Are We Having Pun Yet……Shahnaz Is!

August 24, 2007 -

John Heald

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

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

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

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

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

Doctor says…………It’s Not Unusual

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s up to you, sync or swim.”

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

Mount Etna

Mount Etna

Mount Etna

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

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

Now it is time for today’s In Their Own Words section.

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

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

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

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

He was arrested by the local police for…

making an obscene clone fall.

Sorry.

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

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

Shahnaz Kashinpour

Shahnaz Kashinpour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLEASE CHOOSE

APPETIZER Frog legs

MAIN COURSE Steak Tartar

DESSERT Crème Brule

YOUR CHOICE OF WINE Alluvium Beringer

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

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

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

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

1. The Queen Mary 2 and the observation tower

1. The Queen Mary 2 and the observation tower

2. The crowds gather to see the Queen

2. The crowds gather to see the Queen

3. Even more people flock to see this amazing liner

3. Even more people flock to see this amazing liner

4. A bird’s eye view

4. A bird’s eye view

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

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

6. The Queen at Night

6. The Queen at Night

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

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

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

Well………………………………except this one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“I’ll be Bach.”
Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

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.