Priceless

July 29, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Afternoon from Dubrovnik, Croatia.The good news, the tender operation was wonderful today even if I do say so myself. It is now 5:30pm and we only have 200 people left ashore and there has been no lines that lasted more than 10 minutes for a tender and the same for the shuttle buses.

I made lots of changes from last time and unlike Venice where I am still not happy with the service we provide, I am sure that today there will be nothing but happy faces and smiles of joy as happy memories of Dubrovnik and its majesty remain with our guests for a long time to come.

Time to follow up with regard to the incident I told you in yesterday’s blog, you know, the lady who screamed at me about my cigar even though I was off the ship, in St. Marks Square, and she was 40 feet away from me or more…………………and…………………..who I was rude to.

Anyway, I didn’t sleep well as I was so mad at myself for being rude back to her and after she said crew had no right to be in St.Marks and I had ruined her cruise, I said ” Am I Bothered “…………………..IDIOT !

So, last night Heidi and Charlie who were with me were on the lookout for this lady but they did not need to be because the Purser’s called me to say there was a guest trying to contact me, a Mrs. Charlene Stern of cabin 8297 who wanted to speak to the Captain and I together.

Sure enough, I called and yes, it was the lady. I asked if we could meet and she said that she would. Expecting the worst I met her in the lobby with her husband in attendance and sat down. Before I had a chance to say anything she said that she deserved a public apology and again said that she felt crew should not be allowed to be in the same areas as guests and that this would never have happened on another cruise line………..NOTE: I know of course that this is not true so I won’t even waste your time or mine writing the name of the cruise line here on the blog.

I explained that crew had every right to be ashore and I apologized for saying “I was not bothered ” but also defended myself saying that she had no right to shout across a café at me like that and indeed the management had felt the same way because they had asked her to refrain from doing so.

I asked Mrs. Stern what I could do to make her happy and she gave me a list of things that might make her smile again such as a free tour in Barcelona or a discount off her cruise. I explained that this was not going to happen but I did again apologize and also sent a fruit basket and some wine to her cabin and offered her dinner in the Supper Club which seemed to appease her. She also asked for a “PUBLIC APOLOGY ” from me not for being rude, which seemed not to even upset her as she never mentioned it, but for smoking my cigar.

I told Mrs. Stern about this blog and gave her the address plus I will print her a copy of today’s blog where she will note how sorry I am, not for smoking my cigar in an area where it was allowed, but for being rude to her……………..Mrs. Stern, I apologize for my rudeness and I hope you will enjoy the rest of the cruise.

Today, I had no chance to go ashore as I was busy with the tenders but at 1:00pm I went to have lunch with Heidi on Lido where we met a wonderful family from a place called Cave Spring in Georgia, population 975.

They were so overwhelmed by the cruise, the food, the service and the ports, well let’s just say that this family were having the time of their lives. They had just gotten back from the Best of Dubrovnik Tour and they showed me the souvenirs they had bought including a wooden cross for his mother who is 94 years old and still plays the church organ…………..OOPS………………..sorry………….forget to mention their names……………….the Casey family…mum, dad and three kids.

I was intrigued about what life was like in a town that had only 975 residents and amongst the things that Mr. O’ Brien told me was that he owned a supermarket, he was also the town’s fire chief and sat on the council as well. Now there is a man who needs a vacation.

I asked why he had decided to take this cruise and he told me that his family had sailed on the Holiday from Mobile last year and had enjoyed it so much that they wanted to come and cruise again. He also said that he wanted his three kids to experience life outside of Cave Spring and so here they are in Europe and having the time of their lives……………a great story and one I loved hearing.

I did a bit of Goggling (spelt correctly) and eventually found a photo of the main street of Cave Spring………..here it is……………and I want to go there.

did a bit of Goggling (spelt correctly) and eventually found a photo of the main street of Cave Spring………..here it is……………and I want to go there.

Here are today’s other photos taken as we sailed from Venice by Heidi.

Here are today’s other photos taken as we sailed from Venice by Heidi.

Here are today’s other photos taken as we sailed from Venice by Heidi.

Here are today’s other photos taken as we sailed from Venice by Heidi.

Here are today’s other photos taken as we sailed from Venice by Heidi.

And now, today’s letters for the “IN THEIR OWN WORDS SECTION”

IN THEIR OWN WORDS
IN THEIR OWN WORDS

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Just to comment on the one about buying fake goods. It is indeed illegal to purchase and sell them across Italy however I have to say that in Naples and Pisa I have never seen anyone being stopped for selling or buying. However, in Venice, we have had multiple incidents where people have been fined for purchasing fake handbags etc which is why I always warn against it.

Hooray, hooray its time for the Q and A.

So here I go while the sun still lingers – typing away with two bloody fingers.

MTSFPBLFTTNSFCF – Is it only 93 days to the crossing…………I better get my skates on then and get things organized. The tours for Rome will all be available onboard and as for the exclusive view of the Vatican you are correct that it is a ‘must see.’ I will tell you what, let me talk to the shore excursion department and I will list all the tours that will be available to book on board so that it is nice and clear for you mate. Stand by for that as it does get confusing because each day is different at the Vatican because of the non-regular opening hours. We will have a golf tour in Spain (Malaga) as well for you to look forward to.
I am sure your computer will work and we can blog to each other even though we will be only a few decks apart………….a little sad………..but it has to be done. Most of all, I am looking forward to shaking your hand, in of course, a NON-smoking bar. I am, by the way, looking forward to hearing your honest opinion of my incident with Mrs. Stern.
Wishing you and Mrs. MTSFP all the best.
LISA AND ELAINE – Glad you like the t-shirts so much and I am sure you will look the height of fashion wearing one. Is nobody worried that people are going to come up to you and say “Who the heck is John and what’s so good about his thingy?”
I am looking forward to seeing you on the Bloggers cruise and I am doing my best to get Big Ed to come as well but he is proving a tough nut to crack. As for meeting PA 007, well you will meet PA oo7 but you won’t know you have 🙂 Thanks for the kind words about Heidi and we return those words to you and your family.
THE BEARS – BARB AND CAROL – Thank you so much for thinking about us both, you are true friends. I am looking forward to seeing you on January 19th for the Bloggers cruise. I am getting Roberto to sail and also asking Chris and Roger to come as well…………it’s going to be a wonderful week.
LINDA HERNACKI – It is hard keeping my sugar level between 5 and 7 which is where I like it to be but the no carb diet is certainly helping me lose weight despite the unpleasant side effects that Heidi and many others have to endure. I look forward to seeing you and Mike the Bulb in your t-shirts, I wonder if I will get a free one?
BJ BEAR – Your mum and stepdad are great people and I am happy to meet a third bear. Congratulations on the news that you are expecting a little cub and also on your thinking to do a Carnival Liberty cruise. Unfortunately, the baby will be charged as a third adult in the cabin unless Carnival is planning some child specials for that month. May I suggest that you call a Carnival Personal Vacation Planner for the latest deals etc. Then, if you can, would you let me know what he/she says so I can follow up some more for you. Do you know if it’s a man bear or a girly bear? By the way, do you all hibernate for the winter? Look forward to hearing from you soon. Many congratulations.
KAREN TESSIER – Sorry to hear about your broken ankle but I am sure that will not stop you from enjoying your European vacation next month.
If it is still painful have a chat with Heidi or I on board and we will help you chose the tours that would be suitable for you. Cabin 7205 is a forward cabin with an ocean view which backs on to the outside terrace on deck 7. This means you can walk out of your cabin, take 5 steps and have the largest balcony on the ship.
I have passed on your congratulations to Heidi and she is really happy that you enjoyed her blog and pictures. I congratulate you on the sterling work you do as a hospice nurse and I am sure you and your 6 friends will have a wonderful time on the Carnival Conquest. See you very soon.
LYNN AND MIKE SAGARA – Hello guys, you asked about the Bloggers cruise which you have booked and how we will know who has booked this as part of the Bloggers group. The majority of the ship will be full of Bloggers and nearer the time there will be a registration form posted here on the blog and mailed to every guest who is sailing to register for the big bag of free stuff, which will include a special edition t-shirt.
I am glad you like the t-shirts on the website, thank you for buying one.
Yes, the Grand Hotel is a beautiful and interesting place. In Holland you have the possibility to marry in church or in a town hall (registry office), most town halls in the small villages are very nice and special. The Grand, of course, has a special meaning as the Dutch Queen, Queen Beatrix got married there. Thank you for showing interest in our special day.
JOHN FRIEDMANN – John, I know deep down that your test results following your biopsy will give cause for nothing but celebration. Positive thought multiplied thousand of times by all of us here is now heading your way and I know I will see you on August 29th for a wonderful cruise vacation which you will take in good health.
You also asked about the webcam on Lido deck. It must have been in a bad position as, unless we are in port, the Lido deck is always full of people enjoying the sun, live music, games and movies. It should be repositioned now so all should be well. Once again, we are thinking of you.
CINDY56 – The t-shirts are for everyone not just the people booked on the Bloggers cruise. I am not sure if I will be back on the Freedom in March but hopefully we will meet some day soon. I am very happy to hear you enjoyed the interview with Heidi and I am indeed a very lucky man. All the best to you and your mum and your mum’s best friend.
HEIDI-BETH & KEVIN – Hello you three and thank you for your kind words about Heidi’s interview. I also see you like the t-shirts and I hope to see all three of you wearing one soon. All the best.
DOUGNEWMANATSEA – The Seabourn Cruise is a bit of a pipe dream although I can see a bloggers/friends reunited cruise happening sometime in the future and yes of course you are invited. I can understand your desire to cruise the Queen Elizabeth II before she is retired and we all look forward to reading your review. Wishing you a happy day. Cheers mate.
I&MSMON – I am glad you liked PA 007’s carrot cake recipe. If anybody else wants a recipe then please let me know and I will make sure that PA 007 supplies it for you. The t-shirts are great, aren’t they and Roberto and his team deserve a standing ovation and a free t-shirt.
Heidi says she is happy to hear that you enjoyed her interview and your kind comments towards us both are so lovely. Our kind regards to you and your family and please keep reading the blog-thingy.
NANETTEALI – Your comment in Spanish was fantastic and I think only Big Ed and I understood. I really wish I had taken the time to learn Spanish and Italian and one day I will. I see from your last comment that you found my black lacy g-string. I had wondered where that was? I need it back so I can put it in Big Ed’s cabin when he is on the Bloggers cruise. I look forward to seeing a photo of you and the kids in your blog t-shirts and a grande besmmier para usted.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – The problem with offering free internet time on the Bloggers cruise is, there are over 1,000 of you registered so far (we think).
So, that unfortunately will not be plausible. However, I am sure everyone will be happy with a goody bag that we will give each blogger plus we will be doing live blogs while we are all on board together. I am so looking forward to meeting you and I am learning to bow for when I meet your Prince.
KEVIN – I can just imagine now you and your Aston Martin doing tours of Miami for our bloggers. If I am not mistaken the Aston Martin Vanquish has a 0-60 time of 5.2 seconds and the only thing that is faster would be me after eating a packet of sugar free Jelly Beans. I totally agree about single cruisers and the charges they face. This seems to be an industry wide standard and please allow me to investigate what can be done.
One day soon we will sit and talk about the Vanquish S and you can tell me how it feels to drive such a beast. All the best mate.
IVANA – By the time you read this you should have received your pay check enabling you to buy the bloggers t-shirts. I am a little embarrassed though that you are spending your hard earnt money on a t-shirt that has Heidi’s and my name on it. Please don’t be sad that you are not on the Bloggers cruise there will be another one and this time I think we will do it on a shorter 5 day cruise to allow more people to come. Enjoy Harry Potter’s last adventure and thank you for saying that the blog is the best thingy ever. My kindest regards.
CARL HARMON – I am so lucky to have Heidi however, there are times when she does not feel lucky to have me and those times are sponsored by Russell Stover Sugar Free Jelly Beans. Thank you for your kindness.
FRANK C – Thank you for your kind words about the blog and I was happy to make your Supper Club reservations for you.
So I see you have a Porsche in the driveway, what model? I cannot believe you have sent me a case of New Orleans diet root beer. I am very much looking forward to this and it will be a special treat which I will enjoy. One day I hope we get to enjoy one together and talk about our passion for cars. Heidi and I send our best to you and Jennifer.
JO MYERLY – I am so excited to hear that you have booked the Bloggers cruise. I have no words to express my gratitude that I will now get a chance to meet you. I admit I did used to watch a late night shopping channel in the UK, called Auction World, but I am getting help for it. Congratulations and many thanks to you and Dave.
JIMNI – I wish my Dad had taught me that song when I was younger. However, I shall pass it down to generations of Healds to come.
BRYAN – I do the same when I write Bryan, I tend to answer my own questions as I go. However, I have never done an interview for the blog as such so maybe PA 007 can set some questions for me soon. Glad you had a chuckle at the last blog and hope there are many more chuckles to come.
TAMMY AND MIKE FROM NY – This is an easy one to answer. Yes, you can go ashore first, have a few hours in Cannes and eat lunch and all the afternoon tours including the Nice and Eze tour meet on the pier so you do not have to come back to the vessel. Hope this helps and you picked an excellent tour by the way………you must try the muscles in Cannes by the way………..not a muscle in a can……………muscles from Cannes. See you soon.
A CRUISE BY ANY OTHER NAME – Roberto, the request is to have the photos “captioned” I am not sure what she means – do you? I am sure if we can, we will……….let me get back to you as I want to make you happy.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – AHHHHHHHHH , Bill wants the recipe for the warm melting chocolate cake. Let me put PA 007 on a mission……..stand by.

Ok, time to stop and I will continue tomorrow.

I thought I would show you that next week once again, we have quite the international ship with 1347 guests who are not from America. Here is the breakdown.

Argentina
Austria 4
Aruba 20
Armenia 1
Australia 56
Belize 2
Belgium 11
Brazil 4
Canada QUEBEC 37
Canada 304
Czech Republic 1
Cayman Island 15
Croatia 3
Colombia 5
Chile 8
Cuba
Costa Rica 2
Ecuador 1
Dominican Rep.
El Salvador
France 134
Gibraltar 4
Germany 33
Guatemala 5
Honduras
Iran 9
India 2
Ireland 4
Israel 3
Italy 67
Korea 17
Luxembourg 4
Jamaica 1
Japan 6
Mexico 16
Monaco 2
Martinique 9
Macau 1
Malta 33
Nicaragua
Netherlands 47
New Zealand 21
New Caledonia 1
Nigeria 2
Peru
Puerto Rico
Panama
Philippines 2
Poland 5
Portugal 11
Russia 33
Switzerland 2
Spain 109
South Africa 2
Trinidad 14
Ukraine 2
United Kingdom 262
Uruguay
Vietnam 1
Venezuela 5
TOT INTL. 1347

You will notice that we have 134 French people sailing so I have to be on my best behavior and avoid any French jokes. I decided to learn more about the French as I think I have been educated to make fun of them all the time without truly understanding their culture. I must learn to see that they are wonderful people who love the British. To achieve this re-education I decided to use the new version of the French equivalent of Googel called Le Googel You just type in the subject you’re interested in, and Le Googel refuses to look it up for you.

OK, maybe I need more time, forgive and forget John (talking to myself again).

Maybe I have ATCOCS SYNDROME. It could be possible that I need a vacation on a Carnival Ship instead of working here all the time. Talking to yourself is indeed one of the symptoms and I must be careful.

I do not want to end up like Norman Oates who had not cruised on a Carnival ship for a long time and decided to go to Las Vegas instead of a cruise and was arrested because the ATCOCS took over and he thought he was on a Carnival cruise and everything was included in the price. He refused to pay for the shows, the food and the activities and when he woke up in the morning and opened his hotel bedroom window he really did think he was in Venice on the Carnival Freedom and did not realize he was in a manufactured model of the real thing. He was led away buy security and he was he was heard to say “I know George Clooney, you’re next. Oceans 15”

Please everyone, keep an eye yourselves and see if you are developing early symptoms……….if you are, please call a travel professional.

One footnote before I go off (to do the show, that was not a reference to the jelly beans again).

I spoke to the lady tonight (letter posted in In Their own Words) who wanted us to pay for her transportation from the ship to St Marks Square and back again because the t-shirt she bought had a stain on it. I asked her why it was our responsibility and this was her exact, word for word answer: “You should have told the passengers that buying t-shirts from the shop I went to was not a good idea because there merchandise was not trustworthy.”

I replied “Which shop did you buy it from?”

She said “I can’t remember.”

I sent her a Carnival t-shirt today, not because hers was ruined but because of the wonderful laugh she gave me.

TICKET TO ST.MARKS SQUARE: 12 EUROS

PURCHASE OF T SHIRT WITH STAINS ON IT: 8 EUROS

EXPECTING THE CRUISE DIRECTOR TO BE A BLOODY MIND READER: PRICELESS

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.