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Blog2NOLA – The Second John Heald Blogger’s Cruise Is Upon Us

Written by: Kuki

In January 2008 I was sailing on the Carnival Freedom with John Heald, Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director, on the first ever Blogger’s Cruise. The cruise came about as a result of the daily blog John had begun writing 9 months earlier http://johnhealdsblog.com/
The popularity of John’s blog grew at an astounding rate, and combined with the popularity of the man himself with passengers who’d perviously sailed with him, brought about a Blogger’s Group Cruise.

Tomorrow Mrs. Kuki and I fly to New Orleans, heading to meet up once again with John Head, as well as160 members of the CruiseMates community, and 190 other readers of John Heald’s Blog, for the second Blogger’s Cruise, or as CruiseMates has dubbed it, The Blog2NOLA group cruise.

The planning for this cruise began the first day onboard the original Blogger’s Cruise, when John announced that for the next Blogger’s Cruise he would like to have the group sail out of New Orleans; to show his own, as well as Carnival’s support, at least in a small way, to help rejuvenate the city so devastated by Hurricane Katrina. At the time the Carnival Fantasy was awaiting her complete refurbishment as the first Fantasy Class ship to be redone with the new designs of the “Evolution of Fun“, and once refurbished she would be sailing from New Orleans.

John, also recommended that day that everyone going on the Blog2NOLA cruise arrive in the city a day early, to do some volunteer work in the community. I was so excited by the idea that by that evening I’d already emailed a travel agent, and had the CruiseMates group space ready to promote the cruise. I was writing daily reports for CruiseMates live from the ship, and by the next morning CruiseMates were already busy booking.

Now, just a few days more than one year later, this event is about to begin and we couldn’t be more excited. The Blogger’s group this year is only about ½ the size of last year’s group. I believe that was a result of this being a 5 day sailing. By that, I mean I think it’s a bit difficult to get people to travel long distances for a short cruise. That, along with the economic woes that have shaken the world this fall, led to many cancellations.

I have little doubt that had this cruise been 7 days or longer, it would have drawn more participants than the first Blogger’s Cruise. It seems that we do have a great many cruisemates coming who are within driving distance of New Orleans. But we do have some coming from as far away as Australia, and I’m from Canada!

That being said, I think the 350 who are participating are in for a fantastic time!!! And those who are left at home to just read about it are going to be very disappointed that they’re not there with us.

Here’s a glimpse of the scheduled activities you’re going to be missing. You can read more about how they unfold throughout the cruise, beginning this weekend….

FEB 5 -Some of us will be meeting at the Crescent City Brewery, beginning at 7 PM and hanging there until awhile after 8 PM or so, when we’ll wander through the Quarter, with a few stops… perhaps Pat O’Brian’s and House of Blues. If interested just meet us there.

FEB.6 (Morning) Beacon of Hope Volunteer Event – Buses departing Maison ST. Charles Hotel at @ 8 AM. – volunteer work from 9 AM – 1 PM.
5:30 PM – Reception at Maison St. Charles for Volunteers ONLY.

Feb. 6 (Evening) – CruiseMates PRE-Cruise dinner –  7 P.M. -Mulate’s Restaurant -201 Julia St.- http://www.mulates.com/ -  -Zydeco band entertaining.

Feb. 7 –embarkation day – -CruiseMates hospitality desk available on boarding day – Located on Lido Deck  – Noon to 3 PM..- pick up CM give-a-ways, including CruiseMates name tags, neck wallets, and cabin door magnets, and a schedule of all activities. T-shirt pick up for those who ordered them.

Welcome Aboard Blogger’s cocktail party – After Muster Drill in the Universe Lounge

Dinner – The bloggers will have a special area of the dining room reserved for main sitting.

10 P.M. – Piano Bar — the CruiseMates PAJAMA Party

CABIN DELIVERY – THIS WILL FEATURE THE FIRST OF THE FREE GIFTS FROM John
.
FEB 8 – Day 2 – Sea DAY
Early morning get together.( SEE CARNIVAL CAPERS FOR TIME) This will be a chance to meet in the main lounge for an hour’s fun. We may have a Q&A and games or just chat…………..who knows. But one thing is for certain………you won’t want to miss this…….unless you would rather stay in bed for an hour which considering many of you will have been drinking at the pajama party the night before may be a strong possibility.

2 PM – CRUISEMATES TEA TIME with John – Jubilee Dining Room – aft

Elegant Night Photos

Before we go to dinner JOHN will be available for photos with a special backdrop. He will also have a pen in hand ready to sign something if you wish……something that may have been placed in your cabin today as gift number two.

Elegant Night Dinner

Music and Dancing

FEB. 9 – Day 3 – Progreso  Port of Call

2 PM -3PM Pool Party and MINI GOLF – —- for those cruisemates who’ve arrived back onboard early

5-6 PM- The “Arrrgh uably” Best Pirate (er… Private) Cocktail Party at Sea -  CruiseMates Complimentary Cocktail Party -  SPECIAL REWARDS for the BEST Pirates!!

Dinner all together

Midnight – John Heald proudly presents the Bloggers Only Male Nightgown contest

Special gift delivered to cabin

FEB 10 -Day 4 – Cozumel
Blogger’s private excursion to the beach in Cozumel…. Juan’s Mexican Fiesta at Playa Mia Beach

Dinner all together

10:30pm – Private Bloggers only show featuring two of Carnival’s top entertainers

Special gift delivered to cabin

FEB. 11 – Day 5 – Sea Day
9 am – 10 am- Press Q & A
We are proud to have some of the industries most respected travel writers joining us and they have agreed to make themselves available for a Q & A. This was a huge success last year and I encourage as many of you to attend this year as you can.

1 PM -at the aft Waterworks – CruiseMates Slide Races -

4:00pm – 5:00 pm – Bloggers Talent Show

5:00pm – 6:00pm – Farwell Party featuring fun, complimentary cocktails and hors d’ ouerves and some sad goodbyes.

6:00pm- Farewell Dinner

All of the above, along with all the regularly scheduled Fun Ship events of the ship!

Now… don’t you all wish you were coming!!!! Well, at least you can keep checking CruiseMates for updates and pictures to share the FUN!

- A View From the Kuki Side of Cruising -

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Comments

Comment from ScurvyDog
Time February 4, 2009 at 6:29 am

I’m out of here!!! Headed for New Orleans.

Comment from Trip
Time February 4, 2009 at 8:23 am

I’ll be reading along with misty eyes and a smile on my lips, for all the good times I know you will all have…….

Comment from msblackjack
Time February 5, 2009 at 8:37 am

Don’t wear John out, LOL – I heard he was the CD on my cruise on Feb 22… LOL – if so, if I find him I am gonna find out the stuff ya’ll couldn’t publish LOL
have a great time all!

Comment from Luanne Russo
Time February 6, 2009 at 5:45 am

Wishing all of you a great cruise!!

Comment from Elaine
Time February 6, 2009 at 7:04 am

I am soooo jealous… Hope you guys have a wonderful time and I’m hoping Kuki that you write your famous, terrific, great and entertaining daily posts while on-board. I love your writing. Also, I’m sailing the Valor March 29th with (I hope) John.. Can you find out if that is fact, and if it is, find out what John would like to receive i.e,. like a bottle of wine, a book he can’t find, etc…(but shhhhhh it will be a surprise)… HAVE A GR8T TIME Kuki and Mrs Kuki…

Comment from Marc
Time February 8, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Kuki, when are you going to post updates on the blog?

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