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Old January 26th, 2008, 01:08 AM
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Blogger’s Cruise – Jan. 25- Cont’d
I had an interesting afternoon participating in the Q & A session with the Press for the Bloggers at 4 P.M. Being the last day of the cruise, with the sun shining brightly, and the task of passengers having to pack, I had my doubts whether anyone would come to Q us for our As. I thought worst case scenario, the 7 of us would sit on our As and visit over drinks.

Whatever the case was going to be, I decided I should dress like “the professional that I am?, and have fun and enjoy.

The session was also being broadcast live on John’s blog, which I didn’t realize immediately. To begin with the crowd was intimate, but grew considerably once they started serving free liquor.

The panel consisted of (left to right), Clark Norton-, Susan Young- Southern, Erica Silverstein, Smarter Travel media, Anita Dunham-Potter-, MSNBC, your truly, Robert Jenkins – St Petersburg Times, and Harry Shattuck- Houston Chronicle.
It was a very experienced and knowledgeable panel, and I admit being a part of it, for awhile made me sweat as much as Angela Jolie would when hearing John had her home address.

Carnival Corporation has recently become involved in raising funds for Cancer research fleet-wide through a program called On Deck for the Cure. Passengers make donations throughout the cruise and receive On Deck for the Cure T-shirts. I think it’s a wonderful cause and a great association for Carnival. At the beginning of today’s proceeding, in honor of John’s birthday and the great job John and Heidi had done all week entertaining the bloggers, and to offer condolences to Roberto and his family on his grandmother’s passing, and to honor Big Ed for all his efforts on behalf of the Bloggers group, I made a donation to the On Deck for Cure campaign. With my heartfelt donation it brought the total raised during this cruise to $7340.

Then we were on to the Q&A session. Honestly it was great fun to answer some very interesting and astute questions from the live audience, as well as from those joining via John’s Blog live. We were asked for our comments on our own writing styles, our opinions on how we evaluate cruises, opinions on “Freestyle? VS Traditional Dining styles, favorite ports of call outside of the Caribbean, where the next great cruise ports might be, and a myriad of other cruise related questions. And I thought the discussions which ensued were interesting and worthwhile.

John then threw out a question that we often see come up on message boards; we were each to chose two people, living or dead, who we’d like to have dinner with at the Captains Table. One choice was to be for entertainment, the other someone we admire professionally. While the rest of the panel took their time giving the question careful thought, I blurted out my choices. My choices were- for entertainment – Jackie Mason, for professional admiration – Paris Hilton. The audience reaction was … What???? I do think Jackie Mason is hilarious, even as he ages. I chose Paris Hilton because she gets paid big bucks for doing nothing.

I do think the whole session ended up being a lot of fun, as well as informative. It must have been because we went well over the hour the session was scheduled for.

Robert and Susan, who have cruised with John over 40 times on Carnival ships, presented John with a lovely plaque commemorating the first ever Bloggers Cruise.

After which John had all the bloggers come up on stage, and one of the members of his cruise staff, James who’s a wonderful “ham? in own right

taught the gathering a dance, which we all danced together, and which was video-taped and will be posted for viewing on John’s Blog.

This was a difficult event to end, as it was symbolically ending the first ever Bloggers Cruise, even though there were a few hours of cruise left. John and Heidi stayed on in the theater afterwards so every person who wanted to had the opportunity to talk to them, or take pictures with them.

(Tomorrow, when I’m back on land and traveling home I’ll follow up with more closing thoughts, and load many more pictures.. once I have cable speed.)
There’s always a bit of learning curve in doing something for the first time, and no doubt that holds true with the bloggers cruise. However, the team, led by John and Heidi did a fabulous job of making this event a winner!
The task was made more complicated because they were both still doing their full time jobs, while entertaining the bloggers, and John was still filing blogs on a regular basis.

I doubt very much whether they slept the entire week. And like the passengers they too had to pack today because they are leaving the ship tomorrow morning along with the rest of us.

I certainly can’t speak for everyone onboard, but I know I had a “brilliant? cruise. And I can’t wait for Bloggers Cruise 2… Which, by the way, everyone should book NOW, because the excitement has built quickly and cabins are going FAST. This could be as HUGE as John.

I think both John and Heidi had a great time as well, even if the work load had to be totally exhausting. There was only one thing to do after they finished packing tonight…..

I hope someone wakes them to remind them to put that luggage out in the hall. I know they’ll all be refreshed and ready to lead the party on the Bloggers Cruise 2 on the Fantasy, Feb. 7/09.
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