A Blog from Denmark

April 5, 2008 -

John Heald

Denmark is supposed to be a Scandinavian Country yet today I saw no Midnight Sun, no reindeer and nobody skiing…………..I saw lots of Toblerone and enough Herring to make you think that the North Sea is as devoid of Herring as Naomi Campbell is devoid of manners.

Good evening everyone……………it’s 9 pm and it’s a long, long day…………..now…………before we start I want you to go to your refrigerator…………find a piece of cheese…………..any cheese will do…………..off you go…………now take the cheese……………put it next to a fire or some kind of heating element……………let it sit there for an hour………then take the cheese and place it in a sock………………leave it there overnight ………….then first thing in the morning put your nose deep into the sock and breathe in ……………… good………………now that’s how my feet smell right now……as does Heidi…………in fact………tonight ………….we smell so bad ………….we should change our names to Monsieur et Madame Fromage Pied ………(that’s Mr. and Mrs. cheese feet in French………..and they should know.) I felt it necessary to let you know this so you can feel in my pain………..it really has been a long but rewarding day.

It started at 7 am with my raspberry alarm sounding the dreaded wake up call. After the usual “you go first in the shower” battle ………….I lost…………..we dressed for the 8:30am start to our FAM (familirazation ………. familyirazition ………famil………. getting to know the ports trip.) First it was time for breakfast and down we went to the lobby of our luxury hotel………………when I say lobby I mean the 4 tables and chairs placed in a corner for breakfast.

Now, breakfast is the most important meal of the day they say but in Denmark that statement is obviously bollocks unless you consider smoked herring ………. unsmoked herring………….and that cereal All Bran that makes you poo a rope. I started to whine and Heidi immediately pointed to a large basket of bread and some butter………so that was my breakfast while Heidi enjoyed her All Bran and Herring ……………………. bugger.

We were met by our guides from the Tour Company we will be using during the Carnival Splendor’s Baltic season and fine people they were too…………….Jacob and Lene arejovial and fun from the beginning and obviously ready to have fun as well as show us their beautiful country. As Heidi and I and the Shore Excursion staff rode in the bus to our first stop I spoke to about the Danish language.

Jacob described it as much more basic than other Scandinavian languages such as Swedish………….for example………….they have words that describe exactly what the thing you’re describing is ……….ok………….let me explain…………..the word for Vacuum Cleaner translates for example as “Dust Sucker”……….pork translates to Swine Meat and as they consider themselves a polite race of people the word for hello is the same as goodbye which is “hej” ………………..so you can say hello and goodbye to someone at the same time……..which is great if you see someone you think you like and then realize you don’t like them.

The Danes also have a language where one word can mean three things………….for example the word Brud means…….Rupture, Bride or Weasel………….therefore you may be getting married to a weasel or feeding a small mouse to your Bride for dinner………………..very strange.

The Danes ………like most Brits are very loyal to the monarchy. Queen Margarethe has been on the throne for 33 years and is known affectionately as “Daisy.” Our Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne for even longer and is known affectionately as “your Royal Highness.” “Daisy” is a professional book illustrator whose drawings were used in a special recent addition of “The Lord of the Rings.” Queen Elizabeth also has a job………she is a professional “waver” and her wave was used recently by Helen Mirren in the movie “The Queen.”

So, as we chatted we neared our first stop the Holme Gaard Glass Blowing Factory. It was fascinating to see that the way these products are made have not changed since 1815.

Now, at this point I should point out that I have a film crew with me making our “home movies” for the Carnival Splendor in-house TV system. I did this for the Grand Med and Greece/Turkey cruises on the Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom and they seemed popular. Anyway, this has in the past gotten me into a few situations……….in Naples I was caught on camera trying to make a Pizza…………..which considering I cant boil or fry an egg is like asking Paris Hilton to spell Supercalafradgerlisticexpealidotious.

I was also filmed trying to “spin a carpet” in Istanbul which had the unfortunate ending of the carpet flying over my head and knocking a cup of “Chi ” …..which is Turkish tea over another expensive rug …………….. bugger.

Therefore it was no surprise that for the benefit of television I was asked to blow down a long pipe and try and get the glass to bubble.

Now, that sounds easy………..well first of all let me explain that I was reluctant to do this because the chap who was explaining this to me was a glass blowing legend called Morten Peddesen……….who I am sure is a wonderful man but who the heck wants to put their lips round some bloke’s glass-blowing pipe after some hairy Viking has been blowing on it for 50 years……………………well, I guess that bloke was me………………….so, I took the 4 foot long pipe and he showed me how to blow ………….. by………….. well……………..blowing………….puffing his cheeks out like a big ugly Puffer fish.

I was going to try and explain to him that I just recovered from Bells Palsy but as I couldn’t even say “I really don’t want to blow down this piece of smelly pipe” I  didn’t think I would get anywhere.

Unfortunately not only was the camera running and Heidi and the shore excursion staff watching but another tour group of about 15 people were also waiting to see the big bloke in the red jacket who may be a TV star try and blow a glass bubble ……………….. so I did…………………I huffed and I puffed but considering Monsieur Bell had only buggered off two weeks ago my glass bubble sort of ………….. well…………….drooped…………..it was a disaster …….the team were laughing…………the other tour group were laughing…………..even big hairy Morten was laughing………………I looked at the end of my glass blowing rod and discovered why……………I hade made……..a glass willy.

After this moment of embarrassment forever captured on film we went to the beautiful 12th century Gauno Castle housing rare pieces of art from all over Europe including a famous original by Rubens of 16 fat babies worth millions. The castle is set in the most gorgeous grounds which although bare now will be full of vibrant colors when our guests visit this summer.

After this we went for lunch at the same place that guests will visit on some of the tours and again we filmed the food which will be the same as the guests eat. Lunch was a proper smorgasbord of Danish delights including three types of Herring prepared three different ways……………fresh shrimps, salmon and eel as well as eggs which were pickled, scrambled and boiled. There were loads of different styles of breads and cheeses and apart from the Herring which I had started to get very bored with it was a great lunch. Afterwards and much to our surprise we were all given a bar of Toblerone …………….what a shocker.

The afternoon was spent touring all of Copenhagen’s most famous sights………….these included the four royal palaces which are built in a semi circle next to each other. The Queen lives in one, the two Royal Princess in two others and the last one kept for visiting Queens such as Elizabeth, Queen Beatrix and Elton John. The Royal Copenhagen and Wonderful Copenhagen will visit the palaces at noon so you can witness the changing of the guard ceremony from reserved positions.

We also visited possibly Copenhagen’s most famous monument, Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. Unlike all the other major areas such as the Royal Palaces and Tivoli Gardens this famous statue is within walking distance from where the Carnival Splendor will dock. Today, when we visited the huge mega yacht Polaris which is owned by a Russian Oil chap was docked next to it……….even so the tourists were more interested in taking photos of this little green lady than Roman Loadsofmoneyov’s boat…………as it should be.

So far I have to say that the Wonderful Copenhagen and Royal Copenhagen tours are my favorites, both have so much included and the Wonderful Copenhagen still leaves you lots of free time for the dreaded shopping or more time to spend at Tivoli Gardens and its gardens and fun rollercoaster and rides.

Now, I know many of you have questions about all the ports but as I can’t answer them at the moment can I ask that you hang on until April 21st which is the date I will be able to start replying to all your tour and other questions and comments.

OK, more on Denmark in a moment.
First the news.

There is a lot of talk about recession and anytime that word rears its ugly head it is often the travel and leisure industry that is affected first. However, not so here at Carnival Corporation whose share price is looking as healthy as an Olympic athlete. Our Chairman gave a rare interview to one of the world’s most respected financial publications Barons and the response from the writer was to rejoice and sing the praises of Micky Arison and Carnival Corporation.

Now, I am not sure if you can all read this as I think you may have to log in or do something computerish but try and read it if you can as it shows that for us shareholders (are you one?) and you the guest that future of the ships of Carnival Corporation are looking as good as George Hamilton in an Armani Suite driving a convertible Bentley down Miami’s Ocean Drive with Jessica Simpson by his side…………….have a read of this great article and you will see what I mean.

OK, what else……………I saw one comment from Cruisin Brian marked Urgent………….Brian please send me a full comment via a posting with regard to your complaint about your recent cruise. Although I really don’t like to get involved with personal issues I will be happy to pass the comment along as well as help any way I can myself. We will not publish this but I will respond in person via Stephanie……………oh, by the way………….regarding Stephanie, I must ask you to say congratulations.

Since doing this position all on her own she has posted each blog immediately and all the other correspondence she is also handling without help. So please join me in saying Thank You to a young lady who works every day I send a blog, including weekends. While I am saying Thank You, I must include my mate Vance Gulliksen from Public Relations who spell checks and formats each blog, each and every day. Without these two people, there would be no thingy.

Time for the latest adventures of Bubba’s Alaska Adventure.

Day 5 Alaska Fam – Juneau Day 2

Well here we go again out the door early in the morning from the Hotel Baronoff in Juneau to go out and discover more about this great port of call.  Just when I think we couldn’t out do yesterday, today we talked about something I plan on doing several times during the season.  DOG SLEDDING!

I am a dog person.  Always have been.  Been around them all my life.  Since I was little and used to stay with my grandparents in the summer time.  They had a dog named Wolfgang.  Of course I could say Wolfgang, so the dog’s name became “Weo” and I loved that dog.  Would follow it around the house everywhere it would go.  My folks have had several cocker spaniels during my childhood.  Their current dog is named Dudley and I love to play with him.  My parents have always spoiled the dogs so the dogs always think they are people.  It’s one thing that I would love to have on the ship would be a dog.  Of course we don’t allow animals on board unless they are working animals.  Either assistance dogs, or animals who are involved with entertainment.  You used to see the animal acts a lot more in the past, but not so much anymore.  There are a few of our magicians who keep birds and there’s even a snake sailing on one of the “Fun Ships.”  His name is Lumpy.  But I sure wish I could have a dog on board.

Today we met with the two tour companies who run the dog sledding tours in Juneau.  It was too early in the season so the dogs were not there, but we got to see the equipment and inspect the dog camps.  A lot of the dogs that they use are actual dogs that are used in the Iditarod.  The owners of the dogs leave them with these operators who will work with them over the summer months so that they can continue to train so that they can be ready for the next year’s race.

Big difference between the two is that one tour is on top of a glacier in which the dogs run in the snow.  You have to take a helicopter to reach the dog camp.  The other is lower down the mountains so the dogs don’t run in the snow, but instead use special sleighs with wheels.   I can’t wait for the season to start so I can give this tour a go.

We also had a chance to visit the Alaskan Brewery Co.  This is a location that is used in combo with a few of the tours that are in operations.  If you are a beer drinker and you haven’t tried the Alaskan products, they are wonderful.  They do many special brews.   It’s not a very large brewery but they brew up some world class suds.

Here’s some pics from today…

Me rockin the vacation beard which I will lose soon…too itchy.  Enjoying a sample of the Alaskan Summer Blend.  A nice light a refreshing beer.  If you come up at the right time of year one of their most popular brews, especially with the locals is the spruce tip brew.  Made to with the tips from the state tree of Alaska, the Sitka Spruce.

They have many different brew on sample for you to enjoy.

One of the coolest things that they have in the brewery is their collection of beer bottles from around the world and from all 50 states.  Even I found my hometown local brew from the Ybor Brewing Company.  Even Kat was most impressed as they had almost ever beer represent from her home coutry of Belgium.

Ybor Brew is from Tampa.

Outside the brewery.

All of us down at the Dock in Juneau going over how the tour dispatches work.

The view of downtown from one of the docks in Juneau.

Everyone smiles when they come back from the brewery…I wonder why?

Well tomorrow we will be heading back to the airport again as we will be flying to Haines Alaska.  Haines is not one of our ports of call, but we do offer a few excursions to this town from the port of Skagway.  Right now  I gotta get this itchy beard outta here!
Until tomorrow….Chris

Thanks Bubba and I hope you have enjoyed reading all the positive comments from guests who have sailed with you and who are looking forward to doing so. Maybe one of them will bring you a Waffle House menu. Anyone who does is guaranteed a bottle of champagne and a solid gold plastic trophy.

As well as all of Copenhagen’s famous sites, we also visited the oldest film studio in Europe, looked at a bike tour and something quite unusual…………….the Ice Bar. It is called the Ice Bar because, believe it or not, the entire bar is made of ice and to go inside you need to wear the arctic clothing which is provided.

As you will see in a moment from the photos, in mine I look like Papa Smurf. The Ice Bar is sponsored by Absolut……….and it is Absolut ……………. ely ………………..bloody freezing.

The tour includes a free glass of Absolut, served in a glass made of ice. The tour also includes a free trip to the Royal Copenhagen hospital for treatment of hypothermia. This is an actual tour we will offer and it does include a full tour of Copenhagen and then 45 minutes in the Ice Bar which is all you are allowed, because after 46 minutes things start falling off……….. I found one on the floor.

Tomorrow, we start again at 8 am where I will share with you our trip to the Palaces of Zealand and a visit to the Carlsberg beer factory.

Talking of beer, I have to say I have never seen people drink as much as they do here in Denmark. If drinking were an Olympic sport it would be between the Danes, the Scotts and the Finnish for the Gold medal. The Danes love to drink. They don’t need an excuse, they just drink. I was talking to Jacob today who told me that the average Dane will drink 20 – 30 beers from Friday 6 pm till Sunday 6 pm. He also told me that Denmark has the highest divorce rate in the whole of Europe. It is no wonder. The men are drunk most of the time, the women smell of Herring and you call your wife my sexy Brud which your soon to be ex wife thinks you said “my sexy weazel”…….and that’s you part of the 50%.

Anyway, it has been a long day and once again Heidi has been looking after me. She has also taken a few photos which I hope you enjoy.

My apologies for the late posting of the blog. This may continue throughout the next few days, so thank you in advance for your understanding. I am looking forward to Herring from breakfast.

Good night.

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.