Live From Carnival Magic: We Give the Ropes Course a Test Run and Live to Tell the Tale

May 4, 2011 | By | 2 Comments

Like most things in life, Carnival Magic‘s crazy ropes course gets easier the second time around. But I have to fess up: I sort of just wanted to climb down a pole and end the whole exercise the first time through. Naturally, I was thinking this while children zipped by me — and as Cruise Radio host/founder Doug Parker (that’s him in the video) lapped me for a second time. He reports he loved the course on his inaugural run even more than I was terrified by it.

From the ground, the Sky Course doesn’t look so bad: It’s composed of eight sections that dangle over the mini-golf course. Each segment is divided into two “bridges” (named after famous spans in Carnival port cities) of varying degrees of difficulty, and they’re about 15 feet off the ground. Once you finish a segment, you step onto a sturdy steel deck and wait your turn to cross the next bridge.

The adventure begins when a crew member harnesses you and tethers you to a track with a rope, which you tug as you either bumble or race through the course. If you fall, you’ll dangle; no one has slipped so far, an employee told me, but there seem to be more than ample safety precautions.

The problem for me: I’m afraid of heights and have a rotten sense of balance, which were two strikes right off the bat. Then there’s the fact the ocean is 15 feet away and 150 feet below, which is both disorienting and spectacularly beautiful. Everything bounces, shifts and, shimmies as you step foot onto it, and in some spots you have to work to find something to grasp.

(This is the part where I normally say that my wife did a whole lot better than me, but she froze in place in one segment and had to be coaxed by an 11-year-old to finish the course.)

Nevertheless, it’s an exhilarating buzz, and the second go-round took me about half as long to accomplish. People of all ages seemed to be enjoying themselves on it, or were faking it. That said, one of the crew members who was literally hanging around on the contraption volunteered that he’d finished the course in 53 seconds earlier that day.

Hey, give me some practice and I can get my time down to … oh, forget it.

If your idea of a great cruise involves tons of running, yoga and water sports, see our Best Cruises for Fitness.

For the hardcore, a fitness theme cruise may appeal. Read how celeb instructor Jillian Michaels manhandled passengers.

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    2 Responses to “Live From Carnival Magic: We Give the Ropes Course a Test Run and Live to Tell the Tale”

    1. Bryan W
      May 5th, 2011 @ 11:14 am

      Can you offer some insight on:

      The shows/nightlife?
      The casino? What games are offered?
      The staff to cruiser ratio and if it is good?
      What would you change if you could change anything…
      What are the complaints people are having? What are they doing to fix it.


    2. Kimberly
      May 11th, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

      We saw one show- comedian. Average at best and chose not to see the others.

      Casino was fun, not unlike most others. Table games and slots.

      Many folks thought there weren’t enough activities on board for three days at sea. Serendity, adult area in the sun, was nice but there were limited areas and not eveyone got a chance to enjoy it especially if you didn’t get up early and rush to save a spot. Also it is located next to the waterslide so the noise carried.

      I personally found guest services to be rude, impatient and not helpful. There wasn’t a “let me see if I can help you” attidute but more of a ” it is what it is” attitude.

      They didn’t have the special beer, they ran out of film and the shops were very limited. Other cruises have offered more in terms of shopping.

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