A Blog For Tara

September 17, 2007 -

John Heald

I had a dream last night. I was on my private yacht, drinking Louis Roderer Crystal Champagne, a Roman Goddess (who looked a lot like Catherine Zeta Jones) attending to my every whim while Russell Crowe in his Gladiator uniform stood guard to make sure I was not attacked by anything from Mars.Just as the Goddess was about to show me her Coliseums …….the alarm clock & the ships thrusters brought me back to reality at 7 am as we arrived into Messina. I turned the light on as the last few images of The Goddess had been replaced by a voice from deep under the covers that said “turn the light off” …. I have excluded a few words from that statement as this is a PG 13 blog thingy.

The light got turned off and we began our usual morning conversation that goes something like this.

John “do you want the bathroom first?”
Miss Grumpy “no, you go”
John “OK”
Miss grumpy “No, I will use it first”
John “OK, I need to pee”
John goes to pee
Miss Grumpy “Hurry Up”
John “OK “……….takes as long as he can just to annoy her
Heidi then goes into the bathroom
Miss grumpy “you didn’t put the seat down”

The first thing I did when we bought our house was to make sure we have at least three bathrooms!

So, once showered, Heidi left to go to take care of the tours, etc. while I went to have my morning meeting with Mr. S………..he of the “I know what really happened to the Titanic “statement. I went down to the Lobby and met with Duncan the Hotel Director as I wanted a witness to be present during my conversation with Mr. Spock.

I guess I had been expecting a “strange looking chap”………..not with pointed ears but ………well…………different………..maybe his head would be extra large or he would have a third ear……………….but I was to be disappointed. Mr. Spock arrived on schedule and he looked …………normal. We invited him to sit down and we began to listen to his story………………which lasted 35 minutes.

We thanked him very much and assured him that we would pass the information onto the Captain as he had requested and he left………..I wanted to ask him if he was going to beam back to his cabin but Duncan wouldn’t let me.

So, you all want to know his theory. As I mentioned in the last blog Mr.Spock believes that the Titanic was sunk by a ship from outer space. He also believes the same ship is responsible for many other disasters including the downing various planes (he specifically mentioned the Korean Airlines plane) and many others. He is writing a book which he says the government is trying to stop.

Now, I want you all to know that Mr. Spock is very intelligent and truly believes in what he says and is proof positive that meeting people like Mr. Spock will only happen in the cruise industry. Can you imagine him going up to the front desk of the Ritz Carlton and saying ” Can I speak to the manager as I think you are about to be attacked by a space ship from the planet Zonk”…..the chaps in white coats would be there before you know it. So, Mr. Spock left very happy and who knows……………..maybe he is right…………I have my phaser with me just in case.

After I had boldly gone where no cruise director has gone before (stop it now with the Star Trek references) I went back to the cabin, checked my sugar level (a little low so I had a banana) and then went back to the lobby for my interview with the Japanese TV crew we have sailing. They had been very nice as to send the Captain, Hotel Director and myself the questions they would ask ahead of time and I thought you would like to see them.

Japanese Interview Question

The interview finished I returned to the cabin and that’s where you find me now as I begin today’s blog.

Do you remember the photo I placed on a blog a few days ago of the Carnival Triumph in heavy seas which was taken by the Canadian Coast Guard? …………………Well, my sources tell me that some folks on Cruise Critic are claiming that I photo cropped or something and that the photo is not real. There is even a comment from some ex Navy chap who says you can tell it is not real by the colour of the water and that the pixies are different or something.

Now, far be it for me to disagree with him and the one or two others who may think the same but to think that I would make this up or even have the knowledge of how to do so is ludicrous. It was real, Heidi and I were there along with one of Carnival’s finest Captains, Salvatore Rassello ……………oh and yes…………..3,000 passengers………….the seas were rough, the hurricane had passed through and left the seas looking like Mother Nature had decided to give it the good news with a giant egg whisk…………or maybe we were being attacked by something from the planet ………………….stop it John!.

Let’s do some photos and all calm down a bit……………I got worked up there because I was told someone had written on Cruise Critic that the “photo was sad, just like his blog”…………….I would like to meet him someday …………….and so would Fatima.

Sorry again

Here are the photos and today, we are off to Burano, one of the smaller islands in Venice.

1.The Church at Burano

1.The Church at Burano

2. A typical canal side street in Burano

2. A typical canal side street in Burano

3. One of the many small curiosity shops

3. One of the many small curiosity shops

4. Crutchating (spelt properly) is one of the pastimes handed down generation to generation and you can buy crutchated stuff everywhere.

4. Crutchating (spelt properly) is one of the pastimes handed down generation to generation and you can buy crutchated stuff everywhere.

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

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

Here we go with some Q and A………………………..Oh, just a note of apology that the comments were not updated and no blog was posted until Sunday evening but Roberto has worked so hard I asked him not to post comments and my blog until Sunday so he could spend the entire Saturday with his family rather than at the computer………..thanks for your understanding.

Let’s start with the last two from the blog with the John Cleese interview on it.

RAY CZENSZAK – Yep, I got to interview Mr. Cleese and hearing him laugh at one or two of the things I said was music to my ears. I am glad I had the chance to share the laughter with you mate and we will see you for more of the same on the Carnival Splendor.
CONNIE RITTMAN – As you have sailed with me on the Carnival Ecstasy in 1991 and again on the Carnival Liberty in 2006 you have seen both sizes of Elvis……….so to speak. I wish I could be with you on the Carnival Legend in 2008 but I know regardless that you will have a fantastic time. Please keep reading the blog thingy and I look forward to the next time when we can be together.

NOW WE MOVE ON TO THE QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS FROM THE BLOG CALLED FEELING BETTER.

NANETTE – See you on January 14th Nani when the Carnival Freedom comes calling. Thank you for supporting me and by the time I meet you again I hope my Spanish is as good as Mr. Herrera’s English. Much hugos mi amor.
LINDA HERNACKI – Thanks for your concern Linda and although I still feel a bit weak I am getting better every day. You are so nice to think of bringing Heidi and I gifts and I promise that I will let you know by the end of this month if I will be there for your cruise. At the moment I honestly do not know and Todd and I are talking about the best scenario for us both. When I see your name on the comments I smile because I know I am writing to two friends and I hope that we will meet in person in November, Linda, especially as the bulbs need changing. Take care and many thanks again.
TERRI910 – Thank to you Terri for your nice words. I admit I was surprised when I heard by the article that says the blog thingy “sounded like a Carnival commercial” because I really do not want it to be just about that. Yes, I want people to cruise with us…..why?………..because I believe in the product…………..but, I hope that the blog also shows the mistakes that I and sometimes the company make and how we resolve and correct those concerns. Anyway, until you all stop reading I will keep blogging away unless my two fingers simply drop off. Thanks again Terri and all the best.
MARILYN VISCHIO – The “poops and the pukies” have gone but my stomach feels like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears have spent all night partying in there. Let me answer your questions regarding the 2008 Miami to Rome crossing.
1. You asked if you can make your Supper Club booking now which indeed you may. You can complete the form thingy link thingy or you can just tell me when, where, etc. and I will book the table for you.
2. As you are sailing back to back you do not need to re check in after the crossing. All you will need to do is go down to the gangway and have your photo taken so it reactivates your Sail & Sign card and updates it. If you are staying in the same cabin you have nothing else to do except go ashore and enjoy Rome.
3. The only tour I suggest you book without fail now are those that do say limited on them especially the Vatican tours. These truly are limited to a few people and it may be wise to book the ones you want now. If you have tour specific questions please let me know.
I hope this helps and I remain at your service as and when you need me. See you next year.
PEANUTS – Its still feels really silly that I am a Miami Heat fan but here on my desk sits the Lakers cup which by the way is the only cup they will have their name on this season. The ring is a little flashy as you said but can you imagine wearing one of those for real………….I think it probably gives you special powers. I checked on the supper club reservation for you and it has indeed been confirmed as requested. I can’t wait to get my Pistons mug as it will give me something to keep my false teeth in when I am older. Say hello to the GIRLS and thanks Joan for being such a great friend.
LFTTNSFCF – Consider yourself hired! Was I too descriptive about my bathroom shenanigans? See you in 43 days and the food is waiting mate.
THE BEARS, CARL AND BARB – I am so happy to hear from you following your surgery. You said you are OK but please let me know as often as you can how you are doing as we both will always be here for you. Please write soon and best wishes to you both.
GREG BALDASARRI – The bet is on and I like my Porterhouse cooked well done please as Shaq and the boys are ready to go. Think of me though watching the games on vacation at 2 am! Glad you enjoyed the last blog and hope this one finds you well.
DAVE AND MELANIE MYERS – Heidi says her neck is better and thank you for asking. You will not believe how much I was in the doghouse for that one. I am feeling mostly better although I still need to be insight of a bathroom at all times. Thank you both for your concern and I hope you are both well.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – Hopefully that last chemotherapy treatment will be the end of your concerns, Bonnie. How do you feel today? I was thinking of you so much when we did our walk yesterday (see below) and I am sure everyone here joins me in wishing you well. Thanks to your Prince Charlie for looking after you and please let us know how things progress. Heidi and I will see you very soon.
LISA WIGGS – Lisa, the article on the Emerald Princess should be slapped on very soon. I did not know that Cruise Travel magazine had written an article on her this week……………..well reading mine will be like going from Shakespeare to Jackie Collins………..bugger! I will do my best to take you around with me and I hope you send me your honest opinion to me via the blog thingy. Until then, I wish you all the best.
SUE GROHOL – How wonderful that you and your family and friends will be all together on the 14-day voyage and that I get to be part of that family even if it is just for 14 days. Let me know what else I can do for you and all the best until then.
ERIC F – You are correct that the new schedule does indeed show Paul Santley on vacation and that the new Cruise Director will be Brad Calabrese (Irish ?) I have never met Brad as you requested some more information about him I will ask Chris Prideaux to get in touch and have him send me a biography for you and you should have that soon. I am positive though that if he has been entrusted as the cruise director of the Carnival Triumph he must be an exceptional talent. I will let you know more very soon. Cheers mate.
LISA AND ELAINE – I also had never heard of any cruise line having free drinks at sail away………..oh well. Thanks for saying thanks to Heidi for looking after me and I hope that’s the last time that particular ailment hits me……..I was a big baby I know but oh boy was it nasty times in my bathroom.
Hope you are both well and I also hope you continue to enjoy the bog thingy.
JULIE GRANT – The most important part of your wonderful posting was the comments directed towards Barb and Southern Dreams. My three days of illness means nothing to the battle they are going through and how lovely that you remembered them in your prayers. You asked about finding out who the Captain will be on your cruise and if others could find out the same. Although I cannot post a specific schedule on my bog I can make sure if you tell me what cruise you are going on who the Commandante will be. …….so let me know if I can help. Thanks again for your continued support of the blog and once again for your beautiful words of support for others.
TERESA C – 600 photos…..wow that must have been one long dinner. I am sure though they hold so many happy memories for you and I hope they will memories that last a long time. I spoke to Zoltan and if I have your permission I will give him your e-mail address so you can both correspond. Let me know if this is OK and enjoy the memories.
JAMES EMM – Please slap on a posting on or around October 4th and I will take care of your request mate. Cheers.
JULIE GANTT – thank you 🙂
SUSETTE LOEWENSTEIN – Susette, postings like this mean the world to me and I just wanted you know that it was very kind of you and I hope the blog thingies continue to bring you some smiles.

Now we move to comments and questions from the blog called “Introducing Mr.Luis.”

LFTTNSFCF – Indeed Jon, how correct you are. It is people like Mr. Luis who make this company so special. Thank you for acknowledging him.
M @ RT – I checked with the dining room and they confirmed you are at the 8 pm sitting , I hope this is OK. I remember you of course and for all the wrong reasons I remember Wild Willy as well………….help! You will love these ports and I think Rhodes and Istanbul will be highlights with Ephesus at the top of the WOW list. Then I see you are on the Carnival Splendor and asked if you need to check in again at the end of the first cruise. As you are sailing back to back you do not need to re check in after the crossing. All you will need to do is go down to the gangway and have your photo taken so it reactivates your Sail and Sign card and updates it. If you are staying in the same cabin you have nothing else to do except go ashore and enjoy Dover. I last saw Preston on the same cruise you were on and I miss him a lot and I am glad you got to meet one of the nicest ladies I have ever met in Preston’s mum. I hope I did not miss any of your questions out and if I did please let me know. All the best and see you in a few days…………..I am not allowed to use the W word………Heidi gets annoyed.
JULIE GRANT – How correct you are about the people behind the scenes on our ships; you never know who they really are. Therefore, I thank you so very much for your posting that highlights this fact even more. One thing the crew all has in common is that they are all here to support their families and loved ones and that is why they take such pride in what they do. Thank you again Julie for pointing this fact out and I encourage all guests on every ship to try and get to know one crew member ………I promise it will enhance your cruise so much. All the best Julie.
JANE AND TOM – Your message has been sent and I am sure you will get an immediate response from Jude. Let me know please if there is anything else I can do. Cheers.
BRYAN – There are many more crew members I have ready to interview and some very important people from the industry who have taken their time to answer some of my questions……………….do you have any requests? Let me know and thanks for reading the blog thingy.
MAMAW G – Just in case I don’t get chance to say this again, have a safe trip over here and see you in a few days. Leave me a note please when you board.
MILLIE S – Thanks Millie for your praise of the Carnival crew and see you very soon.
CRUISIN SUE – Great stuff. I am so happy you enjoyed Todd and I have passed your comments on to him. Hope you had a great cruise and see you in a short while for another great cruise vacation.
GIRLDOC – Hope you are enjoying the Carnival Destiny and how kind of you to write while you are onboard. You asked how long it takes for a ship to recover the cost of the building and the honest answer is……….I haven’t a clue but I will ask those who will know and get back to you. Let us know when you are home and have a wonderful time.

Now we answer some of those comments from the blog called “Mum’s Shepherds Pie”

MR.VANQUISH – If there is one thing that can take away the blues of a ruined Aston Martin it is my Mums Shepherds Pie. Have you thought about another Vanquish?
BIG ED – I am going to ask the Chef onboard to cook this for us during the Bloggers Cruise so we can sit in a booth and enjoy it together. Mum and dad will indeed send a photo so we can add to the album. Hope all is well with you and Mrs. Big Ed and enjoy the pie. Sorry there was not so much action over the weekend on the blog thingy but I promise to make up for it this week mate.
LFTTNSFCF – Interesting that lamb does not appear as popular in the States as in Europe…………it seems rare that I see it on a menu……….anybody can tell me why ? I hope Mrs. MTSFP gives it a try………it’s delicious especially on a winters night.
THE BEARS…CARL AND BARB – Mum says thank you to you both as well.
LAUREN – Thank you for letting me know Carnival informed you by e mail that I interviewed John Cleese………..big time……maybe one day. Hope you are well and enjoying today’s blog.
MRS MTSFP – Simple answer is my Dad does not like cabbage but you really should try my Mum’s recipe and when Mr. MTSFP’s arms are better he can help.
SUE GROHOL – Let me know how the Pie turns out and there is another one of Mum’s recipes coming soon. Thanks also for mentioning the interview with Luis. He is a very special man and I am glad he had some limelight which after such great service he deserves so much.
JULIE GANTT – What is bubble and squeak? It is basically an old English dish that was invented in the shipping town of Southampton when the old sailors would come ashore and spend as little as possible on food and as much as possible on drink and ummmmmmmmmmmm……….entertainment. Anyway, it is mashed or boiled potatoes mixed up with vegetables and then fried and it’s fantastic. Don’t knock it until you have tried it and then let me know………oh, as for Spotted Dick ……well that’s another long story and I can share it with you if you want so let me know. Enjoy the Bubble and Squeak and you must have baked beans and oh yes…………open a window.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – Ahhhhhhhh yes, I knew you would add a little zest to Mum’s recipe and the hot sauce sounds perfect. However, my stomach would welcome hot sauce like a Vegas casino would welcome OJ Simpson at the moment. Hope you had a great Carnival Fantasy cruise and welcome home mate.
KATHIE – Wonderful comments and if there is one thing that can get Jeff through College it will be a taste of your cooking so how kind that you are doing that for him………..send me some as well 🙂 Your words of kindness will mean a lot to Mr. Luis who I will show all the comments to so thank you in advance for bringing an even bigger smile to his face. My best to Jeff and enjoy the Pie.

OK, got to stop there and will continue with the Q and A tomorrow starting with the ones from the blog called “It came from outer space.”

Well, the couple who missed the ship in Venice, Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz arrived safely today and I spoke to them just now. They are quite embarrassed and were worried I would be pointing them out and embarrassing them at the show…………….would I do a thing like that? Seriously, they are really upset with themselves and the fact that they missed a whole day of cruising and the extra travel costs they endured. I assured them I would not be involving them in the show tonight and I hope they enjoyed the bottle of wine I sent them for dinner.

Halloween is just around the corner and carnival Cruise Lines has gone into…………well…………read for yourself what we are doing.

CARNIVAL, M&M’S® TEAM UP FOR ‘FRIGHTFULLY FUN’

HALLOWEEN PROMOTION ABOARD ‘FUN SHIPS’

Month-Long Festivities to Include Costume Contests, Trick or Treating, Themed Giveaways and More

MIAMI (September 17, 2007) – Halloween is always a fun and memorable time aboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships.

And with the “Frightfully Fun” promotion, guests sailing with Carnival can enjoy a variety of fun-filled activities, everything from costume contests and Halloween-themed giveaways to scary movies, and, of course, trick or treating, with candies and other goodies from M&M’S®.

The “Frightfully Fun” promotion, which is also sponsored by Coca Cola, will be held on all Carnival voyages departing between Oct. 13 and 30, 2007.

Guests sailing on Carnival during the period are encouraged to bring their costumes and they can compete for a variety of prizes during the always-interesting costume contest and parade.

Carnival crewmembers will be dressed in costume, as well, and guests can have their photos taken with Carnival’s own “Fun Ship” Freddy.

Guests ages one to 14 are also invited to go trick or treating along the ships’ promenades and through various public rooms and areas, stocking up on M&M’S® signature candies, including MILKY WAY®, SNICKERS®, SKITTLES®, STARBURST® and TWIX®, all along the way.

“At Carnival, Halloween is always a special occasion and the ‘Frightfully Fun’ festivities provides guests of all ages with a unique and memorable way to celebrate this festive holiday, with activities and other events not found anywhere else,” said Vicki Freed, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 “Fun Ships” operating voyages ranging from three to 16 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, New England, Canada, Bermuda, Europe and the Greek Isles.

The line currently has three new ships on order – the 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor, set to debut in Europe July 13, 2008; and the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic, scheduled for delivery in October 2009 and June 2011, respectively.

For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

So, anyone sailing on a Carnival vessel within the above time frame is assured of an unforgettable time ………..BOO! Oh, and we won’t be telling jokes like this.

Yesterday, something special happened. We held our first ON THE DECK FOR THE CURE WALK and it was a very emotional time.

We all met at 4:30pm on the Lido Deck by the main pool. There were hundreds of people wearing the shirts and the pink wristbands and there was already a special something in the air. I then asked the guests on deck to applaud each other for being there and supporting this great cause and everyone on deck stood and applauded. Then I brought forward seven ladies who were breast cancer survivors and one young lady who was undergoing treatment and would return to it as soon as she returned to San Jose. Her name is Tara and as she came to stand next to me the audience all applauded once again. She responded by taking off her hairpiece and revealing her shining bald head and the audience cheered again…………….Tara is only 31 (you can see her sitting next to me in the photo)

Before we started the walk I invited everyone to dance as the band played “Louis Armstrong’s …..Wonderful World”……….many tears were shed as people remembered loved ones. Then, it was up to the jogging track where we took a group photo (not easy with over 400 people) and then the walk began. We had sold out of the shirts and I had even given mine to someone as well. The walk raised a lot of money. Even now, people are still donating and I will give you the final figure at the end of the cruise.

On Deck for the Cure

On Deck for the Cure

On Deck for the Cure

On Deck for the Cure

On Deck for the Cure

On Deck for the Cure

On Deck for the Cure

On Deck for the Cure

On Deck for the Cure

On Deck for the Cure

I hope that it also raised hope for Tara and the many others who have and unfortunately will continue to suffer from breast cancer and maybe we have helped make a difference in some small way. One thing is for sure. As long as I can I am going to keep this event onboard for as many cruises as I can ……………………….for Tara.

Goodnight

Your Friends

John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.