Wife and I started cruising in 2007 in memory of my mother who when visiting her in NY in her last years, would always tell us to take a cruise instead of us visiting her at hospitals on every one of our vacations. After she passed away in 2006 we booked a cruise for her 1 year anniversary (Sept' 2007) and we were hooked. The following year we took our oldest son (Michael) and as a graduation gift his girlfriend (Stephanie). They also got hooked on cruising and took their 2nd cruise in 2009. Fast forward to 2012 and we are cruising the Carnival Magic for Michael & Stephanie's wedding. They've been a couple since 2005 and decided to tie the knot on the high seas...well at least on the Galveston port. Wife and I thought we would not be able to cruise because wife was unemployed from 2009-2011 but through the grace of GOD, she found work and we saved as much as we could so we can be there for son and bride.
The day of wedding my wife was able to convince her hairdresser to open up shop at 5am and take care of the bridal party and mother of bride and groom. It was raining pretty heavy that Sunday morning as we all arrived at local movie theatre parking lot so we can all car pool to cruise terminal which is 25 minutes away. The bride and Groom chose this ship and date because of the itinerary and because we have only sailed on Carnival Conquest and wanted to experience this new ship. We had 75 guests at the onboard wedding and 25 of those were sailing with many of them new cruisers. Some guests had traveled from as far away as Abilene, Texas, which is about 8 hours away. I was nervous about leaving my 2 pomeranians and 4 other dogs (son's and fiancee) with sister in-law but at end they were still alive. While waiting for instructions from the 2 wedding planners that Carnival assigned to wedding party and guests, we almost had the maid of honor miss the entire cruise. It seems that after plenty of advice from me on facebook leading up to the cruise, she forgot to bring either her passport or birth cert and only brought her ID. Well lucky for her she lives in Houston and someone was dog sitting at her house. The dog sitter had to fax birth cert from Walgreens and after about 1 hour she was cleared. It was funny seeing the best man (Ryan) trying to keep groom from bumping into bride. Ryan did a very good job. After about 2 hours, the bridal and groom party was taken separately to get in line to board the ship and the rest of guests were right behind us. The groom and groomsmen (including myself, bride's dad/brother) were taken to the cabin of best man and we got to try on the tuxedos we rented from carnival. I was slightly nervous that the measurements that I gave Carnival 2 months earlier were going to be wrong but they were not. We had to be at Showtime theatre around 1pm for the ceremony, which followed with a 1 hour open bar and hor devours.From time we got on ship to time of ceremony the guests were allowed to tour the ship, which was cool. The ceremony was beautiful and Carnival did a fabulous job with providing everything needed for a fantastic wedding. The photographer assigned to us was Luka Bokonjic who took beautiful pictures of ceremony and of the bride/groom throughout the ship after the ceremony. Wife and son had the mother and son dance and they picked a beautiful song that had many of the guests grabbing tissues. Mother /Son Wedding Song was "All To You" by DJ Keo (Scott Keo)
After ceremony we said our goodbyes to those not cruising and got ready to have some fun on the Carnival Magic. We departed from Galveston about 5:30, which was more than 1 hour late.
Wife and I had a balcony on upper deck and 3 other cabins of friends were also on our deck. Bride and groom were on 8th deck and wanted to be away from rest of party. Why? lol We departed from Galveston about 5:30, which was more than 1 hour late. My co-worker Yolanda was with her young son waving from parking lot. She will get to experience Magic on January 27, 2013 with her family, friends and another co-worker (Linda). Now the ship is new and bigger than the Conquest but I prefer the Conquest. I had issues with the deco of ship (bland) decor was plastic, glass, plastic, chrome and more endless, shiny plastic. The regular restaurant was a brown sea of plain plastic highlighted with more brown plain plastic. It felt cheap and honestly looked tacky. Not impressive since this was supposed to be one of their top-of-the line ships. The Magic seems like a HUGE ship when driving up on her. Once on board, and getting used to the layout, it did not feel as big as she looks. The difference in the Conquest and the Magic was style. The Conquest has glitz and glamour. The tile flooring inside by buffet area was very slick due to the texture that was used in the design. The ship staff seemed stressed and appeared not enough for the amount of people on the ship. The demeanor of the ship's staff was also awkward for us. On previous Carnival cruises, we really liked the way crew members would stop, introduce themselves and chat with us to answer our questions and even take the time to offer tips and suggestions. This cruise, we felt that the crew was more intent on getting their work done than anything else. One exception was our dining staff lead by Pepito from the Philippines, who made us feel special every night and did an excellent job.
I forgot to mention that wife was experiencing pain in left shoulder and that 1st evening the pain got very bad and I decided to take her to infirmary. Doctor on ship thinks she had a rotator cuff and he gave her a sling and some heavy meds. Total visit/meds: $204, which was worth every cent because it made the 7 days tolerable for her. We got cruise insurance and we should be getting that money back.
We did not go to many shows because we were usually in bed by 9pm because meds were pretty strong on wife. We did check out the comedian Cowboy Bill Martin and his R-Rated show and what a show. Only problem with the comedy acts are that they are usually in the "Spotlight Lounge" venue (aka Punchliner's) that has limited seating compared to the larger Showtime Theatre. People line up an hour before the performances to assure themselves a seat. To me, one shouldn't have to stand in line for a show on a cruise. It would be helpful if Carnival moved the comedians back to the Showtime Lounge. We also got the see the Cruise Director who hosted the love show and that was funny. The Cruise director was ok but wife and I still miss Butch who was the CD on our 1st cruise and was great. Our 7 day cruise had 2 elegant nights. Everyone dressed up nice for it. I would say most ladies wore nice dresses and most of the men (AND) boys wore dress shirts with ties at the least. I did not notice any tuxes or gowns, but definitely everyone looked nice. I wore the tuxedo for 1 of the elegant nights and wife's sling matched her black dress. As for us adults, we enjoyed hanging out in the Ocean Plaza playing trivia and listening to singer Jojo and her band. Deck 5 has a wonderful outdoor deck that goes around the entire ship. The outdoor Lanai area on deck 5 transforms into an on-deck barbecue, dishing up grilled items such as sliders, chicken, and hot dogs. Salads, homemade chips and salsa, quesadillas, and traditional barbecue accompaniments are also included. There is plenty of seating everywhere here. Now, if all you want to do is sit by the pool on Lido Deck, then yes, it is crowded and hard to find a good seat, but if you venture beyond the pool, there is so much to see and do. We also really liked the Red Frog Pub and enjoyed playing Foosball and shuffleboard while listing to the live solo acoustic guitar/singer. The Red Frog Pub is Carnival Cruise Line's first onboard pub. Located on deck 5, the Red Frog has both indoor and outdoor seating for 120 guests. The theme is a mixture of Caribbean and Key West, with palm trees and decor straight out of a beach bar.
Whether you want to be active or passive, Carnival Magic offers the best of both worlds! If you just want to bask in the sun on your own, there are plenty of secluded areas to do so. If you want to be part of the crowds and activities, Carnal offers plenty of fun onboard events. And fun is the imperative word!
Carnival has made excellent use of the space over the Lido Marketplace, adding an Italian family-style dining venue called Cucina de capitano ("The Captain's Kitchen). Meals at Cucina del Capitano are casual and fun, featuring homemade pastas and other Italian specialties. Some recipes come straight from the Captains' (or their wives') kitchens. In addition to the delicious food, I think most diners will love two other elements of this restaurant. The first is all the old captioned-photographs lining the walls. Most of these pictures either came from Carnival's archives or from the personal collections of Carnival's current or former captains. The second is the warm service, touched with fun. The kids and adults will love the Cherry on top candy store, which of course i did. Wife got some sugar free gummi bears and i got some other sweets.
We had early dining and I thought the food was good, but nothing extraordinary. I feel the menu has been changed and were now offering cheeseburgers and many in our group enjoyed the choc melting cake, which surprised wife since she does not like. I loved the JUMBO shrimp and the Mac 'n'cheese with shrimp. I think I ordered the famous flat iron steak every night. The best man Ryan was nice enough to cut wife's bread rolls and butter them since she could not do it on her own with the sling on. We were very blessed to be cruising with so many good people that made this wedding cruise so memorable and fun.
Our 3 ports were Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. Because of weather we had to dock at other side of Roatan and we did not like the shops there. The shops are very expensive and employees not too friendly. We did not do any excursion in Roatan or belize but son/wife and friends did some snorkeling and relaxation at beach. While in Roatan we decided to head back to ship and take advantage of hot tub outside of promenade deck, which by the way was right under our balcony.
In Belize we hit the shops and purchased some items and found a place right by as u exit tenders that is called the Toucan Daiquiri that offers the best daiquiri and rum drink . They sell a litter of island rum that is amazing. Our Abilene friend got one to take home. The items at shops can be negotiated and prefer those shops over Roatan shops. The employees at the Belize shops are more friendly than the Roatan shop employees.
I believe the best time we had was when we arrived to Cozumel on friday and all went to Nachi Cocom. We got off the ship and walked to where all the taxis are located. We were hoping to be at Nachi by 9am but had to wait for our Abilene group of 6 who were still not off the ship. That was just a miscommunication and the best man (Ryan) and I decided to walk back and see if they were by ship and they were. We already had told half of our group to go ahead and take taxi to Nachi Cocom resort. So many cruise passengers just want to get away from the throngs of people, and relax on a sandy white beach with crystal clear water. Nachi Cocom will give you that and more. You need to book online before you go on the cruise and pay a deposit of $11 per person. The total cost is $55 and you'll need to pay balance by cash only when you get to Nachi. The club is located approximately 10 miles from your cruise ship pier and is a short 15 minute taxi ride. You can easily arrange a taxi from your terminal for under $15 for up to 4 people. Vans can be arranged for larger groups. This is very safe and simple to arrange from your cruise port, and there will be a line of cabs waiting to bring you back to your ship when you are ready to leave. There is absolutely no risk whatsoever of missing your ship.
Nachi is located along a stretch of Cozumel's most beautiful beach and is open daily from 9am-5pm. The club has the nicest beach in Cozumel by far! The facilities include a spectacular beach, beautiful swimming pool with swim up bar, a spacious Jacuzzi, a beautiful palapa restaurant, comfortable beach chairs, palapas and palm trees for shade on the beach, bathrooms and outdoor showers. Upon your arrival we were given a warm welcome, information regarding the facilities, and preferential seating on the beach! You are guaranteed a beach lounge chair when you book. Take a nice long walk, bask in the sun, swim, snorkel, or just kick back and relax.
Your payment includes an open bar with unlimited domestic drinks that include: Pina Coladas, Rum Punch, Margaritas, Sex on the Beach, Daiquiris, Beer, Soda's, Juices, Bottled Water, and other tasty concoctions. International brands such as Jack Daniels and many others are also available with this exclusive package. Soft drinks in glass (Jet Spray) Coke, Fanta, Sprite and Purified Bottled Water are also available. Your lunch is a tasty 3 course meal served A La Carte and at your leisure during your day at the beach. We all first enjoyed the beach and were ordering drinks from our personal server. In the first 15 minutes I had about 2-3 Pina coladas and others had beer and 2 in our group got a massage, which is $40 for 30 minutes or $70 for 1 hour. Nachi Cocom offers many additional options(fees apply) that you can add to enhance your enjoyment of your day in our island paradise. They include: MASSAGE SERVICES, PALANCAR SNORKELING TOUR, PARASAILING, 1 Tank/ 2 Tank Scuba Diving
After some time at the beach and pool/hot tub, which our group enjoyed so much it was off to eat our food which was very good. We decided to tip our host and bar staff for outstanding job they did. Now I know why my Crazies Cruise group loves Nachi Cocom so much. Always have missed going to Nachi in previous cruises and the CRAZIES have always come back enjoying their stay there. Our host called for a taxi and we decided to go shopping at Cozumel port before we boarded the ship. We tasted some tequilas at the shops there but the best one was one that is only sold in Mexico. The tequila is called La Pinta and I should've purchased it before heading back on ship. I have already told a co-worker who will be cruising later this month to pick me up a bottle or two.
Cozumel is my favorite port in this cruise and you can buy a whole bunch of souvenirs in this port and of course there is Nachi Cocom. Well we were back on the ship and ready for a day at sea and our trip back to Galveston. Our last day at sea was spent relaxing in the lounge chairs and taking in some sun. We had a great time on this cruise, not too impressed with the bigger ships and design of magic but this cruise was for relaxation and witnessing Michael and Stephanie begin their new life together.
Debarkation - Smooth process and we like that many parts of ship are still open that morning. You can get sodas at bar and hang out by bar area or Ocean plaza, which they had trivia until all the passengers have left the ship. We got our zone number(29) which told us to be out of our rooms by 9:30 and we went down to promenade area. We expected to wait a long time, but it went quickly and we were off ship by 11:30. I realize I left some info on cruise out but cruising is a must for anyone. Wife and I are hoping to cruise out of NY next time so we can get my sister, niece and my NY family/friends to join us.