It's Kind of Magic

September 7, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning Everyone.Just to let you know, before I forget, every chair, lounger and standing spot was taken for the 5:00pm tribute concert for Pavarotti yesterday. I introduced the concert and, instead of holding a moment’s silence, I encouraged the guests that at the end of each song to applaud just like they were listening to that great voice live………….they did………ecstatically after each and every song. I stayed outside to watch as well and during the singing of his signature tune Nessun Dorma I saw many people wiping back tears. And as he reached that last vibrant crescendo, the audience on deck gave the gentle giant …………… last standing ovation.

For the first time in ages, the ship is really moving this evening…………OH sorry, you don’t know what time I am writing this do you. It is now 7:43pm on Thursday night and the ship sailed from Katakolon and we are on our way to Livorno.

I have received lots of positive comments about the cruise and lots of people are saying that they appreciate being reminded to wash their hands as much as they can and to use the hand sanitizers before taking food from the Lido Deck self service restaurant. All is well with the dreaded………..let’s not tempt fate and let’s call it BEV ( both ends virus ) and so far BEV is nowhere to be found………….long may it continue.

Look what some guests had printed and sent to me………….they spelt his name wrong but it is brilliant

Look what some guests had printed and sent to me………….they spelt his name wrong but it is brilliant

With everyday comes new comments from guests. On every ship, on every line,there are people like this. Here are two such comments…………one is an excellent suggestion…………the other is………..ummmmmmmmm……………….well see for yourself.

Here is the good one – hence the name of the guest is included.

Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 7:26 PM
Subject: 7306 – a “board” single guest
Good morning, John!
Please see the below comments and kindly provide with the feedback:
Mr. Frieland stopped by the desk and voiced his disappointment that we do not have a singles board on the ship. He wants you to speak to him please
Thank you and regards,

So, I was surprised to read this as we have a lot of single gatherings here and have just started the new “Fast Friends” activity which is going really well. So, Heidi called the guest as I was on the bridge for the sailaway and she discovered he was actually happy with the singles activity and he was not “board”………the Purser misunderstood him…….he wants a singles board. Apparently they have these on Holland America and it’s placed in the Library. It is an actual board……….where singles can leave notes for each other ……..what sort of things are on the board, Heidi asked……..answer”

Meet to play bridge
Call me to go on a tour together
Dance partners

Heidi thinks it is a great idea but I am a little more skeptical………what if people misuse the board………should guests give their cabin numbers to others…………it certainly will have to be monitored by the staff very carefully. I wonder if any single readers of the blog thingy have an opinion on this……….Roger Blum…what do you think?

Anyway, for now I will announce that Mr. Frieland wants to meet a dance partner at my morning show tomorrow and have a bit of fun with it and I would appreciate your thoughts on this especially if you have cruised on Holland America and seen this for yourself.

Here is the next one.

Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2007 4:41PM
Subject: %$#@#@@@ – Olympia Tour
John – sorry about this but can you call the guest: Guest &^%$#@ came to the desk to complain about the Olympia tour. She stated that the trees were all burnt and that the grass smelt and because it was not the normal scenery she should get a refund. Purser asked if she saw all the sites within the description and she said yes but she did not know there had been a fire otherwise she would not have gone. Purser told guests that a letter had been placed in every cabin at the start of the cruise and that the Cruise Director had made several speeches about the situation. Guest says she did not get a letter or hear the CD talk. Guest wants to speak to CD and also says that she wants to speak “to that man as I don’t like his jokes – they are immature.”
Thank you

As I write I have not called the guest yet as she is at dinner but tomorrow I will make sure we have a chat. While I respect her views it is astonishing that out of 1166 guests on tour to Olympia so far, this is the only lady who did not know about the fires in Greece, did not receive the letter and was unhappy with the fact that the scenery on the tour (as per the photos I just posted on the last blog) was burnt and charred. As for my jokes, well she probably is right, they are immature…… this one:

– A cruise director has to convince the passengers of his sinking ship to jump overboard. He has to use a different approach with each European. He tells the English it would be unsporting of them not to jump. He tells the French it would be the smart thing to do. He tells the Germans that it is an order. And he tells the Italians that jumping overboard is forbidden.

Anyway, off to the Talent Show and I will complete this blog tomorrow.

Good Morning, it is now 7:00am and I thought I would carry on with a blog before the busy day of meetings, shows, debarkation talk etc begins.

Let’s start with some photos and today, they are a bit random but I am sure you will enjoy them.

1. The old Olympic Stadium in Athens

1. The old Olympic Stadium in Athens

2. The Charlie Rounds Orchestra

2. The Charlie Rounds Orchestra

3.A Turkish Sunset

3.A Turkish Sunset

4. Me and Kerry Stables who was a dancer back then in 1989 on the Celebration and is now one of the cruise industry’s top and most successful and award-winning choreographers ………………………….and my great friend.

4. Me and Kerry Stables who was a dancer back then in 1989 on the Celebration and is now one of the cruise industry’s top and most successful and award-winning choreographers ………………………….and my great friend.

5. Me on stage

5. Me on stage

Here are the letters from today’s In Their Own Words Section.

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

Just a note on the one about the passports being stamped. We present the passports to the Greek authorities and they do stamp some or none or them all. It just depends on what they decide to do. I am sorry that this lady did not get what she wanted, however, I have arranged for her passport to be stamped in Italy tomorrow.

Let’s do some Q and A starting with the blog called The King Of Queens.

PEANUTS – I am not sure if you are a betting Peanut but I am prepared to bet you a solid gold plastic Carnival trophy that my Miami Heat will beat your bad boys this season. If I win…………you have to take a Turkish Bath with Fatima. Now, as for your question on Owners Suites ………..there are some still on the Fantasy class ships but none on the Destiny, Spirit and Conquest class vessels. If you could get Heidi a Pistons mug, that would be a great part of her collection and something for me to use if, for some reason I get BEV! Actually, I don’t have a Miami Heat mug so if there are any Heat fans reading this……….maybe we can do a deal? Thanks mate, let the games begin.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – I am indeed looking forward to my John Cleese interview as he is one of my 7 idols. I am glad you liked the photos and hope you like the ones today as well. Thank you for your kind words for Barb, and I appreciate your reminder that the Jewish New Year will start next cruise and I will make sure we mention this here on board. As for RCI saying they are doing a 46-day cruise to South America………all I can say is………….what a shocker. Many thanks Carol, seeing your name always brings a smile to my face.
MARK – I think you are referring to this photo of the Carnival Triumph taken on her way to Canada from New York. Cheers mate.

Carnival Triumph taken on her way to Canada from New York

TOM AND JANE – You are welcome.
DWA76 – I can’t wait to interview John Cleese as he is a true hero of mine and I have a lot of questions I wish to ask. The interview will be posted next week sometime. Ray Rouse is, as you can see someone, at the top of his profession and I am hoping one day to see him work. How are you mate, how is work treating you? Thanks for posting as much as you do – it means a lot to Heidi and I (or is it Heidi and me). Cheers.
RUTH JAMISON – Thank you for thinking of us by sending a package. Heidi received a mug from a blogger this week and you have no idea how little things like this make such a difference. Thank you for being the special person you are Ruth – you are a true friend.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – Your thoughts on your Alaska cruise I know are appreciated by everyone reading them and are a great advert for the last frontier that is Alaska and the Carnival Spirit. Seeing those whales must have been amazing and I know it is something that Heidi really wants to see for herself one day soon. You are correct that a deck plan should be placed on the web page so that people can see where their cabin is and that we don’t have balconies on decks 1 and 2………I know Roger Blum is reading this and will help put this idea forward.
You also asked about the Bill W meetings you saw listed in the Carnival Capers. This is a code word for people who may need to meet others who belong to the wonderful organization that is Alcoholics Anonymous.
Thank you again Captain……….how’s Dad?
VIKKI AND MATT TILL – Very funny posting. You forgot a private Turkish bath from Fatima………the chocolate strawberries are devine though. Best to you both.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – Hello Paul, how are you today? Indeed, I could write a book and will one day, I promise, and it will certainly be fun to do.
Have I ever met the Queen, you ask……………I am sorry to say, no, I have not. In fact, I have never met anyone from the Royal Family although I was just onboard the Queen Victoria. I am a staunch Royalist and although I have my own views on some of its members, I think they are a vital part of my country’s heritage and must be supported at all costs. Heidi is so excited that you sent her a mug and she is smiling from ear to ear. Luv Cruising has made me a crest as you will see below and if you want to have a go for me Paul maybe we could have one with your photos and mine together with the motto……..friends forever………as we are.
MRS MTSFP – I know that, like you, many Americans love the British comedies. Here are some of my favorites:
Have you seen any of those?
I hope you will enjoy the forthcoming John Cleese interview…………..and it’s smoke free:) My best as always to you and Jon from us both.
CRUISN SUE – Just wanted to say have a great cruise on the Carnival Liberty and please can you say hello to the Cruise Director Todd for me. If your husband remembers the name of the crew member please let me know and I will track her down for you. Enjoy your wrap-around balcony and have a fantastic cruise. I look forward to hearing your reports when you get back. Have fun.
DIVETRASH – Do you know, I have never read any of Mr. Cleese’s books but maybe I should. I have seen everything he has ever done on TV and film and I can recite every line from every episode of Fawlty Towers……… will be an honour to interview one of my greatest idols. I am glad you enjoyed the interview with Ray Rouse……..he is without a doubt someone who is the best in the industry. The story about Graham Chapman was brilliant and I have memories of a Monty Python reunion just after he passed away where the other members of the team brought his ashes so he could still be part of the celebrations.
Hope you are well. Have you persuaded your boyfriend to take a cruise yet?
BIG ED – I was thinking about you today as I was talking about the Bloggers Cruise……….you and I are taking part in the Synchronized Swimming contest. Thank mate for your never-ending support and that is why I am so happy that you are coming on the Bloggers Cruise so I can finally meet you and so many other new friends from the blog thingy.
LUV CRUISIN – thank you for the translation……..are there anymore internet thingy terms I should know?
LV2CRUISE – I have never been called anyone’s “daily fix” before………what an honour. Jelly beans are my daily fix along with countless cups of tea. Have fun in Myrtle Beach and I hope you are able to get your blog fix while you are there. Thank you so much for those wonderful words and have a fun vacation.
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF – It is indeed amazing some of the things that I hear guests say and in some cases complain about but it’s what keeps the job fresh. You never know what is around the corner. My thanks to you and your other half for the precise Bill W facts and as always I hope you are well. Thanks for reading the blog thingy.
LINDA HERNACKI – Hello Linda and thank you for taking the time to slap on another posting. The balcony comment was a classic and it will be one I always remember. You mentioned the smell of the fires in Olympia and actually there was a hint of burnt land but I think in time this will disapissatate (Jennifer, spelt correctly ……….Jennifer is spell-checking my blog for me).
Congratulations on making your final payment and tell Mike there are plenty of light bulbs that need changing here. See you soon and thanks as always for all you do for the blog.
IVANA – I wish I was making some of these stories up but I am not that good. These stories happen every day on every ship on every cruise line. You put 3000-plus guests onboard and you are always going to have some characters that will provide you with amusing and sometimes sad stories. Have a wonderful time in Prague….it is somewhere I would love to visit one day myself and I hope you can find time to read the blog thingy.
JENNIFER HAMMOND – Thank you for your choices of Hawaii and Alaska as destinations for the next Bloggers Cruise. I have to say as much as I would love to host that cruise in Hawaii, I think Alaska may be a better choice but we shall see. You asked about Michael Mullane who used to be a Cruise Director with us but has since retired and now has moved back to the U.K. with his wife Jenny. They are great people and we all miss them here. When did you sail with them, Jennifer?
BRYAN – I am glad you and so many others enjoyed the interview with Ray Rouse and one day I hope to shake his hand to say thank you in person…………….and to steal his jokes:)
I am so excited to interview Mr.Cleese and share it with you all. Thanks mate and if you have any requests for interviews, please let me know.
MYRA BUSHNELL – Another Ray Rouse fan and I am happy that I was able to interview the King of Cruise Directors.
Thank you for offering to have your husband design me a crest as did Mr. Pietrangelo. I look forward to seeing the designs and anyone who takes the time to do so will, I promise, receive a gift from Heidi and I (Heidi and me). In fact, there is a crest below which I hope will be the start of one or two more that I receive……… exciting having a family crest. It is also wonderful to know that there are so many John Cleese fans here on the blog thingy and therefore I am excited that the interview will be enjoyed by so many. Thanks, Myra, and I wish you and all your family well.
DAYLE WITH A Y – I have never been asked that before………..”do you know the name of the cabin steward so I can bring them a gift?” …………How kind you are. If you tell me the cabin number I should be able to tell you near to the time you sail. Thank you for all the kind words you slapped on and I will await your next posting so I can help you further. See you in October and you sound excited, you should be, it is going to be a great cruise.
CANUCK CRUISER – Your posting was worthy of a Monty Python sketch. Thank you so much for the laughs and, in case I do not get a chance to do so later, I wish you a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Liberty. Let us know how it went and please make sure you say hello to Todd the CD. We are knights who say………….neeeeeeeeeeghhh.
NANETTE – Now, there is a thought. A cruise to San Juan and a party at Nanni’s house. Heidi, like you and Kevin, loves my haircut…… ………well honestly I have never been one for personal grooming and one of the things I love about vacation is that I don’t have to wear a suit every day. Thank you for the information from the Princess “Patter” and we all seem to have the same process of finding guests to help us with religious services. Nani, I hope all is well with you and the family and Heidi sends her very best and of course a grande muchos grande hugo.
LEASA – Thank you so much for the words of compassion and I salute Mum for her continuing winning battle against colon cancer……….we are thinking of her tonight. I am sure her spirit will be give faith and hope to our blogger friends who are going through similar battles themselves. ………………thank you for the inspiration.
MICHELLE BEGIN – see you soon……..bon voyage.

And on that note it is time to stop …………more tomorrow starting with LFTTNSFCF.

Here is an unusual interview………is it real or is it just an illusion. That was a hint of course because today we interview one of Carnival’s foremost entertainers and master illusionist Kevin Jeffries.

Kevin Jeffries

1. When did you realize you wanted to be a magician and what was the very first trick you ever performed?

At the Nevada State Fairgrounds in 1989 I saw a magician perform live for the first time. I was inside a noisy arena buzzing with hawkers, animals, midway food and families. I’ll never forget the old man in the corner with his robe, white beard, and razor sharp eyes. This wizardly man felt like a magician, and I maintain it wasn’t freewill that lured me closer. When he told me to pick a card, I knew that instant my life had changed. Although nothing short of a miracle at the time, the card trick turned out to be standard Hocus Pocus available for $10 at any magic shop. It didn’t matter. There’s nothing mistakable about feeling a sense of magic. Like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or a card trick – long after you know the secret you can still identify with that wonderful moment of escape it contains as its root. It was clear to me that I should spend my life creating that magic for others. I learned my first trick from a library book – a freely chosen card gets destroyed, then restored inside an orange. I still do a variation of this trick today.
2. How did you get involved with Carnival Cruise Lines?

Having seen us perform at a Lake Tahoe casino, the entertainment director for Holland America offered us our first cruise ship contract in 1995. Shortly after, our act was decidedly better suited for Carnival audiences, so we moved to the Carnival Fantasy. Now, 12 years later, we are proud to have grown with Carnival from a 10 minute act into a full length evening show… and the best has yet to come.
3. For those who have not seen your show how would describe the amazing performances you provide our guests each and every week?

The Miami Herald said it best – our show is like “Harry Potter meets Cirque du Soleil.” Complete with showgirls, pyrotechnics, animals, and grand illusions. As my partner Caruso says, “What sets us apart is the non-stop razzle-dazzle.” From the big stage illusions to flying over the audience on a zip-line, and all the feathers & rhinestones in between; indeed Liberace would be proud.
4. Your shows contain simple and grand illusions. What are your favorite two that you perform?

I look at our show as one piece of work. The grand illusions and simple tricks are strategically woven with the showgirls, costumes, lighting, and comedy. It’s important that no one leaves the theater simply feeling deceived. Picking favorites is unnatural, they’re my children! I do, however really enjoy the audience participation. It’s the one variable that makes each show unique and challenges me to make every show a little different.
5. Take us through the birth of an illusion from the planning and designing stage, the building of the props to the performance.

New material isn’t intimately planned out ahead of time. After an initial brainstorming session, each element is allowed leisure to develop. You can’t force creativity to follow a deadline, or you end up with a black and white Mona Lisa. Our home doubles as a studio (read: madhouse) where everything gets fine-tuned before even seeing a theater. The costumes are all hand made at home by Caruso and our costumer, Louise. The props are either built by myself, or freighted in from Las Vegas. Once on stage, the technical aspects are addressed, and the cast begins to practice, practice, practice. At that point, there is little guess work left – a child is born.
6. I am sure people are always asking “How did you do that?”………….What’s your answer?

Knowing full well they won’t get a legitimate answer, a gentle rolling-of-the-eyes and half-a-smile usually speaks for itself.

7. Who in your mind is the greatest magician the world has ever seen and why?

Easy… “The Amazing John Heald” because he manages to squeeze 48 hours of ‘stuff’ into only 24, every single day. (Or would that be every other day.. hmmm.) I have absolutely no idea how he does this, and I’m not so sure I want the secret. Siegfried & Roy are also great inspiration because they understand the importance of entertaining, rather then just fooling the audience.
8. OK, money is no object and you can perform the grandest illusion ever seen on a cruise ship. What would that illusion be?

Breaking the barriers of the stage has always been appealing to me. I’ve recently developed a theory and method (sans budget) to make Caruso levitate right over the audience. Also, when the new “Carnival Magic” debuts in 2011, I’d like to make her magically ‘appear’ in port with 500 showgirls waving from Lido Deck – making for some cool television and marketing footage. So, ya got any connections?

Great idea, have a Carnival ship appear from nowhere……….mmmmmmmmm.

I am sure many of you have seen Kevin and Caruso’s show on the Carnival Triumph and, if you have not, and you love magic…….you really should.

I want to tell you about this young man I met who has read the blog from its beginning………..say hello to Norman.


Norman was in the talent show and dedicated a monologue to his wife of 58 years. Norman is a wonderful man and, between he and his wife Norma, they have 80 years of teaching children who have special needs. I just wanted to salute him and tell him that meeting people like him is one of the reasons I love my job so much.

Can I also say hello to Mrs.Hollis who gave me something to think about. Mrs. Levine (a blog reader) told me today (she is on board)…….of course she is otherwise how can she…………..never mind…………anyway, she told me that I was stuffy. I asked what she meant and she said that she preferred cruise directors to wear casual clothes and not suits like I do. I explained that I don’t look good in “casual clothes” but she said I would look more approachable and handsome…….she suggested polo shirts and smart jeans on stage…………..and that I would look handsome………..I think this lady needs help…… in a polo and jeans………..attractive………I would have the sex appeal of a camel with gingivitis.

Does she have a point………..should I dress down?
So, Sunday at 6:00pm my time, I will be interviewing John Cleese and that, for me, will be magic. The interview will be recorded and will be placed on an audio file thingy as well as written and plopped onto the blog and I have to say for the first time in ages……………….I am nervous. What shall I ask, should I call him Sir or Mr. Cleese……..should I ask him just a few questions or many……….most of all …….what will he think of me…………..a nobody asking him questions……………..come on John……….calm down………….you will be fine………..nothing to worry about……………….deep breaths…………oops………..I did it again……..I always do when I am nervous……..Heidi has now christened the cabin…………..Farty Towers.


Your friends

John and Heidi

Heald Crest
designed by: Luv Cruisin

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.