I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy

March 21, 2008 -

John Heald

It was 1992 and I was staying at the Marriott Hotel on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard. I had just completed a 6-month contract on the Fantasy and was being transferred to the Ecstasy the following morning.

I was in the middle of watching a movie when the phone rang and when I answered it was the unmistakable Scottish accent of the then Vice President of Operations Brendan Corrigan.

Brendan told me that plans had changed and instead of going to the Ecstasy I would instead be going to the Tropicale as the ship needed a cruise director. He told me to be in the lobby of the hotel at 5 am and a driver would come and collect me and take me to the ship which if I remember was at the time sailing out of Port Canaveral…………or maybe it was Tampa………..anyway…….I had to be ready to go at 5 am.


I remember thinking to myself “bugger”………..not because of the 5 am thing but because the Ecstasy was the newest ship and I had felt proud that I was going there.

Anyway, I went to bed, set the alarm and that was me and my three suitcases standing in the lobby at 5 am. By the time 6 am came around I was starting to worry, had I misunderstood Brendan, was I supposed to meet the driver somewhere else. I considered calling him at home and it was I was trying to make this decision that the front of house desk person shouted over “Are you Mr. Heald?”……………well, considering she had just checked me out an hour ago and I was the only bugger there……….anyway, I told her I was and she said there was a phone call for me.

I took the phone and it was Brendan again and he began telling me that there had been another change of plan and that I was going to the Ecstasy……….now I really wanted to say “make your bloody mind up” but considering I liked my job I just said……….”ummmm………OK.” ……….and it was then that I heard a giggle on the other end of the phone……….the giggle turned into laughter and it was then that I realized what had happened………..it was and never had been Brendan…………….”Tim,” I said………..”Is that you?”…………”Yes,” he said …………”Gotcha,” he said………..and hung up.

It was Tim Harkelroad……….one of our comedian impressionists who was famous for his Brendan Corrigan impression. I couldn’t believe I had fallen for that.

I spoke to the check-in girl and asked for my room back but she said that I would have to pay the full day rate as I had checked out……………..so that was me…………….and my 3 suitcases……………..sitting in the lobby ……………. waiting until 10 am to go to the ship…………………bugger.

I guess this was pay back for the time I put cling film across his toilet and a red snapper fish nailed under his bed.

The reason I was mentioning this story was I met a couple from Scotland this morning at the coffee bar and the man’s accent reminded me of this story. The couple I am referring too are Mr. and Mrs. Roslyn who are originally from Scotland but now live in Canada and have done so for many years. They must both be in their 70s but their accents are as strong as ever………..again the reason I mention them is because last night I was asked by a guest which part of the States I was from……….they thought I had an American accent ………….. and they were from………………..the U.K…………………..worse even still ………… they were from Sussex…………..that’s just two counties away from where I was born and still live.

So there I was in the cigar bar with Ken the Maitre D when we approached by Alistair Linton and his wife……….they chatted with us for a while on how they were enjoying this their first cruise and after a few minutes they dropped the bomb shell………”Where are you from in America?”…………..

Now, don’t get me wrong I wasn’t upset that they thought I was from the good old USA but I am very proud to be British and never thought my accent sounded anything else but that…………..I told them and they were surprised and said my accent sounded more American than British. Ken of course was loving this. There is no doubting his accent which is Irish as a Shamrock covered in Irish Stew served by someone called Paddy O ‘Reilly who is singing Danny Boy because he just drank 14 pints of Guinness.

Later that night when I returned to the cabin I found myself sitting here at the computer talking………trying to hear if I sounded American…..I realized how stupid I was even trying that, something which Heidi agreed on immediately.

I guess you do grow like those you live with and it could have been worse …………that goodness I don’t live in you-know-where!

Here is a letter for the In Their Own Words Section

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Here are today’s random photos:

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John and Ken and a lopsided smile

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Heidi and the host team

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The new Carnival Freedom cruise director, Noortje Denteneer, unitl Aprith 5th when Todd returns

Time for some Q and A………………here we go.

Just before we start I heard from Susan who had to return for more time in hospital following that terrible car crash. She is back home now and continues to thank everyone for their kindness. We wish her well and hope that she will join us again soon here on the blog thingy.

Here we go.

GREG B / MICHELLE………You and a few others, including Michelle, asked if I have ever seen a program called “Deadliest Catch”? No, I haven’t but certainly after speaking to my fishing friend it certainly sounds much more dangerous than you would imagine. Thank you and thank you Michelle for your postings and I wish you both well.

DMINX………………………..I see you can’t believe that an Angel like me would have done what I did to my grandparents’ teeth. You asked if it was true……yes and there are many more stories I could tell you about what a naughty boy I was but that would ruin the Angelic image you all have of me. Thanks for asking the question though and all the best to you. Cheers.

PAUL S………………………..Thank you for sending me the link about the radio station in Kentucky that was speaking about the Spring Break cruise. I want to stress again that it was a minority of the group that caused the many problems and that were so very rude. I have received one or two nasty e-mails which I will not post for obvious reasons. In these e-mails they state that my account of what happened was false and that the group was well behaved all week. Not only do we have an incident report of over 30 pages of incidents regarding some of these kids but I have also received comments from people within the group who were embarrassed at their behavior. Anyway mate, that is in the past and here is to the future. Good luck to you, hope to see you soon.

MYRA BUSHNELL………….Your question was “Are DJ’s momma and Linda Mom of DJ the same person?” No, is the answer but you are right that it is interesting that the two have such similar names. Thank you for wishing the Captain a Happy Birthday and for all your other kind words.

MARLENE DUVELL…………You asked which ship I will be on in May 2009 and I have to say, unfortunately, I have no idea. I hope to be able to tell you more in the summer. I am glad you had so much fun on the Bloggers Cruise and I am sure your husband is a lot of fun and if not we will make him have fun the next time we are all together. Heidi and I send our best to you both.

MARK TWAIN AND A HALF……Your question was “Will Al Ernst be on the Bloggers Cruise?” He is certainly going to be invited and along with some surprise acts it will be a fantastic week of entertainment. I hope you and your other half are well and thanks for all your support for the blog.

POPCORN GAL….….You asked if Lance was producing the “Climb This” T-shirt. Just so we clear this up once and for all, I am going to kindly ask that either Lance or Big Ed slap on a posting telling us what is happening. Thanks for asking the question and thank you for reading the blog as often as you do. Cheers.

JUDY…………………………..Congratulations on your first Platinum cruise on the Carnival Valor. Chris Jefferson will be your Cruise Director and you can expect fun and all the special things that come with Platinum status. If you have any questions or concerns there is a special Concierge section at the information desk and look forward to your own personalized stationary waiting for you in your cabin. Have a wonderful cruise. Cheers.

CHRISTINE DOXSEE……….Welcome back from your cruise last week here on the Carnival Freedom. Heidi passed on your message to me and I am sorry I didn’t get to meet you personally. Thank you very much for all your kind words and I am sorry to say I have a negative answer to your question. The DVD are no longer available from that cruise and this is something that I think we should work on and change so that Master copies are kept longer. Anyway, it was great to have you with us and I wish you much happiness and hopefully I will see you and your family soon. Until then, please keep reading the blog thingy.

SEAN AND MELISSA MURPHY….Hello you two. It’s great to hear from you. Your question was, “Are there any rules about crew members getting together romantically”? Simple answer to this is no. Although, relationships on board are much more complicated. They happen very quickly and are much more intense. I remember in the old days it was even worse. I once had a woman banging on my door all night long and finally I had to let her out. Heidi sends her best to you, as do I and we hope to hear from you again soon.

JO MYERLY…………………..Your question was about the strange object in the middle of Steve Cassel’s head. Honestly, I have no idea as sometimes I have no idea what the color of the sky is in his world. I do know that he is a very funny man. I do hope you and Dave are well and Heidi and I think of you often.

JOHN H. ………………………Your question John was, “Am I going on the Princess ship as a crew member or a passenger?” I am going on as a guest and will not be working short of posting daily blogs on my experiences. You also asked if the Cruise Director know I am coming. I doubt it but I will certainly be making a point of introducing myself to him or her. I hope you will enjoy sharing my Princess cruise via the blog thingy. Thanks mate as always.

BIG MIKE / SHERIFF ROSCO P. COLTRANE…This town is big enough for the both of you and I need all the help I can get. Cheers.

ASHLEY……I am happy to tell you that your friend Wee Jimmy is currently serving as Cruise Director on the Carnival Conquest. Are you cruising there? Please tell Sarah that I am looking forward to meeting her as well on the Carnival Splendor. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you and all the best.

LAMB KNUCKLES………..Thanks for the posting. You asked how the poor lady who had her false teeth flush down the toilet had them cleaned. I don’t think she bothered………Do you know what, honestly, I have no idea. Let’s just hope she did. You also asked about the Marriage Show and if it is the same as the Newly Wed game. No, it is different to the Newlywed Game. I have honeymooners (the ladies) on stage and it’s all about improv with the husbands and other married couples in the lounge. Regards to you and the rest of the lambs (I will have one for dinner tonight………KIDDING!!) Cheers.

LEANNE BANKS…………I wanted to say how happy I was that you have found my blog thing and I hope it gives you daily laughter. It seems that you have had a few tough years and reading that people like Ron and myself brought you some happiness makes me feel very humble. Reading your memories brought many back for myself as well and I remember all those slinkies that people brought us. Ron is here with me on the Carnival Freedom and I truly hope that one day soon you and your entire family walk up the gangway of the ship that I am on and we can create new memories together. Heidi and I send you our very best and thank you for the fantastic posting.

KATHY.G…………………Although you have no specific question, I just wanted to welcome you to the blog thingy. Thank you for your first posting and I hope it will be one of many in the future.

As you can see today, I have just answered those comments with specific questions. I read every single one and I thank you very much for all of your kind words and thoughts. I have to say that unfortunately due to packing ……….well, watching Heidi pack anyway and the closure of my time here on the Carnival Freedom and all the paperwork that involves, my time was limited.

Over the next few weeks I will be on board the Emerald Princess and then in Europe. Answering your comments may be difficult so I need to ask for your kind permission in setting up a procedure. If you have something that needs my urgent attention, please can you mark your comment “JOHN URGENT – PLEASE REPLY.” If I see this, I will reply immediately. Please though, keep your comments coming, I will take the time to read them and I promise you at least one blog every day right up until the time when I join the Carnival Freedom again in May when I will return to answering all your comments and questions.

Your comments mean the world to me and I do hope I can count on you to keep them coming and even though I may not reply to them all I promise you that they are very important to Heidi and I. ……………….thank you so much.

Well I am finally able to post the Cruise Director Schedule. This is subject to a few minor changes but for now…………it looks like this.

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It’s little things that happen that can turn into big things.

Here is an example.

Yesterday just before the Motown Happy hour in the Dance Club I received a call from the DJ saying he had no power at all and therefore had no lights or sound. I called the technician and after a few moments he realized that this fault was a major concern and so it was that I called the Staff Chief Engineer and the Electronic Engineer and their teams to assist. Three hours later they fixed it.

Now the engineers amongst you will be waiting for a detailed explanation on what happened and they did tell me but considering you could write what I know about electronics on the inside of a flea’s thigh you will have to make do with “something blew up”…………..which it did.

Now this problem caused me to cancel the Motown Happy hour. I moved the happy hour bar prices to another lounge with live music so guests would still be able to enjoy the night. It also meant that the Camp Carnival had to cancel their 8pm – 9pm kids disco for the 9 – 11 year old kids. Instead, they played games and had fun…………….everyone was OK with this ………… well ……….. nearly everyone.

Good evening John,

Please find attached the requested CRS, ____ – Could not go into the disco
Ms ———– came to the Information desk and said that she was very upset with a situation that happened with her and her friends at the 70’s Disco today. Ms ———— said that today at 7 pm supposed to have, as per the Carnival caper a 60’s & Motown happy hour. Ms —– said that her and all her friends went there at 7 pm but when they got there, they were informed that they were having some technical issues and would not be able to play the music. Ms —— stated that she was informed by the staff member that the Happy Hour had been moved to the International Lounge with the Karaoke party.

Ms _________ said that this was unacceptable and that the ship was entitled to free drinks as Carnival had advertised something they could not deliver and that she wanted to speak to John

Purser tasked to Cruise Director for updates with regards the technical issues.

Ahhhhhh yes……….free drinks for the entire ship…………..oh yes……….it rained last night and we had to cancel the midnight movie under the stars…………..free Rolex watches for everyone.

So, tonight I will introduce the shows from behind the curtain as I am not allowed to work anymore. I find this so frustrating. Tomorrow while Heidi packs I have a day of appraisals with 30 plus staff members having appointments with me so it will be a long day.

Today in Jamaica the sun shone down most of the day and I wish I had found the time to go ashore. One couple who did go ashore was Jessica and Paul. They met at the new event we started here this week called Blind Date which is based on the Dating Game show popular in my home country of the United States.

It went over very well and we had a lot of fun…………….especially with Jessica and Paul who went on the Highlights tour together. Paul choose Jessica from 3 girls he could not see and after asking various questions he choose her. We will find out tonight when we interview them to see how the date went. What made it interesting was Paul is 70 and Jessica is a few years younger……….both lost their spouses recently……………………….I wonder if this is the start of something special? I will let you know.

It’s time for dinner and being American I have thrown away all my Spotted Dick and replaced it with Apple Pie. I am selling the Range Rover and buying a Chevrolet and a Winnebago. On my Eye Pod I have only Willie Nelson, Box Car Willie and Neil Diamond.

The Stars and Stripes have replaced my Union Jack underwear and I now love Judge Judy and want Dr. Phil to help me with my constant farting problem. I hate soccer and love the NFL and instead of sating mate I now say “Dude.”

Well Monsieur Bell has nearly packed his bags. He is hanging on for dear life and can only be found in my still lopsided smile, my droopy slightly blood shot eye and my inability to whistle. I also stopped taking the steroids and anti thingies today which I am very happy about. Heidi is happier though as honestly they really affected me in so many ways. They made me hyper active…………..then tired………….and worst of all in the mornings my bottom would sound like a punctured Sumo wrestler.

This blog was written in an American Accent.

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.