For those who have gone before

February 6, 2008 -

John Heald

There are many of our cruise ship guests who do not appreciate the fact that we have a dedicated cigar bar on our ships but as I sit here and write to you and with respect……………..those people at this moment in time are far from my mind. It has been a long and productive day which started at 8 am this morning with a quick breakfast and then from 8:30 am – 6:15 pm we have been in conference. Therefore, as I blog to you know the soft leather of the Oxford chair and the silky draw of my Cohiba Siglo 6 are very welcome……………all that’s missing is a nice fire, my favorite pair of slippers and Jessica Simpson. Talking of chairs the only negative aspect of the conference so far are the awful chairs we have been forced to sit on. They have to be the most uncomfortable on the vessel and as hard as an armadillo’s shell……………and my bottom is not happy.

Before we get on with other business let me say thank you for all the comments that have been posted and although I am not able to reply to them I really thank you for your input. I have brought everyone’s suggestions and comments to the table and they have all been discussed in length and you will be seeing some changes accordingly. Please keep the comments coming and remember, if you have anything urgent you need my help with and a personal reply please mark the posting URGENT – PLEASE RESPOND. This will alert the beautiful Stephanie or the slightly handsome Roberto who will send them on to me. Remember, I will be returning to the usual format of the blog which included comments answered, the “In Their Own Words” section as well as other favorites very soon……………in fact…………….let me tell you when.

The last few weeks my schedule has been knocked about more than Tom Brady was in the Super Bowl but today I can confirm that on Friday I will fly from Jamaica, land in Miami, spend the night in another hotel and then finally………..finally…………….on Saturday 9 February………….Heidi and I will join the Carnival Freedom and I can start being a Cruise Director again…………….I can’t wait. How long we will remain onboard for is uncertain but towards the end of March it will be time to go back to Europe.

Now, before that I have been offered a chance to sail on the Emerald Princess and write about this wonderful ship. This was originally planned for 28 March but this would have made me late back for our familiarization trip for the Carnival Splendor’s Baltic ports of call. Therefore, tonight I wrote an e-mail to my friends at Princess to see if I can do this earlier. I certainly would enjoy this chance to bring you daily reports of what make this brand so popular with so many people……………..let’s see what happens.

Meanwhile back here on the Carnival Victory things have been going very well indeed. Today, the Cruise Directors were joined by our President and C.E.O. Gerry Cahill and our Executive Vice President of Operations Roberto Martinoli and our Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations Natko Nincevic.

You know, whenever you meet the new boss and whenever the new boss meets you there is bound to be some uncertainty, which is normal. You sit there wondering what his expectations are of you and I am sure he sat there this morning thinking what do they expect of me…………….Gerry probably was also thinking “This chair is harder than a Camel’s hump” ……………however, this uncertainty on our part lasted but a few minutes as he laid out his visions for us, the company and most importantly ………………you, the guests.

Today’s topics of conversation included the future of our entertainment and what we can add to our hardware to create more excitement. Now, at this point I am desperate to tell you what we will be adding but once again as people from the dark side may be reading this I cannot………..I can tell you that some of the additions we will add to the ships are groundbreaking events and hardware never before seen on ships.

We also discussed operational issues such as our photo operation (as requested by many of you) and other important guest related topics. I think……………..no, scratch that………………..I know ………..you will all be very happy.

Tomorrow the ship will be in Cozumel but we will all remain onboard to continue to find ways to make the onboard experience better for all of you.

One thing is certain. Mr. Cahill is dedicated to keeping Carnival Cruise Lines at the top of the industry and after today all of us are excited to be working alongside him…………………..oh by the way………………you may remember that when I interviewed Gerry when he first joined us he mentioned that he kept fish…….hundreds of them in fact. Well, you will be sad to learn that due to the terrible cold weather in Florida these past weeks (it dropped below 75) 70 of his fish died………………..please send him your condolences ……………. maybe one or two of you will send him a sympathy card ……………. actually could you…………….maybe a sympathy letter or e-mail ………………….he would really appreciate that……………..you know, he could name all of the fish that are no longer with us.  When I was a kid I had two fish. I named them one and two so if one died I still had two.

Today, I was speaking about the old days and today I was talking to some of the older Cruise Directors about some of the old activities we used to do. These included The Male Nightgown Contest, The Beer Drinking Contest, Pillow Fighting and many more. These were popular but in today’s society they probably do not have a place but one activity we all miss……………..is Trapshooting. This was a great activity where for $5 you could shoot at clay pigeons that were fired from a trap out across the stern of the ship. The official reason we stopped this was because of the damage the lead shot was doing to the oceans and seas…………..of course, this was correct, we had to stop……………..although……………looking back it probably wasn’t smart to give a Winchester rifle to someone who had just drunk 17 Margaritas……………..those were the days.

Those days also produced some of Carnival’s greatest Cruise Directors ever including Dave Armor, Gary Hunter, Leith Andersen and the incomparable Malcolm Kennedy.

For those who never had the chance to meet Malcolm he was truly one of the funniest people I have ever met and if you had of met him you would have felt the same.

He was from Scotland and was as Scottish as Haggis and the Loch Ness Monster. When not on stage he could be found at one of the ship’s bars, a glass of Johnny Walker Black in his hand and a crowd of passengers around him desperate to hear one of his jokes.

This was never a problem for Malcolm who had the biggest repertoire of jokes you have ever seen. There was not a subject that he could not tell you a joke about………….they were all told with perfect timing and told in that charming Scottish accent. he wore a kilt, loved life and his shows were always standing room only.

Choosing my favorite Malcolm Kennedy joke is difficult …………. however…………….here is my personal favorite. ………….please read this in a Scottish accent.

A Scotsman walking through a field, sees a man drinking water from a pool with his hand. The Scotsman man shouts ‘Awa ye feel hoor thatâs full Oâ coos Sharn’ (Don’t drink the water, it’s full of cow s ** t.) The man shouts back ‘I’m English, Speak English, I don’t understand you’. The Scotsman man shouts back ‘Use both hands, you’ll get more in.

Malcolm is no longer with us and we also lost Dave Armor. Today, I looked around the room at all the young Cruise Directors and played a silent tribute to them and the legacy they have left behind …………… this blog is dedicated to those who have gone before……………..we miss you.

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.