We Are Family

August 25, 2007 -

John Heald

Hello everyone and I hope you are all having a great weekend so far. I have just finished the debarkation talk which as always feels very strange to host 3 days before the end of the voyage………..I still wish we had a sea day at the end of the voyage.

Today, after the Q and A, I met with a guest and his wife who were leaving the ship tomorrow in Barcelona. They are bloggers and I wanted to start today’s blog by mentioning Brad and Chrissy – Cruisin4Fun as they are called. Would you join me in thinking of them today as they were just informed that Chrissy’s father has passed away suddenly at the age of just 57. I have helped make arrangements for them to leave in Barcelona and once again as 3487 guests have fun and continue with their cruise, two people will be flying home to Boston. I asked if I could mention this on the blog as we are indeed a tight group of friends…even though there are thousands of us and they did indeed say they would like this…………therefore, before the fun stuff starts………please think of Chrissy, Brad and their families today……………….thank you.

I would like at this point to welcome all of our Cunard cruisers who have discovered this humble blog thingy in the last few days.

This has happened through the addition of this link and press release from the Cunard offices.


Since this was sent out we have had 8,000 Cunard loyal cruises have taken the time to read my blog about the stunning Queen Victoria and hopefully will be reading some of the future blogs as well. Therefore, I bid you all a warm and personal welcome and I hope you enjoyed my behind the scenes look at the Queen Victoria, it was written from the heart and written by someone who was in awe of what he saw………….welcome aboard.

As of today, we have 578,000 slaps on the blog……………..thank you all.

I was talking to a friend of mine recently about the diversity that can be found on today’s Carnival and the fact that you never know who is onboard and from what social standing. Last night in the talent show I had a gentleman from Canada perform. His name is Ken Mohammed and he played Jumbolia…he was good and people enjoyed him very much. I spoke to him after the show and he thanked me for allowing him to play on stage. I asked him if he was a musician…………no he replied………….I am a Brain Surgeon………I laughed……no I really am………..he gave me his card and yep, he is head of Neurosurgery at Toronto’s main hospital. Here he is

Ken Mohammed

Ken Mohammed

Ken Mohammed

We chatted for a while and he told me that this had been the best cruise he had ever been on……..and when this cruise is over he will be walking down the pier and boarding Holland America’s Westerdam for another cruise…………fantastic.

One of the things we also spoke about was that he was so happy to see that we still have a Talent Show. He explained that many other cruise lines no longer have this event and that it is so great for normal people to be able to perform on a large stage, with a full orchestra and in front of 1500 people.

Therefore, to the one or two people who say that Talent shows are a cheap alternative to providing professional entertainment I would refer you to Ken Mohammed and others like him who each and every cruise on our ships get to be a star……….even if just for a few minutes…………….oh by the way, that’s Professor Ken Mohammed by the way…………you never know who is sailing on a Carnival ship.

Here are today’s photos which feature the Towel Animal Demonstration…………enjoy

Towel Animal Demonstration

Towel Animal Demonstration

Here is a photo of Heidi and I just as we started dating.

Heidi and I

Now, here are the letters from the In Their own Words Section and some drawings from Kids Corner.

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

Here we go with the Q and A which starts with the last few from the blog called An Afternoon with the Queen……….gosh I am really behind.

LANCE AND ILDA – The public rooms on the Queen Victoria are incomparable and emphasize all that you would expect on a Cunard ship and much more. I am glad you are a fan of British music and I know the 10cc track you are referring to very well and they are one of my favorites. I am also a great fan of the Clash and wanted one of their songs played at our wedding but Heidi said no…………it was “should I stay or should I go “……she was not impressed.
Thank as always for reading the blog and I wish you a great weekend.
BARB AND CARL THE BEARS – You are now my official astronomers and thanks you for the update on the two moons on Monday and I shall inform the guests accordingly. I have also passed this information to the fleet……..many thanks and I hope you are both eating enough and preparing for the winter hibernation.
The Bear
LISA AND ELAINE – I hope you saw the answer about the disclaimer on the last blog…….it’s just in case I say anything I shouldn’t………what are the chances?
THE CHADS – Thank you for the kind words about the Queen Victoria blog. I was very nervous so I am happy that so many people seem to have enjoyed it. I am also very excited to go back and see what it looks like in a month’s time and of course I will invite you all along with me. My best to all the Chads.
KAREN FERDINAND – Now, here is proof positive that the world we live in is small…..very small. Hello Karen, how are you? Bloggers, Karen is the sister of a young lady called Helen, whom, I used to have a HUGE crush on back in the UK. Her parents were good friends with my parents and I have not seen them for 20 years. Yet, here we are, writing to each other and finding out that Karen has booked the amazing ROUND THE WORLD CRUISE on the Queen Victoria. So, first of all please send my best to all the family Karen and congratulations on booking that one of a kind vacation experience. You do seem a little worried about cruising alone but don’t worry. If there is one thing I know about cruising whether on Carnival or Cunard is that single cruises wont be on there own much past boat drill. I am also going to try and use this blog to put you in contact with other Cunard cruisers who may also be taking this voyage on their own so you can meet onboard.
Karen, the liner is……well…..its………..unbelievable and you will have I know such amazing memories of this voyage of discovery that you are embarking on…………you should write a blog………really you should.
I hope you are well and please will you write as often as you can and if you have any questions please let me know………..say hello to Helen and your Mum and Dad…………….can I come for a cup of tea when I am home?
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Happy anniversary Carol as today, 20 years ago you went on your first ever cruise. It was such an honour to be onboard the Queen Victoria and I hope my words did her justice. I look forward to your next blog posting thingy and as always a big hello from Heidi.
I just read your details about your first cruise and the memories came flooding back. I remember the late night buffets, the cherries jubilee and of course the old lip sync contest in the disco……….you know, I may bring that one back, that was a lot of fun. Carnival has changed a lot but the one area that has remained the same is the simple aspect of Fun….that has been and still is our main stay and why people like you keep coming back…..why?…………Carnival’s Got The Fun that’s why………thanks for the memories.
IVANA – Don’t rob a bank in order to cruise on a Cunard ship. Actually, have you looked at Queen Mary 2 prices…….they seem very reasonable as does the Queen Victoria………..it’s a dream of mine to do a Trans Atlantic……..maybe we can all do one together. I hope you are well and thank you for reading today’s blog.
CATMAMA044 – And what a retirement gift to yourself that would be as you cruise the world in your bathtub…….I mean you will be on the Queen Victoria and in your bathtub not cruising in a bathtub, you deserve better than that:)
TERRI910 – I couldn’t open this link Terri………….Roberto, can you help mate?
WILL – Congratulations mate on those magnificent exam results. You must be very proud of yourself. Have a wonderful holiday and my best wishes for your future endeavours. As for me writing a book, well I have thought seriously about it and maybe one day I will indeed. Cheers mate.
BILL RUSSELL – Thanks for the kind words mate and yes………….Queen Victoria is a real beauty………….the ship……..not the monarch.
PETER WARD – See you soon mate and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you before you sail. Have a safe flight.
BIG ED – You and I are hosting tea time on the Bloggers cruise………proper tea not iced tea………..maybe we should drink some of that diet tea. Hope you are having a great weekend.
KICIASKI – Hello George and Linda and I am glad you found the information on Amsterdam useful. Heidi and I love the Hotel D’Europe but you are correct it is a little expensive as is our other favorite the Amstel Intercontinental.
As for where to stay in London that is a little more difficult to answer. The train you mentioned does indeed go into Victoria and that area itself is nice and central to pretty much everything. The two hotels near that area are the Marriott which is excellent and the Victoria Hotel which is right opposite the station. Both are 4 star hotels and for London reasonably priced. Obviously London is full of hotels to suit every pocket and my favorite is the Baglioni opposite Kensington Park and also if you want the best of the best The Dorchester sums up all that is British.
I hope my explanation to Mr.Pac Man was sufficient, I have not heard back from him again so hopefully he has enjoyed the rest of his cruise. I send my best to you and George and please let me know if I can be of further help to you.
CINDY GOODWIN – There is nothing wrong with talking American and shouting from the Hill Tops ” CUNARD ROCKS ” IF YOU LOVE IT, SAY IT.
I have never had the privilege of sailing on their ships but I have been invited to the naming ceremony of the Queen Victoria which I am truly looking forward to. Can you do me a big favor and tell me what features you love about the Queen Mary 2, I am sure our readers would love to hear your stories. Welcome to the blog.
CARL CREARY – Thanks Carl. I am glad you enjoyed reading about the Queen Victoria and as a former Cunard employee you have every right to feel proud………she is simply stunning.
LINDA HERNACKI – I hope I get to post this blog over the weekend. It’s much harder for Roberto and others as they have to have some free time as well but I miss reading your comments as much as you miss me slapping on a blog. How wonderful to be going to the Baptism of your first grandchild……I am sure it will be a wonderful and memorable day for you. I hope Costa Maya can get repairs done quickly but the estimates I am hearing is at least 6 months before it is ready to open again to shipping………..I feel so bad for them. You askd for a photo from the early days so I am sure you enjoyed the one of heidi and I when we first dated. Hope you have a great weekend and see you soon.
FANNY MISLEJ – Muchos Thank You Fanny. We are all excited here at carnival to visit your beautiful country. See you soon.
CLIFF BAKE – Thanks Cliff and great to hear from you. Your kind comments are rejuvenating and uplifting. Thank mate.
BARBARA – Congratulations on booking what I am sure will be 14 unforgettable days onboard the Queen Victoria. I will be visiting the ship again soon and hope you will stop by the blog every now and then to see what is happening. My best to you and your friend………..who shall remain nameless……….are they on the witness protection program? 🙂
CHUCK WEBER – You are correct, there is still much work to be done onboard the Queen Victoria but she will be ready to sail and ready for inspection in San Francisco. I wish I could see her sail into the harbour there, that must be quite a sight. Hope you are well Chuck and thank you for reading the blog thingy.
RITA – Welcome to my blog Rita and how wonderful that you discovered the blog through the press release about the Queen Victoria review and also that you sailed with me on the inaugural cruise of the Carnival Liberty to the Mediterranean. You and I share a dream……no, not owning and Aston Martin or of Angelina Jolie wearing a nurses uniform………..sorry……..had one of my funny turns then…………I meant the dream of sailing around the world. It looks like your dream may come true and the Queen Victoria will be the perfect liner to make your dreams come true. In the meantime, how about sailing on the Carnival Splendor next year and joining me as we sail the beautiful Baltic. If you need any further information on that I will be here for you and I am glad you have discovered my blog thingy. Welcome Home.
MICHELLE – What a beautiful posting and thank you sincerely for writing about your Mum and her adventures on the original Queen Mary. It was truly uplifting to see the Carnival Freedom and the Emerald Princess from the deck of the new Queen Victoria and it was a tribute to the continuing success for Carnival Corporation. I hope your next cruise brings you many memories and maybe one day I will be lucky enough to say welcome aboard to you on one of our fun ships. Until then, I truly hope you will keep reading the blog.
KENNETH KANE – It sounds like Cunard should hire us to both hum Rule Britannia as the Queen Victoria is launched. How fortunate you are to have sailed on the Queen Mary and enjoy world cruises and Transatlantic crossings…………you must have so many amazing and everlasting memories. I thank you sincerely for the kind words and I know with out fear of being wrong that the Queen Victoria will supply you and thousands of others with many new and precious memories. Cheers mate.
MARY – hello Mary and welcome back from cruising the transatlantic on the Queen Mary 2 Mary. Mary, it sounds like the Queen Mary gave you a brilliant vacation and thank you for saying how wonderful the staff were Mary on the Queen Mary. I think Mary that the Queen Victoria will be as exciting as The Queen Mary 2 and will provide you with another brilliant cruise vacation Mary. Thank you for reading the blog Mary and thank you for sharing the memories of your Queen Mary 2 cruise and allowing me to be the first blogger ever to write the word Mary 14 times in one posting……….thank you Mary….16.
PATRICIA CONNERY KOKO – Firstly may I say thank you for taking the time to write the message you posted and how wonderful to read about your father and grandfather who were loyal Cunarders. This is another example of the loyalty and family feel that can only come with a company with the pedigree of Cunard.You asked why they don’t build smaller ships and I am sorry that I cannot answer for Cunard but I can give you my opinion based on 20 years at sea. The Queen Victoria will have 2200 guests onboard and from visiting her last week I know that it will never feel like there are that many people there. The public spaces are so well designed and so vast that you will at time wonder where everyone is. You also seemed concerned that disembarking that amount of people in the ports of call will be difficult and I can assure you and promise you that is far from the case. I have weekly experience in the smooth disembarking of 3500 people and these days the ships, the ports and most importantly the crew and staff are experts in making this happen………….I know we don’t know each other but why not tell me all your concerns, let me see if I can help you and then, just maybe, I can try and gently persuade you to follow in your father’s and grandfather’s footsteps or seasteps and take a cruise…………..what do you say?
D.A. KINNEY – Another great posting and more stories to treasure from your cruise on the Queen of Bermuda. I am really happy to hear you are taking your first Carnival cruise and maybe I can help answer any questions you may have. What ship are you sailing on mate? I love Andy Capp by the way and always used to read it in the Daily Express……..or was it the Daily Mail? Nowadays, I read the Guardian………..with a copy of the Sun hidden inside. Hope to hear from you soon and all the best.
JELLYBEE – Are you a sugar free jellybee? I hope so and if you are you are ” the wind beneath my wings “………please refer to previous blogs.
Congratulations on booking the Queen Victoria from Singapore to Southampton………a trip of a lifetime I am sure. I see you have sailed on 29 cruises, have you ever sailed on a Carnival ship? I do hope you will keep reading the blog.
ALICE – May I start by offering my deepest sympathies at the loss of your husband last year. I know we have never met but I assure you that tonight, you will be in my thoughts. You say you want to start a new life and start living again………then……lets take a cruise………lets meet new friends……….see new places and all the while knowing your husband would be happy to see you living your life again on the ocean waves. Tell you what, why not read this blog thingy of mine every now and then. Listen to other peoples experiences and also enjoy the fun and laughter we all share together………….I hope this is the start of a internet thingy friendship Alice and I wish you much hapiness in the future.
PHIL – Sorry I spelt Royal Doulton wrong……….i guess that is what comes from drinking out of a mug all these years. Thank you for the kind words about the blog and yes, the spiral staircase is indeed very striking as of course is the two level library. You and many others cannot wait to sail on her……….me included. I hope you will take the time to read the blog and please let me know if I spall anithing elles rong:)
DARRELL WEBSTER RUMSEY – Please, no need to thank me. It was a real privilege to write about this ship especially as in no way, shape or form am I a travel writer…………I just wrote what I thought and if it did indeed get you more excited about your forthcoming cruise then I am a very happy man tonight. I wish you Bon Voyage and maybe you can check in on this blog thingy of mine now and then and if I can help in anyway, please let me know.
GILAU – I certainly hope you have fairer seas for your inaugural crossing on the Queen Victoria then the seas you so expertly described on the Queen Elizabeth 2nd. One thing is for sure, today’s vessels are bristling with equipment and safety has never been more paramount then it is today………….there has never been a better time to cruise. I hope that you and other Cunarders will take the time to share your forthcoming experiences with all of us here as we will share our fun and exciting Carnival adventures. Thank you again for sharing your story with us and I wish you and your family well.
GEORGE MITCHELL – What stories, what adventures, what memories you could share……….you were a bellboy in the 1950’s………..would it be to forward of me to ask you to answer a few questions for this humble blog thingy of mine. If you agree, please just post a message maorked PRIVATE and it will be sent straight to me and we can chat. Many thanks in advance.
PETE BUCKY – You asked if my spelling of Leonard De Crapio’s last name was deliberate…………….guilty.
SHIRLEY AYRES – My apologies for the over use of pronouns. My father, who is a retired teacher would agree with you. My problem is that this blog is written as I go along and not edited…………..I hope it is a true representation of my personality.
Thank you so much for saying how much you enjoyed the blog about the Queen Victoria and that you felt that you were along with me…………..you made me very happy tonight………….both me and Heidi:) I truly hope you will continue to read the blog.
MARK GARMAISE – You asked for the square footage of the Queens Room Dance Floor. I don’t know mate but I know someone who will be able to find out. Please allow me 24 hours and I will post the answer for you. CALLING PA 007.
LANCE W. SAILORS – I am sorry you could not book the Queen Victoria for 2008………is it sold out already? I am glad though that you found the blog thingy and if you check this address out every day you will see a new posting everyday with my new adventures at sea.
PETER MAZZEI – I am glad my thingy got you excited………..opps…….lets try that again…………I am glad my blog thingy got you excited about your Queen Victoria cruise…………..you are welcome and many thanks.
DONA CHETELAT – You obviously have cruising running through your vains like everyone on this blog. It is great to read and I wish you happy voyages ahead. I hope I am honoured to sail with you soon.

That’s all the time I have for the Q and A today…………..more will follow.

Now, let’s chat about something near and dear to me. Carnival has just started a new program in the support of a cure for Breast Cancer.

We are very pleased to announce the roll out plans for the “On Deck for the Cure” program. This shipboard fundraising program is in partnership with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation and offers our guests the opportunity to provide a $10 donation and join a group walk (one- kilometer) out on deck. Each participant receives an “On Deck for the Cure” t-shirt and pink embossed wrist band.

I hope to make this an event that everyone participates in, as it was expanded from a pilot program to the majority of the ships sailing 7 days or longer and the Elation out of San Diego, and here on the Carnival Freedom I intend to make it the event of the cruise…………………………..I hope you will all join in.

I just returned from our Beatles tribute show ‘Ticket To Ride’. It never ceases to amaze me when 1800 people stand and sing Hey Jude with the cast………it is truly Inspirational and shows yet again that Carnival shows are simply the best and I am proud to be associated with them.

As we all know it has been a tough few days for the people of the Caribbean and Mexico with the havoc caused by Hurricane Dean. In many cases ships have been diverted to different ports for the safety of guests and crew and the ship itself. I wanted to show you this e mail I received from my friend Al Ersnst who is Carnival’s 424th best comedian……he is actually the best but don’t tell him that. Here is his report from the Carnival Ecstasy.

Hello All Wildly Popular Blogger Readers of the Legendary John Heald.
I know you tune in daily to what can be called the “highly interesting” life of one Cruise Director on one ship sailing the European theatre.

However, I have been a long time “Fly-on” Entertainer for Carnival Cruise Lines…and am in fact on my way off the Ecstasy… What a week it has been. I met the ship in Galveston, TX and with that faced down a Category 5 Hurricane Dean heading directly where we intended to go…the Yucatan.

How it turned out was so interesting…All of the 20+ ships in the fleet use “fly-on” Entertainers. Meaning that we fly to a port, join the ship for not usually over 2 or 3 days, do the show, and leave in the blink of an eye. My schedule called for me to get off the ship in Cozumel . I figured when I got on we had less than a 50 -50 shot at going that way…but had no idea where we would end up if anywhere…

As expected, we did divert from our first stop in Progresso, but with all the confidence in the world still planned to call on Cozumel. After twelve years of these adventures, I was stunned that we where still going, and thought this may turn into a five day “cruise to nowhere”

. But the Hurricane blinked when faced with the 3000 person Ecstasy ship.
The direct eye of the hurricane missed Cozumel, but I was still sure the outer bands of this massive storm would certainly bring some real damage to the little island. When we got the news that the Pier stayed in tact through the storm…the Captain announced we where going…I was still convinced we would then be having tours with helmets on, and this would go from vacation to mission trip for our guests.

This morning when we arrived at 7am…it stood like nothing happened…all electric was on, phones worked, and not one piece of house or tree in the street, Not 48 hours earlier, this area was in total lock-down. Carlos and Charlie’s opened at 9am, and by 9:01 the first of four billion blankets, puppets, flutes, and bracelets where being sold. Truly remarkable to the rebuilding process of this area since it was so messed up in 2005.

Let me also say the Captain kept us totally out of harms way, and announced that we where heading directly east until the storm passed. The Crew worked extra, the staff had extra activities and events for the second sea day.

Now, let me write about these guests. Usually, you get the angry horror story filled people who do not understand why we might alter our trip a bit. These people where GREAT. Very little grumbling, and they just took it as we should for all out lives…in stride

When faced with adversity…relax…as a person who has sailed multiple times on all 22 ships, I would recommend the Port of Galveston, and the Ecstasy.

Thanks Al. There will be a full interview with Al very soon.

Talking of interviews, next week one of the guest interviews will be with the Captain of the Queen Mary 2 Commodore Warner. This will be a huge privelege for me and I hope all of you as he invites us into his world.

Also, next week , look out for more special guests and much more fun and laughter.
I just wanted to say this also. Today we have had the welcomed the addition of thousands of Cunard’s loyal fans who have joined the blog and what an honour it is to have them read this humble blog thingy. You know, Carnival and Cunard ships and their guests are completely different but there is one thing we all have in common and that is a love of the sea and this wonderful industry which we all treasure.

Just before I say goodnight, its time to blow my own trumpet……….and I am not referring to the sugar free candy I have been eating………..Thanks to all the loyal Carnival bloggers and my new friends who joined us today this blog thingy is……………..well…………..see for yourself.


I couldn’t be happier………………………..unless I get that Aston Martin and Angelina Jolie is sitting on the hood wearing nothing but a…….


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.