Mr. George White……..and Jess

August 4, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Evening from Cannes, the South Of France. We are getting ready to leave after a beautiful day and one where, unlike the last two times we have called here, we did not need to reposition the vessel because of high winds. There was, however, a point where we stopped the tender service for a few minutes to turn the ship into the wind as it was getting a little choppy and therefore we needed to make it a bit more comfortable for guests to board the tenders.

Well, what can I tell you. As you saw from the letter I posted, the blog has hit 500,000 plus slaps. Actually as of today it has achieved 502,067 to be precise. I thought you might like to see some of the facts and figures that go along with this milestone.

TOTAL DAYS AS A LIVE BLOG – 151

NUMBER OF BLOGS POSTED BY ME – 122

NUMBER OF COMMENTS ANSWERED BY ME – 4,195

NUMBER OF WORDPRESS BLOGS – 1,267,467

OUR HIGHEST RANKING – 25

OUR CURRENT STANDING – 54

Not bad, even if I do say so myself and I guess I just did. Anyway, lets see what happens as we head for one million:)

The guests have been in a great mood the last few days, in fact, mostly for the entire cruise and I am very happy with the way things have gone. One new thing I started this week was: Kids Corner. I dedicated one of my Morning Shows just to kids and we held various competitions and had some of the kids as guests on the show. I am going to tell you about one particular wonderful child shortly.

OH, by the way HELLO TO TREVOR FROM THE JOHNSON 4..THE BEST OF THE JOHNSTONS..:)

This month I am going to go make or break for AJ as the godmother of the Carnival Splendor. She has gone radio silent at the moment and if I do not hear anything this month I am going to ask PA 007 TO SEE IF HE CAN GET ME INFORMATION ON HOW TO CONTACT CATHERINE ZETA JONES.

I am going to spend a bit of time answering questions today as I have sooooooooo many to do and I really need to catch up.

Before that though, here are three photos for you from Cannes today.

1. THE HARBOUR AT CANNES
1. THE HARBOUR AT CANNES
2. THE HARBOUR AGAIN BUT WITH THE SHIP IN THE DISTANCE
2. THE HARBOUR AGAIN BUT WITH THE SHIP IN THE DISTANCE
3. THE RIVIERA HOTEL OVERLOOKING THE HARBOUR
3. THE RIVIERA HOTEL OVERLOOKING THE HARBOUR

Now, someone had asked if I could take photos of the bridge and its equipment but after checking I was informed that, unfortunately, I am not allowed to publish photos of the navigation center for security reasons. That’s a real shame isn’t it and I guess it is the price we have to pay for living in the world we do. I was not allowed to take a photo of any equipment on the bridge except this piece which is very important to the operation of the ship.

I was not allowed to take a photo of any equipment on the bridge except this piece which is very important to the operation of the ship.

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

OK, I really must push on with the Q and A as I have 60-plus to answer again.

LINDA THE MOUSE – Good to hear from you Linda and I hope all is well with you. It seems a few weeks since I typed in your name but I am glad you have slapped on another comment. The scrapbooks will be made available online very soon and I will let you know when but it should be anyday now. Thank you for mailing the review card to our office and you are correct when you say how important they are to the people who work on board..it’s how crew are rewarded and, remember, the vast majority of promotions happen internally and a
lot of those depend on what is said on those review cards. Thank again Linda for your support of the blog and I hope you will keep reading.
A CRUISE BY ANY OTHER NAME – I understand that not everyone can make the Bloggers Cruise. If this one is a success I promise the next one will be even better and we will choose a ship and a date that will make it easy for everyone to attend. By the way….what’s a vacuum cleaner? Best to you and the family.
RUTH JAMISON – Great posting and what was your husband doing in the cabin as we passed Stromboli? I am happy you enjoyed the photos and even happier that you appreciate the highlighting of other Cruise Directors. Eventually, I hope to cover the whole fleet so they get some great exposure and also you can learn a little something about what to expect on the ship when you sail. There will be more exposing next week….and some of it isn’t pretty:) My best to you and your husband and hope you still have wonderful memories of
your cruise.
JIMNI – Thanks for trying. I really messed up when I slapped on the Mushroom Soup recipe and realized it was for 3 billion people. Still, if you like soup….
Thanks for trying to find a recipe resizing link thing and I have asked the Chef to do the same here so I can re-post it. Enjoy the soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next year….can you freeze soup?
JANFRWA – Well that was a posting that started off making me feel sad and ended with me grinning like a silly thing. I am sorry to hear about your husband’s illness but relieved to hear that the stent was successful in unblocking the artery. I am sure that must have been a scary time for you and the entire family. This was made easier you said by the thoughts you received from the friends you had met on the blog, Cruise Critic
and of course the friends you had met personally on your recent cruise here on the Carnival Freedom.
The reason I was smiling was to hear that you had booked THE BLOGGERS CRUISE. I know that you have not told your husband yet but when you do, show him this would you please.
PHIL, I AM VERY SORRY TO HEAR OF YOUR RECENT TROUBLES BUT ALL OF THAT IS IN THE PAST. THE FUTURE IS THE BLOGGERS CRUISE WHICH JANET HAS NOW BOOKED. I KNOW YOU MUST TAKE IT EASY AND NOT HAVE ANY STRESS AND I THINK A WEEK’S CRUISE WILL BE THE PERFECT WAY FOR YOU TO RELAX AFTER ALL YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH.HEIDI AND I SEND YOU OUR MOST POSITIVE THOUGHTS AND WE WILL ALL BE TOGETHER AGAIN IN JANUARY…….SEE YOU THEN MATE.
Thanks Janet and please keep me informed as to how Phil is doing. See you soon
SOUTHERNDREAMS – I was just about to mail your royalty cheque for the chair hog comments but then I read your posting so I spent it instead. OK, you said the magic word..jelly beans and I am hoping I get a chance to refuel my personal jetpack this coming week if some blogger feeling sympathy for my plight has sent me some. I am hoping the jetpack is fully fueled and ready for when you cruise so you can experience its wonders for yourself. My best to you and the Prince…are you home now?
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Hello Carol and I am glad to see you got caught up with all the blogs. I seem to have written more than usual this cruise, I am not sure how or why but there has been lots to tell you all. I can tell you that the Tiramisu Cake you mentioned is available in all the guest dining rooms but not every night like the CWMC and unfortunately the Imagination does not have a Supper Club…maybe one day though. Thank you as always for your kind words and please keep reading the blog as it’s people like you that have
enabled us to reach 500,000 plus.
TAMMIE – Mrs. Barsby will be fine, we are taking good care of her although I must admit she is very demanding. Still, as I have said many times, it is what makes this job so interesting. Thanks Tammie and let me know if you need help with your hotel next time you sail:)
ESSEXMAN – There you are, have not heard from you in a while and I hope all is well. You asked about the hotels that the ship offers direct transportation to in Rome. They are:
THE VISCONTI PALACE
THE CICIRONE
THE AIRPORT HILTON
I hope this is ok and if you need any more help deciding what to book etc please let me know mate. Hope you are well and put the kettle on, I could do with a brew.
LOIS GRABOUCHMYKNEE – I am sorry I spelt your name wrong last time but I have spelt it correctly tonight. Thank you for your BRA story and your continued SUPPORT of the blog. I will be writing about the donation to the Orphanage in a moment so look forward to that and many thanks for the story which made me smile. My best to you and the family.
BRYAN– I am happy to hear that you are a Blues Brothers fan and you really would, I know, enjoy CD Chris Roberts’ interpretation of their great music. It has been an interesting few days and the conversation with Mrs. Barsby was priceless. Cheers for the kind words and hope all is good with you.
HEIDI – BETH & KEVIN – Congratulations on the new camera, it sounds amazing and I hope all of you will send me some photos. I had no idea that you had so many children, I thought it was just you, Heidi and Beth but now I discover you have SEVEN other children or Pixels as you called them in your posting. I hope therefore that all ten of you have a wonderful time on the Carnival Glory and I know you will love Wee Jimmy. Look out for a story covering him and the his ship next week. All the best to you and your ever expanding family which also means you will have to order even more t-shirts and 9 scrapbooks.
BIG ED– I just spent the last 22 minutes of my life trying to work out what the heck you are talking about but as its already 11;50pm my brain has just told me to give up… so I did. I hope that it is some sort of code that says you will be sailing on January 19th but if it is I will have to hire an Enigma machine to crack it. Throw me a bone mate and give me a clue. I will indeed ask ROBERTO TO HELP SEE IF HE CAN BREAK THE CODE ON YOUR SITE….ROBERTO???
FRANCIS – Congratulations on booking the Inaugural cruise of the Carnival Splendor. I will have details on tours etc very soon and of course will share the information with all of you soon. See you in July and get ready for a great and incomparable cruise.
BOB – I wanted to post your comments before I answered them Bob..Here they are. “I love your blog, but the lady who did not know her hotel name because she did not have one and is also forgetful according to her daughter probably has Alzheimer’s. You are correct that it is amazing that some of them get to the ship at all, but now dealing with an 86 year old father whose Alzheimer’s is even worse than the lady you poked fun at I would have to recommend you stop teasing Alzheimer’s patients. Their lives are rather frustrating and confusing to them. You get to laugh but they live with it 24/7 and do not know why they cannot function any more.I know you probably did not view it from this perspective because you never come across as having a mean streak in you, but with all the old people on cruise ships you should probably consider it in the future.”
I want to thank you first of all for taking the time to comment on what must be a very difficult topic for you considering what you must have to deal with each and every day looking after your father who suffers from the terrible affliction that is Alzheimer’s. I know how hard this is because I have a family member who
suffered from Alzheimer’s as well and I know how hard it is to see someone you care about become so unrecognizable as was the case with my Uncle George who passed away two years ago. He lived just round the corner from my mum and dad in a flat and my dad spent every day looking after him and the last time I saw
him he did not recognize me …it was very difficult. In the case of Mrs. Barsby I want to make sure that you know that after 20 years of doing what I do I am very much aware of the fine line between having fun and making fun and I certainly am very careful before I have fun with anyone by looking at the person, the situation and recognizing if indeed there are any medical or physical concerns the guest may have before I take the “comic route .”
Mrs. Barsby is only 51 years old and certainly is suffering from nothing except her expectation that everything be handled for her without her actually knowing what it is she wants. I do not feel that I need to defend myself but I want to quote something that her daughter Trisha who is just 22 told me when I called her …she said “Mum can be difficult at times which is why my dad and I did not want to come on vacation with her.” Anyway, I can truly understand what you must have thought and I don’t blame you….You do not know me and if you did I hope you would see a person who has never and could never make fun of anyone who was suffering from any affliction, especially one such as Alzheimer’s…..there is no comedic value in that and I as a person have and never will look for that cheap laugh. The most important thing though is to know that I send you my warmest regards and you and your family will be in my thoughts tonight. Thanks Bob and I hope you continue to read the blog.
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF – As I was just saying to Bob, Mrs. Barsby – according to her daughter – suffers from ” difficulties and complaintology” so much so that they stayed at home! I am glad that the blog is providing you with so much pleasure and that’s why I will keep surfing my two fingers over my now very old and rattled keyboard…..it really is making some strange noises.
JAMES EMM – You asked what ships have the miniature golf courses…let me check with CHRIS PRIDEAUX and get back to you. Chris?
BOB HICKLY – How fantastic that you recognized one of the Employees’ of the Month Christopha D’Costa who is indeed a worthy winner of the Employee of the Month title. I have passed on your comments to him and the hotel director as I know it will mean a lot for him to read them. Yes, you are indeed sounding like a Human Resources type but that is a good thing. I hope you are enjoying your retirement and hope you’re also enjoying the blog.
INEZ – Thank you for saying you enjoyed the conversation with Mrs. Barsby and I know some people may be thinking that I may make some of this stuff up but really I do not. This blog has allowed me to share with you all things that I could never have done before and the great characters I meet each and every day. Congratulations on ordering your t-shirt and I do not blame your big manly husband for not wanting to advertise that he has “seen my thingy” but I am happy to hear that you have no problem wearing it yourself. Hope you found the kitchen, it is not a place I have ever found myself. Best to you both.
MRS MTSFP – You will be happy to hear that the singles gathering in the Swingtime is indeed smoke free but you are correct that the “younger” singles gatherings are in the two smoking bars. I will this cruise look and see if that is affecting attendance and if it is I will adopt your ideas. I love the Over The Hill references but I wish I could add those headings into the Carnival Capers. I am going with the mature and 30-something titles at the moment but maybe I should adopt your OVER THE HILL titles. During the times the singles gatherings are on, the lounges are still open to all guests – married, single, divorced etc. Anyway, see you very soon and I, John
and Diane are looking forward to seeing you as well….in a smoke free lounge.
Moving on, you asked about the Rome By Night Tour. At the moment the operator is not sure if he will run this because of how the weather may be in late October. Do you think there will be interest in doing this? What are your thoughts? Look forward as always to hearing from you.
DONNAL LEE – Thanks Donna, what kind words. I hope you are having much success and happiness as a travel agent and thank you for supporting Carnival and this blog. I hope that you will let me know if you have clients sail on a ship I am on so I can look after them. Cheers.
JIM ALTON – Your Supper Club reservation has been made for the 16th at 7:30pm, can you slap on your cabin number when you have time please……try the trio of chocolate desserts. See you in September and let me know if I can help further.
MTSFPBLFTTNSFCF – Someday I want to give you your full hereditary title. With regard to what you said about the tour, yep, I will so just e-mail Roberto and I will take care of it….ssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhh.
KEVIN – Congratulations on getting 400 slaps, actually 401 because I will be having a look in a moment myself. You will enjoy the cruise to nowhere on the Carnival Miracle. They are a lot of fun and many people leave with no memory of what they did at all while on board….if you know what I mean. I will be talking about Rick Shaw, the man who will be donating money in a moment, he is truly special. Have fun on the Miracle and please keep writing your blog and we will support each other.
PAUL F.PIETRANGELO – Hello Paul, I hope you are well. Lets me start by answering what an Oiler/Greaser does. In fact, it does exactly what the name suggests. These young men are responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the thousands of moving parts that make up the ship’s engineering systems and they do this by constantly greasing and cleaning the engine parts to keep them working. This work is carried out in sauna-like conditions and it is one of the most physical jobs on board and it is great to see that one of these young men has been honoured (spelt correctly).
I am happy that you are enjoying the interviews with the other Cruise Directors and these continue on the next blog. Once again, I feel like I am writing to someone I have known for years which is one of the joys of this blog thingy. Our best to you as always.
MILISSASNEU – I am sure I speak for everyone when I say thank you for slapping on those wonderful stories about your time working at Midway Airport. It does seem that sometimes travel makes you have continuous brain farts. I have a great friend Rebecca who works for an airline at Luton Airport in the
UK which is a small commuter airport operating short haul flights to Europe and this is her favorite story and it’s TRUE. A crowded flight was cancelled after a mechanical fault had grounded the plane.. A single attendant was re-booking a long line of inconvenienced travelers.
Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said, “I HAVE to be on this flight and it HAS to be FIRST CLASS.” The attendant replied, “I’m sorry sir. I’ll be happy to try to help you, but I’ve got to help these people first, and I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out.”
The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?” Without hesitating, the attendant smiled and grabbed her public address
microphone: “May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please,” she began – her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal. “We have a passenger here at Gate 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Gate 14.”
With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the Virgin attendant, gritted his teeth and said, ” Sc$% you!”Without flinching, she smiled and said, “I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to get
in line for that too.”
Thank you Melissa and I hope if you have any other stories to tell, please share them with us.
CARRIE – Your reservations in the Supper Club on the Carnival Valor have been confirmed…..try the steaks, any of them, but the porterhouse remains my favorite. Have fun on the Carnival Valor and look out for a review of the ship and its Cruise Director very soon.
LUV 2 CRUISE – You will indeed have a great time on the Carnival Miracle. There will be a review of the CD and the ship soon and I know you will have the perfect vacation. Let me know if I can help with anything and please…..keep laughing.
ED MILAN PAPANH -Well, what a glowing recommendation for our Supper Clubs and I have a feeling your son the Chef will enjoy today’s interview and I would be interested to hear what he thinks. I am amazed that you have found the time to read the blog from its inception but I am of course so very grateful that you have.
My jetpack is fueless at the moment but as soon as I get more it will be fully operational again…..maybe I should record this on a pod cast? Maybe not:)
CLAIR – You said that the photos I have posted may have changed your mind about cruising in Europe. Let me help you. Send me some questions, as many as you like, and let me gently persuade you. I will await your next posting and I send my best wishes until then.
KATHY KROLL – I know exactly what you mean about long haul flights as I to can’t do them in economy anymore and I am hoping that Roger and Chris will be charitable and allow me a business class flight. Have a look at http://www.eosairlines.com/flyeos/overview/home.jsf. They operate a business class service from New York to London’s third airport Stansted which is one I always fly into if I can. I have never flown with them myself but their rates seem pretty good….have a look. I hope you and Paul are well and let me know how things progress with your flights etc.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – Thanks Captain, how’s dad today? I was thinking of him immediately as I typed your name so that’s a big bunch of positive thinking on its way to you. Glad you like the photos and read more about Rick in a moment. Please keep me informed on dad’s progress and best to you from Heidi and I.
MARY – I HOPE YOU SAW MY EXPLANATION TO Bob above and hopefully you will understand that I would never ridicule anyone, certainly not the elderly. As for the singles, I am happy to tell you that we will have dance instructors on the crossing back to Miami and also there will be lots of single activities for all ages so I am sure you will meet many new friends and I will make sure we include a singles dance for people to find partners…..I am an awful dancer……but I will be happy to have you whisk me round the floor one
time…..what do you say?
SUE GROHOL – Sue, they are indeed the tours for the 29th and some do arrive back near to sailing time but do not worry, we will not sail without you. There is no news on the Angels and Demons tour yet but I hope to have this information very soon. I was sorry to learn you arrived with no luggage last time on the Carnival
Liberty. This cruise was a little better with only 3- something pieces unaccounted for but that will be of no help to the folks who went through what you did. I hope that you arrive with everything this time and you are correct that travel insurance is needed more today than ever. I will be back to you soon with information as I get it about the tour. All the best until then.
KIM – It looks like I am going to have a lot of friends joining me on the Carnival Splendor as I see you have booked as well. That is great news and I also hope the WCMC will keep you going until then hand in hand of course with the blog. As time gets nearer I will let you know some valuable port information. Congratulations and see you next year.

That is enough for now so there will be more tomorrow. If I have not answered your question yet I promise I will get to it as soon as my fingers stop bleeding:)

So, we are in France today and therefore we need to add a touch of French flavor and just a touch of garlic to our interview. Here then is today’s special guest. You will recognize his name from our Supper Club and Dining Room menus and of course as one of the top Chef’s in the world. It is an honour (spelt correctly) and a privilege for me to introduce and interview CHEF, GEORGE BLANC.

CHEF, GEORGE BLANC

CHEF, GEORGE BLANC

Please read this in a French accent.

1. Chef, before we talk about Carnival please can you tell us all how and when you discovered your love of food and cooking?

I belong to the fourth generation of a family of innkeepers whose activities go back to 1872; my passion for cooking grabbed me while I was assisting my mother in the kitchen. For three generations, women were at the controls in the
kitchen of the restaurant called The Blanc Mother. My father, like his parents, was a soft drink seller; he was also the village mayor and a great connoisseur of the wine world : he is the one who made me discover this universe, by taking me to his wine-grower friends in the Beaujolais, Mâcon and Burgundy areas.

My mother’s cooking was a simple and generous cuisine, prepared with care and using most of the time regional products of very high quality and freshness.

It is probably during these years that I understood how to treat the most demanding palates, with a cooking where harmony, freshness and depth of taste remain the major characteristics of excellent cuisine.

When I took over the family business at the age of 25, in 1968, my passion had grown around a more personal and creative cooking, always focused around top products as the seasons go by.

2. When you were a junior chef working in a hot kitchen, did you ever think that you may not have made the right choice?
No, I never regretted to have taken this path; I had confidence in the future and I wanted to succeed by bringing another star to the restaurant. It came in 1981 and it was a crowning point. No rise without passion.

3.You now run your famous Michelin starred restaurant in Vonnas, France. Are you still there actually cooking or do you just oversee the day to day running of the restaurant?
I am present in my restaurant every opening day, in order to fulfill the high expectations of the numerous visitors. I remain the inspirer and the designer of the cooking. I must admit that nowadays, I am rather a composer and music
conductor than an instrumentalist. I am assisted in my cooking by my sons, with whom I share the same passion. I am more available for my clients and I meet them to exchange a few views and answer their many questions, especially about
the preparation of the served dishes. Lots of meals are organized for special events such as birthday, honeymoon . . .

4. Many of our readers on the blog travel a lot and I am sure after reading about you, will be heading for a gastronomic adventure at your restaurant. Can you tease us a little with your favorite dish of the moment from the menu.

Bresse is my home country and we are lucky to have the famous Bresse chicken, the only one, since 1st August 1957 (exactly 50 years ago) that has deserved the AOC label, like the greatest wines. This product is thus the theme of my inventive menu, as the seasons go by. Each piece of chicken (liver, breast, leg, wings) is associated with other
tasty elements in unexpected dishes. It is the menu, whose great success also comes from its originality.

5. Many of us (myself included) have enjoyed your signature dishes onboard one of the Carnival ships. Before you got involved with Carnival, did you know much about cruising, had you ever been on a cruise?

Not really. I only remember my military service as the Admiral Vedel’s cook on the Foch aircraft carrier. I was in charge of organizing onboard receptions when we were representing in our ports of call.

6. So, how did the wonderful relationship start between you and Carnival and what do you hope to achieve when designing dishes for our restaurants.

This collaboration is before all the result of several years of friendship with Mr. and Mrs. Arison, before even thinking about it; indeed the challenge of adapting a high level cooking to a large number of guests appeared to be difficult. We selected a certain number of dishes that could be made under required conditions and we worked a lot on the elaboration of a range of sauces. This seemed fundamental and it corresponded to the French Cooking’s specificity.
We bank a lot on the motivation of the cooks we train here in Vonnas, according to our sensitivity; they are initiated to our cooking techniques during intense internships.

7. For those guests who have not tried one of your signature dishes, which one is your favorite and one that every guest must try.

Chicken with Foie Gras sauce and preserved cloves of garlic, for instance, or a sea bass with marinière sauce, herbs and seasonings.

8. Simple question, why are the best and most famous chefs men?

It is now changing with the emergence of stars-holding women, especially in Italy, and today in France. Cuisine is a tough environment because of its working conditions, and I think that this is why there were so few women up to now.

9. What did you have for dinner last night?

Yesterday evening, 1st August, I had dinner with 2.000 people around a plate of firewood roast Bresse chicken, since we were officially celebrating the getting of the AOC label ‘Bresse chicken’ on 1st August 1957. It was a beautiful feast favoured by exceptional weather.

10. You have just heard that some VIP’s are coming over for dinner in 30 minutes and you only have the following in the house and only 30 minutes to cook…what would you conjure up using only these ingredients…..by the way, my wife came up with the ingredients because if it was me in this position I would have called for Chinese to be delivered..anyway, Chef, what can you do with this lot?

Chicken breasts
lasagna sheets
mozzarella
water cress
orange pepper
red chili
fresh tomatoes

Mince the chicken breasts, cook them quickly without drying them up, make a spicy tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes then cover the breasts. Blanch the watercress, strain and mix. Add the chicken to this purée. Season, then cover with some cooked lasagna leaves. Brown the dish with Mozarella.

Bon Appétit!!
Do not forget to serve this dish with a good glass of white wine, like Chardonnay.

Thank you Chef and I am sure there is not one among the thousands of bloggers reading this who is not feeling hungry right now.

That was a difficult interview to conduct because even though, as you know, I LOVE food, I have no idea how it arrives on my table. Anyway, should any of you be fortunate enough to be in France, you must visit the Chef’s restaurant for a gastronomic journey that I am sure will be like no other. Visit his site on http://www.georgesblanc.com/
and let him know that you are coming for dinner.

You remember Rick Shaw, the kind gentleman who offered to donate $1,000 to the school orphanage in Dubrovnik — Well I learned a bit more about him today. He was one of the most famous morning show DJ’s in Florida and recently retired.
He was broadcasting for Magic 102.7 and I have had loads of e mails from my friends in Public Relations, Tim Gallagher and Jennifer De La Cruz who are HUGE fans as well as our Vice President of Sales Maurice Zarmati who I know is also
a good friend of Rick’s. Also, my friend Roger Blum told me he used to wake up with Rick every morning but then his wife found out…..Anyway, Rick I know will be reading this and I wanted again to thank him for everything he has done
for children’s charities in the past and his donation for the kids in Dubrovnik is a testament to his generosity and love of children…….Thanks Rick and I have an idea…….how about coming on the Bloggers Cruise in January and maybe we can all help raise money somehow that week for the charity you work with and one we all support….Children…..what do you say mate?

Fittingly, we will finish with the story of Jessica, age 12 who drew me the photo of the ship that is posted above. Jessica has been at every show, every activity and has written to me every day. She is a wonderful kid and Heidi and I have grown fond of her these past 12 days. Jess (as she likes to be called) is from Seattle and has laughed so much, she says, at all the shows and is my biggest fan. Jess also loves the dancers and she was very excited when she met one of them after the Ticket To Ride Show. Yesterday, I called Jess on the afternoon show live to say thank you for the three drawings she had sent in. I asked her if she was having a good time and she said yes and then added “I wish my mummy and daddy were here as well,” — not thinking I asked if they were at home in Seattle, she replied “No, they are in heaven”. . .. .silence…….I was not sure what to say now because, I was on live TV. . . I told her that I am sure mummy and daddy are watching you have a great time and are very proud of you and she replied in a calm and clear voice “I know, I talk to them everyday and I told them your jokes”…..OK, now there is a lump the size of the ship in my throat…..and….not knowing what to do I said “Can you tell them another joke for me?”

“Yes” she said. I said “This one is just for you to tell your mummy and daddy and no one else” …YES, she said. I then asked everyone else watching to turn off their TV’s and then I carried on and told Jess the joke and she laughed and laughed and said she would tell her mummy and daddy straight away…we said our goodbyes.

I called later from my office and spoke to her Aunty (her mom’s sister) who has taken legal custody of Jess and she told me that her parents had died when she was 10 years old under tragic circumstances. I asked her also about Jess and
how strong she seemed and her Aunty said that is how she is and that every night she talks to her mummy and daddy before going to sleep. Last night she will have told her parents in heaven her special joke. It is one of my favorites.

I would tell you the joke…..but …..it’s Jess’s secret joke and just between me…… and her and her mum and dad.

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

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