To All My Blogger Friends

August 31, 2007 -

John Heald

Well, it’s been a while and I want to apologize for not writing to you sooner.Normally, John and I always take our laptop to the ship with us, but this time I didn’t think I would need it…..silly me.

Who could ever have known that John would be asked to write a blog and who could ever have imagined it would turn out to be such a success?

Now the blog has gone “Corporate” it’s even busier than ever.

So, before I write any more words, I would like to just say that I am so very proud of my husband. How he juggles his every day job with all its challenges and the blog is beyond me. Of course, I do help him here and there, but I can’t look inside his head (well, not always) and see how he comes up with everything he writes in his blogs. It can’t be easy to tell a different story almost every day.  So many things happen every day and we get to meet so many different people amongst our guests, but which person do you highlight and how do you tell his or her story?

“Petje af,” we say in Holland, which translates to “I take my hat off for you”.

So here to John, my husband, my best friend.

OK, don’t cry, he can be super annoying as well and sometimes he deserves the Fatima treatment ………….I am sorry if I just ruined the big pink heart shaped balloon for everybody….:)))

So, what’s been going on in Heidi land for the last few weeks?

Well, my biggest problem is that I don’t get much time on the computer in our cabin…..

We do have an Entertainment Staff office on board with 2 computers for me to use, but unlike John, I need to have peace and quiet around me to be able to concentrate, sometimes he forgets that English is not my first language……

For me to concentrate with other staff members coming in and out telling me things and asking me things is very hard, so its best to use the computer in our cabin. It’s times like this that I miss my laptop that is sitting at home feeling lonely…..

One of the main reasons was also that flying from a U.K. airport is anything but pleasant these days and you are only allowed 1 piece of hand luggage per person, so what do I do with my Chanel bag if I bring the laptop in its bag??? What’s a girl to do?? Any tips?

Some of you might say, well, John can carry the laptop. Well, that’s were you go wrong. John has his own carry on…..yes ladies, he does! It contains books, magazines, DVDs and his portable DVD player, so no room for a laptop. Sir doesn’t put his DVDs he just bought in his luggage, what if my suitcase gets lost??? Well, I suppose he has a point.

So, laptop stayed at home this time.

What I am trying to say, in a very long roundabout way, is that I just don’t get the time to use the PC in the cabin. (well, apart from doing the Capers and the schedules for the cruise and answer the necessary e-mails)

But here I am, it’s 10:53pm, John is doing the Welcome Aboard Show and I took my chance……I feel I owe it to all of you as you have been sending so many lovely comments for and about me.

Thank you to all and once again my apologies for not writing sooner. I do read all the comments, so they don’t get lost in cyberspace.

Well, I have been busy outside the job with starting to work out again. I run on the track, work my arms with weights, so much so, that some days I have a hard time walking or picking up a pen I dropped on the floor. The reason why I run on the track is because I need the wind in my hair when I work out. It may sound strange, but I use bottles of water (the 1.5 liter ones) as weights for my arms. I am not a big fan of the gym, never have been. I used to play tennis 4 times a week, played competition on Sundays and never needed to go to the gym, I was just always fit. When I played tennis a little less, I played basketball 2 times a week and competition on Saturdays. I still never had to worry about my figure or if I could run up stairs without being out of  breath for half an hour…..Unfortunately, since I have been working on the ship, playing sports just hasn’t been possible. I tried to keep up playing tennis in the beginning, but a blonde, fair skinned Dutch girl just isn’t made to play tennis in 100 degrees in St. Thomas…..I used to play and would be dizzy after 20 minutes and could only think on how I could get in the sea as quick as possible. So here I am, in need of running and there is no better time to start again as the present and get ready for the On Deck For The Cure Charity Walk.

We have been meeting many bloggers in the last couple of cruises and have received numerous wonderful gifts by mail. THANK YOU!!!!!

As I have the chance to write a bit myself now, I would like to also take the opportunity to thank “Nanci Nurse” for the box she sent me with Bath & Bodyworks products.

Nanci, I haven’t seen you on the blog lately, I am sure you are busy, but I didn’t want you to think that I didn’t receive the box with all your goodies. Thank you!

A special thank you also to The Bears and all the people who have my favorite candy.

While I am writing this, I have some Dutch music playing (rather loud) and sing along in between lines. Oh, I have some other exciting news. My mum is coming to cruise on September 22. I booked tickets for her and my Auntie a long time ago, but both ladies have had to visit the hospital a few times between them and now my mum is doing much better and she told me today that she is definitely coming to sail. Not sure about my Auntie yet. Let’s hope she will be OK. They have sailed together 3 times before and love being waited on and not having to clean up after themselves or having to think what to have for dinner every night (oh, and seeing John and myself of course…..)

I choose the last Turkey/Greece cruise for them and it will also be a bit cooler by then at daytime.

Not much else to report that John hasn’t already told you all.

I have hidden his bags of Sugar Free Jelly Beans while he is away….can’t take it anymore……I will get shares in Oust (Johnsons) soon…..sorry dear bloggers who have sent him these “treats.”

This will have to be it for now, it’s a busy sea day tomorrow so time for bed soon. Keep the comments and questions coming; don’t worry about John’s two fingers,  my 10 assist him where and when I can…..

And as my last note, I will attach a photo of myself running in Olympia, the reason for this is that I like to ask you all to spare a thought for the people in Greece (Athens and the surrounding areas) during all the wild fires at the moment. Let’s hope they catch those who have started these fires and let’s hope a wonderful town like Katakolon and a beautiful historical sight as Olympia will be spared……

Heidi in Olympia!

Good night!

Your friend,

Heidi

Good Afternoon and here we are again in beautiful Naples. Summer has not decided to take a vacation and hand over to Autumn yet as it was a very hot and sultry day with temperatures in the 90s again.We arrived as planned and as usual there was the normal wake up call from the bridge at 7 am telling me that the mechanical gangway provided by the Port Authority was “nota workinga,” said there in perfect Italian I might add. This meant a change to the operation and I quickly gathered the staff and the Shore Excursion team as we planned to use deck 0 for the 1,800 on tour as well as the rest of the guests. Anyway, by 7:20 am the plan was ready for the first tour to leave at 7:30 am and for the guests not on a tour to also leave.

Then………………..the phone rings ……………….”wea hava fixhed the gangwaya and youa nowa cana usa the decka threea gangwaya, doa nota usea decka 0″ …………………………….I said ” “S*!^A” and we changed everything back to normal.

On a more serious note I wanted you to see the official notice I received from the Greek Authorities regarding the recent fires. They are stating that everything is now open and that……..tell you what, rather than me tell you, have a read yourself.

official notice I received from the Greek Authorities

This cruise has broken a record and it is a good one………..we only have 31 missing bags which is half of the figure from last week, I wonder if this has something to do with the peak vacation period being over and now as we move into September maybe things will get even better.

OK, the engines are on and we are away. The next stop is the island of Rhodes with a sea day of course tomorrow. Oh, I just spoke to Frank C (blogger) who shipped 24 cans of diet root beer to Italy for me…………how fantastic and I just drank a can and of course not having had soda of any kind for so long the effects have transported me to the home for hounds. Heidi just said “I don’t know why I married you, if its not one end it’s the other with you”………..my dad taught me well.

One serious note. I have seen a few postings on the blog and on the message boards about a group that sailed on the Carnival Liberty that allegedly misbehaved. I do not know the details but I can assure you that inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated on our ships and I know a full investigation is underway to find out what happened.

We had a quite a sight this morning in the main theatre, the Victoriana Lounge. When Heidi arrived at 7 am to prepare everything she found a group of approx 20 guests from Hong Kong had let themselves in the lounge and were on the stage all performing…………..no, that’s not the right word………..I can’t think of the right word…………anyway…….doing Chai Tea, you know the one were you move your arms around a lot.

Anyway, Heidi asked if they were going to finish by 7:15 am as we needed the lounge. They did finish and we have now arranged for them to have an area on the ship to practice their Chai Tea everyday.

Here are today’s photos all featuring the volcano of Vesuvius at sunrise (Heidi wants the world to know she was up at 6:50 am) and just before Sunset and one of Naples taken from the bow.

Vesuvius at sunrise (Heidi wants the world to know she was up at 6:50 am)

Vesuvius at sunrise (Heidi wants the world to know she was up at 6:50 am)

Naples taken from the bow

Here are today’s letters from the In Their Own Words Section

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

On we go with the Q and A………….I am really behind today, so please may I ask your kind permission to answer just the ones with specific questions on today’s blog. I promise to reply to every comment again tomorrow but at this time I have 67 on my desk and I really need to catch up. Therefore, just today, I hope you will understand I will answer just the specific questions. As always, I thank you so very much for taking the time to post the comments, please do not stop as normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

The first questions are the remaining ones from We are Family…………I am three blogs behind………my two fingers really are not happy……………here we go then.

MAURO MOSCARDINO – I did indeed make your Supper Club reservation and you asked what I recommend. Now that is a hard question to answer as I don’t know your likes and dislikes. However, taking into consideration that you are hopefully like me someone who loves great food ……….here is my choice.
CRAB CAKES
FRENCH ONION SOUP
CAESAR SALAD
20 OZ PORTERHOUSE STEAK
WASABI MASHED POTATOES
SELECTION OF VEGETABLES
MUSHROOM SAUCE ON THE SIDE
TRIO OF CHOCOLATE DECADENCE
ESPRESSO
PETIT FOURS
2 ULTRA STRENGTH GAS X TABLETS
Bon Apetit.
LOIS GRABA SPOTTEDDICKFORJOHNSKI – I have no doubt that Customs have much better things to do than see if anyone is sending in old fashioned British Dessert, so yes please……….I deserve a treat. Thank you for thinking of me Lois and all the best.
SOUTHERN DREAMS – No need to thank me or for that matter the bloggers as all of us are united in wishing you health and happiness. You continue to be in our thoughts.
BARB FROM MINNESOTA – I did indeed listen to the CD and it was beautiful and inspirational………..many, many thanks. I passed your best wishes as requested to Demetru and Jose and they were very happy that you remembered them. I hope you have continuing happy memories of the cruise and maybe we can make new ones together soon. Hope the summer is still with you and all the best.
ESMEE K – Hello and many thanks for the lessons in Southern talking. All I need now is a recipe for grits and I am all set to go. Thank you for taking the time to write and I wish ya’ll the best.
LYNN AND MIKE SAGARA – It’s funny that you should mention this blog and all the comments about Costa Maya somehow finding there way to the Costa Maya people. I also think that’s a great idea and have asked Roger Blum to forward this to our Vice President of Caribbean Relations, Mr. Gordon Buck and he will forward them on to the terrific folks who need all the positive reinforcement they can get right now. Thank you for the suggestion and also for your support of the On Deck for the Cure Charity Walks.
BRYAN – You asked about the tour to the Nou Camp, the home of F.C. Barcelona. This tour is offered to all guests through the ship. It gives you unlimited access to the changing rooms, the stadium, the trophy room and a walk onto the pitch. It is a must for all football fans, the word “soccer” is not allowed. Thank you also for your kind words for Mr. Horner and you are correct, the alliance between the U.S.A. and the U.K. is very special. Wishing you and your family all the best.
MEGHAN E – Hello Meghan and thank you for slapping on a posting. For someone so young, you have been on a lot of cruises and we thank you for your continued support of Carnival. You asked about the Carnival Legend and at what ports they will be calling at. You are correct to say that Costa Maya is unfortunately in a devastated state and it will be some time before you are able to visit there again. Therefore, the Carnival Legend will be calling at Isla Roatan instead of Costa Maya. Luckily, Belize is OK and you will call there as planned. If you have any questions about Isla Roatan or the rest of your cruise, please let me know and I think, as your friends call you a Travel Agent, maybe you should consider being one.
KATHIE – I see you asked if I spoke to the young lad who fell at Mount Etna and whose parents wrote me the letter that I posted on a previous blog. As you will remember, he was pretty banged up and he was worried that everyone would laugh at his scars. I spoke to him on the Morning Show live and arranged for him to come to our Club O2 for teens that night where everyone made a big fuss of him. He ended up being a hero and it was great to see. Thank you for your concern and all the best.
LALA – Thank you for your wonderful posting and nobody deserves a vacation cruise more than your boyfriend who has been serving his country so proudly. I am sure you will have a wonderful time on your Christmas cruise and I am sure, like you, the sound of the flushing toilet will send him running out of the cabin looking for his lifejacket. Thank you for taking the time to post and to answer your question, yes, I am still enjoying writing the blog and will continue to do so as long as my friends like you keep reading.

We now move to some of the 43 questions and comments from the blog featuring the Carnival Ecstasy, again, I apologize that I do not have the time this evening to answer every comment………..please forgive me.

CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Hello Carol. You asked me who David the Drinks Ninja is in the child’s drawing. David is from Indonesia and is a black belt something rather and was talking to the young lad who is also studying karate, kun fu or something like that. He became a bit of a hero to the kid and therefore he drew a picture of him, which was fantastic. Thank you for all your kind comments, I am sorry I don’t have time to reply to them all but I would be especially grateful if you tell me what you think of my mum’s Chicken Curry. All the best.
MYRA BUSHNELL – Costa Maya is, as you know, non-operational and it looks like it will be for some time. You asked me which port the Carnival Glory will be sailing to instead. The answer is Progresso, which is another fantastic Mexican port. Have a look on our website http://johnheald.wordpress.com/wp-admin/www.carnival.com for all the tour information and if you have any questions, please let me know. We continue to think of the people of Costa Maya and I am sure it will return as a fabulous port of call one day soon. All the best, thanks for reading the blog thingy.
MONICA WINKLER – I just had to quickly say how much I laughed when I heard that you and your family use some of my “catchphrases” around the house, Heidi says I have started a cult. It will be great to see you again in October for your back-to-back cruise and may I ask that you leave me a note when you are on board and I will make sure your birthday wish here is a special one.
TERRI – Thank you for the English lesson and now, if I ever mess up my Heidi and I or Heidi and me sentences I want you to please correct me. I appreciate you taking the time for this posting, the only problem is, I am trying to explain it to Heidi and she said, “I already knew that,” and she is Dutch. I need to go back to school. Thanks Terri, see you soon.
JOHN AND SUSAN IN FRISCO – I have stolen your sign which is now hanging on my door. Many thanks.
BIG ED – Just a quick note to say I have more chance of getting a pretzel than an Aston Martin however either would be nice. I love writing the blog and the only reward I need is to know that people continue to appreciate it. Thank mate and thanks again for asking the bloggers to vote for me.
TOM AND JANE – I had no idea I was in the Carnival Currents magazine to answer your question so thank you for letting me know. Since the blog started I seem to have been interviewed and written about in a lot of press articles and it is hard to keep up with them all. I know that sounds blasé and I don’t mean it to but the last five months seems to have flown by. Anyway, thanks for the article and I my best to you and Mr Mean………..is he really that bad?
LFTTNSFCF – You asked if CZJ and AJ would be on the TA cruise …………..only if you dress up as one of them for Halloween. I can see you as AJ actually, we just need to put a bit of botox in your lips. What would Mrs. MTSFP say about that?
TIM KRIEBEL – Tim, you asked if I would be the Cruise Director on your Freedom 11/24/07 cruise and the answer is, I don’t know just yet. I have been out here 7 months already with only 1 day off and although it is my attention to try and be here I have to see how long I can do onboard before it effects my ability to be the best CD I can be. I promise to keep you updated and regardless I know you will have a great time onboard with my friends from Cruise Critic. All the best Sir.
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF – You asked about my Mum’s chicken curry recipe and yes Curry Powder is the same as Curry paste so you can indeed use that. Will you let me know how it turns out please? Welcome back and I hope you enjoy catching up on the blog thingies.
CRUISIN SUE – yes, the man eating the Pretzel was indeed Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman Micky Arison, the same Micky Arison you said you met a few years ago in Miami. My friend Marsha spotted him and asked him to pose for a photo which I am sure he has no idea is now on my little thingy.
See you soon Sue…….that’s hard to say.
BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – Your question, does Heidi like to dance caused me to smile because yes she does and I….well let’s just say my love of dancing is the same love I have for Fatima and her plastic tube. This of course leads to many disagreements and phrases such as “Oh John, be more romantic” and “everyone else is dancing, why can’t you?” I wish I could come on the Zydeco cruise, that would be a lot of fun but as yet, my schedule is unclear for next year. I hope the chicken curry works for you and next up will be the sticky toffee pudding and maybe my Mum’s famous “Nutty.” Hope all is well mate.
GURNSEYGUY – How I wish we could call at Gurnsey mate. That would be just smashing. I certainly will add it to my list of wishes the next time we discuss new ports of call. Now, your question was that are other CD’s tempted to write blogs. Personally, I think they should but it does take up a lot of time. However, it is really an excellent way of providing guests with inside information as well as answering questions and comments………………so yes,. I hope someone tries it soon. My best to you in Gurnsey mate and I hope one day you may see a Carnival Corporation ship in the harbour.

I will stop there. I promise tomorrows Q and A will as usual answer every comment.

Here is today’s interview featuring one more of our Cruise Directors Malcolm in the Middle as he is known aboard the soon to be sailing from San Juan (hello Nanette) Carnival Victory. Here he is.

Malcolm Burn – Acting Cruise Director

Malcolm Burn - Acting Cruise Director

Malcolm Burn - Acting Cruise Director

1. Please can you tell us about your career with Carnival so far? How did you start and when? I started with Carnival January 12, 2000 as a Social Host. I was an Executive Recruiter (Head Hunter) working for a retained firm in Tampa. It was the end of 1999 I wanted to start new for 2000, I could not take the 9 to 5 office hours anymore. I happened to be watching a Carnival Cruise Lines commercial, and an idea popped in my head. I sent in my resume, and then ventured out into the cruise industry to see what it would be like to work out on a cruise ship. I started with Carnival so I could travel, see the islands, and meet as many people as I could.

2. What ship are you currently on and what is its itinerary? At the end of my very first contract I brought out the Carnival Victory on her inaugural cruise. I am happy to say after all these years of working with Carnival and climbing up the ladder, I have found my way back to her and currently sail out of my home city New York. During the summer season the Carnival Victory sails from her normal Itinerary out of Miami, which is Eastern & Western (San Juan, Saint Thomas, Saint Maarten) & (Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Costa Maya). We set sail for New York at the end of May, with some stops on the way up. Sailing out of Miami with no guests, are first stop is Charleston for a 5 day cruise out of Charleston to (Nassau Bahamas & Freeport). We head back to Charleston, drop of those guests, and then head to Norfolk Virginia for 2 cruises. Our first cruise is a 6-day cruise from Norfolk to (Nassau Bahamas & Freeport), then returning for a 2-day cruise to nowhere. After two-day we head up to the great city of New York to begin our 4 & 5 days cruises to New England Canada. Our 4 day Itinerary is a cruise to Saint John with 2 sea days (New York, Sea Day, Saint John New Brunswick till 6 pm, and the final Sea Day) Our 5 day Itinerary is to Saint John, New Brunswick & Halifax, Nova Scotia ( New Scotland). (New York, Sea Day, Saint John till 4 pm, Halifax till 6 pm, Sea Day, New York). This 4 and 5 day will continue till the end of August, when September arrives we then being with our 7-day cruises on Sept 8. This 7-day cruise starts Saturday September 8, and heads to Saint John & Halifax with the additional ports of Boston and Portland. The Itinerary is as follows (New York, Boston till 9 pm, Portland till 6 pm, Saint John till 8 pm, Sea Day, Halifax till 6 pm, Sea Day). We continue this 7-day Itinerary out of New York till the Beginning of October and then head back down to Miami. We again stop at Norfolk & Charleston with the short Caribbean cruises before we head back to begin once again our Eastern & Western cruises.

3. Please can you pick two excursions from each port and tell us why you recommend them so much?

Miami Eastern –

San Juan – Bioluminescence Bay Kayak Tour – This is a tour not to be missed. The water has these bioluminescent organisms you have never seen before. One of the most interesting tours I have been on.

Night Horseback Adventure – Horseback riding at night is a completely different experience, and then the campfire and all is a great way to escape. It’s as if I was out camping for the night.

St. Maarten – Americas Cup Regatta – One of the best tours I have ever taken, you just jump in and start racing actual 12-meter race boats.

Rhino Rider – It’s very cool to jump into the 10-foot boats and head through the harbour to view luxury Yachts, then after an isolated lagoon to swim and snorkel.

St. Thomas Coral World – Amazing to see so much marine life up close.

Sea Blaster – The best and fastest speedboat I have ever been on, with lots of partying. Woo Hoo!

Miami Western –

Costa Maya – Kohunlich Mayan Ruins – What can I say! Ruins are the best to see.

Off Road Jeep – Great way to have an adventure for the day, I love jeep tours, especially with time to relax on the beach with activities.

Grand Cayman – Sea Trek Helmet Dive – The best way to have an adventure under water without being certified, lots of fish and coral.

Stingray City – I love swimming with the Stingrays, I never thought I would have the chance to swim with stingrays.

Ocho Rios – Chukka Cove Canopy Tour – I used to love sliding on the clothes line in New York, but this is awesome, being so high in the trees. The last one is especially the best, from the mountaintop, to the bottom of the valley!

Dolphin – This is one of the best tours, all celebrities have stopped at this location to swim with these Dolphins! It’s the best, an experience I will never forget.

Charleston – Norfolk Run

Nassau Catamaran Snorkel – I love to sea as much marine life as I can.

Discover Atlantis – This is the grandest hotel I have ever seen in my life. No wonder it’s the biggest rave around the world.

Freeport – Jeep Adventure – What can I say, I love jeep tours. It’s fewer crowds, and it’s like renting your own car with a guide provided to see the Island.

Freeport Island tour – This was very informative, and really enjoyed it. I really wanted to go out on the Dolphin tour, but it’s always sold out. So I ventured around the Island instead.

New York Run –

Saint John – Saint John Highlights – You see everything Saint John has to over, and the amazing reversing tides.

Costal Kayak & Lobster Bake – Love adventure, and love Lobster. Great exercise to

Halifax Back Road Hummer Adventure – One of the coolest tours I have been on. This tour is VERY exclusive and takes you to some great sites. I also have never seen what a Hummer could really do until now.

Peggy’s Cove – A great experience to really get out and see fishing villages, and lighthouses.

Horseback Adventure – Awesome tours, love riding.

Boston – Highlights – If you are ever unsure at what tour to take, highlight tours cover everything. It’s the best way to see Boston in the amount of time you have, especially when you want to venture out on your own after.

Historic Salem & Witch Museum – What can I say, I love to hear about the dark past side too!

Portland – Mt. Washington & The Cog Railway – This is a cool tour, I really enjoyed the great views on this tour.

Portland Highlights & Victoria Mansion – Great history and lots to see.

4. What are your favorite activities or events that you host and why? The Welcome Aboard – I love to get everyone all excited about the cruise. It’s the one show where you meet your crowd, and I’m always nervous. The Hairy chest is fun, people acting really wild and crazy. People are naturally funny. I love the Newlywed game for obvious reasons, people love to share everything. The debark talk is also fun; it’s a great way to have fun for a while and add comedy as well.

5. Fill in the blank please……………..People should sail on Carnival Victory because her ports are different from most of the Carnival ships, and New York is one of the best ports to sail from! Who wouldn’t want to see one of the hottest cities in the world? Starting your cruise by passing by the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Downtown Manhattan to begin an awesome cruise. Even out of the Caribbean cruises, very few Carnival Ships can enjoy the great Itinerary the Carnival Victory has.

6. What do you enjoy most about being a Cruise Director? I love to make people laugh. I love making a difference, and have learned so much from Musicians and Dancers and love being part of this team. Providing fun for the ship.

7. Share your favorite story with us that involve our guests and your job? Since I started with Carnival as a Social Host, I have met many guests on board. I have been with the company 7 years now, and at times I will walk around in any part of the states and my run into guests I have met. In airports and even in New York I hear Woo Hoo! Someone has found me!

8. List your three favorite ports you have visited? Aruba, Alaska, and Halifax

9. Name 3 ports you would really like to see that you have never been to? Venice, Barcelona, & Naples

10. Finally, if you could introduce on stage any star, alive or not who would it be and why? Charlie Chaplin – Hours of entertainment without a word being said.

WOO HOO!

Thank you mate and I am sure that he and the crew of the Carnival Victory will enjoy sailing from San Juan.

A few minutes ago I was answering a comment about all the interviews I have done and today was no exception. I am in the middle of completing an interview with a very esteemed reporter from the St. Petersburg Times, Mr. Bob Jenkins. He asked me a series of wonderful and challenging questions. I wanted to share a preview of one with you now.

QUESTION

I’m guessing a lot of your job is supervising the younger cruise staff; when they are being hired and trained, what personality traits and personal experiences do you look for? Can you recall any of the younger ones getting stage fright while leading an activity?

MY ANSWER

A wise man once taught me that a microphone should never change your personality and all it does it amplifies your voice. I have seen many young Entertainment Staff who are so talented when in a one on one situation but when they pick up the microphone their voice changes as does their personality and the false image they project is immediately visible. Therefore, I always look for someone who is simply themselves both on and off stage.

I remember a young man who had to introduce two very important people on stage on the Imagination. The room was full of press and the event was being shown live on all the Miami stations. The young man came out and said, please would you welcome ………..and then dried up, he completely forgot the name of the first person he was supposed to introduce but luckily he was able to make a joke of it while he reached in his pocket and found the names. It was very embarrassing.

Oh, by the way, the young man was me and I was introducing Mr. Micky Arison and the new coach of the Miami Heat basketball team……….Pat Riley………………thank goodness I was wearing brown pants.

I really had to think about that question as luckily I don’t seem to suffer from nerves before a show although I am always nervous afterwards in the hope that people enjoyed it.

Anyway, that time. Oh yes, I was nervous. I had never met Mr. Micky Arison personally before and here I was a young whipper-snapper introducing the most influential man in the industry. Then of course there was Coach Riley. Now, you have to understand that back then there was no satellite TV so the only basketball I had been exposed to was the Harlem Globetrotters (loved them by the way). However, I knew that this coach Pat Riley had joined the Heat team and that this was a big occasion………..and I messed it up. Afterwards, I was so mad at myself and I honestly thought that I was in for a “bollocking”……..a good telling off from someone but it never happened and my thoughts of packing my bags and flying home never materialized.

I have seen Micky Arison once or twice since then and he has never mentioned it, hopefully he has forgotten and hopefully if he does ever read the blog he won’t think “that’s right, he did do that” and send me to work as a pipe cleaner at Fatima’s Turkish Bath. As for Coach Riley, well obviously I have never seen him again, except when I went to one basketball game at the Heat’s stadium. I sat on a row so far back that I could touch the ceiling. Occasionally, the camera would zoom in on him and his image would be on the giant screen and every time it did I got a shiver down my spine as I remember saying ” Um, Mr Um…..ummm….Coach,…..ummmmmm.”

In 2006, the Miami Heat won the championship and since my days of nearly introducing Coach Riley I have become a big basketball fan. I now know what a “pick on a roll” is and that you get a foul against you if you go “traveling” and most importantly I have learnt that you must hate the N.Y. Knicks!………….I don’t really but I am told you must. One day I hope to see another game and wouldn’t it be fabulous to interview Coach Riley………I know it’s a cruise blog but…….well……..at least I could say sorry I forgot your name.

So, it is bedtime. Heidi just slapped on a blog. The welcome aboard show went well and I picked eight people and one of them, randomly was a blogger Jo Myerly. We had never met but I picked her anyway. The last words tonight though are from Chrissy.

From: Chrissy_____________
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2007 10:11 PM
To: FREEDOM —————–
Subject: Thank You
Dear John

It has been a very difficult few days and I still cannot believe I have lost my father so young. He was full of life and energy, life is so unfair sometimes. I wanted to ask that you put this e mail on your blog. I have not read the comments myself, I just can’t bring myself to do so. Brad told me though that so many people who I don’t know and have never met have said such kind things and I want you to say thank you to them for me please by putting this on the blog.

Brad and I were talking last night (we just cannot sleep) about the cruise and how far away it seems. Brad started talking about your Bedtime Tale and Mary and we both smiled just for a few moments. It is the Funeral tomorrow.

Thank you John for being such a kind and thoughtful man and your phone call yesterday meant the world to Brad and I am sorry I was too upset to talk to you.

Chrissy.

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

Good Morning again and the end of another cruise is upon us. I just completed the debarkation process and now we have the 3-hour gap between the debarkation and embarkation processes. During this time the ship’s company work so very hard. Every stateroom is cleaned from top to bottom, all bedding is replaced, public lounges are cleaned, stores are brought onboard and then, at around 11 am we start all over again…………………it’s a very busy day.

Normally, I try to go back to bed for 2 hours from 9:30am – 11:30am but this morning I have such a backlog of the dreaded paper work that I have decided to ignore the call of the mattress and spend a few minutes blogging………….go away !……….sorry, the mattress and duvet were shouting for me to come and rest my delicate frame upon them…………I am ignoring them.

Anyway, back to today and the start of a new cruise. The biggest change this cruise is the summer is over which means from 800 children we return to a count of 40 and from 3,500 guests we have 3,100. The change there is because obviously there are many less cabins that have third or fourth occupants in them, however, as always the ship is completely sold out.

We have 1,525 International guests again…………..no, I am not whining.

These guests are mostly from Russia, The Dominican Republic, Germany and a big group from Israel as well as the usual Brits and Aussies.

One of the obvious concerns are the continuing fires in Greece and although we do not expect it to effect our itinerary or our tours to the various sites etc, I did feel it prudent to have a letter handed out at embarkation which was approved by my friend Terry Thornton in our Miami office……………here it is.

August 29, 2007

Dear Carnival Guest:

Welcome to Rome. We want to thank you for choosing Carnival for your vacation.

We also want to provide you with some information about the wild fires that have occurred in areas near two of our ports of call on this cruise…Katakolon and Athens. We have been closely monitoring this situation and will continue to review it over the next several days.

At this point in time, we do not expect any disruption to our call in Athens. All of the great sites are available and our excursions are expected to operate as scheduled. In Katakolon, the fires came within a short distance of the archeological site of Olympia. The fires have now been extinguished and the area is undergoing a cleanup effort prior to re-opening this important visitor site. Local officials have advised us that they expect Olympia to be available for our call next Thursday.

Most importantly, we are looking forward to welcoming you aboard the spectacular new Carnival Freedom. My officers, staff and crew will do everything possible to provide you with a great cruise experience.

Sincerely,

Captain

The situation in Greece seems a little a better but there are still fires raging and we will, as stated in the letter, be keeping a very close eye on the situation.

Now, here are some beautiful photos of Voltare & San Gimignano taken yesterday from the Beautiful Tuscany Tour by our intrepid Entertainment Staff member and photographer Jamie.

1. A typical Tuscan house in San Gimignano

1. A typical Tuscan house in San Gimignano

2. The Village of Voltare

2. The Village of Voltare

3. The gorgeous Tuscan countryside

3. The gorgeous Tuscan countryside

4. San Gimignano

4. San Gimignano

Here are the letters from today’s “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

In Their Own Words

the first one is from a family who missed the ship in Naples but were lucky enough to get a ride out on the pilot boat…………….as for the last one………….well……..words are not necessary.

Let’s get on with some Q and A; I am so behind with this.

I do want to say however how wonderful it is that we have had so many heartfelt messages for Chrissy and Brad and also the positive messages of support for Southern Dreams as she begins her treatment. Everyone of you who have taken the time to write messages have shown what a close community of friends we are here on this humble blog thingy. Thank you all so very much on their behalf.

IT ALSO SEEMS THAT THE IDEA OF US PROMOTING THE CAUSE OF BREAST CANCER HAS BEEN MET WITH EXTREME ENTHUSIASM AND SUPPORT – HOW WONDERFUL THAT IS. THE T SHIRTS AND WRIST BANDS WILL BE HERE NEXT CRUISE AND WE WILL BEGIN OUR WALKS…………I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED ON THIS VERY IMPORTANT ACTIVITY BUT THANK YOU TO ALL WHO TOOK THE TIME TO WRITE IN WORDS OF SUPPORT.

No – Go away……..I will not heed your call………….sorry, the bed is trying to get me to rest my lily-white thighs upon the eiderdown.

Onwards and upwards we go starting with the reaming questions from the blog called We Are family and then onto ones from the blog Highlighting the Carnival Imagination.

JENNIFER HAMMOND – Hello Jennifer. It’s wonderful to hear from someone who has cruised with Carnival as many times as you have. I am not sure if the On Deck For The Cure walk will be still going next year on the Carnival Splendor but if we haven’t found a cure……..then we should keep going don’t you think? Please send my best to your family and of course to Flat Joey……………………………don’t ask.
KEVIN – I am sorry that the itinerary has been changed for your forthcoming Carnival Glory cruise and thank you for your understanding mate. Progresso has lots of great things to see and do. Here is a link to the great tours offered and my favorite nine before you ask) is the beach Buggy Break…….it is fantastic fun, almost like driving an Aston Martin. Here is the link thingy mate and all the best.
http://www.carnival.com/ShoreExcursionsSearchResults.aspx?region=CW&portcode=PGR&portname=Progreso%2c+Yucatan%2c+Mexico
RICK D – Thanks for the update on the Moons and I will make sure the correct information is given to the guests. I really appreciate this as I would have fallen for the hoax ………If I had told the passengers that Mars would pass behind the moon and then realized it was a hoax, it would not have been Mars I would be worried about it would have been the kick up the Uranus I would have received………………..so cheers mate I owe you one.
TERRI 910 – First of all I live with a blonde so I am used to “blonde moments” as you described yourself having. Anyway, you asked about the 2009 season in Europe and if anything has been confirmed yet as to what Carnival ships will be sailing there. The answer is NO so far and I have asked PA007 to keep his/her ears wide open and he/she will let me know as soon as anything breaks….the news that is ….not me after eating sugar free jellybeans. I would however bet my brand new Aston Martin that you will see the Carnival smoke stack in Europe in 2009………….however as I do not have a brand new Aston Martin or will I ever have one………that’s not such a bad bet to make. Seriously, I would be very, very surprised if Carnival is not here in Europe for some time to come and therefore I hope you get a chance to experience a European carnival cruise. All the best.
NANETTE – Thanks Nanni (my new name for you) for your concerns about Greece. At the time of writing it seems things are getting a little better although it has come too late for so many. Thank you for your compassion and as always a grande hugo for you from mia wifeo and meo.
LFTTNSFCAF – .Thanks mate…….you speak for us all.
INMN253 – A brilliant posting, short but Oh, straight to the point ………please slap on a post more often and my best to you and your husband.
JOHN AND SUSAN IN FRISCO – Your words are oh so true and of course with the passing of Heidi’s precious Pop at such a young age, words we both know the meaning of so well. I call my Mum and dad twice a day everyday and family…….well there is nothing, nothing more important. As for a ship designed by the artist Peter Max………very interesting idea! It certainly would be ummmmmm….different. Thanks again for the sincere words and I, like you, hope we get to meet in person one day soon.
LOIS BRAGABREWSKI – Thank you! Your words are uplifting and obviously from the heart.
THE BEARS, BARB AND CARL – Thank you for all the fantastic comments you slapped on today, especially for Chrissy and her family as well of course for our good friend Southern Dreams. Once again it shows how special you both are. Thank you for sending me some jet pack fuel, you are too kind and it is needed as one of my tanks is half-full again. As requested, here is my Mum’s recipe for home made Spotted Dick……..you need custard with this.
Ingredients
Serves 4
225g (8 oz) plain flour, plus extra for sprinkling
15g (1/2 oz) baking powder
a pinch of salt
115g (4 oz) chopped beef suet
150ml (5 fl oz) water
115g ( 4 oz ) currants
55g (2 oz) raisins
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
HOW TO MAKE IT
To make the basic suet pastry, sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together, then rub in the finely chopped suet. Add the water and mix to a dough. Roll out to a rectangle 25 x 15cm (10 x 6 in) and 1cm (1/2 in) thick. Sprinkle with currants and raisins, leaving a border of 1cm (1/2 in) round all sides. Press the fruit in and sprinkle with lemon rind. Paint the borders with water.
Turn the two short sides in and seal. Roll up from a long side carefully, to keep all the fruit in. Seal when rolled up. Take a clean tea towel and rinse in boiling water. Sprinkle with flour and shake off the excess. Lay the roll on top of the cloth, fold the cloth over, and fix at the ends with string. Steam the cloth-wrapped roll for 1 1/2 hours. Take out, unwrap, cut into slices and serve with custard or jam sauce.
MESSAGE FROM MUM – This is quite a difficult one, finding a steamer that will hold the pudding roll. Adaptation is the key. You could put the pud on a rack in a roasting tray full of water, then cover it with foil. Bring up to the boil then steam in the oven at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for about 2 hours. Top up the water occasionally. Don’t give up. If none of these work, bake the pud at the above oven temperature, but not in the cloth, brushed with egg wash, for about 1 1/4 hours.
Thanks Mum for taking the time to type all this out……..actually Dad did the typing I think. Anyway, look out for Mum’s recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding coming soon…………..all things I can’t have………………bugger!
KAREN R – Thank you Karen for you kind words of sympathy.
POET LAUREATE – A ripened pear…………brilliant. That was one of your best and one Heidi laughed her socks off at………thanks! You are getting too good at this now, please don’t stop.
MAX AND LEX FROM AUSTRALIA – Goodness me, a letter from Down Under, that’s wonderful and congratulations on booking back to back cruises on the Carnival Splendor where yes, I will be the Cruise Director. Can I also say sorry in advance that England beat you in the Rugby but we won’t talk about cricket! See you next year for what will be a fascinating and fun cruise experience.
SUSAN B – Hello and my best to you and the now famous Mr. Cheap. You asked if Carnival has ever done a “kids go free cruise” and although I am not certain I am pretty sure that we have had offers where the third and fourth people in the cabin go for free or at a reduced rate. Now, may I suggest to Mr. Cheap that he calls a travel agent or Carnival Vacation Planner to discover all the latest offers and let’s see if we can make magic and get him to open his wallet. You asked if you can do the Breast Cancer charity walk from your wheelchair. …………..tell you what, get Mr. Cheap to buy you a cruise and I will push you round the track myself……..and if I eat some sugar free jelly beans beforehand you will go faster than ever before. Have your daughter send me her questions 2 at a time then I will be sure to give them my undivided attention. Until then, my best to you and all the cheapos 🙂 Please write soon.
MEDCRUISER – As you will have seen from my comments above, the fires in Greece are still burning but so far there has been no damage to the relics at Olympia or to village of Katakolon. We are looking closely at the situation and of course we will see what happens and act accordingly. Thank you for mentioning this and for your thoughts of kindness for the Greek people.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – As always it’s great to hear from our “regulars ” and that of course means my good friend Carol. Thank you for asking about the tea, I am fine for PG Tips (monkey tea) and Heidi has now started drinking this Green tea that smells like burnt broccoli….yuk. I did check on this PBS show on Costa Cruises that you mentioned and it seems it was very popular. I have never seen it and someone is hopefully going to send me a copy of the show. There have been some great documentaries filmed on ships over the years, the most famous one of all of course was called All At Sea……………..don’t ask !
I am very interested to hear from your neighbor as to why she is reluctant to taste the delights of a Carnival cruise so please do let me know. Now, it is time to cover up your computer because as you like Puns so much here is one for you…….no spitting over the computer now.
There were two prawns, James and Christian, swimming along the bottom of the ocean. James accidentally rubs up against an old lantern and whoosh, a genie appears and grants James two wishes.
After a moment’s thought James decides that he wants to become a shark so as to gain the respect of all the creatures of the sea. Whoosh, James becomes a shark and swims off.
Two weeks later James is upset. All of his old friends are now afraid of him and his life is miserable. He decides to use his second wish, and he wishes to be a prawn once again. Whoosh…. Now a prawn once more, James swims away to look for his mate Christian.
When he arrives at Christian’s house he knocks on the door and shouts out for Christian. “Go away”, says Christian, “you’re a shark and you’ll just eat me”.
“No I won’t”, shouts James, “I’m a prawn again, Christian.”
All the best Carol.
DEB ROWE – Welcome to Venice where I see you have noticed a black Aston Martin on the pier and asked is it mine…….well the answer is yes………it is mine so could you do me a favor and just ask someone to move it from the pier and drive it to the U.K. for me………………I wish it was mine and I am still hoping that when I a am home one of the bloggers will have decided that instead of sending their kids to college that they will use the money set a side to educate their kids to buy me dream car………..even lease me one for 2 months, I really am not fussy. So Deb, thanks for the thought but if you want to see my car look at the Nissan Micra next to the Aston, that’s mine :(. Have fun in Venice and see you soon.
IVANA – The Walk for the Cure program will indeed be on the Carnival Valor Ivana and thank you for showing an interest in this special cause. Thank you also for your lovely words of compassion for Brad and Chrissy. May I also say a big thank you for saying hello to all the Cunard cruisers who are now reading this, you are very kind to welcome them and I am sure they appreciate it very much. My best regards to you and the family.
THE BEARS, CARL AND BARB – No worries Carl and Barb, I was completely fooled by the e-mail about Mars as well. Reminds me of the time my friend Alan Adkins sent a Valentine’s Day card to me from a “mystery girl” that said she really liked me and to meet her outside a restaurant at 8 pm. I arrived and waited for 15 minutes but no girl, I then noticed another man standing outside the same restaurant and we got chatting as I waited. After a few minutes he told me he had received a Valentine’s card from a “mysterious man” and was there to meet him……..I said “Oh, that’s nice” and then pretended I had forgotten something in the car and ran away, very quickly……………turns out this “man “worked with Alan and he thought it would be nice if he hooked us up…………. what a complete B%$#^&*.
So, no worries and thank you for all you do for Heidi and I.
ADIAS.ANGEL – Thank you………..those were wonderful words.
BIG ED – It is interesting that Cunard’s e mail system sent the number of slaps sky high and I think Roberto and his colleagues are now looking at doing the same………..Roberto, is this correct? How are you mate. I was thinking of you yesterday as I was making sure the extra large sizes of the Walk for a Cure shirts were ordered. My best to you and Mrs. Big Ed, I hope she will be able to handle your fame, have you thought about hiring bodyguards, maybe some ex Navy Seals?
BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – Please make sure you post your cabin number, if not remind me a few days before you sail mate. Glad you liked the scones; did you try the chicken curry? Food, glorious food………again.
HOLLIE M – I am truly happy to discover that you love the blog thingy so much and I was happy to make your supper club reservation for you. It sounds to me as though your recent Carnival cruise was one full of fun and adventure. Thank you mostly for mentioning the crew. It does seem that in all walks of life there are people who feel they have the divine right to treat people in the service industry with such disrespect. It is a very small minority but as you witnessed and as I see each and every week, it does happen. Thank you then for taking the time to praise a ship’s company whom I am very proud to work alongside. I hope you cruise again with us soon and until then please keep reading the blog thingy.
MEDCRUISER – I agree, having taken the tour to Lerici I know exactly why you think it is so smashing. We look forward to saying “welcome home” to you again soon.
JILLIAN – How nice of you to think of one of our crewmembers here on the Carnival Freedom. Ike is part of the Music Unlimited band here and of course I will be happy to send the jar of Zucchini relish for him. At the side of the blog thingy is my address so just send it to me and I will promise not to eat it before it gets to him. Thank you for reading the blog thingy and let me know if I can help further.
LISA AND ELAINE – And thank you for your kind words and congratulations on surviving as you did the N – Stage Breast cancer. I am sure your words of hope and joy will mean so much to Southern Dreams and everyone who knows someone who is or will be going through what you had to. Thank you for being such a special person.
TIMONEER – Thank you for supporting the On The Deck for the Cure program and we are all very excited to start this here on the Carnival Freedom. May I wish continued health and happiness to your lovely wife and I am sure she understands the importance of what this program is all about. I hope you continue to read the blog thingy and I send my best to you both.
SARGE CHARLIE – Charlie, please know that we are all thinking about your wife and we know that she will beat this and before long you will be sailing away with us again. Our continuing thoughts and prayers are with you.
GC – First of all I am sorry that my review of the Queen Victoria has resulted in your wife demanding a suite on said ship. Your Basil Fawlty comment was priceless and as you have booked so many cruises may I add one more “a satisfied customer …we should have you stuffed.” The Queen Victoria will I am sure provide you and Cybil with an unforgettable cruise and I also look forward to seeing you on the Carnival Splendor, after all, this is a cruise ship, not the Burma Railway 🙂 All the best and please keep sending me your favorite FT quotes.
DWA 76 – Once again David, it is so wonderful that you and so many people have taken their time to write messages of support to Chrissy and Brad and Southern Dreams. We did in fact hit 600,000 on Monday and I continue to be shocked as to the popularity of my daily offering of waffle. I am glad you are enjoying the photos of Heidi, you have no idea the vetting procedure that goes into what I am and am not allowed to slap onto the blog when it comes to her indoors ( Heidi )…………one false step, and that’s me in the dog house. We both send our best to you and everyone down in the land of the Ewing’s.

Now we move onto some comments and questions from the blog about the Carnival Imagination.

CAROL SCHOENBERGER – I looked up the word Chutzpah as you suggested and it does indeed describe the wonderful Mrs. M who shared our lunch table in Barcelona…………………I guess the word audacity does come into play. My concern Carol is that as of today, I have been hard at work for seven months with only one and a half days off the ship and one day I may just snap and someone will be wearing a Spanish Omelet as a hat!………………..hopefully, I will see that day coming long before and will take a vacation. George Solano was and still is a comedian and you probably do remember him as a fly on entertainer. I am so glad you enjoyed the story about John Horner who once home has promised to start reading the blog……..I told him there may be one or two comments about him. Thank Carol for another wonderful posting ……….have a great day and write soon please.
GREG BALDASARRI – And I was right, John, if you are reading this you touched a lot of hearts by having such a positive and fun outlook on life when you have the right to be mad at the world. Greg, thank you for your kind words and like you I was in awe of John and after the depressing afternoon I had with Mrs. at the Tapas bar. Hope we are going to see each other soon so I can thank you in person for your inspirational words. Cheers mate.
POET LAUREATE – I wish I had your skills, actually, I wish I had you with me when Mrs. M sat down, a quick burst of poetry and they would have been long gone. Its time to write a poem about Alan Adkins and his inability as a teen to have women find him attractive…………I commission another poem. You are the BEST……….keep them coming please.
DWA 76 – Good Afternoon to you as well. Thank you for saluting Mr. Horner. I hope you are correct and that the dollar will indeed become stronger, although I promise you wild horses could not drag me into Fatima’s den of despair. Let’s see what happens in Greece this week, we are taking a real careful look at the situation. Hope to hear from you soon and the best from us both.
RANDALL PONIK – First of all, I have met rude people from all over the world, not just America. In fact, I think I met Mrs. M’s British cousins this week. Mr. and Mrs. G had found much joy in telling me that I was not a “classy” Cruise Director as they had encountered on Cunard and Celebrity. Rudeness therefore is an international problem. Now, I want to say thank you for your comments that you found so much of what you enjoy about Holland America on your recent cruise on the Carnival Liberty. We are very proud at the Carnival family to have sisters as Holland America and Princess and yes, you are correct, Carnival certainly has helped upgrade some elements of their cruise experience. However, I do believe that Mrs. M is the sort of person who will be found on her next Holland America cruise complaining that the food, cabin, entertainment and everything else is better on Carnival. She will however not be saying that about the Cruise Director as I doubt I am on her Christmas Card List.
Thank you for the wonderful posting and wherever you cruise next, I wish you and Marta smooth seas and a brilliant vacation.
KATHY KROLL – Good luck with getting the business class fares which seemed to be, as you said, very high at the moment. I am sure if you were to board the Queen Victoria those many years of dancing would magically return and the magic that the Queens Room provides will have all eyes on you as you grace the dance floor once again. Great to hear from you as always and our best to Lee Paul.
KEVIN AND HEIDI AND BETH – Hello you three. Did you see the link thing I put above in this blog with all the tour descriptions about Progreso? The Mayan Ruins are excellent and I promise that you will also enjoy the Beach Buggy Tour of which I am very fond of. I have let Wee Jimmy know you are coming and except some Scottish hospitality………….which basically means, you are paying. Have fun you three.
NANATTE – Hello Nani. Sometimes yes, they do get me down, it’s OK on the ship but when you are trying to have lunch and people think that they can just interrupt you without care or consideration, well, sometimes that is hard to swallow. Next time you sail I will spoil you again. Mucho huggos for youo.
WINE WANDERER – I love you screen name. Let me answer your question about the May 9 call in Livorno. You asked if we are running the full Florence tours and indeed we are. Although the back on board time says 7 pm, we will of course not leave until all the tours return. So, Beautiful and Essence of Tuscany will run as normal. May I also inform you of the brilliant Wines of Tuscany Tour which judging by your screen name, you will truly enjoy.
SOUTHERN DREAMS – You are an inspiration to us all and if you want to bring your radiation machine with you, go right ahead. Have you seen the thoughts of everyone? If positive thinking is indeed helpful you have nothing to worry about and Heidi and I will see you soon.
LAUREN – The webcam should be working, please let me know if you are having problems still.
LINDA THE MOUSE – We haven’t typed your name in for a bit and I am very very very very excited that you have found some sugar-free products which you are sending me. This is really so very kind. It was indeed so sad to see Costa Maya and you, like so many people have such happy memories. Progreso is an excellent replacement port and I am sure everyone will enjoy their time there. It’s great to hear from you again and my best to you and all the other mice.
LV2CRUISE – The crew doesn’t speak English comment as spat by Mrs. M is actually one that I have heard every now and then and as you will remember from a previous blog, one particular guest from North Carolina was unsure of the language I was speaking. I have spoken to people who work for other lines and it seems that this comment is one that is not reserved just for Carnival Cruise Lines. However, the majority are like you, people who love to talk to the crew which in turn makes their day. Heidi and I say goodnight to you …………….in perfect English, well, mine is anyway…
KATHIE – What wonderful words and if laughter is a cure for Southern Dreams then I will give her as much medicine as I can each and every day. The loss of Costa Maya is a big blow to the Western Caribbean and we all hope that they will bounce back very soon. Thank you again for everything and for reading the blog as much as you do.
SHERIFF ROSCOE P. COLTRANE – Where have you been mate? I was getting worried about you. It was very funny to read that your cells are smaller than our smallest cabin. I wish you could have arrested Mrs. M on charges of ruining a good Spanish omelet and her husband has, I am sorry to say, probably had the right to remain silent most of his married life. I hope you are staying safe and we are all thinking about you.
CRUISINSUE – Heidi and I were sorry to read about your father. Please treasure every moment you have with him. We will see you in 38 days and I am sure you and your in laws will have so much fun. If you want to book a Supper Club you can either complete the form on the side of this blog thingy or just send me the day, time and how many people it is for and I will make the booking for you. Heidi sends her best back to you as do I.
MAURO MOSCARDINO – I did get your Supper Club reservations and they are confirmed. Each cruise I encounter thousands of guests and less than one percent are like Mrs. M. However, I am like they are moths to my flame. I seem to attract them all. I am often left wondering if they spend their entire lives like that. If so, I feel truly sorry for them. We will see you in October and until then, please enjoy the blog.
DONALD BORST – You asked about the Carnival Splendor’s Baltic Season in 2009. This has not been confirmed and as soon as anything is, I will keep you all informed via the blog. Thanks mate.
LINDA HERNACKI – Linda, as always, thank you for being by my side through the good times and the bad times of this blog thingy. Luckily, later that night I met John Horner and he reminded me how much I love my job. So, Mike has yet to see Paris Hilton. Maybe he should look by the bar…… Thank you again and we wish you continued fun and happiness.
SHARON TWEE – Just a quick note to say thank you for your kind words for Southern Dreams, I know she will really appreciate it.

I AM GOING TO STOP THERE

It is nearly time for my Welcome Aboard Talk. I will continue with a comment from Karen R tomorrow.

We have nearly covered the whole fleet with Cruise Director interviews and we just have three or four to go. Today, we feature the good ship Carnival Elation and my mate from Down Under….. Stuart Dunn.

Stuart Dunn

Stuart Dunn

Stuart Dunn

1. Please can you tell us about your career with Carnival so far? How did you start and when? In 2001 my career started in the spa as a fitness trainer onboard the Carnival Elation. I loved it as I had taught fitness and aerobics for many years and the guests would overcrowd my kickboxing classes and the fitness room turned into a sauna itself. Many of the guests were not regulars at the gym or at fitness classes, so I hope they caught the bug to exercise when they got home. I watched the Social Hosts interacting with guests on a much larger scale and from there I wanted to become a member of the entertainment team as Social Host. One thing leads to another and since 2004 I have been Cruise Director.

2. What ship are you currently on and what is its itinerary? Funnily enough 6 years later I am back onboard the Elation at the moment as Cruise Director. The itinerary is very exciting as it is brand new for a Carnival ship and sails out of San Diego, doing four & five-day cruises. From San Diego we visit Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada Mexico on a five-day voyage and Cabo San Lucas on a four-day.

3. Please can you pick two excursions from each port and tell us why you recommend them so much? My favorites in Cabo have to be the ATV’s on the beach. I love adventure sports and this is an opportunity to do something that you normally don’t have the chance to do. It’s fast, exciting and very safe. Many guests thank me for the suggestion as they have a great time. My other favorite is the Todos Santos Nature History & Arts tour. A town established on a desert oasis that has attracted many artists which have their works on display in one of the several galleries there. It is the most beautiful town that is authentic and has not been hit by the tourism boom. I certainly recommend that our guests discover the beauty of Todos Santos.

While in Ensenada the must see is the La Bufadora. A natural ocean blowhole that is absolutely spectacular. Ensenada is also one of the best wine producing regions of Mexico so the Wine Country tour is a must. I like wine.

4.What are your favorite activities or events that you host and why? One of the highlights onboard my ship’s is without a doubt the Deck Party on the open deck under the stars. It not only is a great chance for our guests to dance, it almost becomes an aerobic workout. It is crazy, high energy, very competitive and the closest thing that takes me back to my days as a fitness trainer. When we finish there are literally hundreds of people glowing with huge smiles. It certainly is one of the biggest events and highlights of the cruise.
My next favorite activity is horseracing. It attracts hundreds of people, is very loud and lots of fun for the whole family. The guests name the horses each cruise and almost always give me interesting names and phrases which I end up screaming down the microphone. Lately a returned favorite is “Hoof Hearted.” Thank you to the lady who always suggests that name each cruise.

5. Fill in the blank please……………..People should sail on the Elation because……………………………..??????????? People should sail on the Elation because of many reasons. Our team is driven to give our guests lots of high-energy fun. We have a wonderful itinerary, the friendliest team onboard, incredible live music and unexpected crazy antics always catching our guests off guard. They may even get the chance to meet the “1976 King of Rollerdisco, Roland Rollerderby”

6. What do you enjoy most about being a Cruise Director? The responsibility of giving our guests a great cruise vacation through our own creativity. I get to meet many of our guests early in the cruise and I see them again as they walk off the gangway when it’s all over, utterly exhausted, to me is very satisfying as I have kept them up and involved because they were afraid of missing something exciting. Also the fact that I have the chance to inspire someone to step out of their comfort zone and do something they normally wouldn’t do is really rewarding.

7. Share your favorite story with us that involve our guests and your job? During the Welcome Aboard Show a couple of years ago, I met a young gentleman named Barry. He told me, and the audience that he was a marine and just returned from Iraq. The crowd exploded with applause so I handed him the mic, dropped all the lights bar a spotlight on him and then the band played a song. He ran onto the stage and sang the song as best he could for the whole crowd without hesitation to the screams of the crowd of almost 1,400. Barry approached me the next day to thank me as he was actually traveling alone, for the next 7 days Barry was a star to all our guests and was always in a circle of new friends whenever I saw him around. At the end of the week he came to me, gave me a hug and said that he never expected such a moment would ever come to him. It was really cool.

8. List your three favorite ports you have visited? Cabo San Lucas for its beauty. Acapulco for its hustle and bustle which I sometimes enjoy and Belize for its reefs and jungle.

9. Name 3 ports you would really like to see that you have never been to? Three ports that I would like to go would be any port I have never been to before. Europe, Hawaii and Alaskan ports are certainly on top of my list.

10. Finally, if you could introduce on stage any star, alive or not who would it be and why? Actually there would be two people. Australia’s Paul Hogan from the Crocodile Dundee movies. He had his own show back in the 80’s and it was hysterical. It was very Australian, very original and very politically incorrect.

The other would be a star I mentioned earlier, Roland Rollerderby. He ruled the roller disco scene back in 1976. He produced and starred in his own range of fitness betamax cassettes, and was the author of the best seller “How to maintain the 46 inch waist.” He still rollerskates, still wears the tight gold spandex suit and still has the ladies envious of his oversized shapely buttocks. He sometimes makes an appearance when I take the “night off” however, like Superman and Clark Kent, we never seem to be seen together in the same place at the same time…….

Thank you Stuart and congratulations on finding your niche in life. Both Stuart and I have lots in common including both being fitness fanatics.

Off to my welcome aboard talk………………………..back soon

OK, I am back.

Well you can tell the difference in the crowd already. The families have gone and we have a slightly older crowd now and very few children…………….it is amazing the difference in just one cruise. As expected everyone seemed concerned about the fires in Greece but the letter we printed really helped and I also reemphasized to the 1,500 people in the lounge that we would never put our guests in harms way……………..everyone applauded.

I have one regret from last cruise and that can be said for virtually every cruise and that is I just do not have the time to spend quality minutes with the bloggers who are cruising. This last week the wonderful Rosenberg family, Shelly P, Essexman and Sewing Nut all asked me to dinner and for tea ……………..I did not have the time and I hope they will forgive me. In a way, that is why I am so looking forward to the Bloggers Cruise where another CD will handle the day-to-day running of the ship leaving me unlimited time to meet, great and enjoy new friendships with bloggers

Oh yes, I nearly managed a whole cruise without being in the doghouse until last night. I had decided to take a bath (please do not visualize that one otherwise you will need immediate medical help) and had picked up one of Heidi’s gossip magazines. So there I am, sitting ………..well……………wedged in the bath when I came across a photo of Catherine Zeta Jones and boy…..did she look stunning. As I lay there my body emerged in the water …………. Well ……….some of it anyway……….I started thinking that CZJ really would make a wonderful Godmother especially as Angelina is out of the picture. I tried to sit up in the bath and as I did so I dropped the magazine in the bath………..it was soaking wet and ruined………….oh well I thought it is only a magazine.

WRONG………………I shouted to Heidi to come and get it and when she saw what I had done……..well………you would have thought I had been found sneaking out of CZJ’s bedroom at 3 am wearing only a smile……………Heidi was upset, something about wanting to read an article about someone famous woman and a new bag or a Spice Girl had a new show or something……….I tried to say that me dropping Hello! Weekly in the water was no big thing but that just mad things worse. …………………all is well now and I have replaced the magazine with something called OK! Magazine and Heidi can once again relax and read about who is doing what to whom and why and what they are wearing why they are doing it

Talking of baths

So, another cruise begins and it is strange to think we only have five left before our trans-Atlantic crossing. I do not think I will disembark the ship this week in Istanbul. I have a nasty feeling that Fatima will have read my blog and will be waiting for me with an extra long piece of tubing and a cold bucket of water ready to evacuate my Grand Bazaar………….I am staying onboard, locking the door.

I hope you enjoyed both of today’s blogs.

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

Good Morning.Another cruise has ended and here I am at 5:20 am getting ready to disembark 3,500 guests.

Last week I was privileged to tour the Queen Victoria and the blog that followed was sent to Cunard past cruisers, which was marvelous for Cunard to do. The result was that I received many comments of congratulations from loyal Cunard fans……and one correcting my grammar which was also appreciated…………..it really was.

So, I thought that as we had the attention of the Cunarders that they would appreciate the following interview with a very special gentlemen who is at the helm of the one and only Queen Mary 2. Therefore, let’s enter the world of Commodore Warner.

Commodore Warner

1. Commodore Warner, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. I wonder if we can start by asking you about your life so far at sea. What led you to where you are now?

A lifetime friendship with the sea was cultivated at Sandsend near Whitby on the north east coast of England, where I spent the summer holidays sailing and fishing with my father.

At sixteen I entered the Warsash School of Navigation at the University of Southampton.  Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth would frequently sail past the college as they made their way up Southampton Water into the port and it was these ships which gave me the inspiration to one day command a Cunard trans-Atlantic liner.

In 1965 Cunard Line would only consider employing navigating officers who had attained a Master’s Certificate. I would be twenty-five years old by the time this had been achieved. The alternative was to join P&O, which was the other great passenger shipping company of the day. I signed indentures and commenced a four-year cadetship with them on 1 January 1966. P&O had a large passenger fleet but an even larger fleet of cargo ships. My first voyage was from King George V dock in London to the Far East aboard “Somali,” a 7,000- gross-ton freighter.

Nearing the end of my cadetship in 1969, I joined my first passenger ship “Oriana,” and by the early seventies I was sailing as a Junior Deck Officer aboard the P&O ship “Iberia.” I was later to be appointed to the legendary P&O liner “Canberra,” where I also sailed as Deputy Captain in 1988.

P&O took over the British India Company (BI) in 1972 and I became one of the first P&O officers to serve on board “Uganda.” This ship specialized in educational cruising and carried up to 1,000 schoolchildren suitably partitioned from 400 first class passengers!

In 1974 P&O bought Princess Cruises and I sailed as First Officer aboard “Pacific Princess.” A lucrative contract was signed by the company to film the television show “Love Boat” aboard their ship. This series was so successful in the United States of America that it proved to be the catalyst for cruising as we know it today, but it failed to inspire the same amount of enthusiasm in the United Kingdom!

By 1984 I had been promoted to Chief Officer in “Royal Princess,” the new revolutionary cruise ship being built by P&O. This was the first large cruise ship ever constructed with all outside staterooms. About seventy percent of their cabins were designed with balconies and a whole new cruising trend had begun. Her Royal Highness Princess Diana was invited to name the ship. Her infectious personality made her the perfect Godmother for the ship and she kept in touch with the crew for the remainder of her life.

In 1994, I was appointed to my first command – the 20000 gross ton ship “Island Princess” – and since that time have commanded seven other passenger ships. I oversaw the building of “Dawn Princess”, “Golden Princess” and “Diamond Princess” and was designated the first Master of both “Golden Princess” and “Diamond Princess”, which at a 116 000 gross tons, are slightly smaller than “Queen Mary 2” (148,500 gross tons). I was appointed to Queen Mary 2 in the summer of 2005

2. The word Commodore is used at Cunard Line instead of Captain. Can you tell us something about this tradition?

Cunard Line has Captains just like every other shipping company.

The rank of Commodore means “the Senior Captain of the Fleet.” As Commodore one fulfils the same role as the Captain on board in that you are the Master of the ship.

3. So now you are Commodore of the incomparable Queen Mary 2 and you must be very proud. What is your daily life at sea like? Could you describe a typical (if one exists) day for you.

There is not really a typical day at sea for someone in my capacity. That is one of the exciting and challenging aspects of the profession – every day is different and I have to be prepared to work at any time be it day or night.

My primary responsibility is for the safe navigation of Queen Mary 2 and the well-being of all the passengers and crew on board. My position also requires me to oversee the health, environment, safety and security of the ship. The ship is managed by an Executive Committee of Senior Officers with the Commodore in overall charge and all heads of department reporting to him.

Queen Mary 2 has a hard working ships’ company and all are dedicated to providing the finest possible experience for our guests in every area of the ship during every moment of their day.

We do all we can to ensure that the crew are happy as they go about their duties. It is important to visit all the working areas on board, a round which I enjoy whenever the ship is at sea.

Dependent upon the ship’s itinerary, I often have to spend long periods on the Bridge particularly when we are in close proximity to the land, reduced visibility or heavy traffic. Handling the controls of Queen Mary 2 and taking the ship in and out of each port is one of the most rewarding parts of my position.

It is impossible to be Commodore without enjoying the many social functions. If they wish, every passenger has the opportunity to meet me at the Welcome Aboard Cocktail party. Whenever navigational duties allow, the Commodore’s table is an enjoyable end to the day. Different guests are invited on formal evenings and many lasting friendships have been made.

4. I am sure you have seen many changes during your time at sea. Is there one piece of equipment on the bridge that makes your job easier and is there anything you miss from the older ships?

Queen Mary 2 has four propellers at the stern of the ship, each one attached to a pod containing the electric propulsion motor. The forward two are fixed in the forward and aft direction but the after ones act as rudders to steer the ship and rotate through 360 degrees to assist in docking. When at sea, the propellers pull rather than push, giving greater efficiency and less cavitation around the propellers. They enable the ship to be driven at very low speeds and with much greater efficiency at high speeds (29.5 knots when at full speed)

There is a bridge viewing window for our guests who are always surprised that the ship’s wheel is barely six inches in diameter.  Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary had quite a lot more to shout about!

5. I know that being a Commodore for Cunard also involves a very hectic social schedule. I know personally that hosting a dinner table can sometimes be hard work if the guests are a bit shy. Do you enjoy the social aspects that come with your job and do you have any tricks or secrets you use to “break the ice?” Also, I remember reading about Commodore Sir James Charles who it is said would order extravagant dishes such as Wild Boar and whole suckling pigs at his table. Do you have a favorite dish that you enjoy each time and if so what is it.

The best icebreaker in the business is my wife Tina who frequently travels with my sons Tom and Charlie during school holidays. We host the table together whenever she travels.

The secret to hosting a table is to be completely normal from the moment you sit down, and the conversation rapidly starts to flow!

Specials for the Commodore are not required because Queen Mary 2 serves the finest cuisine afloat. The chateaubriand melts in your mouth – delicious!

6. Of course you must have had many proud moments in your career. Can you describe one or two of them?

Every Captain will probably tell you that his first command is both important and exciting because this is the position that you have strived for throughout your career.  That same tingle of excitement could be felt in taking out a brand new ship for the very first time from the shipyard and to feel the passion of the ship builders who were seeing the ship they had constructed put to sea for the first time. But for me the appointment to Queen Mary 2 was very special because it defined the goals I had set for myself all those years ago.

On a more personal level, I had the pleasure of meeting Princess Diana when she named “Royal Princess” in 1984 and then just two years later met my wife Tina aboard the very same ship.

8. Simple question, what is it about the Queen Mary that makes her so special.

Queen Mary 2 is an elegant Ocean Liner with fine lines, a very streamlined hull, a deep draft, and a long bow to handle every type of weather imaginable. Having said that I always try to find the smoothest route across the ocean and avoid the major depressions! Even in bad weather she is amazingly stable and the roll is dampened by 90% using two pairs of Rolls Royce fin stabilizers.

Her interior features are like no other ship. Because it was decided she would not use the Panama Canal, she is a very wide and long ship which allows exciting spaces for our guests. Wide and high alleyways run along decks two and three. Most public spaces are 15 feet high instead of 12 and two deck public rooms are 36 feet high.

In Illuminations we boast the first planetarium at sea which can also double as a lecture theatre and cinema. A trans-Atlantic crossing is more than just elegant transportation. We want our guests’ day to be such that they can chose between reading in our elegant 8,000-book library, or alternatively, it can be packed with interesting choices of activities and experiences.

The recently introduced Cunard Insights programmed offers something for everyone. We tend to offer guests more than just lectures and they are able to interact with the experts, many of the famous, in fields such as show business, exploration, oceanography, finance, history and sport.

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art presents workshops, lectures and performances, enabling the guests not only to watch the stars of tomorrow in person, but actually study the skills of acting with them.

The Cunard ConneXions conference centre features abundant space for conducting business at sea with more meeting facilities than any other ship.

The West End Stage is bought to full effect in the two tier Royal Court Theatre with dynamic musicals and celebrity entertainers.

Over 70% of staterooms have balconies and range from the Grand Duplex of 2,294 sq ft to a deluxe balcony stateroom of 284 sq ft

There is a feeling of space and luxury everywhere you walk!

9. Earlier this month, I visited the Queen Victoria and found myself feeling very patriotic and I started humming Rule Britannia. You must feel a huge sense of history every time you put on the Cunard uniform. What British traditions are there left onboard from the “old days” not only for the guests but for you and the officers?

The Ship’s Bell in the Grand Lobby is rung eight times at noon each day, followed by the Commodore’s noon broadcast.

Every Sunday at sea, in great Cunard tradition, I lead the interdenominational Christian church service and conclude it with that fine seaman’s hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save.”

Of the six nights on a trans-Atlantic, three are formal when the officers will wear black mess kit and if duties allow the seniors will host tables in the Britannia Restaurant.

During two evenings of cocktail parties all guests have the opportunity to meet the Commodore if they wish! The Senior Officers line up and are introduced to the guests.

Once a voyage the Senior Officers will host another cocktail party to which table companions and Platinum members of the Cunard World Club are invited (guests who have completed eight voyages or more)

I should explain that, being an ocean liner, we have guests who live in staterooms and take voyages or make crossings!

The ship is filled with memorabilia depicting past great liners and the famous that have traveled with us. Our guests can follow the Maritime Quest which relates in audio the history of the Company from Samuel Cunard’s first trans Atlantic with Britannia in 1840, through to the present day.

One of the amazing features of our ship is the Queens Ballroom. It is the largest dance floor at sea and provides big band dancing throughout the voyage. It’s very popular and very different from a cruise ship!

Back to hosting your table and my favorite question to ask Masters of vessels. If you could choose six dining companions from history to have at your table who would they be and why.

1. Captain James Cooke who grew up near Whitby in C18 and was one of the greatest seafarers and explorers who ever lived. He perhaps might have had a few tips!
2. Ursula Andress who was my pin up at school – what man can forget the day that she emerged from the sea in “Dr No”?
3. Tommy Cooper. The funniest man who ever lived.
4. Galileo Galilei. A great astronomer and scientist to add an intellectually intriguing side to the conversation.
5. President Ronald Reagan. So much more than a politician – his character was such we could probably enjoy dinner without talking politics.
6. Fred Trueman (Fiery Fred). A great Yorkshireman who was probably the finest fast bowler in English cricket. Always entertaining and sometimes controversial both on and off the field.
7. Co-host – My wife Tina!

I would like to thank Commodore Warner for taking time to answer those questions and allow us to go behind the scenes with him. I think it is obvious that the proud traditions of the Cunard Line can rest very easily on his shoulders.

I particularly found Commodore Warner’s dinner guest list fascinating as he included two of my own favorites in Tommy Cooper and Fred Trueman. Now, for those American bloggers Fred Trueman was a as the Commodore said a cricketer and I thought for a moment that I would try and explain the laws of cricket to you.

Cricket terminology can be confusing to those who are not avid followers of the sport, and just like all team sports, they have their own set of positions and terms that come along with the game. Below is a guide to some of the different terms you may hear that will help you better understand your first cricket game?

  • A bowler is much like a pitcher in baseball, delivering the ball (a hard ball that is approximately fist-sized) to the batsman. He also defends the wicket (goal) in front of which he stands.
  • A batsman stands with a bat (made of willow) at the wicket opposite the bowler, aiming at the ball with the bat. He attempts to hit the ball and move across the pitch to at least reach the creases, with the goal of reaching the opposite wicket to complete a run.
  • Fieldsmen are similar to the outfielders in baseball, with the job of chasing down the ball and returning it, with the intention of catching a batter and getting him “out.”
  • The pitch is the clay rectangle in the center of the field where most of the play occurs. The creases are lines across the pitch, which are used to determine if a delivery is fair.
  • Caught – when a fielder catches the ball without it first bouncing off the ground. This would occur after the batsman has hit the ball or it has come into contact with the batsman’s glove.
  • Bowled – the ball delivered by the bowler his the stump (wicket) and has dislodged at least one of the bails (the cross planks). The credit goes to the bowler for the play and batsman’s dismissal.
  • LBW (leg before wicket) – when the ball that was delivered hits the pad or the leg of the batsman and the umpire believes it would have hit the stump. This goes against the batsmen, and the bowler is credited with a dismissal.
  • Hit wicket – when the batsman knocks down a bail by accidentally hitting the stump while swinging or taking off for the first run. The bowler is again credited with a dismissal.
  • This is just a short list of terms used in a typical cricket game. However, when you think about a game that could last up to five days in some of its formats, obviously you’ll hear a lot more. At least, though, you won’t fall behind watching.

Are you asleep yet?

Seriously, cricket is a passion of mine as it is for Commodore Warner and maybe one day we will be able to watch  a game together and hopefully see someone bowl a maiden over or get caught in the gully by a googlie……….don’t ask.

Oh, as for Tommy Cooper, another guest at the Commodore’s table…………well he was as mentioned simply one of the funniest people in history. Here he is.

One of the greatest comedians of our country was born in Caerphilly in 1921. A genius who turned every trick into a disaster and who turned disaster into laughter. his one line gags were irresistibly funny…………here are some of his best.

My wife had a go at me last night. She said, “You’ll drive me to my grave.” I had the car out in thirty seconds.

So I went to the Doctor’s yesterday. He said, “What appears to be the problem?” I said, “I keep having this dream, night after night, beautiful girls rushing towards me and I keep pushing them away.” He said, “How can I help?” I said: “break my arms.”

A woman tells her doctor, ‘I’ve got a bad back.’
The doctor says, ‘It’s old age.’
The woman says, ‘I want a second opinion.’
The doctor says: ‘Okay – you’re ugly as well.’

I’m on a whiskey diet. I’ve lost three days already

I got home from work and the wife said – I’m very sorry dear, but the cat’s eaten your dinner’. I said ‘Don’t worry – I’ll get you a new cat’.

On April 15, 1984, Tommy Cooper collapsed from a massive heart attack in front of millions of television viewers, midway through his act, on the popular British Television variety show, Live From Her Majesty’s. Most of the audience thought it was part of his act and were laughing, until it became apparent that he was seriously ill and it was later announced during the show that he had indeed passed away………………his friends all said that this was how he would have wanted it.

What a superb dinner table Commodore Warner choose………….here they are.

TOMMY COOPER
Tommy Cooper

FRED TRUEMAN
FRED TRUEMAN

URSULA ANDRES
URSULA ANDRES

GALILEO
GALILEO

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN

CAPTAIN JAMES COOKE
CAPTAIN JAMES COOKE

MRS. TINA WARNER with sons Tom and Charlie
MRS. TINA WARNER with sons Tom and Charlie

So, we have covered the greatest game in the world, one of the funniest and most unique British entertainers of all time and of course a view from the bridge of the Queen Mary 2 provided by Commodore Warner.

I am therefore feeling, very patriotic……………….I feel like singing.

1
When Britain first, at Heaven’s command
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sung this strain:
“Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
“Britons never will be slaves.”

2
The nations, not so blest as thee,
Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall;
While thou shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.
“Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
“Britons never will be slaves.”

3
Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful, from each foreign stroke;
As the loud blast that tears the skies,
Serves but to root thy native oak.
“Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
“Britons never will be slaves.”

4
Thee haughty tyrants ne’er shall tame:
All their attempts to bend thee down,
Will but arouse thy generous flame;
But work their woe, and thy renown.
“Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
“Britons never will be slaves.”

5
To thee belongs the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine:
All thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles thine.
“Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
“Britons never will be slaves.”

6
The Muses, still with freedom found,
Shall to thy happy coast repair;
Blest Isle! With matchless beauty crown’d,
And manly hearts to guard the fair.
“Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
“Britons never will be slaves.”

That’s better……….nothing like a rousing chorus of Rule Britannia at 6 am in the morning.
My sincere thanks to Commodore Warner and to all of you for reading.

TTFN

Your friends

John and Heidi

Good Evening from a very hot and humid Cannes. It is now 7:30 pm and we are preparing to sail away and head to Livorno tomorrow. The tender service went very smoothly this morning and I think we have that down to a fine art………even if I do say so myself.

The fires in Greece……………how dreadful and to think that these may have been (allegedly) started deliberately and the loss of so many lives is………well, heartbreaking. Obviously we are concerned as well because we are due to call at Athens and Katakolon next cruise. I see from some of the comments that we have people asking what is happening and if we are calling to these places as scheduled. Obviously we are keeping in with the tour operators in both locations and here is their latest report on Olympia.

Today the Site of Olympia is closed. Although the fire came within yards of the site, the actual site was not touched by fire. Only the surrounding wooded area behind. The site is closed for clean up and for the smoke that is lingering there. The fire around the site has been distinguished completely.

The ships that were due there today and tomorrow have been rerouted for this voyage only. They expect the Site to be open again on Thursday.

Here is a map of the area affected.

map of the area affected

Let us all hope that these fires can be extinguished before any further loss of life occurs as well as the terrible thought of damage to some of the most historical sites in Greece. I now some of you who are sailing soon have been asking about this and I assure you that we will not send guests into these areas unless we are totally sure that we are sending you into a totally safe environment……………promise.

Let me just follow up on the incident with the lady who decided to join me for lunch yesterday in Barcelona. As you remember Mrs. M was very upset about a whole number of issues which she expressed to me while my Spanish omelet sat uneaten.

Anyway, I and the Chief Purser sat with Mrs. M for some time this evening and obviously we listened to her comments and we did our best to appease her. One footnote to this was her husband apologized to me for interrupting our lunch and in the middle of his apology he was cut off by his wife telling him they had to get ready for dinner……………I left the meeting feeling quite sorry for the husband, I have a feeling that was not the first time he had been stopped from talking………….there was no doubt who the boss was in that family.

This cruise is nearly over already, and it seems to have gone by in a flash. I wonder why, but the Grand Med cruises seem to go quicker than the Greek/Turkey cruises.

I had to disembark one of the musicians today for a family emergency. His name is Ase and he plays in the Jazz Trio……..please think of him and his family tonight.

What else? Oh yes, good news on the Scrapbook Front. We received a huge shipment onboard and I am told that that plans are underway to sell them via our Internet site. I actually suggested we open an online carnival Shop. We could sell other great merchandise as well that I am sure people would love to buy…………stay tuned.

I know I am rambling today so please forgive me and just before I slap on today’s photos I wanted to tell you about my trip to the doghouse today. Heidi and I (or is it me and Heidi?) had lunch in Cannes today. I decided to eat oysters and ordered a dozen, they were superb and all was well.

Unfortunately, I persuaded Heidi to have one as she had always refused before (she is not a big shellfish fan) and reluctantly she tried one…………..and that was me in the doghouse…………..not because she didn’t like the taste of the oyster but I had forgotten that I had smothered them in Tabasco sauce……….OOPS. Oysters are supposed to be …….well……….you know……….just my luck though that they had the opposite effect on Heidi. I actually thought that the oyster thing was a myth…..I had eaten 12 and felt nothing…………….however they did start to work some time later………unfortunately it was during my meeting with Mrs. M!

Here are today’s photos of Cannes

1. The Carnival Freedom at tender station.

1. The Carnival Freedom at tender station.

2. The streets of Cannes

2. The streets of Cannes

3. The Grand Pavilion

3. The Grand Pavilion

4. Lido Deck in the sun

4. Lido Deck in the sun

Here are today’s letters from 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

In their Own Words

In their Own Words

In their Own Words

Now we start with today’s Q and A…………..I am going to continue with those from the blog about the Carnival Miracle but I also have to return to the article about the Queen Victoria as more comments and questions have come in over the weekend. I must say a huge thank you to all the Cunard fans who have all commented on how much they enjoyed the review of the vessel……I am very grateful to you all for your words of praise……………thank you.

Here we go.

BOB POLAND – Please do not apologize for falling behind on reading the blog thingy as I realize the valuable time it takes to do so each day. I am glad that you enjoyed the blog about the Queen Victoria I am sure your trip on the Queen Elizabeth 2 will be one of nostalgia and full of everlasting memories. As for your comments on me becoming a travel writer…….I think I have a long way to go before that ever happens. I realize that my sentences are sometimes too long and my pronouns are …..um…overused and as for my grammar………well, my dad is spell checking every blog. I just write what I feel and hopefully the passion I have for my job and the cruising world does shine through….even though there may be mistakes along the way. I hope you have a fantastic cruise and anytime you do get to read the blog, I would be grateful.
LONGING2CRUISE – What a marvelous story about Veracruz and its people who turned out to say goodbye to you and the Celebration as you left port. Stories like this one really do show that there are still places in the world that still excited when a ship comes to port. Do you remember which James Bond movie the fort in Veracruz was used in? I hope you are well and thanks for reading the blog thingy.
SOUTHERN DREAMS – Just a quick note to say we continue to think of you every day.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – A food posting – what a shocker! I am looking forward to hearing my first-ever live zydeco band. Bill, here is my Mum’s chicken curry recipe .Hope all is well mate.
Two sprays of oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
85g (3oz) boneless chicken breast, skinned and thinly sliced
2 tsp curry paste
1 tsp tomato purée
100ml (3.5 fl oz) chicken stock
2 ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
1 small eating apple, peeled and sliced
Two bananas
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp corn flour
2 tbsp natural low-fat yogurt
55g (2oz) basmati rice
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Preparation
1. Cook the rice following packet instructions.
2. Meanwhile, spray a small non-stick saucepan lightly with oil and when hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not brown.
3. Add the chicken to the pan and cook quickly, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes.
4. Stir in the curry paste and tomato purée, then add the stock, apricots, apple and seasoning.
5. Bring just to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
6. Blend the corn flour with the yoghurt, remove the pan from the heat and stir into the chicken. Heat, stirring until the mixture returns to the boil.
7. Drain the rice and stir in as much fresh chopped coriander as you like. Serve immediately with the curry spooned over.
Hope you enjoy it Bill…………John’s Mum.
Heidi and Mum
THE BEARS – CARL AND BARB – The photo of the Queen Mary 2 at night was awesome (very American word, awesome) and I am glad I could share it with you thanks to my mate Hans…………..did I tell you that Hans is a friend of mine who used to work on Carnival ships and now travels the world as a beer and spirits critic………His job is to taste beers, vodkas etc and report on the quality etc…………..what a life. Thank you as always for the kind words and I do hope that the great weather continues down there in the Dairy State. All the best guys.
KERSPLOTT – I have a feeling that when the Carnival Splendor arrives in its homeport of Dover the crowds will indeed be there to wish us hello and again when we sail out. Then, as for the Baltic cruises I am sure that the sight of the red, white and blue funnel of the Carnival smokestack will have people cheering and waving as they did when we went there on the special Carnival Leg End cruise. I see from your posting that like me and thousands of people around the world, the sight of a cruise ship sailing past leaves you with that tingle of appreciation and affection and dreams of adventures at sea. All the best to you and thank you for your support of the blog thingy.
LYLEBA – here is Heidi as requested to answer your questions about Holland. Hello. How wonderful that you are going to see some of Holland apart from Amsterdam. Here are my suggestions.
1. You really have to visit the largest flower auction house in the world at Aalsmeer. There are organized tours of this building which is the largest single storey building in the world, it really is incredible.
2. I recommend you visit Volendam and Marken, two pretty villages with the traditional houses built on stilts.
3. Gouda, the famous cheese market
4. Zaanse Shanns for the windmills
5. Vinkerveen……..because I live there.
6. In Amsterdam be sure not to miss the Begijmhof…this is the old city within the new………it’s beautiful.
I hope this is of some use to you and please let John or I know if we can help you in any other way.
ERIC F – I cannot think how long it has taken you to read the blog thingy from the beginning when we started in March until now. Although I cannot promise you an upgrade to the penthouse as you requested, I can assure you that your cruise director during your Carnival Triumph cruise will be Paul Santley from Liverpool……….a very funny man. I also have never been to Grand Turk or Half Moon Cay but the reports are that both places are simply stunning. If you need any advice before you cruise please let me know and I thank you so much for finding the blog and taking the time to read them all.
I have indeed heard of the Semester at Sea program, Eric. Actually, we had a young lady called Claire who was part of the Entertainment Staff with me back on the Carnival Triumph and is now working for the Doctors Without Borders organization on a ship in Africa. You must have some amazing memories of your time at sea. I hope this blog thingy of mine will help some of those memories return and I wish you all the best. If you have time, please slap on any stories of your time at sea, I know we would all enjoy them.
TERRY – My apologies for the spelling of Doulton. The blog I write is written in its “raw” form and my poor grades in English are shining through as you can see. If you notice anymore mistakes please let me know…………..my Dad also told me it was spelt wrong so you are in good company. Many thanks and best wishes.
VANESSA – Thank you for saying how excited you were after reading the blog about the Queen Victoria. I must admit I have had one or two comments that stated I was wrong to include any humour in a blog about this amazing liner……..one even said I had no class. I totally respect these comments and I understand that my blog certainly is not for everyone and my sense of humour may not suit everyone but I must admit I was really happy to read that you and many other Cunard fans did indeed enjoy the article. How exciting that you will be spending your Honeymoon on this incomparable vessel sailing from Sydney to Singapore……..how lucky you are. May I wish you a happy voyage and of course a fantastic wedding day. Your Grandfather was right when he said “Go Big”………….you certainly are. I hope that you will find the time to read this blog now and then and until the next time I send you warm regards.
AL NAGIN – Do you know you are the first person to mention the “T ” word on this blog thingy of mine……………congratulations…………..I think. However, you are right of course and as I walked around the vessel I did feel as though some of the traditions that made the liners of yesterday had been recreated on the Queen Victoria………I will say it again and again………there is something magical already about this ship. Thanks Al and I hope you have a chance to feel this “magic” for yourself soon.
MICKEY WEEKS – While I wish I could indeed act immediately upon your request to break up the World cruise of 2009 into smaller segments I am afraid my powers are very limited. However, I am your mouthpiece to people who have more power than Mr. H. Potter Esquire and I have therefore forwarded your request to the people who live at the top of the Cunard tree. I will post any answer or advice they give me on future blogs so please check in now and then. My best regards to you and your good lady.
JIM – I will get a first look at the finished product before the Queen Victoria leaves for Southampton so I will hopefully be able to calm your concerns about the space ratio. All I can say is that after 20 years at sea I do know a little about this subject and my first impression was that the architect had performed miracles and the ship’s public spaces were vast. First impressions mean a lot to me and mine was ……………..this ship is very, very special. Just curious Jim, what was your favorite area or lounge on the Queen Mary 2? I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your posting.
JULIE GRANT – Great to hear from you Julie and I thank you for taking the time to discover this blog.You asked how you discover which captain is on what ship. Well, normally that is not easy but luckily I know someone who can help you………me! Let me know what ship or what captain you are looking for and I will be happy to assist. Normally, a Captain will remain with the same ship for some time and will return to the same vessel after their vacation. You mentioned you enjoyed sailing with two particular Captains, may I ask who? So, I am at your service and I hope therefore to hear from you soon.
LAURA ZATZ – What a wonderful link you sent me about the Mars alignment with the moon. That was very helpful and very considerate. Many thanks on behalf of the myself and the guests onboard the Carnival Freedom.
I have made Supper Club reservations as you requested and took the liberty of making it for the 11th after we sail from Messina. I did this because you had mentioned you did not want the reservation for a formal night which is indeed on the 12th. Let me know if this is ok please. I congratulate Paul on his successful fight and I am so proud to hear that you will both be taking part on our charity walk onboard to support the continuing work to find a cure for breast cancer…………..thank you. I know that this coming cruise marks a special birthday for Paul as he reaches 70 and I also know that this coming cruise will be special also as we all celebrate life itself. I look forward to seeing you very soon and my best to Paul.
KEVIN – Thank mate for your compassion. This blog is read by the most amazing people and I again repeat myself that there is no other vacation except cruising that brings people together like this. Kevin, please can you send Roberto your phone number and I will give you a buzz for a chat about the job etc. Cheers mate.
SHERYL PELTON – Firstly, thank you for the very kind words about the blog and especially saying that reading about the Queen Victoria has made you want to take a Cunard cruise………….I feel better now after reading one comment that said I was …………….never mind. I am sorry I forgot to attach the photo of Heidi and I on our first date but I did remember to put it on yesterday’s blog. Did you see it? Thank you for saying I am still a handsome man and I would like you to have this picture below as a gift from me for saying that I was still good looking guy.
In their Own Words
Looking forward to having more fun with you very soon onboard and all the best until then.
SHARON R – Thank you Sharon. Sometimes, as you said, patience is very important in my job as you saw for yourself. I will call you before the cruise is over and I truly hope you are have had a great time.
JO MYERLY – The blog, QVC on the tele and a dark early morning ………one man’s cup of tea is another man’s poison. I am not sure I could stomach reading one of my blogs that early Jo but I appreciate it all the same. The scrapbooks are here, yours is reserved and if the T Shirts and wristbands arrive we will be starting the charity walk next cruise. Looking forward to seeing you and please have a safe journey.
GREG BALDASARRI – You are too kind sir with your words of congratulations about the blog and a special thank you for Roberto’s mention…..he is the best Editor I could ever ask for. Mostly I wanted to say thank you for again showing such compassion with your comments about Brad and Chrissy and the passing of her Father. You will see an e-mail from them in a moment. Thank you again Greg and I hope you enjoy today’s blog mate.
TOM AND JANE – Thank you also for the kind words of sympathy for Cruisin 4 Fun.
PAPANH – Thank you for the immediate support of the On Deck for the Cure charity walk for breast cancer research. I really want to make this a big event and I know that with people like you supporting us we can and we will make a difference. I am glad also that you are enjoying the blog and I will have the interview with Commodore Warner very soon. Best wishes and thank you again for everything.
NANETTE – I have been called many things mi amor but never an ANTIDEPRESSANT! Only you could have thought of that and that is why you are so special. It is great as you said to have the Cunard family join the blog thingy and even though the two styles of cruising could not be more different, we are all under the Carnival Corporation umbrella which means we are indeed family. You are too kind to have sent Heidi and I something and hopefully we will receive it very soon. We miss you and send our best to you there. Are you excited the carnival Victory is making her new home in San Juan? Grasyarse = mucho hugo.
CATHERINE EBERT – Hello Catherine and let’s start by answering your question regarding what tour to take in Istanbul. The one you mentioned, The Sand and Sea Tour is excellent however, I truly think that to come to Istanbul and not see the Topkapi Palace, The Blue Mosque and the Sophia Cathedral would be a shame. Therefore I recommend the Highlights of Istanbul which includes all of these place plus lunch served at the palace as well as free time at the Grand Bazaar. This is the all day tour or you can do the one without the lunch which would be Treasures of Istanbul. The choice……..is yours. Istanbul will amaze you whatever you decide to take and please let me know if you need anything else. Thank you also for the kind words for Chrissy and of course for our friend Southern Dreams. You are a very kind person.
KELLIE O’LEARY – Thanks so much for the review you posted about the Carnival Freedom and the ports of call. I had not seen this one before and the comments on the tours were very useful. This especially applies to the Lerici and Portovenere tour which is relatively new for us and it appears that the writer really enjoyed this excursion. I truly appreciate you taking the time to slap this on the blog thingy as I am sure do all the now 600,000 readers.
GURNSEYGUY – The last time I went to Gurnsey was when I was a child. For those who are not familiar with the islands of Gurnsey and Jersey may I suggest you Google them and you will discover two unspoiled places of beauty. I went there from Southend Airport in an old Dakota plane with my Dad on a trip with the brass band we played with at the time and I really must take my wife there. Thank you for the posting and educating me and the readers that in fact it is OK to use the shortened term for the vessels….QV…..QE2…QM2……..I just did not want to appear disrespectful by doing so. You asked if the Queen Victoria (see I did it again) will be getting a sister soon………I have no idea but I will ask my Super Spy PA007 to keep their ears to the ground — or the sea in this case — to discover if indeed this will happen soon. I hope you will take the time to read the blog now and then and I send my best to you and there in Gurnsey, Channel Islands.
LINDA HERNACKI – Thanks you Linda and Mike for the compassion you showed in your posting for Southern Dreams, I am sure she now knows that everyone is thinking about her. Heidi will be writing a blog today, she has already started it so it should be posted very soon. I hope you and all the grand kids are well and maybe soon you can enjoy a happy reunion wit the entire family onboard. Thanks as always and all the best.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – I am sure Paul that the results of your latest test must be on your mind but it is great to see that you are remaining positive and thinking happy thoughts such as your upcoming cruise. Heidi will I promise right a blog soon and she sends her best to you as do I and yes indeed mate, we truly are family.
KATHIE & KATHIE – Thank you so much for the uplifting words dedicated to Chrissy and Brad at the loss of their loved one. It truly is extraordinary that this blog thingy has forged so many great friendships even though most of us have never met. I know that Chrissy and Brad are reading this (as you will see in a moment) and that they appreciate beyond measure the thoughts, prayers and sympathies that they have received from fellow bloggers. Thank you BOTH………………now, was that two different Kathies that wrote and if so how wonderful that you both wrote within 5 minutes of each other and about the same things!
BIG ED – I was indeed so very grateful to my friends at Cunard for allowing me the chance to tour the vessel and then to publish my review on their website as well as send it out via e mail to all their past guests. I have to admit mate that I was really worried that my report would not do this already famous liner justice and I am thankful that it appears to have been well received. Thank you mate for being such a great friend and for encouraging people to vote for me…………..cheers.
POET LAUREATE – Well spotted Poet. Yes that was indeed one of the most famous sights in the cruise industry and not many others noticed so congratulations. For those who did not know what Poet was talking about she is of course referring to this photo.
For those who did not know what Poet was talking about she is of course referring to this photo
Yep, that is indeed the famous sight of the one and only……………Grosse Deutsche Pretzel which is being eaten by someone who clearly seems to be enjoying it………….I wonder if he reads the blog……………….don’t be silly John.
I am more interested in the bloke behind the tanned handsome dude devouring the extra large Pretzel………..the one with his back to us. Have a look at his jeans……..especially round his bottom area…………look at the wet patches……….I bet you he just had a close encounter with Fatima at the Turkish baths…………you never know when that water will come out……..poor sod.

That’s all for today and I will continue with the Q and A tomorrow.

Here is an e-mail though from Chrissy and Brad which they asked me to share with you all.

From: Chrissy and Brad
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 3:57 PM
To: FREEDOM CRUISE DIRECTOR
Subject: Home Again

John

Chrissy and I are home again safely and we want to thank you and the Purser Manager for taking such wonderful care of us with our flights and transportation. It is difficult being here having come from the high of being on the cruise to the despair that the family is feeling. The funeral will be on Friday in Buffalo and we are are busy making arrangements for that. Would you please pass this note of thanks to all the people who I see have been mentioning Chrissy and I in their comments and although I have not had time to read them all I want to thank each and every one of them. I will write again soon John and we both thank you so much for helping us through that awful day.

Brad.

I really don’t think any words are needed from me……let’s just pause for thought.

OK, on we go with an interview with another of our new and may I say far too good looking in my opinion Cruise Directors. Here is Goose onboard the Carnival Ecstasy.

Here is Goose onboard the Carnival Ecstasy

Here is Goose onboard the Carnival Ecstasy

1. Please can you tell us about your career with Carnival so far? How did you start and when?
Started working on cruise ships back in 1997 and joined Carnival in 2005. Overall, I have worked as a Cruise Director for four years.

2. What ship are you currently on and what is it’s itinerary?
Carnival Ecstasy. Cruising out of Galveston to Cozumel and Progreso Mexico.

3. Please can you pick two excursions from each port and tell us why you recommend them so much?
Cozumel – Amazing Lighthouse view by Jeep and Snorkel: From beginning to end this tour is fantastic! The Jeep ride takes you thru a beautiful tropical jungle to an amazing eco reserve (Punta Sur). The snorkeling on the tour is some of the best offered on the whole island.

Dolphin Swim & Snorkel: The idea is to capture the day and do something you’ll remember and cherish forever. Not only do you get to swim and play with these beautiful animals. They will let you grab on to the dolphin as it pulls you thru the water.

Progreso – Chi Chin Itza: This tour will blow you away. This was the New York of the Maya. There is a reason it’s one of the seven wonders of the world. See for yourself!

Corona Beach Break: Guests always come back raving of the good time they had on this tour. Live band, beach games, water activities, loads of fun. Or feel free to just lay on the beach as you grin in thought “Yes, I’m on vacation.”

4. What are your favorite activities or events that you host and why?
I love hosting the Newlywed, Not-so-Newly-wed Show. I’m genuinely as excited hosting the show as guests are watching and waiting to see what’s going to happen. There is always a new twist or challenge in hosting this show. I really have a lot of fun with the audience and guests on stage.

5. People should sail on the Carnival Ecstasy because…………. all the great things you hear are true! There is something really great happening here. I have never been more proud and happy working with a team then the one on the Carnival Ecstasy. This is a Dream Team! And there is much added credit to our guests. We really have the best guests you could ask for. Let’s not forget the Ecstasy carries Carnival’s coveted Crystal Eagle Award for the friendliest and most hospitable crew. Get your hands off it, it’s staying here!

6. What do you enjoy most about being a Cruise Director?
This question keeps me thinking of how I felt the other day when we had to change itinerary due to Hurricane Dean. The Entertainment Staff and I got together to make a game plan of activities and events for the added day at sea. We all felt really excited as there were loads of great ideas being put out. I then spent hours creating the program for the day and could not wait to see it in action. It was a beautiful thing, there were people everywhere having a blast. Pockets of groups through out the whole ship being entertained and enjoying each other. That whole process is what I love the most. Working with a team in creating and delivering good times. Thanks for asking this question. I would have normally just answered the people. The amazing people we work and play with. And the guests that join us ready for a great time. My first answer was an added reminder to why I love what I do.

7. Share your favorite story with us that involve our guests and your job?
In the past 4 months every 2 weeks many of the crew, Captain Scala and myself volunteer our free time at an orphanage in Progreso to help the 55 boys (ages 6-15) there live a better life. This project lead by Captain, has been the highlight of my time on board. Thru donations from the crew and guests we have raised over $20,000………amazing! From all angles, starting with getting cleaning supplies and scrubbing there dorm rooms, showers and bathrooms from top to bottom. Healthy food and materials for cooking. Fly screens for their bedrooms, painting is still a huge project we are working on dorms and classrooms. Installed a water heater. Hired a plumber to fix there many broken shower heads and taps. Hired a teacher to give more English lessons to the kids. We are now looking for beds for the kids as they sleep in hammocks. We brought all the kids, teachers, Priests (head of the Orphanage) 75 total, on board Ecstasy for the day in Progreso. We had a party waiting for them in the disco, arcade was a hit, then up to the open deck for volleyball, swimming, and pizza! It was a day I enjoy re-playing in my head. To see them all so happy and having fun. But the moment that is captured in my heart was when one of the orphans said to me, “This is the greatest day of my life.” Thru the support of this “Dream Team” I speak of, and the amazing guests we have, we are making a positive difference that these young men deserve. A web site as been created showing photo’s of our progress. www.crewcares4kids.com

8. List your three favorite ports you have visited?
St. Thomas, USVI – It’s the Caribbean postcard you’re looking for.
Maui, Hawaii – Mai Tais, flame throwing and hula skirts are good for you!
Tuscany, Italy – Will you marry me?

9. Name three ports you would really like to see that you have never been to?
Bora Bora – Just give me a fishing boat, grass hut and fire pit.
Hong Kong – Have you seen Jackie Chan?
Rio – See ya at the beach!

10. Finally, if you could introduce on stage any star, alive or not who would it be and why?
Bono – I have much respect for this man. Humanitarian, singer, songwriter, rock star! Bono was the first person I have ever met and felt “star struck” and lost for words after saying “Hello, a pleasure to meet you.” He smiled then went on stage and performed to 50, 000 people. Yeah, it’d pick that stage and that star!

Goose, congratulations to you and the staff of the Carnival Ecstasy for the great work you did with the Orphanage, I know how hard the Captain has worked on this project so please pass on our best to Captain Scala,

I am sure that you will see a lot of Goose in the future, he certainly will be in the public eye and will not be a grey man…………..or Grey Goose….:)

Just before I depart I have to share this brilliant, fantastic, hilarious and truly extraordinary comment from a guest. It is based on our Carnival Legends show which, as some of you may know, is a fleetwide event that has become one of the most popular shows of each and every cruise. It basically gives the guests a chance to perform as a LEGEND with the dancers and cast, the full orchestra in a show with all the bells and whistles, lighting and effects that our grand theatres offer. Auditions are held throughout the cruise and the show is held toward the end of the cruise. The guests have costumes, their names and photos in the Capers and on the stage screens and for the audience, it is an unforgettable night. The show is advertised like this is in the Carnival Caper this cruise as per normal with the name of the guest and the legend they will be portraying.

James Brown – Georgie Datiles
Aretha Franklin – Erica Owens
Elton John – Jon Barron
Britney Spears – Cassandra Gentile
Madonna – Jennifer Herrera
Garth Brooks – Kenny Ream
Ricky Martin – Robert Rosenfield
Gloria Estefan – Brenda Barnes
Elvis Presley – Paul Condous
Frank Sinatra – Doug McAslan

Sounds good does it not?……………now read this and obviously I have had to hide the guests name as I don’t want her to feel like we are ridiculing her.

Are you ready……….here we go……………hold on tight.

Guest: Mrs @#$%^%$Ref: 002711893A Owner: (SAHC) Salvino Chini
Cabin: ____

____– Mislead By Cruise DirectorMrs %^&%$#@ came to the desk demanding to speak to the Cruise Director. Purser asked if he could help and was told by the guest that she and her daughter had been sitting in the Victoriana Lounge since 9 pm to get the best seats for her daughter to see Britney Spears and then she discovered it was not the real Britney Spears but a passenger pretending to be her. Purser explained that the show was a passenger show and that the real Britney Spears would not be performing but she wanted to speak to the Cruise Director.

Purser tasked to CD and informed guest he will be in contact.

I called the guest who insisted that I had said that the real Britney Spears would be performing and that her daughter was devastated that she had not seen her. I tried to explain that I had never said that she was the only person on the ship that had misunderstood………….she would not hear of it and in the end I apologized to her 14-year-old daughter and gave her some gifts to say sorry. The daughter seemed fine and said that she thought I was funny, the mother ……….she didn’t think I was funny, especially after the devil inside made me say…………….you would have more chance of seeing Britney rolling out of the Disco at 3 am with a drink in both hands demanding to have her head shaved then performing on our stage ……………..nope ………….she didn’t like that one.

You can’t make stuff like this up someone said on yesterday’s blog and just when you think you have seen and heard everything you get “hit with another baby, one more time.”

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

Good Evening everyone and I hope you are having a pleasant Sunday……..boy do I miss my Sundays. The newspapers, the football on TV, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and spotted dick.Today, we were in Barcelona and the weather is still hot and sunny……..Have you seen the terrible fires in Greece? The one area that concerns me is the fire that is out of control and is just a mile or so away from the Ancient Village of Olympia. We are keeping a close eye on the situation as we are of course expected to go there this coming cruise.

Back to today and the morning started off with a port manning drill. What is that I hear you shout in unison? Well, for years cruise ships of all lines never really thought what would happen in an emergency if the ship was tied up against the pier either in homeport or at one of the ports of call. Nowadays however it is the law that we must have a structured plan to know what to do in order to get guests off the vessel using the gangways or other emergency exits if in case of a fire or other unpleasant situation. So today, we carried out this important drill as again nothing is more important than safety……….nothing.

Barcelona is one of those European cities that, unlike London, closes pretty much on a Sunday. Most of the shops are closed with the exception of the tourist souvenir shops. La Rambla, which is Barcelona’s major thoroughfare, is still bustling with street performers and today Heidi and me or is it Heidi and I took a walk down La Rambla.

Once again, on or off the ship I am the Cruise Director and as usual I was stopped a few times for a cheery hello and a photo and a complaint from a guest that indeed some of the shops were closed and that nobody informed them………even though I did, in my talk, on the TV’s and in writing in the Carnival Capers. Anyway, things were going well until we made the huge mistake of having a sit down for a drink and snack. Let me start with the good stuff……………the food. Heidi and I have been going to the same Tapas Bar since we discovered it back in April. It is called………….get ready for a brilliant name…………….TAPAS ………yep, that’s what the sign says……….just TAPAS…..what fantastic marketing. The restaurant is very small, maybe, 30 tables and is located next to the Starbucks half way up La Rambla. The reason we like it is because of the wonderful Spanish omelets they serve full of red, green and yellow peppers a really rich cheese, mushrooms and chorizo sausage……..excellent choice for me as I omit the now carb thingy. Heidi had ordered a tapas selection, we were relaxed, I was reading The Daily Telegraph (British) newspaper, birds were singing, the waiter was not rude (unusual for Barcelona………Fawlty Towers reference there ) I had not spilled anything on my shirt, the was a nice breeze from the air conditioning that was not only cooling us down but was helping to disguise the last particles of sugar free jellybeans that I had shared with everyone………….all was well………………….UNTIL…………………….”Can we join you?”……..”What?” ……I looked up from the article I was reading to find a lady and gentlemen plunking themselves down at our table………….Hello, I said…………….we want to talk to you………came the reply……….OH, I said, sensing they didn’t want to ask my opinion on the Spanish omelet…………….well let me introduce my wife Heidi (thinking this might alert them to the fact that we were enjoying a romantic lunch together………….well, as romantic as reading a newspaper and ignoring your wife can be.)

“We know who she is,” came the curt reply……………..I could see Heidi’s blood rising at that rude retort and before I could say anything Heidi got there first………..Oh, well I don’t know you both she said in a soft voice …………..what’s your names………..we are the &%$#@ said the lady, we are from Fort Lauderdale…………I was about to say something along the lines of ….Oh, I love Fort Lauderdale but Mrs. M was having none of it and continued………..we saw you come in here and we want to complain……. That was it then and I sat back in my chair, took a sip of Diet Coke and let Mrs. M unload both barrels on me for ten minutes or so.

Now, you are going to ask what her complaint was about….it really wasn’t one thing but a list………here are the ones I remember.

HAVING TO PAY FOR TRANSPORTATION (SHUTTLE BUSSES)………..OTHER LINES DO NOT CHARGE

NO RELIGIOUS SERVICE………….unlike Holland America

NO BRIDGE INSTRUCTOR…………..as above

DIDN’T LIKE THE SHOWS ………Holland America’s were more geared to people her age ……….she was in her 70’s

FOOD WAS TOO RICH…………….she prefers……..yep you guessed it

CABIN WAS TOO SMALL……………she has paid for an inside cabin on deck 1 by the way……….guess whose cabins were bigger?

AND MY FAVORITE…………”I HAVEN’T SPOKEN TO ONE CREW MEMBER WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH”

That was that…….and after her 10 minutes of shock and awe I asked her what she would like me to do……..her answer came back in a quick fire staccato……..compensation. I took her cabin number and said I would talk to the Chief Purser when I returned and would be in touch with her. The Chief Purser and I have since called her and her grievances have been documented.

There are three things that I need to tell you………….oh and by the way, this sort of thing is still very unusual and as always I remind you that 99.9% of our guests have a great time…….anyway, here they are.

1. This couple had followed me into the restaurant and sat down without being invited……..that takes a lot of ……something.

2. Halfway through her list of concerns, my omelet arrived as did Heidi’s Tapas…………we both said “bugger it” and started eating. The waiter hovered to ask Mrs. M if her and Mr M would like something but realizing that he didn’t speak good enough English he ran away……….quickly.

When she had finished, she stood up to go, I stood and offered my hand to be polite which she ignored and as they turned to walk away……………..Mr M looked back at me and looked almost apologetic as he obediently followed his wife out of the restaurant………………..There are very, very rare times when honestly, I don’t like my job very much and today unfortunately was one of those times

Here are today’s photos which really are a mixed bunch but I hope you will enjoy them.

1. This is a shot of all the teens from Club O2 who we took to the famous Barcelona Soccer Stadium “The Nou Camp ”

1. This is a shot of all the teens from Club O2 who we took to the famous Barcelona Soccer Stadium “The Nou Camp “

2. Let’s go to Montserrat

2. Let’s go to Montserrat

3. Inside the Cathedral

3. Inside the Cathedral

4. The famous Black Madonna

4. The famous Black Madonna

5. What a beautiful place

5. What a beautiful place

Here are the letters from today’s 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

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

Let’s push on with the Q and A starting with the blog about the Carnival Miracle and then hopefully some from the blog called “Are We having Pun Yet.”

MATT – Yes mate, what a real shame that Costa Maya is as was Cozumel was after hurricane Wilma. The resort depends on the cruise industry and even if the shops and facilities can be repaired in double quick time I doubt the pier will be ready for a long time……….I hope I am wrong and it is indeed very, very sad. Matt, you asked if I got your comments…..are you waiting for an answer from me for something? Please let me know?
KEVIN AND HEIDI AND BETH – I just spoke to Ralph the Cruise Director and he has confirmed that the Carnival Glory will call at Progresso now instead of poor old Costa Maya. Progresso is a fun place and if you need any advice on what to do please let me know. I hope the three of you are well and can you send me your cabin number please. You are also correct in your praise of Shahnaz and yes she is indeed right at the top of her game. Glad also that you liked the photos of the Queen Mary, she too is quite a lady. Cheers.
I & MSMOM – Your thoughtful words about Costa Maya’s plight were said with obvious sadness. I am sure they will bounce back but how long that takes, who knows? We will all continue to think about them I am sure. Thank you also for your kind words about the blog thingy and I am still enjoying writing this each and every day. My warmest regards to you.
BRUCE BERRY – You found me Bruce and so your computer skills are intact. Welcome back from your July 24 cruise and to hear you say “WE WILL BE CARNIVAL TRAVELERS FOR LIFE” has made me and everyone associated with the cruise line very happy. If there is anything I can do to help you decide which cruise you want to take next, please let me know. I am glad you enjoyed my shows and one thing is for certain, I also wish I could be in the public eye even more, but unfortunately the job these days is so much more than just being on stage. Your comments have made me very happy and I hope you will continue to read this blog-thingy.
JOHN STEERS – Hello! How are things in Port Canaveral? I am glad you are still enjoying working for Carnival and as always, I thank you for all your help with the guests who face walking challenges. As for the blog, I assure you everything I write is indeed true and as you said “You can’t make this up.” Please keep reading and my best to everybody down there.
THE BEARS, BARB AND CARL – My mum will be sending me her amazing recipe for Chicken Curry. It will appear on a blog next week. It seems that Mother Nature is as mad as Mrs. M was these last few days. Wild fires in Europe, hurricanes in the Caribbean and Mexico and, of course, the weather conditions you described from Hurricane Erin. Heidi sends her best to you even though you are the reason she walks around with the air freshener spray in her pocket (Oust).
LUV TO CRUISE – I am glad you enjoyed the interview with Brent and I am sure your January cruise will be an exciting adventure. Having a balcony cabin is indeed a very special luxury which, if you have, you should enjoy each and every night watching the sunset and if you can, the sunrise. Happy sailing!
LEASA – You indeed will enjoy Todd on the Carnival Liberty and I am sorry I couldn’t be there with you. Thank you also for your kind words for the people of Costa Maya. I am sorry I am hogging the computer and I will tell Heidi how much you would enjoy another blog from her. Cheers.
INDYGIRL – Thank you also for thinking of the people of Costa Maya. You are very kind to take the time to write those wonderful words.
LOIS GREATSKIBOOT – You have a source for Spotted Dick? Wow, that’s amazing, can you send me some? Thank you very much for your kind words. That was the last picture ever taking of me on the beach. Heidi sends a big hello back to you and if I did behave you would be reading a blank piece of paper.
It’s always great to hear from you and I still have 50 more abbreviations of your name…. Take care.
BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – I thought you should know that we play the cd’s you sent us during our bingo sessions, it really gets everyone in the mood. I have not heard if there is a possibility of Costa Maya building a temporary tender docking facility. I am not sure if that is even possible based on the damage. Certainly, it would take some time to rebuild the shopping area and get it back to its former glory. Have a go at the scones, I promise you will not be disappointed and the Chicken Curry recipe will be forthcoming. How funny you mentioned Brussels sprouts. These are very popular in the U.K… My dad loves them, although I wouldn’t recommend sharing a small room with him afterwards. Once again, we talk about food; we were destined to be friends.
UNCLE DOUG – How great to hear that you saw the Carnival Fantasy’s smoke stack during your stay in New Orleans. I am sure this sight is a joy for all the people of the Big Easy. I am sure all the people, like your good self, who have recently been to Costa Maya, will share your sadness at the devastation caused by the wrath of Dean. You are correct of course, as always, Carnival will do everything they can to assist with the rebuilding. Thank you for your concern and I will keep you all updated with any news I have.
CINDY 56 – Wendell’s ceremony was very special and hopefully he now rests peacefully. Costa Maya did indeed take over from Cozumel after hurricane Wilma devastated that island. Let’s hope, this is the last major storm of the season. Heidi and I send our best to you.
THE CHADS – Thank you for completing the registration form for the bloggers cruise, you need to add the reservation number. I hope you do get a chance to make my mum’s scones, they are simply delicious. A charity cookbook for the bloggers cruise is also a wonderful idea, I am sure Bill Zydecocruiser will have a few recipes to offer. I hope you are all well and slapping on this posting has made me very hungry.
MARLENE – Marlene, I hope you get to read this before you fly here. I am very excited to see what gift you have for Heidi and I and please make sure you leave me your cabin number at the information desk when you arrive. Have a safe flight.
LYNN AND MIKE SAGARA – It is truly wonderful to feel the compassion everyone has for Costa Maya. I wonder if ROGER BLUM can find some way to pass all these goodwill messages to the tourism office there. It was interesting to read about your desire to help with charity fund raising while you are on a cruise and I wonder if you saw the upcoming events on my last blog which will be held to raise money to find a cure for breast cancer. I am excited to be part of that challenge. Thank you for your lovely posting and my continued best wishes.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – I am glad you are enjoying all the photos and I especially want to say thank you for your kind words also for the people of Costa Maya. The Cruise Director you are thinking off, I think, was Rand Woodbury. He was and still is a master magician and yes, he did have wild animals at one point including a 300-pound cougar called GIO. I will pass on to my mum that you loved her scones. You must try her Chicken Curry, the recipe will follow. As always Carol, we wish you much happiness.
IVANA – Funny you should mention Samantha Brown, as Heidi is a big fan and me…………I am just jealous. I would love to be a travel reporter for the cruise industry. Wouldn’t it be great to have a live T.V. blog or a fly on the wall documentary?….except on the bathroom wall…..Thank you also for mentioning Costa Maya. You are very kind. See you soon.
SOUTHERN DREAMS – I am glad the surgery went well but I am sorry to hear that maybe you will need radiation. Without racing ahead, may I just tell you that whatever happens I will always be here for you and each time I type your name it will be done with much positive thought and hope for continued health. Keep smiling :)) and I am going to dedicate a joke to you every time I mention your name. Here is the one for today.
A couple of drinkin’ buddies, who are airplane mechanics, are in the hangar at Atlanta airport; it’s fogged in and they have nothing to do.
One of them says to the other, “Hey, have you got anything to drink?”
The other one says, “Nah, but I hear you can drink jet fuel, and that it will kinda give you a buzz.”
So they drink it, get smashed and have a great time; like only drinkin’ buddies can do.
The following morning, one of them gets up and is surprised he feels good, in fact, he feels great – NO hangover!
The phone rings, it’s his buddy.
The buddy says, “Hey, how do you feel?”
He said, “I feel great!”
“I feel great too! You don’t have a hangover?”
“No – that jet fuel is great stuff – no hangover – we ought to do this more often.”
“Yeah, we could, but there’s just one thing…..”
“What’s that?”
“Well, that’s what I called to tell you. For goodness-sakes don’t fart, I’m calling you from Miami.”
DWA76 – Sad it is, to see Costa Maya in such a terrible state. I am glad you enjoyed the interview with Brent and hopefully one day you will sail on a Carnival ship out of New York City. It is an unforgettable feeling. You asked if I can do anything about the dollar and how weak it is. Obviously, going to London is more expensive for Americans these days and the euro is catching up. Unfortunately, I am paid in U.S. dollars and I certainly hope that the dollar can find its strength from somewhere. The dollar is strong against the Turkish Lira; in fact, I know a place where you can get a great Turkish bath for just $10. Let me know if you want the address. Thanks for everything mate; it always brings a smile to my face to see your name slapped on the blog.
RIKKI BOYZE – I have to admit, I was surprised also that it took this long for the company lawyers to ask for a disclaimer. Although I really do not think I say anything that would cause Carnival Corporation concern, I know I do tend to speak without thinking sometimes, so I am happy to cover them with those few words. If anything happens, I have a brilliant lawyer who will protect me. He is half-Japanese and half-Jewish and his law practice is called So Sue Mi. I am glad the Carnival Miracle won you back to cruising; she is one of our most beautiful ships. I have never been on board but I have heard of the famous pink flying saucers in the dining room. Wishing you all the best.
RUTH JAMISON – Welcome back to the blog and I am glad you caught up. I see you are a fan of Rod Stewart’s song “Sailing,” have you heard the song of the same title by Christopher Cross? You have my taste buds salivating at the thought of what you mind be sending me…….you are too kind. Wishing you a wonderful day and all the best from Heidi.
BIG ED – Thank you for helping edit the blog. You truly are becoming the assistant to the Cruise Director. Well, as for the Vote For John campaign, if I do win the award I promise it will be shared with each and every person who has made this blog what it is today. Thanks mate.
KEVIN – Congratulations on reaching nearly 6,000 slaps on your blog. This is a brilliant total and I am sure it will continue to grow. Thank you for driving the Aston while wearing the bloggers t-shirt, you have no idea how jealous I am, but grateful at the same time. Everyone tells me that the Diamond Princess is a truly magnificent vessel. I am going to ask, the next time we are in Venice, if I can visit the Emerald Princess. I have never been on a Princess ship before and I would love to write a blog article about her. Hopefully, someone from Princess will read this posting and allow this to happen. I am glad you enjoyed the scones, my mum will be so happy. Thanks mate and I haven’t forgotten you.
SUSETTE LOEWENSTEIN – Thank you for showing me what Cunard has written about my Queen Victoria blog. Seeing my name on their website was a huge thrill and I am deeply honored. Thank you for passing it on to me, for which I am also very grateful. All the best.
LFTTNSFCF – YEP, it’s a disclaimer and I added a touch of humor to make it more palatable. I know they just want to protect themselves and I understand why. Sometimes, I am a naughty boy. Hope all is well with you and the Mrs. MTSFP and as always, it’s great to see your name on the blog thingy.
LISA AND ELAINE – Thank you so much. You echo the words for everyone in wishing Southern Dreams well. I am not sure about Jack Daniels being the cure, but we certainly will be thinking of her each and every day. I see you are a survivor and you are still cruising and that is so brilliant to hear. Thank you for your compassion Elaine and thank you for being there for your blogger friend.
PEGGY P – You are welcome and I have passed your thanks on to Chris Prideaux. Enjoy the arts & crafts.
CRUISE FAN NAN – At the moment, there are many new deployments of ships happening in the fleet. I am sure that everyone will miss the Carnival Victory from Miami, but it will be a major asset to San Juan and the southern Caribbean. I have not heard any rumors about the Carnival Triumph moving to Mobile and I will ask PA 007 to keep their eyes and ears open in case anything should happen. The super spy is on the case and will let me know any news.
Steve Knisley will indeed be the Cruise Director on the Carnival Liberty during your sailing. Thanks for reading the blog-thingy and all the best.
WILLIAM – DALLAS, TX – We warmly welcome you William to this blog-thingy. As a lover of ships, you are in the right place with the right people and I also thank my friends at Cunard for passing on the blog’s information. William, if you have any stories to share with us, we would welcome them. If you have any questions to ask, please do so and mostly, please enjoy the fun and every day life along with me of working on board a cruise ship. Cheers mate.
LINDA HERNACKI – I am so happy you enjoyed the photos of the Queen Mary II. I wish I could have been there to see it for myself. Alan Atkins is still on board, however, he leaves tomorrow and I will miss having fun with him. Wish Mike well in his new job and I am sure he is very happy working for Hilton hotels…….has he seen Paris? I have been to Costa Maya many times and I know how hard the people of this small resort to get it where it was and I am sure they will do so again. Linda, have a wonderful weekend and thank you for slapping on another posting.
LV2CRUISE – I am glad your husband enjoyed the puns, I promise there will be no more as I could here the groans from here. Heidi and I have a good size cabin, as you asked what our living accommodation is like. It has a separate living area office and bedroom and our two greatest luxuries, a bathtub and a 42″ plasma T.V. which I have to have on as much as possible, showing the news……………I am a big newsperson. I have to know what’s going on in the world. As for closet space, Heidi has four closets and I have one hanger. Cheers.
MEDCRUISER – Ok, sorry, no more puns, promise………..after this one.
Just as a surgeon was finishing up an operation the patient wakes up, sits up and demands to know what is going on. “I’m about to close,” the surgeon says. The patient grabs his hand and says, “Oh, no you’re not! I’ll close my own incision.” The doctor hands him the needle and says, “Suture self.”
What do you call a mushroom that runs into a bar and buys a round of drinks for everyone? I guess that would be a Fun Guy.
Sorry 🙂
KAREN R – Alan Adkins decided to stay a few extra days, I guess he is a glutton for punishment. Thank you for complimenting Shahnaz who is a brilliant Hotel Director and as loyal an employee as Carnival could wish to have.
As for the Queen Mary 2, well I hope one day to be able to visit her and also have the total privilege of writing a blog about this grand lady liner.
Now, as for the Puns…….well I don’t know what came over me but I was feeling a little “punnish” and the result I am sure were groans from around the world. I hope you are well and I do hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingies.
GREG BALDASARRI – You can call me friend……..because that is what we indeed are. Thank you for mentioning my friends Marsha and Hans. They were truly in awe of the Queen Mary and their description summed up perfectly the grand liners presence in Hamburg. Indeed, it truly must have been something the Germans felt so passionate about as they lined the streets and the port hoping to catch a glimpse of the beautiful lady………..The Queen Mary………not my friend Marsh although she too is beautiful.
Greg, I hope my daily mutterings will continue to provide you with fun and also to allow our blog friendship to grow from strength to strength.
DAVE AND BARB – What a site that must be as the proud and gallant sailors stand at attention as they sail away to protect our freedom. I certainly would stop the car to pay tribute to those brave men and women.
Obviously seeing a cruise ship leave is completely different but it was great to hear that the Queen Mary 2 can still command respect and attention as happened in Germany. I hope I get to sail past your house so you can wave and throw sugar free jellybeans at me. Many thanks for the posting and all the best.
KATHY KROLL – I am sure once your are standing you still possess the grace and agility that is obvious from the photos on your blog. The Queens Room on the Queen Victoria is full of magic………there is honestly something special about it…….as unfinished as it was it already cast a spell over me and I can imagine watching Heidi glide over the floor while I eat cucumber sandwiches and drink tea. I hope your dream of sailing on her and the Carnival Splendor do come true………..one day. All the best Kathy and best to the Bodyguard.
BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – You said that was Micky Arison in the photo of the Queen Mary……….well spotted and well spotted Hans my mate who took the photo…………personally I was more interested in the HUGE PRETZEL he was eating. Thaks for the food link and I think we should open a Zydeco restaurant and serve those Pretzels.

OK, I am going to stop there and continue with Mr Bob Poland’s comment tomorrow.

George Solano

George Solano

Let’s continue with an interview from the Cruise Director on the Carnival Imagination Mr. George Solano. Here is his interview and I will chat about him in moment.

1. Please can you tell us about your career with Carnival so far? How did you start and when?
Started in 1992 as A Fly-on Comedian and I’ve been a cruise director for 6 years

2. What ship are you currently on and what is its itinerary?
Carnival Imagination which operates four- and five-day cruises from Miami. Five-day cruises departing Mondays visit Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios; five-day cruises departing Saturdays call at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay & Nassau; four-day cruises departing Thursdays feature Key West and Calica

3. Please can you pick two excursions from each port and tell us why you recommend them so much?
Grand Cayman – Atlantis Submarine – The Marine life in Grand Cayman is amazing due to all the shipwrecks.

Sea Trek – It’s my one of my favorites because I never had the guts to scuba dive and is the closest I can get to it. The coral is amazing.

Ocho Rios Jamaica – Bob Marley Tour – all my life I have been a Marley fan, it’s about an hour bus ride, with several stops to really admire how beautiful Jamaica truly is, once you arrive at his state, you learn everything about his life and what inspire him to write all those songs we never get tired of listening to, I even met a few of his cousins and heard some amazing stories (I did come back a little hungry J ) it was truly an experience for me.

Dolphin Cove- Dolphin Swim – An other one of my favorites as a child of the 70’s I grew up watching Flipper so I always wanted to swim with them. It’s everything you imagine and more. The dolphin performs for you, the highlight is when you and the dolphin pose for a picture, after you’re finished with tour, you also get to enjoy all the amenities the park has to offer from Beaches, walking trails, shark show, aviary Etc. It’s a great experience for the entire family.

Key west- Bike tour – very laid back; don’t have to be in shape; all flat terrain and you’ll see over 100 points of interest, including the southernmost point. Plus you learn quite a bit about the Civil War.

Calica – Mayan ruins Of Tulum – I have always been fascinated by The Mayan Indians culture, Tulum was built next to the Caribbean Sea, you’ll visit the Temple of the Frescos my personal favorite because of the detailed Carved figures of original paintings and writings, you also have a chance to climb the towering cliff for amazing breathtaking views of the Caribbean sea, is a once in a lifetime experience.

Xcaret – an archeological park, with underground rivers and cenotes, as well as an Aviary. It also has a replica of all the Mayan Pyramids and a museum of Mayan cities and much more great fun for all ages.

Grand Turk- Is a new port of call for us, I’ve been going out and enjoying a different excursion every call. My favorite so far is the Guana Loop you ride along an air-conditioned bus it has several stops where you have the option of getting off and walk around and truly explore the island, the buses come by every 15 minutes so you can spend as long or little time as wish.

Half Moon Cay is our very own private island – I Love it!!! Is one of the most beautiful and relaxing ports of call. Parasailing – is the one I recommend the most you’re up 200 feet in the air, amazing views of the island and the ship!!

Aqua Boats _ Jet skiing at its best It rocks!!

Nassau -Discover Atlantis and Historical Harbor tour- It takes you on a harbor cruise – you’ll see and learn about many historical points of interest, once you arrive at Paradise Island your guide will take you on a walking tour of Atlantis, you will visit the “Atlantis Dig,” home to thousands of the world most exotic fish and sea creatures as well as the ancient artifacts of Atlantis.

Catamaran Snorkel – you’ll go to Athol Island – for amazing snorkeling,

4. What are your favorite activities or events that you host and why?

Welcome aboard show – no two shows are ever alike and it sets the tone for your cruise. Newlywed not so newlywed show is another because I love improving and I always get to throw in some of my comedy bits!

5. Fill in the blank please……………..People should sail on the Carnival Imagination because……………………………..??????????? People should sail on the Carnival Imagination because we boast an extremely friendly crew and we have tons of fun. The entertainment on board is outstanding and because we’re the coolest.. that’s right, I said it! 🙂

6. What do you enjoy most about being a Cruise Director? I love getting up every day and making people laugh. Entertaining guests is my absolute most favorite thing to do and I feel extremely lucky each and every day to be able to do what I love. And oh yeah, the pay isn’t bad either. 🙂

7. Share your favorite story with us that involve our guests and your job? I don’t think I have a favorite story but I can say that at times, people come up to you and share a little bit of their life story with you. Some have just lost someone close, some are very ill, some are just going through a rough patch. For these people to come up to me and tell me that I’ve made a difference, that I’ve made their vacation, that I’ve made them laugh every day of the cruise.. there’s no feeling in the world like it.

8. List your three favorite ports you have visited? Jamaica, Aruba & Cozumel

9. Name three ports you would really like to see that you have never been to? Argentina, Peru & Brazil (hint hint!)

10. Finally, if you could introduce on stage any star, alive or not who would it be and why? Hands down – Richard Pryor. He has inspired me beyond words to become a stand up comic and has been an extreme influence in my life.

THANK YOU GEORGE.

He and I go way back and we were always playing tricks on each other when he was a fly on entertainer onboard the Carnival Imagination with me. One time, seconds before I went on stage he blew pepper in my face so I spent the first few minutes of the show sneezing over the front row.

I got my own back many times and my favorite was when I had pre planned with the audience that after George had told his first joke to do something special. So, out comes George, he tells his first joke and then at once and in unison (same thing I know) all 800 stood up booed and walked out of the lounge…………George just stood there ………..his mouth open…eventually they came back and the show carried on because I had one more surprise for him

George is originally from Colombia, South America and does this joke about the name Jose being popular….anyway the punch line is that if the presenter of The Price Is Right was to say Jose Rodriguez come on day a thousand people would rush the stage…….well………..they did……….when he said it I had planned for 50 men and women to all run up on the stage and start hugging and kissing George……….one lady tried to take his shirt of……………ah, those were the days. George is now one of our finest Cruise Directors and there is nobody who cares about the guests cruise experience than my mate Jorge……………..mi amigo.

I want to talk about John Horner a guest who is sailing here with his wife Jess and their daughters Jasmin and Summer……….beautiful names. I got to know John early on this cruise and we have had some great conversations. John is from the UK like me and is from Manchester which is in the North of the country. Why am I mentioning John………..well, it is simple. John was in the British Military and was injured last year when his convoy was hit by a roadside explosive device in Basara, Iraq. He has a great sense of humour and has loved every bit of the cruise. He has come to all the shows and told me this was the best vacation he has ever had. He won a trophy for taking part in the newly wed and Not So newlywed game, and this evening after the Carnival Legends show we smoked a cigar together. He talked about the love of his family, his passion for the charity work he does and how his military career is still so important to him changed as it is now as he fights for his country from behind a desk. Mostly though, he just told jokes, praised the staff and crew of the vessel. We spent a great 30 minutes together talking as men do and then he got up to leave……..which is not as easy as it used to be as John lost his left leg ….. As I helped him lean onto his crutches he shook my hand and told me that nothing had made him laugh as much as the Talent Show and bedtime story and thank you for the best time ever. As I walked back to the cabin I suddenly realised that the Tapas Bar incident with the angry Mrs. M did not matter anymore….I do love my job, I really do and tonight it took a man like John Horner to remind me……………thanks mate.

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

We Are Family

August 25, 2007 -

John Heald

Hello everyone and I hope you are all having a great weekend so far. I have just finished the debarkation talk which as always feels very strange to host 3 days before the end of the voyage………..I still wish we had a sea day at the end of the voyage.

Today, after the Q and A, I met with a guest and his wife who were leaving the ship tomorrow in Barcelona. They are bloggers and I wanted to start today’s blog by mentioning Brad and Chrissy – Cruisin4Fun as they are called. Would you join me in thinking of them today as they were just informed that Chrissy’s father has passed away suddenly at the age of just 57. I have helped make arrangements for them to leave in Barcelona and once again as 3487 guests have fun and continue with their cruise, two people will be flying home to Boston. I asked if I could mention this on the blog as we are indeed a tight group of friends…even though there are thousands of us and they did indeed say they would like this…………therefore, before the fun stuff starts………please think of Chrissy, Brad and their families today……………….thank you.

I would like at this point to welcome all of our Cunard cruisers who have discovered this humble blog thingy in the last few days.

This has happened through the addition of this link and press release from the Cunard offices.

Cunard

Since this was sent out we have had 8,000 Cunard loyal cruises have taken the time to read my blog about the stunning Queen Victoria and hopefully will be reading some of the future blogs as well. Therefore, I bid you all a warm and personal welcome and I hope you enjoyed my behind the scenes look at the Queen Victoria, it was written from the heart and written by someone who was in awe of what he saw………….welcome aboard.

As of today, we have 578,000 slaps on the blog……………..thank you all.

I was talking to a friend of mine recently about the diversity that can be found on today’s Carnival and the fact that you never know who is onboard and from what social standing. Last night in the talent show I had a gentleman from Canada perform. His name is Ken Mohammed and he played Jumbolia…he was good and people enjoyed him very much. I spoke to him after the show and he thanked me for allowing him to play on stage. I asked him if he was a musician…………no he replied………….I am a Brain Surgeon………I laughed……no I really am………..he gave me his card and yep, he is head of Neurosurgery at Toronto’s main hospital. Here he is

Ken Mohammed

Ken Mohammed

Ken Mohammed

We chatted for a while and he told me that this had been the best cruise he had ever been on……..and when this cruise is over he will be walking down the pier and boarding Holland America’s Westerdam for another cruise…………fantastic.

One of the things we also spoke about was that he was so happy to see that we still have a Talent Show. He explained that many other cruise lines no longer have this event and that it is so great for normal people to be able to perform on a large stage, with a full orchestra and in front of 1500 people.

Therefore, to the one or two people who say that Talent shows are a cheap alternative to providing professional entertainment I would refer you to Ken Mohammed and others like him who each and every cruise on our ships get to be a star……….even if just for a few minutes…………….oh by the way, that’s Professor Ken Mohammed by the way…………you never know who is sailing on a Carnival ship.

Here are today’s photos which feature the Towel Animal Demonstration…………enjoy

Towel Animal Demonstration

Towel Animal Demonstration

Here is a photo of Heidi and I just as we started dating.

Heidi and I

Now, here are the letters from the In Their own Words Section and some drawings from Kids Corner.

In Their own Words

In Their own Words

In Their own Words

In Their own Words

In Their own Words

In Their own Words

In Their own Words

Here we go with the Q and A which starts with the last few from the blog called An Afternoon with the Queen……….gosh I am really behind.

LANCE AND ILDA – The public rooms on the Queen Victoria are incomparable and emphasize all that you would expect on a Cunard ship and much more. I am glad you are a fan of British music and I know the 10cc track you are referring to very well and they are one of my favorites. I am also a great fan of the Clash and wanted one of their songs played at our wedding but Heidi said no…………it was “should I stay or should I go “……she was not impressed.
Thank as always for reading the blog and I wish you a great weekend.
BARB AND CARL THE BEARS – You are now my official astronomers and thanks you for the update on the two moons on Monday and I shall inform the guests accordingly. I have also passed this information to the fleet……..many thanks and I hope you are both eating enough and preparing for the winter hibernation.
The Bear
LISA AND ELAINE – I hope you saw the answer about the disclaimer on the last blog…….it’s just in case I say anything I shouldn’t………what are the chances?
THE CHADS – Thank you for the kind words about the Queen Victoria blog. I was very nervous so I am happy that so many people seem to have enjoyed it. I am also very excited to go back and see what it looks like in a month’s time and of course I will invite you all along with me. My best to all the Chads.
KAREN FERDINAND – Now, here is proof positive that the world we live in is small…..very small. Hello Karen, how are you? Bloggers, Karen is the sister of a young lady called Helen, whom, I used to have a HUGE crush on back in the UK. Her parents were good friends with my parents and I have not seen them for 20 years. Yet, here we are, writing to each other and finding out that Karen has booked the amazing ROUND THE WORLD CRUISE on the Queen Victoria. So, first of all please send my best to all the family Karen and congratulations on booking that one of a kind vacation experience. You do seem a little worried about cruising alone but don’t worry. If there is one thing I know about cruising whether on Carnival or Cunard is that single cruises wont be on there own much past boat drill. I am also going to try and use this blog to put you in contact with other Cunard cruisers who may also be taking this voyage on their own so you can meet onboard.
Karen, the liner is……well…..its………..unbelievable and you will have I know such amazing memories of this voyage of discovery that you are embarking on…………you should write a blog………really you should.
I hope you are well and please will you write as often as you can and if you have any questions please let me know………..say hello to Helen and your Mum and Dad…………….can I come for a cup of tea when I am home?
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Happy anniversary Carol as today, 20 years ago you went on your first ever cruise. It was such an honour to be onboard the Queen Victoria and I hope my words did her justice. I look forward to your next blog posting thingy and as always a big hello from Heidi.
I just read your details about your first cruise and the memories came flooding back. I remember the late night buffets, the cherries jubilee and of course the old lip sync contest in the disco……….you know, I may bring that one back, that was a lot of fun. Carnival has changed a lot but the one area that has remained the same is the simple aspect of Fun….that has been and still is our main stay and why people like you keep coming back…..why?…………Carnival’s Got The Fun that’s why………thanks for the memories.
IVANA – Don’t rob a bank in order to cruise on a Cunard ship. Actually, have you looked at Queen Mary 2 prices…….they seem very reasonable as does the Queen Victoria………..it’s a dream of mine to do a Trans Atlantic……..maybe we can all do one together. I hope you are well and thank you for reading today’s blog.
CATMAMA044 – And what a retirement gift to yourself that would be as you cruise the world in your bathtub…….I mean you will be on the Queen Victoria and in your bathtub not cruising in a bathtub, you deserve better than that:)
TERRI910 – I couldn’t open this link Terri………….Roberto, can you help mate?
WILL – Congratulations mate on those magnificent exam results. You must be very proud of yourself. Have a wonderful holiday and my best wishes for your future endeavours. As for me writing a book, well I have thought seriously about it and maybe one day I will indeed. Cheers mate.
BILL RUSSELL – Thanks for the kind words mate and yes………….Queen Victoria is a real beauty………….the ship……..not the monarch.
PETER WARD – See you soon mate and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you before you sail. Have a safe flight.
BIG ED – You and I are hosting tea time on the Bloggers cruise………proper tea not iced tea………..maybe we should drink some of that diet tea. Hope you are having a great weekend.
KICIASKI – Hello George and Linda and I am glad you found the information on Amsterdam useful. Heidi and I love the Hotel D’Europe but you are correct it is a little expensive as is our other favorite the Amstel Intercontinental.
As for where to stay in London that is a little more difficult to answer. The train you mentioned does indeed go into Victoria and that area itself is nice and central to pretty much everything. The two hotels near that area are the Marriott which is excellent and the Victoria Hotel which is right opposite the station. Both are 4 star hotels and for London reasonably priced. Obviously London is full of hotels to suit every pocket and my favorite is the Baglioni opposite Kensington Park and also if you want the best of the best The Dorchester sums up all that is British.
I hope my explanation to Mr.Pac Man was sufficient, I have not heard back from him again so hopefully he has enjoyed the rest of his cruise. I send my best to you and George and please let me know if I can be of further help to you.
CINDY GOODWIN – There is nothing wrong with talking American and shouting from the Hill Tops ” CUNARD ROCKS ” IF YOU LOVE IT, SAY IT.
I have never had the privilege of sailing on their ships but I have been invited to the naming ceremony of the Queen Victoria which I am truly looking forward to. Can you do me a big favor and tell me what features you love about the Queen Mary 2, I am sure our readers would love to hear your stories. Welcome to the blog.
CARL CREARY – Thanks Carl. I am glad you enjoyed reading about the Queen Victoria and as a former Cunard employee you have every right to feel proud………she is simply stunning.
LINDA HERNACKI – I hope I get to post this blog over the weekend. It’s much harder for Roberto and others as they have to have some free time as well but I miss reading your comments as much as you miss me slapping on a blog. How wonderful to be going to the Baptism of your first grandchild……I am sure it will be a wonderful and memorable day for you. I hope Costa Maya can get repairs done quickly but the estimates I am hearing is at least 6 months before it is ready to open again to shipping………..I feel so bad for them. You askd for a photo from the early days so I am sure you enjoyed the one of heidi and I when we first dated. Hope you have a great weekend and see you soon.
FANNY MISLEJ – Muchos Thank You Fanny. We are all excited here at carnival to visit your beautiful country. See you soon.
CLIFF BAKE – Thanks Cliff and great to hear from you. Your kind comments are rejuvenating and uplifting. Thank mate.
BARBARA – Congratulations on booking what I am sure will be 14 unforgettable days onboard the Queen Victoria. I will be visiting the ship again soon and hope you will stop by the blog every now and then to see what is happening. My best to you and your friend………..who shall remain nameless……….are they on the witness protection program? 🙂
CHUCK WEBER – You are correct, there is still much work to be done onboard the Queen Victoria but she will be ready to sail and ready for inspection in San Francisco. I wish I could see her sail into the harbour there, that must be quite a sight. Hope you are well Chuck and thank you for reading the blog thingy.
RITA – Welcome to my blog Rita and how wonderful that you discovered the blog through the press release about the Queen Victoria review and also that you sailed with me on the inaugural cruise of the Carnival Liberty to the Mediterranean. You and I share a dream……no, not owning and Aston Martin or of Angelina Jolie wearing a nurses uniform………..sorry……..had one of my funny turns then…………I meant the dream of sailing around the world. It looks like your dream may come true and the Queen Victoria will be the perfect liner to make your dreams come true. In the meantime, how about sailing on the Carnival Splendor next year and joining me as we sail the beautiful Baltic. If you need any further information on that I will be here for you and I am glad you have discovered my blog thingy. Welcome Home.
MICHELLE – What a beautiful posting and thank you sincerely for writing about your Mum and her adventures on the original Queen Mary. It was truly uplifting to see the Carnival Freedom and the Emerald Princess from the deck of the new Queen Victoria and it was a tribute to the continuing success for Carnival Corporation. I hope your next cruise brings you many memories and maybe one day I will be lucky enough to say welcome aboard to you on one of our fun ships. Until then, I truly hope you will keep reading the blog.
KENNETH KANE – It sounds like Cunard should hire us to both hum Rule Britannia as the Queen Victoria is launched. How fortunate you are to have sailed on the Queen Mary and enjoy world cruises and Transatlantic crossings…………you must have so many amazing and everlasting memories. I thank you sincerely for the kind words and I know with out fear of being wrong that the Queen Victoria will supply you and thousands of others with many new and precious memories. Cheers mate.
MARY – hello Mary and welcome back from cruising the transatlantic on the Queen Mary 2 Mary. Mary, it sounds like the Queen Mary gave you a brilliant vacation and thank you for saying how wonderful the staff were Mary on the Queen Mary. I think Mary that the Queen Victoria will be as exciting as The Queen Mary 2 and will provide you with another brilliant cruise vacation Mary. Thank you for reading the blog Mary and thank you for sharing the memories of your Queen Mary 2 cruise and allowing me to be the first blogger ever to write the word Mary 14 times in one posting……….thank you Mary….16.
PATRICIA CONNERY KOKO – Firstly may I say thank you for taking the time to write the message you posted and how wonderful to read about your father and grandfather who were loyal Cunarders. This is another example of the loyalty and family feel that can only come with a company with the pedigree of Cunard.You asked why they don’t build smaller ships and I am sorry that I cannot answer for Cunard but I can give you my opinion based on 20 years at sea. The Queen Victoria will have 2200 guests onboard and from visiting her last week I know that it will never feel like there are that many people there. The public spaces are so well designed and so vast that you will at time wonder where everyone is. You also seemed concerned that disembarking that amount of people in the ports of call will be difficult and I can assure you and promise you that is far from the case. I have weekly experience in the smooth disembarking of 3500 people and these days the ships, the ports and most importantly the crew and staff are experts in making this happen………….I know we don’t know each other but why not tell me all your concerns, let me see if I can help you and then, just maybe, I can try and gently persuade you to follow in your father’s and grandfather’s footsteps or seasteps and take a cruise…………..what do you say?
D.A. KINNEY – Another great posting and more stories to treasure from your cruise on the Queen of Bermuda. I am really happy to hear you are taking your first Carnival cruise and maybe I can help answer any questions you may have. What ship are you sailing on mate? I love Andy Capp by the way and always used to read it in the Daily Express……..or was it the Daily Mail? Nowadays, I read the Guardian………..with a copy of the Sun hidden inside. Hope to hear from you soon and all the best.
JELLYBEE – Are you a sugar free jellybee? I hope so and if you are you are ” the wind beneath my wings “………please refer to previous blogs.
Congratulations on booking the Queen Victoria from Singapore to Southampton………a trip of a lifetime I am sure. I see you have sailed on 29 cruises, have you ever sailed on a Carnival ship? I do hope you will keep reading the blog.
ALICE – May I start by offering my deepest sympathies at the loss of your husband last year. I know we have never met but I assure you that tonight, you will be in my thoughts. You say you want to start a new life and start living again………then……lets take a cruise………lets meet new friends……….see new places and all the while knowing your husband would be happy to see you living your life again on the ocean waves. Tell you what, why not read this blog thingy of mine every now and then. Listen to other peoples experiences and also enjoy the fun and laughter we all share together………….I hope this is the start of a internet thingy friendship Alice and I wish you much hapiness in the future.
PHIL – Sorry I spelt Royal Doulton wrong……….i guess that is what comes from drinking out of a mug all these years. Thank you for the kind words about the blog and yes, the spiral staircase is indeed very striking as of course is the two level library. You and many others cannot wait to sail on her……….me included. I hope you will take the time to read the blog and please let me know if I spall anithing elles rong:)
DARRELL WEBSTER RUMSEY – Please, no need to thank me. It was a real privilege to write about this ship especially as in no way, shape or form am I a travel writer…………I just wrote what I thought and if it did indeed get you more excited about your forthcoming cruise then I am a very happy man tonight. I wish you Bon Voyage and maybe you can check in on this blog thingy of mine now and then and if I can help in anyway, please let me know.
GILAU – I certainly hope you have fairer seas for your inaugural crossing on the Queen Victoria then the seas you so expertly described on the Queen Elizabeth 2nd. One thing is for sure, today’s vessels are bristling with equipment and safety has never been more paramount then it is today………….there has never been a better time to cruise. I hope that you and other Cunarders will take the time to share your forthcoming experiences with all of us here as we will share our fun and exciting Carnival adventures. Thank you again for sharing your story with us and I wish you and your family well.
GEORGE MITCHELL – What stories, what adventures, what memories you could share……….you were a bellboy in the 1950’s………..would it be to forward of me to ask you to answer a few questions for this humble blog thingy of mine. If you agree, please just post a message maorked PRIVATE and it will be sent straight to me and we can chat. Many thanks in advance.
PETE BUCKY – You asked if my spelling of Leonard De Crapio’s last name was deliberate…………….guilty.
SHIRLEY AYRES – My apologies for the over use of pronouns. My father, who is a retired teacher would agree with you. My problem is that this blog is written as I go along and not edited…………..I hope it is a true representation of my personality.
Thank you so much for saying how much you enjoyed the blog about the Queen Victoria and that you felt that you were along with me…………..you made me very happy tonight………….both me and Heidi:) I truly hope you will continue to read the blog.
MARK GARMAISE – You asked for the square footage of the Queens Room Dance Floor. I don’t know mate but I know someone who will be able to find out. Please allow me 24 hours and I will post the answer for you. CALLING PA 007.
LANCE W. SAILORS – I am sorry you could not book the Queen Victoria for 2008………is it sold out already? I am glad though that you found the blog thingy and if you check this address out every day you will see a new posting everyday with my new adventures at sea.
PETER MAZZEI – I am glad my thingy got you excited………..opps…….lets try that again…………I am glad my blog thingy got you excited about your Queen Victoria cruise…………..you are welcome and many thanks.
DONA CHETELAT – You obviously have cruising running through your vains like everyone on this blog. It is great to read and I wish you happy voyages ahead. I hope I am honoured to sail with you soon.

That’s all the time I have for the Q and A today…………..more will follow.

Now, let’s chat about something near and dear to me. Carnival has just started a new program in the support of a cure for Breast Cancer.

We are very pleased to announce the roll out plans for the “On Deck for the Cure” program. This shipboard fundraising program is in partnership with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation and offers our guests the opportunity to provide a $10 donation and join a group walk (one- kilometer) out on deck. Each participant receives an “On Deck for the Cure” t-shirt and pink embossed wrist band.

I hope to make this an event that everyone participates in, as it was expanded from a pilot program to the majority of the ships sailing 7 days or longer and the Elation out of San Diego, and here on the Carnival Freedom I intend to make it the event of the cruise…………………………..I hope you will all join in.

I just returned from our Beatles tribute show ‘Ticket To Ride’. It never ceases to amaze me when 1800 people stand and sing Hey Jude with the cast………it is truly Inspirational and shows yet again that Carnival shows are simply the best and I am proud to be associated with them.

As we all know it has been a tough few days for the people of the Caribbean and Mexico with the havoc caused by Hurricane Dean. In many cases ships have been diverted to different ports for the safety of guests and crew and the ship itself. I wanted to show you this e mail I received from my friend Al Ersnst who is Carnival’s 424th best comedian……he is actually the best but don’t tell him that. Here is his report from the Carnival Ecstasy.

Hello All Wildly Popular Blogger Readers of the Legendary John Heald.
I know you tune in daily to what can be called the “highly interesting” life of one Cruise Director on one ship sailing the European theatre.

However, I have been a long time “Fly-on” Entertainer for Carnival Cruise Lines…and am in fact on my way off the Ecstasy… What a week it has been. I met the ship in Galveston, TX and with that faced down a Category 5 Hurricane Dean heading directly where we intended to go…the Yucatan.

How it turned out was so interesting…All of the 20+ ships in the fleet use “fly-on” Entertainers. Meaning that we fly to a port, join the ship for not usually over 2 or 3 days, do the show, and leave in the blink of an eye. My schedule called for me to get off the ship in Cozumel . I figured when I got on we had less than a 50 -50 shot at going that way…but had no idea where we would end up if anywhere…

As expected, we did divert from our first stop in Progresso, but with all the confidence in the world still planned to call on Cozumel. After twelve years of these adventures, I was stunned that we where still going, and thought this may turn into a five day “cruise to nowhere”

. But the Hurricane blinked when faced with the 3000 person Ecstasy ship.
The direct eye of the hurricane missed Cozumel, but I was still sure the outer bands of this massive storm would certainly bring some real damage to the little island. When we got the news that the Pier stayed in tact through the storm…the Captain announced we where going…I was still convinced we would then be having tours with helmets on, and this would go from vacation to mission trip for our guests.

This morning when we arrived at 7am…it stood like nothing happened…all electric was on, phones worked, and not one piece of house or tree in the street, Not 48 hours earlier, this area was in total lock-down. Carlos and Charlie’s opened at 9am, and by 9:01 the first of four billion blankets, puppets, flutes, and bracelets where being sold. Truly remarkable to the rebuilding process of this area since it was so messed up in 2005.

Let me also say the Captain kept us totally out of harms way, and announced that we where heading directly east until the storm passed. The Crew worked extra, the staff had extra activities and events for the second sea day.

Now, let me write about these guests. Usually, you get the angry horror story filled people who do not understand why we might alter our trip a bit. These people where GREAT. Very little grumbling, and they just took it as we should for all out lives…in stride

When faced with adversity…relax…as a person who has sailed multiple times on all 22 ships, I would recommend the Port of Galveston, and the Ecstasy.

Thanks Al. There will be a full interview with Al very soon.

Talking of interviews, next week one of the guest interviews will be with the Captain of the Queen Mary 2 Commodore Warner. This will be a huge privelege for me and I hope all of you as he invites us into his world.

Also, next week , look out for more special guests and much more fun and laughter.
I just wanted to say this also. Today we have had the welcomed the addition of thousands of Cunard’s loyal fans who have joined the blog and what an honour it is to have them read this humble blog thingy. You know, Carnival and Cunard ships and their guests are completely different but there is one thing we all have in common and that is a love of the sea and this wonderful industry which we all treasure.

Just before I say goodnight, its time to blow my own trumpet……….and I am not referring to the sugar free candy I have been eating………..Thanks to all the loyal Carnival bloggers and my new friends who joined us today this blog thingy is……………..well…………..see for yourself.

http://botd.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/top-blogs-488/

I couldn’t be happier………………………..unless I get that Aston Martin and Angelina Jolie is sitting on the hood wearing nothing but a…….

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

Are We Having Pun Yet……Shahnaz Is!

August 24, 2007 -

John Heald

Ciao from Sicily where the smell of forest fires hangs in the air. There is a definite pong of burnt wood which this summer can be found also in Spain, Portugal, Russia, Greece and Croatia. Well, we are just leaving Messina and all the guests are onboard……….even Alan Adkins who was late again! (Considering he is in England that’s no surprise).As we are leaving I wanted to chat about something that I was chatting about with the wonderful folks who took me round the Queen Victoria the other day. I had mentioned that when we left the shipyard for the first time that there was really nobody to say goodbye. I meant that when we delivered other ships a few years ago the shipyard workers would line the harbour waving goodbye to their many months of hard work. This has not happened on the last few ships I have been on, in fact, I cannot remember such a thing happening since the Carnival Destiny leaving Italy and arriving in Venice or the Carnival Leg End leaving Helsinki, Finland.

This led me to think that it is I guess commonplace these days. Each Caribbean port has daily mega ship arrivals and now in Europe the sight of a huge cruise ship is normal.

A guy goes into the Doctors and says……..I can’t stop singing The Green Green Grass Of Home…..please help me

The Doctor says………..You have Tom Jones Syndrome

The guy says…………I have never heard of that

Doctor says…………It’s Not Unusual

Sorry, I had one of my PUN moments…back to the topic. On rare occasions a ship entering a port is treated as if royalty or a superstar has come to town as in the case I mentioned in a previous blog when the Carnival Leg End called at Newfoundland, Canada. It was the same in Glasgow, Scotland when a huge flotilla of boats and yachts followed us through the estuary even though it was a foggy and rainy day…………oh, that reminds me.

There was this guy and he had a girlfriend named Lorraine who was very pretty and he liked her a lot. One day he went to work and found that a new girl had started working there. Her name was Claire-Lee and she was absolutely gorgeous.

He became quite besotted with Claire-Lee and after a while it became obvious that she was interested in him too. But this guy was a loyal man and he wouldn’t do anything with Claire-Lee while he was still going out with Lorraine. He decided that there was nothing left to do but to break up with Lorraine and get it on with Claire-Lee.

He planned several times to tell Lorraine but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Then one day they went for a walk along the riverbank when Lorraine slipped and fell in to the river. The current carried her off and she drowned.

The guy stopped for a moment by the river and then ran off smiling and singing…

“I can see Claire-Lee now Lorraine has gone”

Sorry, I don’t know what is wrong with me today. Back to the topic. I guess it takes something special to get the locals excited when a ship comes to town but I guess that is what happened yesterday when the one and only Queen Mary 2 came to Hamburg, Germany. Now, I am not sure if this was the first time she had called there but my goodness it was a truly inspirational and exuberant sight. How do I know this, well I received an e mail from friends of mine Hans and Marsha who were in Hamburg………this is their first hand report

There are thousands of people here to look at the ship. An amazing site I have never seen anything quite like it. Words cannot describe how Hamburg welcomes her and comes out to bid her farewell as she leaves. Together with a flotilla of hundreds of boats, every tour boat available and even some cargo ships all packed with people. There are fireworks from five different locations. Hundreds of thousands come just to see her during the day and for her departure, crowds for miles along the Riverbanks – in some locations 20 deep – applauding and whistling non-stop as she sails by. Hundreds of thousands of people lining the bank of the Elbe river applauding, cheering and whistling with cameras flashing everywhere plus every tour boat and dinner cruise boat in the entire city was rented and FULL of people just to see Queen Mary 2. It was the kind of stuff that gives you Goosebumps!

So, sounds like we all need to go to Hamburg.

A musician who joined the orchestra on the Queen Mary 1 was having difficulty keeping time with the rest of the band.

Finally, the captain said, “Either you learn to keep time or I’ll throw you overboard. . . .”

“It’s up to you, sync or swim.”

Sorry, I think I need to take an anti pun pill. Quick, let’s do some photos before it gets worse. These were taken by Entertainment host Ricky who went on the Mount Etna at 2900 hundred tour today……………enjoy

Mount Etna

Mount Etna

Mount Etna

Time for an Embarrass John Photo. This one was taken with the beautiful Tanya and Gaetano who were the resident magicians on the Jubilee and with the incomparable Captain Casula.

Time for an Embarrass John Photo. This one was taken with the beautiful Tanya and Gaetano who were the resident magicians on the Jubilee and with the incomparable Captain Casula

Now it is time for today’s 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

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

Ok, time for the Q and A……………and once again I need to just choose the ones with questions and statements. I only have an hour to get this posted before the weekend and therefore I may not get chance to answer them all but I promise to do my best. We start with those from the blog called “An Afternoon With The Queen”…………….This by the way has received a lot of positive feedback and it seems that you all enjoyed it, so much so that some of you are thinking of booking a cruise and one lady who has indeed booked the Round the World Cruise. The good news is that I have asked to do a follow up visit just before she is launched so we can see the public rooms and spaces in all their glory…………….can’t wait.

So, here we go……………oh no…………I can’t stop myself………………………..heeeeeelppppppppp

Not too long ago a scientist tried to clone himself. However, his clone was very obnoxious and lewd, while the scientist was well received and respected. Finally fed up with his experiment gone wrong, he threw his clone off the roof of the laboratory, killing the clone.

He was arrested by the local police for…

making an obscene clone fall.

Sorry.

BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – I have no idea how and why I forgot my belt but I did. I was in the doghouse with Heidi as I spent the whole time walking around the Queen Victoria with my hands in my pockets………how disrespectful. You mentioned Costa Maya……..here are some more tragic photos.
Costa Maya
It’s hard to know what to say.
DWA76 – Thanks mate, I am so glad you liked the Queen Victoria blog. I must admit I was worried my article would not do it justice. It was a huge privilege and one I shall remember. Thanks mate.
CRUISINSUE – Thanks to you as well for the kind words about the Queen Victoria article. I heard some people calling her the QV but that’s like calling a Rolls Royce an RR or a Bentley a Bent or an Aston Martin an Ass………Anyway, thanks also for recognizing Mark price as a great CD as indeed he is. See you in 44 days time….I hope you are excited.
GREG BALDASARRI – Thanks mate. I am happy to hear you enjoyed the Queen Victoria article as I knew I was one of the first to write about her. It was not hard in the end though as there is definitely something “magical” about the ship and I cannot wait to see her again once all the bells and whistles are complete. Thanks again Greg, you just made my day with your words of praise.
KATHY KROLL – You would love the Queen Victoria and especially coming from a show background you must see the showroom. I can see you and your husband dancing in the Queens Room……………can you?
LAUREN – and you did! Congratulations.
LV2CRUISE – and thank you for those words of congratulations on the Queen Victoria article…….you made me smile…a lot.
MYRON SAWRAS – What a fantastic posting and many thanks for being with the blog since we started. I remember you of course, don’t know why but I actually do have a visual of you in my mind…….you are good looking by the way. I do also remember Hurricane Gene and the effects that had on the ships especially the Glory when we lost 3 days of the cruise. I did get a letter of apology from Grace who said she did buy me some Tim Horton’s donuts but due to the fact the airplane food was so bad…….she ate them. I sent Grace something for being honest and making me laugh. I hope I get to see you and your family again soon mate and many thanks for reading the blog thingy.
BIG ED – Lauren beat you.
JO MYERLY – Oh say it is not so. No more jellybeans…….I shall have to ration what I have then which I am sure Heidi will appreciate. I am glad you also enjoyed the Queen Victoria blog and maybe I can interview a few of the key onboard management once she is launched to see what it is like to work onboard. See you soon.
MATT – I am glad you brought up the subject of Supper Club reservations up and that is why I have bolded this part of the Q and A. I will not be sending confirmations out, I am so sorry but it just is not possible. However, if for some strange reason the Supper Club is booked and a reservation is not possible I will of course let you all know. Unless you hear from me please take it as confirmed that you reservation is as you requested. Just one reminder, please remember that on most ships the Supper Club is closed on the first night so please make sure you are specific in booking the date you want to eat rather than the date the cruise starts. You asked about the formal nights on the Carnival Freedom seven-day cruise. These are on the first and last sea days. If therefore you want me to change your booking please post something on the blog rather than complete the form again and I will take care of it for you.
If you prefer not to use the form bloggers, you can post a “manual” request anytime you want. Thanks matt and all the best.
TAMMIE – She is indeed gorgeous and then some.
SCOTT – Happy to hear you liked the Queen Victoria blog as did Tammie. I will be returning for another look later and I hope you will enjoy that one as well. Cheers.
SUSETTE LOWENSTEIN – A brilliant advertisement for Cunard, Susette and thank you for sharing it with everyone. I have never had the privilege of sailing with our friends from Cunard but hopefully I will next year. We are all proud here at Carnival to have this majestic company in the family. Thanks again and a special thank you for your kind words about my Queen Victoria Blog.
LISA AND ELAINE – Air Hockey………that’s right……..couldn’t remember the name of the game. I guess the father should have checked to see what games we had in the arcade; I guess I was just a bit surprised myself.
Now, as for the blog being the perfect nighttime companion along with chocolate and Diet Coke, well I am flattered. I hope this one makes you smile and have an extra bit of chocolate for me……..sugar free of course. Here is a chocolate joke for you.
Chocolate Joke
LOIS BROKE WIGS (ANAGRAM OF YOUR NAME) – Thanks and I hope your step mom did indeed enjoy it…..send her my best.
NANCY D – I have never considered myself a travel writer and really had no idea what I was going to say in my report. In the end, I just wrote what I felt and I felt that the ship although not finished was going to be very, very special and I am happy you could all come along for the ride. As for me being the Cruise Director……….well, I am honoured that you should think of me but I have a feeling that it’s a bit above me and would need someone of sophistication. I am hoping to interview the Queen Mary’s CD, Mr. Ray Rouse who I am sure will be on the Queen Victoria…………….although…………I would like to maybe host one show or maybe an inaugural performance on board………….maybe I will steal the microphone during the naming ceremony.
Hope you are well Nancy and enjoy the blog.
TERRI910 – Thank you so much for the links to one of my favorite things………..teatime. I always try and drink three cups a day and one every afternoon. Can you imagine drinking a cup of Earl Grey Tea in the Queens Room out of a delicate china cup?…………nearly the same as me drinking a cup of PG TIPS out of a chipped mug with a photo of an Aston Martin on it. Hey……maybe we can do a Bloggers cruise on the Queen Victoria ………………….its good to dream. All the best Terri.
THE JOHNSTON 4 – Welcome home all of you and there really is no need to thank us, we are just glad you are home safe. Heidi sends her love to Trevor………..she misses him. I do truly hope you have had a great vacation here and I especially enjoyed the nice comments appreciating all our hard work with regard to the tender service in the ports………….I appreciate that so very much. So, we send our best to the entire family and truly hope we see you soon.
LINDA HERNACKI – I think the diet is working because the pants were falling down a bit. I am glad you liked the last blog so much. The Queen Victoria really is a special lady and it was amazing to see the lady being born. Heidi will be writing a blog over the weekend and she sends her best to you as do I to Mike as well.
CARL AND BARB THE BEARS – Thank you for the wonderful words about the last article. You truly are great friends.

I am so sorry that I have to stop here otherwise this blog won’t get posted before the weekend. I will answer every question on Saturday’s and Sunday’s blog I promise. I have to run to the talent show now but not before I slap on this wonderful interview with a brilliant and talented lady. This is Shahnaz Kashinpour who is the Hotel Director of the Carnival Legend and a great friend. Here she is.

Shahnaz Kashinpour

Shahnaz Kashinpour

1. Shahnaz. Can you tell us something about your career with carnival from the start until your current position now?
*****************Are you sure, you really want to know??…………Actually it is one of those unplanned long stories, where one thing led to another and here I am ……Ok, here you go…..Back when I lived in Los Angeles I always spoke about one day going on a cruise again (had cruised with my parents as a child). In 1983 I had heard about Single World, which was organized through a Travel Agency, where one had to be single, over 18 and under 35 I believe, was accompanied by travel escort, guaranteed 2nd seating dining and would share a cabin from within the group. So, there I was getting on a plane from LA to Miami and then to San Juan. I had a blast of a week, met loads of really nice people, who I stayed in contact with and still now, one of my best friends today is the one I met on that cruise.

Well, 5 years later in 1988, while working in our small little German Bakery in Beverly Hills, one of our regular customers AND good friend, Rick Henry, walks in and one could tell something was up. So he told me that he had committed to a good friend of his, who is a travel escort for Single World, that he would cover for her 3 weeks vacation, however now his agent had booked him a gig in a well known club and now he was stuck not knowing what to do.

Well….me and my big mouth, before I could even think what I was saying, I told him “Single World, wow, I sailed with them 5 years ago, I know the concept, hey, I’ll do it for you” :)))

Long story short, he took me serious, called the company, told them about me, they said yes and there I was, spending my next few days learning all about the Tropicale and the layout of the ship, the people, the tours I was taking the group on, etc etc. and voila, there I escorted a group of 25 – 30 San Jose, California Fire Department guys on a Mexican Riviera Cruise.

A few months later I received a call directly from that company and was asked if I would want to cover for 4 – 6 weeks on the Festivale out of San Juan over Christmas/New Years 1988/89?

It was during those weeks, that I met so many wonderful people, got to know the crew very well, helped out at the Pursers Office whenever they needed help, and when I came back home I decided to apply and maybe do this “fun job” for ONE YEAR” :)) I got the job as a purser on the Mardi Gras in less than week from when I returned……….and then one thing lead to another, I was lucky enough to part of the start up team for the Fantasy, Ecstasy, Fascination, Pride and the last one, the last one the Carnival Legend…………and my ONE YEAR turned into 18 1/2 years…….

2. The role of the Hotel Director is one that is very varied and requires so many skills. Can you tell us something about your responsibilities?

As a Hotel Director you are the link between each department. In order to be able to really run and understand the operation, one should know and have worked the basics of each department. This to me is the most fascinating as well as most important aspect of the whole job. Having worked on board for so many years, one really gets to the heart of the operation, and can see how and where it all starts, it evolves all around and then the circle closes. When you actually stop and think, what we do and what has to be done, it gets to be really overwhelming and scary at times. So that is when we all just do what we need to do, work as team and enjoy what we do. As a Hotel Director, others will turn to you for guidance, advice, decisions or just someone who will listen. As long as we are there together, walk the same path with the same goals, I believe I have achieved my purpose……………..

3. Please take us through your typical debarkation and embarkation day which is often one of the busiest. What goes on behind the scenes and what is involved in making these smooth transitions?

This is one of the busiest and yet most important days for us. It is a day which starts very early for everyone on board and finishes very late. It is the day, where we need to get a lot done fast, as we need to turn the ship around. Within a few hours we have to wish our 2,400 guests farewell, and then welcome 2,400 new guests. It is the day where we leave our guests with their last impression of us and for those joining, with their first impression of us.

4. You and I had the pleasure of being chosen to introduce the carnival legend’s Baltic Cruise during its inaugural season. What are your memories of these wonderful ports and what were the highlights for you personally. It was an unbelievable experience and looking back, to this date I still am not sure how it all came together.
You are right John; it was an awesome experience which I will never forget. You know John, as a child while growing up in Hamburg, Germany, my great great Aunts would take us to the River “Elbe” which would run into the harbour of Hamburg. At the entrance of the Elbe was a place called “Willkommen Hoeft,” which was a restaurant that served great ice cream by the way, but that was not what was important. This place actually had someone sitting in the upper level of the building in a room, who would announce the ships, tankers or ferry coming in and out of the harbor down the Elbe River. They would announce the name of the boat, the flag it was sailing under, the tonnage, the nationality of the crew, where it was heading or coming from….then they would raise the flag of the ship, play their national anthem and then the German national anthem, welcoming them to Hamburg or wishing them farewell.

That place was my most favorite place in the world and whenever my aunts wanted to take us anywhere, this is the place I wanted to be. I would start guessing the nationality, where it came from and where it would be going…and then kept dreaming, that one day I wanted to be on one of those ships coming into the harbor. I imagined myself being on the deck watching those people sitting in the restaurant and welcoming us …….Well, that part of the dream is still a dream, however I am on a ship now and when we sailed into Warnemuende, Germany on August 26, 2002 on the Carnival Legend, my thoughts went back to the days when I was a little girl watching those ships coming into Hamburg, and thought………wow………… you are not only on a ship sailing into Germany, Warnemuende, you are also the Hotel Director of this most wonderful ship………..and I really got Goosebumps.

While most of our guests went off on excursion to Berlin, I had my parents, sisters and family coming on board and visiting me, and it really felt good.

Sorry, long winded story, but really meant a lot to me………

5. My blog is not just about saying how fantastic the company is (even though it is) so what do you think one area that we as a Cruise Line could improve on. By the way folks, I choose Shahnaz for this guest blog as not only is she one of our most respected and experienced Hotel Director’s but she also is respected for speaking her mind………………so speak Shahnaz please.

You are right, Carnival is a fantastic company and I am very proud to be part of it. I have seen it grow and change over the past 18 years and believe, as long as we continue to do what we have always done, which is listen to our guests, hear them and give them what they seem to ask for, we keep improving every day.

I remember, when I lived in Los Angeles and we had our German Bakery for a while, I used to prepare “my” most favorite cakes and cookies and then found out, that our clients made comments, that they were not sweet enough or not moist enough?….Wow I thought, this is exactly the way I have always done it and it really taste great, until of course someone told me, Shahnaz, always remember, it doesn’t matter what YOU like, but what the CUSTOMER likes and requests!

Needless to say, that stayed with me forever, and that is how I believe Carnival has run this company. We have heard our guests and have listened to them and continue to do so…..and this is how we keep improving every day……….

6. Please can you tell our 550,000 readers a little about the fantastic crew activities and recreational facilities on all of our ships which ultimately you are responsible for.

Well, we try to have several different activities for crew on board, so they can get “away” so to say, for a few hours. Each month a different department is in charge to create and run the monthly activities. Of course we all help out and it works well. This month we had our Entertainment department run them, and one of the many highlight was “Dancing with the Stars/Management.” We had many department heads/officers practicing with our dancers and then performing for the crew…it was absolutely awesome and everyone just loved it……..I was wondering John, if you and I would be practicing and dancing, who would be considered the STAR ??? :))…….of course John, you would be star (as always) and I would be the dancer (hahaha, didn’t think I could dance, did you? 🙂

7.What has been your proudest moment as a Carnival employee
There have been many, however the “proudest” was same as above, sailing into Germany on the Legend

8. Do you miss working with me?
Of course John, how can you even ask………………..Absolutely

9. Hopefully you said YES but anyway, what was my worst habit as a Cruise Director….what drove you mad about working with me.

You being goofy and trying to make me laugh when I was “trying” to deal with serious matters and, oh yeah, the Capers…….when after proof reading them, you would sneak in activities…………………. like “nap time”… or Arts & Crafts with your “Hotel Director” :)))))

10. Ok, the fun stuff. I know you have a great passion for enjoying good food and great company. Here is your chance to design your perfect dinner party

PLEASE CHOOSE

APPETIZER Frog legs

MAIN COURSE Steak Tartar

DESSERT Crème Brule

YOUR CHOICE OF WINE Alluvium Beringer

And four famous people from yesterday or today to share this fine meal with.

Farah Diba, Princess Diana, Albert Einstein & Freud…..can you just imagine that table?

What a wonderful interview and I hope I get to work with Shahnaz again soon………….she really is so good at what she does…………..and she keeps me in my place when Heidi is not there.

OK, before I finish I just got some photos from Hans and Sarah my friends who were in Hamburg during the Queen Mary 2’s visit. Here they are so please enjoy.

1. The Queen Mary 2 and the observation tower

1. The Queen Mary 2 and the observation tower

2. The crowds gather to see the Queen

2. The crowds gather to see the Queen

3. Even more people flock to see this amazing liner

3. Even more people flock to see this amazing liner

4. A bird’s eye view

4. A bird’s eye view

5. The sign says it all Queen Mary Day 2 – (Anna Depebush – means ladies can pee behind a bush)

5. The sign says it all Queen Mary Day 2 - (Anna Depebush - means ladies can pee behind a bush)

6. The Queen at Night

6. The Queen at Night

7. This would have been a great shot of the smoke stack but some random guy eating a pretzel the size of the ship wandered into the photo

7. This would have been a great shot of the smoke stack but some random guy eating a pretzel the size of the ship wandered into the photo

Right of to the talent show now and then I will come straight back and blog again and I promise………………no more Puns

Well………………………………except this one.

Steven Spielberg was discussing his new project – an action document drama about famous composers starring top movie stars Sylvester Stallone, Steven Segal, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger were all present. Spielberg strongly desired the box office ‘oomph’ of these superstars, so he was prepared to allow them to select whatever composers they would portray, as long as they were very famous.

“Well,” started Stallone, “I’ve always admired Mozart. I would love to play him.”

“Chopin has always been my favorite, and my image would improve if people saw me playing the piano,” said Willis. “I’ll play him.”

“I’ve always been partial to Strauss and his waltzes,” said Segal. “I’d like to play him.”

Spielberg was very pleased with these choices. “Sounds splendid.”

Then, looking at Schwarzenegger, he asked, “Who do you want to be, Arnold?” So Arnold says,

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“I’ll be Bach.”
Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

Bloggers Cruise

August 24, 2007 -

John Heald

Hi Bloggers! Roberto here again. Just wanted to let you guys know that the “Bloggers Cruise” site is up with information on the Bloggers Cruise. If you’ve already booked, make sure you fill out the registration form; that way you can assure you’ll receive all the Bloggers Cruise information, including some “behind the scenes” information:). We’re all excited about the Bloggers Cruise; it will definitely be a fun time!

Normally, the day and half we spend in Venice are the two easiest days of the cruise for me but this time they have been two of the busiest. As you w…………….OOPS………where are my manners………….Good Evening………….sorry about that………as I was saying, Heidi and I went to visit the Queen Victoria as you will have seen from the previous blog…….here is what else happened.

5:05pm……….on board the Queen Victoria – it stars to rain lightly
5:10pm………..It’s getting dark
5:21pm………It’s raining cats and dogs and other large animals
5:41pm……..my phone rings……….all the Gondola tours are canceled……….that’s 500 people who will need to be refunded and taken care off.

Anyway, I made some calls and the shore excursion manager and I chatted about what we would do. At 6:44pm I was back onboard the Carnival Freedom and I announced that due to the weather conditions the evening gondola tours would be canceled and everyone would receive a full refund. It continued to rain harder than I have seen in months until suddenly, it stopped…………and at 7:10pm the skies cleared and it was a beautiful evening…………the Gondola Tours were due to leave at 7:00pm…………..bugger !

Many guests still went into Venice at night and for those staying onboard we organized extra activities and because the decks were soaking wet I decided to move the Big Screen Movie, Casino Royale, into the main theatre.

So, all in all a very busy day and today, in Venice has been beautiful with clear skies, sun and temperatures perfect at 80 degrees. It is now 4:34pm and I can see the skies beginning to darken……….maybe a gondolier has upset Mother Nature…….she probably doesn’t like the tight spandex pants they all wear.

If it is OK with you I am going to get straight into the Q & A as I have SO many to answer. But first, here are today’s photos as taken by Jamie from the entertainment staff who has her family sailing………..hello Mum and Dad.

1. The Church of Health……the dome is being cleaned hence the scaffolding

1. The Church of Health……the dome is being cleaned hence the scaffolding

2. The lighthouse at the Island Of Murano

2. The lighthouse at the Island Of Murano

3. Master Glass Blower at the Murano Factory

3.  Master Glass Blower at the Murano Factory

4. St. Marks Square

4. St. Marks Square

5. On a Gondola

5. On a Gondola

And here is a photo from the “Embarrass John Section.” This was taken in 1990 onboard the TSS Carnivale, my first ship as Cruise Director. I tried to play the trombone with the band…………….they were happy to let me……….I bought them lots of beer.

Embarrass John

And now some letters from the “In Their Own Words Section” and another from Kids Corner.

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

Time to catch up on some Q & A

Let’s start with Chris Prideaux’s answers as to whom will be the Cruise Director on various ships during people’s cruises. Here we go.

You asked who the CD will be on the Carnival Liberty in February. I don’t know, let me find out by asking CHRIS PRIDEAUX ……….. Chris? STEVE KNISLEY

You asked who the Cruise Director was on the Carnival Inspiration on April 27 1997. I know you want this name for your scrapbook and I am now going to ask CHRIS PRIDEAUX to look in the archives to see who…………….. Shawn Bussey

Thanks Chris and on we go.

THESE ARE QUESTIONS STARTING WITH THE BLOG CALLED “LOVE OF BOATS”

CAPTAIN CHUCK – I hope this catches you before you sail. It will be a great cruise on the Carnival Spirit and I wish you a wonderful time. Stay in touch with us now and then and let us know how it is going. Bon Voyage mate.
LISA WIGGS – It sounds like you are true Princess fans so I am happy that I managed to ask its President Alan Buckelew to post his interview. It is interesting that this site now encompasses not just Carnival fans but those who just love cruising. I hope therefore you are enjoying the blog and just out of interest, why do you love Anytime Dining so much………just interested. My best wishes to you and hope to hear from you soon.
BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – Ahhhhhhhh, yes, I forgot you Yanks don’t use Pints………….I guess it should be 8oz of milk. Did you make the Scones yet………are you ready for my Mum’s recipe for Chicken Curry…………here we go, food again. Hope we have a meal together one day soon mate.
DWA76 – Hello mate. Yep, there are always nerves when Carnival takes over another cruise line but Mr. Arison and the board are clever and know not to interfere with its identity. That has been the case for Holland America, Cunard, Seabourn, AIDA, Costa, P & O and Royal Ca……….sorry, got ahead of myself then. One thing is for certain, we now have a family of ships to suit everyone’s vacation tastes and I have no problem in having this blog thingy talk positively about each and every one of them. Thank you also for your kind words about the family who wanted the ashes scattered, I will tell you a little more about that later. As always it’s great to see your posting and I am glad the markets have quieted down a bit……..now if you could just do something about the dollar.
LINDA FROM MICHIGAN – That is a very interesting question …………..has a Captain ever disembarked a guest for bad behaviour? The answer is yes, on a very rare occasion. I have seen it a few times only in my 20 years and mostly it has been for behaviour that may result in harm to the guest in question or others. Mostly, it has been for drunken behaviour and the odd………well let’s call it “domestic incident” but this may happen once or twice a year throughout the fleet. You said that you were on a ship when this happened, do you remember why and when and what ship? Looking forward to hearing more and all the best until then.
DAVE MYERLY – I now know I have reached the pinnacle of my career…………..someone has written a fart poem dedicated to me. I have no words to describe the emotions I am feeling and I shall treasure this always mate. I will see you soon and many thanks for the laughs.
SUSETTE LOEWENSTEIN – I know you said no need to comment but I had to say hello. The gentlemen’s comments about no American TV was not the first time I have heard this and it probably will not be the last time either. I think some people just think that in today’s world of technology you can get any TV anywhere and it’s not true of course unless you go via the Internet. Anyway, we had a chat and he remains upset but he is a little calmer now I have spoken to him personally and explained the situation. I guess what concerns me more is that the guest was in his late twenties and it seems a shame that T.V. can dominate someone’s life like that. Oh well, never mind. I look forward to seeing you on the Carnival Splendor and as we are sailing out of the U.K. we can watch British TV together. All the best and see you next year.
ADIAS.ANGEL – My deepest sympathies for your recent loss of your Father and I am so sorry the last blog entry made you cry………I really am.
I am going to talk about the ceremony in a little bit so until then I hope you can find some wonderful memories of you and Dad that will make your tears turn to smiles.
KATHIE KAPERINO – It seems that Hurricane Dean could have been a lot worse but it still has caused a lot of changes needed in the industry, I will explain more soon. I will have a chat about Wendell’s last cruise in a moment and as for the jellybeans, Heidi has hidden them…………….I wonder why?
Thank you for your lovely words and of course for taking the time to read the blog thingy.
BIG ED – Thanks mate for your wishes and kind words toward the family whose ashes ceremony we just had. You mentioned “Keith Fay” but I cannot find a posting from him….did I miss something? On a lighter note or heavier considering the two of us………….I am making headway with the new bathrobes and soon you should be able to wear one without showing us …..well……….you know. Hope all is well and my best to Mrs. Big Ed.
JENNIFER HAMMOND – You asked who the Cruise Director will be on the Carnival Victory in September…….. the answer is Malcolm In The Middle ………as he calls himself. You will like him a lot and in fact very soon there will be a guest interview with him and some highlights of the Carnival Victory so stay logged…………you know what I mean…………keep reading the blog thingy. Cheers.
DMW13 – Now your comments are really what I wanted to say to my friend Mr Television but of course I could not……maybe I should slide a copy of your posting under his door………….better not eh? I have learnt never to be surprised what people want and expect on vacation and I guess as I said just now, this young mans life revolves around television ………..shame. Anyway, thank you for saying what I could not and I hope you always speak your mind on this blog thingy.
LEASA – Beautiful words, thank you. Now as for the Bloggers cruise in 2009 the options are being studied by all concerned but you all will have the final say. That’s all of you not y’all. I would love to see Alaska but maybe the Caribbean would suit more of you……….we shall see. Thank you again Leasa and once again thank you for your posting which was full of compassion.
FRANK C – Enjoying a diet root beer and thinking of you mate. See you soon and have a safe flight.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – I hope your medical tests came out ok and will you let me know? Once the Doctor says OK I do hope you will give the scones a try, they are yummy and then you can move on to Spotted Dick………suggest you Google that one before making up your own mind. I can understand that people are upset that there is no American TV but hopefully we offer enough to do onboard without worrying about what’s on the box. Anyway, most importantly please let me know you are OK and my best to the Prince.
KRISTEN – Don’t worry I will not post your letter but thanks for sending to Heidi and I. Hopefully it is to tell me what a great time you had here on the Carnival Freedom. Thank you also for your kind words directed to the people of Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean. It seems that Costa Maya got the worst of Dean as you will see in a few minutes. I am glad you are enjoying the blog and I will reply to your letter as and when I receive it. Wishing all the best.
CHRIS MULCAHY – First of all thank you for your posting and I am glad to hear we had so much fun together on the Carnival Glory. I was going to retire as you mentioned but then along came the trips to Europe on the Carnival Liberty and the Carnival Freedom. Europe was something I always wanted to do so here I am enjoying hosting guests in Italy, Greece, Spain and more. Thank you for the beautiful words about the Faye family which, along with everyone else’s, I will be passing on and at the same time may I send you my sympathies at the loss of your wife’s mother. Time with family is so precious and I hope you have many happy memories to look back on. Now, as for the bloggers cruise please come and sail with us January 19 aboard the Carnival Freedom. The cruise will feature many special blogger events and gifts and most of all it will mean non-stop laughter for seven days. I truly hope you will come and join us. Great to hear from and all the best.
LOIS GREBOWSKI – I have done as requested and thank you for your compassion.
KELLIE O’LEARY – I not surprised you laughed, I have never heard of an airline losing somebody’s parents before. I am afraid this blog has not been a very good commercial for Alitalia. Actually, we have to talk about that later. Until then, all the best and keep laughing.
PAUL F PIETRANGELO – And a very good evening to you Sir; Heidi and I have your card on our wall. I am looking at it now as I am typing this. I am glad you enjoyed the interview with Alan Buckelew of Princess Cruises who you can truly see, is passionate about cruising. Hurricane Dean really did some massive damage to one particular area as you will see shortly, however, the ports of Cozumel, Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman were mostly spared and open for business. I am mostly glad for Cozumel as Hurricane Wilma set them back many months and I am sure a second storm would have been devastating.
The most important thing I want to say is that both Heidi and I are both thinking of you and we hope……………actually, we know, all your tests will be fine. We are sending you loads of positive thoughts and our warmest regards.
LINDA HERNACKI – Just a quick note to say hello to your both. Thank you for helping out Vicki and Matt, that was very kind. Hope you are both well.
CRUISIN SUE – Thank you for your comments and I guess the T.V. complaint is something that this man felt very strongly about, but now hopefully after my explanation, he is more understanding. You will be here in a few weeks time and there may not be much on T.V. but I will promise you the best live entertainment you have ever seen. See you soon.
KEVIN – I now know that this blog has lifted me up to a category D celebrity when someone offers to see my ashes on eBay…I wonder how much a pair of my boxers would fetch? I am really glad you enjoyed the interview with the CEO of Princess Cruises and it sounds like the Diamond Princess is a ship I should sail on. Let me know how the recipe for the scones comes out, although making 5,000 is not something my mum has done before. Usually, she makes six – five for my dad and one for her. Don’t forget to put butter on and eat when warm. Heidi needs to blog and I promise she will do so once I give her time on the computer. All the best and next time you press the start button, think of me.
J TODDINMAN – I just sang the theme to the Love Boat. I have never actually seen an episode, but Heidi tells me that she used to watch it on Saturday afternoons with her mum and dad. I think there should be a remake, with John Cleese as the Cruise Director. As always, your support of the blog is so special and I am so very grateful.
THE BEARS BARB AND CARL – I see there is someone else trying mum’s recipe, maybe she will become an international chef with her own restaurant on board. If that was the case, this would be the menu.
Eggs, bacon, sausage and fried bread.
Toad in the hole.
Mum’s special chicken curry.
Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding with roast potatoes and mixed vegetables.
Fish & homemade chips.
Spotted dick and custard.
Treacle pudding.
Jam roly poly and my dad’s favorite Apple and Rhubarb crumble.
If you would like the recipe for any of the above, please let me know. I am glad we have another fan of Princess Cruises and your support of both them and us is wonderful. As with Paul, I am also looking at your photo as I am slapping on this comment. All the best to all the bears.
MIKE L – Thanks mate, I do hope you had a great time on the Carnival Freedom and I hope you keep enjoying the blog.
MANAW G – It’s great to hear from you and I am looking forward to seeing you in September. Congratulations on becoming a Platinum Member and I am sure you will enjoy all the perks that comes with it. Let me answer your questions. My suggestion is that you do indeed keep all your luggage with you as you do have a very early 6 am pick up for debarkation. As soon as you hear me call the first number tag please come straight down to the gangway and Heidi and her staff will assist you. You do not need to let anyone know, we will take of you. See you in September and thank you for being a reader of the blog thingy since the beginning.
SHERYL PELTON – I am so happy to hear, as will my mum, that you enjoyed making the cheese scones. I think it’s time for another one of mum’s recipes and maybe we should do the chicken curry. I know there is an allowance of six cans of soda that can be brought on board, but remember, you can buy Diet Pepsi in every port, so you should be OK. I could never imagine having a colonoscopy after my close encounter with Fatima. She really did take my breath away. See you in a few weeks and keep laughing.
SUSAN B – Thank you for all your kind words and I really hope that this is a quiet hurricane season but I have my doubts. I will let you know about Mr.Fayh’s goodbye in a moment. Thank you again and I wish you a great day.
LYNN AND MIKE SAGARA – I just wanted to say that I have passed your comments on missing luggage and the praise of Carnival to our guest relations department and to the Purser’s office here. At the time of writing they have recovered the majority of missing bags and out of 67 we only are missing 11. Now those 11 people are still very sad and upset but Carnival continues to set the standard on assisting in these situations. Thank you so much for your acknowledgements, you are too kind.
BIG ED – I have no idea how the vote is going for the Cruise Employee of the year thing. I am sure there are more worthy winners than me and to be honest I have not even voted for myself…………I guess I should though. This is going to sound corny ……….I mean really corny………….but the biggest reward is this blog itself. Today we have had 560,000 slaps which means I have already won the great prize of meeting all of you………..no other prize or award can match that…………….except an Aston Martin of course. I hope I win, if not I shall congratulate whoever does, it’s just nice to be nominated AND VOTED FOR BY GREAT FRIENDS LIKE YOU AND THE BLOGGERS.
BIG ED, IN CHARGE OF – CAMPAIGN, RESEARCH & POLICIES (CRAP)
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Wow, that is a long post you have slapped on today. I guess your computer has not been washed by any beverages lately.
Your experience of Hurricane Wilma is one I remember from the Carnival Glory as well. I am sorry to say it is not good news for Costa Maya as you will see shortly. I am glad you liked the joke I played on Alan Adkins and his wife Alison did luckily see the funny side of things so I was safe. I know his revenge will be forthcoming so I am waiting to see what he will do. Could you ask the neighbor of yours to read this message?
Hello Carol’s neighbor. I hope this note finds you well. I also understand you love to cruise on Princess Cruises and I am very happy to hear that you enjoy their service and entertainment so much. They are a wonderful company and have been a great addition to the Carnival family. Carol has told me that you have no interest in cruising on Carnival and I wondered why that is? Certainly, I don’t want to take business away from Princess but I was just curious as to why you though carnival was not for you. Thank you for taking the time to read this and whatever ship you set sail on next, I wish you a fantastic time.
Thanks Carol………….let me know what she says. I was indeed on the Holiday in 1989……….I wonder if we met back then? Thank you Carol and please keep slapping on postings, they are priceless. Now as you mentioned there are some new ship deployments going on and you already mentioned The Carnival Imagination will replace the Carnival fascination and take her three- and four-day cruises from Miami. The Carnival Fascination is moving to Jacksonville and the Carnival Destiny goes to replace the Imagination. Therefore you ask, what ship does San Juan get? This is a very closely guarded secret at the moment but I have unleashed PA007 and he/she is now on the case…….standby for the answer (unless he/she gets caught) very soon.
Well, that didn’t take long. No sooner had I unleashed our tame Spy PA007 to sniff out the replacement ship for the Carnival Destiny, 30 minutes later they find this press release that will be official tomorrow……………PA 007 HAS ONCE AGAIN PUT HIS/HER JOB ON THE LINE …..HERE IS THEIR MESSAGE.
John, just heard two VP’s talking about the Carnival Victory going to San Juan………I called a friend of a friend and got my hands on this release that will go out tomorrow. Say hello to all the Bloggers and thank you for the new pair of bowling shoes you bought me. Back to the cubicle I go
Well, that’s great news for San Juan as they now get the brilliant Carnival Victory. I love that ship and the public rooms and entertainment are some of the best in the fleet. Congratulations San Juan or Mucho Luckio Youo ono youro newo shipo.
Grasyarse PA007
VIKKI AND MAT TILL – we don’t 🙁
HEIDI BETH AND KEVIN – Hello you three, how are you all. It seems my Mum’s cheese scones are going down a treat and as mentioned above it will be time for a new recipe soon. I am noticing that the interview with Alan, CEO of Princess was very popular and that is due to the passion he showed in his answers and of course that princess are indeed a wonderful line to vacation on. You will all soon be on the Carnival Glory with Wee Jimmy and I know he will have you three laughing all night long. I am sure you will write before but just in case, have a wonderful cruise…………all three of you.
RON KAISSLING – Thank you mate for your kind words and I am so happy you had such a great time here on the Carnival Freedom. You asked for the Cruise Director’s address on the Carnival Inspiration as you have a group of dancers sailing in October. I am not permitted to give that address out but you can send any questions or concerns through me and I will pass them along and the answers back to you. I hope this is ok. All the best mate.
BIG ED – very funny 🙂 I am thinking you should play Dolly Parton in the Carnival Legends show on the bloggers cruise.
JOHN AND MICHELE – You are too kind. Isn’t technology wonderful that I am writing to you while you are here on the ship? I am glad you enjoyed the gift and there will be more to come. Thank you for the kind words and make sure you come to the show tonight (Friday).
BOB – Thank mate, I am glad you enjoyed the blog thing today. It is interesting that you should ask for guest interviews from people other than Carnival employees such as CD’s etc from other lines. Great minds think a like and I hope to somehow get in touch with the Commodore of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 as well as a Cruise Director from Costa, Princess, Cunard and Holland America. I know Carnival has no concerns about me interviewing people from outside Carnival Cruise Lines and therefore I think it would be great to see how the other sisters live their lives…………watch this space.
KATHY KROLL – Thank you for sharing your story with us all. It seems strange talking about things like this but we have all got to know each other so well I think we could talk about almost anything. Thank Kathy and my best to my Bodyguard.
INEZ – Great posting as ever and below you will find the story of the scattering of the ashes. As for the Bloggers Cruise……….well, it’s to be decided and by the end of the year we will have made a final choice based on everyone’s vote of course. I will pass your congratulations onto Mr Buckelew as I will everyone’s on his tremendous interview and one day I really hope to meet him in person. Wishing you all the best and thank you again for your sincere and kind words.
DEB ROWE – I hope you get this in time for me to say have a safe flight and see you soon. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.
JAYNEEN CASBARRO – I am so sorry but when you cruise here on the Carnival Freedom I will be delivering the new ship the Carnival Splendor. Please do not be concerned though as the Cruise Director will be Todd Wittmer who is the BEST CD we have. He is funny, personable and I am sure other Bloggers will sing his praises after reading this. I wish I could be there with you but as my dad always says “DUTY CALLS.” I will remain here blogging though and I hope you will continue to read. Cheers.
PEGGY P – CHRIS PRIDEAUX…………Do you have a contact address for the lady who organizes our Arts and Crafts lessons onboard? …………Chris will get back to you before the next blog Peggy. As for the Scrapbook classes onboard, we hope to have that program installed fleetwide by the end of the year. I will get back to you very soon I promise. And here as if by magic are the details you wanted. Cruise Crafts International Pat Thorstadt cruise2@alltel.net
NICO R – Thank you Nico, what beautiful words and I appreciate you taking the time to write them. Heidi and I return our best wishes to you.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – Thank you for sharing the photos. I will be talking about Costa Maya in a moment. Hope you are OK and this is the first posting we have not spoken about food………………. BARBECUE RIBS …………………oops.
LYLEBA – I hope you had a great time in the Big Apple. You asked about the Secrets of Naples tour. This really is a wonderful and unique excursion as you explore a city under a city. You are underground for 1 hour and then it’s off to a Pizzeria for a lesson in Pizza making before eating the evidence. I recommend this tour highly but just bare in mind it can be a little claustrophobic. Thanks for catching up on the blog thingy and if you have any further questions before you sail please let me know.
SUSAN B – Great idea. A win a Bloggers Cruise Bingo on the Bloggers cruise…………we just have to decide where we are going.

OK, that’s enough as I have no feeling left in my two stumps……….I will answer the questions from the blog featuring Mark Price and the Carnival Conquest tomorrow.

Well, there has been a lot of talk about the damage that Hurricane Dean has done and the cruise ship destination that received the most damage was Costa Maya. Many of us have been there and already we knew that sometimes the ships were unable to dock because the piers were so unprotected. Well now, the piers are mostly gone and the estimate is six months before the industry can return ships to the port. Here are some more photos.

In Their Own Words

Costa Maya

Costa Maya

Costa Maya

Costa Maya

Costa Maya

Now, you have to think not just of the ships not calling there and the re routing that is now in play but also for the man with the small shop that sells T shirts and blankets, the guy who sells soda and water and the little restaurants all of which depend on the cruise line guests for business…………..how will they survive…………………think of them tonight.

Here is today’s interview and we have another cruise director and ship to feature today. Here is Brent Loyer and the Carnival Miracle

Brent Loyer

1. Please can you tell us about your career with Carnival so far? How did you start and when?

I started on out as Youth Staff then quickly realized I enjoyed kids in very small doses. I thought I’d give taking care of the big kids a try as a Social Host which was on the Fascination, I remember looking at that ship for the first time thinking it was the biggest thing I ever seen….if I only knew what was ahead. After a few years learning the ropes and working with some great Cruise Directors I was promoted to Assistant Cruise Director and the learning continued to finally joining John on the Liberty before making the final step to Cruise Director.

2. What ship are you currently on and what is its itinerary?

Carnival Miracle 8 day from NY to San Juan, St Thomas & Tortola

Starting October 22

8 Day from Ft Lauderdale to Colon Panama, Limon Costa Rica & Belize

8 Day from Ft Lauderdale to St Maarten, St Kitts& St Lucia

3. Please can you pick two excursions from each port and tell us why you recommend them so much?

San Juan

Bioluminescence Bay Kayak Tour – Something you just don’t get a chance to see, only four places known to man.

Bacardi Evening Experience – Bacardi Rum factory and the evening a perfect combination.

St Thomas

St. John Trunk Bay Beach & Snorkel – One of the most beautiful beaches and great snorkeling need I say more!

Mahogany Run Golf Course – Love a relaxing game of golf, don’t play well enough to worry about being good.

Tortola

Certified Scuba – A great dive for any Scuba Divers out there.

Dolphin Swim – Who doesn’t love swimming with Dolphins?

Alright let move done to Ft Lauderdale

Colon Panama

Panama Canal Tour – You can’t help but to be amazed.

Two Oceans By Railroad – You get to see it all with this one.

Limon Costa Rica

Rain Forest in Costa Rice – After watching the BBC series Plant Earth it gives you a whole new out look regarding the Rain Forest.

High There – Taking an Arial Tram and Zip line thought the Rain Forest how often do you get a chance to do that?

Belize

Cave Tubing & Rain Forest Exploration – The name say’s it all.

Caye Chapel Golf Resort – Golf Course, Club House and runway for the plane you have to take to get to the course, need I say more!

St Maarten

Golden Eagle Catamaran – Best Catamaran tour I’ve been on

Beach Break – Love the beaches in St Maarten

St Kitts

Brimstone Hill Fortress – It’s an amazing fortress plus one of the best views

Sail and Snorkel – Sailing and snorkeling the perfect day

St Lucia

Deep Sea Fishing – Great tour but pretty demeaning when a fish is stronger than you.

St Lucia Gold – I know I know enough with the golf already.

4.What are your favorite activities or events that you host and why?

I have to go with the Newlywed Not So Newlywed Game, to this day it still amazes me what people will say about themselves if front of a full lounge. Plus I met the most amazing couple once married 70 years and acted like they were married the day before people like that you just don’t forget.

5. Fill in the blank please……………..People should sail on the (Carnival Miracle) because by far the friendliest ship.

6. What do you enjoy most about being a Cruise Director?

Getting paid to be a big kid and have fun!

7. Share your favorite story with us that involve our guests and your job?

Wow that believe it or not is a tough one so many things, I guess if I had to think back and think about one thing that always makes me laugh. As you can imagine with so many people cruising you hear about many things that happen during a cruise. Well this didn’t evolve me but I got wind of it and you just got to shake you head and laugh. Ok how to explain this one, let’s just say a man was…ah trying to appeal to his wife as she was getting ready for bed in the bathroom. Well she wanted nothing to do with it and shut the door and let’s just say shut the door and a certain part of the man’s body got caught in the door. Ouch!!

8. List your three favorite ports you have visited?

Venice Italy, Limon Cost Rica & Dubrovnik Croatia

9. Name three ports you would really like to see that you have never been to?

Alaska, Hawaii & Aruba

10. Finally, if you could introduce on stage any star, alive or not who would it be and why?

The Rolling Stones – THEY ARE THE COOLEST GUYS IN THE WORLD AND KEITH RICHARDS LOOKS LIKE CHRIS PRIDEAUX FROM THE OFFICE.

Thanks Brent………..great job and I am sure many of you will enjoy future cruises with this young man.

I wanted to let you know that the ceremony to scatter Wendell’s ashes was beautiful. I don’t want to talk about it to much as it was a private occasion but I can tell you tears were shed by us all and it was a beautiful and moving ceremony. I should mention that they had asked for some music to be played and we provided a sound system for that. I was not sure what to play as the family had asked for something appropriate, so, as the ashes were scattered and we held a minutes silent prayer the music of Rod Stewart’s “Sailing” drifted over the still Mediterranean waters………………..Rest In Peace Wendell.

Now, as you can see there is now a disclaimer on the side of my blog thingy. It seems the Lawyers were a little concerned that my thoughts and yours may upset some people and companies.

Here is the disclaimer:

This is a personal web log. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own (and those of some of the commentators that I have included) and not those of Carnival Corporation & plc or Heidi. This blog has no official affiliation with sugar-free jellybeans

Oh well, I guess I really am on my own now but I am fearless, let them come after me with their dreadful in flight service, mahjong boards and demands of American TV……….I am not scared of man nor beast and I stand by what I say…….except if Fatima reads this and if she does………it wasn’t me………it was Alan………..put the hose pipe down………..please.

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi……………..its Thursday………..yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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.