Go Back   Cruise Critic Message Board Forums > Cruise Lines "A - O" > Carnival Cruise Lines
 
Register here!
Forgot Your Password?


Notices

Carnival Cruise Lines
- Read thousands of Carnival Cruise Reviews
- Compare the best Carnival Cruise Deals
- Write a Carnival Review
- Find Your CARNIVAL Roll Call
See posts about:
Carnival Breeze
Carnival Elation
Carnival Glory
Carnival Liberty
Carnival Paradise
Carnival Splendor

Carnival Conquest
Carnival Fantasy
Carnival Imagination
Carnival Magic
Carnival Pride
Carnival Sunshine

Carnival Dream
Carnival Fascination
Carnival Inspiration
Carnival Sensation
Carnival Triumph
Carnival Valor

Carnival Ecstasy
Carnival Freedom
Carnival Legend
Carnival Miracle
Carnival Spirit
Carnival Victory

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old January 21st, 2008, 11:46 AM
melissa@cruisecritic melissa@cruisecritic is offline
Product Development
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: NJ
Posts: 863
Default Cruise Critic Blogs Live from Bloggers' Cruise!

Erica Silverstein, cruise editor of SmarterTravel.com, is blogging about John Heald's bloggers' cruise for us; Erica's onboard for the seven-night Western Caribbean voyage on Carnival's new Freedom. Check out her vignettes, posted several times daily, and feel free to respond. Ask questions about anything (you’re not limited to the blog): the ship, the ports of call (Cozumel, Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman) -- and of course about the bloggers' cruise itself. She’ll be online a couple of times each day and will tackle your comments ... so check back often.

For more info on the Carnival Freedom bloggers cruise, read our news report.
__________________
MelissaP
Director, Product Development
Cruise Critic

Last edited by melissa@cruisecritic; January 21st, 2008 at 04:52 PM.
Reply With Quote

  #2  
Old January 21st, 2008, 09:47 PM
karrie karrie is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 58
Default

Where is the blog????
Karrie
Reply With Quote

  #3  
Old January 21st, 2008, 10:05 PM
Erica@cruisecritic Erica@cruisecritic is offline
Senior Editor
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 455
Default Day 1, first post

The first thing that struck me about this cruise is how Heald's readers seemed just as excited to meet each other as they were about seeing their favorite cruise director. Everyone's first chance to meet was the welcome party held on embarkation day in the Victoriana Lounge. Before Heald had a chance to come onstage, bloggers were dashing through the aisles and rows, throwing their arms about each other like long-lost friends. I had missed this bit of Web 2.0 etiquette--I thought you were supposed to read the blog, not the comments! So I felt a bit like the wallflower crashing a party by the cool kids.

I've also been surprised by the amount of blogger paraphernalia onboard. All bloggers received a tote bag proclaiming "I love John's blog thingy"--except the "blog" is nearly hidden, so at first glance, it reads "I love John's thingy." For those of you haven't been reading Heald, “Thingy” is the way John’s long characterized his blog dispatches. As in “read my blog thingy”. The naughty undertones are lost on no one on this family-friendly cruise, but I've seen no raised eyebrows. Maybe non-bloggers are really polite?

But if you're just carrying around a tote bag, you're not a hardcore fan. The true bloggers came with their own homemade T-shirts, pins, and signs. Big Ed, a well-known commenter, handed out "welcome to the Bloggers Cruise" pins at the welcome party, and several guests sported "I love John's blog thingy" T-shirts with their names on the back. According to John, some cruisers put up signs on their cabin doors letting everyone know where to find a blog fan. Deck Seven Aft has yet to represent, but I'll try to scour the hallways for some signage photo opps. And of course no one feels self-conscious about any of this out-of-the-ordinary behavior.

As excited as we all are to be part of the first-ever Bloggers Cruise, there's only one or two blogger events per day. You can't blame John--after all, cruise directing is not a part-time job. With a safety drill to conduct, late passengers from snowy Baltimore to rescue, and a welcome show to emcee, he's a bit busy. And we're busy, too, as we chase down that first margarita, book shore excursions, and look forward to our seven days of snow-free fun.


My friend holding the bloggers' bag we all received in our cabins. It says "I love John's blog thingy."



Bloggers' T-Shirts worn by two ladies during the welcome party.

Last edited by melissa@cruisecritic; January 22nd, 2008 at 12:00 PM.
Reply With Quote

  #4  
Old January 21st, 2008, 11:39 PM
snoopy122's Avatar
snoopy122 snoopy122 is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 22
Default photo of john and big

here is a pic of John and Big ED
Reply With Quote

  #5  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 01:05 AM
Erica@cruisecritic Erica@cruisecritic is offline
Senior Editor
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 455
Default Day 1, second post

Although there are only 700 bloggers out of about 3,300 cruisers onboard, you would've thought everyone was a John Heald fan by the turnout at the Welcome Show. The Victoriana Lounge was packed, and the only seat I could find was high, on the side, and behind a pole.

From reading John's blog, I know that the shtick he pulls during this show is not new to this sailing. He brings people onstage, interviews them in a funny way, and then gets them to play a game where a spoon attached to a long string is passed in out and of their shirts and pants. John may be a funny guy, but I was unprepared for just how funny my fellow guests turned out to be.

John pulled six (preferably unwilling) victims from the audience and interviewed them in turn. There was a newlywed who suspiciously couldn't remember where she first met her new husband (an embarassed Internet dater, perhaps?), a woman from Tonga who kept her wild hair in check with a mere chopstick (this amazed John, who has not nearly so much hair), and a man named Dick Little whose wife was Anita Little. John was in pun heaven--first he finds a guy named Dick with a diminutive last name ("every ship needs a dick," says John) and then he turns out to have a wife who needs him just as he is (if you haven't gotten it by now, just say the names out loud--that's how John discovered the pun).

One real crowd favorite was an Asian man who claimed his named was "Yu Poo" and spoke no English. You can easily imagine his and John's conversation: "What's your name? "Yu Poo." "I poo?" "No, Yu Poo." It was "who's on first?" meets your toddler's potty humor. And I'd bet money that man was pulling one on John, who happily played along.

The other favorite was a woman named Kathy who when asked if her husband was romantic, vehemently exclaimed "Hell, no!" This convinced John to drag her husband Cody onstage and make him dance while proclaiming how much he loved, needed, and wanted his wife. Apparently, he's to continue to do this every time he hears the word "Michigan."

I was laughing so hard I was crying at this point and realized why John is such a sought-after cruise director. He convinced his reluctant guests to be good sports and made ordinary people seem like professional comedians. However, I did realize one area where John falls short. Englishman Heald scheduled Sunday's blogger event during the same time as the important NFL AFC and NFC title games!
Reply With Quote

Ad Sponsored By
  #6  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 01:12 AM
Erica@cruisecritic Erica@cruisecritic is offline
Senior Editor
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 455
Default John hearts Cruise Critic

Wow! Hats off to Host Mach for tipping us off to this really nice comment from John about Cruise Critic in Saturday’s first bloggers blog: http://johnhealdsblog.com/2008/01/20...leans-fantast/

“One group of people I know will be there will my friends from the Bentley of Cruise Boards, The George Hamilton of Cruise Ship Information ……………my friends from Cruise Critic. I am sure one of their hosts like Randy will be putting together the biggest ever group for the 2009 Bloggers cruise. I also want to thank Cruise Critic and its editor and my friend Carolyn for allowing valuable space on their site to promote the blog and this cruise in particular. I am honoured to be associated with Cruise Critic and I hope that this relationship continues for a long time. I send my best regards to all the readers of this brilliant site……..even the one who recently posted that he found my “fake Robin Leach voice annoying and that I was the worst cruise director he had ever experienced”………I wish him champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

“If you are reading this and have never visited I invite you to point to go to www.cruisecritic.com.”
Reply With Quote

  #7  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 06:35 AM
alinehu's Avatar
alinehu alinehu is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 823
Default

Thank you cruisecritic Erica!! Great review!!As one of those that would have been very excited to meet her friends and part of Big Ed evil crew but couldnt go i appreciate it a lot. I want more info about my friends and John please!
Nanette( Nanni to John)
Reply With Quote

  #8  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 11:19 AM
Erica@cruisecritic Erica@cruisecritic is offline
Senior Editor
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 455
Default Day 2

Our first day was a bit of a wash, literally and figuratively. The storm that was supposed to head to Miami decided it would be more fun to follow us, so the seas were rough and the skies were cloudy. I'm a pretty stalwart sailor, but many guests remained huddled in their cabins, popping ginger and wearing pressure bands like bangle bracelets.

The only blogger event, as I mentioned before, was scheduled during the Patriots-Chargers game. As a dutiful blogger, I missed a Patriots touchdown to check out the event, called "Blogger Game Show Fun." It was more sparsely attended than Heald's previous events, and was considerably less funny. Three contestants listened to commercials and theme music and had to identify the associated product. John's bloggers may be a fun lot, but they're not quite ready for Jeopardy! yet.

In the first question, Heald played "Pomp and Circumstance" and asked the contestants to identify the name of the song and the associated event. Player #1 rang his buzzer and answered, "Graduation." When asked the name of the song, he replied, "I don't know. The Graduation Song?" For the second question, contestants were asked what activity was about to happen when they heard the next song. The song was the 20th Century Fox theme song, but Player #3 answered, "A football game." A few more answers like that and I decided the real football game was much more entertaining.

However, props go to the tech crew of the Victoriana Lounge, who created realistic looking game-show podiums complete with flashing lights and space-age buzzer sounds. And kudos to the folks at Carnival for playing the NFL games live on the poolside movie screen, as well as all the long-suffering fans who huddled in the cold and rain to cheer on their teams. Actually, as I shivered under my Carnival pool towel, I felt not unlike the fans at the actual games who were also freezing under layers of clothing and blankets.
Reply With Quote

  #9  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 11:58 AM
melissa@cruisecritic melissa@cruisecritic is offline
Product Development
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: NJ
Posts: 863
Default

Erica, great stories and photos -- thanks for posting! It sounds like the Welcome show was hysterical!
__________________
MelissaP
Director, Product Development
Cruise Critic
Reply With Quote

  #10  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 12:38 PM
bragstarr's Avatar
bragstarr bragstarr is online now
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Merrick, LI, NY
Posts: 2,731
Default

Love it! More, more! I will be on Imagination next week when John takes a personal cruise to check out the refurbished ship. Can't wait to meet him!
__________________
Robin
"Cruising has two pleasures. One is to go out in wider waters from a sheltered place. The other is to go into a sheltered place from wider waters." - Howard Bloomfield

RCI Explorer of the Seas (W. Caribbean) 12/7/02
RCI Serenade of the Seas (Canada) 9/25/03
RCI Majesty of the Seas (Bahamas) 2/16/04
Norwegian Dawn (Bahamas) 2/20/05
Norwegian Crown (Bermuda) 9/24/06
Carnival Imagination (E. Caribbean) 1/28/08
Norwegian Dawn (Canada/New England) 9/21/08
Star Princess (Alaska) 7/19/09
RCI Oasis of the Seas (E. Caribbean) 1/23/10
Norwegian Gem 12/11/10 (Bahamas)

Carnival Glory 9/5/11 (Canada)
Norwegian Jewel 11/4/12 (Bahamas)
Carnival Conquest 01/12/14 (W. Caribbean)
Norwegian Breakaway 1/4/15 (S. Caribbean)




Reply With Quote

  #11  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 01:20 PM
AlnzWife's Avatar
AlnzWife AlnzWife is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 29
Default

Thanks for keeping us posted on what is going on at the Bloggers Cruise. I feel a little bit like I am missing out on my family reunion by not being there. But you are helping by letting me live the cruise through you!

It was nice to see you on here also Nanette. One of the fellow bloggers checking in also!

KarenR on John's blog thingy!
Reply With Quote

  #12  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 04:57 PM
alinehu's Avatar
alinehu alinehu is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 823
Default

Karen Im like you missing a family reunion so im getting all the info I can. Im reading all over also getting calls and text messages from the ship.
Reply With Quote

  #13  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 05:10 PM
*Mach*'s Avatar
*Mach* *Mach* is offline
10,000+ Club
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 56,633
Default

Erica,

I've been reading John's blog since the beginning. Being an avid fan of British humor, John's writings were a natural for me.

I have to say this, John is as genuine and generous a person as God has ever built.

Thanks so much for keeping us up to date on his antics and all the activities.

Mach
__________________
Mach
I cruise, therefore I am...
Reply With Quote

  #14  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 06:44 PM
Erica@cruisecritic Erica@cruisecritic is offline
Senior Editor
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 455
Default John's birthday party

I’m skipping Day 3 momentarily, so I can post about the most heartfelt expression of love I just witnessed. A core group of bloggers, self-named “Ed’s Evil Blogger Crew” and led by Big Ed, have spent the weeks up until this cruise organizing a surprise party for John Heald’s birthday. The big day was today, and John couldn’t help but be touched by the outpouring of good will, fun, and sugar-free jellybeans that was showered upon him.

John entered the Victoriana Lounge expecting to find a flooded backstage and instead found applauding fans and a giant cake in the shape of a dog and a doghouse. The reference is to John always commenting that wife Heidi has put him in the doghouse for doing something bad.

Big Ed then took the microphone, and the bloggers presented John with birthday gifts. First came John’s favorite sugar-free jellybeans. As Heald typically claims these snacks give him gas, the bloggers all donned surgical masks then presented him with a warning sign for his cabin and a smell-o-meter to rate the severity of his odors.

The bloggers then gave John a big greeting card signed by everyone, T-shirts with his and Heidi’s pictures on them and dredlocks photoshopped in, a photo album, and a scrapbook with pages from each Evil Crewmember. They even gave Heidi a charm bracelet with charms of all the home states of the bloggers and Ed a special “Captain of the Evil Crew” hat as thanks for organizing the effort.

John was so touched that he teared up and said, “This was the most special thing a group of people have ever done for me in my 20-plus years at sea.”

[I've got great photos of this event but am having some difficulty uploading them. I'm hoping Melissa will be able to help me out, so stay tuned for them and the skipped-over day in Cozumel.]
Reply With Quote

  #15  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 07:37 PM
Erica@cruisecritic Erica@cruisecritic is offline
Senior Editor
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 455
Default Day 3, Cozumel

Our first port-of-call was Cozumel, Mexico. We awoke to more clouds and choppy seas—not your picture postcard Mexico. Sadly, I had heeded the advice of Weather.com and left my rain jacket, sweatshirt, and long pants back in California.

Unlike many other cruisers booked on snorkeling and diving excursions, my shore tour was not canceled. I wrapped myself in my blue Carnival towel and ventured ashore. The “Caverns by Jeep and Beach Combo” takes place in Playa del Carmen, so we boarded a ferry for a ride to the mainland. This was not the happiest 45 minutes of my life. The ship bucked like a bull in a rodeo, and my usually calm stomach bucked right along with it. I closed my eyes and hoped we’d arrive soon.

After the ferry ride, cruising Mexican backroads in an open-sided four-person jeep was a piece of cake. My driver was actually from the Carnival Liberty, docked alongside the Freedom in Cozumel, and did his best to drive through every puddle and make the biggest splashes. Between the water coming off the jeep and the water falling from the sky, I was cold and wet by the time we reached the caverns.

Contrary to popular belief, that was a good thing. Our guide Fernando led us on a swimming tour in the caves in 65-degree water. The shock of entering the underground river was minimized by my already chilled body. The caves were beautiful with stalactites and underwater stalagmites, but also tree roots reaching thirstily down toward the water source. Fernando showed us fossilized brain coral and played music on the hollow stalactites before we turned blue and wrinkly and sought out dry land.

After our bracing swim, we were ravenous. In between us and lunch, however, was the Mexican highway. We drove proudly like locals—blowing through red lights and refusing to let other cars pass. I can only imagine the thoughts of the other drivers as a bunch of gringos in jeeps pulled U-turns one after the other.

Lunch was an adventure we hadn’t bargained for. We were served a tasty Mexican buffet on a private beach with outdoor dining under thatched-roof huts. This would have been ideal if it weren’t for the driving rain and gale-force winds. My trusty Carnival towel got soaked through as I tried to eat my tortillas before they blew off my plate.

On the way back to the pier, we were forced to drive a different jeep as ours had mysteriously disappeared. We quickly realized why: The backseats were leaning at a 45-degree angle so the back of our heads were outside of the jeep, and after our driver drove exuberantly through a few more puddles, the entire roof collapsed. We spent the ride back holding up the roof with one hand, clutching the jeep for dear life with the other, and laughing hysterically about the trip. I hope whoever took our trusty vehicle appreciated the efforts we took to keep his jeep from falling apart completely on a Mexican highway.
Reply With Quote

  #16  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 07:43 PM
alinehu's Avatar
alinehu alinehu is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 823
Default

Erica Thanks for this description!!! Mission accomplish!!! im very happy for John. He deserves it. I was lucky to get to speak to him on the phone during this party and he told me it has been great and full of surprises. I was part of Big Ed evil crew (although i was not going)and I knew everything about this.I also did a page for the scrapbook. Thank you for telling me it was a sucess.
Nanette (Nanni)
Reply With Quote

  #17  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 07:52 PM
bragstarr's Avatar
bragstarr bragstarr is online now
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Merrick, LI, NY
Posts: 2,731
Default

Oh, I wish I had been at that birthday party. That must have been quite hysterical.

Erica, don't you know that ferry ride in Cozumel is INFAMOUS for being rocky??? But it sounds like you had a great, if wet, time.
__________________
Robin
"Cruising has two pleasures. One is to go out in wider waters from a sheltered place. The other is to go into a sheltered place from wider waters." - Howard Bloomfield

RCI Explorer of the Seas (W. Caribbean) 12/7/02
RCI Serenade of the Seas (Canada) 9/25/03
RCI Majesty of the Seas (Bahamas) 2/16/04
Norwegian Dawn (Bahamas) 2/20/05
Norwegian Crown (Bermuda) 9/24/06
Carnival Imagination (E. Caribbean) 1/28/08
Norwegian Dawn (Canada/New England) 9/21/08
Star Princess (Alaska) 7/19/09
RCI Oasis of the Seas (E. Caribbean) 1/23/10
Norwegian Gem 12/11/10 (Bahamas)

Carnival Glory 9/5/11 (Canada)
Norwegian Jewel 11/4/12 (Bahamas)
Carnival Conquest 01/12/14 (W. Caribbean)
Norwegian Breakaway 1/4/15 (S. Caribbean)




Reply With Quote

  #18  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 08:07 PM
Erica@cruisecritic Erica@cruisecritic is offline
Senior Editor
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 455
Default

Bragstarr, I haven't been to Cozumel in years and no one warned me about the ferry!

Nanette (and everyone else), here are the photos from the birthday bash--wish you all could have been there.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Happy birthday.jpg (9.2 KB, 182 views)
File Type: jpg John and cake.jpg (15.9 KB, 216 views)
File Type: jpg John and card.jpg (12.7 KB, 201 views)
File Type: jpg Shirts for Big Ed and Mrs.jpg (16.7 KB, 194 views)
File Type: jpg Big Ed's Evil Crew.jpg (16.9 KB, 206 views)
Reply With Quote

  #19  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 08:19 PM
*Mach*'s Avatar
*Mach* *Mach* is offline
10,000+ Club
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 56,633
Default

Thanks so much for the pictures. It look like it was a real hoot!

I wonder how John felt having the tables turned on him? For once he wasn't so much cruise director as he was cherished friend.

Bravo to all the fine Bloggers who took all the time to do such a nice thing for a wonderful guy!

My thanks.

Mach
__________________
Mach
I cruise, therefore I am...
Reply With Quote

  #20  
Old January 22nd, 2008, 08:42 PM
AlnzWife's Avatar
AlnzWife AlnzWife is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 29
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by alinehu View Post
Karen Im like you missing a family reunion so im getting all the info I can. Im reading all over also getting calls and text messages from the ship.
Nanette, I just went to your blog and saw you got to talk to John. I'm so happy for you! It is fun getting to at least see and read about the cruise through others pictures and blogs.

Erica, thanks for the pictures of John's party.

KarenR
Reply With Quote

Reply

Bookmarks


Ad Sponsored By
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:42 PM.


© 1995 - 2014, The Independent Traveler, Inc. All rights reserved.
"A Community of People Who Love To Cruise"
All of the information contained within Cruise Critic is protected by copyright. You may, however, download a single copy only for your personal use.