The Name Game

May 19, 2008 -

John Heald

Today, I met a kid and when I did I instantly felt sorry for him……………..his name ………….was Becks……………yep Becks…………….Becks Edwards to give him his full name. I met Becks this morning when I visited an old chum I have not seen for some time. Peter Edwards used to be a musician with us and now thanks to the wonders of the facespace book tube thingy I found out he had married a dancer I also knew and they in fact lived in the same county as me.

So, I drove to see them and it was wonderful to catch up but the highlight of the day was meeting seven-year-old Becks. Peter is a huge soccer fan and as you can probably tell from his sons name his favorite player is of course …………Pele……………………just kidding …………… is of course David Beckham and rather than call the poor sod a simple name like David…………..they decided to call him Becks. I asked why ……………….. Peter told me that he hoped that Becks would grow up to be just like his hero. I took this to mean that he wanted his son to be a handsome and talented footballer rather than someone who will marry a posh stick insect with as much talent as a sock.

Young Becks certainly has some talent as his proud father made me watch his skills in the back garden. I was not blessed with any football skills and my talents with a soccer ball could only be compared to those of an Emperor Penguin who’s been at the Vodka ……….anyway, I watched young Becks and wondered if he would be subject to some ridicule about his name once he goes to “big school.”

I spoke to Heidi about this on the phone today…………she is back on Wednesday by the way and she reminded me of the time when one of our best friends had a baby and the husband called……………………there are rules, said Heidi, and these are they.

There are two things you must remember when someone rings to say they’ve just produced an offspring. First, and for no obvious reason, you must ask how much it weighs, and second, you must try not to drop the phone and burst into uncontrolled laughter when they tell you what name they’ve chosen is “Porsche” or in Heidi’s friend’s case……”Petal”…….. You are then required to say. “How very, ummmm, original ………… it’s a beautiful name.”

The annual list of most popular names shows that the Bible is still a source of inspiration for most, but this year in the UK the number one names Harry and Emily. But look beneath the top 10 and it’s a total lunacy where normal children are named after pop stars and footballers’ wives. And the middle classes are no better, going for increasingly ludicrous names. I mean, what kind of a name is Apple…………..Apple Paltrow………she has two kids now so she has a Pear!

We grew up laughing at Frank Zappa for calling his daughter Moon Unit, but today we’re naming our kids after remote African villages and Californian wines.

People have always named their children to reflect their aspirations — that’s why Ruby and Opal were so popular in the 19th century, and it’s why my Dad was named after Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin. I suppose it’s also why so many people coming from the Caribbean in the 1950s called their boy kids Winston.

This is no bad thing, being named after a prime minister or an actress your parents admired. But in the UK and North America people aspire to goods and services, and that’s resulted in a surge in popularity for names such as Armani, Chardonnay, Mercedes and Chanel. I interviewed a young lady on her honeymoon during the Marriage Show whose name was……………..and I kid you not………………..Ocean………….it didn’t take long to realise Ocean’s mum had grown up and still lived in the sixties and was probably still enjoying the effects of the episode when she named her.

Sometimes, I meet people on the ship whose parents have chosen names that are beyond comprehension. It’s usually the girls whose mums have taken normal names and then just added the letters  A, N and A or S,H, A at the end……….Trisana, Wendyana, Latisha etc. I remember a lady I spoke to on the Carnival Freedom whose name was unpronounceable and obviously been chosen by her Mum and Dad picking letters randomly out of a Scrabble bag.

Before naming a child Wii or Dr. Pepper, it’s important to remember that the name you choose will have a huge impact on how the poor thing’s life will turn out. I went to school with a chap called Quentin Uppermill…………..Quentin…………….the poor sod stood no chance and was bullied by the schools hard men………….I am sure his probably in the fashion business and driving a pink VW Beetle.

I am dull and unimaginative because when I was little I had two goldfish.  I called them One and Two so when one died…………I still had two.

Obviously Heidi and I have discussed names should we be blessed with child and to save arguments I have decided we should look to Iceland.

I admire the Icelandic system so much. Up there, your surname is your father’s Christian name with either “son” or “dottir” tagged on the end. So I would be John Nevilleso, Heidi would be Heidi Riadottir and George Bush would be ……….well George Georgeson.

Talking of great names………….here is our old friend and guest blogger Bubba. He has settled down in Alaska onboard the Carnival Spirit and he has sent this special report.

Back to Alaska! – Welcome to Glacier Bay

Well the Spirit has returned to the land of the Last Frontier.  We have begun our Alaska season.  We get to start it off with a bang because we are doing a special itinerary to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.  We are only allowed to do just a few trips to this special place as the National Parks Service only allows a certain amount of ships in per season.  The Spirit is lucky to have 3 trips this year.  We start and finish our season on the itinerary.  Which is…..

Wednesday – Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Thursday – At Sea Cruising the Inside Passage
Friday – The morning at sea, then arrive in Juneau, AK at 2pm till 11pm.
Saturday – All day cruising Glacier Bay
Sunday – Skagway Alaska 7am till 4:30pm
Monday – Ketchikan, AK 11am till 7pm
Tuesday – at sea cruising the Inside Passage
Wednesday – Vancouver, B.C. Canada

The weather to start this cruise was pretty crummy.  It rained pretty much from the start of the cruise right through Juneau…Which is to be expected  It does rain a lot in Alaska so be ready for that.  But what was the big disappointment was the fog.  People don’t mind the rain so much, but when they can’t see the scenery pass by that is a disappointment.  In Juneau, the fog did let up a bit, but the rain did not.  It was more like Florida rain on this day.  I think it stopped for about 15 minutes the whole day.

Things didn’t look too good the morning we were on the way to Glacier Bay.  The fog had returned and you can barely see past the front end of the ship.  I had to get up at 5am as I had to meet the Park Rangers who come on board for the day when the ship is in the park.  They come out to the ship in a small boat, climb up a rope ladder with all of their supplies.  They bring maps for everyone so that they can track the ships movement through the park as well as other souvenirs that help support the Park Service.  I am there to meet and greet with them.  Assist them with the things and bring them to their hospitality table and make sure their needs are taken care of.

We had three rangers sailing with us:  Dave, Janine, & Emily.  There was another woman with them named Julie who works for Alaska Geographic which is a non-profit group that helps the Park Service.  After intro’s we went to the bridge to meet the Captain, and then I brought them to their table out on the deck under the dome on lido.  They set up a few tables with maps and displays.  Then went right into it with what they do best…answer questions…6am in the morning there are already people on the deck and the question of the day…”will the fog lift?”  Ranger Dave says with confidence, “oh yes the fog will lift.”  “I hope so,” I thought.

During the day the rangers take turns manning the tables.  Wandering the decks, answering questions.  Ranger Dave would also go to the bridge to make commentary on the PA on where the ship was and what people were seeing along the way.  They also did a couple of presentations in the show lounge.  One was a huge slide show with video and pictures all about the park.  The other presentation was aimed at the kids, telling the stories.  And sure enough, as Ranger Dave predicted, the further we went into the bay, the better the visibility.  It was an overcast day, but these types of days are actually better for viewing the glaciers, because you can see the blue in the ice much better.  Sunny days, you lose the blue tint. 

It turned into a fantastic day.  There were lots of animals to be seen.  Whales, bears, seals, mountain goats and more were seen.  Plus the Glaciers themselves put on quite the show.  There was a huge amount of “calving” during our time in front of the Glaciers.    Calving is when ice breaks off the front of the glacier and lands in the water below.  It sounds a lot like thunder and it is very impressive.  I happened to walk out on the deck right when a massive calving happened that put quite a wake in the water.  Sounded like a huge thunderstorm, but what was even better was hearing the roar from the ship from almost 2000 people on one side of the ship watching it happen.

That’s pretty much what everyone does during their day in Glacier Bay.  They pull up to some railing or balcony and they watch it all go by.  There’s not much in the way of activities during the day.  One the rules of being in Glacier Bay prevent it.  And 2, nobody would go anyways…this is the reason you are there is to see the scenery.  I would compare it to the day when a ship is in the Panama Canal.  Everyone is just out there watching it all go by.

Me with Rangers Dave & Janine out on the lido deck under the dome.  Yes that’s someone getting out of the pool in the background.  The pools are heated when we are in Alaska.

Ranger Dave giving commentary from the bridge.

Our bridge crew hard at work with the Alaska Pilot in the center.

The view of the bay from the bow.

This the view from my balcony looking forward towards the bridge wing.

Looking toward the back from the bridge wing you can see all of the people out on the deck….can you spot Santa Claus in this picture?  He’s on his balcony.

This is such a beautiful and special place.

Ranger Dave talking with Michelle who is our ship’s naturalist. 

During our entire season we carry the naturalist on board who does informative lectures on Alaska and its wildlife.  When she’s not giving talks, she’s on the bridge looking for wildlife.  If she sees something she announces over the PA.  God help you if you are in the middle of lido with a cup of coffee and she announces “Whales on the port side!”  Cause there’s a stampede of folks with cameras and binoculars in hand coming your and will run you down!

I have been to Glacier Bay twice before, and each time has been something different for me.  I am so glad the Rangers were right in the forecast about the fog.  It turned out to be an amazing day and I am glad our guests had a chance to see this wonderful place.    We said good bye to our ranger friends around 5 pm and set sail for Skagway.  I look forward to the end of the season when I have a chance to come back.  Will check back in again later.

On the scene here in a Alaska – Chris

Thanks again Bubba and hope you find time between being a busy CD and eating Grits to write again soon.
Well, over in Genoa things are getting busy. Today, the first container of scenery for our spectacular shows arrived and here is a photo sent in by our Technical Director Preston Bircher.

I have asked Preston to send in some more photos soon. Well, it will be just two weeks before Heidi and I get back to work and arrive in Genoa. First, we go to Naples for three days and then to the ship.
My trusty raspberry will be with me and I promise multiple blogs each and every day.

I do have to promise and assure you of one thing………………I will…………….once onboard return to answering each comment and question. I had wanted to do this during my supposed vacation but ……………..well………………I never did……………and I am sorry I let you all down. I have replied though via e-mail to each and every comment marked URGENT PLEASE REPLY. Stephanie sends me these and they in turn are replied to by me so if you need anything……………let me know.

I see thousands of you enjoyed the interview with Captain Albert whose Veendam blog did not have the photos that are there now…………….have a look as Stephanie just slapped them on. Remember, have a look at his daily blog when you can.

Now, a few months ago Stephanie also set up a facespace tube thing page for me and I must admit I have been ignoring it. However, I did eventually find a way to see what’s there and it turns out I have 432 friends. Now, this 430 more than I have ever had my whole life. One of the pages is full of old photos of me slapped on by and old mate and ex Cruise Director Peter Gibbs…………….if you have not seen these photos please have a look but do so on an empty stomach.

Here is Stephanie to tell you all how to see these gems…………….Stephanie over to you.

Hi Everyone,

Just click here (you’ll be asked to login to Facebook).  Once you’re logged in and have checked out the old school photos you can also visit John’s page by clicking here, join his group “John Heald is the Best Cruise Director in the World” or vist the official Carnival profile here.  And of course please be sure to share your videos, photos and comments.


Thanks Steph and lets all thank her for the wonderful job she is doing keeping the postings as regular as I am after eating a big bowl of prunes.

From The Sunday Times
July 15, 2007
I am not a jealous man. I do not sit around all day coveting my neighbor’s Ox or Brad Pitt’s availability to choose any drop dead gorgeous woman on the planet to cuddle with.
That said, however, I fell to my knees and wept with envy and rage this morning when I opened my morning newspaper to discover that a man called “Steve” has won the lottery here in the UK………….he won…………..£9 million……that’s………….$18 million.
Now the reason I was wailed and cried like the Captain of the “Ignoreme of the Seas” when he discovered he would be docked next to the Queen Victoria, was that Steve had bought the lottery ticket by giving his wife the numbers he had chosen and telling her to buy the ticket…………….unfortunately Steve could not buy the ticket himself because he is serving five years in prison for robbery with violence.
The interview in the newspaper showed a photo of Steve before he got sent to prison and he looked like you would expect………….this would not be a man you would want to meet in a dark street or any street at anytime of the day……………yet here was this thug who had broken the leg of a security guard with a baseball bat while robbing a gas station just 8 months form being released and just 8 months from being $18 million richer.

The newspaper interviewed his wife and asked what he was likely to do with the money.
I think the interviewer was hoping that his wife would feel some compassion for the poor security guard who is probably walking with a limp………………but no……………it turns out that there is no compassion in this family and it also turns out that life is not fair ……………. because according to Mrs. Thug……………the first thing her husband is going to do buy……………is his dream car…………………… Aston Martin DB9 convertible.

Putting this criminal-deranged bully behind the wheel of an Aston Martin is sad…………really sad.
This is Bond’s car……………it should be driven by someone who wakes up next to a gorgeous dark haired spy called Nora Titov who he had drunk Bollinger 67 with before having a night of passion. Then, after kissing her gently on her neck James jumps into his Aston Martin and drives at 100 mph so he can be on time to blow up an oilrig.
Instead, we have Steve…………….who will wake up after a night drinking cans of Budweiser, kick his wife who probably has a name like Absolute, Martini or Versace out of bed telling her to make his breakfast. Then our hero will drive his Aston Martin at 100 mph to make sure he gets to the pub by opening time to plan his next robbery with his sidekick Richard Head.
Life is mostly fair but at times it certainly is not. I can only hope that someone from Aston Martin will see that Steve Thug is not the person they want driving their super car and will find a real James Bond to shoot him in the face with a harpoon gun.
Honestly…………….Steve Thug in an Aston……………that’s like asking me to play the part of Mr. Darcy.
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.