A raspberry from Genoa chapter 1

June 2, 2008 -

John Heald

I just went through one of those life-threatening moments of laughter……..the sort where your brain starts to run out of oxygen and you think your head will explode………I will tell you why in a moment.

Originally Heidi and I had planned to take a train from Naples to Genoa thinking to avoid flying by taking a relaxing train ride through the Italian countryside. However, yesterday I looked at the tickets properly for the first time and noticed that the relaxing train ride would take seven……yep…….seven hours. For some reason I thought that it was an hour’s journey but obviously my ability to understand Italian geography is less than adequate.

So, after removing Heidi’s shoe from my bottom I booked a flight with a company called Air One who would fly us to Genoa…..flight time one hour twenty minutes.

And that is where the first part of this blog thingy comes to you from…….Air One……..or as I have named it Hair One and you will now see why and also why I laughed so hard I nearly had to go shopping for some Italian Il Dependo (that’s Italy’s own version of Depends.)

Now, I am not going to mention the fact that the plane looked like it had flown through a war zone or had been used by a Colombian Drug Baron or that inside it smelt like Gandhi’s flip-flop.

What I am going to tell you is about Rocco our flight attendant. Firstly, the name Rocco conjures up a big strong chap able to rip a phone book in half. Let’s just say that Rocco was as far from that as you can imagine and this Rocco would have had problems ripping a tissue in half.

However, he is quite possibly the best-looking man I have ever seen and it was he who nearly made me lose control of my bodily functions.

Rocco spent the pre flight time mincing up and down the aisle or the catwalk as he obviously thought it was until it was time for the safety demonstration. Now, I should start by saying that I felt very sorry for Rocco and the other flight attendant as no bugger was listening or watching what was being said……..no shocker there as the plane was full of Italians. Anyway, if they had been watching they would have seen Rocco at his best. It was during the demonstration that he was required to show us how to put on the life jacket over our heads etc…..he did so and then took it off again………now the recording continued about reading the card in our seat backs etc but Rocco ignored the rest of the safety recording instead he stood there in the isle…….pulled out a comb and a small vanity mirror and instead of telling us what to do if we hit a mountain……..Rocco combed his golden locks.

I laughed so hard that Heidi put her hand over my mouth and used her elbow to give my ribs the good news……..but I could not stop laughing……..and as Rocco minced back to the galley he had no idea that he had just made my day.

The plane has just landed and as the airport is right next to the port I have already seen our new home hence the hairs on my arms neck and if I could see back there the ones on my bottom are standing on end. She is docked next to a new Costa ship which I think said Pacifica but since we were landing at 300 miles an hour I cannot be certain.

We are now heading for our home until June 14 the Hotel Star Presidente……..very grand name but probably Italy’s equivalent of the Motel Ses. (6)

Did you read the AIDA blog? If you have not yet done so please take time to as I was so very impressed with what I saw that I wanted to share my excitement with you all.

Now, just before I go I wanted to show you this letter. For the last few years we have been proclaiming that our Carnival beds will help you get the best nights sleep at sea.

Here is a letter that underlines this and I hope you enjoy reading it:

I just came back from a Carnival cruise this past Sunday.  I have been suffering from back pain for almost 2 years now.  I have gone out and purchased a new set of mattresses hoping that the pain would subside and that I could finally get some sleep.  I have been taking pain medication and have been seeing a chiropractor for over a year, but that is only offering minimal comfort.  I left for my Carnival cruise on May 18 and made a special trip to the chiropractor before I left because I just new that I was going to be suffering from back pain after sleeping on what I thought would be just a normal cheap mattress.  Boy was I wrong; I haven’t slept that good in two years.  My only problem was that I was waking up early because I had gotten such a good night’s sleep that I figured that it was time to get up.  I didn’t have not one bit of back pain.  There was no tossing and turning trying to get comfortable.  I was even taking naps in the middle of the day because I was so comfortable while I was sleeping.  That is something I never do, even when I try it takes me almost an hour to fall asleep because I just can’t get relaxed and comfortable.  Sleeping on your mattresses on the cruise, I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.  I would really love to purchase one of these mattresses.  This is the only solution that I have found to my constant back pain.  Please let me know if you sell to the public and if not could you recommend a similar mattress that I can purchase?

Michelle Garner

Well Michelle, I am glad you slept so well and here as requested is the information on those fabulous beds. Sleep well.


Duvets, Pillows, Sheets, Other Accessories Also Available at carnivalcomfortbed.com

Ever since Carnival Cruise Lines introduced its new sleep system earlier this year, guests have been asking how they can purchase their own “Carnival Comfort Bed.”

In response, a special web site, carnivalcomfortbed.com, has been created to provide consumers with an easy and convenient means for purchasing the luxurious mattresses and accessories that comprise the new “Carnival Comfort Bed” sleep system.

Items available through this interactive site include plush mattresses, soft duvets and duvet covers, two different styles of pillows, and high-quality cotton sheets, pillow shams and pillowcases. 

“When we announced the launch of ‘Carnival Comfort Bed’ in May, we never imagined it would be so popular. Guests are telling us that this is by far the most comfortable bed they’ve ever slept in. We’re very pleased to provide the opportunity for guests to recreate the relaxing night’s sleep they experienced during their ‘Fun Ship’ cruise,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 

Manufactured exclusively for Carnival Cruise Lines, the “Carnival Comfort Bed” sleep system includes a comfortable eight-inch spring mattress and box spring, a duvet made from 100 percent hypoallergenic down, and high quality cotton blend satin-strip sheets and pillowcases.

Two different styles of pillows are also available, including “New Generation Pillows,” made of non-allergenic micro fiber to create a fluffy, down-like consistency, and the “Soft and Downy,” with feathers surrounded by down for unmatched comfort.

Currently on the majority of Carnival ships with fleetwide implementation expected by the end of the year, the new “Carnival Comfort Bed” sleep system is just one of several stateroom upgrades the line has instituted in recent years. 

Other personalized touches include terrycloth bathrobes for guest use in ocean view staterooms fleetwide, in-cabin amenities baskets featuring a variety of brand name products, and upgraded towels and shampoo/soap dispensers in all bathrooms.

The new carnivalcomfortbed.com web site is being advertised via in-cabin televisions fleetwide, as well as with a full-color brochure and custom-designed pillow card placed in all guest cabins.

Complete “Stateroom Bedding Sets,” which include four New Generation pillows, two pillow shams, down duvet, duvet cover, and sheet set, start at $399.  Prices for the “Carnival Comfort Bed” mattress/box spring start at $999.  Queen and king sizes are also available. Components can be purchased individually, as well.

Carnival is the world’s largest and most popular cruise line with 21 ships operating voyages of three to 16 days in length to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England and Europe.  The line will expand its fleet with the launch of the new 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom expected to debut in Feb. 2007 and an as-yet-unnamed 112,000-ton vessel scheduled for delivery in spring 2008.

For additional information and reservations on Carnival’s cruises, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Anyway, time to get ripped off by another Italian taxi driver and I will write more later so please check in when you can



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.