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Found 275 results

  1. For anyone who has sailed on her recently... Does she have... New cakes at lunch buffet? New Deli menu? New Sea day Brunch menu? Aft pool adult only? The "whale tail" souvenir cup? Thanks for any info!
  2. Carnival Magic Review This was our first time aboard the Carnival Magic – and it’s my new favorite! It didn’t feel crowded, even with a nearly sold-out sailing. Great itinerary. So much to love! Quick facts: June 22 - June 30 (8-day cruise) Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; Oranjested, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; 3 days at sea Family of four - two adults, two teens (14 & 17) Two cabin types Active when in port Foodies There’s much to describe so instead of a long narrative, I’m just going to break it down by areas. Embarkation Parking: Self-parking at Port Everglades is great. It’s $20 per day. It took my husband a little bit to figure out how to get to the entrance of the garage after he dropped us and the luggage off up front. Close to the entrance so it didn’t take him long to walk from the truck to the gate. Porters: We had been given embarkation time of 1:30 – 2:00 pm. We arrived at 2:30 pm. The porters stopped taking luggage at 2 pm which meant we would have to carry all our luggage onboard – and who wants to do that?! We had our SCUBA gear with us (and I may have packed 2 bags too many 😊) so didn’t want to haul all that around. I persisted with the port personnel and one older porter agreed to help. Just as we were getting ready to enter the terminal, a tour bus arrived – not sure why porters will just stand around and not help passengers because they’re done at 2 pm. Documentation/Getting on the ship: All went smoothly! Digital checking-in makes it quick, too! Our keys were waiting in the mail holder at each stateroom. Muster Drill: Loved that we didn’t have to stand outside in the muggy heat! We were assigned to the Showtime Theater. Actually, both 12042 and 11231 were assigned to the Showtime Theater, different levels. 😊 Cabins This year we decided that the kids (ages 14 and 17) would have their own room. We were able to get a balcony on Deck 12 (12042) and an interior room on Deck 11 (11231). The stairs are right by the rooms so easy access. My daughter and I were assigned to 11231 and my husband and son were assigned 12042. Well, those were the official assignments. My husband and I stayed in the balcony room (I requested an extra key for this room) and my son stayed with his sister and received an extra key to that room. Not a problem. Both rooms are considered Cloud 9 Spa rooms which means adults have full access to the Spa amenities, such as the Thalassotherapy pool, thermal suites, sauna, steam rooms, etc… You also get a complimentary Elemis scrub kit (one per Spa stateroom) and these rooms are given Elemis shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and lotion. These products are wonderful! Cabin 12042 (see photo) – Balcony room that was very comfortable. A new feature for us was the use of a key card to keep the lights on in the stateroom. The light switch will not work without a key card (or any card) being inserted in a slot next to the front door. A good way to save energy. Balcony had two chairs and a small table. This is where we kept our snorkeling/dive gear. Bathroom is still cramped so I mostly used the showers in the spa instead (much better – large and terrific shower heads with strong water pressure). They also have several blow dryers in the spa bathrooms – great for getting ready. No electric plugs by the bedside so make sure to bring an extension cord or two. There is a small fridge and a safe box. There are three small drawers and three closets. Our room steward, Athikom, was very nice and kept things tidy. Decorations o Yes, we decorated our room and door. I used Command Strips and magnets, but did see many decorated stateroom doors that used tape. o Winner: Dry erase board – we kept a “Cone Count” – still talking about it. Bought it at the Dollar Tree. Used one Command Strip to hold on the door. (see photo) Cabin 11231 – Typical interior room, except it included the Spa amenities mentioned earlier -- complimentary Elemis scrub kit (one per Spa stateroom) and Elemis shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and lotion. These products are wonderful! Just down the hallway is access to the Spa and Serenity area elevator (single, blue glass elevator) – this is separate from the general elevators. Also includes a small fridge and a safe box. · Alicia was the steward and she was fantastic. Example: Just as our debarkation number was called my daughter realized she had left her card in the room (two hours earlier). I went over to talk to Alicia and she had it waiting for us. 😊 More coming soon!
  3. We are thinking of trying our first carnival cruise. We Usually do royal, but we’ve also enjoyed norweigen and Disney. We are wondering what you do in evenings with tweens? On royal we enjoy watching the shows, whether variety or ice show etc. I couldn’t find any recent fun times. Will we be bored after dinner? Are there movies by the pool every night?
  4. Let me first say that we are not new to cruising...this will be our 22nd cruise. Granted it has been a couple of years since we cruised on Carnival and I am having a serious Senior Moment. Ok, so maybe mid Senior moment as I am only in my mid 50's. Anyway, we are on the Magic in November. I read on these boards that your sail & sign key will be in your mailbox at your cabin. This is where the "senior moment" is coming in as I can't quite grasp this concept. On our previous 21 cruises, you get your room key when you check in. You do the "bong" to get on the ship and then you are good to go. So, if your card is at your cabin and the cabins are not ready for a couple of hours after your board.... 1 - how do you get on the ship? 2 - how do you order drinks? Our routine is that we get on the ship. Head to the pool. Grab a drink and relax! Our vacation starts when we get our first cocktail by the pool If you are an early boarder, whether it is your tier status, suite guest or FTTF, you could realistically be on the ship for a couple of hours until the cabins are ready. Someone please help....I know it is not a big deal and we will have a great time as always, but my brain is hurting trying to figure this out. Thanks!
  5. Taking a cruise in February and have to book the flights. I couldn't find anywhere on Carnival's site saying what time the flight should be. Suggestions? Would noon be late enough?
  6. Hello all! Have a cruise coming up on the Magic in 41 days and I am just trying to plan some stuff out. I have completed the check in process and my "scheduled" check in time is 12-12:30; however I know that I can check in early since I purchased FTTF. My inquiry is if anyone knows how early they will allow folks into the port. I have a fairly early flight that lands at 8:30 AM the day of the cruise and instead of having to Uber somewhere to just sit for an hour, I would like to head to the port as soon as I get my bags picked up at the airport. Any information would be great! Thanks!
  7. Hey I was thinking of getting the Cloud 9 Interior instead of a normal one. I can get it for just around $100 more for the 2 of us. I didn't know any advice and thoughts? Didn't know if deck 11 or 12 which is better?
  8. I am wanting to book Cucina for my cruise in September on the Magic but I want to do it on the second formal night. I just really do not care for that menu. Anyone know which night is the second formal night on the Magic's six day cruises? Thanks in advance.
  9. We had a great time, 7 of us. Don't have time for a full review but will check back to answer any questions that I can. Had an aft wrap on 7. We hit St Maartin, St Kitts, San Juan and Grand Turk. Did the Steak House once, Italian once and Anytime 3 Nights. Some cabins in our party had the drink package and some did not. 3 Balconies and 1 inside. Any negatives on the ship were not ship/staff related. Stayed at the Renaissance Cruise Hotel Prior. Did Larry Limo's 3 x. Thenford Grey Tours Bernards Tours Golf Carts, Jacks & Margaritville in Grand Turk San Juan, Uber and walked around. Let me know.
  10. Can anyone who has been on Magic recently tell me if there's anywhere to get sushi onboard? I've read different answers when searching online, and the Carnival website doesn't list anything, but it also doesn't show the sushi bar that is on Liberty, so I don't quite trust it. Would love to hear from someone who was onboard recently!
  11. Watermelonqueen99 is back with another review! Right now we're sitting at the airport, and yet again the female TSA agent got to second base with me, I got tested for explosives residue AGAIN, and all I've had to eat today is half a dry, burned Auntie Ann's pretzel dipped in some plastic fake cheese because FLL has a serious lack of eating establishments and the few decent ones are packed. There's a baby crying and a lady who won't stop cackle-laughing. So, for right now, I'm just holding this spot! I'll be back tomorrow evening with my first installment!
  12. Good Morning - Just getting around to putting a review together of our cruise on the Magic May 11 - 19. Will try to get updates uploaded over the next couple of days but will start with getting to Fort Lauderdale and then on to the cruise. Happy to answer any questions anyone may have and will do my best to answer them. We are a couple from the D.C. area travelling without any additional cruisers or children, so I am going to be unable to answer anything related to children's activities! Day 1 Travel Day & Background This was our 10th or 11th cruise, have forgotten the exact number, and our 7th on Carnival. This was our first time on the Magic. My wife and I chose this cruise based on the itinerary and were not disappointed with our choice. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day early from the D.C. region and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express – Cruise/Air Port location on 17th street. We were able to find the hotel pick up area at the airport and were on our way to the hotel in less than 10 minutes. One note, the owner of this hotel has another hotel nearby (Four Points by Sheraton) and two vans, one for each hotel, so while the van might have the Holiday Inn Express logo and phone number on the side it won’t go to that hotel unless it is dedicated to it. We had issues with calling the hotel to get a pick up, kept getting disconnected, but the driver decided that he would take us anyways even though he was driving for the other hotel. The hotel has an old section and a new section, I strongly recommend getting in the new section as it was bright, modern, and where the pool and breakfast area were. The old section reminded me of a slasher movie setting and seemed really dated and somewhat gross. The hotel is great if you want to be able to walk to restaurants and a Publix grocery to pick-up last-minute items. Overall the hotel was good for the price. More coming later.......
  13. Just booked a cruise on the Magic for September 6-12 of next year going to Amber Cove, Grand Turk, and Half moon cay Bahamas. Anyone done this particular cruise (I’ve never been to any of these ports) and how do y’all like the Magic? I’ve previously been on the Dream (same class) in 2016, and the Conquest just a few weeks ago. we are on deck 2 ocean view. Curious about that as well cause I’ve never been below deck 6, I like being able to feel the ship rock, can you feel it that low? I’m so excited!!
  14. Last time I was on the Magic we docked at about 5am. Everything I got from Carnival is saying around 8am. Just trying to figure out the best time to grab a rental car and drive to Port Canaveral to jump on the breeze.
  15. I sailed with my family on the May 25th Magic cruise with stops in Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Aruba and Curacao. I am Diamond and my other family members are all Platinum. The ship sailed from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale)...we arrived at the terminal around 10:30 a.m., checked our luggage with the porters and walked right into the terminal. Our check-in took only a few minutes and we were directed to seating on the first level in an area reserved for Diamond, Platinum and FTTF cruisers. They were already boarding a wedding party and special needs cruisers. We sat down for about 5 minutes and then we were called and headed up to the second floor to another waiting area. When the Carnival employee said Diamond and Platinum could proceed upstairs, a group of FTTF cruisers started walking with us to the escalator and she requested that they sit down until they are called. So, apparently Carnival is trying to avoid any confusion regarding boarding procedures. We didn't even have time to sit down once upstairs and they called all Diamond and Platinum to board. From the time we entered the terminal until we stepped foot on the ship was maybe 20 minutes. I don't remember which terminal we were docked at but if that is important to anyone, I can find out. We proceeded to our staterooms and dropped off our carry-on bags then headed for a drink and lunch. We made our way to the Red Frog Pub for a 1/2 priced fishbowl drink but the bartender said they would only be available at Noon. The fish bowl drinks are $10, usually $20. We took the elevator up to the Lido buffet for lunch. Other venues open were Guy's Pig & Anchor, the Pasta Bar at Cucina del Capitano, Guy's Burger Joint, pizza, deli (good hot dogs), Blue Iguana Cantina, Seafood Shack and Mongolian Wok. After lunch, we headed back to the Red Frog Pub and ordered two fish bowls to share. I am a beer or Vodka martini drinker and don't like fruity drinks. i couldn't see the bartender when he made our drinks but the bowl was filled to the brim with ice and I couldn't taste alcohol because the fruity punch overpowered it, awful drink, hated it and not worth $10, don't know how many people pay $20 for those drinks, yuck. The desserts available at the Lido buffet are delicious, beautiful, multi-layer cakes. They had different cakes every day with beautiful mirror glazes, butter frosting, cream cheese frosting, whipped cream frosting, etc. They were a huge improvement over the nasty brownies, cake pops, etc., that were on previous ships. Please try the different cakes offered every day, they are wonderful. My favorites were carrot cake, raspberry champagne, and hummingbird cake. OMG, my mouth is watering just thinking about them. They don't have them at the buffet for dinner, just lunch time so if you are a cake lover, please try them. Now, the biggest disappointment for me on this cruise was NO BUTTER available anywhere and believe me, I searched. No butter at dinner in the Main Dining Room and no butter at the buffet. I had read that Carnival did away with those butter pats. The main dining room has one tiny square ceramic dish that holds maybe a tablespoon of what looked and tasted like colored whipped Crisco. It reminded me of the plastic bag of oleo with a yellow/red capsule in it that had to be massaged into the oleo to give it a hint of yellow and fool you into thinking it was butter that my mother brought home during the rationing of butter during World War II. Anyhow, the whipped Crisco was also available at the buffet in small crocks. There was a crock of knives next to the crock of whipped Crisco that you were supposed to use and then place your dirty knife in another crock. Do you think anyone followed this procedure? NOT. And, some people just grabbed the crock and put it on their table and dug into it and just left it on their table. People were milling around asking for the butter. Butter, what butter, there is no butter. The whipped Crisco was disgusting, I did not use it all week. I now know what I'm bringing on my next Carnival cruise, that's right, not Vodka or any other liquor, BUTTER. Also, there are no packets of white sugar (sugar was also rationed during World War II). Wait a minute, is it 1942 and I'm in a time warp? We found some mid-week at the buffet but the staff member said once they use up all the packets, white sugar will only be available in pour out containers. When we had coffee after dinner in the MDR, our assistant waiter had to run downstairs to the first floor of the dining room to get white sugar for our coffee. He brought about 2 tablespoons back in the tiniest container I have ever seen. Now that Carnival is doing away with those little wooden stirrers in the buffet, people will have to use their utensils or grab a soup spoon to stir their drinks. The Diamond/Platinum gift was a cheap looking lanyard (gave mine away). I wish Carnival would just do away with gifts or give their loyalty program members a choice, i.e., drink coupon, free bingo card, etc. We had a balcony stateroom on this cruise and noticed a lot of wear and tear and rust on the balcony. The in-room safes are PIN number accessible, you don't have to swipe a card with a magnetic stripe. You do need a card to put in the slot by the door to turn on the lights (I brought my Duffy's Restaurant loyalty card). We ate at the Steakhouse one night, didn't like the room configuration on this ship and the food and presentation was not as good as it was on the Conquest. We probably will not eat in the Steakhouse on our next cruise, takes too long, food was nothing special. We tried the pizza (good, fresh, crispy crust), Guy's Pig & Anchor (yuk), Guy's Burgers (greasy), Wok (o.k. but long wait), Deli (loved their hot dogs with sauerkraut and chili), Main Dining Room (food was just o.k.), Blue Iguana Cantina (good). The casino smelled rancid with smoke even when no one was there in the early morning, yuck. The Sea Monkeys band played in Ocean Plaza and they were good. They had three women violinists play in the Atrium almost every day and they were very good but got boring after the second day. We went to the Rock show in the main show lounge, yawn. I won a Ship on a Stick at trivia (it pays to be old and accumulate all this random info in your brain that you'll never use except during trivia on Carnival, ha!). We never made it to the Comedy Club or piano bar. My daughter and grandson watched a couple of movies at the Dive-In movies on the Lido deck. The Ocean Plaza was a great place to sit at night, always good music. Also, in the morning, they had a small breakfast buffet set up at Ocean Plaza between the Alchemy Bar and Plaza Cafe where they had coffee, pastries, bagels, scrambled eggs, etc. The aft area on Deck 11 was very nice and we always found chairs back there. This ship has lots of areas with chairs in the sun and shade but everyone crowds around the pool. Our Cruise Director, Simon London, was great, he was everywhere, dancing, talking to people, etc. In Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay, we found some loungers and just enjoyed the beautiful water. In Aruba, we took a taxi to Palm Beach and found chairs and umbrellas to rent near the DePalm pier so we would be close to food, beverages and restrooms. It was a beautiful, clean, beach. The food and drinks were very good. We would definitely go back here again. We had a long day in Aruba so after dinner and a shower, we made our way off and walked around the stores. In Curacao, we booked a snorkel tour through Carnival. The Captain took us to a quiet cove where the water was calm and provided snorkel equipment to everyone. You could jump off the side of the boat or go down the ladder into the water. The deck hand cooked hamburgers on a grill in the back of the boat and complimentary rum punch on the way back to the ship, rum and cokes for me. It was a beautiful excursion and well worth the $49/person. We went back to the ship, showered and walked to the RIF Fort and had a sundae at the ice cream store. Overall, we had a great cruise, good weather and loved the Magic. Debarkation seemed to run very smoothly, we walked off the ship around 8:30 a.m., found our luggage and went through the serpentine line to the exit. The line kept moving and it was a fairly quick process. We have already booked another cruise next year on the Magic and looking forward to sailing on her again, 319 days and counting!!! I'll be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.
  16. I know there's no Bonsai Sushi or Bonsai Sushi Express on the Magic. Can anyone verify if there is any location on the Magic to obtain/purchase sushi? Do they possibly carry it in the Lido? Thanks for any insight.
  17. I am curious about the aft facing cabins on the Magic. For those in the know, are they all the same width and length (not the wrap arounds). If not, which is best in your opinion? Thanks!
  18. What is the Sushi setup on Carnival Magic? I read a blog post from June saying Sushi was FREE? That doesn't sound right to me. Do they have a dedicated sushi bar or is it a cart setup at certain times? Does anyone have a menu?
  19. This is my first post. I have been using this site for years to do research and it’s much appreciated. Here’s my two cents on my most recent cruise. We chose this cruise for our ten year anniversary trip. We liked the itinerary and the six days worked well for our schedule. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day prior and stayed at the Renaissance Hotel. We have stayed here before cruises in the past. It’s a nice clean hotel and is right at the entrance to the port so it’s a very short taxi ride. We left the hotel around noon and were on the ship within about 30 minutes. Smooth embarkation. We are not the type to be the first people on board the ship and I think this helps as we have not waited in lines for the last several cruises. Half Moon Cay was our favorite stop. We slept in and hopped on a tender after the crowds died down. This beach is beautiful. We found two chairs pretty easily and spent a few hours in the water. The water is crystal clear and the beach is some of the nicest sand you will find. Carnival has done a great job with this island. The one big complaint is getting back on the ship. We went back to the tender about an hour and a half before the all aboard time and found an extremely long line. We waited in line for well over an hour before getting onto a tender. I know there’s only so many tenders, but standing in the blaring sun for that long is a real downer after a great day. Carnival needs to at least put up some shades along the long path people line up on. Next stop was Amber Cove. We booked the Terracross Off-road Adventure through Carnival. Melvin our tour guide did a great job and this was an enjoyable excursion. We are experienced off-roaders and I will admit there was times it was a little annoying when stuck behind a first timer. But I knew that from reading the reviews. I give this excursion 4 out of 5 stars. One thing to note at this stop is that it didn’t seem like there was anything to walk to other than the typical cruise shops. Last port was Grand Turk. We had been to this port once in the past and was aware of the decent beach and areas right off the ship. We booked a cabana through Carnival at the Margaritaville pool. This was a nice relaxing day. The cabana was nice with cold A/C and a comfortable couch. Service was good and the food and drinks were just ok. Typical of these type of places. We had late dining, which we prefer. The only issue is that you miss most of the shows. We don’t mind as we don’t really care to go to them anyway. Our waiters were the best we’ve ever had. We absolutely loved the layout of this ship and what it had to offer. By far our favorite yet. We spent a lot of time on deck 5 and found ourselves in the Redfrog Pub often. Naomi is an amazing acoustic performer, and she is often in there performing. This cruise had an interesting crowd for some reason. We have been on several Carnival cruises and expect to see all different classes on board. This cruise was particularly low. I can’t quite figure it out. I know Carnival has no control over who pays to take their cruises. There was several occasions where my time was disturbed by disrespectful people. There was a very loud cabin above us. It sounded like they were letting their kid jump off the bed repeatedly. A couple nights this continued after midnight. Then there was a cabin two doors down from us. They partied in their cabin with loud music and numerous people several nights. I’ve never understood partying in a small balcony cabin. There is so many places on a ship that you could have completely to yourself if that’s what you’re looking for. I saw security there at least once, and that was nice to see actually. I have also never smelled so much marijuana on a cruise. We have smelled it on probably every cruise we have ever taken, but this seemed to be everywhere. Then there was the announcements. We love to sleep in on our cruises. Especially when we get the chance to leave our son at home. I don’t think sleeping until 10am is unreasonable on a vacation. For some reason the cruise director, Simon, loved to make announcements at 9am. Although they are in the hallway, they are impossible to sleep through. Carnival loves using their loudspeakers. It’s often to tell you something that 90% of the cruisers don’t care about. On night 3 or 4 we were woken by two announcements about ten minutes apart over the loudspeakers in the hallway at 4am. They were announcing a persons name and asking he call guest services. Then about fifteen minutes later they did it again two more times. This time they blasted it through the speakers in every room in the ship. I can only imagine these poor people that had kids sleeping. I understand someone was probably worried about someone, but come on Carnival. This is unacceptable. We all know the guy is passed out drunk somewhere or is in someone else’s room having fun. There was no reason for this. Overall all, I had some serious disappointments with this trip but we still had a great time. This was our 10th cruise. 8 on Carnival, 2 on Princess. We are at a point that we intend on cruising twice a year, as we did this year. Unfortunately, I need a break from Carnival. I was really looking forward to getting that platinum status in the next few years. I’m afraid my wife is set on being religious Princess cruisers after this. We shall see, perhaps we return down the road
  20. I will be taking a 6 night cruise in February and have never sailed from Port Everglades. The itinerary shows the ship returns at 8 am. I am looking at a 12:00 flight. DOes anyone know if the ship usually does get in at or before 8? Or what time you usually can be off the ship?
  21. We just got off of our first Carnival Cruise. We loved it! We had a cove. I am now attempting to book a cove and an interior next to it. The only options are rooms #2354 & 2348. Both are under the galley and the reviews for the rooms next to them are horrible. Has anyone stayed in these rooms or have tips for dealing with the galley noise? I feel like I am crazy for spending $3000 on a vacation where I may not get to sleep. I really want to stay on 2 but I need my room to be across from my kids and this is the only option.
  22. I am looking at a cruise for March 2019, and I have decided on an Eastern Caribbean to Amber Cove, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk. The itineraries are both the same, with the Breeze leaving on Saturday from Port Canaveral, and Magic leaving on Sunday from Miami. Total difference between the two cruises is $260 (including airfare). What would you do?
  23. We are a family of four (myself, DW, DD, DD) and we were on the Magic from Apr 28 to May 5. The ship stopped in Cayman, Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. This was my 3rd cruise and the 2nd cruise for the rest of the family. We sailed to Bermuda on the Horizon last August. We are also from Canada and drove to Miami. (NOTE: The Magic has moved to Ft. Lauderdale.) Travel Days - We have driven from our home in Hamilton to Orlando a few times so we have a routine. We deviated this time though as we usually leave at 5AM, but we decided to take 2 nights to get there and so we left after work at 5PM. - We took the I79 route and made it past Pittsburgh on Day 1. We stayed at a very nice Cambria Hotel in Washington, PA off the interstate on Night 1. - On Day 2 we drove to St. Augustine and stayed Night 2 just off the interstate at a Comfort Inn. This gave us a very manageable drive into Miami. The hotel is decent. The entrance is hidden; you have to drive between the Chevron and Shell gas stations and the hotel in behind the Shell. - We arrived in Miami around lunch time and as our hotel had a 4PM check-in we went straight to South Beach and walked around. We stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn by the airport for Night 3. On the flight path but still quiet, except for the pool area. Embarkation - We had a 12:30 checkin time and we arrived at the Port at 11:30. I always assume that it takes an hour to park, remove baggage, etc... Carnival in Miami has 2 terminals and we were directed by overhead signs to Terminal E. We were parking at the Terminal as it seemed that the hotel packages were for 7nights and 2 people and so I figured our 8 nights and 4 people no longer made them worth the hassle of transferring. The signs will direct you to the right - DO NOT STAY RIGHT. These point to the Terminal and the parking is across the road on the LEFT. Traffic will be very heavy and you will have difficulty moving to the correct lane. - We dropped our bags curbside and got in line. The line looked long but we were through security in less than 20 minutes. Our boarding zone was already called when we got to the lounge and we walked right on. Cruising - The Magic has a very nice Atrium extending from deck 3 to deck 11. Despite this we noticed that the area was not very popular during the cruise. So if you want to chill and listen to some live music this is the place to go first. - We went up to deck 10 and found a table in the shade by the Blue Iguana. The Magic has a very similar layout to the Horizon and so we felt like experts. We ate a leisurely lunch had the first of 5000 ice cream cones and then it was after 1:30 and our room was ready. - Everything was going great up to this point - here we encountered our first (of 2) hiccup. We had been assigned late dining. I had chosen Anytime Dining as we had last year. We found this worked well for us. After waiting in line at Guest Services for a short while (they had a team member walking the line) I was informed that what I chosen was a 'preference' and that only the Matre D could adjust. This took some effort as the Maitre D is not easy to reach. They tried to move us to earlier seating but with a group of other people. In the end we decided we preferred our own table over early seating. Note to self: Book a little earlier next time. - The Dining room food was very good, I would say and our servers were very pleasant and remembered what we liked so we had extra servings the next time they appeared on the menu. "Showtime" was very fun - the nightly singing and dancing routine the servers do. TIP: Bring an envelope or a card/envelope to tip the waiters - a lot more classy than handing them cash. - The buffet was also good with a good variety. Lines are common but with close to 5000 people on board waiting 20 minutes for Mongolian Wok is expected. We are bothered by how much food is wasted in the buffet area though. - Pizza, Guys Burgers, Blue Iguana were all great as usual. I tried Pig An Anchor - really tasty, but ask for several items as the portions are small. - The 4 Promenade hot tubs (not that hot) were better than the Havana tubs (which we only had access to at night) on the Horizon. We hung out at the Tides pool most of the time as we like watching the wake. - Water slides are fun. We somehow missed the ropes course - again. Mini-put is fun but the ship movement makes it interesting at times. - Entertainment was fun and worth the 30 minutes or so that each show lasts. We never had to worry about a seat. That could because we went early as we had late dining? Ports - Cayman was great. We rented a car as my wife lived here for a few years. We toured around and went to the Turtle Farm. The Turtle Farm is a unique place as you can pick up the turtles. It only takes about 20 minutes to get there and the park I can be walked around in 45 minutes. My wife showed us her apartment which was a 5 minute walk from Smith's Cove. (tough childhood. lol). Tendering was quick. There were 3 ships in port but we arrived first and 6 tenders were queued up. Note: you can pick up your tender pass anytime and you can specify your time - you don't need to be ready to leave. There was a bit of a line in the hot sun to get back to the ship. Shopping is right outside the area where the tenders dock. - We went to beach near the pier in Roatan for the morning. The Breeze was also in port and they arrived first. We didn't get a lounge or chair even though there are hundreds as the beach was crowded. We brought a beach blanket with us and we just found a spot in front of the chairs. The beach is so so and the water is relatively clear. There are areas with heavy seaweed. We stayed a few hours and then went back for lunch. Port side docked so we watched the 'runners'. 🙂 - We took an excursion to Altun-ha which was discovered by a Canadian. Belize is a Commonwealth country and the people there are familiar with Canada. Our tour guide 's son is in school in Canada. The drive was rustic but similar to other rural impoverished countries such as Mexico. The ruins are interesting but other than photos and climbing you will not experience much else. - Cozumel was the highlight of the trip. We arranged a snorkelling trip here. We started with El Cielo which is the starfish sanctuary. Then we went to Columbia reef. This reef is not to be missed as you drift along it with the current. Schools of fish will swim around you. We saw Barracuda, 2 Turtles, sting rays, Conch shells and much more. We also went to Palancar which deeper and has more coral, but less fish. Disembarkation - We chose to carry all of our luggage and we went up to the Lido buffet to eat breakfast until our deck was called. Just before that we decided to move to deck 5 around the Atrium with the theory that we could just take stairs or take advantage of the additional elevators in tat area. This didn't work very well as even after our floor was called we discovered that the stairs were blocked and he elevators went by full. So we went UP in order to go down to deck 3. - After we left the ship was when we hit our 2nd hiccup. This was not a good way to end a near perfect experience. We docked at Terminal D. Perhaps because the ship was moving to Ft. Lauderdale? We had parked at Terminal E, remember. We had to traverse open road to get to a sidewalk and the walk was quite tiring given we had all of luggage. - We also took some time to realize that the parking kiosk at Terminal E does not work. Luckily there was an attendant at the exit. And we were on our way home. Travel - We took I75 home. I'll keep this short. Do NOT take this route this summer (or maybe not ever). Construction all throughout. Crossing in Windsor drops you on a Boulevard instead of a highway. A 3 lane Boulevard down to 1 lane. Stretches of the 401 between Chatham and London are down to 1 lane as well.
  24. This is my CONDENSED 8 day review for an 8 day voyage on the Carnival Magic to Aruba, Curaçao, Half Moon Cay & Grand Turk. The voyage was on May 25th from Port Everglades. It's condensed for Cruise Critic for your viewing pleasure. To read the full review complete with menus, Fun Times and more pictures, it's posted on my blog at https://www.love2cruise.org/2019-raleigh/ which begins with day 1, pre-cruise. Background I booked this cruise back on January 29th, 2018. Carnival was having a $50 deposit + $100 on-board credit then and this itinerary was very appealing to us, so I jumped on it. We've been on the Magic before and really enjoyed it. The Dream Class ships are my favorite. We also enjoy sailing from Port Everglades. It's always been the easiest and most efficiently ran port for us, every time we sailed from there. We booked the cruise directly through Carnival as I run far away from travel agents. Once we booked the cruise, it was time to sit back and wait 481 days. Time would go by fast though since we had 2 sailings booked between then and this one. We're a family of 4, I am in my upper 30's and my wife is in her lower 30's. We have 2 boys ages 15 & 7, who love to cruise as well. We never exclude them from any vacation we take except our anniversary trips. They always sail with us. We live in Virginia but literally at the North Carolina state line. I'm 20 minutes from NC. The lead-up Leading up to this cruise, we had 2 other sailings as I mentioned so it helped pass the time. For this cruise we decided to get a villa in Half Moon Cay. We always get a cabana but some friends we met on a previous voyage usually sail with us so we split the villa with them. The cost for the villa was $499.99. I was able to purchase this the day it went on sale, May 12th 2018 which was a little over a year from our sailing. We have 1 more sailing before we're platinum, so we always buy Faster To The Fun, which was no different this time. We purchased it the day it went on sale, July 16th 2018 at $99.95. I also paid the entire cruise fare with gift cards from Allstate & AARP, which saved $367.00 just on the cruise fare alone, not to mention the other $200 it saved me on gift cards I bought for on-board spending, taking my total savings to $567. Pre-cruise We always like to start our vacations a little early and make the most of them. So on Tuesday, May 21st it was time to leave. On Monday, May 20th it was time to pack and do last minute things around the house such as mow, wash the vehicles, etc. On Tuesday, I woke up, changed the sheets on the bed, took care of all of the last minute things around the house, and went and picked up my boys from school. It was time to head to Raleigh. We go to Raleigh the day before our flight and get a hotel. That way we don't have any issues the following morning for our flights. We booked the Holiday Inn Express on Miami Blvd in Durham through parksleepfly.com at $174.12. This was for 2 queen beds, and allowed us to keep our vehicle there the duration of the trip. This killed me because it was queen beds. That's just a tiny bed for 2 people, in my opinion. I don't know how people do it. Anyway. Our day in Raleigh was fun. We never shop in stores for any reason. All clothes, electronics, groceries, etc comes from online exclusively. So since we had a day to kill, we went to the mall in Raleigh where my son wanted to buy some Air Pods since our dog chewed his first 2 pair up. After that, he wanted to go in Hollister to buy some clothes. After we were done there, we went to eat at Carolina Ale House which was good. After that, we went back to our hotel since we had an early flight the next day. Wednesday, May 22nd we woke up about 4:15am and got ready to catch our 5am shuttle. We got on the shuttle promptly, and off to Raleigh-Durham International Airport we went. We arrived at RDU about 10-15 minutes later where our driver would drop us off at our terminal. We dropped our luggage with the skycap which we always do, and up to TSA we went. Security was a breeze, we went to buy drinks for the flight, and then to our terminal. We were at our terminal by 6am sitting down, waiting to board at 6:30 for our 7am flight. We boarded our flight and off to Ft. Lauderdale we went. The flight was right at 2hrs with no issues. I had downloaded some Netflix movies to watch during the downtime on the flight(s). Once we landed at FLL, we went downstairs to the baggage claim to grab our bags. We grabbed our bags, headed out the door and turned right and walked to the end of the walkway to catch an Uber. Once we got stopped where we needed to be, I ordered our Uber. It took all of 3 minutes for Francisco to arrive in his UberXL. He loaded up our bags in his SUV and off to the beach we went. We had rented a room at the Marriott Beachplace Towers, through Airbnb. We try to use Airbnb or VRBO whenever we travel. I've used Airbnb in Miami & Ft. Lauderdale probably 50 times and loved every single time. This time was no different. Last year our Airbnb was in the Galt Ocean Mile area but we spent most of our time in in the Beach Place area. So we knew exactly where we wanted to be. When we do not stay in an Airbnb, I prefer Marriott properties, or Hilton as a second option. This resort was really nice. They had a game room, a spa, a gym, restaurant, daily activities, free laundry, free wifi, and a ton of other amenities. It's also in the PERFECT location. It's right on the beach, there's a CVS downstairs, some shops, several restaurants and other activities. Our Uber dropped us off at the Marriott which I knew we were too early to check in. We dropped our luggage off there though, and went to get some lunch.We decided to walk up to Primanti Brothers to get some pizza. We hadn't eaten at all by this point, and I chose Primanti Bros. because they also have breakfast. I like Primanti Bros because they're open 24/7 and right on the beach. They have always had good food whenever we went. We had a little time to kill before our room was ready, so we took our time eating our lunch here, just watching the people. Once we were done, we went into the few shops around Primanti Bros, then decided to head back to the resort. When we were done, I called for Circuit to come pick us up. Circuit is formerly known as The Free Ride. This is a 6 seater golf cart (several of them in the company) that is around Ft. Lauderdale beach that will pick you up and take you anywhere you want to go, for free. Plus tip, of course. It's funded by advertising on the carts. Anyway, Circuit arrived in 10 minutes and took us back to the Marriott. I tipped him $5 for the short trip. When we got back to the resort, we just hung out around the resort, took naps, etc. Once we woke up, my oldest and I went down to grab some scooters to ride. Around Ft. Lauderdale they have electric scooters EVERYWHERE that you can ride. It's $1 to get started then $0.15 per minute to ride. Him and I both got a scooter and off we went. We rode up and down A1A from Galt Ocean all the way down to Ft. Lauderdale Beach Park. It was $11.75 for the 2 scooters for us to ride a long time. My wife had taken my youngest to the game room at the Marriott to play while we were out. Once we were done riding, I sent Circuit a text to come to Beach Place and pick us up and take us to Publix so I could get some drinks, snacks for our stay, and wine for the cruise. Our driver was there promptly, and to Publix we went. We got stocked up with a ton of chips, snacks, sodas, and wine. Then I sent Circuit a text to come pick us up. He was there promptly to take us back to the resort. We took everything to the room, then decided it was dinner time. When we go to Ft. Lauderdale, Lulu's Bait Shack is our favorite place to eat. We love the view, the atmosphere, the food, it's just a great place. The service has started to slack some but we don't care since we're in no rush. After dinner, we just hung out and watched tv in the room. We were tired since we had been up so early. (On days we don't work or go to school, nobody in my house is up before 10am, so 4am was super early for us) Thursday, May 23rd We woke up around 9am and were ready for breakfast. We walked a block down the road to Boccacino Cafe & Pizzeria where we'd get our breakfast. This is right at Las Olas Blvd & A1A and I highly recommend it! My wife and I both ordered eggs, bacon, fried potatoes and fruit. My youngest ordered strawberry french toast which he ate all of. He must have been starving! It was $75 for the 4 of us which was worth every penny. After we finished breakfast, we walked around the corner to Nanou French Bakery & Cafe. My wife loves this place and has to go there whenever we're in the are. This is at the end of Las Olas, right near A1A (where all of the construction is currently taking place). They are an authentic French bakery. I bought some eclairs from there, and my wife bought $50 worth of macaroons. She loves them! From there, we went back to the resort, where my wife and youngest would have a repeat of yesterday in the game room. My oldest and I would repeat as well, riding scooters all day. Once we were all done, we met at Haagen-Daaz which is at Beach Place where the resort is. It was $35 for 4 smoothies and man they were delicious. We sat out in the Beach Place courtyard and drank our smoothies. We took naps afterward and just hung out. Finally at dinner time, we walked downstairs to Lulu's Bait Shack to eat dinner. After we were done at Lulu's, we wanted to do something fun. There's an Escapeology escape room there at Beach Place so we decided to do that. We wanted to do the easiest room, which is "Antidote". It was $125 for the hour. It was a lot of fun, and we did not escape. It was fun though and worth the money. I highly recommend Escapeology. Once we were done with the escape room, we went to "Wave" which is a beach store. We bought some stuff here, then went to our room where we'd take shower and hit the hay for the night. This week is FLYING by. Tomorrow is our last day in Ft. Lauderdale. 😞 Friday, May 24th We woke up, and went back to Boccacino Cafe & Pizzeria. We had the same waitress, ordered the same food, and it was just as delicious. After we left breakfast, we rode scooters for a little bit along the beach. Finally we were ready to go do....something. We didn't know what. So I sent Circuit a text to come pick us up. They did and I had them take us to Galleria Mall. It's a very small mall with a very weird layout. We didn't shop much here, just went into Godiva Chocolate to get some diabeetus. After we were done at the mall, I sent Circuit a text to come pick us up. They did and we went back to the resort. We just spent the day hanging out around the resort, the beach and riding scooters some more. It's just a great area and we love it. We did go down to Maui Nix Surf Shop which is downstairs there at Beach Place where we'd buy a bunch more stuff. Once we finished there, we went back to Escapeology where we'd do another escape room. We did "Th3 C0d3" this time, which is a mid-level difficulty escape room. We beat it! We escaped. After we did the escape room, we went over to Lulu's Bait Shack where we'd have our dinner then just call it an early evening. I went to catch up all of our laundry, and spent the night watching baseball. We were sad this was our last night in Ft. Lauderdale, but tomorrow is our cruise! Now, speaking of baseball, the Super Regionals of the College World Series is about to come on in 10 minutes (as I am typing this) so I am going to watch my Tar Heels play against Auburn in a rubber match to see who advances to the CWS in Omaha. I'll be back later today to continue the review, which will begin with Saturday, embarkation day. 🙂 -stay tuned, more to come.
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