This is a review for the June 24th Carnival Magic voyage out of Barcelona. We booked our flights through Carnival and arrived at Barcelona on the morning of the sailing. We took a shuttle to the port and embarkation was very easy. The only problem was that the cabins were not ready and accessible till 1:30PM and we had to carry all our luggage throughout the ship. The Carnival Magic resembles the other carnival funships. I have sailed the Valor on other occasions and you cannot tell the difference between one and the other. This ship does have more hot tubs, pools, an amazing rope course and slide.
The hot tubs were not hot sometimes and the pools were cold. Even though the days are hot the wind is cool and coming out of the water was a chilling experience. We stayed on the Lido deck and that made it very easy to catch a bite. The Lido deck buffet was well varied and balanced. The also had a 24hour pizza station, hamburger grill, sandwich area, 24 hr ice cream, Indian food station and a sushi station on the 5th deck.
We ate at the Northern Lights restaurant on 7 out of the 9 days. I was not impressed with the food at the restaurant> I have had better at the other ships. It seemed to take forever to get my food. Dinner was a 2 hour event. It was not worth it. I found my food to be cold and bland. On the other had we ate at the Prime Steakhouse twice and it was FANTASTIC. We had never visited steakhouse on the other cruises and we decided to try it this time. It was money well spent.
Our first spot was Monaco. Took the hop on off bus, visited the Oceanografic Museum, and all the stops. I felt the museum was not worth the entrance fee but my kids enjoyed it. Be ready to spend big bucks for everything here. If you can go back to the ship for lunch and then venture out again. Florence was a mission. We arrived at Livorno on a Sunday and there was a train strike. I wish we had booked a shore excursion for this one. I suggest you book a shore excursion for any stop you have on a Sunday. I had purchased online tickets to see the "David" and we did not have to make a long line,we walked right in. I suggest you buy all your tickets to the Vatican, Colosseum, etc online IF YOU ARE NOT PLANNING TO BOOK SHORE EXCURSIONS.
We did get to Rome on our own. We took a train out of Civitavecchia at 9:15 and we got off at the Ostiense terminal and there we got on the Subway and stepped right out to the Colosseum. What an amazing sight. The lines were HUGE but again we walked right in with our tickets. We saw the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, Pantheon, and Finally the Vatican using the subway service. Be aware of tourist traps. Take your water with you, a water bottle can run between 2.50 to 3.50 Euros. We tried to eat lunch at a restaurant by the Trevi Fountain. The pizza was horrible and expensive. From this experience we learned to carry our fruit or small snack and wait for our meals on board. Besides you have to be able to spend about an Hour of your time to dedicate to lunch. You will find that you do not have a minute to spare because you need to be back on board at about 7:30PM. There is a train station called Roma San Pietro which is near the Vatican. If you are planning to start your day our end your day at the Vatican you can catch a train to Civitavecchia from there. Rome is beautiful but I found the people there to be rude and pushy. Be very CAREFUL manners are not a custom there. The Vatican Museum is a must see.
We did a cruise shore excursion to Pompeii and Sorrento in Naples. It was great. Sorrento was great for food and shopping. Pompeii is a must see.
We did the Godfather tour in Sicily. It was nice but I did not feel it was worth what we paid for it.
In Palma de Mallorca we did the Caves of Drach. It was okay. We were not given much time to venture on our own because we had to be back on board at 3:30PM.
Marseille France was my surprise port. I enjoyed it. We ventured on our own and went to the Notre Dame church on a steep hill. You can skip your morning workout if you want to climb on your own. You can catch the little train or Hop On bus and it will take you there. The local bus will take you there too. The town has beautiful architecture, great little bakeries, and shops. We bought a french baguette a a local bakery and then ham and cheese at a local market and made our own french sandwiches, YUMMY !!!
We tried the Gelato at every port. It is delicious and refreshing. Must try the Sicilian Lemon Graniti !!!
Visiting Europe using a cruise is definitely the best way in my opinion. Coming back to the ship every day is a plus. Once you are on the ship you feel like you are back in the states and that is a relief. I cannot imagine having to struggle with the rudeness every breakfast, lunch and dinner. I never think about how much I am going to spend when I am on vacation. You just do not get what you pay for when you are out and about on the ports.