One of the things Heidi and I had talked about on the journey from Miami to Fort Lauderdale was the question of how long it would take before someone recognized me.

Heidi said within the first hour and I said not until the first sea day ………….. well……………. it took ………………35 minutes…………………….once again Heidi was right and I was wrong………..what a shocker………………..more about that later.

It’s a funny old world…………… minute you are standing on stage with a patch over your eye on the Carnival Freedom……………..then you are in meetings in the office in Miami…………and now here I am sitting in cabin A734 (the A stands for Aloha) with the balcony doors open writing to all my friends.

Oh, just before I continue…………….it’s 64 degrees here today and the Miamians obviously feel that a new ice age has begun as they the leather jackets are out and I even saw someone wearing a scarf this morning……………………..what’s the point of living in Florida and owning a scarf?…………………anybody would think we were in Alaska rather than Fort Lauderdale…………

Oh, by the way ……………what’s the point of having a weatherman or weather lady in Alaska?………… you really need to pay someone to tell you it’s as cold as a penguin’s bottom? Anyway, here we are as I said, the balcony door is open, the breeze is blowing, Heidi is unpacking and swearing in Dutch, German and English and we are both amazed……….simply gobsmacked at the welcome we have received.

This welcome has come in two forms. The official welcome from a bottle of bubbly and some flowers from my friend Rai Caluori who is the Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations……………..Heidi was overjoyed with the flowers being from Holland and even told me the Latin names which are…………..the red ones are Smellius Stinkus and the yellow ones are Orchids Expensivus and are lovely.

We then received a call from the Passenger Services Director Martin Ford who is a fellow Brit and a true gentleman. He invited us to the bridge for sailing which is quite an honour. So, the official welcome has been amazing.

However, the welcome I was more interested in seeing was the one from the crew and all I can say so far …………it’s been brilliant…………………let me explain.

Once we had got passed the miserable security guards that work at all ship and airport terminals……………….ours was particularly rude and obviously someone had peed in her cornflakes that morning we were checked in quickly and boarded the Emerald Princess and immediately were cocooned in a world of happy and truly friendly crew. Now, having worked on a cruise ship for 20 years I can pretty much tell when a crew member is just in the robotic “here is a guest I must be nice and say hello” mode or the crew member that is as pleased to see you as he or she would be their own family and friends.

The welcome started as soon as we stood by the elevator waiting for it to arrive to take us to deck 12. The lobby area and the elevator its self was manned by two casino employees who welcomed us aboard, asked our deck and as the elevator started its journey the young lady from Hungary asked us where we were from and if this was our first cruise………….I told her we were both from Alabama which caused Heidi to punch me in the ribs and for Rajina our elevator pilot to have a good laugh.

We then met our Stateroom Steward whose name is Pairut from Thailand ………………………………..and who has a smile that would melt the ice on that penguin’s bottom I was just talking about.

You know………..I hope everyone reading the blog takes the time to learn about the crew the next time you cruise……………….I promise it will enhance the cruise so much more. Let me tell you about Pairut. He arrived today having flown in on Sunday and like me he spent three hours at the pleasure of Immigration. He is on his fourth contract with Princess and he loves…………and I mean …………..loves his job.

He misses his family very much and tomorrow he is going to show some photos to me…………………………he gave us a wonderful welcome and left us with the most endearing of welcomes in his own language …………….with hands together as if in prayer he said “sava decap”………………which is, no doubt, spelled incorrectly but who cares………… was a wonderful gesture and one that was to resonate around the vessel as we began our walk………………………..

I wonder though if Pairut will still be smiling when he has to pick my underwear up off the bathroom floor……………………..”sava de cap” may turn into………… “sava picup decrap”………………….but I doubt it.

We walked around the ship and of course I will be writing about all the areas later in the blog thingies but I want to concentrate on the crew just for now. Our first stop was……………….and I know this will come as a complete and utter shock ……………………..the Lido Deck Horizon Restaurant as it was 2 pm and time for my pill which I have to take with food……………..well, that’s my excuse anyway.

Heidi wanted to eat outside and there is a fabulous place for that over looking the aft part of the ship…………..more about that later. So, while Heidi went to get our lunch and I wandered outside looking for a vacant space. I was met by a very handsome young man whose name I have forgotten …………… bugger …………. that’s not his name…………….just bugger I cannot remember it.

What I do remember is that he was from Mexico and that is a place I cannot remember meeting many crew, if any, from before. he was a bar staff member and he asked me if I was looking for a table and directed me to a lovely spot over looking the aft pool. He asked me if I had been onboard the ship before and after a brief conversation where I discovered he was from Mexico City and on his second contract he left to get me a Diet Coke and Heidi a Heineken …………………………………………

Heidi wanted me to tell you that she had a glass of water but as she is currently making sure that my socks are folded correctly I shall take great pleasure in telling you that she had a beer………………at 2 pm. Heidi returned with two bowls of Pumpkin Soup and a plate of short ribs and vegetables……………………it was delicious. As we ate we overheard our first example that no matter what ship you sail on a passenger is a passenger……………………….”Morris, let’s go to complain …………I asked for early sitting and we got something else”…………….poor Morris looked like he would rather have tied a piece of my short rib around his neck and shoved his head in a lions mouth than follow Mrs. Battleaxe on her way to complain. She was a minority though as the ambiance started to take shape and the people looked as we did…………….amazed and impressed at this gorgeous ship and her outstandingly friendly crew.

After lunch I took the opportunity of being outside and as I stood up I let my wind break free and we continued our walk. We booked a table at Sabatini’s for tomorrow night and the Crown Grill for the following night. Each time we were met with smiles and hellos and more great smile

Heidi now wanted coffee so we headed for The Piazza. The last time I visited the ship time did not allow me to sit and take in the atmosphere but this time I had all the time in the world…………..or at least until boat drill.

The Piazza is so well designed as it is simply an area of entertainment and relaxation. There are no desks to purchase tours or for Mrs. Battleaxe to moan about her dining time. What the Piazza does is provide a coffee bar, complimentary daily deserts ………………yes, that’s right …………..complimentary and by the way you can pay $3 for a toffee apple………..there are days when you want to beat yourself up for being diabetic and seeing that toffee apple today was one of them.

Also in the Piazza you will find a wine bar, an internet cafe and most importantly of all…………………seating that is comfortable and inviting as a sign that says “come on in, there is free beer served by Jessica Simpson.”

You know, that’s half the secret right there……………not having Jessica Simpson serve beer but comfortable seating…………….if you have this then people will want to sit, buy a coffee or a glass of wine which is exactly what the Piazza is designed to do. If you have chairs (which some ships and many restaurants on land have) that feel like you have just sat on a porcupine then all the plans and amenities you have won’t be used.

The Piazza also has wonderful and unique live entertainment including street performers, jugglers, lions and performing seals…………….OK………………..I am joking of course…………there are no jugglers.

The young lady who served our coffee was from the Ukraine and I when I spoke to her in Russian she hit me with her tray…………….apparently instead of saying “May I have two cappuccinos, please” I actually said “May I pass gas in your shoe “………………………kidding………………..

I did speak to her using the little Russian I know and she was very grateful. Again, you are going to have to forgive me because like Paris Hilton taking a third grade test I failed miserably by not writing her name down. However this tall beautiful young lady did not just serve the coffees she stood and chatted with us. When she said thank you and started to leave I tried my Russian again this time saying “spasiba, dosvadania,” which I thought meant “thank you and good afternoon.” Apparently though it meant “you smell of rotten caviar ” and she gave me the good news with the tray.

Seriously though this young lady was yet another shining example of the crew who were making such an impression on me………………and as I looked around the Piazza I could see they were making the same impression on all the passengers.

It was while I was sitting in the Piazza and enjoying a cappuccino that I looked up and found I was suddenly surrounded by four passengers who had used stealth technology and without warning appeared by our table. They were Bob and Susan Grigsby and Adrienne and John Logan who are blog readers and cruised with me in Europe on the Carnival Liberty. We hugged and had photos taken and a great chat. Just after they left another couple came over and I went through the same process with Dennis and Margaret Evans………..the only difference was that Margaret was screaming at the top of her voice “Oh my God, oh my God, it’s John, it’s John” as though it was George Clooney sitting there drinking a cappuccino…………….naked.

After I had untangled myself from Mrs. Evans arms and our conversation ended with photos and hugs I sat down again. Heidi looked at me non-plussed as she is used to this by now………….however a couple who were seated at the next table lent across and said “I am sorry to bother you but are you famous?”…………………

I know……………I shouldn’t have……………..but I couldn’t help myself …………….. “yes” I said…………….I have my own sitcom on BBC America…………….What is it called,”asked the passenger……………after a quick pause I said “My Little Thingy” ……………”Oooh,” she said, I will have to watch it when I get home ………………..”Can I take your photo?”…………….”Yes,” I said…………….so she did!

I was invited to the bridge for sailing and met the charming Captain Giorgio Pomata whose interview we featured on yesterday’s blog. He is one of those Captains who you feel immediately at home with and who you know has the huge responsibility of this incredible ship resting on his shoulders. I also met Passenger Services Director Martin Ford and if you want to know the reason the crew are so friendly………………it’s him.

Friendliness has to start at the top and as we said goodbye to the Captain we walked together back into the guest areas and there was Martin saying hello to every passenger and just as importantly……………..every crewmember as well…………………….bravo Martin.

Joining us for the walk back was the ship’s Cruise Director James Lay. James was born to be a CD………………..that’s the best compliment I can give him……………there is nothing false…………..nothing pretentious…………….he is just James and once again there he was saying hello to every passenger many of which had obviously sailed with him before and were obviously so very happy to see him again……………….that’s an amazing testament.

We went to see the sail away party which had a Jamaican feel to it and as the calypso band played a song called “The Big Bamboo” the passengers danced and had a wonderful time. The happiest man on the ship must have been the bar manager as the waiters and bartenders probably wished they were Octopuses (is that a word?) so they could serve seven people at a time…………….I know it should be eight but they need one to carry the tray.

James and I chatted about the job and I hope he got as much out of our meeting as I did……..he is a great guy and I am immensely looking forward to seeing his show tonight.

Well, its now 7:15pm and time for me to get ready and send this first blog thingy. I will pick up the story from dinner onwards later tonight. However, enjoy the photos and I have to say that today I understand already why this company and this ship are so highly thought of……………………I am honoured to be here.


Gifts Galore


Heidi at lunch


The British Ensign


Friendly Crew and Tasty Pastries


John’s coffee


The Gingsbys and the Logans


The Piazza


The Piazza


Vines, the wine bar


Vines, the wine bar


The Maasdam sailing away


Guests having fun


Guests having fun


Blogging in the cabin

I have one complaint………………..and you are going to think I am making this up……………….I promise and swear on all I love I really am not……………………In the cabin next to us and the in the next five are all occupied by people from……………………….France………………………..yep ……………………………Murphy has crapped on me yet again……………………..France.

Heidi thought this was hysterical………………..I, on the other hand, find nothing funny and have already warned Pairut to wear a surgical mask when he cleans the cabin…………………Frenchmen next door…………………..Le Bugger.

Goodnight from a FANTASTIC SHIP

Your friends

John and Heidi

Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous, unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

75 Responses to The Emerald Princess- Meeting the Friendly Crew and Being Asked….Are you famous?

  1. GARY says:

    John and Heidi–Glad to read today’s blog. I know you’re having a great time. Relax and do it to the utmost.
    We’ll be with you Jul. 25th on the Splendor. Were with you on two Liberty cruises in 05 and 06.
    Can’t wait. looks like a great itinerary and ship.

  2. nanette says:

    YAY!! YAY!!! Im so happy for you! I was reading the blog with a big smile on my face and sometimes I even claped. LOL You are getting back what you give. Excellent!! Im happy for that. I been on Princess 3 times and love it. I know were you sat for lunch it is beautiful. Continue to enjoy as much everything YAY!
    Give a hug to Heidi

  3. Cassandra says:

    Sounds like you all are having a great time already! I hope that the rest of the week is just as good!! Keep the blogs and pictures coming!!

  4. DawnP says:

    John – It sounds like you are having a lovely time. Heidi looks very rested and relaxed and I must agree that her hair looks great 🙂

    I’m looking froward to hearing more about Princess as your week progresses. After I hit Platinum on Carnival I plan to branch out and Princess may be the line to try next!


  5. Bon Jour Jacque,
    Seems the start of your vacation has started out well. You know they are going to make your nemesis in the show some French CD on a ship with a wall coming out of the top of it. Yor are totally correct in the getting to know your crew statement, I always try to find out little things about them and it makes most of them happy to tell you about their life and family back home. My last cruise on the Miracle, my dining room assistant waiter was so sweet, she took such great care of all of us we actually forced her to join us for dinner in the dining room on the last night. The Dining Room Manager was more that intrigued as to why. Once we told him so much he allowed it. She had a great time with us. I always try to remember that to the crew this is their home I am visiting and they are doing their best to make me comfortable and allow me to enjoy my cruise with them. I hope Heidi is enjoying her Heineken flavored water bottle. Tell her to try the Light version.
    John on a sadder note today I accepted a offer on my Aston Martin, from George Hamilton, ok kidding. Actually it was from some younger, better looking stockbroker. He promised to give her a good home, and with that i watched them drive off today. While I drive off to the bank with my certified cheque. So now I need to find something to spend this money on. Maybe a Bentley, or a Lexus. I am happy to report that with the money I have paid into car insurance my other care is now covered till 2011 ok not that long but at least mid 2009.
    Ok back to the bloggers cruise, we need details on the pre cruise event where, times, should we bring jelly beans? Best once again to heidi who looks like Uma with those Sunglasses, but I vote for Catherine Zeta Jones still. Enjoy your week


  6. KathyG says:

    Glad your trip has started smoothly.
    Why would someone want a picture with someone they don’t know just because they thought they were “famous”? She’s going to be surprised if she looks for your “thingy”. Ha Ha
    Hope you’re not downwind of your neighbors. 😉

  7. Mark says:

    The Emerald Princess looks simply smashing. I’m glad that you will be able to sit back, relax and enjoy your cruise.
    The plural form of Octopus is octopuses, octopi, or octopodes. 🙂 My Latin teacher would have preferred octopi.

    That young lady who served your coffee with whom you attempted to have a Russian dialog may indeed have hit you with her tray……………. allegedly her dear corpulent aunt cruised with you recently and you said Nostrovia! to her tipsy pseudo intoxicated husband.

    Cheers… 🙂

    The Flying Dutchman

  8. Carl Harmon THE BEARS says:


  9. Suzann says:

    John & Heidi

    Glad to see the two of you are relaxing. Have a great time.



  10. Marc G says:


    “My Little Thingy” although some people would complain I think would be a fantastic name for a show.

    Just imagine the commercial, “Tonight on My Little Thingy, John is sued by PETA.”

    And hopefully the show that is in the works would be on a more mainstream station that more people have access to, not knocking BBC America or anything.

    But have fun, enjoy your mini-vacation and you should have a Heiny yourself, don’t let Heidi have all the fun with the beer.

    -Marc G

  11. "BIG" ED says:

    John, Looks like you got a reason to go to the purser’s desk and make your first complaint. Maybe you can invite the Frenchmen in the next cabins if they want to join My Evil Krewe and be our guides in the New Orleans French Quarter during the 2009 Bloggers Cruise.

    I hope all those gifts you got in your cabin came with a note so you know who to thank. On the 2008 BC I got gifts but no notes so I guess they just came with the cabin, thank you Mr. No Note.

    “My Little Thingy” what a great name for the new TV sitcom was that your idea or Jeff’s?

    BIG ED

  12. Hi Heidi and John,
    Heidi you look great in your new short hairdo and I bet it is a lot easier to take care of.
    Don and I always try to make friends with our waitress/waiter and hostess especially. They always go out of their way to make sure I get the food that doesn’t contain anything that I am allergic to. They always say we are their family for the short time we are with them, as their families are so far away. There are those that we seem to get closer to and really hate to tell them goodbye. We know we probably will not see them again. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing what ship they are on and we have no way to communicate with them.
    But you are different … thank goodness, since we will get to see you both again in Feb………
    great big GRIN!
    Have fun and relax. Let everyone wait on you for a change. Enjoy the time with no complaints.


  13. Hi John.

    Looks like you found a few of my favourite places. The buffet at Cafe Caribe (just behind the main Lido Deck buffet) is great… and on sailaway day it is usually an amazing seafood buffet…

    I love the way that you can sit at the stern of the ship and watch Fort Lauderdale disappear in your wake at the start of the cruise… it is just like leaving the worries of the world behind you. I always miss the sailaway party because I just have to sit with a cold beer… then another cold beer… then another… just watching the sun set as we set sail is probably my biggest highlight of the cruise.

    Have a great meal at Sabatini… if you go half an hour early (does Heidi do “getting ready” early?) there is a lovely bar next door, where they will serve you stuffed olives with your drink if you ask for them… my favourites are the garlic and the almond ones.

    When you have time to visit “Vines” wine bar, please say hello from me to barman Javier from Uruguay… and remind him that we will see him in Alaska in September on Star Princess. Make sure you try the seafood appetisers, they’re great.

    Ooh… it really hurts looking at your photos. We were in Aloha 601… so in FLL we get a panoramic view of the cruise terminal… but I wouldn’t swap the view, as it’s the view we had from Baja 601 on our first ever cruise… and I think the champagne cork I shot over the balcony is still on the roof somewhere…

    The Piazza is a new innovation on Emerald Princess, and it is certainly a great improvement. We saw a great juggler / comic who, like the great Tommy Cooper, was even funnier when his tricks went wrong, and there was lovely music being played almost every time we passed through. I believe that it is being added to other ships in the fleet when they are refitted, and it is certainly far more attractive than the “high street” on the opposition’s “mine’s-bigger-than-yours-of-the-seas”.

    If you need to placate Heidi after the closed shops fiasco, Andrew in “Facets” (the jewellery & watches shop) will spend all the time you need to find just the perfect present. He spent almost an hour with us helping us find the perfect watch for our daughter’s 18th birthday (coming up on 10th April) and without his expert help we would not have found what we were looking for.

    Have a great holiday… Just a shame I’m not there enjoying myself… do you want to swap? I’ve got a quiz night to run on Thursday evening and the grass needs cutting… the mower’s in the store building and the microphone is behind the bar.

    (Grass, by the way, is something you may not have seen for some time. It’s basically pointless green stuff that grows and needs cutting just when you need a beer. And we have acres and acres of it. Cutting the grass is done by first going to the nearest garage to get a can of petrol for the mower – pick up beer from the off licence while you are out… pulling a rope for half an hour before remembering that you turn the petrol tap to the right for on… then walking up and down for hours while pushing a noisy red thing with a handle on. Then collapse in front of the TV with the well-used phrase “Ouch my poor $%^&*! back!”)

    I’m sure you could manage a quiz night without any instructions.

  14. dminx says:

    Sounds like things are off to a fantastic start!
    And I have to say John…… Heidi’s hair looked better in the picture with the docs. Was that before she got it cut??? I thought it was a little longer then it was in the above picutre. 🙂
    Why is it that as women get older their hair gets shorter? My goal is to have long hair when I die at a ripe age.
    Too bad about the French… what do you do?
    Have an awesome time!

  15. PeterAndShannan says:


    Thanks for the scoop on the ship and its crew. Thanks also for the pictures. Glad you’re having a great time. Hugs to you and Heidi,


  16. Lauren in Oregon says:


  17. mickeyspal says:

    Hello, John and Heidi,

    Sounds as if you are having a wonderful time already. Don’t get too spoiled (spoilt?) now, as it will be difficult to return to real life if you do. By the way, it’s “octopuses or octopi”…your choice!

    It’s great the way you’re getting to know the crew, and of course you’re right, as always…it’s good to be kind to others and to let them see you’re interested in them and their lives. Scott and I try to “engage” people, whether service personnel or other guests, when we go anywhere. It’s great fun to learn where folks come from, etc. We’ve found that time standing in lines goes much faster when we’re chatting with someone.

    We once sailed on the Dawn Princess for seven days. We had a wonderful suite on the stern (that’s the back, right?). It had a separate bedroom and a living/dining room, two TVs, a huge walk-in closet, a marble-tiled bathroom with jacuzzi tub, separate shower and a separate room for the toilet. Plus a huge balcony with chaise-lounges and a dining table with four chairs. We got fruit or some sort of little snack every evening, plus a mini-bar. Believe me, this was a one time thing for us…we usually go for at least a balcony cabin, but that time we figured what the heck, let’s REALLY enjoy this cruise in style…and we did! It was a great ship and a great cruise.

    About that temperature in Miami thing…those of us who have lived most of our lives in Florida find any temperature below 75 degrees jacket weather! That’s how we can tell us from the tourists in winter. Well, that and the bright red skin of those not wearing jackets…think in terms of your friend Peter, I think it was, a few posts back.

    And finally, here’s a thought for you to consider as a “reporter.” Carry a very small (pocket sized) notebook and a pen at all times so you can write down the names and nationalities of folks you meet and “interview” as you wander the decks, etc. An author of any sort should never be without note-taking tools!

    The pictures are great. Your coffee made my mouth water…maybe I’ll go make a cup right now!

    Bon Voyage to you both,


  18. GregB says:


    Thanks for our first glimpse of the Emerald Princess. She’s quite the lovely ship.

    I nearly fell out of my chair when you mentioned the band playing ‘Big Bamboo’ during sail away. I always get a charge from folks reactions when they listen to that song and figure out what’s being said… priceless…

    Also, it’s quite a pleasure to see a full smile on your face in the photo with the Gingsbys and Logans! Mr. Bells has well and truly departed! Good for you!

    Keep those photos coming and I love the addition of the Blog photos! Good stuff!!

    All my best to the lovely Heidi and the amazing MOB, Stephanie!!!



  19. Adam says:

    Continue to have a great time and Yes, please keep the picture coming as I know you will.
    Remember, RELAX!!

    Have a safe trip and we will see you soon.

    Adam from Georgia (USA)

  20. Corey says:

    I always appreciate reading your blog. I look at it a couple of times a day. I have yet to meet you on one of our cruises yet. Reading your blog ‘thingie’ is a great thing to do once you get to work in the morning! Keep up the good work!

  21. John and Michele Lewis says:

    My Little Thingy. Too funny John. It also shows up North here on BBC Canada as Mon Petite Thingy.

    Before you know it, you’ll be a Hollywood creative producer. Tanned, calling everyone ‘dog’ and lunching with George Hamilton.

    Have a great cruise.

    John and Michele

  22. retirementman says:

    Good afternoon Mr. Heald. When I saw the picture of you and the Gingsbys and the Logans your picture just excited me because you just looked like me when I first get on the ship, easy looking. You look very relaxed and I’m happy for you. The photos are tremendous and I’m looking forward to more of them. Enjoy my friend and Heidi during your cruise. Ciao.


  23. Carol Schoenberger says:

    Dear Heidi & John (star of “My Little Thingy”),

    Heidi you look terrific (Just like the photo I saw of Renee Z.).

    I am so glad you have been treated so royally on the Princess.

    I am positively drooling over the Piazza, even though it’s not that different from the Atrium Lobby – just a different atmosphere and “acoutrements” (Sorry John – 6 years of French will do that).

    I guess people will always complain, it’s human nature. But wouldn’t you just love to hear a complaint ending with “…this would never happen on Carnival.”

    I just heard that the Ruby Princess will be entering service earlier than expected and cruising in the Western Caribbean. If I ever decide to take Princess, it might be that one.

    Kevin, do you remember your server’s name? I’ll look for her when I’m on the Miracle.

    Bye for now, and enjoy yourselves,

  24. Ivana says:

    The Emerald and her crew sound fantastic! A couple of Frenchmen next door cannot spoil it for you. But it is indeed ironic from Mr. Murphy :o)))))) Have fun and keep the stories coming!

  25. Cheryl D says:

    Hello John and Heidi,

    I’m so glad to read that they are considering a TV show. Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I said that they should make a TV show about the blog stories, and you answered, “Do you really think anyone else would watch it?” Then I replied that George Hamilton should play you, and Reese Witherspoon should play Heidi. Wow! I really hope it comes to pass. I think it would be the best sitcom on the air.

    Do you think I could sing the theme song? Seriously. (I don’t ask for much, do I?) When we go on the bloggers’ cruise, I plan to audition for the Legends show. If I don’t get in that, I’ll sing at karaoke. Then I’ll get to meet the “famous” John and Heidi.

    My husband and I are going on our first ever Princess cruise in 2 1/2 weeks – on the Caribbean Princess. Thank you for the pictures. I know the CP is a somewhat older ship, but it has the same layout. How elegant it looks!

    Have a wonderful vacation, and I’m glad you’re starting to feel better.

  26. Kuki says:

    BonJour Mon Amie! Oui Oui!

    For the duration of your Emerald Princess cruise you can refer to your section of the hallway the French Quarter.

    I love zoze outdoor areas aft on zee Princess ships, where you can enjoy zee escargot. Ooh la la! Wish I was zere with you and the tres bien bon bon Heidi.

    Instead we’ll just have to read along, zoe we would prefer you wrote in French.


  27. LisaK says:


    So glad to hear you and Heidi are havig such a great time, and that you’re getting the wonderful treatment you deserve.

    After hearing just what you shared today, we can’t wait to try a Princess cruise. Sounds like it will be a treat.

    Continue to enjoy!

    The Kilmartins

  28. dwa76 says:

    Hi John/Heidi:
    I had high expectations and you delivered a fantastic blog about your first day onboard. Its nice to see the contagious enthusiasm by the crew. I have experienced this across the CCL lines and I am not surprised. I am happy that you are able to appreciate what so many of us see every time we step onboard.
    Sounds like you are having a great time.
    Great pictures today.

    Thanks for another great blog and i look forward to reading more.

    Who knew celebrities cruised on Princess and Carnival 🙂

    Have a great day!

  29. Susan V says:

    Hi John & Heidi:

    Sorry I didn’t even realize that I read part 2 first as I was just excited to see a new posting.

    Love the pictures of the crew and I can understand why Heidi loves the flowers, they are beautiful!

    I about died laughing when you told us about your “smelly” whoops I mean french neighbors! I hope they are not the type that actually stink for your sake!

    Look forward to part 3 soon!

    Have fun!

    Susan & Scott

  30. Ft Lauderdale unquestionably has the MOST hostile security people in the world! You’d think they’d like to drive all the cruise tourists away from Ft Lauderdale to Miami or anyplace else. And the Broward County Sherrif folks who work at the Ft Lauderdale pier – you’d fit right in John! None of them could run a block if their live depended on it – I’m sure you could – and if they tried, their pants would fall down. It’s that amusing image that keeps me smiling through pierside check in!

  31. Edwin says:

    Enjoy your new neighbors

  32. Catmama044 says:

    John, you and Heidi look so relaxed and the ship looks AMAZING. Enjoy your time. You have definitely earned it. Frenchmen……hysterical. Only you with Mr. Murphy!!!!!

  33. Jake Silverberg says:

    Hello , John
    Many people think that carnival , and princess are the same , however I think that Princess may be a…bite more intament , and elegant as far as service , or interior.
    Princess is tied whith anotherline for 2nd.
    I have nothing against royal….I just like the FUN SHIP atmosphere , you know what I mean.
    Holland is also like princess many people say, I think thats more true than carnival , but anyline in the carnival corperation.
    I think you said 1 or 2 months back that windstare is gone and AIDA is in so…..Ill have to try AIDA.

    from , JAKE S. ( : enjoy!

  34. John, enjoyed the pictures. Hope the Tahitian Princess is as nice. We will find out in 13 days.

    Enjoy your time with Heidi.


  35. Jenny says:

    John, I just came across your blog and between clients today have been doing my best to read all I can.

    Your writings make me loose myself and feel as if I am right there on the cruise with you for just a minute. It is a rude awaking to come to the end of the blog and discover While you are floating on the ocean getting the royal treatment I’m here sitting in my small office waiting on my next client.

    These blogs have gotten me even more excited about cruising with you on the bloggers cruise out of NOLA Feb 7, 2009.

    Can’t wait to read the next part of what sounds like a much needed vacation for you and your lovely wife.


  36. Susan B says:

    “My Little Thingy” I loved that except now I must clean the Diet Coke off my laptop screen!
    I love the way the ship looks!! I always ask my crew members questions like if they have family, when was the last time they got to see them, how long they have worked for Carnival, and what was their first job on a cruise ship. Their eyes light up, and they seem so happy to talk about their lives…I always ask to see pictures of their family…they usually tell me how far one American dollar goes in their country…and I put in all down in my scrapbook…which I just posted a comment about your last blog and still in heaven knowing now you are finally getting how special scrapbooking can be!! Do you know how many bloggers wanted to look at your scrapbook before I gave it to you!!
    Have a great vacation, and I’m looking forward to more pictures!!
    Love to you and Hedi
    Princess Susan

  37. Julie Gantt says:

    HI John and Heidi,

    You both look great in the pictures and John, you smile isn’t crooked

  38. Julie Gantt says:

    Hi John and Heidi,

    You look great in the pictures and John, your smile isn’t crooked any more! Heidi looks beautiful in her blue shirt. I hope you both have a wonderful week. John, sign Heidi up for a massage and day of pampering in the spa, or maybe go for one of those couples massages. I’m glad you’re getting some much needed time off and I wish you a very happy vacation.


  39. Rick says:

    John, my wife and I got off the Emerald just before you got on. I believe the waiter from Mexico you refered to is Alfonso. Ask him about the Royal Punas. Alfonso took excellent care of my disabled wife. The other young lady that works in Outriggers is Alzbeta from Slovakia. She has a degree in finance but can do anything as she is a great people person. Roman is your waiter in the cigar lounge.

    Enjoy your cruise and get plenty of rest. You’re in good hands.

  40. LambKnuckles says:


    How wonderful the sail-away sounds!! How glorious the Emerald looks!! And the photos of you all… OUTSTANDING!!! You’re looking GREAT!!!

    To Heidi: Here’s Sissy’s response to Heidi’s comment about the flowers: “Zij heeft gelijk! 🙂 Veel groetjes van Dawa” Also, Heidi, she loved your welcome!! She only comes to visit once a year, and was very surprised to hear a Dutch welcome on the blog. Now I just have to get her to peek in here every so often while she’s in Holland…

    I’m taking her on her first Carnival cruise in May ’09. We’d love it if you were on the Conquest, too!! (Have you made plans for May ’09 yet??) She says she’d truly LOVE a fellow ‘Nederlandse’ on board!!!

    God Bless your Emerald cruise… and you fellow travelers…
    And Great Thanks is sent to Stephanie for keep us linked to you!!!
    Lambie and her flock…

  41. Teresa C. says:

    You and Heidi have a great time. It sounds as though you’ve started already. Keep up with pictures and the ability of making me feel as though I am there.

    BTW, I’m thrilled to see George Clooney showed up on this cruise!! =)

    Hey, make sure you take pictures of the good-looking crew and post them. Have a GREAT time.

  42. Bonnie says:


    Have a great trip. We were in A751 on the February 14 sailing. Love being aft. Beautiful ship, have booked again for 2/18/09.

  43. Chris & James says:

    John – you crack me up! Thank you!


  44. Barbara says:

    Hi Heidi and John, When you get to Antigua please go and feed the adorable stray dog on Redcliffe street . He lays in front of the Goldsmitty jewelry store and is so grateful for food. I went to a bar a block away and bought him a hamburger and brought him water and he couldn’t thank me enough. It’s only 2 blocks from the ship and it’ll make your day. We were on the Emerald March 5-15th. Loved it but love Carnival too!!!

  45. Tina says:

    Loved reading your blog. My husband spend 11 glorious days and nights on the Emerald Princess from February 24th through March 5th. Your pictures of the Piazza made me want to cry because I saw the white piano around which we all sat, drank and laughed before heading into the dining room for dinner and remembered what a wonderful time we had on board. We’ve done 6 cruises in the last 6 years and we’re already booked for #7 next year. Am I spoiled, or what? Keep up your blog. It makes great reading!


  46. Thank you for the wonderful photo of the Maasdam setting sail from Fort Lauderdale! I love it!

  47. Dave "Bacon Sandwich" Soreff says:

    Sorry to be many blogs behind, but we’re on the Hawaii run where we are five days at sea with not any real internet to speak of.
    Great reading about your trip with Princess…James is one of our favorite CDs, and we have been honored to work with him on the Caribbean Princess, and to do the take out with him for the Crown Princess. He is, as you said, a truly great guy, who works hard and treats his team like gold. Sounds like you had a wonderful time….isn’t the Sanctuary a wonderful thing?
    Now, maybe we’ll get you on the Golden next year for the Hawaiian islands and we can catch up on some old times and prank call Doug Boyd back into the real world.


  48. Julie says:

    Hi Enjoyed the blog, but confused I found this the Princess web page, its a great idea is this new? Princess cruiser Julie

  49. Jeanie says:

    We were on the 3/25 Emerald Princess sailing with you!! We had two cabins down the hall, A506 & A510.
    My husband and I took our three kids! We all enjoyed every second! The Emerald is a beautiful ship and we hope to sail on her again soon!!


  50. Barbara says:

    First to Big Ed – add me to the prayer list for Jim and the entire family.

    John thank you so much for posting what you did. I almost asked you about the situation over a week ago but figured Carnival might want you to remain mum on the issue. Simply having the jerk disembark and paying his way home was way to good for him. There is a fellow that has the entire “meeting” at the pursers desk on video and I understand he has turned it over to Carnival should the jerk (wish I could call him what I really want to) decide to pursue the incident further. Thanks for airing your opinion!

  51. Kathy Kroll says:

    Hello There !

    Boy John, your Blog is all over the place! I was just looking up the itinerary for the Emerald Princess when low and behold there you are and I am back here !!(They’ve got a link on the page)
    Haven’t blogged for over a month ! Hi to Heidi ! Can’t believe it was just one year ago May 13th we left on the Freedom from Civitavecchia…left LAX on the 11th. Time does fly !!

    Kathy and Paul

  52. Scott Taylor says:

    Thanks for the review, my wife and I are going to book on the Emerald or the Dawn this year. Your review confirmed our interest. Last time we did a Princess was on a 1o day Southern Caribbean on the Sun Princess in 07. The Sun was a much older ship and I heard they shipped it somewhere else (thankfully). I’ve learned that we like the newer ships better, or at least ships that have been extreemly well maintained. Just got back from a cruise on the NCL Sky, an older ship. It had faded upholstry, ripped that, peeling that. Needless to say the cruise was marginal at best. Looking forward to the Emerald or Dawn and the wonderful interary.

  53. Just got off the Emerald Princess where my seventeen year old daughter fell head over heals for ship employee from Mexico. All she knows is his name is Jorge and his tag said Yucatan. He was a cutie and a great employee who went out of his way to help. She has searched the internet relentlessly since returning home, but can find nothing on this young man. Guess we will be returning to Emerald Princess on spring break where she can renew this friendship. Anyone out there know more about him? We were on the ship from November 20 through Nov 30. The people on board were the best. My daughter would be forever greatful. Any romantics out there?

  54. Ingrid says:

    This will be our 3rd time on Princess and we are sailing for our Anniversary in april once again, we
    try and go every 2 years if affordable. We are looking forward to the Emerald as we have sailed on The Grand & Golden and enjoyed both ships.
    Looking for advice on shore excursions in all stops. We originally got married in St Thomas and liked the stops. Thanks for the blog it helped with info.

  55. Miranda says:

    I enjoyed the readings. Thanks! My husband and I will set sail for our second time with Princess. This will be our first time on the Emerald. She had rolled out during our last cruise on the Caribbean Princess in ’07. We absolutely love Princess and wouldn’t recommend anyone else.

    The pictures make me that much more anxious for our trip to begin! I only wish it would never end once it does begin.

  56. jenny says:

    thanks i love that im goin on the emerald this summer for the 10 day scandinavian

  57. Mary says:

    Can anyone tell me if the Emerald Princess has a 24-hour pizza bar? Thanks.

  58. JOHN STACK says:

    i have been with princess since the beggining !! first cruise was the “love boat” comes oct. 18, i will take the “emerald ” to the carribean. never once have i had a complaint with princess, from embarking to debarking . being number one is your job, and you do well at it !! keep up the good ork.

  59. james con says:

    hi as always its great hearing from you ive been crusing every year since i was 8 im know 40 yrs young and had you as a cruise director for at least half of them i want to thank you for always being real and not fake and always funney i miss your cruise directing and your theatricks on off stage look forward to future cruises and your blogs your fellow cruiser james .

  60. steve says:

    hi am a crew members i have just live the ship and i need to get contact with the p.t manager or the maistro of the emerald princess if some one can show the way this will be very helpful for me

  61. Tim Gallagher says:

    John — love your blog, and happy to have a way to communicate with someone in the know.

    My wife Roberta and I, along with my sister and her husband Gay and Roger Henize, will be sailing on the Emerald Princess on November 28, 2010. Can you tell me if our skipper will be Captain Giorgio Pomata and our CD James Lay?

  62. I’ve cruised with Princess four three times in the past four years and I apologize for not reading your blogs. It was deliteful to read your comments on this recent departure from Miami.

    Much of my work is marketing, along with being in films, commercial and television. So I do get to meet lots of “PR” or “Media” folks whose job it is to put a flowery picture on everything.

    But you have such a great job. Everything you say is true. The Princess Ships, their crews, and everything about them is just as you say. And all the folks I have met on my cruises are just wonderful.

    I am looking forward to my fourth cruise next month in Scandinavia. Each of the cruises have been with my Santa School and as in the past, I will have twenty ‘real’ Santas and wives with me for a fantastic time.

    I do hope to meet you one a cruise one day.

  63. Sandi Minkel says:

    What a wonderful blog! We set sail on our first cruise (Princess to the Caribbean) March 17th and are cluelessly ecstatic! Tell us more. 🙂

  64. James Sinks says:

    Ahoy Mr. Heald,
    My name is James Sinks and I’m so looking forward to meeting you and Sailing the Emerald Princess this June 25th from Copenhagen. What do expect the Temps to be like ?I’m thinking low to mid 70’s ? (in Fahrenheit please) as The US is a little slow to move to the metric system.

  65. Fielding says:

    Hello John and Heidi. I enjoyed reading your blog for your arrival day on Emerald Princess. I am sailing from Copenhagen on July 17 for the Baltic stops (again) and am looking forward (as always) to the wonderful “Princess Hospitality.” I have previously sailed on Royal (3 times-2 different ships), Crown, Golden, Island, Sapphire (twice), Diamond (twice), Sea, Grand, Ruby, and Star. We (6 of us traveling together)will be in St. Petersburg (overnight) for my traveling companion’s 70th birthday and are anticipating a great evening on the Russian Folkloric Show excursion. I’ve traveled quite a few times on ships (29 so far) and having compared several lines, there is NOTHING like Princess for a great vacation experience.

  66. Deborah Sorensen says:

    Traveling on the Emerald Princess in August. Should I make dinner reservations as soon as possible on the ship for the special restaurants?

  67. Linda Landis says:

    Leaving on Wednesday for the Baltic on Emerald Princess, this is my first princess cruise. Thank you for the comments and lovely photos, now I ‘am truly excited for this trip. I bet it would be so much fun to be on a cruise with you because your a riot. Thanks again for your posting.

  68. leonard says:

    Why are all the blogs from 2008????????????????

  69. Fielding says:

    Hello, again. I leave on 9/24 for yet another amazing experience on Emerald Princess. I am looking forward to seeing Colleena (our Captain’s Circle Hostess)and Godwin our headwaiter. They have already become friends after sailing together more than once on Princess ships. While on Emerald in July in the Baltic, I was lucky enough to snag one of the mini-suites for the maiden passage of the new Royal Princess. This was quite a coup since she had already been sold out for some time. I am excited since I had sailed on both previous Royal’s. As I said before, there is nothing to compare to the royal treatment on Princess.

  70. Bob Schiller says:

    Have sailed more than 15 times with Princess. Just returned from Canada to NY…best entertainment…best dining personnel in DaVinci…..poorest customer relations…no training how to talk to people and handle complaint…especially woman at Captain Circle desk who should represent best in Princess…..we heard lots of complaints from people about this ship and staff….I think they need some training….many told us they would not use Princess again because of their experience on this cruise….we certainly weren’t treated like Elite….

  71. Johnny Ala says:

    Thanks for the intriging message… looking forward to our 7 cruise this time on the Emerald…………..

  72. Debbie says:

    My husband Brad and I are sailing on the Emerald Princess 9/26/2013. I have a milestone birthday onboard. This will be our 5th cruise with Princess. Having never been on this ship you have introduced it beautifully. this is helpful as I am visually impaired and will have a new guide dog on this cruise.

  73. Paul Armstrong says:

    Hey, you English pig-dog! I am zee Frenchman in zee next cabin! Go and boil your bottoms, son of a silly person. I blow my nose on you, your so-called Arthur-king, you and your silly English K…kaniggets. I fart in your general direction!
    — Blaque Jacques Chiraque

    PS Henry V wasn’t so tough. Drop by the cabin later; we’re having snails.

  74. Angela says:

    hi my hubby and I are doing our first princess cruise on the emerald in july it sounds brill. You seem to have captured the experience that I hope we will have when we cruise. Do you know if you can buy a drinks package when onboard. (alcoholic) Angela

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