An Affair to Remember

January 26, 2008 -

John Heald

The first two days of this cruise which were full of wind and rain have been long forgotten as the sun once again blesses us with its presence. Good morning on this beautiful Friday at sea. I am sitting here with my skinny cappuccino and my bowl of All Bran Rope cereal.

It’s 7:45am, the sun is out, the sea is calm and it is a perfect start to the day……………..unless of course I was to tell you that I was sitting writing to you in just my underwear so I won’t……….I don’t want to spoil that perfect day at sea image.
Another busy day awaits me. Last night after thwarting the kid with the laser pen and once the show was over I had a whole choice of things to do. I couldn’t decide whether to watch the midnight comedian show, have a cigar with some blogger friends and the press or just visit the lounges……………..so…………………I went to bed………………..I had to………….I was running on empty and last night was the first time I have been to bed before 1:00am and the seven hours of sleep I just had has set me up for the very busy day that awaits me.

First, I have a morning show. Usually this starts at 9:30am but as I have received 60 letters I decided it would be best to start it at 9:00am to allow me enough time to read everyone’s dedications before the 11:00am debarkation talk. By the way, I am now drinking a bottle of water to wash down this lump of dried fruit and wood shavings Heidi is making me eat for breakfast. The bottle tells that the water has come from the mountains of Switzerland and has flowed there for hundreds of years……….now if that is the case…………why does this bottle of water tell me that I have to drink it by October 2008? It’s one of those things that really annoys me………………a bit like the fact that when Heidi puts her mascara on she does so with her mouth open……..like some basking shark……….it is impossible for her to do this maneuver with her mouth closed and I have witnessed that this is an affliction suffered by thousands of women……………….and that’s me in the doghouse.

It is now 7:45pm and today has been a very busy but very rewarding day. I will not go into what I have done but what I will say is that although I am very tired I am extremely happy with the way the cruise panned out. As I may have mentioned (or not) my biggest fear was that the 3300 guests would be separated between the bloggers and non bloggers. This has in no way, shape or form been the case and everyone seems to have had a great time.

The common denominator between all the guests has been fun …………..everyone has had fun and laughter has echoed around the decks. It has also been brilliant to have guests who had no idea about the blog thingy coming up and asking how they can get involved and read it……………..7 guests even booked the 2009 Carnival Fantasy Bloggers cruise even though they have never read the blog. They did so based on their experiences this week………….I am smiling as I write this.

This afternoon we held a Meet the Press Q and A session. I had suggested this to our Public Relations Department and although I detected a hint of nervousness from them about doing this they gave me permission. The panel of writers included:

Clark Norton- Smarter Cruising – www.smartercruising.com

Anita Dunham Potter- Tripso/MSNBC.com – www.expertcruiser.com

Erica Silverstein- Smarter Traveler and Cruise Critic – www.smarterliving.com and www.cruisecritic.com

Robert Jenkins- St. Petersburg Times – www.sptimes.com

Harry Shattuck- Houston Chronicle – www.chron.com

Susan Young- Southern Travel News – www.southerncruising.com

Morris Blitt (aka Kuki)- Cruise Mates – www.cruisemates.com

Between the audience, myself and live questions from the blog they were asked a variety of questions and their knowledge and passion for travel and cruising in particular was evident for all to see. I truly enjoyed hosting this and although a couple were a little nervous at first I think they all were enjoying it by the end. Anyway, the audience certainly did and I thank them sincerely for doing this.

I was then presented with a plaque by Robert and Suzanne Schneider who have now cruised with me over 40 times. The plaque simply says ” thank you for making us laugh”…………….laugh…………….I nearly cried when I saw it. Thank you both so much and that’s something else for my Dad’s office.

Then, it was time to dance…………………….yep………………dance………………we all danced……………..even me. We got everyone on stage and we danced to the official blog dance…………..photos and evidence as follows.

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The Captain called the emergency line in the middle of this event. I answered it worried that something was wrong. He told me that something was making the ship list…………..I then realized that this was happening because my mate Big Ed and I were moving on the stage from left to right at the same time………………it was quite a sight.

After that it was time to say goodbye. I thanked everyone………..Roberto, Stephanie, Roger, Chris, Tim and the Press, Vance, Big Ed and his crew and all the bloggers for making it such a special week.

The farewell party ………….like this blog……………is hard to finish……………what do I say? The fact that hundreds of people decided to spend their vacation with me is incredible. The fact that they gave me the best birthday ever is unforgettable and the fact that thousands of people continue to read the blog every day has and always will be truly humbling.

OK, it is nearly time to go. From Monday I will be writing from the Carnival Imagination. I am so excited to see the evolutions of fun and of course will be sharing my experiences daily with you. I promise lots of blogs and photos and of course fun. I will again be returning to answer all your comments once I return here to the Carnival Freedom…………I really have missed doing this and am looking forward to doing so again……………I know I have said this a lot but rest assured I am still reading every comment and continue to thank you for your postings. Over the weekend you will see a special interview with a wunderbar mann………there’s a clue……………it is one I know you will enjoy.

Heidi and I have had the time of our lives and thank you to all the people who sailed with me. To the people who are just reading this blog thingy for the first ever time I send you a warm welcome to my thingy. You are joining a group of people who love life, cruising and Carnival Cruise Lines………….welcome to my blog thingy and welcome to a community of the most wonderful, caring and fantastic people………………….in the world.

(Two more photos for everyone’s enjoyment.)

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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.