Am I Bothered?…Yes, Now I Am.

July 29, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning from still hot and sunny Venice.Remember how happy I was about the shuttle bus situation in Venice and the huge pat on the back I gave myself? Well ….forget about it. Today, due to the fact that there are two ships on turnaround (this means they are debarking and embarking guests here) I was told we would have only two buses….Oh joy. The Emerald Princess, The Aurora (P & O) and the Royal Caribbean something of the seas are here and all the buses are being used by us all. Hopefully the guests will be ok with the 15 minute walk from Piazza Roma to the vessel otherwise there may be a bit of a wait.

I spoke to the Operator and Agent this morning at 8:00am when Heidi reported a large line of 150 people waiting for a bus and then was told the news. The line did go down quickly but at one point there was a 30 minute wait and that, in my
mind, is not acceptable. I find these sorts of things so frustrating, I just want things to be perfect and I know they can be but once again I have hit this roadblock. Anyway, I will have extra staff at the Vaparetto Station and hopefully, as I said, most people will walk back. It is the height of the season and you can tell just how busy Europe is now and how popular. I remember the first season on the Carnival Liberty and I can remember in most ports we hardly saw another ship but, I can tell you this year it is obvious that Europe is the place to be.

It’s hot, and I really find it strange that still we get people who seem surprised about that. I guess Europe to some still has that image of fog and rain but the Mediterranean is as humid as anywhere at the height of summer. I have recently put this fact sheet together for guests. This is based on counteracting the comments we get now and then and I have seen these reduced since Heidi and I devised this sheet two cruises ago. It is now placed inside the Carnival Capers on the first day and has some very useful information.

Here is a copy for your approval.

M/V CARNIVAL FREEDOM
GOING ASHORE
IMPORTANT INFORMATION
* PLEASE READ CAREFULLY *

Cruising the Mediterranean conjures up visions of exciting experiences ashore. The history, culture, great shopping and delicious food – combined with the charm of the inhabitants make Europe an incredibly diverse destination.

The reality of countries that we will visit is very exciting.

The following, however, are a few things to keep in mind during your visit:

As we are in the peak of the tourist season in the Mediterranean, please be aware that you will indeed encounter considerable crowds and long lines at the tour venues ( especially in Capri and the Amalfi Coast (Naples), Athens, Venice, Istanbul and Rome, Vatican ). Extensive traffic may be found en route to the attractions and delays may happen. We appreciate your understanding in this matter.

* Ongoing restoration work is often carried out at the venues.

* While the transportation used for shore excursions (motor coaches and vans) does have air-conditioning, the standard for Europe is not the same as that for North America or onboard the ship. Therefore, you may find that the air-conditioning feels less cool than that onboard or of that to which you are accustomed at home – especially if the temperatures in port are high and the sun is shining.

* The ship’s organized tours are guided: all tours included English speaking guides. If you don’t understand your Tour Guide (they may have a marked accent) during a ship’s organized tour, please ask them to repeat. They really want you to have a good time and they are eager to show you their country.

* Taxis: always agree on the fare before getting in the taxi. For long distance trips, please allow plenty of time to return to the ship by the back on board time. You will find the back on board time on the front page of the Carnival Caper.

* The weather can change during the course of the day and the sun can be very strong. We suggest that you always bring ashore with you a hat, sunscreen lotion, sunglasses and that you wear light, casual clothing and comfortable, low-heeled walking shoes.

Please always carry extra water with you ashore.

Here are today’s photos

1. THE COUNTRY HOME TOUR IN DUBROVNIK

1. THE COUNTRY HOME TOUR IN DUBROVNIK

2. THE COUNTRY HOME – 280 YEARS OLD

2. THE COUNTRY HOME - 280 YEARS OLD

3. DUBROVNIK OLD TOWN

3. DUBROVNIK OLD TOWN
3. DUBROVNIK OLD TOWN

In today’s In Their Own Words Section, you will find one of those letters that makes you go ……. “are you kidding me ” ……. Here it is:

In Their Own Words

So, she bought a t shirt, it’s stained, it’s my fault and we have to pay for her
to exchange it…….. You have to smile.

Here are some more:

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words
In Their Own Words
Better get on with the Q and A as I am WAY behind.

PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – And it is nice to start with you sir. The Bloggers T Shirts are for everyone and will be available for purchase via the website www.carnivalfuntees.com . Roberto is also putting a direct link on the blog page soon and this will make them easy to buy. There will be a special edition shirt for the Bloggers Cruise but these are for anyone who wants to buy them., I wonder how many will be bought? I hope you didn’t scare Amy Lynn with your laughing, which story had you amused so much? I hope all is well with you and the family and thank you for buying a shirt, at least I know someone is.
BIG ED – que ? OK, I translated what Nanetteali said in Spanish and it reads. >>>>>>>>I think Big Ed should book the Bloggers Cruise and not sail on the one after that. He needs his draws washing, he won’t get a booth and John will buy him a huge porterhouse steak while Mrs. Big Ed gets a massage. If he does not go John will
eat Five bags of jelly beans and visit his cabin.
KEN – Glad you finally got your question through the long journey in Cyber Space, it must be exhausted. Let me answer your question about disembarking the ship on the 17th. You can disembark at anytime you like and if you have to be at the airport as you said by 6:00am then I suggest you leave the ship at 4:45am. Do you have private transportation? If not, then you will need to let me know during the cruise and we will arrange a taxi for you which will cost about 100 euros. You also asked for a restaurant for the night before in Rome. Well,
not knowing what you love to eat, the best advice I can give you is to head for Via Veneto. This is the major thoroughfare in Rome and has the best selection of restaurants and cafes and is a wonderful place to sit and watch the world go by, especially the ladies -.sshhhhhhhh, don’t tell Heidi. Anyway, let me know if you need anything else and I will see you onboard.
BRYAN – the jelly beans I think were supposed to be eaten a few at a time however I ignored that and the results were Vesuvius like! I wish you had BEAN here to experience it for yourself 🙂
PATRICK A RANALLI – I SEE THAT YOU OWN A Parasailing Club and I must admit it something that you would have to pay me lots of money to do although I would guess you would need a pretty powerful boat to get someone like me in the air. Anyway, my wife loves that sort of thing as do many people I know but I cannot
imagine what people would find to complain about that high up in the air! Your reservation as I mentioned is confirmed and I sincerely look forward to meeting you in a few weeks. Have fun in the sun in Florida and maybe one day and after eating a few jelly beans I can get up in the air. Cheers.
NANETTEALI – Send more Jelly Beans. Pour Favor mucho gaso beano grasyarse.
HEIDI – BETH AND KEVIN – Thanks to all three of you 🙂 for the PASTA diet which made me smile. My no carbs diet is going ok but boy it was hard last night with all the pasta and pasties that adorn every restaurant – still I was a good lad and I hope to keep it going. I just miss my jelly beans. Heidi and I send our best to all four of you and hope to see you soon.
INEZ – Glad to hear the blogs make you laugh and thanks also for the reminder that 99.99% of Southerners have a wonderful sense of humour and are pleasant and lovely people. I guess there must be a lot of changes between New Jersey and North Carolina but I am sure you now have the best of both worlds. Please keep reading the blog and my best to you and the family.
THE CHADS – In Ocho Rios you can experience all of the wish list you mentioned. There is a special place called DOLPHIN COVE where you can swim and encounter the beautiful creature that is the Dolphin. It is simply gorgeous there and you can also combine this with a trip to Dunn’s River Falls which is a MUST SEE. You also mentioned a desire to go horseback riding which is again available along the beaches of Jamaica from a place called Chuka Cove. Part of the tour involves bareback (the horse, not you) in the ocean and is quite
incomparable. There then are two choices for Jamaica and although sometimes it can get a bad rap I promise you that if you go to the right places with the right people you will see why I and thousands of visitors think it is such a vibrant and fun place to visit on your cruise. Let me know your thoughts and my best to all the Chads.
JO MYERLY – Jo, I checked with Gareth the Casino Manager and he has no problem with you putting $20,000 down on one roll of the crap table dice and if it brings you luck, yes, by all means take off your bra, we appreciate the support:)
TAMMIE – See, you could be a Cruise Director as you said what I wanted to say….but bit my tongue instead. How about that letter today where the guest wanted me to exchange a shirt she bought???…what a job I have …..how lucky I am to meet such individual people….said with just a small touch of sarcasm. Hope all is well Tammie and thanks for reading the blog thingy.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Hell Carol, how are you today? I had no idea you were a Treki so thanks for the Klingon. Good Luck. I met a lady in the welcome aboard show this week who I swear was a Ferengi!
I READ THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE POSTING YOU SLAPPED ON AND HAVE FORWARDED IT TO SOME FRIENDS, I WISH I COULD SEND IT TO MY MATE FROM NORTH CAROLINA!
I join you in remembering those people who lost their lives in the Alaska plane crash you mentioned as I am sure do all the bloggers….we shall remember them today.
You know, when I listed the ships I had worked on I totally forgot about those I worked on in the Bar Department. It seems so long ago. Anyway, yes, I worked on the Holiday (my first ever ship), the Jubilee and the Celebration all as Bar Waiter, Wine Steward (I was awful) and Assistant Bar Manager….those were the days. The letters I receive are priceless and this blog allows me to share the good, the bad and the …. Well …. let’s be nice and say … different with all of you. The sugar free beans are all finished much to Heidi’s joy but hopefully others will take pity on my needs and replenish my personal jet pack and send me some.To finish, more Star Trek. You have been and always shall be my friend ….all the best Carol.
MILLIE S – Millie, the answer to your question on if you can make it to the ship and then do the Rome By Night tour — YES. However, I would not be a good CD if I did not mention that you will have landed that day, already done a tour that morning and then have to go through check-in etc. You will be tired. Please, just bear that in mind. I am not trying to talk you out of what is a great tour but two tours in 24 hours after you have just flown Trans Atlantic may be too much and remember we have a 25% cancellation policy. Have a think
about it and remember you can see how you feel when you arrive to the ship and book then if you want to. Just a thought. I will be here if you need further advice and suggestions.
RUTH JAMISON – Thank you for the plug of the Rome By Night Tour I was just mentioning to Millie. You are right, it is a wonderful experience but now and then we have cruises where it just does not sell. The experience you had describes it perfectly though and I am sure that others reading your commentary
will be encouraged to book it. What did you have for dinner? Thanks again Ruth and my best to you and the family.
DWA 76 – Thanks mate, I am glad you enjoyed the blog thingy today and the joke. I never tell ” joke jokes ” on stage but as you enjoyed the last one, here is one more of my favorites although Heidi does not understand why.
A husband and wife went to counseling after 15 years of marriage. When asked what the problem was, the wife went into a passionate, painful tirade listing every problem they had ever had in the 15 years they had been married. She went on and on and on – neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of unmet needs she had endured over the course of their marriage.
Finally, after allowing this to go on for a sufficient length of time, the therapist got up, walked around the desk and, after asking the wife to stand, he embraced and kissed her passionately. The woman shut up and quietly sat down as though in a daze.
The therapist turned to the husband and said, “This is what your wife needs at least three times a week. Can you do this?”
The husband thought for a moment and replied, “Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays, I golf.”
Anyway, the lady who missed the ship in Capri rejoined yesterday in Naples and had a happy reunion (I hope) with her family. She said she was waiting for her son and that he forgot he was supposed to meet her…Families!
Hope all is well mate and hope you enjoyed today’s joke.
RAY McTEAGUE – I remember the rescue you spoke about very well Ray. It was on the Carnival Destiny. The Canadian Coast Guard ship could not get alongside because of the swells so yes, we called in a helicopter and the rescue was made and the guest received the medical attention he needed. I salute all the fine
men and women of the Coast Guard service from all over the world who continue to protect those in peril on the sea.
I am happy to hear you enjoyed seeing the card on the blog. Receiving cards is something that means so much to Heidi and anytime we get one it adds such a personal touch to the blog. We received a lot last cruise and hope this lovely trend continues. Thanks again mate and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.
FENG SHUI TURTLE – A new inventory of scrap books will be coming in Barcelona and we will have lots for the following cruise so we will make sure you get one. Please though, if you feel that you are a kind and giving person, please bestow a large bag of sugar free jelly beans upon me. Eating them allows me to meet more people by propelling myself quickly around the ship using my personal jet pack….although…for some strange reason the people I do meet do not want to be around me for too long.
Thank you for the slapping on the reason you have your screen name. Heidi loves turtles and I am sure you and her will become great friends. See you next cruise and you will also meet my ugly best mate Alan Adkins.
DON AND LAURA – Konnicichiwa to you both as well. Bloggers, here we have two people reading this humble blog thingy in Japan while serving their country in the United States Air Force…..how about one or two of you dropping them a line on this blog to say hello. I am so sorry I will not see you in December but I am sure one day we will meet and I will proudly get to shake your hand.

I am going to stop there as I have two shows to host tonight and I need to meet with a group of guests from Malta who have asked to have photos with me and the Captain but before I go, there are one or two things we need to discuss.

First of all, there will be no guest interview today as I have not had time to get them together but there will be some special ones very soon I promise.

Last night Heidi and I went out for dinner. I have started to realize that we need to spend more time together especially since the blog came into being and most of my free time is spent exercising my two fingers on the keyboard. So, last night we went for dinner to Harry’s and I shall say no more about that for now. However, afterwards we were strolling through St. Marks Square where we met two other crew members, Charlie the Musical Director and his wife Wendy who is the Youth Director. We sat with them at one on the outside cafes where a classical quartet was playing beautiful music. Just a side note before I continue. There is a cover charge of 5 euros per person to sit down and listen to the music and that’s before you order anything and then, please be aware that it is very expensive as you will see. Heidi ordered a Bacardi and Diet Coke, Wendy had a glass of red wine (house), Charlie had a beer and I a glass of mineral water – cost – 49 euros.
Anyway, we had invited them to sit with us so I paid which was fine…that’s just a sub note to the story.

Then within a space of twenty minutes I was witness to both sides of the tourist abroad.

I have many bad habits, and I know smoking the odd cigar is one of them. I don’t drink and although I am overweight I don’t eat to excess (much), but when the mood takes me I find a cigar relaxes me completely. Anyway, it was 12;15am by the time I had sat down and there were few people sitting. I am very careful never to smoke if other people are around but tonight the scene looked set for me and my Trinidad Rubosto that a beautiful Cuban Sinjourita had rolled on her tanned thigh. We were going to be best friends. There was only a dozen other couples sitting outside and the nearest was 20
feet away. Now at this point I am sure I am going to upset my great friends who miss the Carnival Paradise but I am sure they will understand that this was outside, in a designated smoking bar and there was nobody any where near me and any smoke that I did exhale would dissipate in the night air.

So, there I sat, cigar in hand, the quartet playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto number 21, my beautiful wife at my side….apart from the 340 euros I had just spent for a plate of Risotto, all was well…then….a shout from across the other side of the Café..not the person 20 feet away but the furthest table which must have been 40 feet away from us…….CRUISE
DIRECTOR – CRUISE DIRECTOR…….I knew the bellow was for me but I ignored it just for a second…..and then looked over…….CRUISE DIRECTOR……came the voice which was now louder than a piano, a cello, a violin and a double
bass……..do you mind putting that disgusting thing out…….I could feel the heat rising from Heidi and Charlie as well and could sense the other people around the Café were now looking at me and at the large fog horn voice that was emanating from such a small lady…….normally, I would have put it out…….I never want to offend people especially from the ship. What were the chances of me offending someone who had to, of course, be on the ship and who recognized me.

Anyway, I took one last big puff of my cigar and blew the smoke which the wind took in the opposite direction of where the lady was sitting and was about to put the cigar out which by the way cost more than I can afford and as my hand
moved towards the ash tray……..the manager came over and told the lady to be quiet and not shout as she was disturbing the music…..now, I think that was what he said because the lady and the two other people got up and started walking away.

As they walked past me the lady came towards me and said these exact words: “Crew members should not be allowed in the same place as passengers and you have ruined my night.” I stood to apologize but, the look on her face changed
my mind and I am sorry to say I just said . . .”Am I bothered?” and sat down.

Now, you cannot imagine how difficult it was for me to admit to all of you and all the top people at Carnival that I said that but sometimes you know what .,,, you have to be a human being and this time I am sorry to say I WAS RUDE….I feel bad now, no actually, I feel awful now and I have Heidi and Wendy and Charlie scoruing the ship looking for her so I can apologize.

It was not the fact that I had been asked to put my cigar out, or had been shouted at 40 feet from across the most famous square in the world or that she interrupted the music for all of us or that I was trying to be a big man in front of my wife. It was simply that she thought that we as crewmembers on our time off had no right to be in that most special of places and should have been locked in our rooms hanging upside down like a troglodyte….that’s what made me mad…I regret it deeply now, but at the time….to see the astonished look on her face…it felt good.

So, it was a feeling of mixed emotion as we walked back to the Vaporetto and Heidi knew that I was mad at myself. Then as we walked, another couple was walking towards us and as they did so a big smile came across the man and the
lady’s faces ….John….a hand extended as I shook theirs…..it’s great to see you we think you are the best Cruise Director we have ever seen….I have never been so happy to hear a compliment ……..”Have you had a nice evening?” I asked …….Yes they said….we chatted about Venice for a minute or so and, as I said goodnight, I invited them to my show the following evening “OH, well we would love to John,” they said, “but we’re on the Emerald Princess!”

So, as I write this blog, I do so feeling so angry at myself for lowering myself to the lady’s level of impoliteness and I hope I get to say sorry in person.

I wasn’t at the time….but now…..I am Bothered.

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.