Live From Carnival Magic: The Grand Finale

May 10, 2011 | By | 3 Comments

It all comes down to the final night on a cruise, doesn’t it? You’re either ready to call it quits at sunset and get the hell off the ship or you don’t want it to end. Carnival Magic? Seems to be the latter. Just about everyone seemed to take the cancellation of Monday’s Monaco port call (thanks to high winds and rough seas) in stride. Well after the last dinner plate was cleared from the Southern Lights Dining Room, the ship was rocking. Could be a Carnival thing, or it could be that Magic may actually live up to its name. Still, the 800-pound gorilla on Deck 3 was the debut of “Destination: Unknown,” the much-touted production that opened tonight. Cruise director John Heald has fawned relentlessly that the show is the biggest, most lavish and most expensive extravaganza the cruise line has ever mounted. Of course, I had to check it out.

Part magic show, part Broadway-style musical, “Destination” tells the story of … oh, who knows. There are pyrotechnics galore (kind of scrawny, but we are on a cruise ship after all), pop songs sung live and sort of competently (Muse’s “Uprising,” Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose,” etc.), elaborate costumes and the illusions of Jason Byrne. Those tricks pretty much come from the standard magic hat, including a woman sawed in half, levitation, pretty young things that seem to materialize out of thin air behind curtains and, yes, a rabbit pulled out of a hat.

But here’s the kicker. It’s a hoot. Try not watching it. You can’t. It’s fun and goofy and free-wheeling and fits the Magic mood perfectly. There are so many laser beams shot into the audience that I swear I was Lasik’d three times. Parts of it are beguilingly beautiful, including one segment in which snow seems to fall on the audience. Grab a glass of wine (or four) before you go, because it’ll help the enjoyment factor, but do go.

Sadly, there are two other shows that will premiere after I debark on Tuesday morning. According to the Carnival PR team, the stage and its components were delivered late, so the shows are still being rehearsed. I’ve heard grumbles from some disappointed that the entertainment on Magic’s maiden voyage consisted mostly of small musical acts, comedians and Heald himself, and I can see their point. But Carnival promises that the whole repertoire will be up and running within a few weeks.

Overall, I’ve found the entertainment more than adequate, inasmuch as I’ve been content listening to the ship’s lounge acts (particularly the talented guys singing in the RedFrog Pub). Then again, the ship itself has been more than entertaining, so I really haven’t missed much at all.

From a run on the ship’s signature beer to soundproofing problems to an overview of the restaurants onboard, Cruise Critic Managing Editor John Deiner has been reporting on the inaugural run of Carnival Magic. Click here to see his other reports.

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    3 Responses to “Live From Carnival Magic: The Grand Finale”

    1. George Nami
      May 10th, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

      Have enjoyed you reports about Magic. Please share you thoughts with us after you have had time to reflect on your cruise.

      We will be on the repositioning cruise Oct 28.


    2. Judy ODwyer
      May 10th, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

      Thanks for the great blog. We’re sailing on May 22 and are looking forward to it based on your comments.

      May 11th, 2011 @ 12:21 pm


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    The Lido Deck is written by Cruise Critic's editorial staff, reporting from ships and ports around the world. The daily blog covers cruise news, reviews, advice, and hot topics from the Cruise Critic message boards. Please note: When commenting, Cruise Critic's community guidelines apply.

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