Friends

July 28, 2008 -

John Heald

Here I am……..well, so far I am alive and well and neither myself or the ship has been fined because we all went ashore before the official clearance of the ship and my new best friend seems to have let me off with a warning.

It’s now 11:35 am and apart from me sneezing every 5 minutes everything went very smoothly. Both Berlin trains have left and the Warnemunde tours have all departed. There are only 117 guests onboard the ship which shows the immense popularity of the port.

Last nights show featured the comedy and juggling of Gronway Thom……..he is Welsh by the way and if you see his name on a billboard rush inside and see the show…….he is brilliant as the two huge standing ovations he received showed.

The guests this week are very “International” as I have mentioned a few times. This is great for many reasons but difficult if you are on stage trying to be funny ………in English is difficult enough for me at the best of times but trying to be funny knowing that the majority of the late sitting guests haven’t a clue what you are saying……….well, that’s a whole other challenge. Anyway, so far………so good and I received many smiles and hand shakes from people from all over the world last night as I walked around ………that really makes you feel good.

I met a couple from closer to home though as well. Stephen Snell is from the UK and he was very complimentary about the job I was doing as Cruise Director. This was especially gratifying as Stephen had spent 8 years serving aboard P&O ships as a Food and Beverage Manager………..quite a career at sea. He is here with his wife on holiday and you will never guess what he does now……………….he is a priest, or vicar, or …….I am not sure of the right title but he is something like that for The Salvation Army and after this cruise he and his wife will be doing missionary work for the Salvation Army in the Ivory Coast……………..we wish them well.

It’s quite amazing what people do when they leave ships. Look at Siegfried and Roy…….they were cruise ship entertainers before becoming multi millionaires and being eaten. Then there is John Prescott…..the Deputy Prime Minister of the UK. He was a Cabin Steward for Cunard and worked on the Queen Elizabeth 2 or was it the Sargafjord……..let me check……..but regardless that’s quite a career change as well…

From making beds to making policy that could change a whole country.

We also have my old friend Carl Martin from St.Annes Jamaica. Carl was an Assistant Bar Manager when I was also in the bar Department. He was a quite, unassuming man who just did his job and went to bed……….you would hardly have known he was there. Then, he left and I didn’t see him for many years. When I did, I bumped into him in Ocho Rios and after a few moments I asked him what he was doing now……..I expected him to tell me he worked in a hotel or a bar or something similar……….not quite……..the quiet and unassuming man was now a pilot for Air Jamaica. The reason he always went straight to his cabin was to study……….to be a pilot……….and now he was a Captain flying Boeing 777s…………….wow!

Finally, there is Captain Gaetano Gigliotti who was the first Captain of the Carnival Miracle and is now working in our Miami head office for operations. Before becoming a deck officer and eventually Captain he was……………guess what…………a wine steward on the Mardi Gras and Festivale…………what a great story ……..I feel an interview coming on.

It’s a hot day here in Germany and the temperature has now reached 84 degrees. After yesterday telling me that as I have a cold I should stay indoors, Heidi is now telling me I should go outside and get some fresh air………trust me, there is nothing fresh about me in 84 degrees of heat………….however, I will do as I am told…… as always. I will be taking the camera with me.

So I am heading outside and this will involve walking past my Inspector friend which is why I am going in disguise………….where’s my Dolly Parton dress?

Here I am back again. Goodness it was hot outside and although I enjoyed a walk for about 10 minutes I didn’t feel too good so I came back. My cold has got the better of me and I am heading to bed shortly to rest before the big German Deck party with the return of the brass band and bier fest on deck.

Anyway, have a look at some photos of Warnemunde taken by the Mrs.


Yes, this is Germany

Yesterday I showed you some of the amazing itineraries that some of our sister ships offer. Well, PA 007 sent me this one which I must agree sounds just marvelous. Having been on a short cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia I know that the Autumn Colours (spelt correctly) voyages with Cunard must be so very special………have a look.

September 2008
10 Wed Southampton, England
Depart 5:00 pm
Southampton England

The south of England boasts a dramatic coastline and some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain. The region’s history matches its scenic beauty. At nearby Salisbury stands the neolithic circle of Stonehenge. The remains of Pictic, Roman, and Saxon settlements dot the countryside. The great cathedral at Winchester is one of the great surviving monuments of Anglo-Norman architecture. And at Southampton, a chapter in America’s history began when the Pilgrims took their leave of England for the New World.

11 Thu Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Cruising the Atlantic Ocean

12 Fri Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Cruising the Atlantic Ocean

13 Sat Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Cruising the Atlantic Ocean

14 Sun Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Cruising the Atlantic Ocean

15 Mon Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Cruising the Atlantic Ocean

16 Tue New York, New York
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
New York, New York

New York, New York, also known as “The Big Apple,” is an incredibly diverse and active place. Consisting of an intricate patchwork of neighborhoods, each with its own character and history, yet one neighborhood blends into the next; Lower Manhattan with the New York Stock Exchange, Battery Park and South Street Seaport; Chinatown; trendy SoHo and Greenwich Village; Little Italy; The Lower East Side, one of the most densely populated places on earth; Chelsea; The Flat Iron District and Gramercy Park; Midtown West and the Garment District; Midtown East and Murray Hill; The Upper West Side and Morningside Heights; Central Park and its 843 acres (341.1 hectares) of paths, ponds, lakes and green space; the Upper East Side; and Harlem. In New York, there are always things to see and explore: From world-class museums to breathtaking skyscrapers, from vibrant neighborhoods to parks and gardens. As they say, it is the “city that never sleeps.”

17 Wed Newport, Rhode Island
7:00 am – 3:00 pm
Newport, Rhode Island

In the 19th century, Newport was America’s Versailles. It was here that the great merchant princes and robber barons of the Gilded Age erected the elaborate summerhouses they so ingenuously dubbed “cottages.” At the height of its splendor, a Newport season was a giddy whirl of grand fetes, yacht races, and elaborate beach picnics for assorted Vanderbilts, Astors, and Morgans. Today it is the privileged traveler who marvels at the splendor of great houses like The Breakers, The Elms, or Rosecliff. Gone are the days when “Tessie” Oelrichs, one of Newport’s fabled hostesses, had 12 skeleton ships anchored offshore and dramatically lit for her legendary “White Ball.” Colonial Newport is just as intriguing as the mansions of its “Gilded Age.” Founded in 1639, Newport was a prosperous seaport until the British destroyed the town during the American Revolution. It was after the Civil War that America’s wealthiest families turned Newport into their summer playground.

Note: Newport is an anchorage port. Transportation from the ship to shore will be via the ship’s tender service.

18 Thu Boston, Massachusetts
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Boston, Massachusetts

Hailed as the “Cradle of American Independence,” Boston is filled with historic sights – it was America’s first great city. In the 19th century, Boston was rightly described as the “Athens of America.” Today this city of 600,000 retains its vitality, combining historic districts with revitalized urban centers while remaining faithful to its venerable roots. It is a city every American should visit at least once. Follow the Freedom Trail along three of the most historic miles (4.8km) in the country. See the site of the Boston Tea Party, trace the route of Paul Revere’s famous ride, and stand on the bridge where Minutemen fired the shots heard “‘round the world.” In the old Charleston Navy Yard you can see the USS Constitution, the nation’s oldest commissioned warship. The capital of Massachusetts, Boston, is a city of extraordinary beauty, boasting historic buildings, narrow cobbled streets, numerous parks, and a distinctive skyline.

19 Fri Bar Harbor, Maine
7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Bar Harbor, Maine

Standing atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, it is easy to see why individuals like John D. Rockefeller felt so strongly about preserving the area’s natural beauty. Established by individual donations, Acadia National Park is a stunning intersection of sea-scoured shores, towering cliffs, and forested mountains. Mount Desert Island had been a resort destination well before the establishment of Acadia National Park in 1919. The wealthy flocked to Bar Harbor at the turn of the century, building Newport-style “cottages” that turned the quaint New England town into a fashionable summer resort. It was the efforts of these wealthy vacationers, including John D. Rockefeller, which led President Woodrow Wilson to establish Acadia as the first national park east of the Mississippi. Many of Bar Harbor’s great houses are a memory. A catastrophic fire in 1947 ravaged the town and the surrounding forest. But Acadia National Park survived, and today it is one of the most visited national parks in America. Acadia’s 35,000 acres (14,163.9 hectares) are studded with natural wonders: In addition to the stunning landscape, some 50 species of mammals including moose, black bear, and white tail deer roam the park. Explored by Samuel de Champlain and settled by English colonists in 1796, it was Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of Painting, who really put Bar Harbor on the map. Followed by the Astors, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, the local lore is as enchanting as the unforgettable scenery.

Note: Bar Harbor is an anchorage port. Transportation from the ship to shore will be via the ship’s tender service.

20 Sat Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saint John, New Brunswick Canada

Make sure you catch the high tide! Twice a day, it sends water churning up the St. John River to create the spectacular reversing falls in a narrow gorge. On a jet boat ride, you could see it up close!

21 Sun Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada

The capital of Nova Scotia and the largest city in Canada’s Atlantic Provinces, Halifax was once Great Britain’s major military bastion in North America. The beautifully restored waterfront buildings of Halifax’s Historic Properties recall the city’s centuries-old maritime heritage. Stroll the waterfront, and you may find Nova Scotia’s floating ambassador, the schooner Bluenose II, tied up to Privateer’s Wharf, just as old sailing ships have done for over 200 years. Halifax is also the gateway to Nova Scotia’s stunning scenery, including famous Peggy’s Cove, where surf-pounded granite cliffs and a solitary lighthouse create an unsurpassed scene of rugged natural beauty. Drawn by the superb harbour, the second largest in the world, the British established Halifax as a naval base in the mid-18th century. The city’s strategic position on the Atlantic proved even more valuable as a base for fishing the rich banks of the North Atlantic.

22 Mon Cruising the Gulf of St. Lawrence
Cruising the Gulf of St. Lawrence

23 Tue Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Arrive 8:00 am
Quebec City, Quebec Canada

To visit Québec is to experience France without crossing the Atlantic. The architecture, ambience, and animated conversation on the street confirms the impression that a bit of France has been permanently imbedded in North America. Stroll along the streets of the atmospheric Latin Quarter and explore the historic stone and brick houses of Old Québec, the only remaining walled city north of Mexico. Visit the Place Royale and Notre Dame des Victoires, the oldest stone church in North America, and marvel at the turreted Château de Frontenac. Québec has always been divided into upper and lower sections. Historically, the Upper Town was the civic centre dedicated to administration and defense; the Lower Town on the waterfront was originally a fur-trading post.

24 Wed Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Depart 5:00 pm
Quebec City, Quebec Canada

To visit Québec is to experience France without crossing the Atlantic. The architecture, ambience, and animated conversation on the street confirms the impression that a bit of France has been permanently imbedded in North America. Stroll along the streets of the atmospheric Latin Quarter and explore the historic stone and brick houses of Old Québec, the only remaining walled city north of Mexico. Visit the Place Royale and Notre Dame des Victoires, the oldest stone church in North America, and marvel at the turreted Château de Frontenac. Québec has always been divided into upper and lower sections. Historically, the Upper Town was the civic centre dedicated to administration and defense; the Lower Town on the waterfront was originally a fur-trading post.

25 Thu Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Cruising the Atlantic Ocean

26 Fri St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
St. John’s, Newfoundland Canada

As Canada’s most easterly province, the Island of Newfoundland is situated on the North Atlantic, with St. John’s as its provincial capital. The city of St. John’s is on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, and is the oldest city in North America. It has always been a busy fishing port with a good natural harbour bounded by hills. Its history and cultural spirit show strong Irish and Scottish influences evident in its pubs and music. The surrounding land is rugged, with a dramatic coastline heavily indented with bays and inlets, which give way to an interior terrain of wild mountains, hills, lakes, and rivers. St. John’s prides itself on the warm and friendly spirit of its people. Life here is hearty and close to nature.

27 Sat Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Cruising the Atlantic Ocean

28 Sun Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Cruising the Atlantic Ocean

29 Mon Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Cruising the Atlantic Ocean

30 Tue Southampton, England
Disembark

Can you imagine, seeing those ports and returning onboard to the five star “We are Cunard” Service? What an amazing experience that would be.

And of course, we can’t mention trans-Atlantic voyages without reminding you of the Carnival Dream’s crossing………here it is……….you know, I have never been to Bermuda, have you?

Tuesday, Oct 27
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy

7:00pm

Wednesday, Oct 28
Fun Day At Sea

Thursday, Oct 29
Barcelona, Spain

7:00am
6:00pm

Friday, Oct 30
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

8:00am
6:00pm

Saturday, Oct 31
Fun Day At Sea

Sunday, Nov 01
Malaga, Spain

8:00am
5:00pm

Monday, Nov 02
Fun Day At Sea

Tuesday, Nov 03
Las Palmas,Canary Is

8:00am
6:00pm

Wednesday, Nov 04
Fun Day At Sea

Thursday, Nov 05
Fun Day At Sea

Friday, Nov 06
Fun Day At Sea

Saturday, Nov 07
Fun Day At Sea

Sunday, Nov 08
Fun Day At Sea

Monday, Nov 09
King’s Wharf, Bermuda

9:00am

Tuesday, Nov 10
King’s Wharf, Bermuda

12:00pm

Wednesday, Nov 11
Fun Day At Sea

Thursday, Nov 12
New York, NY

9:00am

I just got off the phone with my mate Alan who sends his best to everyone for their messages of happiness at his remarkable recovery. I wanted to buy him a present to say “well done” and was going to buy him the board game “Operation” but instead I decided not to be cruel and bought him two tickets to see the Miami Heat play the New Jersey Nets in an exhibition match in October.

Alan loves basketball and has never seen a live match featuring NBA stars. He will now and he will also get a look at our new coach Erik Spoelstra who is the youngest coach in the NBA at 7 years old.……sorry………..37 years old…….Hopefully Alan and his son William will experience the thrill of a Miami win……………they better win ……… tickets were bloody expensive………I should have gone with the board game.

In this mornings previous blog I spoke about how quickly I gave up my colleagues names rather than face further wrath from Das Inspector. This got me thinking back to the “old days.”

Back in the early eighties I spent every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the same group of eight friends. We would go to the same pub together and drink, laugh, drink some more, laugh a lot more and at one point we even formed a band. We all new that as sure as there was a sun up in the sky that we would be………………friends forever.

Had one of my friends been accused of spilling a beer over a 300 pound man with no neck and muscles the size of Pamela Andersen’s breasts than I would have stepped in, said it was me that did it and taken the beating……..however that would have made me feel extremely stupid today because I can’t even remember some of their names.

How the heck did this happen, how did eight people who were as close as you could imagine suddenly….well…………not be anymore.

I am sure the last time I said “see you soon” to them truly believed I would. We had not had an argument, some of them hadn’t suddenly bought some sandals, moved to Tibet and become Monks…….we literally just went home and never saw each other ever again.

I looked through my old tatty address book this morning as I sat here writing and realized that over half the names in there I never see or hear from……….and I know why.

During the last few years every time I go home from the ship on vacation what I like doing is staying in…………watching 24, football, late night NBA and reading the papers.

Going out means dressing up, personal grooming and wearing nice clothes……..things I do each and everyday at work. If I do go out it’s once a week which means that I never get to see most of the names in my old brown address book.

When we are home we get invited out a lot and eventually after using up every excuse in the book including being attacked by a leopard and having a sudden onset of whopping cough, I have to go.

I also have to say………….and I hope this does not sound pretentious………..but since the blog thingy all of a sudden more and more “old friends” have started to call.

These calls all take the same form………”Hello mate how are you?………”Its been too long”…..”What? No kids yet?”………”I am doing fantastic”………”Really miss you”…….”We should get together”………..”Love your blog”………”Come for dinner”…………and oh yes, “Can I have a free cruise please?”

There is one bloke whose name I won’t mention who has started to call me after three years of silence……….which was just fine with me. Lets just say that on the list of people I would call to spend a night out with he comes just after the journalist who said my blog should be put down like a sick dog…….and anyone French.

If I saw him coming towards me in the street I would start touching his bottom and trying to kiss him on the lips until he buggered off and if that didn’t work I would throw myself under a truck

So, just now, I sat with my raspberry in my hand about to delete his name and number. He has called me endlessly and wants to come and cruise. We were friends many years ago but now as I just described I can think of nothing worse……….however, I just couldn’t bring myself to delete his information……….I felt a huge stab of guilt as I remembered the good times we had way back when. I felt like I was in one of those relationships we have all had………..the one where you realize you don’t want to be with that person anymore……….but you are too scared to ditch them……….so you sit there hoping they will ditch you.

But I know that’s never going to happen and this old friend of mine will keep calling and calling and pushing and pushing to come and cruise ….for free. I therefore have only one choice……….and that’s to call the British Police and tell them that in 1984 he stole a Mars bar and a can of Guinness from Mr. Patel’s corner shop in Shoeburyness, Essex.

Goodnight
Your friends
John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.