She Costa Lot

September 26, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning from Izmir, Turkey where the heat wave continues even as autumn arrives in most of Europe. Here, it is 90 degrees again and there is absolutely no wind which makes it feel even hotter……………and it is only 9:07 am.

Anyway, we just arrived and have docked across the way from the Costa Serena which is the same class of vessel as the Carnival Splendor will be. Later today, I will walk across the way to see if I can get onboard and have a look around. This may not be possible as they do not know I am coming and security these days on all ships is very strict…………..of course it has to be……..but hopefully they will allow me on so I can see what my new home will look like next year.

Before that I thought I would blog a little and see what we can chat about. Let me start by telling you that my conversation with the guests who were angry that nobody took United States dollars yesterday in Rhodes was…………….interesting.

In between shows last night I called their cabin at 9:30 pm and I had obviously had awoken them judging by the “grunt” I got instead of a hello.

Anyway, the conversation went as expected with Mrs. Dollar telling me that when they cruised on Royal Caribbean last year that every European port took the almighty dollar and Carnival should have organized this as well. I was going to argue but thought better of it and apologized sincerely and thanked them for the information and promised that we would do better next time. I have sent them an apology letter as well along with a photo of the ship and I think we departed as …………well I was going to say friends but that’s a bit steep …………..let’s say we left understanding that they were right and that made them feel good.

There are times when you know that whatever you say you are never going to change their mind. They believe that another cruise line could change a country’s currency and there was nothing I could have said that would have made them realized they were wrong……………….hopefully they will enjoy the rest of their cruise and we can move on……………until they try and use dollars in Athens …………………then I am sure they will be ready for round 2.

The tour operator we use in Istanbul and Izmir is called Seasong and they are absolutely fantastic. I have never seen a better-organised operation and how they manage 2,000 plus guests in Istanbul is amazing. Anyway, Karen, the owner sailed with us from Rhodes to Izmir today and last night after the show we had a quick cup of tea together. Hers is an amazing story. Karen was the Senior Vice President for Abercrombie and Finch, the clothing company …………I already complained that they should bigger sizes………anyway, here is the very successful lady who has taken that company and made it one of the coolest brands around and one day she takes a business trip to Turkey.

On the plane she meets a charming businessman from Istanbul and a few months later they are in love and married. Karen then moved her life from New Jersey to Istanbul and started the Seasong Tour Company. She told me she loves the enchanting city which is her new home and the only thing she misses…………………………….Mexican Food.

I walked out on stage last night to introduce the performance and two seconds into my monologue I heard a cell phone ring. Now, this is something I have had to get used to over the last few months as now of course a cell phone will work 24 hours a day every day, thanks to the new satellite coverage. Guests can often be found talking on their cell phones everywhere around the ship. Anyway, last night the lights are down, I walk out, the spot light is on me and I am having fun with the audience with one of my favorite stories when …………….DA DA DAR DAR DA DA DAR DAR DA DA DA DAR DAR …………… yep………its that Nokia ring tone.

There on row four on the right hand side of the lower level of the theatre is a young chap (in his 60s)………which is young for this cruise by the way with his cell phone ringing…………..he picks it up and says hello………….the audience is now all staring at him and of course so am I………….he look very embarrassed ………..and starts to leave the theatre still talking on his phone. I ran down the steps (OK walked quickly) and caught him up as he excited the row of seats he has been sitting at. This is how the conversation then goes over the microphone

JOHN………………Who is that on the phone

MR. NOKIA………..My cousin from Germany

JOHN……………..What is his name?

MR.NOKIA………Karl

JOHN…………Can I speak to him

MR. NOKIA……….He doesn’t speak good English

JOHN……….That’s OK, I speak German

MR. NOKIA then hands me the phone………..I pressed the speaker phone button and the conversation continues

JOHN…………Karl

KARL……..Ja

JOHN…….Hello I am ze cruise director Johann here on das boat (I just remembered I speak no German so a German accent would have to do)

KARL ……..Ja

JOHN …… You are at ze show und many people hear you..listen

I held the phone up and everyone cheered and applauded

KARL…………………Das is and then lots of German

JOHN………………Mr.Nokia, what did he say

MR.NOKIA…….he said it’s very nice but can I speak to Karl because it is an expensive call

And expensive it was but boy it was funny……………….well, at least I thought so.

Let’s see some photos from Heidi’s excursion to Rhodes yesterday with her Mum. Here we go.

1. A small Greek Orthodox Church

1. A small Greek Orthodox Church

2. Inside the Church

2. Inside the Church

3. The Carnival Freedom smoke stack and big screen

3. The Carnival Freedom smoke stack and big screen

4. Heidi’s favorite plant a Bougainvillia

4. Heidi’s favorite plant a Bougainvillia

5. The Greek Flag – look at the bird on the pole

5. The Greek Flag - look at the bird on the pole

6. The Carnival Freedom Lido and Big Screen

6. The Carnival Freedom Lido and Big Screen

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

Just before we start the Q and A, here is today’s joke (PUN) of the day.

A man went to his friend’s costume party with nothing but a naked girl on his back.
‘So what are you supposed to be?’ the host asked.
‘I’m a snail.’ The man replied.
”How can you be a snail when all you’ve got is that naked girl on your back?’
‘That’s not a naked girl, mate,’ the bloke replied, ‘that’s Michelle.’

Here we go with the Q and A starting with as promised Nico R and the last few from the blog called Hungry For a Princess. Click here to skip the Q&A.

NICO R – Thanks mate and it is always interesting to read people’s opinions on the various cruises they have done. I have never taken a cruise on any other line so it is hard for me to say who does what better or worse or the same as Carnival. That is why I am so looking forward to cruising on the Emerald Princess next year. The ship really impressed me and I will of course share my views with everyone. Thanks Nico and Heidi and I return our best regards to you as well.
OKTEACH – I made your reservation as you requested for November 4 at 6 pm so you are all set. I have asked our groups coordinator Charlene to reserve a lounge for you called Swingtime at 11 pm on October 31 as you requested so you can let your group know. Do you want the bar open so you can buy each other drinks etc?…………..let me know. OK, that seems to be OK and if there is anything else you need please let me know and my best to all the Cruise Critic group.
CRUISINEAGLE – That is a very, very special posting and I have made sure that everyone has seen this in our head office as it is the perfect description of why so many people love cruising and in particular love cruising with Carnival. Congratulations on such eloquent writing and I hope that your next cruise on the Carnival Imagination will everything you want it to be and more. Thanks on behalf of us all for your poetic words, we truly appreciated it. My best regards to you and the family and please keep reading the blog thingy.
JANE – Thank you so very much for the nice words about the daily blogs, I am glad you enjoyed them. Congratulations on achieving Elite status with Princess and I am very glad to hear that you will be giving Carnival a try when you cruise on the Carnival Valor. If you have any questions about your cruise please let me know. I wish you happy sailing and best regards.
DAWN – Sorry to hear about the concerns you had with the flight home on Delta but I am very happy to hear that you enjoyed your recent Carnival cruise so much. Congratulations on learning to become a travel agent…………they are the life blood of our industry and if I can help you in anyway please let me know. Heidi and I wish you much success and best wishes and hope to hear from you soon.
MRS MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE – Just a quick vicarious hello to you and thanks again for such a tantalizing posting. Hope you and Jon are well.
KIM – Thanks for the posting and when my friends from the Emerald Princess visit I will indeed be offering them as much food as I can including a chocolate warming cake. The boxers plague my existence and even after 2 months I still cannot get used to them……………but she must be obeyed so I continue to wear them with little support. I love the way that bloggers are now saying hello and regards to other bloggers as you did for Mr. Pietrangelo ……………..another way this blog thingy has improved over the last few weeks. Hope you are well and my best to your dad especially whom we thank for his years of service in the fire department. Cheers.
DAWN – If I am onboard then yes, I promise to bring the cake to the table Dawn. It makes me feel very special when I read that people enjoy the blog so much especially when it makes them laugh as you say it does often. Thank so much for that and I hope to see you very soon………………with jellybeans.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – hello Carol. Hope you had a nice Yom Kippur celebration and I have never had sugar free cheesecake……..is that homemade?
The Emerald Princess does not have the big cross section at the back and is a beautiful looking ship. I was so impressed by the amenities offered onboard and I am anxious to try them out for myself. I can understand why your friend loves princess so much………….maybe though one day she can try a Carnival cruise…………it would be interesting to see what she thinks. Anyway, enjoy the cheesecake and wish I was there with you. All the best.
RB GATES – Thanks mate. There will, as requested, be many more crew interviews including two more today. I am glad the Emerald Princess review made you want to book a cruise…………that’s a good sign that my review was OK. Cheers mate and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.
DWA76 – How are you mate and hope your boss has not chastised you for laughing out loud. I will be throwing open the doors to all the food outlets when my friends from Princess come calling and hopefully they will get the hint for the next time I visit. It is so good to hear that after all this time you still enjoy the blogs I write so many thanks for that mate. See you soon.

WE NOW MOVE ON TO THOSE COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS FROM THE BLOG CALLED LEAN ON ME.

A CRUISE BY ANY OTHER NAME – There will be as requested an interview with the Port Agent in Venice next week. I have sent Anna the questions and I will slap them on soon. I think you will find her answers very interesting. Now, as for asking me to take Sunrise photos ……….. mmmmmmmm …….well, considering that sunrise is at 6:11am I think you have more chance of me walking into a Turkish bath holding a big sign that says “Fatima, I love You and Your Rubber Hose”…………I will however delegate this to someone and see what we can do. No need to thank me for answering your questions as that continues to be one of the main objectives of this blog. My best to you and to the family.
SUSAN B – Thanks first of all for all the kind comments for other bloggers……..your words showed compassion and caring. Chick Flicks ………well I really don’t like them. I don’t like the fact that Heidi cries in them and afterwards she always wants a hug and asks me if I still love her …………….the one I hate most is Heidi’s favorite Notting Hill………..we must have watched in a dozen times and just once I want Hugh Grant to turn into a Ninja and kung fu his way around London and blow up Julia Roberts as she drives and Aston Martin of Tower Bridge …………….but it never happens and as Heidi renews her relationship with Kleenex I sit there making those pathetic ahhhhh and ohhhhhh noises men are required to make while watching these soppy stories……………anyway, thanks for the posting and the deodorant thing is a great idea. All the best.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – It is indeed great for Heidi to have her Mum here. They need this time together and when we eventually go on vacation I will make sure that they spend a lot of time together then as well…………they are very close and after losing her Dad Heidi makes sure that she looks after her even more. Now, as for releasing my feminine side by watching a chick flick…………..I think I would rather put on a dress by Roberto Cavali (or Omar the Tent Maker) and skip around the streets of Miami then subject myself to anymore of those “Oh he left me, Oh he is back, oh he is my brother movies” that Heidi watches……………..even worse are the soap operas…………I would rather play Mahjong then watch them. Thank you carol but my feminine side will stay within for some time longer. Hope all is well with you and as always thanks for everything.
BIG ED – Me and you in thongs walking on Lido…………..people will think it is a Buddhist Charter.
ELIZABETH TUCKER – It is a good idea to move the formal night but unfortunately the next two days of the TA are port days. This would mean we would not have the first formal night until day 6 of the cruise. I think we will keep the formal night as is and then move Halloween to the 1st…………..one day should not make a difference……….what do you think? So, let me know your thoughts and we will see you in a month for what will be a great cruise. Cheers.
PEANUTS – I am so grateful that you have taken the time to send me a package, you are too kind. I am intrigued by your descriptions about the contents and I promise Joan not to sit on it. I will let you know as and when it gets here and I cannot thank you enough.
DWA 76 – I am glad you enjoyed the photos of Tuscany, it is simply stunning and I hope you get to visit it personally one day. Thank you for your movie suggestions of Goodfellas and The Godfather, two of my favorites. I thought I would list my top ten “men’s” movies now to cleanse myself of chic flick movie talk. Here we go.
10. Saving Private Ryan
9. The Wild Geese
8. Crimson Tide
7. A Fist Full Of Dollars
6. Gladiator
5. The Battle of Britain
4. Goodfellas
3. The Hunt For Red October
2. Godfather 2
1. The Bodyguard
I AM KIDDING!
1. The Godfather
There, I feel better now. Thanks mate.
MAXWELL 1100 – How are you? I am looking forward to saying hello to the Cruise Critic group when you sail and I will do my best to pop and see you. The first sea day is very busy and I am on stage at 3 pm but please leave me a note when you board and I will make certain to mention the group at the morning show etc. I have confirmed your Supper Club booking for the 15th as requested and you will love the food and the service I promise. Now, the demographics for your cruise is as follows.
GUESTS – 2,961
GUESTS UNDER 18 – 31
The only thing I do not have at the moment is the average age of the guests but I will hazard to say that it will be as this cruise with most being middle aged or retired age or older or older or much older. I am very thankful for the goody bag and I have won waiting for you as well. Thank you so much for your kind words to our fellow bloggers, what a wonderful person you are. Many thanks and see you all soon.
CHERYL IRELAND – We miss you (Cheryl used to be part of our Entertainment Staff but fell in love and is marrying an Italian)………………and hope to see you on the Carnival Splendor…………..hint hint.
CANUCK CRUISER – Welcome back from your Carnival Liberty cruise which sounded like the vacation of a lifetime. I am so happy you met Todd and as you requested he picked you for the Newlywed Game…………….how did you both do? Thank you also for the descriptions of the tours and the various aspects of the ports of call which were written so very well. I have passed on all your comments to the Captain and crew so many thanks for the praise, the crew will be thrilled. Many thanks again and welcome home……………although after a cruise like that it probably feels like the Carnival liberty was your home.
Cheers, and please write soon.
NANETTE – Heidi was thrilled with her gift and the card which now sits on our shelf behind the desk for all to see. You really are so very kind and I will have something special for you when we see each other in January. You now have 36 angels as I will always be there for you should you need my help.
As for Jude law being the sexiest man in the world……………..wait until you see me, Alan and Big Ed in Thongs before you decide. Mucho hugos.
JO MYERLY – Thanks Jo….isn’t it funny who every time I type in your name that I picture you in the lounge in your bloggers shirts………….such good memories. Best to you both.
KEVIN – What a great choice in the DB7………..I have never driven one but now I know someone who has………you. Will it be difficult driving one in New York with the steering wheel on the other side? The DB7 has a wonderful engine and a great sound, I hope it brings you much joy…………….but never valet park it. So sorry to hear that you cannot come on the Bloggers Cruise but hopefully you will be able to join us for the 2009 one which I hope to have news on very soon. Looking forward to seeing the photos and if Heidi had not had bought that face cream I could have put a deposit down one an Aston myself. Cheers mate and happy driving.
MTSFPALFTTNSFCF – It has been a long time since I gave you the full title. Loved the Superman joke and hope you are enjoying the new Joke Of the Day section as well. With regard to the Halloween party I think the best thing to do is to move it top after sailing from Malaga. We will have show times
At 7:30 pm and 9 pm which means at 10:30 pm we can start the Halloween party. Now, if we wait any longer the weather will be too chilly to have this event on the Lido deck using the big screen and I really think we have to have the 1st formal night on the 1st sea day as it sets the cruise up so well ………………… what are you thoughts on this mate as I value yours and everyone’s opinion. Look forward to hearing from you and best to you and the Mrs.
JTODDINMAN – Ping Pong……………now there is a visual. I think that soon we will have to produce a greatest hits section blog of all your poems and thank you SIR for sharing your talents once again.
The bloggers cruise will be so much fun
As we sail in the Caribbean sun
The sun will rise as we stretch and yawn
And Alan & Big Ed in thongs reveal the crack of dawn.
Thanks again mate, you inspire me to be a poet like you. All the best.
MRS. MRSTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE – That is what I had originally planned. When the shows were over on formal night to start at 11:30 pm the Halloween events. This still maybe the best idea but I am waiting to see everyone’s opinion, including yours. As for Guy Fawkes night, no need for Pyro as the sugar free jelly beans will provide all the pyrotechnics we need. I await your advice as always.
JIMNI – If you intend to buy me a thong from Victoria’s Secret I prefer pink while my mate Alan prefers black and as for Big Ed…….well, Ed – over to you. I will take lots of photos including close ups and we will put them on the blog and that will be us in prison for posting unfit photos. Heidi’s mum is having a wonderful time and you are so kind to ask about her. I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying the blog, is music to my large ears. I will see you for the TA in April and until then I hope the blog keeps you in the cruising mood. My best wishes to you.
RUS AND NINA FRANKLIN – I have no words except ……………. mooooooooooooooo. Looking forward to my Big Balm and so is Heidi. Hope you are both well and thanks for the laughs.
RIKKI BOYCE – Your mask sounds very interesting and when you have finished can I buy it from you as I think my mate Alan would like that as it would go nicely with his thong. Looking forward to meeting all the cruise critic folks and will see you then mate

WE NOW MOVE TO THOSE COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS FROM THE BLOG ABOUT OUR ACCOUNTANT KAREN.

DWA76 – What qualifications do we require for our accountants you ask. Well, we do require accounting qualifications and a certain standard of computer knowledge as well. This was not always the case but now, with the complexities of the systems we use this is a must. Are you interested mate?
LOIS SOKINDTOTHECREWSKI – What a wonderful thought …….. bringing some International Calling cards as gifts to any crew who provide you with that special service. I have never heard of this before and I think it is wonderful that you do it and I salute you for doing so. Thanks Lois, you are a special lady.
GREG – Indeed. I think you will find that as we continue to post these interviews with our crew that the common denominator will be that they all miss their families so very much………….Heidi and I included. I hope you are enjoying these interviews and there will be more to follow.
KAYENTAJANE – When you are ready, let me know and maybe I can help you be introduced to the world of cruising. Hope you enjoy the blog thing today and all the best.

WE NOW MOVE TO THE BLOG FEATURING WAITRESS “NATASHA”

MIKE L – Martin is on the Carnival Victory at the moment and I will be glad to pass your comments on to him. I love reading about people’s favorite crewmember as it is a further sign as to why we have the best crew in the business. Thanks Mike for pointing out Martin Pert that was very kind.
BRYAN – Well said mate. The crew work hard for themselves but also their families as we have seen from the recent interviews which I hop you are enjoying. Cheers.
KIM PARKER – It is so strange that you should mention the pizza in Dubrovnik because I was talking to Diego one of the officers a while a go and he also said that Dubrovnik had the best pizza…………….and he is Italian! I guess I shall have to see for myself. Thanks Kim and hope you are well.
MIGUEL RODRIGUES – I cannot believe you are reading my blog mate. Miguel as I am sure many of you know is one of our Maitre D’s and a wonderful man with a larger than life personality currently on the Carnival Liberty. Thanks mate and I truly hope we work together again soon.

We now move to the comments and questions from the blog called Sunset 4.

MATT EDMUNDS – Matt, please feel free to send us anything up and until October 20 as it takes 12 days to get here and then we are off for the crossing. Thanks for asking and I hope this blog finds you well. See you very soon.
MARK CHAMBLISS – Mark, Vicki Freed is one of the most professional and caring people in the industry and I am proud to call her a friend. Thanks so much for mentioning her in the blog. I also want the Bloggers Cruise to get her quick but first, I need to plug into the mains and recharge a bit plus there is lots of work to be done to get things ready. Regardless, it will be worth waiting for I promise. Thanks to you and a big hello to all the people you mentioned as well.
HEIDI – BETH & KEVIN – All three of you are welcome.
ESMEE K – Tell you what. Why don’t you write your group concerns on a posting and just mark it private and Roberto will send it to me. I will then in turn take care of everything through the groups coordinator as I can’t publish her e-mail address directly. Do you have a coordinator in Miami that has been helping you? I am so sorry that you won’t be here but I assure you that the group will have the most wonderful time. I look forward to hearing from you soon and I will help however I can. Cheers.
KUKI – I just read the joke and have stolen it mate. I will be answering your questions for the Cruise Mates interview within the next 48 hours. Hope you and Mrs. Kuki are well and we will speak soon mate.
MELANIE AND DAVID – And there will be more to follow which I hope you will enjoy.
CRUSINEAGLE – Glad you like the photos and a big thanks to Gary the photographer
DWA 76 – thanks mate, as a Carnival shareholder for some years that was a great read. Many thanks.
TRAVIS AND MYR – welcome home from your recent Carnival Freedom cruise where it sounds like you had a marvelous time. It was our pleasure to do what we did and thanks you so much for your acts of kindness and friendship. Until the next time you cruise I hope the blog thingy will keep your cruise spirits up. Thank you and best wishes from us both.
KATHIE – Glad you are enjoying the photos and the blog so much and hope that continues.
RUTH JAMISON – I am sure the package will arrive safely and once again you are so kind to think of us here. I am glad you are enjoying the sunset photos so much and there will be more soon. I am in total agreement with you about Istanbul which truly is an enchanting and amazing port of call …………. there is nothing like it. Thanks again and hope you enjoyed today’s blog thingy.

That’s all the time we have for the Q and A today but tomorrow we start with those ones from the blog called the End of the Rhodes.

I just returned from our past guest party. At the end of the party I do a drawing for a prize of dinner for two at the supper club. The name I pulled out was Mr. Mark Wells whom is a very lucky man. I asked mark if he was married and he said “yes, I am married to the enemy”…………I asked what he meant ………………. he said “she costs me a fortune so I hope the prize is money. I invited his wife ion stage and she staggered up the stairs under the weight of huge jewelry and diamonds which hung from fingers, wrists and her neck. I just looked his age up on the manifest and he is 68 years young. His wife, Julie is 39 ………………..lucky sod.

REPEATERS PARTY

REPEATERS PARTY

REPEATERS PARTY

REPEATERS PARTY

REPEATERS PARTY

REPEATERS PARTY

I tried to get on the Costa Serena but they would not let me aboard. Understandable as I had not pre arranged it but it would have been nice to see what the Carnival Splendor will look like. Anyway, here are some outside photos of the beautiful Costa vessel.

Costa Serena

Costa Serena

Costa Serena

Costa Serena

Costa Serena

Costa Serena

Costa Serena

OK, then I left the stage and went to the coffee bar with Gary and Heidi for a cup of tea and who should I meet…………..oh deep joy………………..Myrtle Beach…………….here is our conversation.

John…………Hello, did you have nice day

Mrs. MB…………No, it was awful

John………….Oh, why what happened

Mrs. MB………we went on that tour to the Ephesus (as she pronounced it eefasos)

John……………what was wrong, did you not enjoy it

Mrs. MB………….it was just a bunch of ruins

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.