Peter and Kerry

October 13, 2008 -

John Heald

Time to pick on the Greeks again.

I always tell our guests that the taxi driver in Athens are quite honestly ……….. abysmal ………….and they will do anything they can to extort money from the tourists. Just to say that Athens is the only European port that I actually recommend taking the Metro and not a taxi……………why…………..because of frequent incidents like this.

Good morning John,

Please find the following comments as FYI. Mrs.__ was quite upset over it and crying at the desk yesterday.


Mrs.__ came to the desk in tears saying that she wanted to take a taxi and go to Plaka and but the taxi driver had asked her for 200 euros and then she had to go to the police officer standing by the taxis to ask for help. She stated that her husband is in a wheelchair and she did not feel safe with all the taxi drivers harassing her for more money that she was expecting to pay. She stated that she had to ask several taxi drivers and they all quoted large amount of money because of having to put a wheelchair in the car. The police ignored her and started laughing. John, Mrs.___ is very upset and just wanted to let you know.

Thank you and regards,

Geri Georgieva
1st Purser

I wish I could have met this taxi driver………………I wish I could have seen him try take advantage of this poor lady and her husband who was in the wheelchair……………I wish I could have told the Greek sod that I would have his license suspended. Instead, all I can do is apologize to the lady and her husband and let everyone know that the taxi drivers in Athens are men of no honor and should be avoided like the inside of my underpants the night after I have eaten Indian curry.

I just spoke to Mrs. ___ and she is still very upset. She had to pay 200 euros for a 30-minute journey. I apologized and promised her I would use her example to help and warn others………………I also sent her some gifts and a letter of apology.

Guests like that you just want to wrap up in a big blanket and protect.

And on the other side of the coin…………we have this one.

Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2008 4:03 PM

Good evening John

Please see below comment from Mrs. _______


Mrs. ___________ called the pursers information desk extremely upset with the passport situation. Purser offered assistance. Mrs. ____________ said that she had just received her passport back and could not believe that there was not a single stamp in her passport. I informed the guest that the Greek authorities did not stamp all the passports. Guest started to scream really loudly and state that she should never had to have given her passport to us because she was an American citizen. I tried to explain that we were in Europe and follow European laws, but she would not listen saying that she was American and her passport was the most important and should never have to be taken. Guest said she would be calling her “Congress Person.”

Email sent to cruise director, chief purser and hotel director for information.

And so, with a weary heart I listened to a high pitch whine for 10 minutes telling me the same stuff she had told the purser. Her voice sounded like a cat being given the good news with a cattle prod.

There was no point arguing or stating the obvious………….I just think she was disappointed her passport was not stamped………….that I understand ………. but to argue that because she was American she should not have to have her passport collected and to say that she was going to report us to Congressman Gilchrest of Maryland ………yes……she told me his name……about five times…………and apparently he is going to “take action.”

I apologized and again tried to explain that because we were in Europe and that Turkey was a……..and that’s what I got…………….a dial tone……………because she had hung up on me. I contemplated calling her back…………..but I knew it was as pointless as me trying on anything that doesn’t have two X’s on the label………I was never going to win her back. And that upsets me……..not because I am right but because the guest will never forgive us and will leave the ship feeling mad………and you all know how much I hate that.

So, let’s get happy again and look at some photos from Athens. These were taken by my friend and entertainment tech, Brett, who did the sensible thing and went on a tour — ignoring the Greek taxi drivers whom I hope all develop itches in deep unscratchable places.

Acropolis Theatre

Artistic Theatre

Column Bits

Parthenon with columns



Street in Plaka

Top of Acropolis

Last night I met a fantastic guest, although I doubt he will remember me. I was in the cigar bar being naughty and enjoying a Monte Cristo Edmundo when a guest weaved his way toward me. He was a young man in his 30s and he was walking erratically and was, not to put too fine a point on it, incapable of either coherent thought or coherent speech.

He came up to where I was sitting enjoying my cigar with Jim the musical director and two cigar-smoking guests who had joined us. He just stood there…..swaying gently from side to side …….just staring at me. He had a big glass of scotch in one hand and a beer in the other.

I waited for him to say something and after three seconds of just being stared at I said, “Good evening sir, are you having a good time?” He looked like he’d been asked to explain the atomic properties of plutonium. He had the IQ of a tulip, the conversational ability of a sock.

Still nothing.

And then……..bizarrely…..he leaned forward inches from my face and said “I Love You Man.”

Well….at least that’s what I though he said as it came out ” I loooowee you, mam” and just as I wondered if he was about to ask me to marry him……he turned round and staggered off.

There was, obviously, lots of laughter from the people with me and as they laughed I tried to think what had possessed him to say that. Obviously he was very, very drunk but did he really love me……..did we have a future together?……….I will never know …………. he left…………..and I will never see him again……………..I think I might cry.

So, here we are at sea and today has been a very strange day for Heidi and I. For me, it’s been strange because I held my last travel/debarkation talk and morning show for what maybe quite some time. It was a strange day for Heidi because she fancied a big bowl of cornflakes……nothing unusual with that…except instead of cold milk she wanted hot milk ………so that was me off to the coffee shop and then back to the cabin to watch my wife eat hot milk cornflakes………at 4 pm. The Thingy is weird! Then again, I am not one to talk…….I came here in May saying that I would diet and lose tons ………..literally.

Have I?

Have I buggery.

It’s nobody’s fault but my own but I am determined to try harder. I will probably find it easier at home. I will be able to eat what I want when I want and I must try harder.

On the surface the human being appears to be a flawed design. Obviously our brains are magnificent and our fingers enable us to do many useful things like type, point and poke arrogant Greet taxi drivers in the eye.

However, there seems to be something wrong with our stomachs. It doesn’t matter how many slices of roast beef we cram into us, they always want just one more roast potato. And then, instead of ejecting all the excess fat, they feed it to our hearts and veins, and we end up all dead.

Of course, we can use willpower to counter these demands, but this makes us dull and pointless. You need only look at the number of people in lonely-hearts columns who neither drink nor smoke to know I’m right. If they did, they’d have a partner.

What I tend to do when it comes to the business of being fit is not bother. I eat lots, and then I sit in a chair. The upside to this is that I have a happy family and many friends. The downside is that I wobble and wheeze extensively while going to the fridge for another chicken drumstick.

All this has to change though with the arrival in May of the Thingy. I have a gym machine at home and will promise to use it every day and, to start my exercise regime, the first thing I will do once I open the front door is to throw the remote control in the garbage. This will mean I will have to move my lard-ridden arse out of the chair and walk the ten feet to the TV…………….great idea, don’t you think?

I have met many great guests this week. I would like to introduce you to one of them. His name is Peter……….he is from Australia and here he is singing in the talent show last night.

As you can tell from the video Peter has a great voice and, from his “we met on a blind date” statement, he also has a wonderful sense of humor.

Peter embodies the spirit of life and the fact that he was able to sing in front of 1,500 people was something he told me he would never forget.

After the show I met another sight-impaired gentleman from Colorado. His name is Kerry and he was one of the guests I went to share a cigar with after the show. Kerry has been blind these last 23 years yet he has achieved so much. Not only does he own a successful cleaning business but he also runs……….long distance track events. After the “I Love You, Man” staggered off he told us about his running. He has won medals and trophies and this coming year he will be running in the New York Marathon.

Tim Harwood who was with us last night is Kerry’ s best friend and is the guide runner who runs alongside him over the course, shouting “bend” and “straight” so that Kerry can imagine the racetrack ahead.

I listened to their stories of friendship and of courage……………and I gave silent thanks that this job I have allows me to meet such inspirational people like Peter and Kerry. On my way back to the cabin I tried walking along the deck with my eyes closed and hadn’t gone more than a few steps before I was hitting the wall……imagine then running ……. around a track or the streets of New York in total and utter blackness

Today’s blog then is dedicated to Peter and Kerry whose lives are spent in darkness but who this week……….. Have shone brightly here on the Carnival Splendor.

Your friends
John, Heidi and the Thingy

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.