Annual bloggers cruise features new ship, old host

John Heald, the popular senior cruise director for Carnival Cruise Lines, is doing it again hosting for the fifth time his John Heald Bloggers Cruise. Fans of the unflappable John Heald’s blog with over 10 million views since it’s launch in 2007, will sail on the new Carnival Magic in March 2012.

The seven-day western Caribbean voyage will sail round-trip from Galveston, Texas, March 4-11, 2012, visiting Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico.

Like other theme cruises, this one gives up-close and personal time with a celebrity.

Unlike other theme cruises, that celebrity is John Heald.

I met Heald almost 10 years ago on the then-almost-new Carnival Victory and have no trouble imagining him as the big draw for a theme cruise. His easy-going demeanor and quick wit are party-pleasers that I can see many enjoying.

The new 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic brings together fans of the senior cruise director for a week full of fun activities, exclusive giveaways and receptions plus a boat load of memories. Sure, Kid Rock, he is not, but expect a whole lot of fun and some surprises along the way too.

Gadling will be on board Carnival Magic for the ships inaugural sailing May 1, less than a week from now. Stay tuned for all the details on what makes Carnival Magic a great new ship as well as some featured posts off the ship when we go ashore.

Flickr photo by jonworth

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Got New Year’s Eve plans? Cruise lines do

Cruise vacations that include New Years Eve are among some of the most highly sought-after sailings of the year, and for good reason. On board, the mood is festive, drinks flow freely, entertainment and dining is included and nobody has to drive home.

But that’s pretty much what cruise lines do every day. Sailings that include New Year’s Eve have special bonus events and amenities well worth the premium price of ringing in the new year at sea.

If you want to book one it’s probably too late now as these are some of the quickest to book of all sailings. Along with Christmas, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July they fill up fast with many guests booking a year or more in advance.

On Princess Cruises, guests get a fun-filled New Years Eve party with music, confetti, noise-makers and champagne and the festivities range from black-tie affairs to casual depending on the ship and itinerary. On New Years Day, football fans won’t miss their games and served alongside will be popcorn, chips, mini hot dogs or burgers and other stuff that is equally bad for you but surely part of it all. Other major lines run similar on board programs but are not the only choices for sailing over the holiday.

Pretty much any city with a large body of water close-by has New Year sailings with special packages available. Those too fill up fast though so its probably too late to book those as well.

This year we don’t even need to be at sea to get in on the cruise line fun though. Carnival Cruise Lines has been crowned “Official Confetti Sponsor” of New Year’s Eve in New York’s Times Square and confetti-fever is building in anticipation. Streaming video starting at 8PM ET will feature the line’s zany Senior Cruise Director John Heald who performed a confetti-worthiness test yesterday.

Flickr photo by ahisgett

Carnival sailing to Times Square for New Years Eve

Carnival Cruise Lines today threw its signature “Fun” hat in the ring as official confetti sponsor of the Times Square New Years Eve 2011 celebration. The sponsorship includes multiple opportunities for the line to infuse its version of fun into the festivities including a free-cruise giveaway, sure to be popular with frigid party-goers.

“Carnival is thrilled to be part of New York City‘s New Year’s Eve celebration and add our brand of participatory fun to the festivities,” said Jim Berra, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. “We’ll also be sending warm thoughts of Caribbean climes and tropical breezes to the revelers braving the cold by giving away a Carnival cruise vacation to one lucky person.”

Before midnight, popular senior cruise director/blogger John Heald will lead a practice countdown releasing 500 pounds of Carnival signature red, white and blue confetti onto the crowd. At the stroke of midnight, a ton of the Carnival confetti will be hand-tossed by about 100 Carnival “confetti dispersal engineers” to fill the sky.

Carnival invites everyone to get in on the fun by visiting the Times Square Visitors Center where the line has a Carnival Confetti New Years Eve Wishing Wall. Visitors can share their hopes and dreams for 2011 on slips of red, white and blue paper that will be added to the confetti used on New Years Eve.

Photo: Carnival Cruise Line