What a Start to the Morning

July 28, 2008 -

John Heald

Guten Morgen from Warnemunde, Germany which last cruise was my favorite port and I am sure it will be today as well. It’s a beautiful day and as I write to you at 7:55am the temperature is already pushing the low 70’s………..I still have a cold by the way but this morning ………….that is the least of my problems ………………because I got myself and my staff in trouble with the locals…………….wunderbugger!

More on that in a second. First of all, let’s set the scene. This morning we have 1,100 people heading to Berlin on our private trains. They are off to see the Brandenburg gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Wall and of course Berlin’s top tourist attraction, the Avalon Hotel where Michael Jackson proved what a great father he is.

The process to collect your tour sticker and train pass we have in place is excellent. Guests are called ashore where an army of staff hand out stickers and information and the German guides then escort you to the train. The guides in Germany by the way were voted by the guests ………….the best of any port last cruise. So, this morning at 6:15 am when we arrived myself, Heidi and seven Entertainment Staff members along with the five Shore Excursion staff all headed into the terminal building to meet with the tour operators to make sure everything was ready…………..and that’s when my problems began.

In each and every port the local authorities ………that’s Immigration and Customs have to do something which is known in the cruising world as “clear the ship”……….this means that they are happy with the paperwork that has been prepared by the Pursers. This includes a full passenger and crew manifest as well as visa information and environmental, ship and other information.

So, back to earlier today. The staff and I met in the lobby and walked off the gangway into the terminal building………and within seconds of stepping ashore I was greeted with the word “ACHTUNG.”…………..Now, I have no idea what this word means but I have heard it in the movies and I knew if I didn’t stop I may spend the next four years digging tunnels with Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough.

So I stopped as did Razvan the Shore Excursion Manager, but the others who were ahead of me had not realized the command to stop was aimed at them …………so they just kept walking outside to meet the operators.

The man was 5 foot nothing and dressed in a pale green uniform and was really upset as he spat the word “passport” which I had with me of course. I handed it over and after confirming I was me and not ……..well………James Garner……..he told me in perfect English that the ship had yet to be cleared and I and the staff should not be ashore.

He then asked me the names of the other staff members who were dispersed outside the terminal building………he got a note pad out………..and waited for me to give up the names of my crew. How long under duress would I be able to hold out before I gave up the names of my wife and the staff……………I held out for as long as I could which was about three seconds actually and then I blabbed like a 5 year old ……….I gave their names, addresses, mobile phone numbers and would have given their shoe sizes if I had needed to.

Das Officer then told me to “Come mit him” and I did……….and I was taken into a small office. It was then that I noticed something about my new best friend. You know, in Europe we get used to seeing a steady erosion of border protection. You can drive through France where the border officers are usually on strike, through Belgium where there aren’t any because nothing has ever happened in Belgium. ……..if you do see any inspectors they are usually old …….very old …………but not here in Warnemunde as both Inspectors were talking in German and I cowered in a corner I noticed that both were lean, mean fighting machines with shaved heads and enough armor at their side to invade a small Caribbean Island.

Eventually, I was released and as I write I have no idea what will happen ………… will the ship be fined?………..will I be deported?…………..will I get in trouble for writing the above text?………..if you never hear from me again please………….send help…………..I am in the…………………..

Hi Everyone,
Stephanie here – That’s all we’ve heard of John this morning, so check back later to see if he is ok.
This week we’ll also be having some meetings regarding the Bloggers cruise so make sure you keep reading.
Thanks and kind regards
Stephanie

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.