March 12, 2008

March 13, 2008 -

John Heald

I was only 10 feet behind him and at the time he was just another young man walking on the open deck as were Heidi and I. It was lunch time and I fancied a bit of spicy Wok but Heidi said no she wanted to eat first………….so off we went for lunch.

The kid…………again I would guess he was anywhere from aged 15 – 35 was also heading for the food. He had been given an unfortunate start on life as he had obviously been born with no sense of balance. Because of this disability he had been forced into carrying a plastic bottle of beer in each hand to act as a stabilizer.

It was as we approached the deck 10 starboard side entrance to the restaurant that he decided that he in fact regained his balance and therefore he did not need his starboard side stabilizer …………..so…………….giving it one last drain to make sure it was void of any beer he simply dropped it on the floor ………… where it landed ……did a little bounce………spun around and lay there waiting for someone else to pick it up or worse…………stand on it and trip over.

As I may have mentioned before I do not have a temper and usually when things like this happen I usually just roll my eyes, tut a bit and just pick the thing up myself. Today was different………maybe because I couldn’t roll both my eyes because of my affair with Mr. Bell…………..maybe because he did it in such a rude arrogant manner that today…………….I let leash the God’s of War.

I was so angry……I wanted to grab the bottle and shove it up his bottom yelling “This Bud is for you.” I wanted to whisk him off to Turkey and give him to Fatima and her plastic hose. I wanted to ……..well………….you get the picture.

What I actually did was grab his shoulder………….say “Excuse me”…………and demand that he pick the bottle up. He looked at me and I think he had no clue who I was………….why would he…………..I have not held any shows in his cabin or the dance club. However I saw his eyes meet mine and drift down to the name tag I was wearing that declared I was “John Heald – Senior Cruise Director”………….this along with the fact that I only have one eye and face that would make Ernest Borgnine feel handsome was enough for him to pick the bottle up……………as he did so he made a noise with his lips that I cannot begin to tell you how it sounded……….sort of a tutshhhhhhhhhhhhh …………… Ignoring this we followed him while he placed the bottle on one of the tables.

Heidi and I sat and ate lunch and I have to admit I was feeling pretty blue…………it had been a horrible day…………beyond horrible and for reasons I will explain at a later date. Please don’t worry……….everything is fine with us etc but something had happened onboard that really had me feeling all over the place……………and not just me either……………..I will tell you more later this week.

Anyway, sorry to ramble on but I am trying to portray how my feelings were when I was dealing with Mr. Stabilizer and I was still fuming when a gentlemen approached Heidi and I during our lunch. He was an older chap with beautiful white hair and a big red happy nose………….he reminded me immediately of my Dad’s best friend at home Norman.

Anyway, he just wanted to say hello and reminisce on this great cruise and how much he loved the European adventure we had shared together on the Carnival Liberty. I invited him to sit with us and as he drank his coffee and I ate my lunch we chatted about the wonders of Europe and his passion for Tuscany. He left 15 minutes later and I felt a little better………….it was as though someone upstairs had seen that I needed a large order of normality and had sent the man with the white hair and shiny red nose to come and see me………………It was also a reminder after my run in with Mr. Stabilizer that this week ………. here on the Carnival Freedom…………….we have both ends of the evolutionary scale sailing with us.

Time for some random photos.

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Guest DJ Talbot sings a song for his girlfriend

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Krysta, by request

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Jerry Goodspeed, Ventriloquist

jerry-goodspeed-ventriloquist2.jpg

Let’s push on with the comments shall we…………..here we go.

MARC G…………………..Thanks for the kind words mate and the only way women would crawl over broken glass to get to me is if George Clooney was strapped to my back. Hope all is well mate and thanks again for the great posting.

GREG B………….It is indeed amazing how popular Bean Bag Toss is as your saw from the photos. I am indeed a fan of Dumb and Dumber and my favorite line is when he asks where the girl is from and she says “Austria”……….Jim Carrey’s reply is of course “G’day mate, put another shrimp on the barbie.” …………..classic. The Captain handled our dumb and dumbers with amazing professionalism as have all the crew. Thanks Greg and look forward as always to your next posting.

JULIE C…………Hello Julie and yes of course I remember reading your letter and I am so happy you wrote in. It is not every day that you hear of a Pastor of a Church who is going to open up a brewery. I thought the whole thing was brilliant and the fact that you are going to do this as a family is very special. Unfortunately there are no master copies of the morning shows so we shall have to rely on our memories but I hope that when you write again you will tell all of us a little something about your new venture and maybe some of the 1.7 million readers will be able to support it in someway if they are in the area. I look forward to hearing from you and please send my best to all your wonderful family.

FLIP FLOP CRUISE QUEEN………..Please tell your secretary welcome to the blog. I am glad I had you and her laughing and this week there certainly is enough material for that to keep happening for days to come. Cheers to you both .

SHERRIF ROSCOE P COLTRANE…………….Tell you what……….come over and arrest Mr. Stabilizer for littering and you can have a whole vat of Mr. Daniel’s finest. Seriously………….remind me before you sail and I am sure Deputy John will be able to send you a little something. Cheers mate.

BIG ED AND PAT……………Indeed it was good to hear about Susan. I will make sure I post anything else I hear. Hopefully we will receive some good news about Maria as well. Thanks as always to you both and Heidi and I send you our kindest regards.

AMY B…………..Hello Amy and please do not worry. There is a fabulous Club O2 lounge on the Carnival Miracle all the way at the front of the vessel. This is a great place to hang and chill out. Tell you what…………if you keep reading the blog I will post some photos of the Club in a few days for you to see. Hope this is OK and I know you will meet many new friends in September when you cruise. Cheers Amy.

CRAIG……….Hello mate and thanks for making a posting here on the blog thingy. I am glad you completed the review card as you said and as always there ways in which we can improve in all areas as you said. However, completing the card in a positive way as you did shows that overall you had a great time and this reflected in how you rated the various departments. I think you will all find the new wording on the upcoming cards easier to understand and therefore easier to give a simple and honest answer on…………I hope so anyway. Meanwhile I am so glad you are enjoying the blog thingy and I hope that will continue for many months to come. Cheers mate.

MARK TWAIN AND A HALF……………Just so you know mate I just forwarded your suggestions on Carnival comment card statements up the ladder. I particularly loved the “WOW, I DIDN’T THINK EVEN CARNIVAL COULD BE THAT GOOD” statement. Maybe we should have something a bit more radical like this. Thanks also for the jokes; they came at a very needed time. Cheers mate.

SHARON DOVER………….Now I understand your question Sharon and excuse me for not doing so the first time. It is a great question………will the Carnival Splendor undertake a cruise from San Francisco back to Fort Lauderdale? Well, at this time I know of no plans to do this – since the ship begins year-round 7-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach following its stop in San Francisco — however judging by how popular the first trip has been it might be a possibility one day. I will ask PA 007 to keep his/her ears and eyes open (as I can only manage one eye) and let us know should such plans arise. Sorry I cannot be more specific at the moment but let’s see what the future holds. Heidi and I send you our best meanwhile and thanks again for reading the blog thingy.

CRUISIN GRANDMA………….I know you have been unwell Grandma so I wanted to start by saying that I have been thinking about you. I know you are looking forward to your cruise on the Carnival Inspiration in May and hopefully you will have your strength back by then. You asked who your cruise director will be………….the answer is Risa Barnes. She is a great lady and someone whom I know you will enjoy so much. Thank you for sending me get well thoughts especially as you are not doing so good yourself. Heidi and I send you our warmest regards and get well soon.

SLICKABRINA……..explain the wink wink please???………..you have me interested.

BIG ED…………..The card will be changed mate and is already out on a few test ships. It will be fleet wide soon and I think all of us will prefer the new format. Cheers.

DEBORAH ROSATO…………….I just wanted to say a big thank you for the web site link thingy with information on my mate Mr. Bell. I found reading about others who have and are still suffering very helpful indeed. It was so kind of you to send me this information and I also hope that Mr. Bell buggers off very soon. Thanks again Debs you are so very nice.

LEE RAYBURN……………I firstly wanted to say thank you for the posting which must have taken lots of time and effort to write. Its interesting is it not that in the cruise industry there are so many ways for people to publicly post their negative and positive comments and the “boards” you are referring to are certainly one of the most popular of those ways. I had read one or two of the negative comments about the Carnival Freedom and some of the points are maybe well founded while many are not and are based on opinion. However, in the free society we all enjoy opinions are something everyone has and some people enjoy sharing theirs more than others. Overall, the Carnival Freedom’s European season was a huge success and the overall ratings were running at 99% of the people sating they had enjoyed their cruise. Still, one man’s wine is another mans poison and we realize that there are always going to be people who will be the “critic” and express their opinions on others. My only hope is that when people read these reviews they read them all and see that on every ship on every line there are good, bad and excellent reviews. I hope these people read them all and then decide for themselves and not just on a stranger’s opinion. I am so glad you had a great time and as you will have read on the blog thingy the situation you saw with the couple at the Information Desk is not unique …………..it happens all the time and as long as it does ………. Well …………I guess I will have things to write about. Thanks mate and I really appreciated your posting today.

ORAZIO………………..Without sounding a big Ruffiano…………….it’s great to have you back Captain…………….yes…………ladies and gents……………Captain D’Aita reads the blog and posted today as well……………..by the way,………….. A guest could not remember his name so he called him Captain Orlando Bloom …………………good grief! Thanks Captain and all of us thank you for everything you do each and every day.

ALAN D…………..Although you did not have a direct question I did want to say welcome to the blog thingy as this is your first post and you have just started reading. It sounds like you have a lot to celebrate when you sail on the Carnival Miracle and I hope also that you enjoy this one as much as you did 7 years ago. If you have any questions before you go please let me know and if not I hope you will keep reading the blog thingy. Please have a wonderful trip and a very happy birthday to you wife. Cheers.

RICHARD COWAN………….Guitar Hero will indeed be ready and waiting for you on the Carnival Splendor. Hope to see you there. Cheers.

CAROL SCHOENBERGER…………I did see your last comment Carol and I was interested in which bit of the blog made you laugh so hard? Anyway, hope you find time to write again soon and as always best from Heidi and I.

JERI GREEN…………..Yes mate, I am sorry to that I will not be with you but I know you will have a great time. I am having acupuncture at the end of the week so I hope that will be the thing that makes all the difference. Thanks again and I hope one day we will sail with each other. Cheers.

LISA ALMON……………My goodness how wonderful to read your posting where you said how much you enjoyed sailing with us last week here on the Carnival Freedom. The fact that you want to book another cruise straight away is testament to the great crew I am privileged to work alongside. You asked what ship I am going to be on next. I will be on the new vessel the Carnival Splendor from June through December. I will then be ashore for a while and then in February we will have a Bloggers Cruise held onboard the newly renovated Carnival Fantasy. This will be where all my friends from the blog come together for a very special 5-day cruise. Maybe you could join us? Anyway, have a think about what you want to do and if you have any other questions please let me know and I will be here for you. Thaks again for the kind words and I send my warmest regards to you and your family.

BETHC……….having read a bit more about you and your 5 year old then the answer is simple………..if you can…………sail Europe. The mixture of a great time onboard for your son plus the chance for you to see Europe and all the treasures of places like Italy, Greece, Turkey and Russia should have you booking now. Have a think about this and the next step would be to discuss what itinerary you prefer. I am here to help you with of course as well. My best to you and your son. Cheers.

RBGATES………..Do most of your guests complete a review card you asked? Well about 50% off the guests do. We do encourage a one per person completion but usually it works out about one per cabin with some guests………..just not bothering. I can understand this of course, I cannot remember the last time I turned in a comment card at a hotel……….I guess if anyone should…..I should.

I am glad you continue to enjoy the blog thingy and if I do ever write a book I promise you a copy straight away. Cheers.

MOCHA JOE…………..I see you have requested a photo of Krysta the dancer whom I guess made quite an impression on you. I will post one as requested in the next few days. Do you want one of me as well? 🙁

VICKI……………Just in case you missed my answer to how many Spring Breakers will be sailing on 3/22………..answer is 1467………………. kidding………255 ………….oh and 700 regular smaller versions. See you on Saturday ………you will have a great time I promise. Cheers.

CAPTAIN BILL…………….Hello Captain. You asked if we show the crew members the positive comments guests write about them on the review cards. The answer is “yes.” Each crew member gets a copy plus a copy goes on their file. Exceptional comments are place on our community wall in the crew area for everyone to read. You also asked if the Carnival Splendor will stop in Boston and unfortunately the answer is “no.” If it did, Heidi and I would probably be there, it is one of our favorite places. Hope things are well with you Captain and I hope you continue to read the blog.

TERESA C….……If I had to have a role model, George Hamilton would be much higher up the list than George Clooney. There is something about the bronzed stud that is Mr. Hamilton that makes me very jealous. Still, because of my current condition, I would be happy to look like George Foreman. Cheers Teresa.

CHERYL D………………..It is interesting that you think we could make a TV show out of the blog…..I have never thought of that. Would you or anybody else watch? They certainly would, if as you suggested, George Hamilton played me. Thanks for the great posting. All the best.

LINDA THE MOUSE…….Just in case you haven’t read my previous reply. Heidi and I gratefully received your Easter basket and cards. Your friendship is so important to us both and we thank you for all your kindness.

JULIE GANTT…………….That was very funny. Someone actually called you at the funeral home asking for escort service. There are so many jokes there that you probably don’t need me for any of them. Thank you, seriously though, for all your kind words for all your blogging friends and of course for me and I look forward to getting that hug very soon. Cheers.

SHIRLEY CALES…………Just wanted to say a quick Thank You for helping Amy.

JAY WISE…………………Hello Jay. How strange you should write. I remember seeing you when I walked into the infirmary for the first time wondering what had happened to me. I hope you are doing well and I just wanted to say thank you very much for thinking of me. I hope you continue to read the blog.

MICKEY’S PAL……………It was great to hear about the young Social Host on the Celebration, called Andre. It certainly seems, he loves Bean Bag Toss and the Championship Belt idea is wonderful. We have a young man here called Brandon who is equally as keen. Many of the activities are only as good as our staff who hosts them. That is why we feel we have the finest entertainment staff at sea. Thank you Myra and I hope all is well with you.

BETH……………………..Thank you very much and the restaurant you recommended is actually one I have been to before. I went with Heidi and Captain Cupisti when we were preparing the Carnival Legend. I remember I had reindeer, it was fantastic, although a little sweet. I hope you can convince the family to cruise and if I can help in any way, please let me know. Cheers.

SUSAN AND LISA……..It is strange that you were never introduced to the Captain at the formal night party. We always stand by the entrance to the lounge for the first 35 minutes shaking hands, saying hello. I promise that in August, not only shall we meet but we shall hug like old friends. See you both very soon and can you bring me a didgery doo. Cheers.

LAMB KNUCKLES……….I am sorry we will not be cruising with the bloggers on the Queen Mary, although I think we made the right choice. I will let you know the plans for 2010 once we have 2009 all set. I am glad you are enjoying the blogs and you will be happy to know I had a lamb free week. All the best.

WENDY…………………….Yes, you are correct, this will be my last cruise on the Carnival Freedom for a bit. I have a mental picture of your 10-year-old son, piling clothes into the suitcase. I hope you treasure every moment with him. It would be my honor to welcome you on board. I hope you leave me a little note when you arrive. Cheers.

MAC AND FAMILY……….I have not received the mail although I know Chris Prideaux has lots for me. I am sure Heidi will be very excited to see her two new hoody sweatshirts from the mighty state of Colorado. She will need those all the time as she is always cold. Heidi says a big thank you and so do I, for all your kindness. Cheers.

KICIASKI…………………..I asked Heidi and out of the 2 you mentioned she recommends the Avenue Hotel. She wanted to let you know that this hotel is very close to the “amusing but not always totally secure Red Light District,” although it is in the center. The Savoy Hotel is on the other side of town and will require a lot of public transportation. Have you tried the Golden Tulip, the Radisson SAS or the Marriott? Hope this helps and thank you also for all your great comments. It will be so wonderful to see you again.

ALEXANDRA O…………I am so sorry to hear about your last few months and I see you are also wanting to be a Cruise Director. If there is anything you feel I can do to help you, I will gladly do so. I wish you all the best.

BILL ZYDECOCRUISER…I have not seen any demographics Bill for the Carnival Splendor July 13 cruise. Let me get back to you and I will let you know. I can tell you the Circle C lounge will be on Deck 4 Forward outside the dining room. This room is currently used amongst other things to host my morning shows. Hope all is well with you Bill. Cheers mate.

JESSICA…………………….Please, please, please do not stop posting. That would be a terrible shame and I know it is definitely not what Lance or anyone else would want. Your enthusiasm was justified and a small pebble in a teacup has not disrupted this wonderful community we have together. I do hope to see your name again soon and I for one will miss not writing to you.

PGTULSA………………….I am looking forward to seeing all my British friends on the Carnival Splendor, especially those who are bringing supplies of Monkey Tea and digestive biscuits. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you and see you soon.

SHARON TIEMAN……….Congratulations on your next cruise being your Platinum cruise. I know you will enjoy all the wonderful benefits. I am so sorry to hear about your husband and I want you to know that knowing the blog makes you laugh and for a moment takes you away from your troubles and concerns makes me a very proud and humble man. Heidi said, don’t be silly, safe your money and don’t buy her a hoody from Alaska. If you translate this, it means, Yes please. Can’t wait to see you and my best to you and the family.

That’s all for tonight. I am sorry I did not answer everyones but…….well………..I will tomorrow I promise.

I just got back from the Talent Show and I must admit…………my heart was not in it………….I didn’t even do the Bedtime Story and you all know how much I look forward to hosting that every week.

It has been a tough day and not because of someone dropping a bottle on the floor or my silly Bells Palsy thing.

I can’t tell you much…….you will understand I am sure………..and some of you may be able to tell from this blog that my heart and mind have been elsewhere ……..here’s why.

Today, unexpectedly and peacefully, a guest whom the Captain and I had met on Sunday evening passed away. It has left me realizing once again how precious live is and I know all of you will be thinking of her and the family she left behind.

There is a new angel in heaven tonight, who spent her last hours having fun with us here on the Carnival Freedom.

There is a new angel in heaven tonight.

John.

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.