Lean On Me

September 24, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning and yes………………it’s the blog that starts at 5:30 am…………..I must be mad.Anyway, it was a good cruise and once again 12 days of sun and apart from one rough night in the Gulf Of Lion it was a perfect 12 days of weather. This is my favorite time of the season when the temperatures drop to 70 something degrees and at night there is a real fresh feel to the ports.

Goodness, the season has gone so quickly and this cruise marks the last of the Greece/Turkey cruises. So, what do I like about this itinerary and what don’t I like.

Well, I love the diversity of the ports and I think Istanbul is a place everyone should visit if they can. For most people, myself included, it is one of the most enchanting and mysterious places that we visit and along with Rhodes which is so charming and so much fun………….these ports steal the show.

The other highlight is Izmir although not the port itself but as a gateway to Ephesus which is overall the most popular tour we offer. Please don’t think of me as having something against the Greeks because I do not, it’s just I am not a big fan of Athens. There is no doubting that the Acropolis is again one of those places you have to visit in your lifetime but outside of that……….well I just feel that the welcome we get in Athens is not as warm and as friendly as some of the other ports. That is just my opinion.

Overall, it has been a most successful season and the Greek/Turkey cruise is something very special and it is no surprise that both Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor will include these ports next season as well………………and my bet is……….that will be the case for many years to come.

This morning I received boxes of goodies from Nani who included a “how to learn Spanish” book and some gifts for Heidi…………grasyarse…..see, its paying off already. I also received a Indiana Pacers Mug from Colin and some wonderful candy selections from Linda the Mouse……………….how spoiled we are and I want to say many thanks to all of you for these special gifts………….we are both so thankful.

Here is a parting shot from a guest that I wanted to share with you which I received last night……………again, just when you think you have heard everything.

Guest: Mr ……………002713075A Owner: Purser Joanne
Cabin: _____ Booking#:
_____– Demands to speak to Cruise Director for full refund of Florence Highlights Tour
Mr. and Mrs. &^%$ together with Mrs. ^&%$ (cabin____) stopped at the Pursers Office to demand a refund of the tour (Blue 7) because the they were unable to enjoy the tour because of the body odor of four other guests seated near them in the bus. Mr. %^&* said that they had not had showers for days and really were very bad that his wife was sick from the smell. Purser apologized and said that the shore excursion manager and cruise director would contact both guests.

Tasked to SEM and CD

Ah yes, the smelly guest problem………………….well, what do you do about this? Obviously we cannot refund them based on the fact that a pong was emanating from other people on the bus ………..however you do sympathize with them. Anyway, as I had no idea what to say I did the only thing I could and told the shore excursion manager to deal with it.

That reminds me…………….I had better stop blogging for a few minutes …………..it’s 6:10 am and I haven’t had a shower yet and I don’t want you all complaining that this is a smelly blog……………..so, back after my shower.

OK, that’s me smelling like soap and I just added a bit of Old Spice behind the ears……….why is Old Spice so hard to find these days? Oh, and why is it that by the bath I have one piece of soap and some shampoo while Heidi has more locations and creams than an entire Wal-Mart…………..Oh and by the way, my shampoo costs 2 euros…………Heidi’s shampoo cost………….sit down …………….16 euros…………….16 bloody euros and it doesn’t even come with free food………….and then there is her face creams by some company La Mer face cream…………if I told you how much that cost you would need new underwear………I know I did when she bought it and she still doesn’t look like Angelina Jolie.

Sorry………..I digressed then …………….anyway, I have to go to take care of boat drill now and there are constant additions to what we say……………here is the latest.

“As fire poses the most danger to any ship we also remind guests that anything with an open flame such as candles are strictly forbidden. Also, please note that heating elements such as irons are also not allowed. If these items are found in guest cabins they will be immediately confiscated for the safety of the vessel.”

Also I added.

“as we continue to think of the environment we ask that all guests please turn the lights out in their staterooms when they leave”

And of course

“And finally a message from our doctors and nurses. At this time of year the dreaded Norwalk Virus or Gastro Illness can be prevalent on cruise ships in Europe. The GI is usually brought on from land so therefore the Doctors would like to advise you of the simple steps to try and avoid this from happening. There are hand sanitizer units at the front of the self-service buffet lines on the Lido Deck restaurant and all guests are required to use them please. However, the Doctors remind you that the constant washing of hands with warm water and soap is the proven way to avoid the spread of a GI illness.”

There you go…………..those are the new additions as of today and I have to go now and take care of the drill. It has been a long day so I will probably write more tomorrow from Naples…………..so goodnight for now and I will speak to you tomorrow.

Morning…………..it is 8:05 am and I had a bad morning as I found myself with stickymatress syndrome and my back refused to move from the bed……….I was supposed to be up for 6:45 am but I delegated to Heidi who was meeting her Mum for breakfast so I had an extra hour in bed………….it was heaven.

Heidi’s Mum arrived yesterday. This is the first vacation she has done without her husband (Heidi’s Dad) who passed away suddenly two years ago at just 61. There were a few tears but they are now spending some very valuable Mum/Daughter time and will be going on a tour of Naples later today.

I am going to do some blogging and then go and sell Heidi’s pot of Le Mer face cream and buy an Aston Martin and still have enough for a Pizza.

OK, here are some beautiful photos of Tuscany as taken by Gary our intrepid photographer………..hello Gary’s Mum.

These are from the Wines of Tuscany Tour……….I am glad he took them before the wine tasting began.

Wines of Tuscany Tour

Wines of Tuscany Tour

Wines of Tuscany Tour

Wines of Tuscany Tour

Wines of Tuscany Tour

Wines of Tuscany Tour

Wines of Tuscany Tour

Now an apology. I have reached one of those times when I find myself with 90 plus comments and questions to answer and I am sorry to say my fingers and time will not allow me to answer every one. Let me just say that as always I have read each and every comment and the continued support of this blog by thousands and thousands of people continues to overwhelm me. We have now reached 693,000 hits and I am sure by the time this has been slapped on we will be over the 700,000 mark…………..amazing.

Here are some letters from the “In Your Own Words” section.

In Your Own Words

In Your Own Words

In Your Own Words

In Your Own Words

The word thank you is not enough and as I apologize that today, I will be answering specific questions rather than each comment and as I write these words a wave of guilt washes over me like a……ummmm…………big wave thing…………..please forgive me on behalf of my two stumpy fingers.

Here we go.

Oh, but first the joke of the day.

A man was quietly reading his paper when his wife sneaks up behind him and whacks him on the head with a frying pan.

“What was that for?” he says.
“That was for the piece of paper in your pants pocket with the name Mary Lou written on it,” she replies.

“Two weeks ago when I went to the races, Mary Lou was the name of one of the horses I bet on,” he explains. She looks satisfied, apologizes, and goes off to do work around the house.

Three days later he’s again sitting in his chair reading when she nails him with an even bigger frying pan, knocking him out cold.

When he comes to, he says, “What the hell was that for?” “Your horse phoned.”

Today we start with questions from the blog called Highlighting Chef Gomes.

JAMES NOLAN – I had to start with you James as you are writing from Iraq. I know that you live your daily life in peril so to hear that the blog gives you some kind of respite from what must be such challenges is again very humbling. We all wish you well, stay safe and enjoy your R and R in Germany. I hope to see you very soon.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – Thanks for asking mate……….Heidi takes a Medium and me……..well the bigger the better. Cheers.
DAYLE WITH A Y – Your question (number 57) is about changing money onboard. The best way to change money is not onboard. I know it should be………but it is not. We are a ship, not a bank and therefore our rates of exchange cannot be as competitive as banks and official money changing outlets. The best way to obtain Euros is to use your ATM card in any of the numerous machines in all the ports of call except Dubrovnik. We do change money onboard including Canadian Dollars to Euros but again, my advice is to use the ATMs or the official Bureau De Changes locations ashore. See you very soon and I am standing by for question number 58.Cheers.
LAURIE O – You are correct. Yep, that was me as your CD on the Carnival Triumph for that wonderful Millennium cruise. I will never forget that night as 3,000 people all jammed onto the Lido deck, the bands played, the champagne poured and the atmosphere was electric. My favorite memory was after the countdown and the singing of Auld Lang Syne when I asked the band to play Wonderful World and everyone danced cheek to cheek as we all wished each other a bright, prosperous and healthy new millennium. The show you were referring to was my signature piece called the Bedtime Story………I am glad you enjoyed it. Anyway, welcome to the blog thingy and I hope indeed you will come and cruise again with us. My best to you and your family.
DALE WITH A Y – Didn’t have to wait long did I. Here is the answer to question #1089. You mentioned you tried to book the excursion “In the Godfathers Footsteps” but it has “gone” from the web page. This means it is probably sold out however as soon as you get onboard, pop to the Shore Excursion Desk and I am sure they will be able to get you on the tour. If not, then I suggest the Taormina tours…………..they are the best. I will stand by for the next question. Cheers.
ERIC – Sounds to me like you have just designed a cruise ship for the 24th century………….great stuff and………..if only. Thanks mate.
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF – Yes mate, I saw that there was a regurgitation of the safety onboard cruise ship theme on ABC. I did not get to see it here in Europe but I am pretty certain I can guess its content. There is no doubt that the poor family who lost their beloved daughter during that fateful Royal Caribbean cruise have every right to be upset……….they lost their daughter and what ever the alleged circumstances were, that pain will never go away. Then there was the lady who was allegedly sexually assaulted while scuba diving…………again if that happened……….well it must have been a terrible ordeal. My thoughts are this and are said not as a Cruise Director or as an employee of Carnival Corporation but simply as someone who has been on ships for 20 years. There is no safer vacation environment in the world. Millions of people sail on cruise ships every year and they will all tell you that that statement is correct. The world we live in is full of people who want to hurt others and occasionally one or two of those people walk up a gangway of a ship. However, the ships are safe and secure and if anything happens that may put the safety of one of our guests in jeopardy, rest assured we will act on that immediately. My sympathies go out to any passenger who may have had a bad experience onboard or ashore while on a cruise vacation………and I hope the people who if found guilty are punished accordingly. The ships are safe………..I can say that without fear or trepidation…………………you want unsafe……………take a bath in Turkey.
BIG ED – Have I been invited to Hamburg for the Sea Trade Insider awards? Yes, I have but that does not mean I have won as hundreds of people have been invited. Unfortunately I will be unable to attend as I have a ship to run and a blog to write and if I do win I promise to walk up and down Lido Deck on the Bloggers Cruise in a thong as will you if I win………..I guess you can see how certain I am that I didn’t!
JIMNI – Good to see that you are still reading the blog thingy and here is the answer to your question. If your husband does as he is told …………..sorry…………..if your husband decides using his own mind and not under the influence of others to rent a tuxedo onboard he will indeed keep it for the entire cruise so he can wear whenever he/you want him to. Let me know if you need anything else before you sail and don’t forget to wash your hands.
DC IN SD – Thanks mate.
MARK – Why not go ahead and book the Supper Club for the Carnival Glory cruise using the link thingy on the left? Have fun and I to hope we get to sail with each other very soon.
OK TEACH – hello and here is the answer to your question about your tour on the 29th. The shuttle buses which are complimentary and take you to the port of entrance will start running at 7 am. Therefore, if you are on that one then you will be at the railway station about 7:30 am – 7:45 am. This should get you to Rome sometime close to 9 am for your tour. You are able to walk to the port entrance but it is just under a mile so you may want to take the bus. Taxis………….well they are just waiting to take you into Rome and will not take you to the station. The cost of a taxi to Rome will be around 100 – 120 euros per cab each way…………………..take the train. I hope this helps and I also hope that you know I am here should any further information be needed. See you soon.
HARRY AND PHILIPA REED – I am happy to hear you will be sailing on the TA cruise and you asked about alternatives to steak and lobster dishes in the Supper Club. The Dover Sole and the Sea Bass are wonderful………..the Lamb chops are out of this world and the chicken dish which is one of the most popular is also not to be missed………………personally, I would have the Lamb or the chicken but then again the Sole ……………mmmmmmmmmmm …………..tough one………….the choice is yours. Please let me know if you need anything else and see you in a few weeks.

Now some (not all – sorry) from the blog called Not In My House and I want to thank each and everyone of you for your comments of support regarding the lady who stubbed her cigarette out on the floor of the Lido Restaurant …………Merci beacuoup. Also, thanks so much for the nice words about my award trophy thing for 20 years of service…………you are all such special friends.

JTODDINMAN – Please excuse my typo where I called you a she……….I was burning the midnight oil and my jet pack was misfiring……………sorry. JOHN WAS BLOGGING LATE AT NIGHT
KEVIN – any news on the car?
ROCHELLE – So sorry to hear about your dog. I am sure you must have been very upset and I hope you get a new one soon…………..I know that’s tough but I think you should and maybe you can call him Freedom………or John…………or Big Ed………….or if it is a French Poodle you could call it Le Poo or Bast…………never mind. Seriously, our sympathies at your loss. I hope you had a great cruise on the beautiful Golden Princess. Who was the Cruise Director? I would be interested to know. Thanks so much for your kind words for Tara and Southern Dreams and ……….well everyone. Welcome home.
Linda Hernacki – Just wanted to say how happy Heidi and I are to hear that Carter is home safely and I am sure Mum and dad must be exhausted. Please keep us up to date with the latest news and I will work on the Barry manilow thing for you 🙂 All the best to the entire family Linda especially young Carter.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – We are all so happy to hear that you are well enough to travel and that you will be here soon. Don’t worry about bringing gifts as the best gift is that you are well and able to cruise. YIPEEEEEEEEEEEE.
LFTTNSFCF – Halloween…………….yep, good question. Do we do the party on the 31st which is indeed formal night or do we do it the following night…………….well, what do you think mate?………..I would appreciate your thoughts. The only thing you need to bring is you and the Mrs. We will have a welcome party on the first day (28th) time and place TBA. See you soon and let me know about your thoughts on Halloween.
LEASA GURNEY – Thanks for the kind words of support and as a smoker yourself it was nice to see that both smokers and non smokers all agree that this lady was a……………….fill in the blank. I am sorry your screen does not read the address for mailing things to Heidi and I and really it is not necessary but………..if you insist…………..here it is and many, many thanks. All the best.

PEANNUTS – If you mail a package to me I n the next week it will be here …………………unless it contains a Pistons or Spurs hat because the package may then be treated as a potentially dangerous item and subject to a controlled explosion……………basically that means I will sit on it. Seriously, thanks for thinking of us, you a re very kind. Cheers and ……………….Let’s Go Heat.
MAURO MOSCARDINO – You asked about our cabin. Well, it is a bigger cabin than most and has a separate living room/office a bedroom and a bathroom. However big it may be it is still a cabin and there are times when it feels very small. That is why we relish the time we have ashore at our house where we use very room and enjoy being able to do normal things such as cook and clean …………OK Heidi enjoys them………OK, she doesn’t but does them anyway………..I enjoy sitting in my chair and watching football and basketball all day. I will see you in October and have a safe journey over here.
FREDDY BEACH – Thanks for pointing out my “fopar” mate, I am very grateful. Just to clarify and confirm once and for all the following then.
I checked with Perry for Vatican tours on that day (10/28/07). Since that is the last Sunday in that month, Vatican will be opened for everybody (free of charge). This means all of the tours will run as planned. I hope this helps you mate and again my apologies for the confusion.
LYNN AND MIKE SAGARA – So sorry to hear about Mum being in hospital but I am glad she is home safe and well. This can’t be said for your sons luggage and how funny that you tried to call 7777 for help. You asked about Mum and Dad taking a cruise. The last time they did so was the Millennium cruise on the Carnival Triumph. After that, well with air travel being the way it is I didn’t want to put them through all that it entails these days so they will cruise again next year from the UK on the Carnival Splendor……………it will be a great to have them onboard although me and Dad eating jelly beans together in a confined space may not be such a great idea. Thank you so much for all your kind words and thoughts and it was great to see that you are still regular readers of the blog thingy.
LAURA ZATZ – I am not sure where you read that but I can confirm that Heidi and I will be here on October 4 for your cruise. See you then.
MYRA BUSHNELL – I had to write to say a huge thank you for that brilliant poem about my escapades with Cruella Deville. I just forwarded that to my friend Jonathan who was with me. Great stuff and thank you for making me smile. Best wishes to you and your family.
LINDA – MOM OF DJ – I just wanted to take the time to write to you and wish you and your son a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Victory. I am so happy that you fell Carnival crew go that extra mile to look after your son who requires some extra special attention. Have a wonderful time and tell us all about your cruise when you get home and big “HELLO DJ” from me.
DWA 76 – Sorry my Heat beat your Mavs whom I hope beat the Pistons whom I hope beat the Spurs ………etc etc. Anyway, you asked if my weekend is going any better than the last one………..not really but thanks for asking. Things are as hectic as usual but all is well. I hope your weekend has brought you lots of relaxation and fun and I look forward to a real weekend where I can read the papers and watch TV and not deal with rude French ladies and guests who smell and people who want this and that and need me to……….you get the picture. Cheers mate.
THE BEARS, CARL AND BARB – The best two words from your posting were “good news” and indeed it was. I know you still have many hurdles to climb but together I know you will overcome them. Hold each others hand tight and everything will be ok I promise. We all continue to think about you. Write soon.
KERSPLOTT – Hello to you both and you asked if I can book Penny Matheson for the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor next year …………………yep………..hers was the first name I placed on the schedule when Jonathan Blackburn and I completed the entertainment lineup for both ships. For those of you who do not know who she is……..well she is a singer but saying she is just a singer is like saying an Aston Martin is just a car. She has the most beautiful and angelic voice I have ever heard……….except me in the shower…………..and if you ever see her name on a billboard you must take the time to see her show. There you go then, your wish has been granted …………..you have just two more 🙂 Hope you are both well and see you soon.
EXPATS IN CATALONIA – Just wanted to say hello to you both and say thanks for the kind words about the blog. I trust you will continue to enjoy it and maybe see you in Barcelona one day.
GALLAM 1 – Thank you also for discovering the blog thingy and your kind words are very appreciated. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Cheers.
MATT AND VIKKI TILL – except beautiful women!
LOIS GETACLANDERSKI – How many days to the Bloggers cruise you ask…………..I have no idea ……….Big Ed ?
BIG ED – .The extra big bathrobes will be ready from December 1 and then rolled out fleetwide. If SouthernDreams makes a complaint at the desk I will have to honour her complaint with gifts such as photos of me in a small bathrobe and some sugar free jelly beans……………..NUT ……….very funny.
MAR-GA-RI-TA – It seems Mrs. Deville has a cousin on your side of the pond……..they really are everywhere are they not? OK, let’s answer your question about the Carnival Sensation and yes, I remember the incident very well. Captain Gavino was at the helm and as the Carnival Sensation lined up next to the Windstar we did indeed shout “do you have any Grey Poupon?” This was following on from the then current advert where the tanned sun god rolls down the window of his Bentley and says to the man in a small salon car those immortal words. I therefore thought it would be fun if we got everyone to shout the line all at the same time………………….and they did. I did not know the Heat stadium caught on fire some time ago………I am sure it was when Dwyane Wade dunked over the Pistons so high that he entered the atmosphere and came back with his shorts on fire. Thanks so much for all your words of support about the blog and I hope you continue to enjoy it.
NENY GARCIA – hello stranger and how great to hear from you. (Neny used to work for Carnival Cruise Lines and is very much missed.) I was so happy to hear from you and I wish I could be here when you and your family cruise but unfortunately I will be home for the holidays. What are you doing these days and how is the family? Please stay in touch and let me know if there is anyway I can help you plan your family vacation. All the best and again, it was great to hear from you.
DAVID AND BARB – Thanks you so much for mentioning the 20 years but I hardly think I need a trophy cabinet just yet. The only other trophy I have ever won was when I came second in the “biggest nerd contest” on holiday in Spain…………Alan beat me. OK, back to the TA and congratulations on spending your 30th anniversary with us and yes, you really must go to the Supper Club. Please fill out the form on the side and I will take care of it or you can just slap on a posting with the day and time etc. Now, as for the pyrotechnics …..let’s just say that there are times that after eating sugar free candy that I am indeed a fire risk. Anyway, let me know what you would like to do with the supper club reservation and see you soon.
JAMES EMM – What a fantastic memory you have. Yep, Tennessee was an amazing singer whom I am in regular contact with. She decided to complete her college course but there is definitely a big door open for her here anytime ……..what a voice and thanks for mentioning her mate.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Just a quick note to say hello and that I also love Gloria’s music. I have happy memories of dancing in the discos of my hometown to “Rhythm Is Going To Get You”………….although the rhythm never got me…….another reason I never had a girlfriend. Oh well. Hope all is well with you and the family and as always it is great to hear from you.
DENNIS K – Thanks mate and welcome back from your Carnival Freedom cruise which I hope was a lot of fun for you and the family. You mentioned you had photos and want to send them to me. If they are digital just attach them to your next posting or mail them to me at the address on the side of this blog thingy. I really look forward to seeing them and hopefully I will get to see you again on another cruise very soon. Cheers.

Let’s have a look at the scores on the doors for lost luggage this cruise.




So, that is up a little from last cruise and once again our thoughts are with the poor folks who do not have their possessions yet.

Here endeth today’s Q and A and there will be more tomorrow as I answer each and every comment and question as is normal.

Today in Naples Heidi went out with her Mum on a tour of the city which left me here on my own to blog and to get some work done and for the first time in I do not know how long………..months……….I watched a movie………….yep a whole movie from beginning to end………..OK, I had to pause it every time the phone rang…………but I watched a movie……….it was the only movie we had in the cabin……………..and it was dreadful.

It was called Holiday………….one of those chick flick movie things with Cameron Diaz and Jude law and crying and kissing and snow and breakups and people leaving and arguing and storming out and coming back in and Christmas music and a sloppy everything is all right and everyone loves everyone ending and no kung fu or car chases and things blowing up and at no time was Cameron Diaz without clothes but we got to see Jude Law’s bottom and life is not fair and I can’t believe I watched this whole film and I am admitting to thousands of readers that I did.

There, got that off my chest………….the next movie I watch will be called “Kung Fu Explosion with Loads of Ladies Bottoms and Aston Martins…… 2”

I know that is being sexist but after the rubbish I just saw I need a man’s movie!

Well, tonight it is the Welcome Aboard Show and I wanted to share a little story from the Carnival Triumph and a welcome aboard show that had two wonderful incidents in the same show.

So, the scene is set and I have my usual 8 people on stage. The show finishes with spoon game but really it’s all about the interviews, breaking the ice and making stars of the people onboard. Well during the interviews everyone was wonderful and I managed to find something worth sharing with the audience in them all and things were going well…………except one lady who gave me one syllable answers to every question and honestly was as cold as snowman’s ………nose. Anyway, we had some huge laughs from the audience for the rest of guests on stage and things were going well. After the interviews had finished I started to explain to the guests how we play the spoon game. For those who don’t know, a spoon is tied to a long piece of string and we pass it down inside the ladies blouse and down the men’s pants………..it’s lots of fun. Now just before I continue remember each person on stage volunteered when I picked them they said yes and walked on stage. So, back to the game and as I walked down the line and approached Mrs. Frosty and told her what I wanted her to do……..she looked at me………and said loudly enough that my microphone picked up her words “This is why we should have cruised on Celebrity” — and walked off the stage grabbed her husband by the arm and out of the lounge to silence and a few boos.


So, I made some joke……….can’t remember what but I think I recovered and then of course I was left with one short for the game. Well, this time after what had just happened I asked for a volunteer and up scampered another lady and after her introduction the game got under way. ……………..and all was going well………………until……………one man got the spoon stuck in his pants ……….he couldn’t get it out so do you know what he did……………he waved me over…………leant on me and then…………..he unscrewed his leg……………..took the leg off……….the spoon was tangled in the framework………..he untangled it and the rest is just one big blur of uncountable laughter and applause from the 1,600 people.

The man whose name I just can’t remember, was a hero and received hero status for the entire cruise. ……………as for Mrs. Frosty……………well she was in her cabin dreaming of basket weaving lessons on Celebrity.

Goodnight………..as pictured here on a long inspection in Europe in February.

Goodnight………..as pictured here on a long inspection in Europe in February.

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.