May 30, 2016 -

John Heald

Good morning everyone from the Sicilian town of Messina, your Carnival Vista’s first call here. Today many of the guests are walking to the Piazza for a coffee and a cannoli – “leave the gun bring the cannoli” – and our bestselling excursion is of course a trip to Taormina and its winding street, shops, Greek theatre and views of the typical Sicilian houses cascading down the hillside into the Mediterranean Sea…….it really is a place not to be missed. Other guests will be climbing Mount Etna and standing on top of what is very much a live volcano which scientists predict will next erupt on May 29th, 2016.

Yep, it’s a great port of call is Messina and I miss the days of telling guests about it, the Godfather jokes I used to do on stage, the voice, the fun and pleading that as I would be so busy on the ship that I would not have time to go ashore for a cannoli and could someone bring me one back. They often did. The record was 71 cannoli. The staff loved Canoli Day as Messina became known.

Yep, I loved hosting that travel talk and it has been so hard here not to walk on stage, smack the brilliant global warming eyed CD Matt in the face with a frying pan and grab the microphone……..bloody hell fire…….I really really miss the microphone.

And I shall miss something else from the time I was last a Cruise Director in Europe and that was after leaving Messina we would navigate as close as possible to the magical volcanic island of Stromboli. Its tufts of smoke made glorious viewing from the ship sometimes if Stromboli was  very naughty the guests would see bursts of red lava shooting from the crater. But those days are gone and because of things that have happened in past years and because we live in a world where safety always comes first we can no longer take our ships” off plan” and so close up viewing of Stromboli has gone forever…………..and it really is in my opinion, a shame.

Last night the sports bar was packed to the rafters with people watching  football ( saccccceerrr) and the Champions League final won by Real Madrid and the winning penalty kick scored by the six packed, mega rich, poster boy of football ( sacccceerrrr) Cristiano Ronaldo, the lucky bastard. It was good to see that because we had if the truth be told been a bit concerned that while all the other bars on the ship had been massively popular and yep, producing great revenue, there were many times that the sports bar was a quiet as a Cocker Spaniel walking past a Korean Restaurant. But last night proved that with the right sport on the ultra HD TVs that it will be popular. And in New York and Miami with the NBL and NFA games I am sure it will be busy most of the time.  I had a brilliant idea that would I thought pack the bar each night and that was to show ladies beach volley ball every night, but for some reason that was denied by the beards.

So last night I also met a lovely family and I am proud of myself I must say. Let me explain, I saw a young Mum struggling with to get a stroller in the elevator so I held the door open with my massive thigh and helped her get the stroller inside. She thanked me and I looked down at the little toddler inside and I asked what his name was and I applaud myself for not bursting into uncontrolled laughter she told me his name was “ Elvis”…….yep, Elvis. I When she said that I turned into Hugh Grant. I smiled and said “ oh wow umm, wow, ummm, what a beautiful name” Yep, I was all shook up and as the elevator moved slowly to the Spa deck I asked her the most ridiculously stupid pathetic idiotic question anyone has ever asked her. “ are you an Elvis fan”

It would have been fully justified if she had said “ of course I am you idiot, why else do you think I called my son Elvis you British ignoramus”!

But instead she was uber polite and said that yes, she nad her husband were huge Elvis fans and calling her son Elvis was a tribute to “ the King”

I then found myself saying “ thank goodness my Father didn’t name me after their idol otherwise I would have been called Ringo.

She giggled and as I helped her out of the elevator I hoped she had not seen the look of shock on my fat face when she told me her son was called Elvis.

We grew up laughing at Frank Zappa for calling his daughter Moon Unit, but today we’re naming our kids after towns, pop stars and Californian wines.

People have always named their children to reflect their aspirations — that’s why Ruby and Opal were so popular in the 19th century, and it’s why my Dad was named after Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin.

This is no bad thing, being named after a prime minister or an star your parents admired. But in the UK and North America people aspire to goods and services, and that’s resulted in a surge in popularity for

I am dull and unimaginative because when I was little I had two goldfish.  I called them One and Two so when one died…………I still had Two.

How long then before we start naming our children after products “ IPhone Smith “ or  “Samsung Johnson”

Or for future Twitter users……..why not simply call your child  “@”

I will send Elvis a trophy to play with and his parents 6 choc strawberries, champagne and a Guys Burger with instructions not to eat it on the toilet


Cheers and wywh

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.