Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Do You Believe in Magic... Galveston

Galveston... A ROUGH Start
Sunday, June 14, 2015

In June 2015 Chris and I took a Western Caribbean Cruise aboard the Carnival Magic sailing out of Galveston, TX. This beautiful floating resort took us to the following destinations: 

Montego Bay, Jamaica 
Georgetown, Grand Cayman
Cozumel, Mexico 

Our home away from home for the next 7 days! 

Chris and I have been on 4 other cruises prior to this one; 2 with Carnival and 2 with Royal Caribbean. This cruise was all about "Having Fun" and playing like a kid!  This will be a multiple entry blog about not only our 7 days at sea but a food blog (Revamped style) from each of our perspectives, an updated Shore Excursion rating blog, a pictorial review of The Carnival Magic and a few more. Thank you SO MUCH to all my followers... without you the blog would not be as popular as it is today! Be sure to stay tuned as the posts come through over the next few days and weeks. 

 The day for which we had been counting down for the past 9 months had finally arrived and we were ready... Or so we thought (More on that below). We woke up early and got on the road by 7am. We had already dropped the kids off with Chris's parents the night before so we felt confident in getting everything accomplished and checking things off our packing or to-do lists. "Our kids and dogs are taken care of and we have underwear so we are good to go", Chris says as we pull away from the house and I have a gut feeling we forgot something. BOTH of us checked the back of the car one more time and then off we went.

We made it down to Galveston, after a brief stop at Buc-cee's, of course, and were parking at Cruise Park by 9AM. If you ever sail out of Galveston use Cruise Park and their services! They are only $45 FOR THE WEEK and she is a good Christian woman who is so nice and helpful. We got our luggage and made it to the terminal and dropped off our checked luggage. I looked at the luggage and felt odd but could not put my finger on it.

Chris and I on the golf cart at Cruise Park and on our way to the terminal. 

Chris and I paid for the Faster to the Fun (FTTF) service offered by Carnival which allowed us to be priority guests on this sailing. This really paid off as we pushed through all of the initial lines at the terminal including luggage drop-off, check-in and more. We made it to the check-in counter at 9:40AM and were literally the very first ones to check-in for The Magic.

We are all checked in and ready to go!

As the time passed the terminal began to get crowded with guests, especially those with FTTF. This was supposed to be a select and small group of people (Usually 15-20 cabins total) but it turns out that Carnival increased the price of this service and it still did not deter people from purchasing so there were well over 250 people using this service. Around 11:15AM they made the announcement for FTTF to begin boarding. This is when we realized just exactly how many people had the same service we paid for and thought was more exclusive. We heard the AWESOME first "DING" at 11:25AM and were in our room dropping off our luggage in our stateroom, which was clean and ready to go, (a FTTF perk) at 11:35AM! Despite being 2 out of 200 instead of 2 out of the expected 50, Faster to the Fun was still worth the $60/ cabin we paid! Definitely look into it if you plan on sailing on Carnival in the near future!

As we entered the room and began taking pictures/ videos and dropping off our luggage I opened one of the 3 closets and noticed how much space was in the hanging area. As I opened my mouth to say "Wow, honey look at all that space" I realized that we left the garment/ formal bag at home. Immediately I am going crazy thinking about how ALL of Chris's formal attire, khaki pants, dress shirts and shoes and 2 of my formal dresses were in that bag. We also forgot our Plexus bag with all of our Plexus supplies and vitamins! I panicked for quite some time before just telling myself to relax and not let it ruin my cruise. I tried really hard but obstacles kept being thrown in our way.

The 1st picture from our cove balcony!

It is going to be a great cruise!

We went to lunch in the Lido Marketplace (Buffet) at the Mongolian Wok to help take our minds off this dilemma. This was a place that received HIGH reviews by cruisers but a tip was given to get there early or on embarkation day! We loved this area of the buffet and would highly recommend it to anyone sailing on The Magic. While eating lunch I noticed someone who I thought I knew and sure enough there was Mr. Copeland, a high school teacher of mine. He and my dad go way back too. It was neat, and weird at times, to see a familiar face while on the high seas.

By this time it was about 12:15PM and the ship was starting to get full and noticeably more crowded. We headed back to the room to get my sunglasses before heading to the SkyCourse, the on-board ropes course. We have learned from sailing on larger ships that these types of activities get incredibly busy later on embarkation day and even worse throughout the week so we knew we had to enjoy it while we could. We went through the ropes course's 10 traverses in the high winds of Galveston 3 times before other kids and people started to join us. Overall we each went through the entire course, all difficulty levels included, 4 times before we decided to take a break and cool off.

Chris easily maneuvered through the traverses on his first try!

I took the easy levels for the most part on this day! It wasn't until later in the week I branched out and tried the hard levels!

Chris showing off his skills at the Pull-up bar!

Chris and I both LOVED the SkyCourse!
We went and took a tour of the spa and it was GORGEOUS! If we had an additional $300 to place down for all of it's add-on amenities we would have but it just seemed too high a price to pay for services that should be included. We also went and toured most of the rest of the ship, including Red Frog Pub and the Lanai deck. 

Sitting on the Lanai deck outside of the Red Frog Pub! 

They had awesome gliders you could sit and eat your food at! We loved them... Unfortunately, one of the two broke mid-cruise!

Red Frog Pub... Lots of fun!

Touring the spa... Oh, I could get use to this! 

We went back to the room to prepare for the Muster Station meeting and noticed our balcony door was locked and blocked off by a massive steel door. We tried to ask our room steward and she just mentioned "You should be getting a letter explaining it all soon". I went into full red-head mode and was really upset but I HAD to go to that Muster Station meeting so I could not go to Guest Services and get a firm answer as to why our balcony door was shut at this time. I stewed and stewed for a while, all while raising my blood pressure when I was supposed to be on vacation. I paid for that balcony and despite the weather, which was sunny and 90* at the time, I wanted to enjoy all of the balcony benefits. One of our FAVORITE things to do on a cruise is watch the sail-away from our own balcony. Since we had a Cove Balcony which is just 15 feet above the water surface the impending weather (we didn't know it at the time but it was Tropical Storm Bill brewing in the Gulf) meant we were not allowed on our balcony due to high waves.

The Captain came on the intercom around 4:15PM and explained that the upcoming storm and explained that we would have to change the course and path of our cruise by running the itinerary in reverse. We would now have 2 sea days at the beginning, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and then Cozumel, followed by a final sea day. This was disappointing as we really like having 1 sea day at the beginning and having Jamaica, a very busy and heavy day at the END of the cruise, but there was nothing we could do about it so we just kept moving forward. We started off the cruise with some song trivia and scored 11/15. This coincided with the Taste Bar, featuring The Prime Steakhouse, which would become a nightly tradition.  Be sure to check this out if you sail on any Carnival Dream class ships! We loved tasting the other options the ship offered! This was a small portion of food featured at a restaurant on the ship.

Items from the Taste Bar... Check it out! It is YUMMY!

 We went to dinner, Chris dressed in jean shorts, flip-flops and an LSU T-shirt and all, and tried to take our minds off of it. The Magic Main Dining Room did not disappoint and we were reminded of how much we like the Carnival food more than the Royal Caribbean food. Immediately following dinner we went to the Spotlight Lounge for the Welcome Aboard show. This was not as impressive as what we have seen on previous cruises but we could tell that the Magic Singers and Dancers were a step above what we have seen on the Royal Caribbean ships.

Only a picture of me since well, Chris was not dressed up! 

At the end of the Welcome Aboard show one of the singers came and sang a song for Flag Day. Oddly, enough it was "Amazing Grace", of which I sang at my Grandma Pat's funeral just 2 weeks earlier. It hit hard at first but during the 2nd and 3rd verse I could hear my Grandma saying "Oh Kellie, just relax and have fun. That's all you can do". She was a worrier just like me, that is where I get it I am sure, but she would always say when it is out of your control just trust God and move on. In that moment I knew that is what I had to do.

Chris and I went and changed and went to the Serenity Adults Only area on the 12th deck. This was something we had been looking forward to since booking this cruise but sure enough, it was closed and the deck chairs were put up due to the high winds and pending storm. Good grief... Are you kidding me? We got into the hot-tub and got splashed in the face with the waves from the wind for nearly an hour before a by-stander noticed a random flip-flop. Yep... It was mine and the other one was lost. I spent about 30 minutes looking for it before just giving up and sitting on the deck floor just about to cry from all the obstacles being thrown at us. I kept hearing Grandma Pat "Just relax, it is out of your control". I did finally relax and sang "Let it go" in my head before getting back in the hot-tub and finishing the evening. As we got out of the hot-tub to go to the Dive-In movie we saw a random black flip-flop at the entrance of the deck nearly 100 feet from the hot-tub... That is how crazy the winds were.

We went to the Dive-In movie and watched Ben Stiller in A Night at the Museum The Secret of the Tomb. This was an awesome experience and we had a great time. These Dive- In movies were offered every night of the cruise and were a real "get away" from the booming night life on the cruise and we just loved! Be sure to check out the Family Night options, especially for kids! Unfortunately, we both fell asleep towards the end of the movie but we still enjoyed it. We went back to the room just shy of midnight and tried to get some rest.

Our first towel animal of the cruise! Love these things! 

The seas were rough and choppy and we were definitely on the tail end of a storm. Through the entire night we could feel the boat swaying and moving from side to side. So much that at one point in the night I fell off the bed! The lifeboats, which were right outside and above us, were swaying so much they were hitting the side of the ship! All of this combined made for a very long and tiring night. Eventually, I moved to the couch to help make the swaying front-back instead of side-side! It was also VERY hot in our room. The AC was on and down all the way plus our balcony door was shut, obviously, but still it was hot and stuffy! Be sure to bring a fan with you on the Magic as I have read NUMEROUS reviews about the AC not working well throughout the entire ship! I did not listen and did not bring a fan but luckily was able to get one from my room steward. Actually, it was her own personal fan from her room!

It was a ROUGH start and we pretty much struck out but despite all of that, I was determined to have a GREAT vacation! Here's to day 2!

Next Up... Sea Day #1!

God is good... ALL the time! 


  1. I'm thinking we definitely need to go on a cruise in my family and when the times comes, I'm totally coming to you!!!!

  2. I would LOVE to help! Just be forewarned... It is addicting!