Murphy Comes Calling

October 5, 2007 -

John Heald

Traffic…………Naples traffic is some of the worst in Italy. It comes at you from all sides and directions. The pedestrian has few rights and road signs are…………mere suggestions and crossing the road…………is a life-changing event. However, the horror of Naples traffic is not just confined to the roads but to the sea as well…………as it was today.

Good Afternoon, it’s 4:45 pm at it’s been a hectic day. This morning the traffic situation in the busy port of Naples was worse than ever. Heidi and I woke at 6:15 am to prepare to send the 1,900 guests on tour. Usually, the first thing I do when I wake up is go straight to the computer………….OK, it’s the second thing I do as usually the first thing I do is moan and complain that I hate this job, etc., etc., then I go to the computer…………..OK, it’s the third thing I do………, after moaning and then flushing ……..then I go to the computer to see what mail the wonderful Mr. Dell has collected for me during the night.

Usually, at this time I can look out of the window and see the lights of the shore and the silhouette of Vesuvius but this morning all I could see in the window was a big ugly guy clad only in a pair of red underwear. After realizing that the actor John Goodman was not walking on water but that it was me ……………… I knew Mr. Murphy was about to come calling holding one of his laws.

I called the bridge and they told me were on a “holding pattern” as there was a ferry that was coming out of the port and that another cruise ship was ahead of us. Basically, the ferry was leaving 30 minutes behind schedule which meant the other cruise ship was 30 minutes behind schedule which meant we were …………….well…………you know. I just get frustrated because it is a terrible first impression

The first people on tour had received tickets to meet at 7 am and it was obviously too late to change that. We put the staff in place and opened the lounges and Heidi advised people of the situation over the microphone. Then at 7:20 am, I made a general announcement on the PA system in the open decks and the guest lounges advising of the situation. We eventually arrived at 7:40 am and started to debark the guests 40 minutes later than advertised. Now, that does not sound like a big deal, does it? Well, in fact it is. Firstly, the main tour which goes to Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri lasts 9 hours. This means that the tour left nearly one hour later that it comes back nearly one hour later so the ship is then delayed. Also, many of the 525 guests who are on this tour will be scheduled to eat on the early sitting dinners which start at 5:45 pm and 6:15 pm…………..I have alerted the Maitre D’s and they will do their best to accommodate them.

So, you can see that a little thing like Rocco the Ferry Captain losing his keys to his boat has far-reaching consequences.

Mr. Murphy was not finished with me yet though……………….oh, no ………… and, I have decided to become a Piano Tuner…………why………………they must be Millionaires!

This cruise I have two wonderful entertainers who use the baby grand piano in our main theatre……………these are amazing acts by the way and I will tell you more about them in another blog. Anyway, I had asked our ships agent to find me a piano tuner to come on today and tune one piano. So, at 10:30 am this morning I met with a gentleman who was ummmm……….old……….very old …………..he had to be 85-plus. He was accompanied by another younger man and the Musical Director and I led him to the piano. Once there, I left him in the care of the Musical Director Dave and went back to the cabin to see Heidi who was still recovering from this morning’s late arrival adventure. The phone rang at 11:15 am………….it was Dave to tell me they had finished tuning the piano. So, down to the lounge I went and met with Dave who had said he had tuned the piano and he was satisfied with the job he had done. I then asked how much I owed them………………………it was at that moment I decided to become a piano tuner…………….one piano………….45 minutes of work …….400 euros ………………$560. I thought he was joking and I let out a little laugh but the old Italian man just looked me in the eye………..and opened his hand and said in that hard Neapolitan accent……………cash. I was about to argue but then I realized I had nothing to argue about…………I should have checked the price……………..the job had been done……………and besides, the way the old Italian man and his friend were looking at me I decided to pay rather than find myself waking up to find Heidi and I had adopted a horse’s head.

Murphy was having a laugh now and he wasn’t done yet……………more about that later.

Here are today’s photos highlighting the beautiful city of Florence.

1. The Dumo Cathedral

1. The Dumo Cathedral

2. And again

2. And again

3. Ponte Vecchia Bridge

3. Ponte Vecchia Bridge

4. Another great shot of the Cathedral

4. Another great shot of the Cathedral

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

Here is today’s joke of the day.

Three convicts were on their way to prison. They were each allowed to bring along one item to help them occupy their time while incarcerated.

On the bus, one turned to another and said, “So, what did you bring?”

The second convict pulled out a box of paints and stated that he intended to paint anything he could. He wanted to become the “Grandma Moses of Jail.” Then he asked the first, “What did you bring?” The first convict pulled out a deck of cards, grinned and said, “I brought cards. I can play poker, gin and other games with a cellmate, or all sorts of different solitaire games when I’m by myself.” The third convict was sitting quietly aside, grinning to himself. The other two took notice and asked, “Why are you so smug? What did you bring?”

The guy pulled out a box of tampons, smiled and said, “I brought these.”

The other two were puzzled and asked, “What can you do with those?”

He grinned, pointed to the box and said, “Well, according to the label, I can go horseback riding, swimming, roller skating….”

Time for some Q and A………….I won’t have time to do many because I have started this blog thingy so late in the day but I promise to catch up over the weekend.


Here we go. To skip the Q&A, click here.

MRS. MTSFP – You have eagle eyes Mrs. MTSFP and yes, my Dad frames everything including the first ever table mat from the Carnival Ecstasy and photos and ship memorabilia. The cabinets and cupboards you see he made himself and as I said his talent certainly did not rub off on me. Well spotted. See you and Jon very soon.
JULIA BARNES – Hello Julia and as always it is wonderful to welcome new people to my little blog thingy. Goodness me, you made me blush with your kind words and I hop also that I will be on your Carnival Freedom cruise. There is a good chance that indeed I may just be but regardless I will keep blogging and hopefully that will enhance the excitement you are already feeling. Thank you again and how right you are when you used the word community in describing the blog and we welcome you to it. Heidi and I send you all our very best.
LINDA HERNACKI – Hello Linda. I will make sure you get your book, I promise and will make sure Todd has it ready to deliver. You kindly asked about sending something to Heidi and I via Chris Prideaux which you can do and I am sure by now you have seen the address on the side of this blog thingy. Chris will forward all the mail as soon as he gets it to my home address.
Linda, thank you so much for your beautiful words of compassion for Alan. I know he will be fine and I will be there to look after him ………except the bathing bit. Anyway, please say hello to Mike and I am certain that one day we shall eventually meet. Heidi sends her best as do I and please write soon. I just saw from your other posting that you found the address. Please can you make sure you include your mailing address so that Heidi and I can send you a Holiday card?
MATT EDMUNDS – Thanks mate for assisting me with my very limited baseball knowledge which though…… growing by the day. I have a bat and a hat and I know that Los Angeles has a team called the Angels (thanks to you) and for some strange reason everyone hates the Red Sox. Thank you so much for sending me a package and I am very excited that you have taken the time to do so. Thanks also mate for thinking of Alan and I know he appreciates so very much your kind words. Cheers.
LAUREN – Obviously the boars were not wild enough because someone shot it ………..anyway, it did not die in vain because it was excellent. It was my first time eating it as well and I enjoyed it…………and just once………….usually new food like that means I enjoy it………..twice………….if you know what I mean…………….I get that from my Dad. Hope all is well in Oregonian land and thanks as always for reading the blog.
BIG ED – I thought we were a team at that we would jog in thongs together, me, you and Alan. Even if that is not the case you are my Assistant Cruise Director and have to therefore follow my instructions. As for Sherriff Roscoe P Coltrane arresting us I would think the charges would range from indecent exposure to cruelty to thongs………….its me you and Alan mate …….that’s the price of fame. Thanks again for posting the get well card for Alan………….you are a great friend.
KAREN TESSIER/EDMONSON – I am glad that you enjoyed your wine tour in Italy during your recent cruise and I am sure you would have loved the new venue we are using next season……….it was peace on earth. Now, you mentioned you are researching a 2008 Caribbean cruise and asked for my suggestions. May I ask who is going? Let me know some demographics of your party then allow me to throw some ideas at you. I look forward to hearing from you soon and all the best until then.
BOB HOPE – I am glad you have stopped “lurking ” and have taken the time to slap on a posting. Alan has been my friend and I have been his role model for 20-plus years and I want to make sure I am there to support him after what will be seven hours of intense surgery. Thank you therefore for highlighting the words friendship and loyalty which both mean a lot to me. Please tell Matt your son that I am proud of him and I wish all of you a wonderful vacation on the Carnival Glory together. Please see Wee Jimmy the CD when you get onboard, he will have a few goodies for Matt. Please keep writing mate and our best to you and the family…………….you have proven your last name is most appropriate.
ARNOLD AND ELIZABETH TUCKER – Hello to you both and I new some of you would be able to see what Mr. Baseball wrote…it was rather harsh was it not? My Dad’s office may need an extension as you stated and as I continue to send in photos and memories of my career he continues to put them in the office. He has already told me he wants to build a special shelf for the baseball bat. I am glad you liked the joke and hopefully today’s gave you a laugh. Thanks also for the compassion you showed to Alan and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy. All the best to you both.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – Sir, you can call me anything you want, it’s just good to see a posting from you. I want you to be happy when you read this ……….I am………….the doctor said…………”you do not have cancer”…………..I could add loads of other words to this reply but I am not going to ………… nothing else matters………… do not have cancer………….and I am so happy for you. Celebrate, be happy and one day I know for sure we will celebrate the love of life together on a Carnival cruise.
LFTTNSFCF – hello Jon, I am starting to call you that so when we meet in a few weeks time I don’t say “hello Missing the smoke free Carnival Paradise but looking forward to the nearly smoke-free Carnival Freedom.” Hello Jon is much better. You will be reading an interview with Ruben our new Executive Vice President in a moment and I for one am very excited that he is joining the team. We have never met but as you will see from his answers he is full of energy which is directed purely at making Carnival an even better and more guest-oriented company. Maybe someone at Carnival has a plan for me to be on land but if they do they are keeping it close to their chest but thanks mate for the recommendation. I am sorry you have wasted hours watching BBC America in order to get used to my accent, may I suggest you now watch Baywatch or LA Law to get used to Todd’s Californian way of speaking…………….actually there are two other reasons to watch Baywatch but lets leave them alone for now. Thank you for offering to take over the blog while on the TA cruise, how kind of you. I have decided to keep going even if in a diluted form, I know it will be lots of work but I have to keep it going. I have altered Todd to your presence and he will be knocking on your door to assist with Halloween celebrations and I also told him he could count on you at all the events…………….so that’s you and Mrs. MTSFP in the Marriage show then. OK, see you soon Jon and can you send your cabin number again………I got it from Roberto but it seems to have disappeared. Cheers mate.
KEVIN – The car sounds heavenly, how lucky you are mate. I look forward to seeing the photos. Thanks mate for thinking of Alan and I know he and his family appreciate all the kind words they are receiving. I laughed when I heard the postal service returned your package and they are right to think of 3,000 jellybeans as explosive……….they certainly would be. When are you cursing next mate. Please let me know when you can and enjoy the Aston Martin.
BRIAN SWANSON – Brian, I am so sorry you might not make it to our TA party. If you land at 3:40 pm, you should be away from the airport and at the ship at 6 pm. If you don’t make it, I will send some goodies to your cabin; please can you tell me your cabin number. I have been to Great Yarmouth many times, including a family holiday when I was 10 with our friends Norman and Doreen Smith. I remember we stayed in a lovely hotel called the Red Shield. We thought we were very posh because it was the first time we had stayed in a hotel rather than in a caravan. I am so glad that like me, you love the Carry On movies. I am a huge fan of Sid James and Heidi loves watching Eastenders which features an ex-Carry On star Barbara Windsor. Thank you for the kind words for Alan and I will indeed try and provide him with as much laughter as I can. All the best mate……..oh and by the way, my favorite Carry On movie is “Carry On, But Don’t Lose Your Head.”
TERESA C – Bulgheri is very similar to Lerici but even more beatiful. The entire community is based around the wine and olive industry and Vincenzo and his family live a life many of us dream of. I am now cheering for the Cubs. I have no idea who they are and if they are playing well, but “Go Cubs!” All the best Teresa…………………………….LET’S GO HEAT!
SUSAN B – If playing Notting Hill on the Bloggers cruise will make you happy, then I will fight my inner feelings and make sure it gets played. You and Heidi can sit on deck and watch this tear fest and sniffle and cry together. I will be watching something with guns and loads of…….well, you know. The Cubs are going. All the best.
SHERYL PELTON – Hello Cheryl, Heidi here. I am sure the cards will make it to the vessel before we leave on vacation. If not, then someone will forward them to us. I just wanted to say a big thank you for thinking of me and I really hope we see each other again very soon. Alan will be fine; John will look after him and keep him laughing. I hope you are right and that next year you can be our delivery nurse……Thanks again, you are a lovely person who John and I appreciate very much.
LANCE AND ILDA – How right you are. Every day I write a blog I continue to be surprised at its growing popularity and postings like yours is what keeps me going. I agree with you totally that a few weeks on Vincenzo’s farm with no cell phones or constant looking at watches would be a wonderful way to live. I am glad you feel so proud and I share your pride tonight. Please keep reading the blog and best wishes to you and your family.
LEASA – Thanks for enjoying the Cruise Mates interview. I will be on the Carnival Liberty sometime in February and hopefully you will too. The Cubbies are going, I guess I need to see who is winning what. Thanks for thinking of us and thanks also for mentioning your fellow blogger Paul F. Pietrangelo, who today is celebrating being cancer free. Thanks Leasa.
MARILYN VISCHIO – Welcome back from the land of the mouse, did you read my blog yesterday about my adventures there? Thanks for the great story about George Hamilton. For some reason he has become a hero of mine, I can’t explain it, I think it is his Bentley and his tan. Therefore, finding out his make-up tips from your son brought a big smile to my face. We will see you in April and thanks again for the smile.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – It is with great sadness that I read that your father has passed away. I know the days ahead will be difficult and therefore I want you to know that Heidi and I and thousands of your friends from this community of Bloggers send you our deepest sympathy. We will light a candle for Dad in Venice this week………….thinking of you tonight.
J TODDINMAN – Spoke to Alan today and he had a good laugh at your poem. I have to ask, have you met Alan before because the snail reference was perfect and because of that small animal girls were never interested in us. You should know also that the bat has become the talk of the ship with everyone wanting to see it. Once again, my huge thanks to you for the bat and for today’s poem. I know all will be well with Alan and his snail will rise again.
GREG BALDASARRI – I promise to keep you informed on Alan’s progress. I passed your comments on to Butch and we spoke on the phone yesterday and he was like the cat who found the cream. Thanks for making his day as well as mine. Cheers mate.
KATHIE – Livorno finishes them off as you discovered yourself. Heidi often tells me that when she greets them on Livorno tour morning the guests look at her hoping she will cancel the tours and they can go back to bed. Now I understand about the spider reference and that he was bitten while serving in Iraq. I thought for some reason, he was home, but I must have dreamed that. Randy, if you are reading this, check your boots and check the messages of support from all the bloggers who read this. We continue to be proud of you and I know your mum and dad are proud of you beyond measure. Say hello to the rest of your family Kathie and it feels like so long ago since you were here. Come home soon.
ELIZABETH TUCKER – During the crossing I will ask Todd to keep you all informed as to Alan’s progress, plus give you copies of the blog. Thanks for the great idea Elizabeth.
RUTH JAMISON – We received the box with the Halloween card but nothing else as yet. Don’t worry, I am sure it will be here soon. I am glad you bought another pet and the story of how you bonded reminds me of the old Lassie movies. Enjoy every day with your faithful friend and thanks again for always thinking of Heidi and I
CATMAMA 044 – Trust me, wild boar is wonderful. It tastes like a cross between pork and beef. Just slightly sweeter. The Supper Club reservations will continue so please post them as normal and I will make sure they are confirmed. Thank you for asking, Heidi did have a wonderful time with her mum and it was great to see them both having so much fun together, although I must say it’s nice to have Heidi to myself again. Thanks for the great posting and best wishes to you and your family.
SOUTHERN DREAMS – What the heck is floating in your water which means you have to boil it…….has Big Ed been bathing in it again? So, how are you feeling? I hope you are ready for days of adventure and we have added cabin 7228 to the invitation list. Sorry you have to start taking the nasty pills and I am sure you forget all about them the moment you walk on the gangway. Take care of yourself and see you and Charlie soon.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Looking forward to receiving your postcard from the Carnival Imagination in December. Alan will be reading your words and I know will be inspired by them. I am really confused to what my team is. I have a Red Sox hat which puts them just ahead of the Cubs and the Yankees and then finally the Angels but I am very confused. I will look forward to your neighbors’ review of the Emerald Princess. Heidi and I have now been confirmed to sail on that beautiful ship in late March and are really looking forward to a great time. Thanks Carol and you can ramble any time you want.
BIG ED – Thanks mate.
BLUE MAX BOB – I am sure you are very excited about your coming Carnival Conquest cruise. You asked about the two doors which open on both sides of the ship just forward of the anchor and open only in port. These are used to let go extra spring lines which in bad weather give extra tie to the pier. They are also opened if a tug needs to operate on either side of the ship. The picture you are referring to was of the Carnival Triumph which caught some bad weather after leaving New York, heading to Canada. Everyone was OK although it was not a good day to be a paper bag. Can you remind me a few days before you cruise? Thanks mate and thanks for the kind words for Alan.
TERESA AND PAUL B – I am glad you are enjoying the sunsets. We will slap on some more later this cruise. You asked about the weather in the Caribbean for your April cruise. The good news is, hurricane season will be a long time away and I am sure you will have blue skies and a lot of sunshine. Heidi and I would love to come to Montana one day, maybe we will see you. Keep dreaming of the sunshine, it will be here before you know it.
PATRICIA NELSON – Thank you so much for saying those wonderful words. The post 9/11 cruise was one of the most challenging I can remember but it seems, like me, you remember the laughter and fun we all had regardless of the fact that our hearts were heavy with sadness. How nice that Goose the Cruise Director said those kind words about me………………..he owes me money I think, that’s why he was so nice. I am so sorry I cannot be with you as planned but I know you will have a fantastic cruise and will enjoy Todd immensely. This posting made my day and I thank you for that.
BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – Thanks for the Caper link. Were you on here last week checking the Capers and didn’t tell me? I thought of you while I was eating the wild boar…………….you would have loved it.

And on that note I will finish here and start tomorrow with more from the blog called Simple Life and with the comment from DWA76

Did you see the new Carnival Splendor cruise which sails from the Italy to Dover …………….here is the information.

8 Day Western Europe Cruise on Wed., July 2, 2008:

Wed. 7/2 Genoa, Italy 5:00 PM
Thurs. 7/3 Cannes, France 7:00 AM 5:00 PM
Fri. 7/4 Barcelona, Spain 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
Sat. 7/5 “Fun Day” At Sea
Sun. 7/6 Lisbon, Portugal Noon 10:00 PM
Mon. 7/7 “Fun Day” At Sea
Tues. 7/8 “Fun Day” At Sea
Wed. 7/9 Le Havre (Paris*), France 7:00 AM 8:00 PM
Thurs. 7/10 London (Dover), England 7:00 AM

A great itinerary even with Paris included 🙂

It has been an unusual day. We eventually sailed 55 minutes later than normal and away we go to Venice. The weather today was good though and hopefully I will meet some great characters in the welcome aboard show this evening.

One other little mishap I wanted to share with you that followed perfectly on from the late arrival of the ship and meeting the Piano Tuner Don Ripoffie. It is a simple thing but just summed up my day…………………..I dropped my ships cell phone in the toilet.

I had it clipped to my pants and………..well……………when I was finished …………I pulled my pants up again and it fell in the toilet ……………………….. sorry but I have to tell you this………………before I had flushed. I shouted for Heidi to come and retrieve it and for some unknown reason she refused …………….can you believe it? Anyway, after fishing it out………….word’s can not describe that feeling I tried to use it but I could see it was already not going to work.

I then cleaned it off……..again Heidi refusing to help and then walked up to the I/S office. Here is the conversation that followed and again I promise that these were the words that were spoken…………..I promise.

JOHN…………..hello Sandy (I/S manager)………… phone has stopped working
SANDY………….let me see it
I hand the phone over and then Sandy said some words that she had no idea were so true
SANDY………..These phones…………..are crap!


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.