Anyway, don’t worry about losing your luggage, there is very little you can do, just hope that yours arrives safely. You should be more concerned that you had a dream about a talking cat which I interpret as someone who needs a vacation, nine of them and ……….will leave it there before I get myself in trouble. By the way, what is a Lane Bryant? Have a safe journey and please let me know what the heck your name is all about.
ROCHELLE – I hope you had some great times with your sister and thank you for your answers to the questions although I am surprised that you answered YES to number 4 as supposed to NO but then again, some said YES to number 4 and 5 while others said YES to numbers 2 and 3 and not to number 4. Hopefully, this has taught you and me that we should stay in touch more often. :)) Thank you for letting me know that you read all the Q & A’s and that you enjoy Heidi’s photos and glad to hear this. My best regards and please let me know if you would like me to make a supper club reservation for you, before you board the Carnival Spirit.
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF – Wow, a Lewis Carroll fan. My mum is a huge Lewis Carroll fan and love her poetry especially “Betty’s Cow.” These are great verses you sent me and if he did leave, all his jewelry on the beach, I hope, I find it some day. We once had a man on the ship who lost his family jewels but that was because he flushed the toilet while he sat on it. Thanks again for the poem and my best regards to you and your other half.
KEVIN AND BARBARA EHRINGER – Heidi says you have a good German last name. Welcome home from your June 30 Grand Med cruise and saying that the crew were spectacular is music to my ears. It was great to meet you and I am glad you enjoyed the gifts and I truly hope we will meet again on the Seven Seas sometime soon.
LEASA – The engagement ring story was terrific. I am glad you are going to share it with your co-workers. You have an amazing sense of humor and you have a special place in my list of friends as you are our only sight-impaired blogger who has a computer read out the blog. Cruise Director John is better looking than Brad Pitt and your husband Jeff just told you he was drinking a soda but he is really drinking a beer. I really hope that one day I can give you a big hug as people with a sense of humor like you deserve all of life’s riches. Have a great day and my best to Jeff.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – Hello Paul and as always it is wonderful to hear from you. I was sure that you read the questions and answers and I see that I was correct. I just wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing and the article I was sent from Cruise Critic had me worried. Anyway, I will keep writing the Q & A’s and bloggers will have the choice to read them or not. Captain Rassello is a wonderful man Paul and being an Italian yourself you would be proud of him. I hope you are feeling well and I shall never be able to eat a piece of cheesecake again without thinking of Brett and Andrea………..then again I will never eat a piece of cheesecake again unless it is sugar free. All the best mate.
SHERIFF ROSCO P. COLTRANE – Ahhhhhhh, there you are and please be careful with all those guns and drugs out there that you mentioned. As you are cruising along do you ever sing the “theme from Cops”……….have you ever been on “Cops?” Anyway, we are all thinking of you and your fellow officers whom we all thank for keeping us safe. Please write soon.
BIG ED – You will be happy to know that I have started a BIG DEMAND OF BIG SIZES project for the gift shops, Formalities and of course the Bathrobes. I PROMISE you I will be successful in this and will not let you down which means I will get you A RABBIT THEFT SHOT AND A TEA BUG OXIDE.
KAREN R – Looks like a trip to Harry’s…………….I wonder if Harry will give me a free meal if I say I was here with George Hamilton last time?
LORI – Please make sure you contact me as soon as you get onboard and yes I intend to have a lot of fun with the Griswald family and their European vacation. Enjoy the flight and let’s chat about the arrangements once you are here. If you need to plan things earlier though I will be here for you as always.
KERSPLOTT – Therefore nothing will change. Thank you for your kind words and for the weather update for South America. I hope I will be there with you.
JO MYERLY – Sorry about your luggage, I had no idea but then I have no idea what “space bags” are either so please tell me on your next posting. Best to Dave, do you keep him in a space bag?
KATE – Sounds to me as though the Carnival Pride may be the ship for you. That ship goes to the Mexican Riviera and with the demographics you sent me for your group, I think it will be perfect. Why not have a look at the Carnival Pride page of the website and then get back to me with any questions you may have. I will keep on blogging as you requested.
IVANA – I realize that I do repeat some of the answer that people ask a lot but hey, that’s what I am here for. The story of Andrea swallowing her Diamond was indeed very entertain and probably quite painful, I am sure she had ring sting after that 🙁
Roberto is, as we speak, looking at the JUMP TO COMMENTS BUTTON to see what needs to be done so it does……………..jump. It is indeed Thursday and I will send a full report to you all tomorrow.
THE LONG TALL TEXAN – I am now singing the theme from Dallas. How does a man from Texas know about a tiny place called Looe in Cornwall? I have been their with my Mum, Dad and sister Suzanne and it was appropriately named as my dad is always getting caught short so he liked Looe a lot. I understand why you would love Alaska so much especially if you don’t like heat. It would be nice as you suggested if we could have the ship near France for the big Tour Cycle race. Heidi loves watching the race on TV as coming from Holland she loves bikes although I think she just likes looking at men hunched over a handlebar wearing tight spandex.
Hope all is well in Texas and from now on you will be referred to as J.R……….de de de de de der dd der der………..theme from Dallas. I loved Dallas but hated that other one called Dysentry.
CLAIR – Congratulations on booking the Carnival Glory where I promise you will see just why today’s Carnival is so different to when you last cruised 20 years ago. Please have a look at the tours, ports etc and let me know if you have any questions as I know the ship and the ports of call very well indeed. WELCOME HOME.
LUV2CRUISE – I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU JUST SPENT THE ENTIRE DAY READING ALL 107 BLOGS! You must be exhausted but I am thankful to hear that it brought you lost of joy and laughter as well as and most importantly putting you in the mood of booking a cruise. Henceforth I see you have booked the Carnival Miracle which is a beautiful ship, congratulations. It is great to hear that you think Carnival has a blend of relaxation, fun and service as it is these things that we strive to achieve. Thank you again for reading all the blogs and as your cruise gets nearer please let me know what I can do to help.
NANETTEALI – And a big hug back to you and your beautiful kids. How lucky you are to have such a happy, beautiful and cruise loving family which I now feel a part of as well. Asta manyarna.

I AM GOING TO STOP HERE WITH THE Q & A…………..I KNOW I HAVE MORE TO DO FROM THE LAST BLOG AND WILL DO ANSWER THOSE TOMORROW.

I would now like to present an interview with one of my best friends, Roger Blum. Roger and I have known each other for a long time and have had some great adventures together. As you will see, Roger has spent the majority of his life around the sea and all things cruising which is why he is one of the most respected people in the industry. He is most known for producing the shows across our fleet but as you will see from this interview his knowledge and experience go way beyond entertainment. Anyway, here’s Roger and his family….His beautiful wife Marie and his two great kids, Max and Ashley.

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1. Roger, you began your passion for all things cruising at a young age, can you tell us about your life at sea. This may seem like a long story, but I really am shortening it. I grew up in Miami Beach, and liked to cruise with my parents. When I was 15, we took a cruise on a German ship, the Boheme, and I asked the Captain that since I’d be 16 in June, if I could work onboard during my summer vacation from High School. He said yes, so I got excited about working at sea. As summer approached, I tried to get in touch with the German Captain, but he was no longer with the line, so they basically told me to get lost. At this point, I was still 15, didn’t have a driver’s license, and was determined to get a job on board. I used to ride my bike to the port, and go ship to ship looking for a job. It was a different world back then. I could actually ride my bike on the pier, lean it against the crew gangway, and go on every ship. I think the ships’ department heads were getting tired of seeing me every week, so I was finally offered a job on either the Southward, which at the time was the newest ship in the world, and the Mardi Gras, which at the time was new to Miami and the biggest ship to ever sail from the Port of Miami, but an older ship. There was something about the Mardi Gras that I still can’t explain, so I joined Carnival in June 1972 as a Bar Waiter. (I lied about my experience). I must have done a good job, since they let me come onboard whenever I had time off from High School and College (go Gators!). In 1975 & 1976, whenever I could get off school, I was with Sitmar Cruises on the Fairsea and Fairwind as a Cadet Purser. In 1977, I sailed as Tour Manager on a Greek Ship the Ithaca in the Mediterranean, but then later in 1977, when I returned to Miami, I saw the Mardi Gras, and realized my heart was there. I then rejoined Carnival as a Cadet Purser while still in college. I transferred back and forth between the Mardi Gras and Carnivale, then joined the Festivale for the start up in 1978. In 1979, I was promoted to Chief Purser on the Festivale, and continued to move between the three Carnival ships. In 1983, I became Executive Chief Purser (the position is now called Hotel Director) on the Tropicale, and in 1985, brought the Holiday out from the shipyard in Denmark.

2. Know you find yourself in the Miami Office and one of the most respected and knowledgeable people in the business. What areas have you been responsible for during your shore side Career. I’ve really had the chance to be involved in most areas of vessel operations. I set up our original Hotel Manager position, have done itinerary planning, new port selection and set up, relations with government and port authorities, contracts for port development, shore excursions, new ship start-ups, the Purser and Housekeeping departments, entertainment and activities, including setting up our own fully in-house production show organization, planning and design of new vessels, as well as pretty much everything else, except food & beverage and technical operations.

3. Simple question, what is it about the sea and cruising that you love so much. I love ships and I love the sea. You just can’t beat the feeling of being in the middle of the ocean. I love taking a walk on deck every night before I go to sleep, and look at the sky from the darkest spot I can find on deck. I love the fact that you’re always moving. Even when you’re asleep, you’re still going somewhere. I love the adventure of being someplace different every day, with an entirely new group of guests each cruise. I love the crew, since all crewmembers, no matter what their reason for leaving home, all share the same sense of adventure. I could really go on and on about this!

4. We see from your answers to question number 1 that you have worked on some of our “older ” ships that are no longer with us. Today’s vessels are bristling with modern day technology. Is there anything you miss however from the older ships? As you could probably tell, the Mardi Gras holds a special place in my heart, but as much as I love the “older” ships, they really don’t compare to what we have now. Today’s cabins and public facilities are far superior to anything that we ever dreamed about in the past. If ships today were the same as in the past, cruising wouldn’t be one of the most popular vacation choices.

5. Over the years you have been responsible for many of the ships departments from Hotel to Entertainment. What has been the most rewarding program you have helped place on our ships. This is probably your toughest question. There are so many programs that I have helped initiate over the years, that it’s hard to narrow down, but I’ll go back to something that you and I have done together many times over the years. That’s the start-up of a new ship. There are thousands (millions?) of things that must happen when bringing a ship into service. Watching and being part of it all coming together is extremely exciting. I can’t think of much that beats the feeling on the first day that guests walk on board, and find that even though they are the newest ship in the world, everything is running as if the ship had been in service for years.

6. One of the many responsibilities you have is Entertainment. Later, I will be interviewing Kerry Stables our Director of Production Entertainment but for now, why do you think Carnival offers the best all round shows, music and activities. I think we really try to give our guests what they want. Our entertainment team closely monitors guests likes and dislikes onboard, but beyond that (try not to feel too sorry for us), we all get out to see what’s happening in other entertainment venues in the US, and around the world. For our big production shows, we make sure we have the best scenery, costumes, music, lights, choreography and naturally performers in the business, but we don’t lose sight of the most important part of any show, the audience. I don’t have an entertainment background, but I’ve been an audience member my entire life, so when we have meetings to design our shows, I represent the audience. We also make sure we have tremendous variety in what we offer, besides for the production shows, we have great individual acts, as well as a tremendous variety of musicians. The bands we have range from our large orchestras, to our upbeat dance bands, to our talented jazz trios, to our classical string trios, to our sing along piano bars, etc., etc… As you know, we have great variety. I should also mention the craze of reality TV. People love to watch other people do things. Well we’ve been doing it for years, and call it audience participation. We don’t overdo it onboard, but anyone who has sailed with you knows how you can get people out of the audience, and get them to let out sides of their personality that they never knew they had. I have never heard louder laughter from an audience in my life as I do when you get guests up on stage!

7. What one personal achievement have you been proud of more than any other during your career in the cruise industry? I realize that the success of Carnival Cruise Lines is not a personal achievement for any one person, but I do feel that I’ve played a part in that success. I was proud of Carnival when we had one ship, and continue to be proud of Carnival now that we part of an 80+ ship family. I know it appears that I’ve been around a long time, but I did start young. This hopefully means that I have a long time left in my career to continue to contribute and grow with Carnival.

8. Tell us how you met your wife Marie. I was Hotel Manager and Marie was a dancer on the Holiday in 1992. We weren’t seeing each other, but we got to be best friends. Late in 1992, we were both on vacation in England, so we got together, borrowed your car (no, it wasn’t an Aston Martin or a Bentley, but it was a pretty fast sports car), and our relationship grew from there. Some of our Senior Management may remember the Fascination inaugurals in 1994 when Marie was a dancer. One of the numbers in the show was the Marilyn Monroe song, Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend. She would always look for me in the audience to sing it to me (hint, hint), and I would always hide. Anyway, she convinced me she was right, and we were married in 1995. We now have a seven-year-old son Max, and a five-year-old daughter Ashley, and we live in Miami Beach.

9. When you were a bar waiter can you remember the price of any specific drinks? I can remember the drink prices in 1972 better than I can remember today’s prices. Domestic beer was 50¢, and imported beer was 60¢. Mixed drinks were 75¢, with premium brands at 85¢. I have an original bar menu, that I’ll send to you when I dig it out of my archives.

10. And finally, you have your own ship and are in charge of manning it with famous people alive or not, please fill in who would hold each position.

CAPTAIN Since you’re also a Star Trek fan, I was going to say Captain Kirk, but the comfort of his guests was not always his top concern. I’d have to say Captain Stubing (Princess is in the family, so they shouldn’t mind). He always personally cared about his guests and crew.

CHIEF ENGINEER – MY SON MAX…………HE LOVES TO FIX THINGS EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT BROKEN

MAITRE D…………..My daughter Ashley – she is so beautiful and so loving she would be the perfect host

LEAD DANCER – OK, maybe she doesn’t fall into the famous category, but I have to say my wife Marie. I could never take my eyes off of her when she was on stage.

CRUISE DIRECTOR – Now that you’re approaching a half million hits on your blog thingy, you fall into the famous category, so I would choose you. Guests who have sailed with you know the atmosphere that you create, but I think your readers have gotten to know you even better. They know that you are concerned with every aspect of the cruise, and that you really sincerely do care about everyone’s feelings and enjoyment of their vacation experience.

What a great interview and my thanks to Roger I am sure is shared by all the bloggers.

Heidi launched a surprise attack on me yesterday. As I told you I was supposed to go to the Supper Club on Tuesday night but because of all the show changes we could not go. I was in the dog house for a few hours but then, rather more quickly then than usual I was out again. I put this down to my boyish charm and stunning good looks but I should have known better as I was about to be attacked by stealth technology.

As I was getting ready for bed Heidi said “It’s a shame we couldn’t go to the Supper Club” to which I agreed and reminded her that the show schedules for the rest of the cruise would not allow me to do so. The attack then continued but was heavily disguised under the cover of that girly voice that women put on and also her big cocker spaniel eyes peering at me from under the Duvet. ” Maybe we could go out in one of the ports next week”……………I agreed that that would be a good idea…….then as I reached for the toothbrush, the attack entered it’s final phase …… “really, can I choose the restaurant?”……………..Now remember, it’s 1:00am, I have just finished a day that included a one hour morning show, a travel talk on three ports, a 45 minute Q & A, The Marriage Show, three meetings with guests, paperwork, phone calls, two shows and a three hour blog…………….I was tired, my shields were down and on full automatic mode I said ‘”yes, you can choose the restaurant”………….”Good,” she said, sitting up in bed her eyes changing from a cute cocker spaniel to those of an axe-wielding maniac. “We are going to Harry’s Bar in Venice.” ………..I shot my mouthful of Colgate over the mirror and looked at her ready to tell her there was no way but then I realized that I had been subject to an attack that only a woman can plan and execute and as the realization set in that the battle and the war was lost all I could think about was the 57 euro plate of Risotto that would be her spoils of war.

I wanted to cry, but I didn’t, only three things make me cry.

a. When a heroic dog dies to save its master.
b. The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her blouse.
c. Wrecking your bosses Bentley Continental GTC after he says “take it for a spin”

I think however, there may be a fourth……when I see the bill at Harry’s

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.