Rules — there are lots of them in the world today.

You can’t land unless the tray table is up, you can’t smack your children, you can’t smoke in a pub, you can’t take shampoo on a plane, you can’t climb a ladder unless three other people are holding it, you can’t eat more than six grams of salt a day, you can’t talk on the phone or eat an apple while driving, you can’t sell food unless you explain on the packet precisely what’s in it and where it came from, you can’t go to work unless you have a highly visibility yellow jacket, you can’t bring a German WWII officer’s pistol or a dagger on board a cruise ship. Most people accept these rules and abide by them……………..some do not.

Guest: —————Ref: 002903481A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: _____ Added-Changed: 08/27/08 – 08/27/08

ALLEGED RACIST COMMENT FROM STAFF MEMBER

Mr________ came to the desk this demanding to speak to the Cruise Director or the Captain. Guest said that he had been told that he had been asked to stop filming the Vroom Show by a staff member. Guest said that he had paid lots of money for the cruise and he should be able to film what he wants. Purser had already been told by Social Host Kevin that the guest had refused to stop filming and when he told the guest again Mr_______ accused the Social Host of being a racist. Purser explained that we do not allow filming of the shows. Mr________insisted that he speaks to Captain or Cruise Director. Purser said his comments would be passed along and that the Cruise Director would contact him. E-mail sent to CD.

Here’s our side of the story. Obviously, we have copyright restrictions on the shows and, quite honestly, our shows are the best at sea and we don’t want the Copycat of the Seas stealing our ideas. So, just like the theaters and show rooms of Vegas, London and Broadway, along with most other cruise lines, we make pre-show announcements banning the use of video cameras.

Now, this use to be easy to do because video cameras used to be the size of a Hummer. Nowadays however, they are the size of Kate Moss’s left buttock and most digital, wafer- thin cameras also have video mode thingies in them, as well. We have two staff members on duty during the show and -whereas I do not want them to be the police – they do have show duties to perform………..making sure the aisles and stairways are clear ……… checking on the safety of the performers and when blatantly obvious…………stop people from filming the show.

In this case it wasn’t hard for Kevin the entertainment staff member to realize that Mr. Sony was filming the show because his camera was made in 1865 and needed a suitcase with a battery in it…………and…………it had a light on the top so big it could have warned large ships. Now, forget the fact the guest ignored the pre-show announcements and the fact that it is written in the Capers but having a huge light shining onto the stage from the third row is just ludicrous.

Anyway, I called the guest and I am sorry to say that he felt he was being victimized because of the colour (spelt correctly) of his skin. Obviously, that wasn’t the case and even though I tried to assure the guest of this fact……….he didn’t believe me……………I just wrote about five lines of passage describing how ridiculous a statement that was but I have just deleted it……..I know that it’s not true and that is all that matters ………. although the fact that this guest now believes I am discriminating against him …. well …..that hurts.

On a much happier subject and as we are talking about the shows I have to tell you that our Vroom show is being heralded by every guest and the ovations at the end of the show are thrilling to watch. The cast performs the finale to the Queen song “We Are the Champions” and with the audience singing along and waving their arms in the air in unison……….well, it’s a sight to behold.

Good Morning from a proper day in the North Sea and by proper I mean the ship is rocking as much as the show finale I just described. The sky is grey (again), it’s raining cats and dogs (and a few Yaks) and, again, I give praise and adoration to the retractable roof. The band is playing, the pool games are fun and the guests are warm and snug ………..I love the roof and want to marry it.

The ship started pitching and rolling about 3 am with a big bounce that sent Heidi rolling down the hill that I have created in the bed sending her on top of me…………I thought it was my lucky night……….after all, it was Thursday…….but she just rolled right off again and started snoring for Holland…………………bugger.

This morning we had our senior officer’s meeting at 9 am which finished at 10 am and then I hosted my Morning Show. Then at 11:30 am we had an entertainment staff meeting — or as we call it a production meeting — where myself, the dance captain, the technicians, and musical director discuss the shows and the general running of the department. It was while I was in the middle of this meeting that I received a call from the purser’s office……….a guest was at the desk and would not leave until he had spoken to me……it was the chap who brought the gun and dagger onboard in Estonia ….. oh joy.

Basically, he wanted my word that right now his purchases were safe…………and he wanted to blame me for not informing him that he could not bring them onboard …….and in a way he is right. I told Mr. Walter Peepeekay that indeed his purchases were safe and apologized that we had not informed him. He still could not understand why we would not let him lose on the ship with a decommissioned pistol and an eight-inch dagger. So, we left as friends and I reminded myself once again to make sure that I tell guests that although they can buy guns, grenade launchers and tanks in Estonia ……… they cannot bring them onboard.

Estonia is awash with such things even though their own army is ………… ummm ……somewhat under-equipped. I know this having spoken to the tour guide we had during our familiarization trip to Estonia.

Let’s go back a few years when President George W. Bush announced that, despite the best endeavors of the cheese-eating surrendering French, he had gathered together 30 like-minded countries and that this “force for good” would purge the country of the evil Saddam Hussein.

Unfortunately, the 30 countries he had assembled did not include Germany, Russia or China — nations with proud fighting histories and lots of guns. No. He ended up with an extraordinary collection including Estonia, which did have an army in 1993. But lost it.

No, really. The Estonian army was ordered to capture a Russian military town but the soldiers decided this was an unpleasant way of earning a living and went off, on their own, to fight organized crime instead.

Today Estonia has conscription but most young men get around this simply by not turning up. I don’t blame them. What’s the point of spending a year playing soldiers when the most frightening thing in your country’s military arsenal is the general’s dog?

A few years ago the Germans, the Finns and the Swedes had a whip-round and gave their tiny neighbor some uniforms, a couple of patrol boats and a Piper aircraft. But as for guns — well, the Estonians have an Uzi they bought from the Israelis and, if duty calls, they have to run to the nearest antique store to buy a pistol and a dagger left over from WWII……….in essence the Carnival Splendor is now as well armed as the Estonian army.

One more thing before we take a break and look at some photos and letters. I want to thank you for your opinions on whether or not we should show the Democratic or Republican convention thingies on the big screen. It is obvious that you all agree that we shouldn’t. So, I won’t. Thank you for posting these opinions and in a way you are all now assistant cruise directors………….your opinions are priceless.

Fun Ship Freddy, our funnel-headed mascot is popular with young and old alike …………. Some truly love the big guy so much that they……….well……………..have a look yourself.


Michael Bolchoz (Thanks to his wife Cheri for sending me the photo)

It is a permanent tattoo and, along with the wristwatch, shows a true Carnival fan. This is brilliant and hopefully will set a trend……………….I will give a free cruise to the first person to have a tattoo of me done……………on their bottom.

Here are some more photos of Tallinn


The Monument that represents the establishment of Tallinn’s independence (1991)


View of Old Town


“Tall Herman” Constructed in 1371. On the Estonian flag Blue represents blue skies, Black represents the impurities the people have faced, and White represents peace and the hope the people have for the future.


Cobblestone Streets

Here are today’s letters.

 

Here is today’s cruise director interview featuring my mate Todd. Many of you know Todd and have sailed with him recently on the Carnival Freedom. He is there, right now, in Barcelona, where it’s in the 90s degrees and sunny….the lucky sod. Anyway, here he is.

1. Can you tell us which ship you currently are on and when you are due to leave?

Currently on the Freedom and due to leave December 14, returning back to the Freedom in mid-February!

2. Carnival cruise directors come from very diverse backgrounds. Some have entertainment experience, some, like me have none. Can you tell us about your background and how you ended up with the best job in the world?

College degrees from Guilford College in JPS and psychology! Also a background in health and fitness where I became comfortable with public speaking and developed a sense of humor while looking at myself in a mirror. I have been with Carnival since May of 1999!

3. Before we talk about some of your favorite parts of the job, lets talk about the areas behind the scenes……….the things guests never see. Tell us about what a Cruise Director does when he or she is not on the stage but keeps you just as busy.

I think the most intense part of the job is the planning. Safety issues, Capers, meetings, on-board promotion responsibilities, training, activities and shows. A CD definitely has their hand on the pulse of the ship and is counted on to deliver a wonderful, relaxing and most importantly “fun” experience. It’s the times people say they would love your job because you talk for a living is when you need to smile, nod and think to yourself…if you only knew.

4. A Cruise Director is happiest when performing or being with guests. Can you tell us two activities or events that you would call your signature items…………events that make you stand out from the crowd,

1) With out a doubt – the deck party and fun hop! Love to create a celebration and a reason to have fun just because……
2) Any opportunity to improv during guests interaction and interviews – it’s what keeps me challenged and on my toes.

5. What has been your most challenging moment as Cruise Director so far?

The most challenging and also most rewarding has to be cruising in Europe. A demographic where almost half the guests do not speak English and personally making sure you take every effort not to exclude anyone. Also having an opportunity to create memorable experiences for the guests through wonderful shore excursions and exciting travel opportunities being in these incredible countries while knowing that you cannot please everyone! Often times advice and suggestions will be taken out of context due to opinions and personal preference. I love this position with every passion and breath, however for a few select moments would wish to represent exactly what we offer and ultimately are responsible for. People will get so upset with you over issues you or they have absolutely no control over. I will pass on the specifics!

6. And, your most rewarding

Every day, every guest, every photo and every smile make this the most rewarding job in the world. We are here to consistently deliver fun, memorable vacations to our guests and knowing that we do so is amazing. The personal travel opportunities are truly special but the guests enjoying their hard-earned vacations and celebrating like never before is what really makes this position rewarding. Come to have FUN and get please involved as only you can make the choice to enjoy everything that is offered! I love to hear from so many guests each and every cruise that this day, night or entire cruise has been one of the best times of their life.

7. On your current ship can you tell us about your itinerary and can you recommend one must do excursion from each port of call

Unbelievable Itinerary…..both of them!
Grand Med:
1) Naples – So many to choice from…however…. Pompeii, Capri and Sorrento is the best or is it Pompeii, Sorrento, and Amalfi Coast?
2) Dubrovnik – Best of Dubrovnik
3) Venice – Murano, St George’s Island & Gondola Tour
4) Messina – Mt.Etna at 2,900 meters or Mt. Etna & Taormina
5) Cannes / Monaco – The colors of the French Riviera
6) Barcelona – Anything in Barcelona. The excursions are all wonderful and unique – although Montserrat is pretty incredible.
7) Livorno – Florence & Pisa or the essence of Tuscany
8 ) Rome – Highlight’s of Rome and Vatican Museum

Italy / Turkey / Greece:
1) Naples. Please see above
2) Marmaris…one of my favorites…try the Jeep Adventure/Panoramic Marmaris or the Turkish bath (he he he)
3) Izmir – House of the Virgin Mary & ancient Ephesus
4) Istanbul – Any tour you do you will love – My favorite and the greatest hits: grand Istanbul with lunch at the Four Seasons
5) Athens – Best of Athens
6) Katakolon – Museum & ancient Olympia
7) Livorno – Florence & Pisa or the essence of Tuscany
8 ) Rome – Rome at it’s Best or “the once in a lifetime”……Exclusive Private View of the Vatican

8. Why, in your opinion is Carnival…………..the world’s most popular cruise line

The people (guests and team members) and the feeling you get when you sail. So many times I have heard that Carnival delivers a stress-free vacation for all at a great price. People like to get away, be treated well and ultimately have a sense of control over their vacations. With all the options, activities, and events Carnival has available for all families and different demographics of guests we offer everyone the chance to create those memorable experiences in a wonderfully relaxing environment.

9. Is there a ship in the fleet you would love to be Cruise Director of that you have yet to be so and what port of call would you like to visit that you have not so far in your career

I have been the luckiest cruise director in the world and have seen so many amazing places. I think the head of my wish list would be a cruise to the Greek Isles or a chance to sail to Asia, Australia and New Zealand…. (I guess a world cruise – but I would want to be a guest so I could enjoy all the ports as much as possible). As far as working – I am looking forward to hopefully one day going back to California so I can be a little closer to home – although I would never turn down the chance to sail back to Hawaii (my favorite destination ever).

10. Every CD has a story to tell from their time onboard. What’s your most recent funny, sad or inspirational story you can share with us

A Turkish bath – it took heightened security levels to a whole new meaning….. Good news I am safe and clean.

11. Finally………….pick a Cruise Director table ……………..you are hosting a table at dinner onboard the carnival Dream………what’s for dinner………..and who do you invite.

APPETIZER – Pasta & seafood marinara with small thin crust pizza squares as bread

MAIN COURSE – Maryland blue crabs

DESERT – Key Lime pie & cupcakes

SOMEONE FROM THE CRUISE INDUSTRY – Micky Arison

SOMEONE TO MAKE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD – Chevy Chase

YOUR FAVORITE ACTRESS – Jessica Alba

YOUR FAVORITE ACTOR – Robert Downey Jr.

YOUR FAVORITE MUSICIAN – Elton John

AND SOMEONE FROM HISTORY YOU WISHED YOU HAD MET – My Grandmother

Thanks mate for the great interview. Todd has always had a Dream of being a Cruise Director and his Dream has come true. Maybe other Dreams will come true soon.

And so, I just returned from my last meeting with Fred and Ginger. ………it lasted 45 minutes………….Ginger never said a word and is either dead, been invaded by a body snatcher, or has realized that she is married to a man with the most annoying voice in the entire world and has learned how to induce herself into a coma.

Fred means well……….but I have spent hours this cruise trying to fight the urge not to go to the security office, find that WWII dagger and stab myself. I hear his voice in my sleep and I would walk naked over a bed of nails just never to hear it again.

However, after helping him decide the cheapest way for him to enjoy his two days in London, I immediately felt as guilty as I ever have in my life…………except the time I wrote the letters SH on the sole of my Alan’s shoe and IT on the other one ……..so at his wedding when he knelt at the altar………well …………while most people laughed ……….his Mum cried………..and I felt like ….well, what it said on his shoe.

Anyway, that guilty feeling returned when at the end of our last meting not only did Fred say “thank you” he gave me a his business card and said if I was ever in Cokeburg, he would love to show me around and that I would “have a place to stay.”

I walked away feeling a complete and utter doughnut for being so……well…………you know. I had been quick to judge him and now I felt as guilty as the time I ruined Alan’s wedding……………..I felt a little better when I realized that the hours spent with him had made a difference and exceeded …………at least I think it did………..his expectations.

And…….I had a place to stay if ever I was in Cokeburg……..that made me smile ………….. right up to the moment when I remembered………… he was a Funeral Director.

OK, I am off to host a special concert in the Spectacular Spectacular Lounge. This features a group of 120 British guests who are part of a wonderful organization called “Sing Live.” These wonderful people of all ages and all walks of life are part of a network of choirs from all over the UK and now with branches in the United States as well. They are not professionals……they are not paid to sing…………they just sing because being a songster is something they simply love. So, they have agreed to hold a concert for all the guests onboard this afternoon………..here is the billing.

Sing Live UK
Winners of the Carnival Cruise Line Outstanding Achievement Award 2007
Present

Sing the Showstoppers

A company of 120 singers from the UK present a spectacular show stopping concert – from the Beatles to Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber to ABBA – and many more.

A must see event for all the family

Accompanied by the Carnival Splendor show band

Spectacular Spectacular Show Lounge
August 28
4:30 pm

It has been an honor to have them onboard and if being part of a choir is something you would like then why not have a look at their websites www.singlive.com or www.singliveusa.com.

Well, tomorrow at noon I fly from Amsterdam to London for a quick medical thingy with Dr. Basu and a night of no phones and great food with Mum and Dad. Heidi will remain here and in charge and, although I won’t write a long blog, I will check in tomorrow for some quick Raspberry blogs just to let you know all is well.

Talking of Heidi, here she is.

Hi, Heidi here. John is leaving tomorrow and I know it is only for one day but I am nervous. I think about what would happen if anything unusual were to happen. John tells me I will be fine and I have the best staff around me and yes it is only for one night but think of me please.

I can tell when John is tired, when he’s happy, when he’s pretending. I know he has been sitting at his desk each night until 2 am blogging or starting at 7 am. He is very worried about making sure he devotes as much time to the passengers as well as writing a blog each day. Many of you have said take a break and do not write every day. But you know John and you know he feels it is job to write each day to all his blogging friends and we won’t change him. This night at home will really help John take a break. He will get to drive and eat which are two of his favorite things and he will get to see his Mum and Dad who he misses very much.

My Mum is coming tomorrow and as excited as I am that she is sailing I also will be sad that my two men will not be with me. John and my Dad.

One good thing though is that the toilet seat will be down and the bathroom floor free of underwear.

Goodnight
Your friends
Heidi and John

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.