20 Years Ago

August 7, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Afternoon from the Carnival Freedom.

It is 3:27 pm here and I have just finished my afternoon show and have an hour before the formal night events start so I thought we could have a chat.

I very good friend of mine told me to stop winning about the number of International guests onboard so I have………..stopped whining, that’s whine in case you thought I meant I had won something. My friend meant whining not winning. Anyway, I went to the show last night thinking and expecting the worst……….the worst being that nobody would understand what it was I was saying and therefore would not appreciate my poor attempts at humour (spelt correctly).

Things started of OK and then as the evening went on the audience really started to laugh and have a good time. About ten minutes into the show I saw a lady stand up and leave from the sixth row in the center of the room. I hoped she would be coming back because she was wearing the strangest outfit I had seen. Her dress and a matching headpiece were made of nothing but flowers………she did come back and I made the mistake of walking off stage to interview her. I asked her had she made the dress herself and she grabbed the microphone from me and gave a 5-minute speech about the dress being made by her mother and that flowers were living creatures and should be cherished and loved. She kept talking and would not give me the microphone back and of course the audience was laughing hysterically. You did not need to speak English to understand this lovely lady was ………….well…………….different. Eventually, she gave me the mic back and sat down. I offered her a glass of water in case the flowers were thirsty and the show carried on. Here is a photo of the lady in question………………I can’t wait to see what she is going to wear for formal night……………maybe a grass skirt, who knows?

Flower Lady

Flower Lady

Then it was time to pick the eight people for the show and I was hoping that I would get mostly people who did speak English. I was lucky, out of the eight, only two were not from the USA or Canada. One was a lady called Simone who was from Valencia in Spain.

The  other……Roger….pronounced Rogair from Paris, France..let the fun begin.

Rogair had the most French accent you have ever heard when he spoke the little English he did. It was like Inspector Closseau in the Pink Panther movies and seeing that unlike the majority of his countrymen he had a sense of humour I decided to have some fun. Basically, I also started speaking English in a French accent and we went back and forth together. I asked him if this was his first cruise (in my best English with a French accent) and he told me that he had seen the ship ” while passing by in Cannes last year,” I think he meant the Carnival Liberty………….anyway, it did not matter because when he spoke those words in English using his French accent it actually came out as ” I was pissing by the ship last year.” Well, this brought the house down and we continued pissing together for some time. I then told the audience that if they saw Rogair they should talk to him in French/English and indeed this morning I called Rogair and he said “I am famous, everywhere I go people say they are pissing by to see me.” And so, the show was a success and although the challenges of having so many different nationalities remain, my friend was correct and I have stopped whining and am trusting in the ability of people to have fun regardless of the language barriers and that is also thanks to Rogair…………..here he is.


Here are today’s photos which we took around the ship on this beautiful hot and sunny day at sea.

1. A busy day on Lido Deck

1. A busy day on Lido Deck2. Having Fun On The Water Slide

2. Having Fun On The Water Slide

3. The Seaside Theatre Big Screen – and a Turtle

3. The Seaside Theatre Big Screen - and a Turtle

4. The Pool

4. The Pool

5. Chef Katut preparing Chinese Food

5. Chef Katut preparing Chinese Food

Here are the letters from today’s IN THEIR OWN WORDS




Time for the Q and A…………….my poor fingers.

KATHY AND PAUL – Let me know if you have any joy booking the flights. I am glad I could help and as always I will be here should further advice be needed. All the best.
LEZLEE – Hello, and it was a pleasure to make the supper club reservations for you. Let me now answer your other questions for you. The Internet Café does have a printer and for a small charge the Café Manager will allow you to use the printer as required so you will be fine. You asked about restaurant recommendations in Rome and as always I get a bit nervous about this because what I like, others may not. Therefore, I always suggest you head for Via Veneto which is a particular area in Rome with dozens and dozens of cafes and restaurants to suit all pockets and tastes and I know you will find the right place to celebrate your anniversary. Hope this helps and please let me know if you need anything else.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – Lois Grabyourknee. Please listen to the request of the folks from the Deep South and come and join us on the Bloggers Cruise. I hear you are not a Carnival fan Mrs. G and I would love the chance to show you what we are all about……..what do you say?
KEVIN – Kevin, I read your story and now I know for certain that you are a special man and one day I hope to shake your hand……..and drive your Aston Martin. Thank you for sharing that story with us all. This blog has become that extra bit special because of postings like that. Cheers mate.
ADAM – Thank you Adam. Meeting Jess and seeing how brave and sincere she is was the highlight of the cruise. I have kept her e-mail and we have already written each other e-mail, she is one kid I will never forget. Thanks again for your kind words.
MARK GOECKE – Thank you Mark………….your words were very special and mean a lot to me.
JIM ALTON – I have now confirmed the Supper Club reservation and it was my pleasure. Yep, 500,000 slaps and maybe, as you said we will one day hit the magic million mark and I hope you will be there to celebrate with me. Cheers Jim.
LUV2CRUISE – Leona, your words of kindness touched me deeply and I just wanted to say…………..thank you.
NANETTEALI – It is hard as you say to say goodbye to some people you meet on the ship. Jess was certainly one of those people as were you and your lovely family. The wonders of this job are that you do get a chance to make a difference in peoples vacations and sometimes maybe in their lives. Grasyarse mi amor.
WENDY IN HAYWARD WI – How kind of you to think of me and buy me some sugar-free candy. Yes, please leave them at the Information Desk and make sure you leave me your cabin number so I can send you something in return. I will see you in a few days and thank you also for the kind words about the blog which, I hope you keep reading after the cruise. See you soon and have a safe flight.
MEDCRUISER – Thank you Manuel. It is nice to see that people are enjoying the blog and it seems Jess has touched everyone’s heart.
PAPANH – I am glad that you and your son enjoyed the interview with Chef Blanc. He is such a talented maestro and one day I hope everyone gets the chance to sample his kitchen magic. Indeed, as you say you have to have real passion to be a Chef and I think Chef Blanc’s passion shone through during his interview. As for me, I once tried to boil an egg in the microwave so that shows you my abilities in the kitchen. My best to you, your son and the rest of your family and please keep reading the blog thingy.
LV2CRUISE – I am sorry that the blog made you cry and indeed she brought a tear to my eye as well. I can tell you though that Jess firmly believes that her Mum and dad are in heaven and that she can talk to them every night and they listen and give her advice as well. She is a very special lady.
LFTTNSFCF – Thanks mate. I often wonder if I should write the stories like Jess on this blog. I never want to upset people but living and working on a big ship like this is like living in a small town. I really want this blog to include the whole roller coaster journey I travel on each and every day and Jess’s story was one I truly felt I had to share with you all. Thanks again for your support and see you soon.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – Hello Paul, how are you today? Yes, Chef Blanc is such a talented man and is responsible for altering the waistline of many guests’ suits and dresses. You asked if he comes onboard the ships? He has done in the past for special functions and events and I hope he will do so soon, hopefully when I am onboard so he can cook me dinner………that really would be a treat. I am sorry that due to security reasons I am unable to post photos of the bridge but that is the price we pay for living in today’s world………..I miss the old days when guests could visit the bridge and see what was happening as we were sailing along. Maybe one day those days will return. So, I have known you for five months and one day our relationship will be cemented by a shake of the hand and a good cup of tea. Take care and the best to you from us both.
GILLIAN – A Newfi, living in Paris, now there are two completely different styles of living. You mentioned that you are concerned that you will get Carnival Capers in French but you would prefer them in English. Never fear, I will make sure you get the English version as you requested as you have supplied your cabin number. I could have done with you this week to help me translate as we have many French guests onboard this week………… (I know my friend will say I am whining again so I will stop there). I made a reservation in the Supper Club for the Thursday which is a great time to eat and you will so enjoy your special occasion there. I hope I meet you when you cruise and if there is anything else you need, please let me know. If not, have a safe flight and see you soon.
VICKI – Yes, I actually got to blog on a Sunday, which is very unusual, but I am glad that you enjoyed it. Still no jellybeans and my jet pack is non-operational however, Heidi is a happy bunny. Wish you were here and all the best.
HYACINTH1 – Of course Heidi and I remember you as part of the Mellow Yellow’s. You were the first group of blogging friends who sailed since I started writing this thingy. How fantastic to hear that you and your family have booked the Carnival Splendor, as a reward I will make sure as requested we have Pimms on board. We could actually have a Pimms happy hour in the afternoon. That would be very sophisticated and Heidi has just told me that she will host it!
I know the Carnival Splendor is a long time away but it will be here before you know it and hopefully the blog will keep you going until then.
I&MsMOM – It seems my last blog caused you mixed emotion, which I hope is ok. You say I will make a terrific father and I hope I get the chance. It will be Thursday soon, let’s see what happens.
HEIDI-BETH AND KEVIN – Glad to hear that you three and the seven pixels enjoyed the photo of the trashcan on the bridge. It is a shame that was the only thing I could photograph. It is wonderful to read the appreciation for Chef Blanc’s interview and maybe one day you can hire a bus and take the whole family to his restaurant in France. Heidi and I send our best to you and the rest of the Brady Bunch.
DEAN LAIL – I am so sorry you lost your car keys. I just checked with lost and found here on the ship but no keys were turned in. Maybe Mrs. Barsby has them :))  I am really glad you enjoyed the cruise and I hope you think about taking another one very soon.
RICHIE RICH – Yes mate, this is were you post your questions, which I will be happy to answer. Slap them on and I will be here waiting.
DWA76 – Glad you enjoyed the blog today and I see we have another George Blanc fan. You mentioned Heidi’s favorite chef, Gordon Ramsey and it would be fun to have him in the kitchen on one of our ships, although he would have to learn to swear in many other languages. Heidi and I are looking forward to our vacation when we  hope to go to one of his restaurants with our friends who took us to Harry’s Bar, the only problem is, it’s my turn to pay. Just read your second posting and wanted so say another big thank you for your support. Knowing I make people laugh is such a great reward. Thanks as always and please write soon.
DAVE AND JO MYERLY – Hi guys, yep, two blogs in one day. It was Super Sunday. Heidi has made your reservation as you requested and it will be a meal to remember.
How wonderful to hear that you are joining me for the bloggers cruise and it will not be long before you have that Platinum card in your hand. Can’t wait to see you again. All the best from Heidi and I.
GREG BALDASARRI – Great to hear you got the t-shirt. Heidi has made reservations for you on Monday, September 24 and Thursday, September 27 at 6:30 pm. A reminder will be sent to your cabin when you are on board. (We made it for 4 people, hope this is correct) September 22 is our last Greek / Turkey run for this season. Looking forward to welcoming you all on board.
BRYAN – Just a quick note to say hello. I always feel really guilty making an announcement at 6 am for debarkation as I know people hate to leave. Hope all is well with you and you are enjoying the blog thingy.
THE PLAZ – Thank you for all your wonderful links and I am sure people will appreciate your photos of the Carnival Valor. You asked if it would be possible to interview Joe Farcus, the Interior Designer of the Carnival fleet. That is a great idea and is now on my “to do” list. Thanks again Plaz and I now know why you have that name.
BRYANT – Great to hear you are enjoying the blog and I see that you are about to enjoy your first ever cruise on the Carnival Valor. You asked about seasickness and you seem a little worried by it. Please do not be and my suggestion is that you do not take anything unless you really feel ill. This is the doctor’s advice and only take something like Dramamine if you feel ill but not before. You also seem concerned that you are cruising during hurricane season. That is one thing that should be far from your mind. With today’s technology the ships are always many steps ahead and can determine a new course way ahead of time in order to stay out of any storm’s path. Therefore, relax and get ready for the best vacations you have ever had. I promise.
LOIS GRABWATERSKI – I have now spelled your name correctly. Thank you for being such a sport and I am so happy to hear the blog has you laughing. You asked what tea Heidi prefers and I can tell you she is a lover of Earl Grey and Green Tea, while I prefer plain old breakfast tea. My favorite brand is PG tips which is affectionately know as Monkey Tea. This was because the commercials featured chimpanzees drinking tea. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine and I were singing a commercial from the late 70’s. If you see PG tips in your supermarket, buy some, it’s the best tea in the world. All the best and look forward to writing your name again soon.
KEVIN – You know Heidi and I feel that we have known people like you and the other bloggers for a long time, which is one of the rewards for the hours we spend doing this blog – thingy. One day soon we will have dinner together. You asked about airfare for the Carnival Splendor. Have you checked with Carnival to see what Air/Sea programs we offer? Also, try flying to Holland or Germany and taking a low cost airline such as Easyjet and Ryanair to the UK. If you do this, be aware of the high excess baggage charges. All the best, see you tomorrow on the blog thingy.
BIG ED – I have given you the week off, will full pay and full laundry facilities. I will be talking to you in a moment.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Hello Carol. Hope you had a great weekend and I am happy to hear you are enjoying the blog so much. You asked about buying the t-shirts without using the credit card. ROBERTO, CAN SHE USE A CHEQUE OR MONEY ORDER?? Carol, Roberto is checking into this right now and I will let you know as quickly as possible. It’s good to hear you enjoyed the interview with Chris Jefferson and you are right, Carnival Valor is a wonderful ship.
From the choices you have for your next cruise, I really think you should try the Carnival Miracle out of New York. The ship is stunning, the crew are wonderful and sailing out of New York is a one of a kind experience. Please don’t let the cat scratch your suitcase too much, you will need it again very soon for your next Carnival cruise. Thank you Carol and my warmest regards to you.
KAREN MAGUIRE – Your Supper Club reservation has been made ……………. try the Ribeye Steak. See you in a few weeks.
RUTH JAMISON – Yes, Mrs. Barsby is home safe and sound but without her suitcase so the adventure continues. How wonderful to hear that you have met up with a fellow cruiser, Pat, who of course I remember. Who can forget her Row, Row, Row Your Boat song? It is also interesting to read your thoughts on the Grand Bazaar. Indeed, some people love it, some people hate it and I am never truly sure if it is a place where true bargains can be found. Some people say yes, some people say no. I would appreciate everyone’s feedback. I hope your husband enjoys his Christmas present of a Bloggers t-shirt, he must be very easy to please. Please send him my best regards and your kind words about me being a life line have made my day.
Many thanks and our warmest regards.
VIKKI AND MATT TILL – I wouldn’t say Heidi and I are counting the days to vacation but we certainly will be ready for it when it arrives. We have been going flat-out since the beginning of February and there are days when it is difficult to get out of bed. That is why I need to refuel my jet pack as for some reason after eating jellybeans I am able to get out of bed very quickly in the morning with a little help from Heidi’s foot. I am not sure of my official leaving date but it will be some time in the winter. I am so sorry we won’t be there when you cruise but we can look forward to officially meeting on the Carnival Splendor, something which I truly look forward to. Until then I remain at your service.
FRANK C – Thank you for mentioning the crew and it is always very hard for them to be away from their families which is why everyone always look forward to their vacation. I am glad to hear the blog is still is making you chuckle so I will keep typing away hoping there are some more laughs just around the corner.
SHARON R – Before long you will be walking on the gangway and we are both looking forward to meeting you. Thank you so much for asking if Heidi or I would like anything from the UK and if possible, Heidi would like a copy of NOW and HELLO magazine and I would love TOP GEAR magazine. This is a car magazine, which is about as close as I will ever get to an Aston Martin. Have a safe journey and I look forward to returning gifts in kind.
BIG ED – A full length mirror. Now there is a scary thought. I once fell asleep in a hotel bed that had mirrors on the ceiling. Unfortunately I decided to lay on top of the bed naked, woke up from a deep sleep, looked up and thought I was being attacked by a nude skydiver. I will be talking about you soon.
SHERYL PELTON – You are welcome. Thank you for inviting Heidi and I to eat at the Supper Club with you. I truly wish our schedules allowed for this. You need to allow 3 hours to enjoy this culinary journey and I am sure it would be a meal you would never forget. Thank you for your information on your group of 700 who will be sailing with us in a few weeks time. I have definitely cruised with this group before and have fond memories of how much fun they bring to any cruise. How kind of you to offer to bring Heidi some wine from California. I just told her and she is smiling and would like to say thank you and that she prefers red. We look forward to meeting you and Heidi looks forward to raising a glass with you and I will join you for a Diet Coke.

I am going to stop there and continue with more Q & A tomorrow. There will also be more Cruise Director and special guest interviews from tomorrow.

A few days ago somebody asked about what new features would be applied to the Fantasy Class ships in the weeks and months ahead. Therefore, I am very proud to show you this press release and photos of what you can expect.

Evolutions of Fun

Evolutions of Fun

To learn more, visit the Evolutions of Fun website.

Also, I have worked out that one of our most prolific and dedicated bloggers has decided to book the Bloggers Cruise. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Mr. and Mrs. BIG ED.

Mr. and Mrs. BIG ED

I am so happy to hear this. Ed, what finally persuaded you? Was it Heidi washing your underwear or the fact that I made you the Assistant to the Cruise Director? Whatever the reason, I look forward to meeting you and saying thank you for everything you have done to help this blog be successful. I have reserved a booth for your dinner……..just kidding. ………let the fun begin.

And finally.

Twenty years ago, a young slim handsome man said goodbye to a very worried Mum and Dad at Heathrow airport and boarded a Continental Airlines flight to Miami, Florida. A few days later that young man walked up the gangway of the Carnival cruise ship Holiday and the adventure began.

Tomorrow marks my 20th anniversary with Carnival Cruise Lines. It has been a journey that has allowed me to meet and converse with people from all corners of the world. It has allowed me to find a talent which I never knew I had, that of being able to entertain. I am so thankful to Carnival for allowing me to be the first ever Cruise Director who was not a recognized entertainer, with no skill and no background in the industry. They gave me a chance and for that I will be ever grateful.  I also want to say thank you to my Mum and Dad who supported me when I said I was off to be a bar waiter on a cruise ship and have put up with my coming and going for the last 20 years. I have always had a room at home for me should I ever need it.  I do not know how many more years I will be at sea, probably not too many. I also have no idea where the last 20 years have gone. I have watched this company grow and watched myself grow and I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you for sharing this anniversary with me and it is tradition that on 20 years each employee receives a special gift. I have no idea what mine will be but I hope they got me a black one with chrome wheels and cream leather seats.

20 years, who would have thought it?


Your friends,

John & 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.