Live From Carnival Magic: 5 Tips From John Heald (and 2 Curveballs Just for the Heck of It)

May 6, 2011 | By | 4 Comments

John Heald seems to be everywhere, and he seems to know everyone. While it’s no surprise Carnival put its A-list cruise director at the helm of Carnival Magic’s inaugural run, it’s been a hoot watching the genius at work. I caught up with him at the Escape bar, pictured above, and asked what five places everyone should check out at least once on Magic. Then he threw in a few surprises as a bonus.

Here are John Heald’s favorites onboard Carnival Magic:

One night at Deck 11’s Cucina del Capitano, the family-style Italian spot featuring singing waiters and mounds of chow. Whatever you do, he says, “order the chicken parm.” (Tried it. He’s right.)

A performance of “Destination Unknown,” which calls the “most lavish and expensive show Carnival has ever produced.” I have to take his word on it, at least for now: It doesn’t open until Sunday night.

Dinner at Prime Steakhouse, whose “ambiance is way superior” to that of other Carnival carnivoriums. He’s right again, of course — my meal rocked at the eatery, which moved from the top deck on Carnival Dream to a new Deck 5 location on Magic to make room for SportsSquare.

A stroll on the open decks of Magic, which he insists is the “best ship for walking around on.”

Sunsets outside the RedFrog Pub, which has evening deals each night as daytime comes to an end

So what are two places no one considers but should find before they get off the ship?

His choices: Escapes, a cubbyhole of a watering hole outside the Northern Lights dining room, which I didn’t’ even know existed until I met Heald there. It’s a cute, clubby bar with cool lighting, comfy sofas and a Miami Beach vibe. And Serenity at night, the adults-only sanctuary on the top deck that’s “largely deserted after-hours but shouldn’t be. Heald says he has big plans for the space (music? cigars under the stars?), so stay tuned.

Want to see more? Check out our photo gallery of 7 Cool Places on Carnival Magic.

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    4 Responses to “Live From Carnival Magic: 5 Tips From John Heald (and 2 Curveballs Just for the Heck of It)”

    1. unlucky cruiser
      May 11th, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

      orgainised chaos is the only way i can describe the cruise. market place running out of everthing all the time. spa cabins on same deck as bell ringing on water slides 8am to 8pm sounds like a fire engine. water running into balcony constantly from water slides, area flooded constantly try and phone guest relations all you would hear was “wrong choice” well yes it was, that one thing they were right about my long awaited cruise

    2. unlucky cruiser
      May 11th, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

      shows were not shows just one person entertaining the whole and not any good last guy looked disgusting and made jokes about bin laden and boming ships you could only
      understand him if you came from some remote part of america we were on holiday give us a break. another night the captain had the whole ship looking for a puff of smoke from a volcanic island in the pitch black 50 miles away cheap night enternainment and as for that john he is like a parriot same old same old every night clap the band clap the light person clap the captain clap th engineer why? they chos the job i am a nurse nobody claps for me every day. the only enternmaint worth watching was the last night that was a show we had industrial fans blowing full blast for 36 hours drying carpets

    3. Howard Lebofsky
      May 14th, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

      I couldn’t disagree more with Unlucky Cruiser. The ship and all of the activities were well organized and definitely “ship shape”. Not chaotic at all. Mr. Heald did a great job and was really on top of things. We got about 5 miles from the volcano which was only a bit active when we passed– blame Mother Nature. It was still exciting to see volcanic activity at night. The comedian with the rual routine was hilarious and his act with Mr. Heald was terrific. The two entertainers, Marcus Anthony and his female counterpart were wonderful and put on a spirited performance enjoyed by all. The Carnival staff were well trained, very knowledgeable and every last one of them took the time to go out of their way to make the trip completely enjoyable. The excursion guides were pleasant, very knowledgable and really well organized. Stateroom and restaurant service was as fine as any really fine restaurant or hotel.

    4. Milton
      June 4th, 2011 @ 7:05 am

      Please advise dress requirements for the evenings ie will i need a suit?or is smart ok without a jacket?how many formal evenings are there on the 12 night med cruise 12 june?is ballroom dancing a part of the tour iteniary?

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