[First part written earlier by John] . . . Good Afternoon from Napoli ….it feels like I have said that a lot this last few months but anyway……here we are again and the start of another wonderful Carnival Freedom vacation. It has been a busy but oh so enjoyable day and I, as always, would like to take you along for the ride.Let’s start with this morning where we sent 2100 people on tour, the most ever this season and that included 700 plus to Capri. The first morning is always very confusing with guests not totally understanding what is happening, where they are supposed to be and sometimes who with………….by that I mean ………”where is my wife”………..”have you seen my family”……….”Is this where we meet”………. “what tour am I on”……………..”do I need my tickets”……………”what do you mean I need a Sail and Sign Card to get off the vessel”…………”do you speak Russian”………….”Who am I”…………..etc, etc.

All of the above is understandable as it can be a little confusing the first time and, as much as I explain in my talk, over the PA system and in the Carnival Capers, there are always a few people who do not know what to do.

One thing is for certain. The ship was designed to put so many people through its lounges for tour distribution. The lounges are entertainment spaces and no matter how organized we are (and we are) there are always going to be lines when you move that amount of people at the same time. Today, was no exception and yes, there were lines, but I still think we could do better……I will not be happy until I discover a better system.

I wanted to let you know that some people are a little ……ummmmmmm confused, some do like a good moan and then there are those who are just plain nasty……….now that is not a word you have ever heard me use in this blog before but this applies to the guest, who when asked by a dancer to put on their life jacket, she was treated to “what are you, the Gestapo”………no further words are necessary.

We are still in Naples awaiting 400 people who were supposed to be back from their tours but due to a landslide on the road to Sorrento they will not be back until 6:30pm……….30 minutes late. I am now making sure we keep the dining room informed so anyone on the early sitting dinners will be able to go straight to dinner if they want to or, of course, our dining options on Lido Deck.

The guests have just arrived 45 minutes late back to the ship and off we go, sailing to Dubrovnik.

Anyway, back to today in Naples and I will tell you what Heidi and I did a little later.

So, as you saw from the press release that I was sent by PA 007, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall will be dedicating the Queen Victoria……………this now has me thinking about the Carnival Splendor and her Godmother. I started this blog thingy wishing that Angelina Jolie would fulfill that role but as the days and weeks went on this became more and more unlikely. So, that now that leaves me with Catherine Zeta Jones as first choice………………..hold on a moment……….who I am kidding……..it is not like it is my choice…………in fact it isn’t………….at all………….but maybe……….just maybe I, sorry, we can influence my friends in Miami to consider her for this role. My quest will start in earnest in the weeks to come…………..I hope I have your support.

I have seen lots of bloggers this cruise wearing the bloggers t-shirts, which is great to see…….although a little strange in the fact that it makes me feel a little inadequate and I hope I live up to their expectations.

The KZST Radio group seems a lot of fun and they certainly were enjoying all the bars and lounges last night…..especially the Disco where we played lots of their kind of music…….70’s and rock and roll etc. The group leader asked if I would come to their private party tomorrow which I of course will do………I hope they don’t ask me to dance.

I hate dancing. I am rubbish. I look like a drunk flamingo as I faff around hopping on one leg to another. Many years ago when Roger Blum and I worked together on the Carnival Sensation we used to have lots of Quincinera….Quincinyera………Quincinears…….anyway, 15-year-old young ladies from Latin America and Cuba who were celebrating their coming of age with a cruise along with their whole family…………..when I came of age I had a pint of Bitter and a Pork Pie but that’s another story.

Anyway, the girls look stunning in their gorgeous wedding style dresses and the ceremony that took place in the main lounge was wonderful and oozed tradition. The final part of the ceremony would involve the daughters dancing with their fathers to the Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss. Then, Roger and I would go on stage and propose a toast to all the young ladies and then it was time for the 30 minute disco party……….and that was me and Roger hiding in the bar pantry behind cases of Heineken as the young ladies and, worse still, the mothers looked for that handsome man in uniform and the Cruise Director to dance with………we still laugh about that today……………I should have danced since, if there is one worse dancer than me………..it’s Roger.

Here are some photos for you which Heidi took two nights ago as we sailed from Livorno……….it’s a beautiful Tuscan sunset and one of the Carnival Freedom.

it’s a beautiful Tuscan sunset

it’s a beautiful Tuscan sunset

it’s a beautiful Tuscan sunset

Here is a photo of me and some of the dancers from 1992, Christmas in Cozumel……………what the heck is that shirt!

Here is a photo of me and some of the dancers from 1992, Christmas in Cozumel……………what the heck is that shirt!

Here are the letters for today’s In Their Own Words Section:

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

I am very excited that tomorrow I will be able to promote the ON DECK FOR THE CURE walk. I have decided to hold this on the second sea day at 4:00pm. We will take a group photo on deck before the walk itself………..we have 400 shirts to give for a $10 donation and if people want to donate more, they can…………I know I will.

Lets do some Q and A.

LAUREN – Nobody……………nobody………….needs to see me in a dress…………….it ain’t pretty.
MR.VANQUISH – I am not certain as to why the insurance company would be trying to work out whose fault it is that your Aston Martin is now well and truly knackered. I had a nightmare about that last night and I hope that things get resolved quickly so you can consider buying yourself another example of Beauty, Passion and Soul. Please keep me informed mate and hang in there mate.

Well, that didn’t last long did it? Time has escaped me and now I am off to the Welcome Aboard Show, see you tomorrow.

Good morning. It’s 8:18am and I thought I would sit and use my two fingers to continue the Q and A before my Morning Show at 9:30am. I feel very tired this morning and I have ignored the urge to have a coffee so I am having tea instead and just made myself a big mug (LA Lakers …………..don’t tell anyone at the Miami Heat organization) that I am drinking from this………hold on………am I an idiot?……….yes is the answer…..like Shaq and the boys are reading the blog and are now mad because I am drinking from a Lakers Mug!……………can you tell I am tired……..I am waffling today.

Come on John, snap out of it and get back to the Q and A.

Just in case you are reading…………Hello Shaq, stay injury free this season, use the pick and roll more and win that trophy again.

John

Yes

You need help

I know

I need someone to slap me

Thank you, Heidi.

KATHIE – More beautiful words Kathie. Thank you for recognizing your travel agent Jeannie Castro (I wonder if she is any relation to Roberto?). I will certainly make sure that her boss gets to see your words of praise and I am sure she will be thrilled. Carnival Cruise Lines is where it is today thanks to the hard work and dedication of thousands and thousands of people who devote themselves to making sure that people like you and millions of others have the best vacation ever.
Thank you Kathie for mentioning just one of them and you will be happy to know that my computer is behaving so far and following my threat to spank it with a large stick I expect it to stay that way. I am glad you are still laughing at and enjoying the blog so much and thank you again for such kind words.
KAZ – OK, here we go. For those who read KAZ’s posting you will obviously notice she knows a little about me and that’s because she is a stalker! Just kidding, actually we have never met but I used to ummmmm……….well……….lets just say her sister Helen and I were friends…………….you know ……………we…………kissed once which, for me was a huge achievement. Anyway Kaz, please tell Helen I still love Jethro Tull and as for the other incidents I have deleted those from my memory banks. My Mum and Dad send their best to all of you and if Helen would like another trombone lesson I will be happy to oblige.
Now, lets chat about your WORLD CRUISE ON THE QUEEN VICTORIA. Did you see that the Duchess of Cornwall will be the Godmother? You must be so excited about this cruise of a lifetime and I was wondering which portion you are looking forward to the most, is there one country you are most excited about seeing?
Please keep writing and tell Helen I will be round for tea. Oh, I thought you might like to see this photo of the Queen Victoria returning to the shipyard after her successful sea trials.
Please keep writing and tell Helen I will be round for tea. Oh, I thought you might like to see this photo of the Queen Victoria returning to the shipyard after her successful sea trials.
A CRUISE BY ANY OTHER NAME – Thank you for the great link thingy for Ephesus and you are correct that it is well written and gave me some new facts that I can use. I am sorry to hear that you have canceled your cruise but I understand the reasons and following your trip Down Under I hope we will see you on the next Bloggers Cruise. I have been trying to get Heidi to go to Australia but with her fear of spiders I am sure that is never going to happen. As for Fatima and her pipes………I don’t know where they come from. I just know where they are never going………..again.
It was great to see a posting from you and I hope that you continue to read the blog thingy.
CATHERINE EBERT – My fall from grace on the pier in Livorno bruised my ego more than anything. I am constantly warning the guests about the danger of the raised rails on the pier so what a complete prat (good English word for idiot) I looked when I tripped over………….at least I provided some pierside entertainment while the guests were waiting for the shuttle buses.
I never saw the man who dropped his phone overboard again but he really was heartbroken that it contained the last photo he had taken of his beloved dog and best friend. I am glad that you are excited about sailing on the Carnival Splendor and Russia, as you mentioned, will be a highlight. Later in the year I will start slapping on some port information which I hope will help.
Thanks for your posting and my best to you and your husband.
MRS MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE – What are the RED ARROWS, I hear you ask? Well, this is in reference to the naming ceremony of the Queen Victoria in England on December 10th. The Red Arrows are the world’s foremost jet aerobatic team and part of the British Royal Air Force. They are often to be found at Royal events and their display is flabbergasting. The garden program you are referring to is called Ground Force and the brass band music is played the Black Dyke Mills Band who are part of a big mining corporation in the UK and probably the most famous brass band in the UK along with Chelmsford Citadel. Anyway, my dad still plays his cornet but I sadly have not picked up a trombone in years…. I really miss it but my neighbours do not. Thanks for the hug and one big one right back at you.
BOB MEANS – hello Bob and I am so happy that you continue to enjoy the blog thingy. What a lift your posting gave me and I appreciate that during your words of congratulations you also mention Heidi, Roberto and PA 007. These three people are pivotal in the blog’s success so thanks again for those rewarding words. The blog is getting bigger every day and I wish I could write more every day but I still have a job to do here and that of course is the most important thing. So far, I am managing both and I hope I will be able to continue to do so. Anyway, must go as I am off to my travel talk but not before I say thanks again mate and we all wish you and your family well.

OK, AS MENTIONED I AM OFF TO THE TRAVEL TALK TO CHAT ABOUT DUBROVNIK (YIPEEEEEEE NO TENDERS), VENICE AND MESSINA AND MOST IMPORTANTLY TO LAUNCH……………THE ON THE DECK FOR A CURE WALK………….BACK SOON.

Here I am back again and lots to tell but first the Q and A continues.

BIG ED – I thought we were friends and then I see you slap on a photo of me in a dress. Right, the gloves are off and I am determined that on the Bloggers Cruise, somehow I will have you in one too!…………when I say have you I mean that you will be wearing one not that I want to have ……anyway, watch out :)…………can I borrow one of Mrs Big Ed’s dresses?
I loved your photos of the holiday home. Alan asked me if you rent it out and if he can join you ……….he likes a bit of camping does Alan. I am sure Wendy’s will miss you and it won’t be long to January and you in that dress.
GREG AND CINDY COURINGTON – When you arrive onboard just go to the Chic Dining Room and see Dino the Maitre D between 2:00pm and 4:00pm and he will assist you with your dining room change. Now, as for a restaurant recommendation in Venice, it depends if you want a traditional trattoria or something a bit more up market. If money is not an object then you have to try Harry’s Bar. The place is full of tradition and the menu, although ultra expensive, is exquisite………they recently changed the Risotto recipe but it wasn’t as good, and a famous food critic had them change it back……..it is extraodinary.
If you are looking for something a bit cheaper, I suggest Il Piscatore a small pizzeria and fish restaurant which I know you will love. So, the choice is yours and wherever you decide to eat, I know you will have a wonderful time in Venice. Please let me know if I can help further.
LTTNSFCF – It’s Heidi here………It is now 7:20pm and as the Captain’s Cocktail Parties are going on, the guests are having lovely drinks and hors d’oeuvres, are dancing, having dinner and getting ready for the show…… my husband is in bed.
He is sick and let me put it this way, I have done a lot of cleaning in the last few hours……and I will leave it at that.

So, I saw he only just started the Q & A and didn’t get very far yet.

Most of you who have cruised before know what a busy day the first day at sea / formal night is for all of us.

There are 13 pages of comments on the desk and I am afraid they have to wait until Sir is better.

I thought I would just tell you about the highlight of my day………..

We (Carnival Cruise Lines) participate together with Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn in something called “On Deck For The Cure.”

On Deck for the Cure

Today, myself and other Entertainment Staff Members gave the guests the opportunity to donate to this wonderful cause.

It didn’t take long before all the boxes with t-shirts and wristbands were empty. I spoke to a few guests who told me they were breast cancer survivors and to some guests who had a sister, mother or other family member with breast cancer. I was thinking about my Auntie Aartje, a breast cancer survivor. How strong she was and what she had to go through.

There were a few tears from guests and a lot of smiles but all had the same thought, what a great opportunity it was to join in and walk on the deck together for this great cause. What a better place to do this, at sea on a beautiful ship like the Carnival Freedom on her way to Messina, Italy.

Heidi at the Desk for On Deck for the Cure

I suppose as a good wife, I need to get away from the desk now and look after my husband and make sure that the festivities along the Promenade Deck are going well.

He feels so bad that he can’t write to you and I told him to stop moaning…….this is one of the very very few times that he has ever been sick on the ship and wasn’t able to do his job. I really need to go, I am so sorry…but he needs me.

We’ll be back soon.

Your friends,

John & 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.