A Wake Up Call

March 17, 2008 -

John Heald

Having finished the Welcome Aboard Show I returned to the cabin tired but content. The show had gone well and I actually felt that my voice was a little better and that Mr. Bell may not have had such an influence on the show as the last time………more about him later.

So it was that I returned to the cabin and while drinking a cup of monkey tea wrote a few e-mails and by 12:30am I was in my bed and snoring away …………….the last thought was that last week was behind me and this week was going to be incident free.


I was having a wonderful dream……………I was playing for the Miami Heat against the Kentucky basketball team. We were winning and I was slam-dunking, pick and rolling and my three point game was red hot………..we were winning and the crowd were chanting my name. The team was made up of me, George Hamilton, Shaq and for some bizarre reason and I am not joking here…….. this is my actual dream……….also playing were the small guy from the program Different Strokes…….the one that used to say “Watchya talking about Willis?”………..and ……….wait for it………….Jack Nicholson………………I think I need help.

Anyway, the dream was getting good as I was all over the court and dribbling well……..something I normally do when I sleep anyway. So, I am in the middle of this dream when the buzzer goes……was it the shot clock……….it was only after the buzzer kept sounding that I awoke from my dream and realized it was the telephone………….the digital clock showed 3:05 am……….this wasn’t going to be good.

It wasn’t………………………………………..I will tell you why later in this blog.

So, good morning. It’s 10:33 am. I just finished the Morning Show and before my Cozumel travel talk I thought I would say hello. The weather is exactly where it was last week with the sun hot, the sky blue, the sea calm and the sun cream out in force. There are some Spring Breakers this week but mostly it is families with younger children and the Camp Carnival staff is very busy indeed.

I do have a little bit of good news regarding Mr. Bell. I woke up this morning and he seems to have become board hanging out with my eye. I can close it now fully on my own without hanging a Lexus from my eyelid.

How about this for an unusual request.

Guest: __________ Ref: 002721400A

Owner: (KN) Kua Anant Ngamkamolrat
Cabin: ________ Booking#: __________

 Added-Changed: 03/15/08 – 03/15/08

1063 – Diet request

Guest called from the cabin requesting to speak to the Chef. Purser asked him what she could help him with. Guest said he was in training for the USA TRIATHLON TEAM and needs to eat 8,000 calories a day and needed help as he could not find the right foods. Purser tasked Maitre’D Ken to contact guest for follow up.

8,000 CALORIES A DAY

That’s the equivalent of 2 pounds of butter, 20 slices of bread, 12 eggs, 28 potatoes, one Yak and 89 MARS bars. On that basis………………………… I am an Olympic Triathlete!

Heidi has had her haircut………..short……….not too short but shorter than usual. She is admiring it as we speak in the mirror and even though I prefer her hair long I have made the right noises of admiration. Before she had it cut she discussed with me her opinion that my view that women should have long hair was “old fashioned and macho.” I agreed……..but what’s wrong with that?

I like women who look like women………..Jessica Simpson from all angles looks like a woman………Kate Moss could from many angles be a boy. Anyway, I have just been told that tomorrow in Cozumel I am having my haircut. This appointment was made with out my blessing or knowledge so at 10 am I have to go to the Spa and have someone called Serge cut my hair.

I hate having my hair cut………I despise it…………I would rather spend a day in a Turkish prison than have some man play with my hair for an hour gossiping my ear off about who is with who while listening to Cher’s greatest hits. Then the final act of horror comes when I pay the $30 plus a tip for a haircut that lasted in an hour, featured creams and locations being rubbed into me and at the end of the whole operation my hair looks exactly the same as it did when I went in there.

What I really want to do is go to the crew barber who will use a hedge trimmer on me and in 5 minutes I am done. I may not have found out that Brad Pitt is having an affair with Johnny Depp (allegedly), I may not have had learnt that you shouldn’t wear pink with blue but it will have cost me $5 and my hair will just be……….short……….which surely is the purpose of having it cut in the first place.

Still, this is a pointless conversation as her Majesty has spoken so tomorrow I will go and see Serge……………he does have nice legs though.

Here are today’s random photos:

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The Captain’s Party

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Dancing the night away

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Mike & Michelle Richardson- Bloggers- Great smiles, even though the airline lost their luggage

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John and his crooked smile with Mr. Happy from Canada

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John with a Canadian Mounty, George Hicks

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Heidi and the 2 Doctors. Dr. Dave and Dr. Caroline are husband and wife and have been looking after John. They are both brilliant Doctors who have saved lives on board…….unsung heroes.

Let’s get on with some Q and A.

Here we go.

MARIA………………..I am glad to hear you love the blog so much which in turn keeps me wanting to write to you and the thousands of daily readers. You asked about Elegant Night dress for your husband and if he should wear a Tuxedo or Business suit. Well, most of our male guests will wear a business suit although one in ten still wear a Tuxedo. Whichever he decides to wear he will not look out of place and if he has one and does not get chance to put it on much…………go for the Tuxedo. Hope this helps and I hope you have a fantastic cruise in July. Cheers.

LAMB KNUCKLES…………Thank you for beautiful words on the word Freedom which were written from the heart I could tell. I am now starting to work hard on the Bloggers 2009 cruise and we will definitely be doing some sort of charity event pre cruise. I hope to have more details very soon. Thank you for sending your best wishes to everyone at the blog and we all return them to you and your family of lambs as well. Cheers.

JENNIFER HAMMOND……………Here is the link to the web cam for you and Ruth. Enjoy. www.infocruise.it/infocarnival

ROBIN IN NEW YORK……………DH if you are reading this please take pity on the lovely Robin. She needs to fly south for the winter next year and join her friends on their annual migration to the land of Fantasy and Blog. Please consider this request and be rewarded with fun and free drinks. What do you say mate?

JOSEPH KYLE………….Thank you for booking the bloggers cruise and I promise you will have a wonderful time. Indeed as you said in your posting that the blog community has become like a family. We receive anywhere from 50-70,000 slaps a week and this varies from people who read once a week and never post to people who read every day and post every day. This makes for a great family of friends which I am glad you are a part of mate. My best to you and to your family and I will see you next year.

CRAIG…………..You quoted my all time hero in Winston Churchill and I am honoured that you did so in my name. Thank you for sharing his beautiful words and for adding your own as well…………..we shall fight them on the beaches. Thanks mate.

KATHIE KAPERINO……………I will have to Google Paula Dean but she sounds like a lot of fun………Spotted Dick Southern style…….does that come with grits? Thanks Kathie and I hope all is well with you and your family.

US NAVY – 1972 – 1981………..Jon, we salute you and those like you now and we salute you always.

DRIVER NC…………….Thanks for the information on New Orleans and we are looking forward to seeing the city again. STEPHANIE will be e-mailing you the subscription for Carnival Currents magazine. Thank you for your kind words and Heidi and I sent our best to you both.

LISA K……………………Yes, they were the greatest generation. It also was indeed a rollercoaster of a week but that’s part of the cruise experience and also having this blog thingy allows me to share it with you. Thank you for all your kind words, especially the fun you mentioned with Eric Clapton and the Spotted Dick. I hope you continue the blog thingy. Cheers.

KRIS AND CATHLEEN…Thank you for your sympathies for the lady who passed away, it was truly a shock and the kind words of everyone on the blog thingy has meant so much. I will be the Cruise Director when you sail on the Carnival Splendor and it will be an honor to see you with us. If you have any questions, I remain at your service.

BARB R…………………..Than you so much for booking the Bloggers Cruise. That is wonderful news and I promise you will not regret cruising with the finest groups of people I have ever met. There are many people who read this blog thingy who cannot come and I hope we will be able to share some stories that will make them feel like they were there with us. I am glad you are enjoying the blog and thank you again for everything.

MARK CHAMBLISS……Robert and Suzann had a wonderful time and it really was great to see them in their usual seats. I wish I had been there with you mate and hopefully one day, we can sit down, have a Diet Coke and a good laugh. Heidi sends her best to Catie and I will pass on her regards to James. Please write soon. Cheers mate.

LATITUDE 20………….I am so happy to read that you have discovered the blog thingy. Please take your time to read from the beginning and I think you will see that the blog has changed a bit over the last year. As a military family man yourself, I appreciate so much the beautiful words you have written about Mr. Gaylord and others like him. The story of the two ladies who cruised was truly inspirational. Thank you so much for taking the time to post which I hope will be the first of many. Thank you again.

CHARLOTTE………….Congratulations on booking the Bloggers Cruise and we will be holding some pre-cruise activities including working to make it a better place to live for the people who need that most. It will be great to meet you and thank you so much for the kind get well messages. They are truly welcome here on the blog thingy. Cheers.

RIKKI BOYCE……….I see you are a Gordon Ramsey fan, like my wife. Your other ideas are also excellent. I also laughed a lot at your whom the bell tolls reference…….very funny. Hope all is well with you mate. Cheers.

BIG MIKE………..…..I knew I had failed microwave cooking class when I tried to boil an egg in it…….bugger. Write soon mate.

MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISEBUTSTARTINGABLOGOFMYOWNCALLEDMUSINGSOFJUSTJOHN….…I just looked at your first blog mate. It’s fantastic. I wish you much success. I know it will be very successful and hopefully your wife will log on to this one and post.

GAYLE FROM CHICAGO………Thank you for saying you are addicted to the blog and I know you will have a fantastic time here on the Carnival Freedom. I am sorry I can’t be with you, so please keep reading the blog thingy, hopefully that will keep you going until you cruise. Have a wonderful voyage. My best to you and your family.

BORIS AND DEANA……………I asked Heidi and she thinks the best thing for you to do is to stay at the hotel you have booked and use that as a travel point. Holland is a small country and was recently carpeted. No, seriously, from your hotel in Amsterdam to Alkmaar and the world famous cheese market takes 45 minutes. To the Keukenhof will take about 1 hour. I would not advise renting a car and tours to these major locations can be arranged, I am sure from your hotel. If you need anything else, please let us know. Heidi says you will love this hotel as it is quite old with a lot of character right on one of the major squares with shopping areas, Vondelpark and Rijksmuseum just around the corner.

STEPHANIE MARTIN…………..Very funny Stephanie, I apologize on the kids’ behalf for making their favorite teacher laugh. See you 118 days and thanks for the great post today. Say hello to the kids.

JAKE SILVERBERG……………Thanks mate. The photos are fantastic. How is grandma?

INMN253……Great idea to have Kevin involved in the Bloggers Cruise kitchen. Nearer the time I will discuss with him what we can do. A private cooking class may be fantastic. Kevin? Thanks Pat and it’s great to see you post on the blog. Thank you also for your kinds words for Barb, we will all look after her.

VICKIE…………………………..I will do my very best to see you on the 22nd. Listen out for a page, have a safe journey.

PAULA BAKER…………………Beautiful words, I appreciate them so very much. See you both soon. Cheers.

LINDA HERNACKI…………….So we discovered that Rick Pitino is a basketball coach and I am sure a gentleman of such skill and positive thinking would not have been happy to here his Godson speak like he did. Heidi and I are off on the Emerald Princess next Tuesday after a weekend in Miami and then straight home to the UK for 3 days with the family before our European Road Trip for the Carnival Splendor. How is Mike? Please send him our best and Linda it is always to wonderful to talk to you.

PEGGY………………..Thanks for the information on Rick Pitino. I hope somehow he gets to hear how rude his Godson was. Not just to me but to so many others and he was not the only one. You will be here soon and I hope that you and the doc have a wonderful cruise. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I thank you so much for being so kind, it means so much to me.

SOUTHERN DREAMS………..Congratulations on booking the Carnival Valor and have a wonderful time with your Prince. Heidi sends her very best to you and I look forward to the next time we are all back together again.

FLIP FLOP CRUISE QUEEN…Words like those you posted are so special and thank you for being such a special person yourself.

TERRI 910………………………..You were correct. I spelled the man’s name wrong…….it is Pitino. I am sure Mr. Pitino is a wonderful man and his Godson is not a representative of the Coaches’ principles on life. Spring Break is always a fun time but I can understand why some people like yourselves prefer not to be on board during these unique celebrations. Thanks Terri, wishing you all the best.

RICKAKASEANCONNERYLOOKALIKE…….I am glad this blog thingy gave you a chance to vent and you said some of the things I wish I could have said. Thank you for speaking for me and I imagine you saying everything you did in that soft Scottish accent that you and Sean possess. Good night mate and all the best to you and your family.

DARON……………………………Thank you for reading the blog during the last month and when you cruise the Spring Breakers should be a distant memory. Have a fantastic time and please let me know if I can help you with anything at all. Cheers.

JETSKIER…………………………Very funny. I spoke to the lady with the green hair on my live afternoon show and she really was quite upset that she looked Shrekish. Heidi said she should ketchup in her hair which apparently is a Dutch cure. I am surprised she didn’t ask for mayonnaise as well. Thanks for the laughs. Cheers Dave.

LEE RAYBURN…………………..I have to say, as rude as uncaring as it may seem, I was glad that Kentucky lost to Georgia. However, I wish you Tennessee team much success in the future. I loved the cheerleader reference that was very funny. Thanks mate.

JOHN H……………………………As I was just saying to Lee, I did a little dance of joy when I saw Kentucky lost. I know this is very small minded of me but after the way those kids verbally abused so many different crewmembers I had to say, it made me happy. Thanks mate and I hope you and the family are well.

ROBERT…………………………..Glad you liked the ketchup reference mate and you know how wonderful it was to have you both here. See you soon on the Carnival Splendor.

PC…………………………………..I am glad you are reading the blog and how wonderful that you are getting married on the Carnival Valor during your May cruise. Having gotten engaged on the Carnival Valor as well, it seems like this ship will have ever-lasting memories through your journey of life. Wishing you a wonderful day and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.

Cheers.

PRINCESS ELAINE……..Thanks for your support Princess and I am sure there are many great students at the University of Kentucky. Unfortunately, the ones I met were definitely not ambassadors of their school. Thank you for all your kind words and one day your Prince will come. Heidi and I send you our best.

That’s all for now. More tomorrow starting with Dan B.

So, back to last night.

The phone rang waking me from my dream of being the next Michael Jordan and as I rubbed my one good eye the digital alarm clock seemed to be taking great satisfaction in telling me it was 3:05 am.

I answered with that voice that seems to inhabit our bodies during the night ready for times like this when we are woken suddenly……..”Hello, Cruise Director” I heard someone who sounded like the butler from Hart to Hart ………remember that program…………this is Jonathan and Jennifer Hart and when they met it was murder……………anyway the voice on the other end of the phone was that of Luigi the ship’s staff captain and chief security officer …………….as soon as I heard his voice my bottom cheeks closed together quicker than Praying Mantis catching a fly………………………………was the ship in difficulty………….had we been invaded by creatures from the Planet Stapelface……….what was wrong?

Well, actually it was something quite awkward and potentially a little worrying. The parents of a 23 year old had not seen her since 7 pm………….they were worried…………..and had now officially reported her missing. This had happened at 2 am and for the last hour the security personal had walked the ship trying to find her. The only lounge with lots of people in it was the Dance Club and the DJ had stopped the music and had asked on the microphone if this young lady was here…………….nothing.

So, now it was my turn.

Putting on my sweat pants and T-shirt I said good-bye to Heidi who upon realizing I was buggering off immediately claimed the bed as her own adopting the starfish position.

It was very strange walking to the Purser’s Office at 3:10 am. The ship was quieter than a shop in Paris that sells only soap………….there was nobody around.

I met with Luigi and the chief security guard and the chief purser and then moved the investigation to the next level. Now before I describe what I did I should say that these protocols are set out in the SMS procedures. SMS stands for Safety Management System which is a set of rules and regulations that are enforced and managed by Carnival Corporation within the guidelines set by United States Coast Guard and International maritime laws. We have protocols for everything, including missing persons at sea.

Obviously, we take these types of events very seriously. They are rare and unusual events but, of course, it was time to make sure nothing had happened to this young lady and there was only one way to do that. So, at 3:18 am guests and crew awoke to this announcement on the emergency PA system.

“Good Morning everyone……….please accept my apologies straight away for waking you……..also, please do not worry there is nothing wrong but I do need to find a young lady who has been missing for the last few hours.” ___________ if you can hear me I need you to pick up a telephone and call me on 7777. Your parents and family are worried about you and we just need to make sure you are OK………you can also call your own cabin if you want to and speak to your Mum. Please call us straight away.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen, please go back to sleep and as now I know many of you will be worried I will let you know quickly if we find her.”

We did.

I let the guests know with this quick announcement

“Just to let you know __________ has been found and is safe and well……..please go back to sleep and I thank you so much for your understanding.”

Within a few moments of the announcement a very sheepish young lady called the Information Desk to tell us she was OK………she was in another cabin ………………..with a friend

We immediately sent a security team to collect her and a few minutes later a young lady with eyes as big as saucepans was reunited with her parents. The reunion started with relief and then obviously anger took over as it was obvious that excessive alcohol had led this young lady astray and into the arms of her new best friend whose cabin she had passed out in.

I sat and mediated with everyone. We needed to make sure that she was OK and had gone to this person’s cabin of her own free will………….she was and she did, She looked totally bemused and scared and it was just when Dad started to get really upset at her and used words like “embarrassment to the family” that I new it was time for everyone to go to bed.

We walked the family to the cabin. The staff Captain and I had a quiet word with Dad suggesting that someone watch over her tonight as she was still under the influence of alcohol……….he agreed, of course. I arranged to meet with them later today and at 4:15 am I was back in the cabin. I took off my sweat pants and T-shirt, moved the Starfish over to her side of the bed using a block and tackle and went back to sleep……………except …………..I couldn’t …………. not straight away.

I lay there thinking about this young lady and how she had put herself and her family in this very awkward position………….I wondered if the family would ever forgive her…………I wondered if she would forgive herself………….I wondered if we would get any complaints about my early morning announcements…………I wondered if Uma Thurman liked would like to…………..then I feel asleep.

This afternoon I met with the young lady and her family. She looked different ………..younger………..and definitely she had woken up and smelt the coffee. The first words out of her mouth were “I am so sorry”……………….and the tears flowed.

We spoke for some time. She had known exactly what she was doing but the alcohol had resulted in her passing out. She realized what a terrible burden she had brought on her family which included her grandparents who were also onboard. She promised never to do it again………….I told her to promise herself that and her family and then to move on and enjoy family time, drink soda and be home at midnight……………….she promised she would………………….and you know what……………I believe her.

This was a kid who made a mistake…………yep…………it affected many people and brought hours of worry for her family………..but it was a mistake and hopefully one day she will learn from this and that will eventually make her a better person.

So, the story that could have turned out so differently had a happy ending

Except:

Guest: _________ Ref: 002721472A Owner: (JEAZ) Jessica Zanolari
Cabin: ____ Booking#: __________ Added-Changed: 03/15/08 – 03/16/08

Mr _________ came down at the desk wanting to complain about the Cruise Director’s announcement for the missing guest. Mr __________ stated that it was ridiculous that he should be woken at 3:30am. Purser explained that the guest was missing and the family were worried. Guest stated that he did not care and the family should be better parents. He then requested a one-day refund for the inconvenience because he had not been able to get back to sleep after the Cruise Director woke him. Purser said his comments would be forwarded to Guest Relations and to the Cruise Director. Cruise Director tasked to speak to guest and letter of apology sent.

3,515 guests………………one complaint…………………..not bad …………….. didn’t send him a full day refund but did send him the rest of my supply of Nyquil……………..hopefully he will sleep well tonight. As I hope do we all.

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.