The magic stick

February 8, 2008 -

John Heald

I cannot remember the last time I spent so much time sitting down and for the last three days from the hours of 8 am – 7 pm — that is exactly what I have been doing……………..sitting…………sitting and more sitting……………………and that is what I am doing now, sitting, at 6 am writing to all my friends in blog land. I am sorry that I did not slap on a full blog yesterday but we had some internet problems here which as you can see have been resolved. I left Heidi sleeping in the cabin making those strange purring noises occasionaly interupted by a lip smacking sound she does as if she is dreaming of eating a bowl of pasta.

For this blog I have come to the deck 9 area by the pool. I have a cup of monkey tea and as I look around the only other people I can see apart from the wonderful crew preparing for breakfast are two guests and I have a feeling that they have yet to go to bed. One of them just walked past me doing a Charlie Chaplin impression, staggering with legs apart clutching on for dear life to a bottle of beer as though it is made from pure gold. His friend is just behind him and he is walking like one of those creatures in a Zombie movie…………he though has lost his golden bottle and doesn’t look to happy about it.

Although I have not had much chance to see too much this cruise what I have seen has been amazing. This young chap and entrepenuer Andy Levine has produced a charter which has simply the best music variety I have ever seen…………..it’s incredible.

The people who are crusing here are die hard music fans and I congratulate Mr Levine in putting this great product together. He is discussing with our President Gerry and our Executive Vice President Ruben some great plans for 2009 …………..so, if you love live music and want a chance to sail with the stars check out www. sixthman.net……………………….

I am even thinking about putting a second bloggers cruise together for this event if I can. The atmosphere around the ship is incredible. It’s not just the stars that people come to hear…………tonight by the way there is a huge outdoor concert with Emmy Lou Harris and Lyle Lovett……………….but there is also live music everywhere.

This includes all the lounges featuring people like Earl Kluge and up-and-coming bands playing everything from Irish and Folk music to rock and country. It’s a real “crack ” as the Irish would say. It is also a great tribute to live music. These days music is often thought of something that comes out of an Eye Pod or Emm Pee 3 thingy………..this week is a great reminder that music is best heard live. This is something that Andy Levine believes in, the guests who are sailing this week believe in and of course it’s something that Carnival has and always will support as we provide great live music across our fleet.

Charlie Chaplin and Zombie man have left so right now it’s just me, my cup of tea and my lap dancer top computer. You know, sitting here watching the first whispers of daylight appear on the horizon I realise that this is probably the first time ever I have sat on lido deck and watched the sunrise in 20 years ……………… it gives a whole new dimension to the ship. It’s a shame the only people I have to share this emotion with are Charlie and the Zombie who judging by the state they are in won’t remember their cabin number let alone the beautiful Caribbean sunrise.

There are so many occasions that as a cruise director I don’t get to see such as moments like this and maybe rather than sit in my cabin at 6 am writing my daily blog I will instead come out here and enjoy the wonders of the world………………I am feeling very poetic this morning. I have put this down to the fact that I have stopped eating All Bran for breakfast and have changed to something called Shredded Wheat.

For those of you who have never eaten this it tastes like an old sock that has been soaked in yak poo and left to dry in the middle of the Sahara desert. However, it does have one thing going for it and that is it doesn’t take three years to come out again. Shredded Wheat makes an immediate appearance and doesn’t leave you with the feeling that you have just eaten a Lexus ……………..

I just realised that I started this blog writing about the sunrise and using words like emotion………….however I seem to have reverted to kind by discussing my bowel movements……………….sorry.

So, in order to get away from this let’s return to the Cruise Director conference. Yesterday we spent a long but productive day discussing further ways to enhance the guest experience and for me, yesterday I felt we accomplished more than ever before. Much of this is because the ideas were coming thick and fast and the Cruise Directors passion was matched by that of Gerry Cahill and his Executive Staff.

This was really refreshing and we finished the day in pure belief that many of the additions we want to make for you all will infact happen. Let me tell you about them but just to make sure that it remains just between me and you and the Cruise Director of the Thief Of The Seas happens to read it I will list the new things you can look forward to using Invisible Ink …………………..only guests loyal to Carnival Cruise Lines will know the chemical equation which if mixed correctly and poured over a printed copy of this will reveal the secrets.

So, it is my honour to reveal what you can look forward to on a Fun Ship near you.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

I am shivering with excitement just thinking about these great ideas …….. especially numbers 1 and 4.

Seriously though there are great things ahead and not just in the entertainment department. Many of you had expressed ideas through the blog and yesterday we discussed many of them. One hot topic was the purchasing, cost and availability of photos. I can tell you that all your ideas, suggestions and comments were discussed today and some instant reactions were made. These include a commitment to enhance digital photo publishing; coming up with a package deal on photo purchases and smaller photos that fit in the scrapbooks ………I understand that the current sizes are too big.

This is just one small example of how not only are we all bringing our ideas to the table but we are also listening to what you say as well. Please therefore keep your comments coming and I promise once these new and exciting ideas are ready to go that you will all be the first to know.

One thing we have to do better at is embarkation day. We suddenly realized that there is little going on the day you all arrive. You come onboard, try and find your cabin, get lost, eat, get lost, try and lose your wife, eat, get lost and wait for the signal for you to put that life jacket on and walk around like Robocop.

The casino is closed, the gift shops are closed, the music is usually restricted to the lido deck and lobby and I am not sure that’s a good impression ……………. most of us agreed. So, there are now plans in progress to change the whole atmosphere onboard and I think you will all appreciate these changes.

So, the day ended and I went down to try and sign on the internet. After 15 minutes of various signs popping up on the screen telling me that the satellite had buggered off on vacation and that therefore the signal was to weak I became really upset…………….I had promised you all a blog but I couldn’t slap it on. For some magical reason my raspberry was working but as the keys were smaller than the mole on Uma Thurman’s bottom (allegedly) I decided not to get too mad in case I turned green and my clothes all fell of ………….I would have become ………….the Incredible Bulk.

As you just saw I used the word allegedly…………………why?………………..well, I was talking to a lawyer yesterday in the cigar bar and we got into the conversation of what you can and cannot say without wondering if someone is going to sue you…….is that how you spell sue by the way?…………………anyway, he added that if you add the word allegedly to any statement you are covered and in the laws eyes nobody can take you to the cleaners……………..allegedly.

So, for example I was to say all Frenchmen smell of stale cheese and added the word allegedly to the statement………..Jean Pierre and his friends could not take me to Le Court and I would not be in La Merde. If this is true then I intend to use this word in every blog…………………..I now have a full security blanket ……………. nothing can stick…………….I am the Teflon CD………………..allegedly.

I thought you may like to see some photos of me surrounded by loads of other Cruise Directors all of which look like they have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down………….allegedly.

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The invasion of the blackberry

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John and Wee Jimmy

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Cruise Directors Chris Roberts and Big Tex with John

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Chris Prideaux and several cruise directors

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John and comedian Al Ernst

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Heidi and Cruise Director Todd Wittmer

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Cruise Directors Bix Tex, Tina Noble and Stuart Dunn

As much as I have been excited about this conference I am even more so about getting back to work. So, tomorrow I will fly from Ocho Rios at 3:30 pm back to Miami, spend two hours waiting for a somewhat flippant Immigration officer to decide if I am allowed into the States, spend another night in a hotel and listen to my wife moan about having to pack and unpack again and then on Saturday morning return home to the Carnival Freedom.

I am about to share something very private with you and when Mrs. Heald finds out I know I will be confined to the doghouse for the remainder of the year. As faithful bloggers may know and for all you newcomers Heidi and I have been trying to make a baby for a few months now but unfortunately the only bump visible will be the one on my forehead when Heidi reads this and gives me the good news with a frying pan.

Anyway, a few weeks ago Heidi informed me that she will be increasing our chances of being with child by her……………………ummm…………peeing on a stick. This magic twig can apparently tell Heidi when her eggs are in a good mood and therefore ready to be cooked. If this stick remains blank it means I get to read my book before going to sleep…………………..however if after Heidi has peed on a twig from Harry Potter’s broom stick and a smiley face appears…………well, that’s me putting my stud hat on.

We have been doing this for four weeks and quite frankly………………..I am exhausted. The smiley face can appear at any time………….morning, noon or night………….hopefully it will be worth it………….we shall see…………………however whoever decided that the signal to perform should be a smiley face must have been a woman…………there is nothing “smiley” about it………………….it should be a face with a look of “bloody hell not again”…………………or the Nike symbol with Michael Jordan leaping in the air holding a sign saying…….. Just do It.

I have to be strong…………….I can do this…………………I am George Hamilton …………….. I can perform on command………….allegedly.

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.