Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Do You Believe in Magic... Disembarkation and Final Review

Back to Life... Back to Reality 
Sunday, June 21, 2015 

The sun started to creep in through the curtains and I looked out and saw nasty brown water and knew it was all over!  We were still several miles out of Galveston and we could barely see land. We showered and got ready and did our final packing before heading down to the Lido for the omelet station breakfast while we watched us pull into Galveston. It was nice to see the landmarks we know so well go from a dot on the horizon to a full blown 12 story hotel and see our favorite beaches as we sailed by.

This was taken at 6:25AM... Welcome back to Texas!

6:53AM- Hello Galveston! 

We finally got parked and docked around 7:15AM and we then headed down to the Spotlight Lounge where the FTTF Self-Assist guests were meeting. Self-Assist means the guests carry ALL of the luggage off the ship themselves. Chris and I have been doing this option for the past 4 cruises and despite having multiple bags and suitcases, it works well for us. We got to the meeting location around 7:30AM and were told to pick up our bags and carry them over the isles and benches as many guests were using the Self-Assist and FTTF options. This was annoying as we were early to the meeting place and still have to pick up our massively heavy bags over several rows of seats. 

By 7:53AM the ship had been cleared by customs and we were allowed to leave. We each carried our bags over the same several rows and were off the ship and in the customs line by 8:05AM. It is always a little sad to hear that final "DING" but having 3 more cruises already booked took the sting away a little. Just 150 days until the next first "DING" and I cannot wait as this will be the first cruise with the kids! 

We were in the car and on I-45 by 8:15AM and calling our kids and parents. We made it back to our house in The Woodlands, TX by 9:45AM and started the long unpacking and laundry process. This was an amazing cruise and full of wonderful and hysterical memories and we are so grateful to both of our sets of our parents for taking care of our kids and for once again allowing Chris and I to have a wonderful week on the high seas! 

The Magic was a wonderful ship and perhaps the most FUN ship we have been on! I am still on the fence as far as "THE BEST" ship I have been on as I really like the Navigator of the Seas; however, I personally think this is BY FAR the best ship we have been on for kids and the most FUN ship ever! We hope to be sailing on her sister ship, The Carnival Breeze, in the summer of 2017 with the kids!

The Magic has so much to offer and we would give it at least 4.5 stars out of 5! Anyone who has kids or wants to be a kid again should board this ship and set sail for the high seas! Here is a final recap of the major attractions found on the Magic: 

Carnival's Faster to the Fun Priority Excursion
This is a $60 per cabin excursion that is booked through the home port and allows the guests in that cabin priority boarding on embarkation and disembarkation day, priority tendering in tendered ports (Grand Cayman and Belize), a separate line at Guest Services, and most importantly your cabin will be ready with your luggage waiting when you step on board, which is usually before NOON! They only offer about 20-30 of these per cruise so be sure to book it early and even if it says it is sold out... keep checking! I checked 5-10 daily for months before booking it for the Magic about 2 months prior to embarkation day! This cruise seemed to have well over the usual 20-30 cabins as nearly 200 people had this priority on our most recent Magic cruise. I will still pay the $60 because I like the amenities BUT the feeling of specialty or "one of a kind" type of feeling is long gone with that many people! 

Cove Balcony 
Wow... this was incredible. Just 15 feet from the water was so invigorating and awesome. The width of the balcony seemed a tiny bit smaller but still got the same effect. Because of the nature of the cove there was not a glass window underneath the railing which allowed for more comfortable lounging space and viewing space. There were a few "holes" in the bottom area of the viewing area which might hinder me from having a cove balcony while sailing with my kids but our neighbors had 2 kids under the age of 6 in their room and they made it out alive so... it's your call! 

Our Cove Balcony- Cabin 2334

The decor was a beachy or ocean themed and it fit very well! I loved the large pictures in the middle of each stairwell and the tiki bar feel of the deck wall decor! It had a much more laid back feel to it which was perfect for getting away and feeling like you are on vacation!

All of the stairwells had large beach themed pictures! I loved it!

This was the typical elevator hallways on each deck! Interesting... but fit the theme! 

Serenity Deck (Adults Only)
This was an amazing area of the ship that only 21+ aged guests were allowed to be in and honestly, it was pretty well enforced. The chairs were wicker and had nice soft cushions and pillows, the hot tubs were hot and larger than that of the main or aft pool area and they offered 6 sets of large 6 foot hammocks. These chairs and amenities will fill up fast so try to get there early in the morning. However, later at night the hammocks and chairs are empty for the most part! 

A view of the Serenity Deck from the Water Slides stairwell! 

This was an area that had 2 water-slides, the Twister and the Drainpipe, each of which were so much fun and amazing. This area also had a smaller toddler slide area which had 2 slides where the kids could race each other down the slide. It also had a HUGE splash pad area featuring spray facuets and sprinklers as well as a huge bucket that would fill with water and then dump on all the guests. This is where we had the most fun of the cruise! No matter your age... 1 to 100, DO THIS WHILE ON THE MAGIC! Stand in the lines and be patient... It will be worth it I promise! Try to get there when it opens (9AM usually) and you will not have to wait in line. Port days are also a great time to hit this place up! 
Trust me... you will NOT be disappointed! 

SkyCourse Ropes Course 
This was AMAZING! Who knew this type of thing could be offered on a cruise ship and you could climb on these traverses in the middle of the ocean. There are 10 traverses and each had 2 different difficulty level choices (easy, medium or hard) and each was named for something local or that had to do with Carnival, ie, the Galveston Causeway or the Miami Southbeach Bridge. I found that very creative and unique way to name your playground. Like the WaterWorks, this too fills up very fast and the lines can be long so get there early. Also, the winds are the deciding factor as to when it can be open so I HIGHLY recommend getting on board early if you can and go and do this when it opens at 1PM on embarkation day. That way you can cross that off you list and have that done or in our case if the winds and weather do not cooperate you will have already done it! 

LOVED this! Who knew you could conquer a ropes course AT SEA! 

The Lanai 
This was Deck 5 and went all the way around the perimeter of the ship and consisted of eating areas, lounging areas, 4 hot-tubs and even tables for playing cards. This also hosted an outdoor area of Red Frog Pub which had numerous games such as corn-hole, horseshoes a tether-ball style of hook game. This is also where the Oceanside BBQ is offered as well as the Taste Bar and Coffee House and is the center of activities on Sea Days. An area of this deck is smoking so be aware of that but I loved this deck! However, it is wider across than decks 6-9 so if you have a balcony on decks 6-9 you will be looking down to the Lanai and not straight down to the ocean. This also means those on the Lanai can look up to your balcony! 

Deck 6-9 balconies overlook deck 5 Lanai! 

The hot-tub and sitting/ eating area on the Lanai!

Lido Deck Main Pool Area 
The Magic had a HUGE Lido Deck Main Pool area that featured a larger than normal cruise ship pool as well as 2 gazebo style sitting areas on each side of the pool. These were perfect for trying to keep cool in the Texas and Caribbean humidity. It also offers 3 levels of deck chairs (Deck 11 has large wicker chairs with comfy cushions) which overlook the live music area. As on any other cruise ship, the deck chairs are gone within hours of the sun coming up so get there early if this is your thing! 

Seriously, this is a MASSIVE cruise ship pool! 

Aft Pool Area 
The Magic features an average cruise ship pool and 2 hot-tubs on Deck 10 in the aft of the ship which overlooks the wake of the ship. This is easily my favorite place to be on ANY cruise ship so we frequented this area a lot on our cruise. Unlike the Carnival Conquest class ships which feature a retractable roof, this area of the ship has hardly any shade so be sure to bring lots of sunscreen and a hat! 

The aft pool area on deck 10 in Galveston! 

Cucina del Captino
This was a premium or specialty restaurant that requires a fee for entrance at dinner. Adults are $15 and kids are $5 but they do offer a complimentary "make your own" pasta bar at lunch and it is incredible! They are only open on Sea Days so make plans to have lunch there on at least 1 of those days! 

There were 4,697 guests are board with us on our cruise 1,687 of whom were minors. I never really felt like I was with 4,700 other people until it was time to eat. This ship handled the 4,700 guests very well but I could definitely feel the crowds at eating times. We tried to eat at various places other than the buffet and it helped a lot! 

The Carnival Magic is a GREAT ship and I would sail on her again TOMORROW if I could. It currently sails out of Galveston and will until May 2016 until she is re-positioned to Miami where this will be her new home port. She is Carnival's 2nd largest ship and has something for everyone! If you have the opportunity to sail on her... jump on it! You will not regret it! 

Thank you SO MUCH for following me and my cruise blogs! Chris and I LOVE cruising and we are literally addicted! We still have 3 cruises booked in the next 18 months with at least 2 more on the horizon after that (planned but not booked since the official schedules are not out yet). We are anxious to take our kids on board the Carnival Triumph in 146 days and we cannot wait! 

Up Next... 

Carnival Triumph- November 2015 

Carnival Legend (ALASKA for 10 Year Anniversary)- June 2016
Carnival Liberty- December 2016
Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas- Spring Break 2017
Carnival Breeze- Summer 2017

God is good... ALL THE TIME! 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you SO much for your wonderful Magic review - my husband and I are booked on her Jan '17 (yikes!!) and have the same cabin as you guys -2334!! I especially enjoyed your comparisons to Royall Caribbean - we cruise both lines, enjoy both, and are always amazed at how folks who have never cruised on a particular cruise line manage to trash talk about them !!
    I am looking forward to reading more of your blogs !