Carnival Magic - Spain, Monaco to Itlay Ports
Europe - Western Mediterranean
My wife and I visited Europe for the first time. We had a great itinerary visiting ports & tours at Barcelona, Monaco (tour of Nice/Eze/French Riviera), Rome, Florence/Piza, Rome, Naples (Island of Capri, Pompeii, Almafia Coast, etc), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Venice (1 1/2 days), Messina/Sicily (Taromina & followed "Footsteps of the Godfather" movie), & return to Barcelona. The tours we took were long-hours (8-10hrs), much walking over cobble streets & hilly, hot in 80s, especially in Rome, Florence, Island of Capri. Ship tours were expensive but worth it. Our one problem with the tours were the tour guides walked too fast. Fortunately, we had headsets from most of tour guides so we could listen to their descriptions and discussions of the various points of interests. Our long hours of tours included a sit-down lunch at various Italian restaurants. Our cruise director strongly recommended bringing a bottle of water, wearing a hat, & secure against "pick-pocket" More
attempts especially in crowds.
Carnival Magic ship is a beautiful ship with its inagaural voyage was May of 2011. The decor, the casino, the clubs, the theatre & our inside stateroom was suitable for us. However, the theatre did not have enough seats. Maybe, 2 theatres would have accommodated most of the 3600 guests aboard. It's new, clean. We had a very nice, friendly & helpful stateroom attendant. Their were many activities on-board. However, although there were 2 pools, they were small for the amount of guests. There were not enough lounge chairs around the ship. Unfortunately, there were many guests aboard who placed towels or personal belongings on lounge chairs to reserve them. The ship also had 6 hot-tubs with 2 of them in their "Serentiy" adults-only area. We have been on 6 cruises and no matter what the itinerary is, Carnival always seems to have the most "kids" under 18 (about 1100 this cruise).
Because of long and late tour-returns, it was only convenient & timely for to eat once in the regular dining rooms & we even took the free-style (anytime dining-time). But we did select to eat in their speciality dining restaurants, their Steakhouse and the Italian restaurants. We felt that the Italian restaurant should have more menu choices. We had $560 shipboard credit for booking on the "early saver" account; so we used some of it for the specialty dining. The buffet areas is where we ate on our late tour-returns. It was above-average. Their one buffet area needs a convenient area to prep your coffee or tea.
For our overall rating we would give this cruise an A- rating including the ship & its amenities, the itinerary, the tours and the crew. It was Magic's new ship & its itineary which "hooked" us on choosing this cruise. We are most satisfied we took this cruise & the excursions. This cruise was the best so far and lifetime of memories, pictures & new friends we met aboard. Great job, Carnival !!! Less
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Cabin review: Carnival Magic
Room 8360 - inside stateroom. We would have liked to have a balcony but it was too expensive.
The stateroom was a very nice. It was convenient to the elevator and it was a quiet location. Our stateroom attendant, Felicia, was very pleasant & helpful. Whenever we met, she was cordial, asking about our stay and excursions, & always asked if we needed anything. Bathroom was always clean. Room was cleaned twice a day. We had to get use to using our cruise card to keep the lights on. Twice my wife left the room, taking here cruise card, while I was still asleep and awoke to darkness. I was lucky to have the TV remote on the bed or night-table to turn-it on to get light in the room.
We probably should have asked for more hangers. We also had to get use to no electric for her hairdryer in the bathroom; but there were outlets in the room by the dresser & separate outlet which the hairdryer was connected in the drawer (almost didn't find it on the 1st day). The "Safe" operation was satisfactory.
Our large & small luggage pieces fitted fine under the bed.
Port and Shore Excursions
My wife and I took a 4 hr excursion to the old city of Barcelona. It included a bus tour and a walking tour. We had pre-booked this Carnival excursion & it was before our cruise began since our flight brought us in about 5 hrs before we could board Carnival Magic. It was worthwhile, cost and sights.
First we took a bus ride to country-side of Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was very scenic mountainous ride. We then ate an outside restaurant in the mountains. The guide gave information and history of the area. After lunch we headed for the walled-city of Dubrovnik. We walked the area on our own for about an hour. If one chose, you could walk at the top of the walls. There were very high and very thick walls. It was a short excursion of about 4 hours. Very relaxing, no rushing around.
After about 1 1/2 hours of bus riding to Florence, we arrived in the old city. it was about an 8 hr tour including the bus ride/a guide. A new tour guide greeted us to take us to the museum with the sculpture of "David" by Michaelangelo. The guide, Paul Costa of Tuscan Tour Guide, was very informative throughout the entire tour. He gave us a headset. He waited until group was together before he talked about the places in Florence. He spoke English well (born in USA). We walked long over cobblestone streets & to the Ponte Vecchio (if I remember the name correctly). We had lunch at an restuarant in the area. We didn't find it better than an Italian restaurants in the USA. We were also given a couple hours to tour on our own & shop. The last hour it began to rain. Fortunately, we had brought small umbrellas. We had a drink & snack at a local cafe under their umbrella, too. Pizza in USA better. Great sights and impressions.
Our excursion was good to the Prince's palace; but the walking tour to Casino Royal was difficult for my wife with the many steps. We wish the bus had a drop-off closer the main square. The tour guide walked too fast for many of the older people. This tour was done in the afternoon; we took the Nice tour in the morning from the port of Monaco.
After a day at sea from Florence to Naples, we took the excursions to Island of Capri and Pompeii. After a ferry ride to the Island of Capri we took the funicular (cable car) to the town of Capri up the mountain. There was a delay because of the crowds & tour guide got us started late before we began the walking tour. We saw only part of the island. Unfortunately because of the time-restrictions, we didn't see the "Blue Grotto", or the other side of the island. We had snacks, gilatto (ice-cream), and ate lunch at a restaurant on the island. Then we took the ferry ride back to Pompeii. Bussed to Pompeii we started our walking tour, half-way through it, we had heavy rain (thunder & lightning). After about a 1/2 of rain, it cleared. Although many of the tourists decided to go back to the entrance, some of us continued onward. In a way the rain provided a experience of seeing how the people of Pompeii built their roads to collect rain-water for a wash which their way dumping garbage away from the city. After couple of hours there we headed back to the ship. We didn't go to Naples because of ship departure time and Naples had an ongoing garbage strike in the city. We saw Naples from the bus traveling over the highway & from the ship.
Along with the Monaco excursion, we took an additional tour of Nice. It was beautiful, tour guide was informative both on the bus and in the old-city. She also brought us to the French Riviera boardwalk. Great pictures and info on celebrity homes in Nice. Monaco & Nice had some of the largest yachts we have ever seen. Tour guide walked too fast. She had a sign she held up so we could follow her in the crowds. This was a morning excursion of the Monaco port.
We took the ship excursion. It was about 10 hours including the bus ride. Again the guide walked too fast for us but she a sign, held-up high to see where she is in the crowd. We were told that Rome is the 2nd most tourist visited place behind Disney World. We had to walk about 1/4 mile to the piazza, whereby, we then walked with our given map of the area. We elected to visit the Trevi Fountain & other areas for about 1 1/2 hrs. Then we were bussed to a restaurant for lunch. Nice lunch; again not better than USA. Next we bussed by some popular sights in Rome. Then we went to the Vatican. Although there was a very long line along the towering walls, we were escorted into the entrance without any wait. It was a very long tour of the Vatican and St. Peter's Bascillica (largest Cathredal in the Christian world). We saw many museums on the way to the Sistine Chapel. The new guide at the Vatican was very informative. Again with the large crowds of visitors, we lost her a couple of times. But we found her because we had headsets. The stronger the signal & voice, the closer we got to her. The Vatican and the St. Peter's and the square's changing of the Swiss guards was most impressive. We then left there, we boarded for another bus tour of other places in Rome. Since we had a long delay on the highway back to the ship, fortunately, because we had booked the Rome excursion through Carnival, the ship delayed its departure until the buses arrived to the port.
The ship was as Venice for 1 1/2 days. We arrived early afternoon. Beautiful city looking from atop of ship. We took an excursion to St. Mark's Square & gondola excursion at 6:30pm. It was a about 3 hour excursion with a 45 minute gondola ride. Carnival required that the tour have a singer & instrumentalist on every 3rd gondola. We were lucky to have them on our gondola. That was a beautiful experience. After the gondola we visited again St. Mark's Square & did some shopping. Then we took the valperrato (water taxi) back to the ship.
The next day we decided to visit Venice on our own. We took a train to the Pizza di Roma square. We walked and walked over many canal bridges to go to St. Mark's Square. We shopped and ate at a cafe, had a "gilatto", & drinks. I had to get Euros at a Venice bank ATM because many vendors did not accept US dollars. Credit cards were only accepted in the main stores where they had a telephone line. As expected we got lost a few times trying to get back to St. Mark's Square via the backstreets or allys. We made a few hours later. We had some trouble trying to determine which water-taxi to take back to the ship pier. But it was a great experience. It was well worth it.
We then had another day at sea before arriving in Sicily, Messin port. We took a tour of which followed the movie making of the wedding scenes in the "Godfather I (1971) & III". After about 1 hour ride up the mountains, passing through & by Messina and Taiomina, we arrived at the small towns where the Godfather was filmed for the weddings. We saw the cafe, the church, and even met the woman who played the mother of Appolonia, whom Michael Corleone married in the movie. We then went to another town where other film making was done. We also ate a local cafe. The pizza here was more like the USA pizza in NJ. We had great experience and wonderful in Sicily. The town of Corleone did not get the filming there because in 1971 it was too modern for 1940's scenes.