Goodbye Istanbul

September 27, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Morning from Istanbul………our last time here this season……………so of course………….something had to happen……..and it did. At 8 am this morning the Captain called me to let me know that we would be late into port this morning. There was a ship called The Antarctica docked in our place and because of some difficulties she would not be able to leave on time ………. Thus ……we would be late alongside. Our scheduled arrival is 9 am and the captain informed me we would not be alongside until 10 am……………..no big deal I hear you say……….ahhhhhhh, well, actually it is.

First of all we have 2,200 guests booked on a shore excursion this morning. Each one of these 2,200 people have to come at designated times to collect a coloured (spelt correctly) and numbered sticker from the Victoriana Lounge. This is scheduled so that each tour meets and leaves at 15 minutes intervals so there are no long lines and ample seating.

Because we are one hour late, this means that all 2,200 would be in the lounge at the same time………….problem………the lounge seats 1,500 people. So, after meeting with the staff Heidi sent her troops into action and I made the following announcement at 8:45am – in my underwear.’

Good Morning ladies and gentlemen. As many of you can see we have stopped the vessel outside of the port of Istanbul. Normally we would be making our way to the pier but unfortunately the captain has advised me of a one-hour delay this morning.

This is due to the ship you can see at the pier called The Antarctica which had some difficulties this morning and was unable to leave the pier at their scheduled time. Therefore, we will be alongside at approximately 10 am…….one hour late.

First of all the new back on board time is 8:30 pm and the ship will depart at 9 pm (one extra hour.) For those guests on a ship-organized tour please may I kindly ask for your undivided attention? Normally we ask you to collect your tour sticker and remain seated in the lounge however because of our delay we will change the system a little bit this morning. Please collect your sticker at the designated time stated on your tour ticket but instead of waiting in the lounge please go back to the open decks, watch the ship arrive and then listen for my announcements. As soon as you hear me call your sticker colour and number please proceed directly to the deck 0 gangway where you will be met staff on the pier who will direct you to the buses. For guests not on a tour, please listen for a general clearance announcement all of which should be given around 10:15 am.

This announcement was also made in Spanish, Russian and Japanese.

So, the staff were in place and so far everything is going well…………except.

We have 80 Russian guests who have a private tour who are all standing on the stairs blocking the entrance to deck 0. Russian-speaking staff has been dispatched to ask them to move.

It is now 10:08 am and the ship is just lining up position against the pier………..I will give you more real time updates as we go along.

It is now 10:17 am, the ship is alongside and we are waiting for the Immigration and Customs officials to give us permission to start disembarking.

It is now 10:23 am and we have just opened the gangways and I have invited guests not on a tour to disembark the ship and now it is time to start disembarking tours……………..back later.

OK, that’s that done. It is now 11:18 am and we have disembarked 2,200 on tour plus another 500 guests not on tours………….not bad in just under one hour……………..and only one or two guests who said we were disorganized ………..again, not bad.

So, Heidi is off with her Mum in Istanbul and work permitting I am going to meet them later. But first……………..the photos. These are from yesterday and Heidi’s trip to Ephesus…………..just a bunch of ruins!

Ephesus

Ephesus

Ephesus

Ephesus

Ephesus

Ephesus

Ephesus

Here is today’s joke of the day

Jesus was standing in for Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates when an old man shuffled up to him.

“Name?” said Jesus.

“Joseph” replied the old man.

“Occupation?” asked Jesus.

“Carpenter” replied the old man.

“And did you have a son?” asked Jesus.

“Yes, I did” said the old man.

“Describe him,” said Jesus.

“Well,” said the old man “he was strange and childlike and he had nails in his hands and feet”.

Jesus looked at the old man and said “Father?!”

The old man peered back and said…

“….. Pinocchio?”

Talking of religion I wanted to mention that Heidi lit some candles for Tara at the house of the Virgin Mary yesterday at Ephesus. One was in memory of her Dad, one for Tara and one for all our blogger friends who need our thoughts and prayers.

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

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

On to some Q and A starting with the blog called The End of the Rhodes. Click here to skip the Q&A.

JAYME SULLIVAN – Hello and I think you are talking about my “signature bit,” The bedtime Story. I am so glad you enjoyed it, I love performing it as you never know what will happen. Have a wonderful time on the Carnival Liberty and please pass my best to Todd your Cruise Director. Have a great time and let us know when you get home how much fun you had. Cheers.
LAURA ZATZ – many thanks Laura, I was so proud to win the award. Is that wonderful, Heidi and I just lit a candle for SouthernDreams and you prayed for her at Temple…………..you are a very special person for doing so and I know how much she will appreciate your wonderful gesture understand she is sailing on October 4th and I will make sure I introduce you to her then ……….once I have met her of course. You are correct that the tour in Venice does not need to be changed especially as we arrive at 1 pm now. Looks like the weather will be fine but I do advise you bring a light jacket with you. See you soon and have a safe flight.
TERESA AND PAUL B – How wonderful that your first ever Carnival cruise will be here on the Carnival Freedom. If you have any questions please let me know. Don’t worry about the odd rude person I have to deal with ………..they are few and far between compared with the 99% who are wonderful folks and a pleasure to have on board. I hope the winter is not too cold for you and Heidi and I have always wanted to visit Montana, I hear it’s stunningly beautiful. See you soon and all the best.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – I guess everyday you spend with Dad are days that you cherish. I hope he continues to stay strong and please know we are thinking about you and the family. I am sure your Alaska photos must bring you so many memories and I hope we get to share some more one day in the future.
NICO R – How was class today mate? Hope the exams etc are going well for you. I passed your comments to Rico – Nico (goes together well) and I know he will appreciate hearing them. Cheers and please write soon.
NANETTE – I TO AM LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING YOUR WHOLE FAMILY AGAIN IN San Juan. It has been years since I have been there. Heidi and I liked going to the beautiful El San Juan Hotel. There was a terrific Chinese Restaurant there called the Backstreets of Hong Kong………….the Peking Duck was amazing……………..anyway, please send my best to the family whom I will see soon. Much hugos and adios.
ROCHELLE – I think getting a new puppy was a smart idea as the last one you had obviously gave you so much joy and so much happiness. Say “woof” to Dexter for me………………my dog has no legs………….every morning I get up and take him for a drag. Time for some classic Peter Sellers.
This is best said in a French accent as Inspector Closseau
“Excuse me, Sir, but does your dog bite?”
The old man replied, “Non.”
Bending down to stroke the dog it bit Closseau on the arm
“I thought you said your dog didn’t bite!” said the Inspector
The old man replied, “That is not my dog.”
LISA AND ELAINE – Can you let me know your cabin number and I will be happy to give you a full description of it. It’s hard to do this without as we have so many different cabin categories. It is quite surreal that people are suggesting what colour thong I wear especially suggesting I wear one with an Alligator on it………………there are a few jokes I could do there but as this is a family blog I had best stay quiet. Have fun on the road and hope your Gators have a wonderful season. Cheers.
GIRLDOC – Welcome back from your Carnival Destiny cruise and its great to hear that we have another star in the making in Cruise Director Steve Knisley. I have not forgotten your question and I will chase up the answer tonight for you. You asked about our vacation and how long Heidi and I will take? Well, once we decide when we can go I think we will have 6 – 8 weeks off. However, we have the bloggers cruise in January so I am not sure as yet. Usually, and before the blog took over my life the vacations were 6 weeks off for every four months on board………………right now, we really need one and very soon I will have to decide what is going to happen. Anyway, welcome back and I would be interested to know what your favorite port of call was. All the best, thanks for the words of congratulations and please write soon.
THE BEARS CARL AND BARB – As always we start by hoping that you are well following your tough times. The bad news I received was family oriented and I am waiting on news as we speak. I will chat about it with you all as soon as I know anything more but thanks so much for all your kind words. Being Diabetic is, as you say, a challenge but I am doing well, check my sugar three times a day and with Heidi’s help I remember to take my pill. Not drinking alcohol helps but I really miss certain things…….like Mars bar and Mum’s homemade desserts………..oh well. Thanks again for your posting and I hope the new young bear cub is doing well. He certainly has the best grandparents in the world.
TEERI 910 – I spoke to someone quite “high up” yesterday about the comment card rating system and he was in total agreement. I understand also after speaking to Roger Blum that the whole system will be changing some time very soon and I will let you know as and when that happens. Congratulations on choosing your Hawaii cruise. Heidi and I have never been but it is on our places to visit and I am sure you will have lots of stories to share with us on the blog thingy…………..if it is still going then. Good luck with the lottery and if you win can I have an Aston Martin please? Cheers.
LEASA – It is fantastic to know that you, like so many others, take the time to contact the office in Miami at the end of each cruise you take to let them know who and what you have enjoyed. The comment card system will be changing and it may be returning as you suggested to the old, poor, good, excellent structure……….we shall see. Your beach properties sound marvelous and maybe Heidi and I will rent one from you…….we certainly could do with some beach time. Thank you so much for all the kind words and especially about the crew. Hope to see you soon.
PHIL INCORVIA – It is so super to hear that you read the blog everyday, I am honoured. You asked about the Grand Marnier Soufflé which is indeed served one night in the dining room and from reports, it is delicious. However, it now has some stiff competition in the form of the Chocolate Warming Cake which is available every night………….let battle commence. One of the best things about taking a cruise is meeting new friends as in the case of you and your friends from Portland who I see are cruising with you again in January ……….that’s great to hear. You will love Todd, apart from being ugly, he is a one of the best Cruise Directors in the business and he will make sure your cruise is the best ever. I am so sorry I will not be with you but I am sure we will meet again one day soon. Until then, all the best.
RICH HASKE – You have indeed found a way to post a comment on the blog thingy so……….welcome. I cannot wait to meet your group especially considering your group name is The Dirty Dozen. I have taken the liberty of ordering more security for the cruise you 12 are sailing. Drop me a note when you get here at the Information Desk……….should be a fun time for all. Thanks for reading the blog thingy so much and my best to the other dirty 11.
LV2CRUISE – A thought I have shared with myself many times. It does keep the world an interesting place though does it not? Hope you are enjoying the blog and cheers for now.
JULIE GANTT – I did need cheering up and those words you wrote provided me with smiles galore so many thanks. This blog has allowed me to meet so many people and I hope we all meet in person one day soon. Many thanks, you made my day.
GERI SMITH – Hello you three nurses……….was it June you sailed, it seems like yesterday. I loved your motto and I wish more people lived by it. My best to you three and I salute the wonderful work you all do.
KEVIN – I am working on another bloggers cruise and we will put out a referendum soon to see when and where the majority want to sail. Your blog made me smile mate especially the National Geographic reference……….very funny. Thanks for the kind words mate you are a true friend.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – I wonder by now if you have had the results of your biopsy Paul. I am so sorry to hear about the pain you endured and I wish I could have been there for you mate. I know you mentioned lots of other subjects in your posting Paul but I wanted you to know that nothing is more important than you knowing that Heidi and I are thinking about you as I know are thousands of bloggers. Stay positive, keep reading the blog and if you need anything I am here.
LINDSEY B – Thank you first of all for mentioning the award, I appreciate it very much. I know you will have a fantastic time on the Carnival Triumph which will always be one of my favorite ships. You asked when the last time I was onboard a ship that was affected by a hurricane. The answer is the Carnival Glory in 2004 and what a season that was with many storms that changed itineraries of so many ships. One of the great things about being here in Europe is that there are no hurricanes. I am so glad you are loving the blog and as pus flows from my two blistered typing fingers this gives me a reason to carry on. Thanks Lindsey and Ciao For Now……………as you are Italian.
BRYAN – Glad you like the jokes. The Carnival Freedom is heading for Miami, Bryan, arriving on November 11. We then have a one-off 4-day cruise to Key West and Cozumel and then start our Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. Then, in April 2008 we head back to Europe. Come and join us mate.
VINETTE EDWARDS – I remember those inaugural cruises on the Carnival Legend with so much fondness. I am therefore equally excited to call at those ports of call on the Carnival Splendor in 2008. You asked for South America cruises and of course I am happy to tell you that in 2009 the Carnival Splendor will cruise around the horn to California calling at Rio and Buenos Aries along the way. Check out www.carnival.com/splendor for more details. I am also sure that Asia and other exotic ports are not too far away…………..well, they are far away but not far away from us calling there………..if you know what I mean. Think it is time to stop now. All the best Vinette – pretty name by the way.

There will many more comments and questions answered tomorrow.

Indeed, I have to stop now as its sailing time from Istanbul and I need to get ready for Showtime. The call went well today despite the late arrival and the unusual way we disembarked the guests. No complaints so far.

I know I should not mention this but I have to. I read an e-mail the other day that suggested that the blog had run its course and that I concentrated too much on the negative comments from guests. Now, this was written by someone outside of the corporation and whom I respect greatly and for a few moments I was angry and then started thinking he may be correct………..do I spend to much time passing on these stories………….is it unprofessional to do so?

Well, unless they write me a direct letter, I always disguise the names of the people and if I do share an incident that involves a complaint or comment from a guest I think I balance it out with the letters and comments from the many, many more guests who have the best vacation in the world ever………………I hope I am right.

I know a lot of my blogger friends will spring to my defense which I am grateful for. However, rather than do this I just ask that you all promise me if I ever step over the line or report something that you think inappropriate that you tell me.

Sometimes, my sense of humour takes over my limited common sense and if it does, please all of you, pull me back.

Unless I hear from you otherwise I will continue as is and celebrate the fact that 702,000 slaps show that our friendship base is growing and that we continue together to celebrate the world of cruising.

Time has run away with me but please enjoy the interview that follows with Mr. Rick Meadows………it’s a great read.

For now, we say goodbye to Istanbul. I remember the first call when a guest refused to go ashore saying we should not be calling there as it was unsafe etc. Well, I think I speak for everyone when I say that it is a city of enchantment and culture which I will miss very much………………………except Fatima of course ……………….her at that bloody hosepipe.

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.