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Aussies in the Med with Carnival Magic September 2011
Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Sailed on the Carnival Magic on a 12 day Mediterranean cruise in September 2011
Ship was lovely as was expected being new; staff were very friendly and helpful.
Our one large complaint was the lack of transportation provided by Carnival at our ports of call. If you were on a tour off the ship then it was okay but if you wanted to do your own thing and get into town fees ranged from 5.pp to $10.00pp in Dubrovnik. This ended up getting a bit pricey by the end of the cruise. A fee was charged at every port to get off the docks, except Monte Carlo where we were right in town and Venice. You were unable to walk at some of the other ports as you were in an industrial area. We can only surmise that due to the size of the Magic we were moored in container shipyards instead of nearer the town centres.
One other smaller complaint was the lack of visibility of the senior officers and captain. They were never seen even at the formal nights which had no sense of purpose, not quite More
sure why we were dressed up, there seemed to be nothing happening to warrant the occasion. Lots of photographers to take your photo but there was no captains greet and meet or champagne fountain. No midnight buffet with carvings. A behind the scenes tour of the ship which included the bridge and engine room was $95.00.
So many places to eat that you were spoilt for choice. At meal times you had plenty of choices. Tandoori, bbq, grill, pizza, deli sandwiches. In the buffet you had a choice of Mongolian wok or carvery, piazza bites for fresh coffee and the most amazing looking cakes and in the evening sushi and nibbles were available.
The Italian restaurant charges a surcharge in the evening but you can eat there for free at lunchtimes. Meal was very good. Did not try the steakhouse.
It was pleasant to have a drink in The Red Frog bar. Drinks were the usual ridiculous prices but you are a captive audience. Shops were okay with everything in US dollars.
Unable to get in to see the shows in the evening as the Showtime lounge was too small for the amount of passengers. Spoke to one person late one evening who asked if we had seen the show. I said no we could not get in, which show did they see the early or late show to which she replied, both shows. Explains why we could not get seat if people are watching both shows.
One other complaint was the lack of enforcing of the rules on saving sun beds with towels. This was in the fun days magazine, I complained at 8am in the morning that I could not sit by the pool as 85% of the chairs were empty but had towels on them, I was told it was in the funtimes magazine that saving beds was not allowed. Even though I and other cruisers complained, nothing was done. This happened every sea day. I do not sit in the sun all day long but even the chance to have a couple of hours by the pool was negated by the people who were absent most of the day but had saved themselves a chair. The ship seemed too small for the amount of people sailing on sea days as sun beds seemed to be put out every where around the ship. We were glad we had a balcony to sit on.
Our itinerary was changed due to industrial action in Italy, not Carnivals fault in any way but this seriously detracted from the tour for us as we had to visit Marseilles instead of Naples, absolutely no comparison. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
$10.00 USpp for shuttle to town or a taxi is only 10.00 per taxi (up to 4 people). You must have your passport to leave the dock. We went up in the cable car first and had a cup of coffee whilst enjoying the views. Long queue to come down due to tour groups loading ahead of us. We then walked around the old town which was very easy to do but there is 3 different charges if you want to walk the city walls. As it was extremely hot we declined this pleasure but those who did enjoyed it. Will go back to Dubrovnik for a holiday as we want to see more of this charming place.
5.00 fee to get into town and back, ship was a long drive out from town centre. Main shopping was still a 10-15 min walk from where we were dropped off. Not much to do apart from the Basilica which was reached by a trolley train ride. Had a wander round, a coffee in Starbucks with free wi fi then went back to ship for lunch.
On the recommendation of a family member who lives in France, we did a tour with Carnival to Nice and Eze . We had a lovely morning and did enjoy it. Not enough time to explore Nice but this is not unusual.
You were able to walk to the town centre from the ship but we took a water taxi for 1.00 across the harbour to the casino. This is well worth the visit even if you do not pay the 10.00 fee to go into the casino itself. We then caught a local bus for 70 cents to the palace and wandered around there stopping for a coffee and hot chocolate in the chocolate shop before enjoying a lovely walk down through the palace gardens back to the ship.
We did the Rome on your own deal here through Carnival. We made a conscious decision to divide Rome into two parts and miss out the Vatican completely, will do this next visit. As soon as we were dropped off near Poppolo Sq we jumped on the Metro (we had no problems but another guest was pick pocketed) and went straight to the Coliseum. We had pre booked our tickets online and went in without any queuing. The hop on hop off buses were 21.00pp but were so slow due to traffic and the stops were so far apart (one bus line only ran every hour) that we decided to walk and ended up seeing more than we would have on the bus. There are lots of old ruins still being uncovered. Walked hard for 7 hours but still did not see everything. Rome is a city that you would need a week in at least.
We pre booked travel cards and toilet tickets through Venice Connected. This was not worth doing. The ticket office where the ship docked would not do the internet vouchers so we had to get the people mover, (1.00 each way, correct change only which caused long queues especially as a Costa cruise ship was unloading) which runs TRONCHETTO-MARITOMO- (cruise terminal)- PIAZZA LA ROMA) in to Piazza la Roma where we stood in a very long queue to be told we were in the wrong queue. We then went to where we were told to go to find the Venice connected window closed. To cut a long story short, ourselves and other people off our cruise who had bought the same deal, we managed to get our tickets through the normal ticket booths but not without problems. Took nearly 1 hour of queuing and arguing to get our 36 hour travel ticket. The hassle was not worth the small saving (1.20) we made by pre-booking online. Toilettes are available at every cafe, restaurant and museum so they were a waste of money. We bought a book of 10 and used 2 just to say we had.
My advice is get off the cruise ship and walk to Tronchetto which is only 15-20 mins away and buy your tickets there, use the people mover if you wish to get to Tronchetto but it is an easy walk. You can then get on the ACTV No 2 Vaporetto (water bus) there. Using this route you can ride down the grand canal to St Marks Sq, a tour in itself. Calculate the time you will want to travel around Venice. We bought the 36hr card (more than we needed) but some people only bought the 24hr card and could not understand why they could not get on the Vaporetto to return to the ship. You have to validate the card (like go card swipe) before getting on a water bus. It will not let you onto the jetty if your time is up. Passes were 18.00 for 24hrs, 23.00 for 36 hrs or 6.50 for a rtn to St Marks Sq. Passes are well worth the money. We used ours to just ride around the islands, getting off where or when we fancied, sitting by the water to have an evening aperitif and watch the sunset on St Marks on the other side of the water, or go to Murano to see the beautiful glass works. We also jumped off at different stops just to wander around. A lovely way to see the other side of Venice. We did the Doges palace after 2 pm when all the tours had left and still had plenty of time to see everything.
Be aware the ACTV No 2 runs from two different jetties. if you want to rtn via the Grand Canal you need to get the No 2 back from St Marco jetty (up from St Marks Sq) or get on the No2 at Zaccaria (down from St Marks Sq) for a different ride back to Tronchetto. We used this one evening, getting off at Palanca on Giudecca Island to sit in the shade, have a drink and watch St Marks Sq fade in the sunset. Beautiful and what a holiday should be.
There is another water taxi line which runs from where the cruise ship docks at Maritima called Alilaguna. This is a private company and they do not have as big a route as ACTV and do not run as often. They are more for getting to and from the airport than riding around Venice. A young couple who bought Alilaguna travel cards did not speak highly of them, said they were a long time between buses and did not go everywhere they wished to travel. I believe a lot of cruisers used this company as they were near the cruise terminal. Take the extra time and walk to Tronchetto to get ACTV tickets, you will be glad you did.