Piste off about skiing

February 29, 2008 -

John Heald

I am sorry to report that the relationship between myself and the lady who thinks I am a racist reached new depths today and as much as I try to resolve this situation I have come to realize that the battle is lost……………….only Judge Judy can solve this one.

I had written a letter to the guest explaining that the fly on entertainer Marvin Bell had unfortunately been unable to join the vessel because he had missed his flight. She read the letter and immediately demanded through the Information Desk that I speak to her. So, this morning, after my morning show I put on my Kevlar body amour and a cup (size small) and headed off to meet her. This time I had asked she meet me in the conference room because I didn’t want to meet her in a public area and for guests to think we were filming a Jerry Springer episode in the lobby.

Anyway, we met and before I had time to say “Good Morning,” she unleashed a hail of spite at me ………….she said that the comedian was never coming and I was………………actually………..hold on…………you know what…………..I am not going to waste my time or yours typing out what she called me and what she said. Let’s forget about this one and I will have to except that there will be one guest walking off the gangway who literally hates me…………….that is hard for me to except but I have no choice…….there is nothing I can do that will make her happy now………………her last comment I will share with you just because of ……….well………….it’s comic value…………….she said …………”Your name is on the list and you are going to a fiery hell”…………..so, that’s me in the doghouse …………..for all eternity……………….bugger……………..

I wanted to tell her that this was old news and that I was indeed the “sperm of the devil” but I didn’t ……………..I just left her with one last apology. As I walked away I said a silent prayer asking not to go to hell and hoping the lady would get lockjaw for the rest of the cruise.

Thank goodness that the good comments and the fun incidents outweigh the bad ones by a long way. One of my favorite events to host is my Marriage Show. This is just basically some improv fun with the honeymooners and married couples. This afternoon I hosted the event and I want to share with you two great couples from the show.



Elmer (that’s not his real name but his wife named him that as he looks like the guy that used to hunt Bugs Bunny) and Gladys have been married for 58 years. Their story is remarkable. They met when he was 17 and she was 15 and they fell in love. They lived in a small town in outside of Boston and everything was going well in their lives until Elmer joined the Navy in 1944. He joined a U.S. Navy ship Leopold which was hit by a torpedo during an Atlantic crossing during which they were protecting merchant vessels — 171 men lost their lives………28 survived…………including our mate Elmer.

Well, communication was not very good in those days as a few days after the ship sunk the future Mrs. Orr received word from Elmer’s family that the ship had been sunk and he had died. Obviously, she was in shock and told the audience how devastated she was.

Elmer meanwhile is in a small boat in near freezing temperatures with serious injuries. Eventually he and other survivors were picked up and placed on another ship which was sailing to Africa. During the voyage the sailors took care of the men and eventually they arrived in Port Elizabeth Africa …………. they had no means of communicating with families and now had to wait while the U.S. Navy came to get them.

Fast forward three months…………three months………….and Elmer eventually arrives back home in Boston. He had contacted his family to say he was alive but had heard nothing from Gladys. The reason for this he discovered was that she and her family had moved to New York and had left no forwarding address. Eventually, he discovered where they were and he got on a bus and went to find them.

Gladys told this part of the story………….she was standing in a bakery ……… working as a cake decorator………..in he walked……..she fainted. Yep, she fainted and it was like a scene from a movie she said as she came to he was cradling her in his arms………..they were married three months later…………. many a Kleenex were blown into this afternoon as tears were shed.

A story of bravery, tragedy and love that was always meant to be.



Jeff has just returned from Iraq and the day after he and his lady were married his unit was deployed to Baghdad. Eleven months later here they are on their honeymoon and we had a lot of fun with them on stage.

This afternoon within just a few minutes we met two generations who have served and are serving their country and who proudly proclaimed their love for their beautiful ladies…………….it was an honour to be on stage with them.

Here are today’s random photos from the Ticket to Ride finale.






Its time for today’s Q and A……………….here we go.

Oh, just before I do let me follow up with the Cruise Critic group who wanted a place to meet on the first sea day on an upcoming Carnival Pride cruise. I can confirm that you are scheduled to meet at the Ivory Piano Bar at 2 pm. This will also be noted in the Carnival Capers in the “today at a glance section.”

DWA 76………….Hello mate and, yes, you are correct that PA’s breaking news comes after NCL also pulled out a ship from the same route. I also see how much you appreciated the interview with John Harshaw which is great to hear. Thanks mate for all your support of the blog and I always look forward to seeing your name on the comments section. Cheers.

RAYNVIC………………..It will be wonderful to welcome you to the Carnival Splendor in August and of course I will be happy to provide a meeting place for your Cruise Critic group. Please remind me via the blog two weeks before and I will let you know where and when. Mouna, Ken and Ron will be with us but Dino remains here on the Carnival Freedom. I hope you are as excited about Carnival Splendor as I am and see you soon.

CINDY56………….At the time of writing Cindy I can tell you Carnival has no plans to cancel the Carnival Spirit’s Hawaii cruises so you and mum can look forward to a superb vacation. Cheers.

STEPHANIE AND PAUL…………….Your message was passed along and received with thanks. Please send our best to my mate A.J.

CARY……………My Mum and Dad live in Essex which is in the southeast part of the U.K. They did not feel the earthquake however my Aunt and Uncle Maureen and Les Twitcher live in Lincolnshire and felt a very strong vibration. The only time my parents house shakes is the morning after my Dad has eaten Brussels sprouts……………like father like son………….Thanks for your kind thoughts though and it was so nice of you to be concerned. Cheers.

BIG ED…………….if indeed I was to write a Romance Novel I would base the hero on you…………you could be the new Fabio!

SHARON DOVER…………You asked if you take the excursion from Gatwick to Canterbury will you still have time to see Dover. The answer is no. However, you should not forsake Canterbury for Dover. Canterbury is a charming English town with the most famous Cathedral in the UK outside of London. Dover is a busy port and apart from the castle and WWII battlements there really is not that much to see………..you will love Canterbury………my Dad went to school there. You asked about the itineraries for the Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic……well, those have not been released yet but as soon as they are PA will I am sure let me know in advance so we can break that news right here. Let me know if you need anything else Sharon and all the best.

BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER…………….Thanks Bill………….you are much better informed than me. It will be great to be in port with Eurodam and I hope I will get a chance to visit her. I am sure you know the times in port but just in case here they are again.

Wed, Jul, 02- Genoa dep @ 5pm
Thu, Jul, 03- Cannes 7am-5pm
Fri, Jul, 04- Barcelona 8am-5pm
Sat, Jul, 05- at sea
Sun, Jul, 06- Lisbon 12noon-10pm
Mon, Jul, 07- at sea
Tue, Jul, 08- at sea
Wed, Jul, 09- Le Havre 7am-8pm

Thu, Jul, 10- Dover dep @ 7pm
Fri, Jul, 11- Amsterdam 10am-10pm
Sat, Jul, 12- at sea

Sun, Jul, 13- London dep @ 5pm
Mon, Jul, 14- at sea
Tue, Jul, 15- Copenhagen 8am-4pm
Wed, Jul, 16-Warnemunde 7am-11pm
Thu, Jul, 17- at sea
Fri, Jul, 18- Helsinki 8am-6pm
Sat, Jul, 19- St Petersburg arr @ 7am

Sun, Jul, 20- St Petersburg dep @ 7pm
Mon, Jul, 21- Tallin 7am-4pm
Tue, Jul, 22- at sea
Wed, Jul, 23- at sea
Thu, Jul, 24- Amsterdam 12noon-7pm

There will be dry cleaning on the Carnival Splendor as I know you and I will need their services with all the food we will eat together. Thanks for the information and see you soon mate

SHIRLEY CATES………..I have passed your request to Ken our Dining Room manager………I am going to call him that because I cannot spell Maitre’ D……..I never know where the ‘ is supposed to go. Anyway, stop by the dining room during embarkation and Ken or one of his colleagues will let you know your table number. See you soon.

SUSAN V……………I know I promised everyone the cruise director schedule and as soon as Chris Prideaux gives it to me I will slap it straight onto the blog thingy. Thanks for all the kind thoughts and I hope you are enjoying today’s blog thingy. Cheers.

CAROL SCHOENBERGER…………..I am happy to hear you received a reply. Is there anything else you want me to follow up on for you? Now, I was on the Cyndi Lauper MTV cruise and I think the Cruise Director was Gary Hunter………..however he does not sound like the chap you described in your posting. I am researching as to who indeed it was. Thanks again Carol and thank you for your brilliant support of the blog.

BIG MIKE ……………Dover is about 2 hours from where I live so unfortunately I will not be able to “pop” home on embarkation day. However, my Mum and Dad should be able to visit as often as they want and this time hopefully they will be able to sail with us as well. We are indeed examining the cost of Internet usage from the ship as it is something we can hopefully reduce the cost a little. I need a personal security guard in Dover mate as we are close to France and as you may have read……….I have been a bit cheeky about them recently. Cheers mate.

OLD YEOMAN………….There are many faces at Carnival who are as we speak trying to work out who you are……….come on now mate……….how about a clue? If you do find a photo just send it via the blog thingy and we will share it with the world. Thanks for the memories and it seems that even though you call yourself Old Yeoman and refer to the old days that things really have not changed that much at all. Thanks again and please find that elusive Roger Blum shot.

ASHLEY………….I am happy to tell you that yes indeed I will be the cruise director for your cruise………it will be about my last one before going home for the holidays. If you are serious about answering a call to life at sea then check out our websites at www.carnival.com or www.carnivalentertainment.com

As for being wee Jimmy’s assistant for life may I suggest you see a doctor ………you need help. It will be a pleasure to help you with your quest so let me know what I can do for you. I am glad you are laughing out loud at the blogs and I hope that continues for a long time to come. Please send my best to Sarah and of course a big thank hello to you as well. Cheers.

NANI………….It was wonderful having you onboard if only for a few hours, You have a beautiful family and I know you are very proud of them. Please send them all a big hugo from Heidi and I and a special one is reserved for you as always.

GREG B…………..I know you more than most mate are anxious to see the rest of the year’s cruise director schedule and I promise as soon as its ready I will slap it on here for you. You then asked me about The Passenger Services Act and what my take on it is. I have to be honest I only know what everyone else knows and that is that there is an element of people who seem hell bent on making life as difficult for the industry as possible. However, there are just as many who feel that it is totally unjustified and hopefully these good knights will save us from the evil ones…………let’s see what the future holds. Thanks mate and as always Heidi and I send our best to you and your family.

MARILYN KOLAR…………….Welcome Marilyn and thanks for posting your so kind words. I welcome you and am happy to hear that you have been enjoying the blog thingy so very much. I was so sorry to read about how you had to cancel your Carnival Freedom European adventure because of your Mum’s illness. You are right of course, nothing is more important than family and I hope your have a fantastic cruise in April and I only wish I could be there with you. Please keep reading the blog and I will do my best to keep you laughing.

KEVIN & HEIDI & BETH…………….Tough call…………I think you have to do what is best for you and that sounds like a cruise with us out of Tampa. As much as I would love to see you on the Bloggers cruise you want to do what’s easiest and most convenient and a 90-minute drive or a 9-hour drive …………. well that’s a gimmie. Have a think about it and do what’s best for the three of you. Cheers.

CHERI…………..I to am sorry that I will not be with you for the Carnival Freedom’s return cruise to the USA in November. However, I can indeed promise that we will arrange a meeting time and place for all your friends from Cruise Critic. All I need is for you to remind me via the blog one month before and I will take of this for you. I was sorry about the rude man you met in the casino, it sounds like you had a rough time of it. Please could you remind me on the blog before you sail on your back-to-back cruise this summer? You asked about San Juan………..I would highly recommend the Bioluminescence tour which involves some easy pace Kayaking and then you will see the hundreds of thousands of tiny undersea creatures. If this is not your cup of tea I recommend the Flamenco Show or a casual walk into town. I hope you have a wonderful cruise and please let me know if I can help further.

BRANDON……………..Of course mate. Please leave me a note requesting a tour of the Backstage area and the lighting board at the Information Desk and I will be happy to arrange this for you. I hope you continue your career in the industry and who knows, you may be working for us one day soon. See you in a few weeks mate.

MARGIE TRACY…………..I will be happy to arrange a meeting for your Cruise Critic group in March. Do you know when you want to do this and how many people you are expecting? Yes, you can open the dividers between your two cabins creating one long balcony. Please just tell your State Room Steward and he will do this for you. I hope you will write me a note for my morning show and also let me know when you can about when you want your CC meeting. See you all soon..

JON……..COULDN’T BE BOTHERED TO WRITE MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISEBUTLOOKINGFORWARDTOTHENEARLEYSMOKEFREECARNIVALFREEDOMANDNOWBOOKEDONTHECARNIVALLIBERTY………………hello mate. Sorry to hear that you canceled your Genoa 8 day cruise but of course I understand the circumstances in which you did. You asked who will be the Cruise Director in May on the Carnival Liberty. Well, at this point it will be Steve Kinsley however this may change and as soon as I see the schedule I will let you all know of course. Personally, I would surprise your friends in the Supper Club…………..you mean the world to them and I know they will be thrilled and surprised to see you walk through the door. When I know who the cruise director is I will let you have some useful ammunition that will guarantee you lots of free stuff. Miss you both and I did not see any e-mail from you so please send via Stephanie again. Cheers mate.

THE PLAZ…………..I am glad you loved the interview with John Harshaw mate and yes we do indeed work with many colleges to find the right people to work with us. When you are ready let me know mate and I will put you in touch with the right people. Good luck.

JOHN D…………..I am glad you have found the blog mate and thanks for a wonderful first post. Having a large group of sight-impaired people and their guide dogs can be a challenge for everyone and that’s why your points are well raised. We tend to reserve seats for the group in one section allowing the dogs space to lay down and you are correct it does not have to be the front row, however, some of them do have partial sight and the closer they are the better. That was quite a story with the dog’s tail trapped in the elevator and one thing I will make sure we do is to educate the guests as well as the crew as to the right way to provide the best service for our friends. I was sorry to learn about the passing of your Cornwall friend and I am honoured that you find the blog thingies uplifting. Please keep reading them and hopefully one day we will finally get to cruise together. Cheers.

SUE K………..Thanks for the update on the sad passing of your football icon Myron Cope. I saw that it was in the daily news brief we give the guests so they were indeed informed. Thanks for thinking of us out her on the ocean.

GEORGE AND LINDA…………..Of course that’s fine. Leave it to me and I will arrange this for you. Also, if you need hotel recommendations or anything else for Amsterdam please let us know. Cheers.

If it’s OK with you I will stop there as I have to go and watch the Ticket to Ride Show. I still have a huge pile of questions to answer and will continue with more tomorrow. Keep the comments coming please — they are brilliant.

Now, would you join me in congratulating two stalwarts of Carnival Cruise Lines’ success?

First……………Maurice Zarmati…………..here is the official statement from Gerry Cahill

Maurice Zarmati, vice president of sales, has accepted an offer from one of our sister companies and will become president and CEO of Costa Cruise Lines– North America effective March 31. Maurice was part of the original team that formed Carnival Cruise Lines in 1972 and his contributions to the company over the past many years are immeasurable. All of us will greatly miss Maurice, although we wish him extremely well as he shifts to an exciting new career opportunity while remaining within the Carnival family.

I have known Maurice for many years and he will be missed by all. He was a favorite in the world of Travel Agents and I will personally miss him as a brilliant and formidable master of ceremonies. He has emceed the majority of our naming ceremonies and his exciting and dynamic speeches will be missed by all. He will bring a breath of fresh air to the Costa organization and we all wish him much happiness and success.

Back to Gerry for another announcement…………..this time for Terry Thornton.

It is with great pleasure that I announce the promotion of Terry Thornton to senior vice president of marketing planning. Terry has been an invaluable asset to the Carnival organization over the past 19 years in his role as vice president – marketing planning and has more than 30 years of cruise industry experience overall.

Terry is a personal favorite of mine and oozes calmness. He is responsible for many aspects of your cruise including destinations and itineraries. I know he loves reading the blog so we congratulate Carnival’s newest Senior Vice President. I have had the pleasure of interviewing both of them and will surely have to have follow-up interviews very soon. There have been a few changes of top personel over the last few months. Change, for some, is hard to accept and while we must thank people like Maurice for their ground breaking achievements we must be prepared to invite change and all the new and exciting ideas change can bring.

I have been talking with Heidi tonight about a holiday. Do you know it’s been five years since we have actually gone anywhere for a proper vacation? Usually we just go home and spend time with our families. The last time we went on vacation we stayed in ……..well……………paradise…………a villa called Silent Waters in Montego Bay Jamaica. We went with some friends and apart from clearing out my bank account it was the most amazing, relaxing vacation I have ever had. The villa comes complete with a butler and a chef and well………….rather than me waffle on have a look for yourself: www.jamaicavillas.net

I do not think I have ever been so relaxed. I would love to go back………..it’s the sort of place you may see George Hamilton and his posse of Andalusia women………………maybe one day I can get a group of friends to split the cost with me………..it truly was heaven.

Anyway, we have a few days between disembarking the Emerald Princess and going to Europe on our trip to set up the Carnival Splendor tours. I mentioned casually that we should go somewhere for a few days……………….but oh how I regret that………because…………..she wants to go……………….skiing.

I went skiing many years ago and hated every single minute of it.

The clothes are so expensive and why cant you just wear an old pair of trousers and twenty jumpers…………nope………..you have to buy a jacket that costs the same as an astronauts space suit and then there are skis and boots and special thermal underpants and before you know you have spent thousands of dollars before you even see any snow.

Then there is the ski boot. Just putting it on requires a degree in physics and why does the thing have to be as heavy as a small buffalo? It is also made in such a way as that if and when you fall over your leg buckles at that point just above the ankle which brings the most severe pain and the swear words that follow will have Mums covering kids ears on a slope a mile away.

There is the falling over……………which is embarrassing enough …………it’s the getting up which makes you look like you have just drunk a barrel of that hot red wine crap and are now attempting to pee like a spaniel with one leg cocked in the air. While you are doing this and just as your arse hits the ground yet again, some 7-year-old kid bombs past you wearing an Armani ski jacket and laughing at the abominable snowman trying to stand up.

Then, feeling like a complete idiot and not wanting to be the comic relief of the slopes you take ski lessons. The instructor is usually called Thor or Rocco and usually they are chiseled gods……………these lessons are bloody hopeless because unless you are wearing tight ski pants and have two airbags built into your ski suit thingy they will completely ignore you. They are rude and condescending and when you fall over they shout, laugh or completely ignore you while they make sure Britney’s hips are in the right position.

The difficulty of each slope is defined by a colour with black being the most difficult and the one I was using some other colour ……red or blue I can’t remember………….basically though it should have been called “Slope for 4 year olds and for big British Cruise Directors who want to look like complete and utter idiots ”

Then there is that thing they call après ski…………I thought it would be a world of nightclubs and trendy bars and it probably was. The trouble was I was so battered and bruised form the skiing that all I wanted to do was go to bed and dream of sticking a ski pole up Thor the Ski instructors brown slope.

Why, then, would I want to do this all over again and pay thousands of dollars for a vacation that I hate? ……………….skiing can bugger off…………I can sit in a refrigerator and just come out every morning and have someone beat me on the legs with a crow bar so I am assured of ending my vacation on crutches and with a face like a bull dog’s bottom…………………skiing………….no thanks ……let me tell you how much I don’t want to go……….I would rather go to Paris.


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.