UPDATE: Carnival Cruise Line was able to sort out the paperwork, and John Heald ended up making it to the U.S. in time to board Carnival Horizon on Sunday, July 4.
Only days before Carnival Cruise Line’s first ships are set to resume operations, Brand Ambassador John Heald has been denied permission to fly to the United States so that he can be part of the festivities.
“I Have No Words”
Clearly emotionally shaken, Heald recorded a Facebook Live video at Heathrow Airport in which he revealed the news from which he was clearly still reeling. After arriving at the airport with all of the proper documentation, Heald assumed he would be boarding a United States-bound flight in order to set sail on the Carnival Horizon‘s July 4th voyage. Instead, as he explained, “I spoke with a gentleman from the office of Homeland Security who informed me that because of the latest variant in the UK, they were not allowing any UK citizens to fly.”
It was suggested that he apply to the American embassy for a special exemption. “But he did quite politely say that they are virtually impossible to get and until the rules change, that I am not allowed into the United States of America.”
His eyes welling up with unshed tears, Heald was clearly still attempting to process this unexpected development. “A year and a half, I have been waiting to get back on a ship,” he said. “A year and a half working all toward this day.”
Despite everything, Heald said he understood. “Just as I ask you to respect our rules, I have to respect their rules as well.”
Thinking beyond what this meant for himself, the usually jovial Heald apologized to “all those people who booked with me, I’m so sorry. Hundreds of you who are expecting to see me on the ship.”
In a cruelly ironic twist, Heald indicated that had he flown out the day before, this situation would not have been an issue. “Yesterday was normal. yesterday, no problem. Today… everybody has been turned away.”
Trying to find some kind of positive spin, Heald said he would “have to live the experience of cruising again through all of you.”