Hey, you will never guess who came to see me today……………….that’s right……………………Catherine Zeta Jones…………oh………hold on………sorry, that was who visited me in my dreams and she was wearing a small pink…………never mind.

Actually Bob Dickinson came to call. He and his wife Jodi and some friends were in Rhodes and they came to see me which was really nice of him. He looks well and very rested and as I guided his friends on a tour of the vessel, you could see how proud he was to show them the ship. I truly hope he enjoys his retirement.

I can’t believe how hot it was today…….95 degrees and it felt much hotter. All I did was walk across the Lido Deck with Bob and his party and that was me sweating like Alan Adkins at a Turkish bath.

However, with oppressive heat, 3,000 people all together there is always the chance of the dreaded Norwalk virus or a similar illness rearing its ugly head.

So, today, I have started making my announcements about hygiene onboard. This is not done to scare anyone but to try to be proactive instead of reactive.

The announcement was made just before dinner in both guest and crew areas as it apply to everyone onboard. I basically advise the guests that we have hand sanitizers at the entrance to all the food stations but the best way to prevent getting sick is of course the constant washing of hands with soap and water.

I want to refer you back to an interview I did with Steve Williams who is in charge of our medical departments across the fleet. This is what he said.

Now, onto the dreaded word…………………….Norwalk Virus. There seems to be a perception that this can only occur on a cruise ship. Can you give us your perspective on this and what cruise ship guests should do to try and prevent this from happening to them? Now we call it Noro, the citizens of Norwalk, Connecticut got a little ticked off at continually being associated with diarrhea and vomiting! It is the most common cause of gastro-enteritis or “stomach flu” in the world. Probably 30 – 40 million shore side cases a year in the US alone. If guests frequently wash their hands, especially before eating, smoking (if they really cannot give up), putting on makeup or touching their mouths for any reason, we would have far less cases. Folks also need to understand that the alcohol-based hand gels are also pretty ineffective in killing Noro, because they evaporate before they can kill the virus. We are in the process of trialing a new disposable hand wipe, which we believe will be far more effective than the alcohol based gels.

Well, we have those hand sanitizers on the vessel and hopefully they and the washing of hands will indeed make sure we don’t have a concern here as we did on the Carnival Liberty last year. I know that another cruise line in Europe has had a problem with this during the last few days as well here in Europe.

Why am I writing this? Is there a problem onboard already?………………I can hear some of you asking these questions. The answer is no, however we did see 4 people today in the infirmary who were not well and had the symptoms and I had a personal encounter with one of them.

This morning at 8 am I went to the ship’s infirmary for my monthly sugar level and blood pressure check. Although I check my sugar level everyday myself (it’s been excellent by the way) I always have the experts have a look as well on the first of the month. So, there I was being a baby as someone pricked my hand and took my blood pressure and as this was happening I heard some dreadful language resonating around the waiting room area. After my blood pressure check was taken (it was good but told it could be better if I keep losing weight) I went to investigate the source of the profanity and discovered a guest very upset at the poor nurse. I wandered over and introduced myself and asked if I could help and the guest told me “all I want is some F%$#@&^” Imodium. The nurse had tried to explain that we can’t just do that and anyone who reports to the infirmary with a potential contagious sickness has to be examined and the results recorded as per United States Public Health regulations as well as the Centers for Disease Control. He tried to say that he had just eaten something that had not agreed with him but…..and I am no doctor……….he didn’t look very well. Anyway, I calmed him down, he saw the Doctor and that was that.

I hope we can get through the season with no problems as we and so many Cruise Lines had last year in Europe……….I know one thing…..I was my hands as often as I can……….I shake a hundred pair of hands a day and I never, ever want to go through that illness again………….it was a dreadful 24 hours…………….still, I lost weight, though.

Here are today’s photos of a water park in Rhodes which I hope to add to the tour program next year for the family season.





Here are today’s letters from the “in their own words section” and one from kids corner.

in their own words

in their own words

in their own words

in their own words

in their own words

Q and A time……………here we go which today is taken from the blog about Carnival Elation.

ADIAS ANGEL – Hello and thank you for your interest for the Walk For The Cure. You asked if they will accept Sail & Sign cards or cash and as this is a cashless fleet — it will be Sail & Sign card only. How wonderful that you are giving some money in honor of your boyfriend’s mother and I can understand why, having lost his mum so young in life. This program will be fleetwide within weeks and I am hoping our t-shirts and wristbands arrive in Athens on Wednesday. My kind regards to you and all your family.
KEVIN AND HEIDI-BETH – You asked why we do not serve haggis in the dining room, my answer is obviously “you have never tasted haggis.” My Dad loves haggis and eats it at least once a week although personally, I think it tastes like the inside of my sock. However, if you really would like it, I can arrange to serve this to you instead of lobster on the first formal night. Have fun on the Carnival Glory and I hope all 3 of you have a fantastic time.
WINE WANDERER – Just wanted to say how jealous I am of you working in a beautiful winery in California and your wandering the globe tasting wine sounds like a dream job. Do you have any favorite wines you want to mention at the moment? All the best and have a glass for me.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Well, no chance to relax just yet Carol, although “thank you” for thinking of us. Heidi has just heard that Haagen Dazs has a new flavor of ice cream which is “sticky toffee pudding” and she is determined to try it. Did you know that Haagen Dazs originated in Denmark? The 2 founders could not decide what to call the company, so they decided that each would open the Danish phonebook and closed their eyes, point to a name and that would be the name of the company. Hence Haagen Dazs. I guess it could have been anything, Smith and Jones, Heald and Schoenberger, now, that sounds like a good name for an ice cream, sugar free, of course. I do hope I will be on the Carnival Splendor when you sail next year and as soon as I know, I promise you will be the first I will tell. Enjoy your computer class and our best wished to you and your family.
JOHN AND SUSAN IN FRISCO – A great idea. Park West who as you mentioned run our Art Auction programs do have a great relationship with the one and only Peter Max. I have passed your thought to our Art Auctioneer, who in turn will contact Park West’s offices. I think we can do wonders on this ship for breast cancer research and I will certainly be giving it my all. Thanks as always to you both.
LAURA ZATZ – Thank you for your kind words and I am sure the prayer you made at temple will be gratefully received by our friend Southern Dreams. Thank you for being such a wonderful person.
TERRI 910 – Heidi says “I did know Terri that Scary Spice was going in Dancing with the Stars and so soon after having Eddie Murphy’s baby. John hates gossip magazines but I find them great entertainment. If you hear any more gossip let me know.” Hope you have a wonderful cruise and please let us know how it was when you get back and I do hope I have some good news about the 2009 European Season very soon. PA 007 is on the case. All the best from us both.
DAVE AND BARB – There are times when I feel like I need to be in 10 places at once and that some people do think that I can solve any problem. However, this is part of the job and most of the time helping people is very rewarding. You asked if Heidi and I will have time off to socialize during the bloggers cruise and the answer is yes, absolutely. There will be another Cruise Director and Assistant Cruise Director running the ship. I totally understand that you, having just sailed on the TA cruise, you will not be able to come on the bloggers cruise but hopefully you will be able to come on the next one. I passed Heidi your message and she is still upset at me for dropping her precious gossip magazine in the bath. It was nearly as bad as when I taped over a Disgruntled Housewives episode. Her new favorite programs are Boston Legal and the brilliantly acted Bold and The Beautiful and As the World Turns. If I hear one more time who Brooke is sleeping with I think I will scream. I just want to answer ……….Am I bothered??? All the best and thank you for reading the blog.
BIG ED – Thank you for sending an e-mail to Vicki Freed. How wonderful. I think we can do great things with this on the bloggers cruise. I just got your message via Roberto and I will be in touch shortly. This Walk For The Cure may be the only way to get you and I on the jogging track. Can you tell me what ROFLM*AO means? I think it means you liked the pun, so here is one more for you.
Two ropes walk into a bar. The bartender says to the rope “Hey! we don’t serve ropes in here” so one of the ropes left. The other rope frayed up his hair and tied himself in a knot. The bartender said to the rope “Are you a rope?” and the rope said “I’m afraid not”
GREG BALDASARRI – Thank you mate, knowing that you appreciate the blog means the world to me and thank you for doffing your hat. Reading words like you have written once again reinforces the fact that this blog-thingy has created so many new friendships for which I am really thankful. The best of everything to you and yours from Heidi and I or Heidi and Me.
DWA76 – Thursday went very well, thank you, I would give you a full report, but Heidi is doing the typing and just gave me one of her looks. I am glad you enjoyed the interview with Stuart. It was very funny reading your words about Stuart’s activities being a work out as of course he was a fitness instructor. The kid has more energy than a big thing who has just taken a whole box of energy pills and drunk 50 espressos but he is a great lad and I am sure he will do well in his position as Cruise Director. May I wish you and your wife a very happy 1st anniversary and health and happiness for at least 60 more? Cheers mate.
CRUISIN SUE – I was very sad to read your opening sentence and we both are thinking of you tonight. You will be here in 35 days but before that, on the Carnival Liberty in 10. Have a fantastic cruise and please send my best to Todd. As mentioned above, I am still unsure as to my schedule in November 2008 and Chris Prideaux and Roger Blum will let me know as soon as they can. Bon Voyage and our prayers are with you and your dad.
PEANUTS – Thank you for your kind words for Brad and Chrissy. I am sure they appreciate them very much. How wonderful to hear that you enjoyed the Carnival Elation so much and I am happy that highlighting the ship on the blog brought back so many memories. Let me answer your questions. What is a Spotted Dick you asked? This is a traditional British pudding made of suet and full of fruit and is best eaten with hot custard, you have to try it. It was invented by Dick Spot…….true story and one that has caused much merriment over the years. I promise that in the next few days we will indeed be interviewing people from the Housekeeping Staff and the wait staff so look out for that. We will see you on the bloggers cruise and thank you again for another great posting.
MARK K OGEN – Thank you very much mate. I am glad the blog is making you laugh, please keep reading.
CLAIRE AND PETER – Welcome home and I am so glad that you and the kids had such a wonderful time. I hope they like looking at their trophies. By the way, Heidi loves the kids’ names Amber, Lilly and Poppy. If you decide to take a Caribbean cruise and help deciding which vessel, please let me know and I will try and help. Hopefully we will meet next time. Thank you and my best to Peter.
J & K GANGPAD – Thank you for posting for the first time. It’s always great to welcome new bloggers. I hope you had a fantastic cruise and judging by the fact you took 700 photos it certainly sounds like you have lots of memories. Thank you for reading the blog-thingy.
SOUTHERN DREAMS – Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Spotted Dick is a fantastic pudding and I am going to send my mum around to your house to cook it personally for you. Heidi laughed at the blonde joke dedicated to her and I can see that your sense of humor will get you through all the remaining trials and tribulations that life may present you. As you can see, all the bloggers are thinking about you and if you can, please keep us informed as to how you are doing. As soon as you are well, we will share a plate of Spotted Dick together.
SEWING NUT – The Christmas ornaments are already packed and ready to ship home for our Holiday Season and they will be a wonderful reminder of our friendship which we hope to renew soon. All the best to you and the family.
RICK D – I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful posting, however, I was shocked that there were so few taxis available in Civi, I have passed this on to our agency in Rome and he has assured me that this situation will improve. I have also made sure that the information desk knows about this and I apologize most sincerely for the difficulties that you face. I will make sure that I emphasize this point at the end of this cruise Heidi is going to check personally as to this situation. It was wonderful to hear you had such a great cruise and knowledge like this is so valuable, so, many thanks.
BRUCE G HANGSLOT – Yes Bruce, it is possible for me to make a Supper Club reservation for the Carnival Miracle, so please either complete the form you so the right of this blog thingy or tell me the date and time you would like the reservation for. By the way, my wife is laughing because apparently, your last name is Dutch and means “padlock.” Are you Dutch, hopefully we can “unlock” this mystery.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – Welcome back from Alaska and I am glad you got all the gifts I sent, yes, they were all from me. It sounds like the cruise was quite extraordinary, although you mentioned there were lots of complaints about the “dizzily” day. Can you give me more details? The most important thing is that you had a great time and I am sure all the photos will give you ever lasting memories. How was the Cruise Director by the way? I would like to hear your thoughts. I am glad to hear your dad is doing ok and hopefully this cruise has rejuvenated you for the days ahead. Welcome home.
NICO R – Glad you enjoyed the blog thingy today mate and hope you are doing well.
NANETTE – Then Nanni it is, el neuvo nameo para youo……….much hugo.
KAYENTAJANE – Stop teasing me with the Haagen Dazs Sticky Toffee Pudding remarks……..next time you have a spoonful dedicate it to me please. Heidi wanted you to know her favorite ice cream is Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Munkey or something like that. Glad you are enjoying the blog.
TOM AND JANE – There is no doubt from looking at your list of cruises that you really do love Carnival Cruise Lines and we all thank you for your support and I will do my best to make sure the Bloggers Cruise is the best one yet for you. Now to your request to find the best waiter you have ever had in Mr. Jude Stewart. He started working for us in 1981 and the good news is he still does and is currently a Team Headwaiter on the Carnival Destiny. I am sure he would love to hear from you so why not slap on a posting addressed to him and I will forward to the folks on the Carnival Destiny to pass onto him. Hope that helps and thanks again for being such great Carnival and Blog fans.
LINDA HERNACKI – That is correct Linda. On the bloggers cruise I will be hosting the welcome aboard show, the talent show and the marriage show but the rest of the ship will indeed be run by another Cruise Director leaving me the chance to have as much social time as I can with everyone. This could not happen on a regular cruise so I am excited that this time it will be possible. Now, as far as the Godmother on the Carnival Splendor, I really now have my heart set on Catherine Zeta Jones and being British and the ship sailing from the U.K. she makes perfect sense. Now I just have to find a way to get to her. I hope you enjoyed Heidi’s last blog thingy and I will try and make sure she does another one as soon as possible. My best to Mike….is he enjoying his new job?
LFTTNSFCF – Sorry about the image of my Lilly White Thighs and the bathtub, I should have put an R rating on that one. The TA cruise will as you said be busier by far for all the crew. Seven straight days means lots of organization, activities from 9 am to late and I intend doing both Morning and Afternoon shows on T.V. I was interested to hear that Mrs. MTSFP was happy that you had a flight with a U.S. carrier so that smoking would not be an issue. Do some European airlines still allow smoking onboard?
Now onto your comment about if there is an Owners Suite on the Conquest class ships. Actually, no. The only class of ships that had Owners Suites was the Fantasy class. Some of them still do while one or two have had them turned into teen and Camp Carnival areas. The suites were amazing but unfortunately they stopped building them once we reached the Destiny, Spirit and Conquest class ships. Cunard still has an owner’s suite on the Queen Mary 2 which is a magnificent duplex cabin. I hope to see that one day when I cruise…………not that I will be staying in that cabin but just to have a Butchers Hook inside.
NOTE: Butchers Hook…………..This is my first use of something call Cockney Ryming Slang. This originates from the East End of London and was used by solders in WW II to talk in code if captured. The idea is to say something that rhymes with the actual word you want to say. I have been communicating within an American friend of mine in Cockney so I thought I would teach all the bloggers some words as well. I am not going to tell you what they mean; you will have to work it out for yourself. Thanks Jon and indeed, see you soon.
KIM – They do make a return, every now and then. Laughter is good for the soul so I am glad I provided you with some. Thank Kim, hope you are well and thank you for reading the blog thingy.
SHERYL PELTON – I have indeed ordered lots of T-Shirts and I am sure beyond doubt that the Walk On Deck for the Cure will be popular as so many people have had loves ones who have been effected by Breast Cancer so I am proud indeed that we have a chance…all of us…..to do something about it. Thank you Sheryl for your kind thoughts and I look forward to walking the deck with you………..try and keep up with me because I will have eaten a bag of jelly beans………..actually, I advise you walk ahead of me not behind as there may be a pen and ink.
HEIDI AND BETH AND KEVIN – THE THREE MUSKATEERS – I hope you see this before you sail on the Carnival Glory so I can wish you a fantastic cruise vacation. I hope that the three of you have a lot of fun and enjoy the service and hospitality of this fantastic ship. Write when you get back and try and check in on the blog now and then. Our best to all three of you.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – I am glad you liked the photos Paul and I am sure the one of the Tuscan house brought back memories of your Papa’s place back in the old country. You asked if the Walk For The Cure On Deck will be continuing on the Carnival Freedom come January? Well, I am not sure but if it is as popular as I think it will be I have no doubt we will keep doing this and will stop only when a cure is found. Hopefully you have read the last blog where I explained more about the history of the great British Pudding the Spotted Dick and maybe one day, if we cruise together I will get the Chef to make you some………..it really is delicious, especially in the winter with hot custard. Now on to the bathtub which actually is big enough however your reference to the shower on the Carnival Legend is indeed one I can associate with. There was no bathtub in the Cruise Directors cabin and the shower was on the small side and the shower curtain used to stick to my bottom so much it became a cape, like a superhero…..I was like Big Naked Man….superhero. The best thing about the cabin on the Carnival Legend was that unlike the Conquest class ships there was a Dog and Bone next to the toilet so you could make a phone call while you were having a Pony and Trap. This maybe too much information Paul and in someway I hope you don’t break the code on that one. As always, I salute you and your lovely lady and wish you continuing health and happiness.
GRACE – Welcome home Grace, something I was not sure if I was going to be able to say to you when your bus broke down and you nearly missed the vessel in Florence 🙂 Let me address the most serious point first. You are indeed correct that even though the crew is constantly wiping and cleaning the floor by the aft pool the water that drips from peoples bodies and from feet does make that section of floor slippery. We have plenty of “watch your step” cones in place and also as you mentioned, the crew are diligent in their cleaning but it still can be slippery. I can tell you that this situation is being addressed and that changes will be made. Thank you for highlighting this concern and I have passed your comments along the line. I also passed on your thanks to your servers in the dining room, Christian and Annette and Ken who just left on vacation. Thank you for all your kind words and I am glad you had a safe journey home at the end of what sounds like a fabulous vacation. I truly hope you will continue to read the blog thingy now and then and all the best to you and your family.
INEZ – Thank you so much. Your words of compassion have I am sure meant to so very much to Chrissy and Brad and Southern Dreams of course. I see that you are a big supporter of the Susan G.Komen Foundation and that is great to see so thank you for your continuing support of this great cause. You asked about Cruise Director Trevor Block whom you enjoyed during your cruise on the Celebration. He is currently on vacation but I understand he will return to the Carnival Fascination very soon. So far I am clear of the dog house although anytime soon I am likely to return if I upset the Trouble and Strife. Thank you again for this posting and I am sure you must be proud of the wonderful charity work you are doing.
KEVIN – We are just a few days away from Katakalon and Athens and so far all is well. As mentioned before, my only concern now will be the mood of the people who have been through such hell………..hopefully the sight of the smoke stack on the horizon will lift their spirits as seeing a posting from you does mine mate.
SUSAN B – Ahhhhh, now I understand. Mr.Cheap wants to take a cruise without any kids onboard. Well, sorry to say but that has never and probably will never happen. We are definitely in the family vacation business and obviously children are very much part of that mixture. I have to say having read Captain Chuck’s report on his recent Carnival Spirit Alaska cruise I am also considering that as a Bloggers cruise sometime next year but again, the majority will rule so we shall have to see. It was great to hear of your Irish heritage and also I hope by now you have seen the recent blog thingy from Heidi. Finally and most importantly, thank you so much for the beautiful words of kindness for Southern Dreams and Chrissy, you and all the other bloggers are very special people and great friends.
MRS.MTSFP – Hello, how are you today? How smoke free is the Carnival Victory you ask? There are just three smoking areas there. The Disco, the Piano bar and the Cigar Bar. All the other areas are smoke free. You mentioned a singing group is going on there, what group is this? Many thanks and always great to hear from you.
KATHY KROLL – I agree Kathy. CZJ is the way to go for Godmother for the CS. If you see her on your travels can you ask her to give me a call? Thanks Kathy and if she needs a bodyguard lee Paul can do that I am sure.
THE BEARS – CARL AND BARB – Oh Barb. I am so sorry to hear your news. I can only imagine how you must be feeling right now. Please will you keep me informed as to how you are doing and it goes without saying that you, like Southern Dreams are in our thoughts and prayers today. I am humbled that your cure for the terrible day you had was to read the blog thingy and I am even more determined to make sure I keep you laughing as much as I can. Stay strong and stay positive and please know that Heidi and I (or me and Heidi) are thinking about you tonight.
POPCORNGAL – Now we are talking, my Mum makes the best Yorkshire Pudding. Who needs something fancy like Scampi Risotto when you can have Yorkshire Pudding and Spotted Dick. Did you know that during WWII when food rationing was the law, Yorkshire Pudding was used as an appetizer, served before the main course as there was so little meat to go around? Anyway, my Mum e mailed me her recipe for Yorkshire Pudding and here it is.
Mrs Heald’s Yorkshire Pudding Recipe –
with Eggs, Plain Flour, Milk, Cold Water & Lard
2 Eggs
4 oz (125g) Plain Flour
1/4 Pint (150ml) Milk
1/4 Pint (150ml) Cold Water
Salt & Pepper
2 tbsp Lard or Dripping or Cooking Oil*
Pre-Heat the Oven to 425F (220C, Mark 7). Crack open the Eggs into a cup and mix well. Add the Milk and Water together in a jug. Sieve the Flour into a large bowl and season with a sprinkling of Salt & Pepper. Pour the Eggs into this and stir together well with a fork. Gradually pour in the Milk and Water and stir until you have a stiff batter. Beat or whisk well until you have no lumps **. Allow to rest for half an hour.
Slip the Lard or Dripping into a deep sided baking tin and place just this in the oven. Allow to heat up until visible smoking. Quickly, but carefully, take out and rest on the top of the oven. Pour in the Batter mixture. Place back into the oven and bake for around half an hour until the batter is puffed up, golden brown and crispy.
Serve immediately and enjoy with Roast Beef and gravy.
There you go, my Mum has now moved into the realms of being an International Chef. Thank Mum. Let me know how it comes out and hope to hear from you soon.
LYLEBA – Thank you for your nice words, Heidi was happy to help. You are indeed correct that the Piano Bar is indeed a smoking lounge, one of just three onboard. Maybe we could though have one night where maybe it isn’t but that’s something I need to ask on high about. Let me see what can be done and I will advise ASAP. Please send my best to all the Cruise Critic group and thank you again for your posting and enjoy the delights of Amsterdam.
KUKI – hello mate and how smashing to hear from you. Bloggers, for those who do not know Kuki he is one of the editors for www.cruisemates.com and he and I are old friends. Kuki actually did a cruise a few years ago where he became an Entertainment Staff member for a few days. I am sure if you look that article up on the Cruise mates archives you will enjoy reading about the fun we had together. How brilliant that you will be taking your next three cruises on the Carnival Freedom and I will certainly be there for the Bloggers cruise. As for November, well I certainly hope I will be the CD but I will see how the next few weeks go as I have already done 7 months with no vacation. Anyway, as always it will be great to see you and I thank you for the words of praise about the blog which coming from you means everything. Cheers mate.
SUE GROHOL – One thing is for certain, I promise there will be Blogger get together on the TA. I am glad you have caught up on the blog and thank you for all the kind words for Southern Dreams and Chrissy 7 Brad of course. I was surprised to reach 600,000 slaps so quickly and maybe by the Bloggers cruise we may reach the 1 million mark at which time I will raise a glass of Diet Coke to your champagne. Welcome back and thank you again for being a constant supporter of the blog thingy.
JOKO JOAN – As requested, here is the link to the blog with the Chocolate warming cake recipe which I hope gives you hours of joy:)
SUSAN O – LOL.That could have been me and Heidi ……….especially me on the last bit. Thank for the laughs. We all needed that.

That’s the end of the Q and A today and there will be more tomorrow.

Here is today’s guest interview. We have nearly finished with all the fleet’s cruise directors and we have just a few to go. Here then is a man we met some time ago when he cruised here with me on the Carnival Freedom. Here with his thoughts about his career and the carnival liberty is Todd Wittmer.

Todd Wittmer

Todd Wittmer

1. Please can you tell us about your career with Carnival so far? How did you start and when?
I feel like a rock star. Two interviews in two weeks! Anybody that read the blog, where you were in 82′, already has a little insight on my humble Carnival Cruise Lines career! But for those new bloggers – Welcome and the story begins in 1999. Actually, it is an example of joining a company with desire and passion while working hard until those dreams are accomplished. From Social Host to Cruise Director over the last 8 years, Carnival has provided me with some of the best experiences and accomplishments of my life.

2. What ship are you currently on and what is its itinerary?
I am currently on the Carnival Liberty. A fun and exciting ship as she has 3 very unique runs. One 6 day sailing and two 8 day sailings.

With a home port in Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) The Carnival Liberty 6 day cruise visits the fun and exciting ports of Key West, Grand Cayman and Jamaica.

The 8 day eastern cruise visits San Juan, St Thomas, Antigua, Tortola and Nassau.
The 8 day western cruise visits Costa Maya, Costa Rica and Panama!

3. Please can you pick two excursions from each port and tell us why you recommend them so much?
In all fairness to the people reading this, mentioning my favorite tours from three different cruises will have you here for hours. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you do but PLEASE do something! You would never imagine the amount of people who come into such a culture rich society like Costa Rica and Panama and decide to just walk off the ship and look around or “wing it” assuming that everything will be easily accessible. It breaks my heart to have guests on board week after week that travel so far and experience so little.

I have been fortunate enough to see these locations many times and I still find them new and exciting with the variety of tours and activities offered. In St Thomas I have been sight seeing on a journey through paradise, snorkeling on a champagne catamaran, and swimming at Megan’s Bay, one of the top ten beaches in the world, and they were all the best days of my life. In Key West I been to the Butterfly Farm, Kayaking through mangroves & riding the downtown Historic Trolley and I was thrilled by every experience. The key is trying new things.

The first time you visit a port of call that you have never been to I believe you should try to find a “Best of Tour,” a “historic tour” or a “multiple location tour” so you can learn and experience as much as possible about this new location. The people, culture, history and politics! It’s amazing how much you learn and how much more exciting a location becomes when you find out its history by our great guides that have spent their lives dedicated to the passion of their islands.

If you are revisiting a port of call don’t settle for saying “I’ve been here and seen it, so I’ll just go downtown and walk around.” Chances are there is still so much to do, from horseback riding to swimming with the stingrays. How cool would it be to bring home a photo of you hugging a dolphin? And very little people actually experience this! Go on an island tour by jeep, swing from the zip lines, visit the Mayan ruins and hear the great stories of an amazing civilization! Get involved and become an explorer.

On a cruise of multiple ports you should designate each day to a completely different experience.

I know I didn’t really answer the question so here goes. Type into the Carnival website, look at a specific port of call and search the tours. Which are my favorites? All of them. On any given day each excursion is the best possible way to spend your time in the islands. Consider who you are traveling with, any restrictions you may have, activity level you wish to participate and the extra perks the shore excursions provide. From Golfing in the islands to underwater walking on the Sea Trex tour, the Panama Canal to the canals of Venice, Kayaking to whitewater rafting, zip lining on the canopy over the jungles to flying in a helicopter over an Alaskan glacier. Get out there and live, start crossing out those to do and must see list. There is no day like today! I’ll see you there.

Live with no regrets! After reading question 7 you will understand a little more of my passion.

4. What are your favorite activities or events that you host and why? Welcome aboard show, the daily dedication show, and Marriage show!

I simply never know what is going to happen and the shows are all about and starring the guests!

5. Fill in the blank please……………..People should sail on the Carnival Liberty because the ship is amazing, the team members are incredible, the ports are spectacular, the shows phenomenal, the funnel is colorful, the big screen theater on lido deck is wonderful and I want to meet you! No really – I do!

6. What do you enjoy most about being a Cruise Director?
I wake up everyday and look forward to going to work. I am living a dream for so many different reasons and I am both grateful and excited to be able to work in a profession I am passionate about. All of the following answers explain the why!

7. Share your favorite story with us that involve our guests and your job? My most memorable story follows:
While I was a social host in my second year with Carnival, a guest approached me about being in a talent show that unfortunately had already been completely filled and rehearsed. I had apologized and said it would not be possible as the show had already been rehearsed and was now closed to additional acts.

The response I received surprised me as this lovely lady burst out into tears. At that moment something did not seem right and I asked for her name and room number just in case a spot would open up for an additional act. Something about this didn’t sit right with me as I like to think that everyone has a story a reason for each action.

I called this guest and asked if she could meet me for some coffee and a chance to see if I could help make the cruise any more special even if she was unable to participate in the show. It turns out that this guest was sailing with her two children and husband on a 7 day cruise to begin a month-long vacation. This incredible lady, 3 weeks before, had just found out she was ill and had an undisclosed amount of time left to spend with her family. She came on a cruise with her 2 daughters of 6yrs and 9yrs and her husband of 10-plus yrs. It was going to be the first week of a “life celebration” which for some of us is unfortunately too short. What this guests main objective was in regards to the talent show was to get herself on video singing and saying a cheerful goodbye to her family that they would always have around to cherish.

At that moment I broke down and realized that their are so many people going through life with challenges that have a much more positive attitude than most of the people I have ever met in my life. It’s not worth the trivial emotions and setbacks when there is so much more to be grateful for. We set up a private taping with the help of our amazing A/V department for a private message and song in the karaoke lounge with a room full of supportive guests. It was one of the most amazing moments I have been associated with and I will always keep that wonderful family close to my heart. Never take life or people for granted!

8. List your three favorite ports you have visited? Oahu, Hawaii – Venice, Italy – Juneau, Alaska

9. Name three ports you would really like to see that you have never been to? Copenhagen, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam…sound familiar? Have fun on the Carnival Splendor John!

10. Finally, if you could introduce on stage any star, alive or not who would it be and why? Elton John singing to Marilyn Monroe sitting in the Front Row of the Ephesus Amphitheater! Why? It would be a treat to see a tribute like that while having a chance to possibly sing a song with Elton during the show.

Thank you mate. Todd will be a brilliant Cruise director for the Carnival Freedom and as many of you have already expressed in past blogs, Todd is a wonderful CD ………..but bloody hell, he really is ugly…………he has huge Britney Spears.

So, it is five days into the cruise and it took until this morning before I received my first challenging guest. Here is the comment and then I will fill you in on the resulting conversation.

____ – Upset that there is no Ethnic Books in the Library

Mrs. _____ called the desk at 8 am saying how upset she was that the ship’s Library had no books by Ethnic Authors and any books for people of African American heritage. Guest wanted to speak to who was in charge. E-mail sent to Cruise Director

Now, this was one of those “I had no idea” situations because I had no idea that this would be a problem and it was certainly something I have never come across before. I did call Mrs. _______ who was very “motivated” and preached to me that she felt ……….well, no need for me to explain as I am sure you understand. I felt really bad because as I told her I had no idea that this was an issue. At first, she felt for whatever reason that this had been done deliberately but after explaining that in 7 months she was the first to point this out she calmed down.

I then asked her to make me a list of books that she thinks we should have and she is compiling that list for me and as soon as I receive it I will order the titles.

You live and you learn.

Finally today, I want you to know about something strange that proves the world is a small place. As you know, I have been thinking about hiring an Aston Martin for a weekend while I am home in the U.K.. Heidi says I deserve it after all the nights sitting here typing and blogging. I very rarely spend money on myself having been taught by Mum and Dad that it is better to give than receive. Anyway, I thought I would get a quote and found a company that is based close to where I live.

Is it a small world………………yep…………..and here is the proof.


Dear Mr. Heald,
Further to my last e-mail I have researched the availability of both cars and I am happy to say that I am 99% certain that I can provide either of the cars for you. Could you also let me know if you intend to take the car across the English Channel into Europe?

I have been reading you “Blog page” and as a fellow cruise enthusiast I found your entries very entertaining.
Best wishes
So, meet Bob who has loved cruising on Cunard and Princess and P & O and by the way is an amazing photographer as you will see from http://www.bobmulveyphotography.co.uk/. I hope to persuade him to come and see us here on the Carnival Freedom.

Have a look at his car website http://www.southernferrarihire.co.uk/range.htm at the Aston Martin Vanquish………although the Masserati looks awesome as well and the Bentley and the Mercedes Sl55 Amg and the Ferrari and look at the Bentley and……………….stop dreaming John…………here is the photo of what I will end up with.


Or this

But most likely…..this

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.