Carnival Cruise Line Fans Get Funderstruck with Shaq at Miami Heat Game

Carnival Cruise Line's Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O'Neal gets Miami Funderstruck at the Miami Heat game, including giving away a free cruise.

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Miami Heat fans had the opportunity to get Funderstruck with Carnival Cruise Line’s Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal at the January 15 game against the Philadelphia 76ers. To celebrate his and Carnival’s upcoming 50th birthdays, Shaq gave away Funderstruck t-shirts as well as a gift card for a Carnival cruise.

Carnival Cruise Line Giving Away Big Fun

NBA legend, hall-of-famer, and former Miami Heat player Shaquille O’Neal helped get fans Funderstruck with Carnival Cruise Line during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, January 15. During the surprise giveaway, Shaq – who serves as Carnival Cruise Line’s “Chief Fun Officer” – asked fans if they were ready to get “funderstruck” to riotous cheering.

Shaq then called for parachutes to be released, each carrying a Carnival t-shirt. Each t-shirt had a QR code attached, and when scanned, the codes give fans the chance to opt-in for updates on all of Carnival’s Funderstruck moments to come this year.

One lucky shirt had a gift card attached as well, which can be applied for a Carnival cruise of the fan’s choice.

The Miami Heat lost the game 109-98 to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Florida team is currently ranked second in the NBA Eastern Conference.

Celebrating 50 Years for Carnival and Shaq

The giveaway is in celebration not only of Carnival Cruise Line’s 50th birthday – coming with unique “sailabrations” and a once-in-a-lifetime meetup series of sailings planned for March 2022 – but also in celebration of Shaquille O’Neal’s 50th birthday on March 6, 2022.

It is part of Carnival’s new Funderstruck advertising and marketing campaign, with the new word invented to describe the unmistakable feeling that uniquely experienced when choosing fun on Carnival, no matter what type of fun a guest prefers.

Carnival Cruise Ship Funnel
Photo Credit: SeregaSibTravel / Shutterstock

The celebration will also continue with the debut of the new Carnival Celebration, the line’s second Excel-class cruise ship and sister to the fleet’s flagship, Mardi Gras. Carnival Celebration is scheduled to set sail from PortMiami in November, and is the most anticipated new cruise ship of 2022.

“This will be the most Funderstruck year ever, and who better to spread that message than our very own Chief Fun Officer Shaquille,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Miami is where Carnival first started, so we can’t wait to welcome our newest ship Carnival Celebration to our hometown to help us ring in our big 5-0.”

Big Fun With Shaq

Shaquille O’Neal was named “Chief Fun Officer” for Carnival Cruise Line in 2018, and has been involved with the line’s “Choose Fun” advertising and marketing ever since. Not only has he been present for ship naming ceremonies and other events, but he has been instrumental in developing the Big Chicken restaurant for Mardi Gras, with recipes based on O’Neal family recipes.

Shaq’s mother, Dr. Lucille O’Neal, is the godmother for Carnival Radiance, which was officially christened and set sail on her inaugural voyage in December 2021.

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