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‘Twas the night before the cruise, when all through the house
Everyone was packing; have you seen Mom’s blue blouse?
The kids’ luggage was set by the back door with care,
In hopes that they’d remembered to pack formal wear.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of waterslides danced in their heads.
In the morning we got up and got coffee and fraps,
And we got to the terminal without needing a map.
When we got on the ship we avoided the clatter,
We sprang to the buffet to load up a platter.
Away to Guy’s Burgers we flew like a flash,
Next to the pools of kids making a splash.
The sun on the breast of the blue ocean waves
Made me think of a drink, which I started to crave.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a goofy British man who was holding a beer.
At the site of him, someone beside me yelled,
And I knew in a moment it must be John Heald.
More rapid than eagles the cruisers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and began to exclaim:
“Now Sunshine! now, Glory! now, Pride and Sensation!
On, Magic! On, Conquest! on Spirit and Elation!
To the Caribbean and to three ports of call;
Now cruise away, cruise away, cruise away all!”
Some cruisers stood by and waved their goodbyes,
As the ship’s horn blew and the sun set in the skies.
So up to the lido deck the cruisers they flew,
With cameras in hand to capture the view.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the deck
The pouring of juice and some orange triple sec.
As I signed my receipt and left an extra tip,
Up came John Heald to the top of the ship.
He was dressed in his swimsuit, ready for the slides,
And he looked quite happy, with a pep in his stride.
A bag full of sunscreen he had flung on his back,
With a Guy’s burger inside, in case he needed a snack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
But his chest won the contest for being too hairy!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
For he’d just heard the sketch for the comedy show.
As the senior cruise director of the whole Carnival fleet,
He would shake the hand of every cruiser he’d meet.
He had a broad face and he loved the food at the deli,
And in the mornings he room serviced toast with some jelly.
He was funny and kind, a right jolly old man,
And I laughed when I saw him get a bit too tan.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know his skin would go red.
He spoke not a word, but went back to his work,
As he wrote up the Fun Times for our day in Grand Turk.
He planned out the bingos, the trivias, the shows,
And made sure to list when the ship’s bars would close.
He then sprang to the mic, to his team gave a shout,
And away they all flew, the crew so devout.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere we sailed out of sight,
“Happy cruising to all, and to all a good-night!”