Pandora's Box

March 18, 2008 -

John Heald

I went to see the doctor this morning to see if Mr. Bell was any closer to packing his bag and returning to the land of garlic and that is when I met Peter Edwards from Des Moines, Iowa.

Good morning everyone. It is now 7:30pm and the ship is docked in Cozumel. The weather (more about that later) was beautiful once again and everyone has had a great time. ………………except Peter Edwards………….whom as a blog reader himself has given me permission to talk about.

Why was he in the infirmary?…………….Let me give you a clue. He is as red as the smokestack and his legs look like mine used after I once put loads of pop rocks candy in the cats litter tray and my dad gave my legs the good news with his slipper. His arms, stomach and, worst of all, his back were on fire and so strong was the heat emanating from him that I was tempted to shove an egg and a few rashers of bacon on him and have breakfast.

Peter had become victim to one of the most common reasons why people visit the ships infirmary…………..sunburn…………and this case was bad. So bad, in fact, that Peter was being given proper medicine and not just told to rub some of that green slug slime you often see people applying. I chatted with Peter who told me that yesterday at sea he had fallen asleep for a “few hours” on Lido deck and during the night he had been sick and, of course, the fever and pains that come with human barbecues.

So, Peter has spent the day in bed being cared for by his fiancé Sheila who I am sure once Peter says “I feel better” will administer her own form of medicine for having her miss a day in Cozumel……………………something tells me though that Peter and the Sun will not be close for many years to come.

I was chatting with Doc Dave today and talking about sunburn cases and he said something that surprised me. The Doc said that some of his “colleagues” back home believe that all cruise ship doctors treat is sunburn and sea sickness………….I couldn’t believe my ears………………well one of them as the left one is where Mr. Bell is staying and I can hear bugger all out of that one.

That really did surprise me though and of course that statement couldn’t have been further from the truth. Yes, they do see people like Peter and yes they do have people who come down and want something to stop them feeling unwell when the ship may encounter rough seas………………oh yes……………..and they also see………..people with serious pre-existing medical conditions and treat every kind of illness and injury that a medium-sized town’s hospital would.

There are 3,500 people onboard the ship and that means they bring with them their problems and of course as you will have seen in previous blogs that they have saved lives…………many times.

The Love Boat didn’t help as the most serious thing the doctor there ever treated was a case of love sickness but I can tell you that every week around the world a cruise ship infirmary team somewhere will save a life………………pure and simple.

Of course, they also look after the crew in so many ways and as sailors it is comforting to know that you have professionals onboard who will always be there for us.

Many of you…………..and I hope all of you………..will never have to meet these ladies and gentlemen but today you should know that cruise ship medical facilities and the professionals who run them have never been better ……………. saying that he still hasn’t managed to tell Mr. Bell to bugger off.

I will check in on Peter tomorrow and we all send him our best…………he is available for hire should anyone need their homes heated.

I am going to post a few photos now of some of the Cruise Directors. Many of you seem to like to know who is on what ship so I though this may help. I will slap on a few more later in the week.

First of all here is the lovely and talented Shawn Bussey who is currently on the Carnival Spirit. Shawn’s favorite hobby is collecting tropical fish and she has a huge tank of them in her cabin. If anyone wants to bring her a fish I am sure she would love that and respond in kind.


Next up we have Butch Begovitch who is one of our newest Cruise Directors. He is currently serving on the Carnival Fantasy. His dance classes are legendary and although still new at the job will become a star of our future.


Here is Steve Knisley who is the Cruise Director on the Carnival Liberty. Steve has been blessed with a great sense of humour and is a firm favorite with many of our guests.


Finally today here is my mate Chris Jefferson. He is on the Carnival Valor and as anyone who has sailed with him will tell you he is very funny and his dry British sense of humour is hilarious. This is one of the reasons he has become one of our top Cruise Directors.


Here are some random photos from today in Cozumel.


Cozumel Coca Cola


The Mexican flag


A Mexican drug store


The new pier looking good


The Liberty sailing away

On we go as I try and play catch up with comments and questions. Today is one of those days where I will have to answer ones that have direct questions ……. please forgive me as I have a show in an hour and tomorrow is a busy day at sea.

Here we go.

DAN B……………………….……Thank you for the laugh, I never thought to say that and wish now that I had done. Cheers mate.

LUIS AND MARIA TORRES…..Thank you for saying Happy St. Patrick’s Day and for the link, which was excellent. I am glad to see you have a good Irish last name. All the best, thanks for reading the blog thingy.

TOM BURKE…………………….I did not know that about Hugh Laurie. The boat race I remember is the one where the Cambridge boat sank. It was the only time I was really interested. I wanted to say thank you for your kind words and I hope you continue to read the blog thingy.

LOIS SLAPTHEBACKOFTHEIRLEGSSKI………I wish you had been here to do that to those kids. Hope all is well Lois. We both miss you.

JERI GREEN……………………Your question was: “How can I continue to be so polite?” I admit, it is hard but I have found that kindness and a big smile in times like the Kentucky kids were screaming at me, is the best form of defense. However, there are times when I feel like taking off my nametag and inserting my foot in their bottoms. Thank you again and I do hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

MICHELLE AND TOM………..I will still be on board all day March 22. I will be walking around the ship showing some people the vessel. I am sure you will run in to me. I certainly hope so. Heidi and I send our best to you. Have a fantastic cruise.

CRUISIN BRIAN………………You asked if there were going to be many 18-25 year olds when you cruise next week. The majority of children will be just that……..younger kids and not so many Spring Breakers. I hope you have a fantastic time and I do hope that when you get back, you will catch up on the blogs. Cheers mate.

RB GATES……………. You and many others, it seems, are deeply concerned about the plight of the lady with the green hair. Following her letter and our conversation I arranged for her to have a complimentary hair emergency operation in the Spa. Our professional stylist did a wonderful job and, although there was a touch of green/grey highlights, you could never tell, unless you were really close. Apparently, you should never go in a swimming pool or Jacuzzi after having dyed your hair………who knew? I really should inform people of this……actually, no I won’t, it’s too much fun. Thanks mate, hope all is well with you and your hair.

SANDRA……………………….You asked if the Carnival Pride has a large movie screen and/or will she receive one during her dry dock period. Unfortunately, the big screens are reserved only for the Destiny and Conquest class ships and will not be placed on the Spirit class. Please let me know if you have any other questions and I remain at your service.

JERI GREEN…………………You asked if somebody will be able to send a copy of my blog to Rick Pitino, the basketball coach. I have actually asked PA 007 to see if they can research a way to get this done. I am sure he will be upset to read how badly behaved his Godson was, especially to some of our female employees. I will let you know if I ever hear back from him. Thanks mate.

SHELLY………………..……..You asked how long I will be on the Carnival Splendor. I do not have an exact sign-off date, however, it will be sometime in December. I am looking forward to starting a new ship, however, the thing I am looking forward to the most is when Mr. Bell returns to France. I hope you have a great week and the best from us both.

BIG ED…….Great advice but given far too late. You could have saved me many visits to the dog house. You asked me if I had heard anything from Maria and I still have not. I know she will be fine and I really hope we hear from her soon. Please send our best to Mrs. Big Ed who looks lovely in anything. Cheers mate.

LOOKINGFORWARDTOTHESMOKEFREECARNIVALLIBERTYANDSHOCKINGJOHNANDDIANE……..I agree mate. Let me know if this is what you want to do nearer the time. We will put the plan into action. Cheers.

LINDA HERNACKI…………Linda, you asked if I will ever come back to do Caribbean cruising. I am not sure what is happening next year. I will tell you that the plan is for me to definitely be the Cruise Director for the crossing back to the States of the Carnival Splendor and the special two- and four-day cruises that are taking place before the ship begins 7-day Caribbean service. I certainly hope that somehow, we can find a way for us to be on a ship together at the same time. Thank you for the kind wishes and our best to you and Mike.

EVA B………………………..You asked about the Carnival Dream. At this time there is little I can tell you except she is due to be delivered from the shipyard in Trieste in October 2009. As far as her itinerary, I have no news on this and when I do, I will make sure I share it with all of you. I look forward to seeing you in July and let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

SPIDER….……You asked about the port of Barcelona and what to do there. We have some fantastic tours. Most of which center around the work of Gaudi. You must see the Sagrada de la Familia cathedral and his other unique architectural wonders. These can be visited on the Barcelona Highlights Tour. The other option is to visit my favorite place, Montserrat. Built high up in the mountains, you arrive by train at one of the most peaceful spots in the world and view the famous cathedral. You can also visit Las Ramblas, which is the heartbeat of Barcelona and you have free time for this after the Barcelona Highlights Tour. Let me know if you need anything else and I am here for you. Cheers.

LAUREN…………………….Yep, you asked for me to confirm and the answer is….900 children on board. Thanks Lauren, wish you were here.

ALAN D……………………..I am glad your wife appreciated the birthday wishes, it was my pleasure. Let me answer your questions. The best time to board the ship is between noon and 1 pm. Although on occasion, embarkation does start at 11 am, more often than not we start later, between 11:30 am and noon. Arriving at noon means you check in and walk straight on board. If the rooms are not ready you just relax on the open decks and enjoy lunch and a cocktail. That’s what I would do anyway. You can rent tuxedos on board. You can do this on embarkation day and there is no need to pre-book but as Big Ed showed you at his posting, you are able to do so, if you wish. Confirming your dining reservation is always difficult and we are presently not able to do this. We always do our best to provide guests with their preferred seating choice; however, this is not always possible. I will tell you that late seating is more popular in general than early so I do not expect you to have any concerns. Have a wonderful cruise and all the best.

LISA…………………………Thank you for posting again and thank you for all your kind get well wishes. You asked when Carnival will release the 2009 summer and fall schedules. This will be soon. Most likely in the next couple of months. If I hear anything in advance I will of course let you know. Thank you again Lisa and thanks for reading the blog.

SANDY………………………I really wanted to do a dedication for your friends, however, they are not showing as being on board. Is it definitely this week? Are there names Scott and Heather Dery? Please confirm and I can take care of them. Cheers.

TERESA C..…You asked what pop socks were. They are socks made of the same material like tights, just shorter (above the ankle). I would take a photo of Heidi in them but that would involve me spending a life sentence with the Dogs. Mr. Bell is still with me and I hope he leaves soon. Thank you Teresa. All the best.

KICIASKI………………….No, Mr. Bell is still with me……..bugger. I asked, as you requested, for the demographics of the Carnival Sensation’s 3-day cruise in March. Most of the kids will have returned to school, however, there are still just under 300 sailing. You may encounter the last remains of Spring Break but I am sure you and George will have a wonderful time. Please can you e-mail me your cabin number? Many thanks and Heidi and I look forward to our next time together on board.

ADAM GUIZDALA……….Adam, please don’t feel the need to apologize for your fellow Spring Breakers. The majority were wonderful and just like yourself, had a fantastic time. I have passed on your thanks to all those who you mentioned, especially PYARE, the pizza chef, who as you mentioned, was treated so badly by the Kentucky students. As to your words for me, I am deeply grateful and I wish you much success in your chosen career. I hope you find time in your studies to take a pause and read the blog and my best to everyone at the University of Michigan. Cheers mate.

CRUISING SUE………….I will be posting daily blogs from the Emerald Princess. We are both excited to experience this fantastic vessel and hopefully the review will help your clients. Many thanks for your continued support of the blog thingy. Cheers!

ELLEN…………………….I am glad the highlight of your cruise was me in my dress as Dolly. I have not had a 10-year-old fan before and I thank you so much for saying I am a celebrity. I am glad also that you said the dress does not make me look fat. A kid’s slot machine for the arcade is a great idea and instead of paying money, like we do for mummy and daddy, we could pay with chocolate or toys. It’s a great idea and maybe when you are older you could be a Cruise Director. I think you are my youngest blogger and that makes you very special. Please say hello to your mum and dad and thank them for bringing you on the cruise. Please write to me soon. Bye!

KEVIN…………………….Thank you for offering mate to be spending some time in the kitchen on the Bloggers Cruise, I think it is a great idea. Especially if you are cooking Spotted Dick. Cheers mate.

MATT………………………Hello Matt. I hope this blog catches you before you sail on the Carnival Imagination on Thursday. I wish I would have the time to meet you for that sugar free dessert but my schedule does not allow for this treat, however, I hope you will find the time to pass on my regards to Jorge, the Cruise Director and tell him to stop telling all my jokes. Many thanks mate, have a great cruise and please write when you get back.

GREG B…The CruiseCritic and CruiseMates boards certainly have been a huge part of the success of this blog. You asked what the next milestone will be. Well, I just hope that people keep reading and as long as they do, I will do my best to keep the blog fresh and entertaining. As always Greg, it is an honor to write to you and please send my kindest regards to everyone at

CAROL SCHOENBERGER..You asked Carol if I will be the Cruise Director on the Carnival Dream. Although I cannot say for definite just yet, that is the plan. When I read people want to cruise based on, if I am on the ship or not, I feel very humbled and truly honored. Thank you Carol and I hope we will be together very soon. All the best, please write soon.

RUTH JAMISON……………Hello Ruth. You asked about the 2009 Mediterranean cruises. The Carnival Freedom will sail to the Grand Med and Greece and Turkey from Civitavecchia while the Carnival Liberty will sail from Dover to the Baltic. The Blue Mosque is a must see, hopefully this time your husband will get a change to witness this incomparable place. Thanks Ruth and all the best.

TERESA AND PAUL B…….You asked for my recommendations for tours in Cozumel and Ocho Rios. Can you give me an idea of the kind of activity you enjoy? (swimming, snorkeling or island tours etc.) This will enable me to recommend the best ones for you. Thanks to you both and I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

STEVE_PAUL……………….I am glad you have posted for the first time and although you didn’t have a question, I wanted to say thank you for joining us here on the blog and I hope I get to read a few more postings from you in the weeks ahead. Welcome and my best to you and your family.

MARK TWAIN AND A HALF……..Thank you for the five bottles of Windex rating. Let me know if I ever get that again. Cheers mate.

I am going to stop there and will answer all the comments and questions tomorrow. Please forgive me if I didn’t answer yours today but I read all of them and appreciate very much the kind words and fun comments.

I would like you to meet Andrew and Megan Ewing.


I met these great people last night. Andrew worked as a Bartender on the one and only Queen Elizabeth 2 and his is a true love story. It was while he was working there that he met Megan Scripps whose family were and still are true Cunaders. Megan was a regular passenger on the vessel and had literally grown up on the vessel. She was known by all the crew especially these who had been around a long time and watched her change from a young 5 year old to a beautiful woman. They fell in love instantly Andrew told me but due to the strict rules and regulations onboard theirs was a forbidden love. So strong was their passion that Andrew left his position and they recently got married and as you can see have a new addition to the family. Megan told me that her family recently bid on a Cunard auction and bought the original Captain’s chair which now sits proudly in their home. This is another example of the fact that you never know who is onboard………and another example of a true ocean romance.

I just returned from the show where my mate and great comedian Al Ernst performed. When I walked out on stage I was confronted by a sea of green as all the proud Irish folks celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. They had decided not just to celebrate by wearing the national colour but also by keeping up the national pastime of drinking…………..a lot.

So it was that as I started the show the heckling began with a very happy man close to the front who shouted something in a language called drunkanese. I had no idea what he was saying and I was about to say something when his wife or partner took care of the situation for me. She was lady of rounded proportions and with the whole audience looking on she clamped her very large hand over his mouth and to our amazement took her over hand and twisted his ear until it was nearly as red as our poor sunburn victim Peter.
Now, this was done in full view of 1,000 people who were focused on Mr. Drunkanese and now watched as with this lady used her Ninja skills to subdue him. Some of the audience applauded and I simply said on the microphone that we have (just like the airlines) show marshals secretly hidden around the lounge and that she was one of them. I was going to take this a bit further and have more fun with this couple but my sixth sense seemed to tell me she was in no mood and if I pushed this any further I may be subjected to the same punishment that had Mr. Drunkanese in such pain and humilation……so I said nothing.

I heard nothing more from him during the show but I did sense that many of the audience had been sampling the delights of Cozumel’s margaritas. So, it was time to take some of that energy out of them and therefore we did the Mexican wave and 1,000 people did it perfectly…………….it was quite a sight.

The only person who didn’t do it was Mr. Drunkanese who would have found it difficult considering he had 300 pounds of wife dragging him out of the showroom as we did it……..I wouldn’t want to be him as having a few extra beers was about to result in pain and agony from hands the size of tennis rackets.

After the show I met Al and I walked around the ship and he received the usual comments on how funny he was, etc. We then walked out to the Deck Party and there we saw Mr.Drunkanese and his wife. I walked over to say hello and that’s when I realized I may have made a grave and dreadful mistake………………..he may have been happy………….he may have had a few drinks………….but the reason I couldn’t understand what he was saying was because he was from Russia………….he spoke no English and neither did his wife who looked at me with the most evil of stares that I was only a few moments away from asking for a roll of toilet paper.

I tried to communicate with him and as we shook hands he smiled and held up his drink and I used the only Russian word I know which is Nostrovia …….. cheers……………”Nostrovia,” he said and smiled …………..I looked at his wife ………….this was the largest lady I had ever seen and most of her mass was muscle……………….”Nostrovia,” I said and Al joined me in the greeting ………but all she did was stare at us and we both new that it was time to run…………..very fast………………so we did.

There is a myth that in ancient times the Gods stored all the world’s evil in a small box and buried it deep in the Ocean. That box was called Pandora’s Box…………….I think she found it………..and ate it for breakfast.


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.