Carnival can do Magic
Europe - Western Mediterranean
Booked this cruise last minute with my husband and got what I think was the last room. Despite being an inside it did not disappoint if a little limited in space but that is to be expected. Spotlessly clean and well maintained by the steward who was attentive and friendly. Loved coming back to my towel animals at night! Only negative was that I did not realise I was being charge 4 dollars per day for mineral water not from the mini-bar. Spending 50 dollars on water without me knowing was hard to swallow-pardon the pun! A bit sneaky I think.
Embarkation in Barcelona was very well organised and from arriving in our taxi, to entering our cabin, only took one and a half hour which is amazing when you consider there were 3000 people to get onboard and it was only the 2nd cruise for this ship.
The Carnival Magic is beautifully appointed. I cannot find anything negative to say about any of the public spaces or fixtures and furnishing. Very modern yet with a nod to the More
Art Deco era in the Atrium I thought. It is comparable to 5 star hotels I have stayed in.
Entertainment is one area that could do with a little spruce up. Two shows I saw were totally amazing. One was an illusionist, I cannot remember the name but it was totally Las Vegas standard. The other was called Grooveline and was a 70 style review-that was great. The show on the last evening was not to my taste at all, sorry Carnival I did not enjoy the male singing country. The onboard band were very good, Blood Power, doing all the classic rock tracks.
I did not attend the Piano Bar but it was always busy. The constant acoustic music in the Red Frog Bar quickly became very waring which is a shame cos the bar was great. I did not rate the other male/female singers who played in the Atrium at all.
Food was fabulous overall the ship and the service was great. Only thing I didn;t like was the sweets at the buffet, not good. I recommend visiting the Italian restaurant for lunch it was great with no sur charge (sea days). Didn't attend the steak house.
Spa was really beautiful but at double the price of home maybe out of some folks price range.
The gym was excellent.
Pool areas/loungers, the usual problem of only 20% of loungers being used at anyone time due to selfish people leaving towels on them all day without use.
The ports of call were great and amazing value for money.
Disembarkation was very swift and easy if a little early for my flight, 6am!
All in all a fantastic holiday I will never forget. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Dubrovnik port is right close to town and is beautifully picturesque in a way that I think us Europeans take for granted. I know fellow passengers from the U.S totally fell in love with the place. It is easy to get around on foot and the cable car ride is unmissable and costs only 8 euros.
Livorno for Florence is a long way away and although I took the cruise excursion it still took almost 2 hours to reach Florence, traffic from the port was heavy. Despite very much looking forward to Florence I was disappointed. but maybe I chose the wrong excursion which lasted almost 9 hours. Florence was very hot and overcrowded with tourists. I also didn't rate the shopping much. On the way back to port the bus driver took us to the other side of town with an amazing view of the cityscape. This was the high-light for me. Perhaps would be better to go to Florence independently for 2 or 3 days to enjoy the city more. There is much more to be enjoyed than the tourist trap I am sure.
In my opinion ports do not get any better than Monte Carlo. The port is right in the centre of this resort with magnificent views. A short stroll away is the trolley bus which for 10 euros will take you around most of the famous sights, ending outside the Royal Palace. Changing of the guard takes place at 12pm. As Monte Carlo is not a large resort, some of the best sight-seeing can be done on foot however the walk to the palace is very steep and wouldn't be suitable for elderly visitors. A water-bus will take you across the harbour for 1 euro. This is the route to take if you wish to visit the Grand Prix trail and the Grand Casino. It opened at 2pm the day I visited and had very few people inside due to the 10 euro entry fee which I was happy to pay just to have a look around. Please be aware that no cameras are allowed inside. I heard a coffee in the Hotel D'Paris, which overlooks the casino, costs 9 euros but was a great experience. Beyond glamorous.
The port of Naples is right next to the city and a reasonably short distance from Pompeii. I can't comment on how far it was from Sorrento. From what I could see of Naples from the port it didn't look too impressive but that is maybe being unfair since I didn't go into town. Pompeii on the other hand was fabulous and everything you would expect. My favourite excursion.
Civitavecchia as a port again is quite a long way away from Rome and this was one occasion I regret not taking the cruise excursion. The train station is about a half mile from the port and Carnival put on a shuttle bus which takes you outside the port but not to the station. The fare into Rome was a very reasonable 4.50 euro. On leaving the train station the bus station is nearby and you can get on the HoHo bus for 20 euros. HOWEVER, Rome is crazy! Traffic is very heavy and there are so many wonderful sights to see it's impossible to get around everything in a day. Is really is something to behold and blew me away. My advice would be to take the hit of the excursion to St Peters and the queue jump for the Vatican. Costs more but would save a lot of stress! The queue otherwise is massive! Due to the traffic I could not get to see the Trevi Fountain in time despite a late departure from the port. Please be aware the trains are frequently delayed as well and the station at rush-hour time was madness!! Will definitely go back to Rome again and give it 5 stars for sure.
Venice is everything you think it is and more. There is nowhere else like it. Every corner is a photo opportunity and it is easy to get around on foot. Too many good points to mention them all but a sail round islands is a must. St Marks Square is impossible to miss.