Living in America

January 11, 2008 -

John Heald

There is an old cruise director standard joke that we all talk about. It’s the one where we say how after a day of traveling, flying, and standing in lines you finally reach the ship. You walk onboard……………your hair looks like you just drove a convertible through in a hurricane, your clothes have more creases in them than one the Michelin Man and you smell like you have splashed on loads of Eau Of The Toilette…….and what do we do………….we take your photo.The same can be said of today’s adventures. I arrived into Miami after a 9 hour and 40 minute flight ……………more about that later……………..I looked like hell and I certainly smelled like I had had not bathed in years……………in fact I looked and smelled so terrible that someone asked me if I was French.

So, there I was feeling and looking like only a trans-Atlantic flight can have you feeling after breathing recycled air, the smell of airplane food and the aftermath of 300 people eating it………….and then it’s time for Immigration………….where they take your photo……….Anyone seeing this photo would have no doubt looking the way I did after the flight that I was indeed a criminal ………..probably involved in smuggling spotted dick into the country.

Now, before I start this next piece I want to make something absolutely 100% clear. I truly understand that in the world that we live in today that extra precautions, security measures must be taken to assure all of our security…………..I respect with out question the men and women of Customs and Border Patrol…………………….however.

Heidi and I stood ion line for 1 hour waiting our turn and once we reached the Immigration official we presented our documents. Now, all crewmembers have to have a special visa called a C1/D1 and present official documents from the cruise company. We had all of these and presented them to the officer accompanied with a cheery good afternoon…………..no response. ………………no welcome to the USA …………… nothing…………….

OK, I thought, he is busy and probably does not have time to say hello ………………… then ………….after taking our photos and finger prints……………..were told……………………”go with this man”……….as if by magic………………another Inspector appeared and we were escorted by this gentlemen who was armed with a Glock 9mm………….pepper spray and a night stick………just incase Heidi got out of hand.

We then sat in a room,…………….. with loads of other crew members………………we sat there for an hour and ten minutes…………………and waited. Finally, we were called to a desk and without a word we were handed back our passports ……………..no, thank you for waiting…………….no explanation……………….nothing.

Now, at this point I should explain that Heidi and I were aware of this system as we have endured it many times before. All crewmembers have to go through this from Captains on down. If, like Heidi and I we know what’s happening you are prepared but if ………….like the young lady from Thailand who was in tears ……………..it can be a very scary place.

This young lady was joining a ship for the first time………………she was due to start work as a Cabin Steward for RCI and as she sat there…………….surrounded by people with guns……….she thought she was about to be put in jail or deported. Seeing her distress I explained to her that she was not in trouble and that all would be well……………she calmed down. However, we all sat there for a long, long time and eventually 1 hour and 10 minutes later we were released.

Again, I understand that the security of the country depends to a large extent on these fine people ……………however; a small word of explanation, even a few signs would go a long way to put troubled minds at ease………………..just a thought.

OK, it’s 7 pm Miami time and midnight UK time and my body is telling me to go to bed……….so I will. …………….goodnight.

Morning, its now 6 am and as usual my body is rebelling, refusing me more sleep and sending me to the bathroom at very strange times. Anyway, we are up, time for breakfast and a busy day of meetings. We will be filming a little teaser during one of the meetings which I am sure Roberto will post later today.

I will write tomorrow.

Goodnight or Good Morning or whatever time it is

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.