Back in the Saddle

January 15, 2008 -

John Heald

Hello John…….we missed you John……………great to see you and welcome home. These proclamations have been ringing in my ears since I walked onboard the Carnival Freedom a few hours ago……………more about that later.

Firstly, lets go back in time…………oops………….forgot to say hello…………..”hello” ………….and it’s been a busy few days of meetings and seeing great friends. As I mentioned I went to see the circus which by the way gave me the strangest dreams the following day ……….I won’t go into them but just to say it involved a tiger eating various parts of my anatomy while George Hamilton — dressed as a clown in full mascara and make-up — watched………….I think I need help.

The following day I had more meetings in the office and then dinner with Roger Blum and his beautiful wife Marie and their wonderful kids Max, Ashley and Pumpa…………Oh by the way, Marie…being British… slaved over a hot stove and cooked me roast beef and Yorkshire pudding………….it was amazing …………….. twice.

I also wasted two hours of my life at the movies. Heidi and I went to see something called I Am Legend starring Will Smith. I won’t go into movie critic mode bust lets just say the best bit of the movie was when Mr. Smith decides to blow himself up thus bringing the movie to a close and thus waking me from the coma that he had put me in.

This morning American Airlines flight 1700 from Miami was waiting to take us to San Juan Puerto Rico and therefore back to work. The flight was uneventful however I must relay something that happened before we boarded. Heidi and I were walking to the gate and when we arrived at E33 the flight had already started boarding. As we got in line a man barged his way past us and the others waiting shouting “business class, business class”………..he was dressed head to toe in designer gear……….I know this not because I am a fashion guru but because his shirt was gold, blue and purple with the word “Versace” emblazoned over it. His purple jeans had a huge gold tag on the bag that also showed that Versace had enjoyed more money from this guys wallet and to round off this ensemble he had a huge watch on with more diamonds on it than Her Majesty’s crown…………all those colours………..it looked like Walt Disney had been sick all over him.

Anyway, Mr. Versace wanted me and the rest of Miami to know that he was flying business class and the rest of us troglodytes had better move out of the way so that he and his recently puked on shirt could be seated.

Now, I would like to tell you that there was a happy end to this story……….that the airline staff told him to wait…….or that one of the passengers gave him the good news with a four iron …..or that Mr. Versace himself came back from the dead and was so embarrassed that this idiot was advertising his clothes that he ripped them off leaving him naked and showing the world that if his clothes were size large the rest of him was XX small. Unfortunately none of this happened and this rude and arrogant man was allowed to push pass women and children so that he could be seated.

Anyway, we landed and collected all of our luggage which miraculously had decided to be on the same flight as us and then we drove to the ship.

It is so strange how quickly you turn on the Cruise Director button for as we arrived at the pier and as our luggage was being embarked I told Heidi to look at the Carnival Triumph which was docked next to the Carnival Freedom. She also noticed what I was saying. The word Carnival Triumph is supposed to be illuminated but unfortunately some of the letters did not work……………..it did not look good and more importantly showed that I had turned my CD button on again.

However, the highlight of the day was the warm and sincere welcome I received from Nanette and her family. Nanette has been reading the blog since day one and we had such a wonderful cruise together recently. She brought her husband and her son to welcome us home and I must say it was a very, very special moment. I only wish we had time to spend together but Nanette will come on board next San Juan so Heidi and I can have dinner with them. Nanette, thank you so very much for making our home coming so special………….you are a truly wonderful person. Muchos Grasyarse.

So, here we are onboard. Todd has kindly allowed me to spend some time at his computer so I can write to you all again. The ship has been in great hands under Todd’s directorship and he should be very proud.

For the next few days we get to staying a balcony guest cabin. I just had dinner on Lido and I must say it is very, very strange to walk around and not be recognized ………… well…………….mostly……………I have already met people who know me and the Hern family who are sailing on the bloggers cruise next week.

As I mentioned at the start of this blog Heidi and I have been warmly welcomed by so many crew and their words of friendship prove once again that they are the best in the business.

So, off to bed and then a busy day preparing the ship for the bloggers cruise. By the way, on the last day of the cruise – if the stars line up — we were planning to announce the 2009 bloggers adventure and at the same time a live blog will also herald the event…………its going to be historic …………..are you coming?

Just before I go, I spent the last 5 days in a hotel…………..it was a good hotel………..but…………….if you walk down a hotel corridor or sit in the lobby and dare to say “good morning” to someone you don’t know, they will look at you like you have three ears and smell of Yak poo.

However, tonight, as we walked the ship I said “hello” and “good evening” to every guest who passed me by. They don’t know me…but unlike the hotel guests these ones said “hello” back once again proving that a cruise is simply the best way to meet new friends and that a ship creates an atmosphere that a hotel or resort just cannot compete with…….they must be so jealous.

It feels very strange sitting here blogging…………this is where it all began and this is where it will continue and I pledge that once this seat is mine again each and every comment will be answered………….it will be just like old times.

Goodnight and hopefully I will have a pleasant dream………..preferably of a man dressed in Versace being meeting his new best friend…………a Puerto Rican Customs Officer…………the touch, the feel of Latex .

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.