Me and my Girlfriend sailed on the 12-night voyage on the Med departing 14th August 2011 from Barcelona.
Firstly..... the ports of call. We have visited a number of the ports of call previously so on some days opted to take advantage of having the ship to ourselves.
Monaco – Did the hop-on-hop-off bus tour for 17EUR pp. This was a great way to see all of the sights in Monaco and leaves from the cruise terminal. Would recommend doing a full tour on the bus (approx. 1 hour) before deciding which sights to see in more detail second time around.
Savona – Stayed on the ship, however trips to Portofino looked good and city nice enough to have a little walk around.
Rome (Civatavecchia) – Visited Rome before so stayed on the ship and pretty much had the ship top ourselves.
Naples – Hydrofoil to Capri (34EUR pp return) and arranged boat trip with Gianni’s boat tours (see TripAdvisor). 3 hour boat tour was fantastic and recommended and great value at 30EUR pp. Capri is beautiful and we spent a couple of hours after the boat trip just sitting at the Marina eating the most beautiful ice cream.
Messina – Stayed on the ship (as many others seemed to).
Dubrovnik – What a beautiful place. Taxi from Port to Old Town cost 10EUR. We opted to go directly to the cable car which takes you to the top of the mountain with the most amazing views of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea. Beware that you must pay for the cable car in local currency or credit card (costs approx 10EUR pp). We then walked through the Old Town which is not physically demanding and is great to do. At the end of the of the Old Town furthest from the Marina, there is a restaurant outside the gate to the town with fantastic views and reasonable prices.
Venice – Sailed in to Venice as the sun was setting. Made an early start the following day and used the frequent waterbus (Vaporetto) to get around. This costs 18EUR for a 24hr pass and actually allows you to see most of the sights and get off and on at the major attractions (Rialto Bridge, St Mark’s Square etc). If the ship allows for you to visit Venice during the evening, you must go to see St Mark’s Square.
Secondly...... the Carnival Magic.
The ship is fantastic and is very well looked after, despite it still being pretty much brand new. The RedFrog Pub seemed a popular addition to the Carnival ships and boasts a good selection of draught beers. The food was fantastic, particularly in the Main Dining Room. We had an amazing table for two in the Southern Lights dining room (table 764) which had fantastic views out to see. Not only was the quality of the food fantastic, but the service was second-to-none, probably the best I have received on any previous cruise. Our waitress Yolanda Kristianos and her assistant, Aloyssos, were fantastic and made dining each evening a real pleasure; both are truly a credit to Carnival.
The pool areas are possibly on the small side and don’t get me started on the sun loungers situation. Carnival really needs to do something about reserving sun loungers, some from as early as 5am.
Cabins were comfortable and clean, despite only having an inside cabin. Rooms were cleaned twice a day and the laundry was returned quickly and pressed to perfection.
Entertainment was varied and mostly of a good quality. Cruise Director John Heald was entertaining and I personally found him to be very funny. We were a bit disappointed with the movies shown on the Seaside Theatre each evening, but I guess that is down to personal preference and when we did go up on to the pool deck, the fresh popcorn smelled great.
Initial embarkation and disembarking after the cruise was stress-free, thanks mostly to details being inputted by way of online check-in.
Overall, a fantastic holiday on the Carnival Magic and, apart from a few niggles that need sorting, we would most definitely recommend this cruise.