It's a Mad, Mad, World

September 11, 2008 -

John Heald

Good Morning everyone and just before I start, I refer you to yesterday’s blog where I tried a sublime joke which as Heidi said would happen……no bugger got it. I was referring to the time machine and stopping George going to the theater…………obviously I was referring to President Lincoln but in a week where I upset Captain Rude by naming Eisenhower instead of Truman ……………I though I would continue……………but nobody laughed…………..double bugger.

Just before I carry on can I say a huge thank you to all the people at Dover for making us feel so welcome? Homeports are very important to the guests and the crew and Dover has made us feel very at home………..thanks to them all.

So, here we go, it’s good by to the brilliant Baltic and hello to the Med. Let’s see who is sailing with us this week.

We have 3,204 guests.

So, as you can see we have my friends from Russia again. And considering last year I was chased by one, kissed by one, and they always provide us with such great blog entertainment. Let’s see what happens this time.

Here is the last of our cruise director interviews featuring the newly promoted Tory Secoy. I have known Tory for some time and I know she will be a great cruise director. Here is her interview which I hope you all enjoy

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

The Holiday, which is funny as this was one of the first ships I worked on when I started with Carnival 10 years ago…

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?

Many years ago I used to be a dancer on another cruise line. I am also trained in drama, singing (which is my love) and dancing. But time takes it toll, so I don’t dance any more but still do the singing when I can – I would be lost with out it. I get to do what I love and see the world. It is the best job.

3. 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?

I love doing the talent shows as I get to do some of my own stuff such as comedy, singing and dancing. And have fun with the guests, too.

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

As far as the job and everything that goes with it, I find it is the little things that life throws at us that make it hard. I have learned that you are not going to make everyone happy all the time. I’ve also learned not to take it to heart as I used to. And you find some special people along the way who help you. I remember being low at one time and had a guest who I am still friends with. The guest, who knew me from what I was a social host all the way up to being named a cruise director, would send me encouraging letters every day and help me through the bad times.

5. And, your most rewarding.

All the new friends that I have made. It is cool when you can say to people I have a friend that lives there – and that is basically everywhere in the world!

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

We do three different runs. I would say any of the ruins and, while in Cozumel, anything related to snorkeling. There is so much it is hard to pick just one.

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

Because we offer everything to everyone and we have the best crew of any cruise line.

8. 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?

There is no one particular ship. I would go for more the people on the ship rather than the itinerary. The crew is what makes the ship — you can have a nice itinerary and a nice ship but if you don’t have good crew, then it doesn’t matter.

9. 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?

One time a guest tried to ask me out while we were doing the spoon game, which was pretty funny. As for an inspirational story, I would say all the kind people who I have might over the years and have given me the strength to be where I am today.

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

Angus burger and curly fries extra cheese. Mayo on the side.

Guests would be Adam Sandler – he would be funny – along with mom who is also funny. Fergie as I love her music, and Albert Einstein. That would be a cool combination.

Shrimp and avocado finger bites. Served with a splash of lemon and chive seasoning

MAIN COURSE Filet Mignon, butterfly with peppercorn sauce


Warm melting coco cakes.

Julie McCoy – Cruise Director from the Love Boat

Robin Williams

Natalie Portman

Will Smith

Pink Floyd

I have a dream… love to meet Martin Luther King Jr.

Thanks, Tory, and congratulations on achieving your dream of being a Carnival cruise director.

Now, I would like to show you this comment from my great friend Carol

Hi John, Heidi & Stephanie,
Thanks for the replies. I have another question now.
Will ships still be going to Grand Turk now? I know the current itinerary of the Miracle was changed. But after Ike, there was so much damage. The pier was damaged, but is still intact. But major damage to the Cruise Center and the rest of the islands. Any word yet from Carnival? I saw some pictures of the island and thankfully everyone is safe.

Now, others have asked the same so here then is the official press release issued a few minutes ago by our public relations department.


MIAMI — Sept. 11, 2008 – The Grand Turk Cruise Center, which is operated by Miami-based Carnival Corporation & plc, and located on the island of Grand Turk, has scheduled an Oct. 8, 2008 re-opening date, following the passage of Hurricane Ike.

An engineering survey has confirmed that no damage was sustained to the cruise ship pier, which can accommodate up to two ships at one time. Minimal damage occurred to the facility’s retail and restaurant complex.

“We believe we can complete repairs to the cruise center within a 30-day period and bring cruise ships back to Grand Turk,” said Giora Israel, Carnival’s vice president of strategic planning and port development. “We will be able to provide many of the wonderful, beach, snorkeling and watersports experiences that Grand Turk is famous for, along with the oversized pool and food and shopping opportunities at the cruise center, including the extremely popular Margaritaville restaurant.”

Israel added that returning cruise ships quickly will provide important economic benefits to Grand Turk while the island moves forward with its recovery efforts. In addition to its existing staff on the island, Carnival Corp. & plc will bring in a number of additional skilled workers who will be housed and fed by the company. Those individuals will not only repair the cruise center complex, but also assist in the repair of some of the island’s key attractions.

“We will be investing millions of dollars in the coming months to help Grand Turk quickly re-build its cruise-focused tourism. Bringing tourists back to the island as quickly as possible will play a major role in driving the island’s overall recovery,” said Israel.

The Grand Turk Cruise Center is the largest private employer on the island and the cruise center staff, combined with shore excursion operators, comprises approximately 80 percent of non-government jobs in Grand Turk.

Carnival Corporation & plc will also be providing financial and logistical assistance to shore excursion operators to enable them to resume their businesses. Cruise passengers and crew members will be provided the opportunity to participate in volunteer-oriented excursions for those who wish to assist in the island’s recovery effort.

The Grand Turk Cruise Center, which opened in 2006, has become one of the cruise industry’s most popular Caribbean cruise destinations. The $60 million, 13-acre complex features an 800-foot-long private beach, swimming pool and FlowRider attraction, which offers body boarding and stand-up board surfing, in addition to multiple retail outlets. The FlowRider, which was not damaged, will re-open pending the status of power supply on the island. The cruise center’s lush landscaping, much of which was lost as a result of the storm, will be replaced on a gradual basis over the next several months.

The Grand Turk Cruise Center serves as a gateway to the pristine island of Grand Turk, which is world-renowned as a diving and snorkeling jewel, and also features magnificent beaches, striking aqua-blue waters, and a variety of fishing and watersports activities.

The first cruise ship scheduled to call at Grand Turk will be Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Destiny on Oct. 8. Carnival Cruise Lines is the largest cruise-line user of the Grand Turk facility. Several other cruise lines, both from within the Carnival Corp. & plc family of brands and from other cruise operators, also regularly call at Grand Turk.

Additional information on the Grand Turk Cruise Center can be viewed at

It looks like there will be a quick return to the beautiful port of Grand Turk with its great shopping, luxurious beaches and, of course, the Gerry Cahill Flow Rider.

So, we said goodbye to Holland yesterday and here are some photos of the departure ………. balloons and all……….taken by master photographer Dr. Wolf

Now, obviously I have to be careful what I say about my adopted country and don’t get me wrong, I love Amsterdam and if I have one criticism of our Baltic run, it would be to stay longer. However………..some of the rules in Amsterdam are utterly bonkers.

The Dutch have just banned the smoking of tobacco in their coffee shops, but customers can still light up their cannabis cigarettes. A team of 200 inspectors will be specially trained to sniff out the noxious weed and prosecute those smoking tobacco.

Did you know also that in the national park which is called Vondlepark, making love in public and “swinging in the park” have been legalized?…………My mate Alan will be very happy at this news……..however…… You are not, however, allowed to let your dog off its lead…………….it’s a mad, mad, world.

Let’s have a look at the last few letters from last cruise. By the way………..and for some very strange reason, I have started to count them…………I had 158 Dear John letters last cruise. Each and everyone who wrote whether it be a letter of love, praise, dedication or “Dear John, I hate you more than a boil” letter…….each and everyone of them received a signed photo of the ship and a gift.

Now, the reason I wanted to show you the letter thanking me for the trophy celebrating their anniversary was so I could share in a conversation I had with Mr. Gooch yesterday.

Mr. Gooch is a retired high school principal from Vancouver, Canada. As you know, my Dad is a retired teacher and, as we chatted, Mr. Gooch told me about some of the ridiculous new laws teachers must live by.

He told me about how teachers who, if they see a child choking, they first have to ask first “Are you choking?” Then they may only administer the first aid if they say, or more likely, nod their agreement….talking isn’t easy when you are choking on a piece of Mars Bar.

Otherwise, said Mr. Gooch, they may sue you for assault. You must not refer to the “Heimlich maneuver” (a process where you squeeze the choker from behind, to expel the obstruction) but say “abdominal thrusts” or pay copyright to Mr Heimlich.

There’s more: if a child has suffered a scrape or cut, teachers may not stick a bandage on it themselves, but offer it for inspection, in the hope that the bandage ends up covering the wound. Tricky enough, if the wound is not visible to the child.

One example: when a boy sustained an injury to his back, his parents were telephoned, but were unable to go to assist. Blind panic, until somebody remembered that the lad had a brother in the school. He was rushed to the scene, so that he could lift his brother’s shirt for inspection. You see, touching a child’s clothing is not allowed……….it’s a mad, mad, world.

It’s also a mad, mad world because we pay teachers so little………they deserve so much more.
Did you know here onboard we also are no longer allowed to call “Jacuzzi’s” …… ”Jacuzzi’s”………..this is because ………”Jacuzzi” is a brand name ………….bugger.

OK, so we will have to call them “whirlpools”………..but we can’t………..”Whirlpool” is a brand name, as well………….so……………..and no, I am not making this up ………….we have to call them “bubble pools”………or…….pay “Jacuzzi” and “Whirlpool” buckets full of money…………it’s a mad, mad world.

Can you see a theme generating here?

I just finished a meeting with the spa manager. By the way, the Cloud Nine Spa is one of the highlights of the cruise for many guests and the private suites and massage rooms are constantly booked out.

We now have Chinese medicine, teeth whitening and some other new services onboard, so after being told that my teeth were eight shades darker than they should have been and that some lightly ground monkey scrotum would be good for my diet………Stacey told me about a slightly ummmmm……confused guest last cruise.

There is a treatment called Ionathermie which uses safe faradic and galvanic current to reduce cellulite and comes with a guarantee that you will lose one to eight inches of the stuff. It really works and I know many a person who swears by it. Anyway, once the treatment has been explained the guests are asked to take off their clothes and put on a special pair of paper ……..ummmmmm………underwear.

Now this is because they have to lay on a wet clay and also it conducts the current thingy and…….anyway, they have to wear a pair of paper underwear. So, the young lady giving the treatment did as she has done hundreds of times and asked the guest to put them on saying she would be right back……………..when she came back five minutes later, the guest had indeed put them on…………….her head……………………’s a mad, mad world.

And, I was just about to press send when this e-mail arrived. Now, before you read this, let me explain. I held my welcome aboard talk today at 3:15 pm covering the usual stuff as well as an intro to the Paris excursions, etc. I mentioned the Pope is visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral and will be holding a mass. This means the roads and the center of Paris will be busy and some areas may have some restrictions. I also mentioned that the Pope was in town to hold a mass just for Carnival guests, as he had just cruised on the Inspiration ………..everyone laughed…………..and we moved on.


Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2008 6:02 PM
Subject: UPSET ABOUT COMMENT ABOUT POPE – Mrs. _________

Hello John
Sorry to pass this on but the guest insists on talking to you. She just spent 10 minutes with me at the desk and she is very upset and confused. She seems to understand that the ship has arranged a service for the guests with the Pope tomorrow in Paris. The guest thinks this is discrimination as she is not Catholic. I explained that the service was not for the guests but for everyone but she insists you said at the talk that you said it was just for Carnival guests. Please can you call her?
Pursers Office

So, I called the guest who is, as Rebecca said, a little confused. She was very upset as well (as she is of another religion) that I had arranged a service with the Pope and nothing for her. So, after a little explaining and a lot of apologizing that my joke was in poor taste and not funny, she was OK. She then said that she had seen me before as a cruise director. “Oh, I said, what ship?” I expected her to say the Carnival Freedom or Carnival Liberty ……………..instead she said………….” Sovereign of the Seas.”………..

I was about to tell her that I had never even been on that ship ………….. but ………… instead …………I said, “Well, it’s great to see you again.”…………I didn’t want to argue ……….. and here once again was proof positive……………it is indeed…………a mad, mad world.
OK, Showtime in an hour so time for a shower. I had one at lunchtime………… but I just spent the last few hours talking about Paris!

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.