Shaquille O’Neal likes to have big fun.
The 7’1″ former NBA player has signed on as the “Chief Fun Officer” of Carnival Cruise Line. As the new CFO, he uses his larger-than-life personality in promos and commercials for Carnival. To prepare, he spent some time on the Carnival Vista, a huge ship that can handle more than 3,900 passengers.
PEOPLE chatted with O’Neal and asked him the tough questions about cruising.
Okay, let’s just address this. You’re 7’1″ tall. Why would you get on a boat?
You can’t call it a boat. It’s a ship.
What’s the difference?
The size! A ship is larger than a boat.
So you wouldn’t get on a boat, but you’ll get on a ship?
I’ll definitely get on a cruise ship. They’re bigger than they look.
They look pretty big to me.
When I lived in Miami, I’d drive past the cruise ships and think, ‘Why do I want to be on something like that?’ I’d see the windows and they just looked really small. I didn’t know how big they really are. But when you get on the ship, you see how spacious it is, and all that there is to do.
So do you have to duck a lot on a cruise ship, so you don’t hit the ceiling?
I’m used to ducking. I do it every day. I didn’t have to do it any more on the ship than I do at home. Just to get through the door of the cabin. But a regular-sized person won’t have to duck at all.
So if Shaquille O’Neal goes on a cruise, what does he do?
Whatever I want to do. There’s all sorts of food. There’s a basketball court and a gym. There’s a casino. There are pools. You can be doing something all day long. I think it’s a lot of fun.
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So what’s a Shaq cruising day like?
Get up, duck to get out the door. Get breakfast. Go to the basketball court. Go to the gym. Eat lunch. Go to the pool. Relax on the deck. Go to the casino. Go back to the room, duck one more time to get inside. Take a nap. Go to dinner. Go out to the club or whatever is going on in the evening. Duck one more time to get into the room, which is big. Go to sleep.
So what surprises you the most about cruising?
I expected it to be boring. It’s not.
You’re asked to endorse lots of things. Were you surprised when Carnival asked you to partner with them?
No, because a ship is big fun, just like me.