Galveston, Texas: September 8 -15, 2013
We drove to Galveston, went straight to the Lighthouse parking, booked online, parked and boarded the awaiting transfer bus to the terminal. We arrived at 11:30 and were on board having lunch by 12:30 pm, a very efficient boarding. We do not have any priorities or FTF passes so no special lines. After lunch went to room and by 2 pm had our clothes unpacked, very impressive. The balcony room was cleaned and properly appointed. We made our way to the Redfrog Pub to have a brew before the Muster Drill, good beer and fun atmosphere.
Booked this cruise last minute and ended up with late seating. We do not like eating so late but our disappointment quickly vanished under the expert wait staff team for our table, Joseph, Michael, and George! Table for 8 but only one other couple ever showed. The table was always impeccable staged and stocked. Service second to none, many thanks to the wait crew. We had the Chefs table (worth every penny) and one night at the Steak house. The Chefs table was set up in the galley and we were treated to the absolutely most informative overview of the ships food operations by the Executive Chef Rakesh Pavithran. A real treat to have a preparation demonstration by the Head Chef whipping up chocolate molten cake, followed with some close up magic by a ships magician. The menu was exceptional, varied, and thought provoking, highly recommend. The Steak house is amazing and if you like five star food and service do not miss. Chef Rakesh Pavithran has set very high bar for food quality and service standards.
Key West: Did the hop on and off bus, went to the Butterfly Gardens was excellent. Shopped a bit and had some fish and chips at Red Fish Blue Fish, a nice day.
Freeport: Booked a snorkel outing with Pat and Dianes online. This company was aware of the arrival time on the ship and took it upon themselves to work out the ships time local time confusion. The tour was confirmed for a smaller vessel but would be upgraded to a larger vessel if there were at least 14 adults. The group exceeded the required 14 number but we did not get the larger vessel. The vessel was in a poor state of repair and required some maintenance to get the boat to start for our return to shore trip. The staff was fine. Snorkeling was fine, lots of fish, but choppy waters.
Nassau: Originally book a non-refundable snorkel with Stuart Cove but Stuart places the responsibility for knowing the times on the customer and not being in the business of selling services to cruise ships, I book the early snorkel not realizing that arrival times were ship times rather than local times, and could not make it: a $140.00 mistake for me. Funny that Pat and Diane in Freeport have no problem scheduling their activity to accommodate cruise ship arrivals and seem to know the times, I do not recommend Stuart Coves Bahamas Aqua Adventures. We booked a beach day to Balmoral through the ship, nice beach, and excellent staff. Ferry to the beach day, nightmarish: going to beach the boat over loaded to standing room only and on return a two foot jump down to disembark, wife got a significant burse on her arm from being helped down.
Called our assigned departure group about 8:45 and by 9:45 we had cleared customs, found the waiting Lighthouse Parking bus and were in our car and headed home, excellent and efficient.
I would highly recommend the Magic for the food, the service, and facilities. All in all a good cruise and good value.