Have you ever read an incredibly riveting blog and wished you could meet the blogger in person? You aren’t alone. In fact, according to a senior cruise director for Carnival Cruise Lines, the requests for a blogger convention on the high seas reached such a fever pitch that the cruise line decided to give it a shot.
Next year Carnival Cruises will host its first-ever “Bloggers Cruise.” The seven-day Western Caribbean cruise will operate roundtrip from Miami, January 19-26, 2008, and will visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. Prices for the seven-day “Bloggers Cruise” start at $599 per person.
Interestingly, the brainchild behind the “Bloggers Cruise” was the man who originally began blogging on Carnival’s website. His name is John Heald, and in addition to running his own weblog, he is also Carnival’s senior cruise director. Heald’s blog was launched last month and has become an unexpected hit (it’s attracted nearly 200,000 visitors in less than 6 weeks). Heald’s blogs include anecdotes from the Carnival Freedom’s inaugural season in Europe, as well as his 20-plus years at sea. One of the more popular features is a Q&A section in which Heald fields readers’ inquiries on a wide variety of topics.
Heald hopes the new cruise will attract bloggers and their readers. If the inaugural cruise is a success, the company hopes to make it an annual event. During 2008’s “Bloggers Cruise,” Heald will host a number of special events, including a Welcome Aboard Reception, trivia contests, and question-and-answer sessions. In addition, passengers will receive a gift bag containing various giveaways and logo items. As senior cruise director, Heald plans to perform his regular duties throughout the voyage, including hosting shipboard orientation sessions and port briefings. He will also host his daily “Morning Show” that broadcasts on Carnival Freedom’s 270-square-foot LED screen.