Good Afternoon.So, just off now to do my Welcome Aboard talk and I have just spent the last 45 minutes walking around the ship with Alan Adkins and his family. I must say that my fears are being recognized as we seem to have so many people who do not speak English. I met a nice young couple from Austria who asked me in German where the Posh Dining Room was………..at least, that’s what I think they asked. I then tried to show them in my poor and frankly schoolboy German………..I hope they found it. Then, oh no, I saw a sight that made me very nervous indeed. A whole family of people obviously from Saudi Arabia and the five ladies were all wearing full Burkas.

Hold on, I do not mean that I am nervous because they are here, I am nervous as to the reaction of other guests based on that one chap a few weeks ago, hopefully we will not have the same concerns this cruise.

So, its going to be a challenge and I head now the theatre to start my talk hoping that enough people understand me and I in turn them…………I just want them to have a great time.

I will let you know how it goes later.

And, I was correct. The lounge is usually full, 1,500 plus but today it was probably about 600 or so. The non-US count is now 1,800 and it showed today by the talk attendance and the number of people who are on our organized tours. I will do my best to try and make the guests happy but boy, it’s frustrating not having the tools in which to do so. On a happier note, Alan and family are having a great time and I hope to see them later tonight. For now, its boat drill and then paper work and an early night, I have been going since 5:30am and this is my second blog I have written today so I will continue from Naples tomorrow……………ciao for now.

It was a beautiful day in Naples today the sun shone and the temperature reached 92 degrees. I am sure if they could speak English or more importantly if I could speak their language I would be able to ask them. I know, same old tune John, but …….well, it’s just a bit frustrating and leaves me with a feeling of inadequacy…..sorry to vent.

One person who did not have a good day in Naples was this young man.

Good afternoon,

Please see below incident and follow up with guest if possible since he insisted to speak to you.

Kind Regards,

Salvino Chini

Purser office

1365 – Stolen wallet in Naples

Mr _____ came to the information desk this afternoon requesting to speak to the Cruise Director. When Purser inquired about the reason why, Mr _____ stated his son’s friend had his wallet stolen today in Naples. Purser then asked Mr _________if he reported the above to the local police authorities. Mr _____ replied, “I did but didn’t help.” Purser offered Mr __________phone call in case the wallet was containing a credit card or some personal documentation. Mr __________ refused stating he just wanted to speak to the Cruise Director because he thought CD should warn people that are leaving the ship independently since there are a lot of robbers in Naples. Purser explained Mr __________ that incidents like this can happen everywhere if you’re traveling alone and if you’re not involved into a guided excursion. Purser again offered him a phone call but Mr ________ refused stating he expects to be contacted from the Cruise Director. Mr __________ thanked and left the desk.

Incident e-mailed to Cruise Director.

So, to follow up on this I spoke to the guest just now and I explained that in fact, at my talk yesterday I gave warnings that pickpockets are everywhere in Europe, not just Naples but in all the big tourist destinations. The talk is still playing on the cabin TV’s and there is a warning to be careful carrying money, etc. in the Carnival Capers today. I have not added the guests name as he was very upset so I certainly do not want to antagonize the situation. The young man had his wallet in his back shorts pocket. It was not fastened or zipped up and therefore unfortunately, he was an easy target and as in most of these cases, never felt a thing. Tomorrow, I will send the young man a few small gifts and hope they can enjoy the rest of the cruise.

Let’s get back to the nice things about Naples. Today, I took Heidi for lunch to a restaurant called La Piazzetta over looking the harbour (spelt correctly). It is a beautiful place where the mega tanned George Hamiltons moor their yachts and is over looked by the mighty Vesuvius Volcano. Anyway, we went for lunch with Alan and his family and here are some photos I wanted to share with you……………………..I highly recommend this restaurant, it is a must visit.

1. The View From The Restaurant with Vesuvius in the background

1. The View From The Restaurant with Vesuvius in the background

2. The Chef and his Pizza Oven (I had fish; no carbs for me and it was brilliant)

The Chef and his Pizza Oven (I had fish; no carbs for me and it was brilliant)

3. The View from the Terrace – the Costa (something) I couldn’t tell in port.

3. The View from the Terrace - the Costa (something) I couldn’t tell in port.

4. The Fortress near the port and a typical busy road in Naples

4. The Fortress near the port and a typical busy road in Naples

5. My great friend Adolfo Aloschi who owns the tour company we use in Naples

5. My great friend Adolfo Aloschi who owns the tour company we use in Naples

6. Finally, my best mate Alan.

6. Finally, my best mate Alan.

Here are the letters from this last cruise for the In Their Own Words Section

The first one is a drawing from my bedtime story show as featured in Kids Corner.

In Their Own Words

The rest are letters and cards I received this week.

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words
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In Their Own Words

With regard to SAMMY THE LOST DOG. ……MUM, I HAVE FOUND SAMMY (WELL, HIS BROTHER) AND PLEASE TELL YOUR SON ANTHONY THAT AS SOON AS YOU PROVIDE ME WITH AN ADDRESS I WILL FLY SAMMY 1ST CLASS TO YOU………………..please post it on the blog and he will be on his way. Tell Anthony he misses him very much and Heidi is looking after him and taking him for walks………….he pooped in my shoe last night…………naughty Sammy!

Just before the Q and A, someone asked about the Mini Golf and what ships they were on. Well right now, there is a golf course on 12 ships with the rest will be fitted by the end of 2008. Thanks to Chris Prideaux fore that information……….noticed how I spell FORE………. A golf pun there for you.

To the Q and A we go.

FAMIGLIA BAUSCH – Thank you very much for finding the blog. It is always a pleasure to welcome new visitors. I am also very happy that you enjoyed your cruise so much and I remember Cody and Ally who were fantastic and I really enjoyed singing the Booger in the Sugar song with. Please send them a big hello from me and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.
BIG ED – You are right, I remember how amazed I was at 25,000, yet here we are just 4 months later at 500,000. Thank you for suggestion I should be a Vice President. One day, maybe sooner than later, I indeed will be working for Carnival on land. Maybe for Carnival itself, the Corporation, who knows? I do know that land has been calling me for some time; so far I have been ignoring it. Ed, you have been a HUGE supporter of my blog thingy and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You mentioned that many people have booked Carnival cruises because of the blog and that is a wonderful testament to the blog itself and I continue to be in awe of how popular it is.
So, thank you and I look forward to meeting my official assistant to the Cruise Director in 169 days……….hold on a moment, is that the Bloggers Cruise, let me work it out. I MAKE THAT THE DATE OF THE BLOGGERS CRUISE, DOES THAT MEAN YOU ARE SAILING…..PLEASE SAY YES.
SUE GROHOL-Yes Sue, there have been good times, happy times, sad times, and time when I have sat at the computer at 2:00am in the morning wondering if this blog thingy is worth the time. However, 500,000 slaps shows that it has been and will continue to be worth it and I thank you for your kind words and support for us both.
MAXWELL 1100 – Thank you for the congratulations and the two thumbs up which is better than two fingers up. :))Cheers mate.

DAVE MYERLY – Brilliant. A pure example of how crazy the English language is. By the way, do you itch a scratch? Or scratch an itch? My best to you and Jo and we will be having fun together soon.

JIMNI – I appreciate your congratulations on 500,000 slaps so very much and here is to many more.

TOM AND JANE – A big Thank You to you both from Heidi and I. Thank you for your lovely words. The Fish & Chips comment made me hungry and that’s not good at the moment as Fish & Chips are definitely not on my diet. I never did hear again from the lady who had her camera stolen in Venice, but thanks to the wonderful people on the ship who leant her cameras and gave her copies of their photos, I am sure she left happy. Thank you also for pointing out that the Carnival website’s news sections has the press release showing I had 25,000 hits, they will update it as I am highlighting my friend Vance on this so he can take care of it. I look forward to seeing you on your 35th Carnival cruise and I am grateful also that you are wearing your bloggers t-shirts. I hope you enjoy them. Our best regards to you both.

BRYAN – Many thanks to you Bryan for your congratulations posting. Hope to hear from you soon.

TAMMIE – Thank you Tammie, I am very proud of what we have all achieved.

KATHY KROLL – You mentioned that the blog should be a movie. Ok, let’s start a vote. Everyone, please give me your suggestions. Who plays who in the movie?

Fill in the blank:

1. John Heald

2. Heidi Heald

3. PA 007

4. Roberto Castro

5. Big Ed

6. Alan Adkins (remember, he is ugly)

This should be fun.

I&MsMOM – Thank you for mentioning Heidi, PA 007 and Roberto who are as important to this blog as I am. Also, I must add Roger and Chris in the office who are so supportive. Mostly, it’s people like you who deserve the thanks because otherwise I would be sitting here typing to myself which is only one step away from suffering from ATCOCS syndrome and a made to measure straight jacket. Thank you and our best regards.

JJ – Thank you JJ. I don’t remember typing your name before so would love to hear from you sometime and thank you for the congratulations.

INEZ – How kind of you and Dean to take the time to send in such kind words. Heidi and I appreciate them so very much.

KEVIN AND HEIDI-BETH AND THE 7 PIXELS – You are right, I had no idea what a blog was when I started writing in March. I thought it was the mess I used to make on my shirt when I spilt food. Heidi would say: “You’ve made a blog on your shirt from the pasta sauce.” Here we are today though, 500,000 slaps later and I eat, drink and sleep the word blog. Thank you to all nine of you for your appreciation posting and all the others you have made. Cheers!

TEXAS RAIN – Does it rain there? Great to hear that you are enjoying the blog, especially with a good cup of coffee. Congratulations on booking your first ever cruise in February on the Carnival Freedom. I am not sure if Heidi and I will be there but I would love to be, especially as this is your first cruise experience. I see you have a lot to celebrate and if you need help booking a particular tour or indeed a special dinner at our Supper Club, please let me know. Thank you also for the information on the Houston Chronicle which I enjoyed reading very much. I am here if you need any assistance and our best regards to you and your family.

DAVE AND BARB – It continues to astonish me that people are buying t-shirts with our names on it. However, I must say, it is very flattering and I hope one day we can have our photo taken together in our bloggers shirts. You mentioned about the pickpockets in Rome and that you were worried. As you can see from the beginning of this blog, these rascals are everywhere in Europe. There really is nothing to be worried about if you are couscous and keep your money and valuables in a secure bag and never leave your bag unattended or just on the floor while you sit in a restaurant or on the train etc. The trains are fine if you remember to be conscious as I said.

You asked for my opinion on the Hotel Coliseum. I have never stayed at or visited this hotel and therefore, I am very nervous about recommending it to you. However, maybe one of your fellow bloggers has stayed there and can give you their opinion. As your cruise gets nearer I will be here should you need any more advice. My best to you both.

NANETTE – There is no need to thank us. We are friends and it is great for us to provide fun and laughter for each other. Heidi says a big “thank you” to you for your beautiful words and sends you a big hug back. One day soon we will be in Puerto Rico and we can have a happy reunion and a mucho bueno timeo.

WILL – Thanks mate for your kind words about reaching 500,000. I see that you have recently taken your exams in the UK and I am sure you will get wonderful results and how brilliant to hear that as soon as you had finished your revision you clicked on the blog thingy to take your mind off the maths and other subjects. I truly hope you had a wonderful time in July and please let us know when you get your results. All the best from us both.

SHERIFF ROSCO P. COLTRANE – Sheriff, thank you for taking the time to say Well Done on reaching 500,000 slaps and thank you also for the offer of your handcuffs :)) I wish you were here so we could sit and have a cigar and talk about your job and the daily service you provide to the people of Georgia. Be careful out there mate.

MPHIL53757 – Welcome home from your cruise in June which I hope was one you will have many happy memories of. I am glad you are enjoying the blog and thank you for your kind words on reaching 500,000 slaps. I look forward to the next time we sail together.

CINDY 56 – I am not sure if Heidi and I will be on the Carnival Freedom in March, however, just like you, I hope we will be able to meet. This blog has allowed me and Heidi to meet so many new and wonderful people like yourself. I hope you enjoyed your weekend in Canada and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

MELISSA – Congratulations on booking your Carnival Freedom cruise in March. As I just mentioned to Cindy, I am not sure of my schedule at this time but there is a good chance we will be together. Thank you for your kind words about the blog and I hope you will keep reading it.

ESMEE K – No need to thank me for my reply to your question, that is what I am here for. It is not easy keeping this job fresh but even though we do go to the same ports it is different every time with 3,500 different guests, each providing their own idiosyncrasies, so in fact, it’s never the same. I look forward to meeting this group in October and I am so sorry that you will not be there with them. You requested a photo of me in the disco, I am afraid that and the one of me on the jogging track will be found only in the history books. Thanks for the great posting and the best from us both.

MED CRUISER – Yes, half a million, who would have thought it? You mentioned the Monte Cristo # 2 Torpedo which is also one of my favorites. Have you tried the Cohiba Siglo 6? It’s amazing. I have dreams of me smoking one of those driving my Aston Martin. ……..it really is only a dream. Thank you Manuel, maybe one day we will have a cigar together, but not in St. Mark’s Square.

CRUISIN SUE – Your Supper Club reservation has been made for the 8th of October, the night sailing from Venice at 7:30pm, for 2……….try the crepes. Have fun on the Carnival Pride and let us know when you get back, how it was.

JOAN FREDENDALL – Amazing. How wonderful to hear that my blog is the site you go to after turning on your computer in the morning. I am humbled by this. I am very excited that you will be cruising with us in January on the bloggers cruise and I promise you will have fun.

You mentioned you were keeping a lookout for an Aston Martin for me, let me know if you find one. See you in January, where we will have the best time ever.

LISA AND ELAINE – Hope you had fun in Mississippi. You will have a lot of blogs to read when you come back. I also noticed Big Ed mentioned 169 days and I am waiting for clarification that YES he will be coming on the bloggers cruise.

DEB ROWE – Thanks Deb and here is to the next half a million.

KIM – We appreciate your kind words and hope we can make it to the million mark.

RUTH JAMISON – And the highlight of my day is hearing that I am the highlight of your day. :)))

CRUISIN CINDY – Many thanks.

SHARON R – And thanks to you. See you in a few days.

LOVE2CRUISE – Thank you for supporting the blog from the very beginning and one of the highlights of this contract for Heidi and I was meeting you and John from Mount Holly.

TERRI 910 – Yes, 500,000 slaps, Heidi and I are very happy that we have reached this goal. Heidi is indeed very patient and without her I would never and could never have reached this target. Thanks Terri. We miss you.

MARIJ VAN DINTER – Heeeel hartelijk bedankt voor jullie leuke kaart, we kregen hem eergisteren in Rome. We zijn heel blij dat jullie een geweldige vakantie hebben gehad. Blijf lezen en schrijven! Lieve groeten van ons.

ICRUISE4ALIVING – Yes, mate it really has gone and exceeded my expectations, this little blog thingy of ours. You asked about getting cash from the casino and there is no fee if you open what is called a Player Bank Account which basically involves just using your Sail & Sign card. Thanks to you again for you kind words and I am here should you need anything at all.

SUEG54 – You asked about the change of schedule for the Carnival Freedom in 2008. We will indeed be docking in Marmaris, Turkey, instead of Rhodes, Greece. You will be happy to know however that we will be running a full day tour to Rhodes Old Town by jet boat (not my jet pack) which should take about an hour’s journey. You asked why we are changing ports and the answer is simple that it is due to dock availability. As Europe gets busier, more and more ships require berthing and we did not want to have to tender guests ashore. Also, Marmaris offers a lot of tour options for guests. I hope you are enjoying the blog and I remain at your service.

MONS – Thank you for slapping on your first posting, especially as it is a thank you and congratulations one. Thank you for also mentioning that Carnival should buy me an Aston Martin. If enough people mention this then maybe someone will go to the toyshop and buy me one. I wish you all the best and thanks again.

PEGGY P – Peggy, thank you for offering to teach arts & crafts during your upcoming cruise on the Carnival Miracle. We do indeed offer this service to our guests on some ships some of the time. I will ask Chris Prideaux to let me know the name of the lady who we use to organize this on various cruises and how it works. Chris is an avid reader of the blog so this information will be with you soon via this blog thingy.

Thank you for your interest and you are very kind to offer.

OK, time to get ready for the Welcome Aboard Show but first, here is an amazing photo of the NEW CARNIVAL SPLENDOR BEING FLOATED OUT OF ITS DRY DOCK.

NEW CARNIVAL SPLENDOR BEING FLOATED OUT OF ITS DRY DOCK.

She looks beautiful doesn’t she and I am sure that she will provide thousands of people with the best vacation ever and I am looking forward to seeing her in May next year.

Talking of beautiful ships and beautiful people, here is today’s guest interview featuring Cruise Director Risa Barnes who is onboard the Carnival Inspiration. As you we see she is the perfect example of how Carnival promotes from within the company. Here she is.

Cruise Director Risa Barnes

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

I joined Carnival the Carnival Destiny on its maiden voyage in November 1996 out of Miami. I was hired in the F&B department and was the first “cappuccino girl” in the Café on the Way. I did 8 months in the coffee bar and 2 months in Formalities fitting people for tuxedos and selling roses. I made pretty good chocolate milkshakes which helped me butter up Mr. John Heald and he accepted me in as a Social Host my next contract with Carnival. It took me a while, but I worked hard, didn’t give up and finally achieved the Cruise Director position “officially” in November of 2004. I love my job and look forward to every new day!

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

I am currently on the Inspiration going on my third contract here. We do four and five day voyages out of Tampa, Florida. The 4 day we visit Cozumel, Mexico. On the first 5 day we visit Grand Cayman and Cozumel and on the second 5 day we visit Grand Cayman and Calica, Mexico.

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

GRAND CAYMAN – (1) I love the stingray tours…especially the Ray Runner Stingray and Coral Reef. It is fun ride out on the runners and the two guys that run the tour are fabulous with the guests. The reef is a great snorkel spot and the stingrays are always great. (2) Fisherman’s Rock Swim and Snorkel is another great one for people who just want to do some good snorkeling…beautiful area and a lot to see.

COZUMEL – (1) Deluxe Sail, Snorkel & Beach party because the snorkeling is always great over the reef and the beach stop is a bonus (2) Beach Buggy & Snorkel Combo – this is a fun tour with cool little Scooby Doo buggys. The snorkel stop is good and then you see more of the island on your way to their beach stop on the North side where you can swim, sun and snack a bit.

CALICA – (1) Xcaret…this is just an awesome park with everything to see and do! Animals, snorkeling, sight seeing and adventure. They also provide a shuttle service for most of the day back and forth to the ship which is really appealing to those guests who want to save a little money and come back for lunch then back to the park. (2) Caverns by Jeep & Beach Combo…you drive the jeeps, have a great cavern stop where they walk down in to explore and take a cavern swim and then to a beach where they can swim, sun, play volleyball or just relax with lunch included.

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

I LOVE the Newlywed Game. I play the game with the guys coming out at the end as Chippendales and the whole show is just fun, freeing and great for all the guests. I also really enjoy doing the Spoon Game in between at the Welcome Aboard show. I know it is an old game, but we do is swiftly still having fun and still giving the comedian plenty of time to grab the guests. The Spoon Game allows me to get to know eight people by name the first night along with some of their family and I continue with those connections for the entire cruise. It makes the guests that participated special and a lot of times people that only watched are impressed and make a point to talk with me one on one which creates more connections with them for me and my team!

5. Fill in the blank please – ..People should sail on the (CARNIVAL INSPIRATION) because the atmosphere is fun and you can feel the family type bond the staff and crew have because it flows over to the guests who then feel they become part of the ship family…this is such a great feeling and I am proud of the team we have formed together!

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

Making people smile, laugh and just be free from all the stresses back home

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

When I was an Asst. Cruise Director still acting here and there for the ultimate position I was always doing what I could to connect with the guests and make them happy. While on the Jubilee in 2001-2002 I met a couple from Tampa. They were at every trivia, every activity and never missed a show. They were so nice and at the end of the cruise they brought me a tiny teddy bear from the gift shop and on the t-shirt they wrote in black marker…Risa Barnes – Future #1 Cruise Director. I have carried that little bear to every ship since then as a reminder that I would and I did make it to my goal. Just 5 months ago during the spoon game I was doing the guest introductions and when I got to the second lady she smiled at me before I said anything then I asked her name and she said Rewa from Tampa….before she said anything else I said to her…do you have a husband named Xavier and her eyes were as big as quarters and she said I can’t believe you remember us!?!? That was the best feeling in the world that I had remembered such wonderful people that were encouraging and 5-6 years later it paid off making them feel so special and letting the audience see that really pay attention and love my job and the people that continue to keep me in this job!!

8. List your three favorite ports you have visited?

Cozumel, Mexico

St. Thomas

Grand Cayman

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

Hawaii

Anywhere is Alaska

Brazil…coming soon!

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

I would have to say Steve Martin or Martin Short because there are two men that are funny no matter when or where and they are classic comedians. They can make anyone smile, laugh and just forget everything while they are performing.

Thank you Risa and congratulations on your continuing success.

Here is the lost luggage score from this cruise.

51 pieces of missing luggage

18 returned today in Naples.

With that, it is time for the Welcome Aboard Show which tonight should be presented in subtitles considering less than half the ship will understand what I am talking about. Oh, well, I am sure it will be OK and I will let you know how it goes in tomorrow’s blog thingy.

I did not receive any Jelly Beans this week so I will have to suffer in silence for 12 days as my jetpack sits in neutral but Heidi is very happy about that.

Also, you will see Roberto has slapped on a request form for the SUPPER CLUB RESERVATIONS which you need to complete and Roberto will send me the requests and your booking will be confirmed………….thanks Roberto, this saves me typing out reservation orders . Remember, I can do this for any ship, not just the Carnival Freedom.

And finally the good news. I called Mrs Barsby’s daughter this evening to make sure she got home safe. She did, her daughter was very grateful………one thing though………..and I know you will think I am making this up but truly I am not – ……Delta lost one of her bags – ……..I feel so sorry…………not just for Mrs Barsby but for the Delta representative who she filled the report out with.

DELTA REP – What bag did is missing

MRS BARSBY – My bag

DELTA REP – Yes, I know it was your bag what was it

MRS BARSBY – A suitcase

DELTA REP – What colour

MRS BARSBY – I don’t know, my daughter knows

DELTA REP – Where is your daughter?

MRS BARSBY – In Pittsburgh

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.