Museum Piece

May 28, 2016 -

John Heald

Thank goodness, a sea day. I am sure those are the sentiments of many of our guests this morning because after two days in Athens and then Rhodes and with six consecutive port days still to come, including Rome and Naples, the chance to put their feet up or, in many cases, put the “snoozing” sign out, has been gratefully welcomed.

So, good morning. The seas are calm and the sky is blue and here I sit in the dining room having already answered a huge dollop of questions, guests are enjoying bacon, eggs, steak and pancakes and all the other delights of the brunch menu. But many guests are still asleep and, as this is the only sea day of this cruise, I hope they don’t sleep the day away and the chance to enjoy the ship and all she has to offer.

My love of sleep has changed as I have gotten older and as my job has changed. When I was a cruise director, my love of sleep was intense, it was what I longed for more than anything …… apart from rumpy pumpy, obviously. This came from having to wake up before 7am every morning and waddle over to the PA system in my underpants and tell everyone we had arrived into Cozumel, where the gangway was and don’t forget excursions are still available. I would then work for 15 hours or more and average six hours sleep a night. I knew I was not getting enough sleep back then but I could hardly make an announcements saying I wasn’t coming out on stage that night because I was tired. And so when I got home on vacation and as many shipboard team members do, I slept 12 hours or more every night and it was bliss — sheer and utter bliss.

Anyway, I hope the guests wake up soon and enjoy the ship and the crew because your Carnival Vista has so much to offer. But then, on the other hand, they do have those marquee ports to come and I know there are lots for them to see there. I was speaking with a guest named Michael last night. Michael is a regular reader of this page and a premier casino player and a wonderful family man from Virginia. However, talking to him last night, he seemed less than thrilled to be dragged by his wife to various art galleries and museums during their visits to these great ports of call. I personally love museums and am a total history nerd but I totally get Michael’s predicament as he’s just not into it – but his wife is. I’m sure that, in her mind, there is nothing better than visiting places like Paris, where millions of tourists wake up to the Louvre simply so they could look at a small painting of a woman whose smile makes her look like she has Bell’s Palsy. I think that this is some kind of default setting in many of us. It is the same one that forces some guests to sit on Promenade Deck, reading a book they really don’t want to read about stuff in which they not interested, because they think that if they sit there reading something that features a silhouette of a ladies stocking clad legs, holding a whip on the cover, they will look stupid and sad in front of other guests.

And I fear I am suffered from this when I on the Carnival Breeze a few years ago. I remember saying to myself that I must visit Florence. I must get must must go to see the Statue Of David at the Academia museum. Come on John, get your arse out of bed and go see it, you must must must. So I did. And I was so grateful but at the same time I really wanted people to know that I have seen statue of David.

We offer many great excursions in Florence and one that has immediate entrance to the museum and one called Florence On Your Own which I highly recommend to anyone sailing here as it takes away all the stresses of missing trains and being back on the ship on time. It provides transportation and a quick guide to Florence and then you can do as I did, enter the museum “on your own.”  I say that because some of you will enjoy the invaluable services of a museum guide but sometimes you just want to see things on your pace with no one else’s involvement. Some people can be a bit over enthusiastic which means you must stand in front of every single exhibit for an hour why this tiny piece of vase is in fact the single most interesting thing in the entire world. Eventually I saw the Statue of David and it was extraordinary and something I could tell the guests and my friends that I had seen so they would hopefully think of me as well traveled person.

I went through the same thing in Amsterdam, one of my favorite cities. I am sure many people visit famous museums place because, if they didn’t, all their mates would imagine they’d spent their entire time in Amsterdam checking out the red light district. When I was in Amsterdam, I remember being led around by one of the head guides, a large lady who shouted at anyone she thought was not paying attention and who had what can only be described as disturbing slightly erotic fetish Rembrandt’s paintings, all of which, so far as I can tell, were of men with beards and large hats sitting in dark rooms doing bugger all. Why couldn’t Carnival send me on a trip to the nearby sex museum?

Like I said, I really enjoy museums and every one of them has something that makes a visit worthwhile. London’s Natural History Museum has the huge dinosaur. The Louvre has Mona with the Bell’s Palsy. The Smithsonian has the supersonic aircraft whose name I forget and the Academia has Michelangelo’s Dangly Bits. It makes me wonder. . . Instead of having a museum with one good thing and then filling the rest of the space with tea pots and a few rusty coins, why not have a world museum full of all the one good things? The best statues, the most valuable gold and diamonds, the crown jewels and every painting ever done by Picasso and the chap with one ear. It could be called “The Best Museum In The World” and we should put it somewhere like Cleveland, Ohio.

That way, spend our time in Florence, Amsterdam or Paris and Rome without the constant need to visit a museum simply so we can say we have been when we could take an excursion from the ship that’s called The Sitting In A Café Drinking A Cappuccino and Munching a Cannoli Doing Sweet Bugger All Tour.”


Cheers, have a brilliant day and wywh.






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2 Responses to Museum Piece

  1. Eric Freilich says:

    My wife and I are sailing aboard the Conquest on July 7, 2016 and wanted to inquire about requesting a table for two in the main dining room for the early seating. This will be our first cruise aboard Carnival in several years and our first vacation without our daughter. Can you please help us with our request? Thank you!

  2. John…
    Before I start in on you, let me first say after reading your latest blog I think you finally might actually be learning something about cruising in your new job. Back in the daze when you didn’t get any sleep, like almost all other cruise ship upper echelon (especially “The Beards”), you simply could not see the forest for the trees. The biggest problem “you people” have is never having time to listen, really listen to serious, repeat cruisers (with industry business experience) and pass constructive information up the food chain. Yes, I know you are tired and busy and there are several thousand of us. I know you just want to get through each day and eventually make it to your next vacation and home, but it is a shame you never really get to see the small, relevant details of the big picture of cruising. When you do listen, though, it is usually to the wrong people who have nothing to offer but ridiculous, petty complaints that have nothing constructive to offer. For some reason it is those people who are the only ones that get your attention.
    Anyway…Since I am on your email list I get your blog in my Inbox, so I scan it even though I know it’s going to be same old, same old rubbish about underpants, rumpy-pumpy and at least one use of the British word sodding. Normally, I scan it quickly, delete it and wonder why I don’t remove my email from your distribution list, but it’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion and I can’t discipline myself to not look. In your latest blog, though, I think I perceive a “moment of enlightenment” you might be having. For the sake of Carnival Corporation and all of us cruisers, I hope you continue on this “Journey of Enlightenment” and learn about cruising from the average guest’s perspective.
    Oh…Before you look up my profile and dismiss my observations merely because I have only been cruising since 2006 and only have 105 cruising days on 18 Carnival cruises, just know I am an equal opportunity cruiser with 50+ cruises on 40+ ships on Carnival, Costa, NCL, RCCL and Celebrity. I discovered cruising late in life, but I have experienced the best and worst of the more affordable cruise lines. I am always asked, “Which cruise line is the best?” I just respond, “None of them are. I wish I could take the best of each one and create a hybrid that is superior.”
    Cheers, have a brilliant day…

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