Good Morning from Tallinn

August 2, 2008 -

John Heald

I had introduced Jamie Allen the Maverick Magician on stage at the 9:00pm show, the crowd were already applauding and staring wide eyed at the amazing slight of hand magic that he was performing and that was being projected onto the screens…………I am not a big lover of magic shows. I know that it is impossible to make the Statue of Liberty disappear or turn a white tiger into a hamster. However, this slight of hand close up in your face kind of magic has me enthralled. So, when my phone rang I was not happy especially as the people watching close to me gave me dagger looks of death.

So, I went to the back of the lounge and discovered that someone was calling me from the Pursers office which was 8 paces away. So, I hung up, walked 8 paces and said " Hello "………….I was ready to have some fun with the Purser about me being right there but I could see from the look on her face that something was not quite right. ………………and it wasn’t.

I was informed that we needed to make an announcement through the emergency system which would effectively stop the show. The reason for this was that a 12 year old boy had been playing basketball and trying to dunk the ball had fallen, landed on his knee and hurt himself quite badly. He was now in the infirmary and I needed to find his parents……………

So, I firstly called the dining room to make sure they were not at dinner but they were on the early sitting and had already eaten. So, I made the announcement without disturbing the show. This is done because we can block of each area of the ship when using the PA system so not to disturb shows and music etc…………I made the announcement………….waited………………nobody called………………..bugger.

So, then I walked into the lounge and waited for an applause break which as the show was brilliant came very quickly. I then used my microphone……….apologized to Jamie the magician and the audience and asked if Dad was here……………….he was. he met me at the back of the room and looked ashen faced as if he knew something was wrong. I told him what had happened as we walked down the stairs to the infirmary. let me tell you know that the young lad is fine…..he had some urgent treatment on board administered by our superb medical team and he is now well and back with Mum and Dad.

This morning I gave them a friendly call to make sure all was well and Dad said his son was fine but his wife was mad at him because he had given him permission to play basketball with his newly made friends. ……………he was where I have spent most of my life…………in the dog house.

I want to be a father………I could never be a mother.

Obviously Heidi and I have yet to blessed with a child and even though Heidi says I would make a good father I think she may be nervous when it comes to me looking after them on my own. Last Christmas I was entrusted to look after my niece and nephew Luke and Isabelle while their Mum, my sister and Heidi went Christmas shopping. In essence I was given the role of a single father for one day. Judging by what happened I would have been better off pressing wild flowers or learning how to make Sushi underwater…………I made a complete mess of it. When my sister and Heidi came home it was way past the kids bedtime, Isabelle had glue in her hair and in her eyes and was crying profusely and Luke was stuck up a tree.

Things had probably started going wrong earlier that afternoon. Lunch……….OK, I had been given instructions to feed them but before that their plastic cups, plates and cutlery would need washing from breakfast. ……….I stared at the dishwasher for about an hour and then finally realized I had no idea how it worked. Oh, I may be able to write an OK blog and entertain an audience but if its white and lives in the kitchen I have bugger all idea how it works.

Washing Machines……….nope……………….Deep Freezers………….well I don’t see the point of them at all. Send me into a supermarket and I come out with what I need now which is usually a bag of potato chips and some hemorrhoid cream. …………..anyway, in the end I gave the kids plates a quick wash under the tap with some Dove soap and some water and fed them their micro waved and obviously slightly burnt pizza……………Luke said his tasted soapy.

I had left Isabelle gluing sea creatures into a scrapbook thingy while Luke put his shoes and coat on and was playing with a huge double barrel mega water pistol thingy that I had bought him that morning and was busy giving the birds and the odd insect the good news with gallons of cold water. This seemed pretty natural to me so I put on my Eye Pod to drown out the screeches of horror from the wildlife getting a free enema from Luke’s water pistol and sat down in my office to blog.

And so instead of coming home to a scene of kids ready for bed in their pajamas, all the toys put a way and the house as clean as a laboratory they came home to Isabelle who had super glued her eye shut and Luke who was stuck up a tree after trying to get a good firing position for if and when I had bothered to come out and check on him.

Of course like the Dad who had said his son didn’t need to watch the show but could play basketball I was in the doghouse…………….thank goodness Suedrip and Heidi never discovered my worse moment. One of them had done poo poos and kept shouting "ready "…………….thank goodness Suzanne never discovered I bribed the other kid with 5 pounds to go and do the thing with the toilet paper while I hid under the bed.

So, Good Morning from Tallinn. Lots to tell you today starting with another nice day for guests to explore and another nice day stuck on board for me…………more on that in a moment.

First though, here is a look at some photos of Tallinn today from Jaime.

 

Tower of the old city wall
Tower of the old city wall

  Photos of Tallinn - Outside Church Church with the Coat of Arms Church with the Coat of Arms

 Estonian school of Music and Theatre (left) and Ballet School (right) Estonian school of Music and Theatre (left) and Ballet School (right)

 

Random parade in Estonia! Random parade in Estonia!

 

More Random Parade =) More Random Parade =)

 Panoramic View of Old Town, Tallinn (Estonia) Panoramic Shot of the city, with the ship in the distance =)

 

Now, onto next cruise. We have a whole new itinerary next week because of space and availability in port. Europe continues to be very popular and space as ever is limited. This means that we have had to change the order of our ports of call for this cruise.

Here is the new itinerary:

8/6/2008 Wed London(Dover), England  7:00 AM 5:00 PM
8/7/2008 Thu  "Fun Day" At Sea  At Sea At Sea
8/8/2008 Fri  "Fun Day" At Sea  At Sea At Sea
8/9/2008 Sat  Tallinn, Estonia  1:00 PM 9:00 PM
8/10/2008 Sun  St. Petersburg , Russia 11:00 AM Overnight
8/11/2008 Mon  St. Petersburg , Russia Overnight 7:00 PM
8/12/2008 Tue  Helsinki, Finland  8:00 AM 6:00 PM
8/13/2008 Wed  "Fun Day" At Sea  At Sea At Sea
8/14/2008 Thu Berlin(Warnemunde ), Germany 6:00 AM 10:00 PM
8/15/2008 Fri  Copenhagen , Denmark NOON 8:00 PM
8/16/2008 Sat  "Fun Day" At Sea  At Sea At Sea
8/17/2008 Sun  Amsterdam, The Netherlands 10:00 AM 6:00 PM
8/18/2008 Mon London(Dover), England  7:00 AM 5:00 PM

 

Now, this presents the following challenges.

1. I had a meeting today with the Estonian authorities who have insisted that everyone from a Non European Union country must have their passports collected and processed through Immigration. This means the following.

1. All US and Canadian and non EU passports will be collected during embarkation check in

2. Guests will have a photo copy of their passport taken as the originals are collected. If guests already have a photocopy they will not need an extra.

3 Guests will be given a receipt for their passports.

4. During the stay in Tallinn Immigration inspectors will come on board and stamp and process each passport

5. After departure from Tallinn guests will need to bring the receipt and collect their passports as they will be needed for St.Petersburg the next day.

Now, we managed to talk them out of a full immigration check where each guest would have to present themselves to the authorities before leaving the ship but lets be honest, its still a pain…………….why are they doing it…………….well……………t
here are lots of different reasons but honestly and in my opinion…………it seems like a bit of tit for tat stuff going on…………….if you know what I mean.

Now, the other big change is in St.Petersburg where we have a noon a 11:00am arrival. This means we cannot offer the Grand Tour but instead we are packaging together a wonderful selection of daytime tours. The evening tours are unaffected.

Apart from this………..well, nothing else has really changed. We are staying in Estonia and Denmark to later which is nice and hopefully all will be well. If you have any questions on this please let me know via Stephanie marking the comment " Urgent, please reply ."…………and I will.

One other problem from this morning was that for some reason our telephone system decided to go bonkers and did not reset itself for the time change. This meant that with the hour back a few guests were woken up at 5am and not 6am for their tours…………we caught this as soon a the guests told us but not before many had been woken up early…………some were very unhappy and who can blame them.

Some very sad news, this morning at 5:05 am I was informed that an elderly guest had passed away in her sleep. I went down to the cabin and spent time with the husband. There are no words that I am able to write to describe this scenario except to ask you all to remember her and the family she left behind in your thoughts and prayers……………………………thank you.

Well, lots of you are booking the blogger’s cruise and lots of you have booked your Dream voyage on…………the Carnival Dream. You know, I cant stop thinking about that chap with the T Shirt on yesterday. He kept banging on about the new mall of the seas using words like "gigantic" and "humongous" and all I could picture in my mind was that narrow promenade looking like the Mall of America during the sales.

Anyway, back to the Carnival Dream and I wondered if you had seen this wonderful video………………..here it is

www.carnival.com/dream

Makes you want to pick up the phone and book doesn’t it?

There will be much more on the blogger’s cruise this week by the way.

Just before we continue, do you remember my blog about how I enjoy cutting the grass at home………….well, here is one of my Dad mowing the grass at their house today……….notice the cap?………..well my Dad has always worn a cap……….I think if Mum let him he would wear his cap in bed.

Dad cutting the grass

 

The life boat drill used to be just about that…………life boats………which one is yours and which one you are assigned to.

These days however its also about smoking and the areas you must and must not do this…………….washing your hands to prevent gastro illness…………the Environmental rules and regulations and even tips on saving water when you brush your teeth by turning the tap off and talking of turning things off…………I even ask guests to turn the lights off before they leave their staterooms.

These are subjects that are all necessary and although I support each and everyone of them I do feel a little uncomfortable in telling 3000 adults to " wash your hands " and " don’t let the taps run when you clean your teeth"…………….it makes me feel like I am lecturing them on something they probably all do already. What’s your thoughts on this?

Also, I have been thinking about maybe having a bit more " fun " at boat drill something similar to what I hear Southwest Airlines do. What do you think?

I am already fighting such things at home where we live. Council’s are handing out £5,000 fixed-penalty notices to those whose lights are keeping people from getting to sleep.

Every single day there is a small piece in the papers that announces the introduction of a law banning something which you thought was harmless. And here’s the thing. You raise your eyebrows momentarily and then you turn the page and read about a celebrity who has gone mad and married a horse.
It’s only when you add up the number of new laws that have come along that you realize just how much of our freedom they have tried to erode in the past years.
I was speaking to the Staff Captain who told me that in Italy you may not legally fix a broken window pane in your own home unless you are a qualified broken window mender and that when the work is done you must get it inspected by a broken window inspector from the local mafia…………I mean council.. Furthermore, I learned from Heidi that in Holland it is against the law to change or tamper with the electrical sockets in your own kitchen.

There’s so much more to come as well. Horse racing will be banned , you will not be allowed to tread on a cockroach, you will not be able to have sex or a few drinks with your friends after work. Red Meat will have to be marked with a government health warning and you will be prevented from telling jokes about yourself, homosexual men, lesbians, Muslims, Catholics, the Irish, RCI, Polar Bears, fat men with bent teeth and the French……………OK, maybe not the French.

Naturally you will also be banned from smoking anywhere except Mars, owning a Bible, sending Christmas cards that feature the nativity and smacking your children. Happily, you will be allowed to drive a car, but not at more than 10mph, not if you’ve had a some rum cake and certainly not if it has four-wheel drive.

I have had enough
I’ll carry on telling jokes about myself and when stuck in a traffic jam I shall call someone in France and tell them they smell.. I will eat as much beef as I like and I shall sit in my Range Rover and smoke twenty cigars and make sure the headlights are on full beam.

This evening I’m thinking of smacking someone else’s children. For fun. And then, when I go to bed tonight, after I’ve altered all the wiring in my kitchen and eaten a whole cow I’ll leave the outside lights on. And dream about the glimpse of Catherine Zeta Jones’ G-string I saw in a movie last week.

I am a rebel with a cause.

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.