Is it me or are some Greek people really rude. Now, I know that is a very abrasive way to start today’s blog but ……………well……..I have been wanting to say this for weeks now and after today, I had to say something. Obviously, I don’t mean all Greeks, I don’t even mean all Greeks from Greece or from Athens where we are today but bloody hell…………they are tough people to deal with and the ones I have met today are like nothing I have met before in the other ports.Over the last few weeks, we have gotten lots of comments from guests (including those with Greek heritage) that they found the merchants, guides and people involved in day to day interaction with guests rude and abrasive. Here is one example just from today from three cabins.

From: FREEDOM PURSERS
Sent: Sunday, August 12, 2007 3:20 PM
To: FREEDOM PURSERS
Cc: FREEDOM CHIEF PURSER; FREEDOM CRUISE DIRECTOR; FREEDOM SHORE EXCURSION MANAGER
Subject: Museum, Rude Guides and Security – Cabins 6126, 7172, 1044.

The following cabins came to the desk and asked to speak to the cruise director. Purser asked what their concerns were and they explained that during the tour of the Acropolis the museum security guard shouted at the children because they were making to much noise. Guest from cabin 6126 – Kennedy, said that the guard screamed in the face of their 8-year-old child causing him to cry. Mr. Kennedy confronted the guard and was told “You Americans think you rule the world.” This was witnessed by the other cabins 7122 and 1044. Purser told the guests that this would be documented and the message passed on to the Cruise Director. Purser apologized and guests left the desk. Talked to Cruise Director. – 1065.

I wish this was the first time I had heard this sort of thing. I have witnessed it myself. Today, I just went outside to the terminal to see the flow of guests etc and to buy a British newspaper. I gave the man a five Euro note for a paper that cost 3 euros. He took the money, gave me my paper. I stood, waiting for the change and ……….nothing. I said “you owe me 2 Euro” and he just shrugged his shoulders, said something in Greek and served someone else.

Anyway, there have been a lot of incidents similar to the guest’s story above. There is no doubt that this is a beautiful country and Athens is a must visit destination and the majority of people are wonderful but boy oh boy some of them really do need a hospitality class ……………now.

It was hot today as well which probably didn’t help people’s tempers but there were many happy faces after experiencing the Acropolis of Athens. I want to share this with you, it is a list of places that was sent to me by Mrs. Mary Strutt who is sailing this cruise and has now crossed the Acropolis of her must see list. I asked her for her others and this is what she wants to see before……..well………..you know.

THE ACROPOLIS IN ATHENS

THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA

NIAGARA FALLS

THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

THE EIFFEL TOWER

BUCKINGHAM PALACE

MACCHU PICCHU – PERU

JOHN HEALD DRIVING AN ASTON MARTIN VANQUISH

OK, I made the last one up but the rest of the list is pretty impressive and she is so excited to have seen two of her list this cruise. Good luck to Mary and I wonder, what’s on your list?

You will be happy to know that the Lloyds Inspectors were very happy when they left and the words “flying colours” were used to describe how we did so everyone is very happy here.

Just one last note about my Turkish bath experience. Alan Adkins and I have promised never to speak of this again but we do feel that we should warn you about the excess water thing………both of us are wearing Depends.

Here are some photos which I hope you enjoy.

1.The Amphitheatre at Athens.

1.The Amphitheatre at Athens.

2. Piraeus harbour

2. Piraeus harbour

3 & 4. A Greek Sunset

3 & 4. A Greek Sunset
3 & 4. A Greek Sunset

I WILL ALSO BE INCLUDING SOME PHOTOS THAT SHAWN ON THE CARNIVAL SPIRIT IS SENDING ME FROM ALASKA – HERE IS THE ONE FOR TODAY

I WILL ALSO BE INCLUDING SOME PHOTOS THAT SHAWN ON THE CARNIVAL SPIRIT IS SENDING ME FROM ALASKA - HERE IS THE ONE FOR TODAY

I THINK EVERYONE NOW WANTS TO CALL AND BOOK THE Carnival Spirit – HEY – HOW ABOUT A BLOGGERS CRUISE THERE IN 2009 – ANYONE INTERESTED?

And so to today’s “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 are today’s questions and answers and comments section which are taken from the blog titled “Highlighting the Celebration and Cruise Director Lenny Halliday.”

BRYANT – Thank you very much for congratulating me on my 20 years. It doesn’t feel like 20 years until I look at old photos of myself, still, I am twice the man I used to be. You asked for a photo and a picture of the tender lobby on Deck 0 where guests enter. Heidi will take this tomorrow morning. I have to say, I have never been asked for a photo of this part of the ship before, but I am happy to oblige. All the best and look out for your photo. If any other bloggers have photo request outside of the secure areas of the vessel, please let me know and I see what I can do.
FRANK C – Thank you Frank, we are all very proud to have passed our Lloyd’s Inspection. It should be a comfort to all the guests who sail on Carnival ships to know that their safety is in good hands. Thanks for giving me the chance to acknowledge this. You are Foxtrot Alpha November Tango Alpha Sierra Tango India Charlie.
LINDA HERNACKI – Hello Linda & Mike. How was your weekend? I am glad you enjoyed the story about the Carnival Leg End, it really was a haunting experience. You asked for a photo of Heidi and I of the early years. I will see what I can dig out. It’s wonderful to hear that you are still enjoying the blog. Have a great day.
JAMES NOLAN – It does seem a long time ago since we met on the Carnival Freedom. I am sure there must be days when you are very scared but the thoughts and prayers of all the thousands of blog readers are with you and everyone else serving their countries in Iraq. If there is anything we can do to make easier over there such as mail, photos or just a note to say HI, please let us know. All the best mate.
HEIDI-BETH AND KEVIN AND THE 7 PIXELS – I want to start with agreeing what you just said “A safe ship is a Fun Ship.” More than anything, that is what we strive to be. It was interesting reading about your friend who just cruised with Costa. In the days to come I will be proudly slapping on an interview with somebody from our dynamic sister company. I hope you enjoyed reading the one from Stein on behalf of Holland America Line. I am glad you are enjoying the Cruise Director interviews and Kid’s Corner. Heidi and I love kids and as you will read later in this blog we try and do what we can for those in need. Talking of kids. How are your seven?
We send our best to all of them and of course to the three of you.
BIG ED – Ed, your applications for Cruise Director has already been submitted and accepted and you have been officially nominated as the Bloggers Undisputed Special Teacher and you will therefore be called Big Bust and will be responsible teaching others how to run your own blog. You asked how Alan is, he is having a great time and Heidi will be taking another photo of him tomorrow. I never did ask. How did you persuade Mrs. Big Ed?
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF – I have been speaking to Feng Shui Turtle a lot this cruise and we have been having a lot of fun, even though up till now she doesn’t have her luggage. I hope she is coming on the bloggers cruise and if you look at the letter from the “In their own words” section you will see a note from her and that Heidi has been looking after her with various hair products. I can imagine asking a Lloyd’s underwriter to insure my two typing fingers. They must be worth at least $5 each. It’s interesting to hear that the cooking thing I mentioned from the back of trucks that we saw in Newfoundland is also popular in America at football games. I never knew this and maybe it is something I can start back in the U.K. Heidi can serve Fish & Chips out of the back of my Aston Martin………..is that the same thing?
Hope you and your other half are well and are enjoying the blog thingy.
DWA76 – Hello mate. You are right, the times I had with Michael Andrew were some of the best times I ever had on stage. He is a massive talent and I am sure he will go on to great things. Thank you for all your lovely comments and I am sorry to report it’s too late. ……….I drove Heidi crazy years ago. All the best mate.
ALAN & CHRIS – I remember when Heidi and I were there, it seemed that the entire city was under construction, but we had a wonderful time and especially loved Quincy Market. Please say a big thank you to Chris for mentioning the blog and I am very grateful for you kind words of congratulations. You will be here soon and I see that you are thinking of booking excursions. I suggest that you wait until you are on board, come to my Travel Talks and then you can decide what you want to do. If you have any questions, please let me know before you sail or see me or Heidi during the cruise. As far as the Supper Club reservation, you can tell me when and at what time as soon as you would like and I will make a reservation for you. See you in September; I will be the one wearing Red Socks.
LUV CRUISIN – I hope you are not suffering from ATCOCS syndrome. Some of the early signs of this are eating six meals a day which you have other people cook for you and sitting down in your living room expecting your husband to perform a review show wearing feathers and a g-string. I suggest you keep reading this blog, it maybe your only way of surviving until your next cruise. See you in 246 days.
SOUTHERN DREAMS – Interesting to hear that you did not enjoy the comedians on Costa Cruises. Comedy is the hardest thing to translate, something I have found out again this cruise. (NO I AM NOT WHINING). I am glad your friends have now found happiness and contentment here at Carnival Cruise Lines. All the best to you and the Prince.
LFTTNSFCF……………I really appreciate your understanding that every now and then I may not be able to answer every comment and question. However, this will be a rare occurrence as I know how important this is to so many people. Just the fact that you understand makes me feel understood. However, let me also say that I will always be here as and when people need advice or help.
JO MYERLY – Too late, I responded :))
NANETTEALI – I love the children’s drawings and they really bring a smile to my face. I knew you would enjoy the photo of me and Michael Andrew, I actually thought of you when I slapped it on. Grasyarse me amiga. ……mucho huggo….
SHERIFF ROSCO P. COLTRANE – You asked about the replies that you make and that some of them are awaiting moderation. Actually, I have no idea what this means and I will refer to my good friend ROBERTO to answer for you. I do know that I read how you caught and arrested that terrible man who did terrible things and that night more than ever I was proud to call you my friend. Please stay safe.
TOM AND JANE – A classic Cruise Director joke, thank you for sharing it with us all. Here is another. Over the PA system. “This message is for the man who lost his gold Rolex watch…….I am happy to tell you……the time is 7:30pm.” Thanks to your both and thanks for reading the blog thingy and voting for me. I appreciate it so very much.
BRYAN – I am glad you enjoy hearing about the planning for the Welcome Aboard Show. I have learned over the years that it’s always best to have a plan A and plan B in your pocket. If you have any other questions please let me know. Until then, Cheers mate.
JENN – 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 indeed this was. I will advise you shortly.
Thank you for saying I am your favorite CD, you are too kind. All the best.
TERRI 910 – I am glad you are enjoying the photos and I certainly looked very young back then. How kind of you to say that I may have been the reason that you and Larry are hooked on cruising. Thanks also for saying how much you enjoyed our Scouser’s interview. Lenny is a terrific guy and like you, is a huge lover of everything Beatles. Heidi sends her best to you and I think there may be a surprise, show wise, for you on the Carnival Splendor.
POPCORNGAL – Thank you for your congratulations and congratulations to you on receiving your blog thingy t-shirt. It will be interesting to see the reaction you receive when you wear it on the Carnival Miracle. I am very humbled that you bought one and I thank you so much for reading the blog as much as you do.
KEVIN – You mentioned a big congratulations to PA 007 who can indeed find out things no one else can. I will do my best to help you, so once an again, just let me know exactly what it is you would like to do. Everybody here will support you and I see so many people, myself included, think you are a terrific guy……..and not just because you got an Aston Martin.
MEDCRUISER – Thank you very much for saying my Travel Adventure Talks were so helpful during your recent cruise. Compared to ones in the Caribbean, these talks are very much more involved and I have to thank Heidi for helping me write them. I agree with you 100% the Lerici and Portovenere tour is incomparable and I am glad I set this one up. The problem is, everybody wants to see Pisa, which is understandable but for the folks who return to this area, like you, I strongly recommend this tour. I will purchase a tour book for you from this area on Wednesday when we go and let me know a mailing address and I will send it to you. Wishing you a great evening and let me know the address. Thank you for saying my sister is a knock out. She is not bad, even though she is the ugly one of the family.
SHARON AND JEFF – I am interested to learn how much luggage you will be taking for your 49-day Carnival Splendor Cruise. Are you hiring a barge for us to tow behind? I am really excited that you are excited about this cruise and hopefully I will be able to confirm soon that I will be there with you.
DOUG – Welcome to the blog. I see that you only just discovered this world of cruise fun and how wonderful to hear that you are sitting in the gorgeous town of St. John’s Newfoundland. THE NARROWS…that’s right. Thank you for telling me the name of the entrance to the port and reminding me also that that was where Marconi sent his first ever-wireless signal from. I will indeed interview a Navigational Officer in the days to come, so look out for that on this blog thingy. My best regards to everybody in your part of the world, you are very lucky to live there.
KATHIE – Thank you for the anniversary wishes. I am sorry to hear that you have not been well. I am very sad to hear this news and we all hope that you are on the road to recovery. It seems that some messages do not get through to me and this may just be cyberspace madness which I know Roberto will be looking into. Anyway, most importantly, get better and Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane and I will be thinking of you.
SHELLY P – Well, you will be here soon and unfortunately you will have to bring your own double bass :)) You and the boys are about to have the vacation of a lifetime and I am honored to be sharing it with you. Travel safely.
SHELAGH INGLEDOW – Welcome to the blog and thank you for the brilliant recommendation to see the Within Reach Internet Café. I told some of my staff about this and they went there today and already they are raving about it. They loved the price of the internet and I see that you offer wonderful things for the crew. I will come over myself next time and introduce Heidi and I to you. Thank you for everything you do and we enjoyed a wonderful day in Greece. I just wish they were all as friendly as you.

That’s all for the Q & A for today…………………much more tomorrow.

Here is today’s Guest Interview featuring another of my colleagues and great friends Mr. Steve Cassel onboard the Holiday. Steve is an awesome violinist, a brilliant juggler and totally unique as a cruise Director.

Here is his interview.

Steve Cassel

Steve Cassel

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

I started back in 1986 when Carnival hired me as a juggler. I’d worked all over the world with my juggling act and was currently in a revue show in Lake Tahoe called “Body Language.” I started on the Tropicale, and in a year was given the cruise director position. This is so much fun I’ve never looked back!

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

I’m currently on the happy Holiday sailing out of Mobile, Alabama. We sail to Cozumel every cruise, and on the alternating 5-day cruises, we also hit Costa Maya and Calica / Playa del Carmen. People from the South are just about the nicest people I’ve ever run across. They’re friendly, enjoy life to its fullest, and there’s a natural warmth with Southerners that is very addicting.

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

My favorite port is Cozumel, and if you want to get out and really see it, the highlights and shopping tour is perfect. It’s a great combination of two popular reasons to visit exotic ports of call. Next would be the dolphin swim. They’re inquisitive, friendly, curious and intelligent. The third of the two would be getting to know turtles. There’s the Grand Cayman Turtle Farm, Swimming with Turtles in Playa del Carmen, and a few others. I think God was in a rather unusual mood when he made the turtle, and I believe there’s more to them than meets the eye.

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

I enjoy the Newlywed, not-so-newlywed game. I end up interpreting quite a few answers, though. It’s amazing to me what people actually write sometimes! I enjoy the Talent Show as well. No matter what happens, it’s always fun to see people perform.

5. Fill in the blank please……………..People should sail on the HOLIDAY because it’s just about the friendliest environment around. You feel at home instantly, and your cruise vacation experience will be so much fun, you’ll start planning your next one before you leave. We make sure of it!

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

My favorite part is performing. I was hired as a professional juggler and I enjoy that immensely. But all through school I was planning to be a concert violinist. I would practice 4 hours a day, had private lessons, but decided at one point that I didn’t want to dress like a penguin for the rest of my life and sought to broaden my horizons. Performing on cruise ships gives me the opportunity to do it all. We have a production revue show called “X-treme Country” on the Holiday, where I get to play Country Fiddle throughout the show, featuring Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Orange Blossom Special, and The Devil Went Down to Georgia among others. What fun! My mother wanted me to play violin (in the worst way) and my dad wanted me to play fiddle, so to keep everybody happy, I learned both.

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

There are hundreds, but my favorite has to be the elevator incident. I was walking around the Ecstasy with Ron Ness, Hotel Director when we spotted three elderly ladies staring straight up. They were at the main elevator, not moving, seemingly entranced with something. On the Ecstasy atop the main forward elevators, there’s a light that marks the floor that the elevator is currently on, arranged in a semicircle above the doors. They were staring at these lights. As Ron and I approached, the lady on the left, obviously quite upset, piped up: “Well, how do they expect us to press these buttons?” That was at least 12 years ago, but it’s still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

8. List your three favorite ports you have visited?

Cozumel, St. Thomas and Grand Cayman.

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

I’d like to do the Alaska run, everyone says it’s absolutely beautiful.

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

If I could introduce anyone onstage, it would be the Italian violinist Niccolo Paganini, held by many as the greatest and most innovative virtuoso of all time. He played a Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu. He could make it sing, he could make it weep, and left his audiences gasping. In Paganini’s hands, the violin became a living, breathing thing. I’d love to be in the same room with someone who possesses that kind of gift.

Thanks Steve and I am sure the good folks of Alabama are enjoying having the Holiday in Mobile and the guests onboard I know enjoy your multitude of talents.

I wanted to talk to you now about a great friend of ours. Her name is Rebecca and she is a Special Needs teacher in Oxnard, California. She sailed with us on the Carnival Liberty and we gave her a trophy to show the children. Before she came on this cruise she had her entire class draw me pictures in a hope that one of them would win a trophy for being “the smartest kid in the class”

There were a total of 15 kids who wanted to win and 15 fantastic pictures and letters. Here are all 15…………….YES……………all 15…………….I though it would be nice for them to see their drawings and letters being read by thousands of people.

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS

Heidi and I have given her a trophy for every child, along with a signed photo of the ship and a medallion ………………tonight, they are winners.

Congratulations you are all the SMARTEST KIDS IN THE CLASS AND WE ARE ALL PROUD OF YOU.

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.