It's a Mad, Mad World

July 27, 2007 -

John Heald

Good MorningThe Mediterranean Sea is like a duck pond this morning and it should be a beautiful entrance into Venice. It is now 8:53 am and I was very lazy this morning and had an extra 45 minutes in bed. In 30 minutes I will be leaving for the Morning Show. I started this show on the Carnival Legend and it has changed so much since then. I used to have different department heads as guests each morning but it seemed to be turning into more of a QVC Shopping network then a morning entertainment show. That’s when the dedication show took over and now, as I have mentioned, I receive 50 letters a day, sometimes much more. Like the blog, I try and answer every letter on air and the show usually last 45 minutes to an hour. I also host live phone ins (that cannot be a word) and we have a lot of fun with that as well. Yesterday’s show however did produce a bit of problem when for the first ever time, someone used bad language live on air.

I had received a letter from guest Patrick Kennedy who was writing to wish his wife Ester a happy birthday. I obviously do not have time to call every cabin I get a letter from but I did this time because the letter stated that Ester had a crush on my accent (you know the annoying English one): so I gave the cabin a call.

I dialed 7212 as the letter said ……..four rings……………thinking I was not going to get an answer ………when……………………”Yes” came the grouchy-sounding answer….. “Oh Good Morning,” I said, “Is that Patrick?”…………..”Who?”…………”.Patrick,” I said……”No,” was the direct answer……

Now, I should have realized then but like an idiot I said……………..”That’s not Patrick, married to Ester”……………. “No it is not — You have the wrong Fu&%*&%$ number”………..CLICK.

So, a good start, only 9:50 am and I had already been told to ……….go away. Of course, I apologized to everyone and made sure it was edited out of the show which is repeated after being shown live. I decided live on air though to find out what had happened and called the Chief Purser to find out what there cabin number was………….he had written 7244, his cabin number is……..7221………..he had written the wrong cabin and the cabin he had written, that I woke up at 9:50 am was actually occupied by a Mr. Fernley or…………..Mr. Grumpy as he is now known.

Here are today’s photos.





I wanted to post the interview for today here. It’s a brief one but has some very interesting points. Here is Marcin who is our housekeeping manager and has delivered a lot of the new vessels with me. He is from Poland and has a wonderful and calm way about him. We have not edited his answers at all as I think the way he writes expresses his personality perfectly.


1. Can you tell us about your career with Carnival Cruise Lines so far, where you are from and about your family? I start to work on the ships in 1997 as a hotel steward then I want to all position in housekeeping department and I joined the company in 2001 on Carnival Spirit as an asst h/k mgr II. Then I was part of the opening team on Conquest where I get my promotion to senior asst. h/k mgr. In 2003 I was promoted to Housekeeping Mgr and send to Queen Mary 2 as a part of opening team. Then I was working on Victory, Glory, Liberty, start-up team on Freedom and I’m schedule to open Carnival Splendor. As you know I’m from Poland, my wife Izabela is working with me on the ship as Asst Bar Mgr I meet her on Carnival Victory 2004. We have two years old daughter name Nicola.. And we are working on second one ha ha …..

2. What are the main duties of a Housekeeping Manager for Carnival Cruise Lines? Housekeeping Mgr is responsible for the overall supervision and operation of the housekeeping department. Supervision of housekeeping operation, including all guest staterooms, all guest areas including the open decks, all crew areas, laundries and I train and develop housekeeping personnel every day.

3. How many Housekeeping Staff do we have on board and from how many different countries? Total of 224 crewmembers from 42 different countries.

4. On a typical Carnival Freedom European cruise, how many bags and suitcases do you move from A to B during embarkation and debarkation?

And how long does this take?

Luggage operation on embarkation day starts at 1 pm and finish around 6:30 pm with 75 working crew. Disembarkation luggage starts at 10 pm and normally finishes at 1:30 am then we are back at 4 am to disembark all luggage, which normally takes two hours. We are handling around 10,000 bags in each operation so during one day my crew has to embark and disembark 20,000 bags.

5. On average, how many cabins is a Stateroom Steward responsible for? Please can you also tell us how long it takes to make up one cabin?

Average stateroom steward is responsible for 25 rooms. They spend 20 minutes in each room but all of them have asst stateroom stewards which are helping them with cleaning of the restrooms and balcony.

6. Everybody loves the Carnival towel animals. How are the Stateroom Stewards trained in making these, what is your favorite and which one is the most difficult to make?

We have a book as you know but most of them are learning for another steward. The most difficult is to make a rabbit face — the rest is piece of cake for them.

7. Many guests leave things behind in their cabins. What are some of the more unusual items that have been left? Most of the guests are forgetting to take all of they stuff just last embarkation. One cabin forgot to take all souvenirs from each and every port. I have found false teeth on two times, I do not understand how you can leave without your teeth.

8. Do guests ever try and steal the towels? And if so, how many do you think we lose a cruise? Yes they do! Not only towels but luggage mats, ice buckets, duvet, pillows……Few times life jackets so they can use for they private boat. We are loosing items for $2,000 a cruise.

Thank you Marcin and I am sure there will be some comments about the last question !

Do you remember the story from yesterday about the lady who interrupted my show because she had lost her friend Nada? Well here is a follow up from that and another letter for today’s IN THEIR OWN WORDS.



I have just had a great idea, let’s do some Q & A

TON AND ANGELIQUE – Hello to you both in Holland. I see that you are trying to understand what this scrapbook thing is all about. Heidi has told me that there really is no Dutch word so let me try and explain that it is collecting photos and memories and placing them into a book. Now, that is probably a very simple explanation and I am sure others can explain better than me but as far as I understand, that is basically what it is all about. Maybe someone else can help? You asked when I will be back on the Carnival Freedom and the answer is January 5. I will be there until the end of the Bloggers Cruise and after that, I have no idea yet. Heidi and I send our best to you und viel liefs und kunuffles.Oh, Heidi just said its like a Veredeld foto album ????????????……… photo und allus.
MATTIE – Hello and thank you for posting your very first comment on the blog thingy. You asked about Circle C which will be the new name for our 12 – 14 year old program. This is part of Camp Carnival and it has recently been revamped to allow for the new type of fun that 12 – 14 year olds want to do these days. There are many exciting activities which include games. discos, computer games, etc. etc. and parents can leave their children with the knowledge that they will be safe, in the charge of experienced staff and most importantly they will be having fun and meeting new friends. Is there something specific you would like to know that I did not mention? If so, please post your second comment and I will be here to help.
Here is the answer – I just got from the Photo Department.
The concept of ordering photos from your TV has been tried in the past and it was not successful however we are looking at ways to improve the photo finding experience
FRANK C – Your Supper Club reservation has been made………………try the lobster.
I will make sure there are scrapbooks here for you and maybe we can indeed trade for some diet root beer or an Aston Martin. Sorry I didn’t see your last post but I am really glad you are enjoying the blog so much. Cheers mate.
SHEILA – Thank you for really kind words it was my pleasure to try and make Lucy feel special – which she is. I am sure it must be hard to make your own bed after the amazing service of your stateroom steward. I hope you had a great Holiday and please have a cup of tea for me and send my best to Lucy.
JO MYERLY – I am sorry you don’t like Ocho Rios, I really wish you would give it another try though…………did you ever climb the Falls or go to the rain forest? If you book the Bloggers Cruise I will personally give you and your husband a massage……………I am really good.
WILL – Welcome back to sunny Manchester. I can’t believe how badly parts of England have been flooded, I feel so bad for the people who have had their homes ruined by something as simple as rain! On a much brighter note I am sure you have many memories of your cruise and thank you for your kind comments on the shows and the staff. Please send my best to your family and next time I am in Manchester I will pop over and see you.
DAVE MYERLY – Thanks mate for the wonderful posting on your knowledge of the Navy ships you have been involved in over the years. It seems you must have many stories to tell and you must be so proud of what you have achieved. You asked if I can interview someone who is in charge of the upgrade projects and find out what they do, I can indeed and I will ask ROGER BLUM to put me in the right direction of someone who can help. Thanks for the great idea Dave and all the best mate.
VICKI – I am hoping to be on the Carnival Splendor for at least some of the South American Cruises so I am sure I have a good chance of seeing you there. I am glad you are taking the precautions of cruising as much as possible as you must be aware that ATCOCS SYNDROME can creep up on you at anytime. Take the case of Mr. George Hicks who had not cruised with Carnival for some time and then went on another cruise line which shall remain nameless. He was taken off the vessel because he decided to repaint the bow of the ship by adding letters Not Carnival Line. As he was escorted of the ship he even asked if he would win a solid gold plastic trophy for his artwork. So, I am glad you will not be like George Hicks and watch out all of you for those early warning signs of Atcocks which can include using the word “fun ” in every sentence and asking your wife or husband to make a rabbit out of a towel and your underwear. All the best Vicki and enjoy your cruises.
DWA76 – It’s not every day that my bottom has been accused of nearly getting someone fired so thank you for the compliment. Seriously, and not to keep going on a bout it but those beans are nasty and vicious things. PLEASE SEND ME MORE. I dream of having an Aston Martin for 30 days but the chances are about as real of finding me modeling Calvin Klein underwear on the front cover of Vogue magazine. Oh, well, a boy can dream and thanks mate for being such a great supporter of my H A A M (Hire An Aston Martin) campaign but something tells me it will be my usual compact car from Hertz. Lets keep campaigning and if I do get one for the month of December I will give you a solid gold plastic trophy and a signed pair of briefs for being my campaign manager. Cheers.
SHARON R – I am sorry that your original comment was lost in blog land. That seems to be happening so much these days as pieces of mail keep getting sent to the wrong place. Here is a perfect example. I keep getting offers on my e-mail to buy Viagra. Now, everyone knows that I don’t need that and it is strange because my Dad keeps getting the same offer as well so it must be another Heald family who needs…….help. Anyway, I delete them after I have sent them to my mate Alan Adkins who needs all the help he can get. Your supper club reservation is confirmed…………………….try the Sushi Platter starter.
Let’s answer your other questions.
1. You asked about your mother-in-law and what she may be able to do giving her walking difficulties in Livorno. That’s an easy one. PISA BY TROLLEY. She really should see the tower and the Trolley allows you to see all of Pisa including the tower, cathedral and the village itself with little walking as you are aboard a trolley. She will love this.
2.You asked about buying tickets through one cabin which yes, you may do. Just buy them through one cabin and hand the tickets to whoever is going on the tour. As long as the family come into the lounge together to get your bus stickers you will always be on the same bus together. The tickets do not have any names on them so it does not matter who has them. Remember, if you are unsure as what tour to buy then wait until you are here with us and listen to my talks and then decide.
3.I think the best for Mum before you get onboard is just do things on your own. The tours are very long and maybe after flying she may be tired. You can always take a hop on hop off style bus or maybe just take a cab to the Vatican or walk depending how close your hotel is. I think, giving her difficulties that you mentioned this may be the best way to go.
I know Heidi answered these for you already yesterday but I just wanted to make sure you saw them. All the best and I will see you soon………can I have some jellybeans.
ANNA REED – It’s my friend from Canada A. I do indeed remember our telephone conversation at the morning show and it was a lot of fun so thank you very much A.
You asked for the recipe for the Carrot Cake from the Café and I have asked the Chef who said he had to get permission from the office which I understand. I then had to ask the office and it’s a classified recipe etc etc…… you know what………..I knew there was only one person who could discover the secret ingredient without going through weeks of red tape………………..some say he was related to the God Of Sun………Georgeus Hamiltonus……..some say he eats nothing but Spinach and that he sleeps upside down hanging from a wooden beam……………….all we know is…………………its PA 007 and his faithful friend Tim.
Here is what he discovered.
John, here is the Chef’s recipe which we use for Carrot Cake onboard. This is a secret recipe and is not meant for publication. Going back to my cubicle now.
Serves: 8

225 Gram Butter (8 oz)
225 Gram Light soft brown sugar (8 oz)
4 Eggs, separated
1/2 Orange, zest only
4 Teaspoon Lemon juice
175 Gram Self-raising flour (6 oz)
1 Teaspoon Baking powder
50 Gram Ground almonds (2 oz)
125 Gram Walnut pieces, chopped (4 1/2 oz)
350 Gram Young carrots, peeled and grated (12 oz)
225 Gram Creamed cheese (8 oz) & 2 table spoons of Honey

Pre-heat oven to 180 °C / 350 °F / Gas 4. Grease and line a deep 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, then stir in the orange zest and 3 teaspoons of the lemon juice. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then stir in 100g (3 1/2 oz) of the walnuts.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the cake mixture with the carrots. Pour into the prepared tin and hollow the centre slightly. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Cover top with foil after 1 hour if it starts to brown. Leave to cool slightly, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the lining paper. Leave to cool.

To make the topping, beat together the cheese, honey and remaining lemon juice and spread over the top of the cake. Sprinkle the topping with the remaining walnuts.

This blog has just given its first cooking lesson………….good grief……………and it’s all thanks to PA 007. Let us know Anna how this turns out and send me a piece A.
PAMELA LITWACK – I am glad to hear you both are safe and well after your traumatic flight on Alitalia. I must admit, they have never been my favorite airline and this is not an opinion sponsored or agreed to by anyone else at Carnival but they have some of the rudest most arrogant staff I have ever met. It seems you experienced the same with no working entertainment system, broken seats and I know asking for water gets the same reaction as if you had asked for a bag of lobsters. Anyway, please except my apologies as you did book your flight through Carnival but obviously we have no authority over them but I will make sure our Air and Sea department hear of your troubles. On a better note, thank you for your kind comments about the cruise and calling me the BIG DADDY of Cruise Directors made me feel wonderful….old…….but fantastic. I hope we get to sail with each other again very soon and I send my best to you and the family.
SHERRIF ROSCOE P COLTRANE – Whatch ya goin do, watchya going to do when they come for you, bad boys, bad boys. How are you mate, you may never be the ship’s Godfather but you can be mine!
BIG ED – Sorry about that. Yes, I guess I seem to be responsible for some computer screens being ruined from people laughing various liquids over them and also the ruining of underwear. I do not think I can shoulder that much burden. If you come on the Bloggers Cruise I will provide free Depends for the entire cruise and even wear a pair on formal night.
MOERM 4 – Lets start with the scrapbooks which you asked if they would be available fleet wide ………..answer YES. In fact they should already be so and Chris Prideaux is working on implementing classes on most of our five-, seven-, eight- and 12-day cruises.
Now, as for the question about accessing photos on your TV which was mentioned on the Carnival Currents magazine, I have asked someone for further information on this which I should have very soon. Please allow me 24 hours and I will be back to you shortly with an answer, seems like a GREAT idea to me. I will write more soon and wish you all the best until then.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – I laughed at your comment about the Griswald family in comparison to the guest who was upset at me because the Vatican was closed……..thank you for the smiles Captain. For you, I will make sure that Alaska is open and ready to give you what I am sure must be such a needed vacation. How is dad coping with all this therapy? Please would you send my best regards to him and let him know he is in my thoughts? Thanks Captain and I look forward to your next posting.
NANETTEALI – Right, after that posting I need Spanish lessons. I am getting it translated so stand by. Heidi and I miss you and your family. I willo writo soono esta nacho en el grande HUGO para Usted.i PUT A PHOTO ON TODAY’S BLOG OF THE jellybeans which I hope more bloggers will send me as you cant get them here. They taste great and provide hours of fun in the bath.
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF………………You are all individuals……………YES , WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS
She turned me into a newt……………….I got better
Release Woger
the guest isn’t singing Oh what a beautiful morning when I bring them their breakfast, I think Oh yes, there another one who snuffed it in the middle of the night -this is a hotel not the Burma Railway.
OK,enough Python and Cleese quotes for today.
I will check into the Marx Brothers movie you requested and if we can get permission to show it, of course I will mate. Hope all is well with you and your other half and no more Python/Cleese jokes I promise……………………………………ok, maybe one more.
KATHIE – I would hate to be the reason your son does not get a college education ……….but…………what the heck……….spend his college fund………come cruising………….and I will hire your son as my assistant. That sounds fair does it not? You really want to be careful as you to are showing signs of ATCOCS SYNDROME and that may be dangerous so seek the advice of a travel professional or a Carnival PVP, and always read the label. If not, well you could end up like poor old Norman Bearcroft who had not been on a Carnival cruise for seven months. He was at another vacation resort that will remain nameless and had to be removed from the park after threatening the mouse with big ears that Fun Ship Freddy was going to kick his butt and then on one of the attractions he was arrested for sneaking into a restricted area and swapped the music so instead of thousands of kids coming off the attraction singing it’s a Small World they were all singing Carnival’s Got The Fun. So, yes call your PVP and use your sea miles card and get help……………
SOUTHERNDREAMS – The reason we wanted to drive on the wrong side of the road was so we could be different to the French. The French have launched their own version of Google called Quaero. You just type in the subject you’re interested in, and Quaero refuses to look it up for you. When are you going home? One day we will get to hear each other’s accent for real, I can’t wait.

OK that’s enough for today. I have nearly caught up but will start with more questions tomorrow.

The last few cruises I have been angry at myself at the shuttle bus service here in Venice and I have chopped and changed and fiddled with ideas on how to improve it and finally…………today, I think I have found the right system. I won’t bore you with the details but there was never more than a 10-minute wait and never more than 50 people waiting in line. One of the small details which will help is I finally got permission to have big Carnival signs placed at the Vaporetto Station Piazzale Roma, this took a vote in parliament but really will help. Also, as people had a hard time finding the buses coming back I have dressed the shuttle bus staff in Carnival attire including green hats with the words “Carnival Crew” on them so this I know will help. I have changed the timings as well and this I am sure will elevate any other complaints. It took some time but I am confident the system is better than anyone’s now…………….I will let you know.

So, we are in Venice tonight and the Emerald Princess is here with us again which means a lot of people in Venice tonight. Heidi and I are going out for dinner and are in two different minds where to go. Heidi wants to go to Harry’s Bar again but myself and Mr. Visa are not happy with that idea at all. I was thinking of a small Pizzeria called Piovano’s. It has wonderful seafood and the bacalar (that is probably spelt wrong) which is dried codfish is fantastic. It’s cheap but the problem is Piovano’s is well………..rude. It’s like an Italian version of Fawlty Towers with the two waiters who are so flippant and obtuse its hilarious…….in fact they are so rude, if you close your eyes you could be in Paris. Anyway, the argument is continuing and I am sure I will come out as the loser……………again.

Just a quick chat about the BLOGGERS CRUISE.

After our conference call I would like to tell you some of the things that will be happening on the January 19 cruise.


This will include a T-shirt, A Special Calendar (I will come back to that), a camera and other bloggers gifts which for now will remain a surprise.


While I will be hosting the Welcome Aboard Show, Talent Show and Morning Shows, there will be another Cruise Director onboard who will be taking charge of the day-to-day aspects of running the ship and hosting the other events and shows. This will allow me to be with you all as much as possible and we will have:


And much, much more.

Now, to the calendar. This will feature photos from the blog for each month as well as some exclusive ones as well……………….maybe……………….just maybe………….even a photo of PA 007. I thought it may be nice to add highlights from this year’s blogs so far so around October time I will be asking for you to vote on your top 10 blog stories………………yes, I know there are 12 months but two will be written by surprise guests.

I have to hold a few things in reserve but if you can and if time allows, please come onboard and I promise you a week that you will never forget and one where I know we will all become best friends forever.

Europe is the place to be. I say this as I look out of my window and see three other ships here with us and sometimes I have to remember how lucky Heidi and I are to be here…………………sorry, I got all soppy there………pull yourself together and talk about jelly beans or something. I know, I will finish with more letter from today’s morning show…………some people meet in strange places as you are about to see.


It’s a mad, mad world

Off for dinner and yep……….you guessed it…….Harry’s Bar it is. I am having the 60 Euro chicken curry and shortness of breath for desert.


Your Broke 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.