We had a roll call with Cruise Critic where several families decided to get together in Galveston the on December 17, 2011 for a lot of family fun at the Moody Gardens and an evening at Tortugas Mexican Restaurant. That was the start of a terrific vacation at sea.
On Sunday we boarded the Magic where Carnival was welcoming us to their fun ship. Embarkation was quick with no problems - about 20 minutes from arrival at the terminal to the lido deck for a brunch. Stateroom check-in was ahead of schedule and about 1230 we had our room and ready to explore the spa deck.
The cloud nine spa is just plain fantastic. We tried the hot steam room and quickly decided it was for the more seasoned folks but the cooler steam room, the thermal suites and the thalosoltherapy pool were great. Every evening after supper we would enjoy the spa for about an hour before winding down for the night.
The ropes course and the miniature golf were fun. We did not try the tall waterslides as we were not that adventurous. I had fun with the ping pong table all though there was no tournament scheduled as there are on all the other Carnival ships we have been on before.
The Chef's table was great. I don't know how to describe the seven course meal served in the galley and they would not allow us to take photos down there but if I were given the opportunity to go again my answer would be a resounding where do I sign up!
Our room steward (Anatoli) was one of the greatest. He always remembered our names and had the towel animals and chocolates in place when we wished to turn in. The complimentary laundry service Carnival offers platinum guest is also mighty handy when you run short on time in one day.
If there was a negative during the cruise it would have to be the tendering in Belize. The ship captain had us where we were supposed to be at the scheduled time but the tenders were running an hour and a half behind. We have priority tendering but because we booked our reservation through Carnival we had to stay with our group and almost missed our scheduled activity for the day. I checked with the Carnival manager Lazlo and he said Carnival is doing the best they can with what is offered. We were about an hour late leaving Belize while we had to wait for the last cave tubing tour to get back to the ship.
We missed our port of call in Mahogany Bay due to high winds but we were able to dock at Coxen Hole. Those who booked their shore excursions through Carnival were refunded missed excursions. We were able to make our excursion with no problem.
Cozumel was crowded on Christmas Eve as there were a lot of ships in port. The helmet dive and Atlantis Submarine were great excursions in Cozumel.
We closed out Christmas Day with the Steakhouse. We could not have had a better ending to our cruise then to have chosen the steakhouse. The food was far superior then in the main dining room and the desserts were enormous.
During the cruise we had a new program called "my time dinning". You go to the dinning room when you want to eat and they give you a beeper. You are then free to go about your normal activities until it sounds. The wait was usually about 15 to 30 minutes which gave us time to get pictures put into the kiosk for developing the following day so our scrapbooks would be kept up to date. This worked out very well for us each evening and we would use this opportunity again for dinning.
The casino was new and exciting. The one drawback to the casino is that between the hours of 2 am and 4 am you are allowed to play the slot machines but there is no way for you to cash out your winnings as they close the cashiers cage two hours early. This caught me somewhat by surprise as I have never happened on this type of situation in a casino before. You can place your winnings on your sign and sail card and wait till the evening of the following day when the casino reopens to cash out.
Overall we had a wonderful experience and we can't wait to go again. Thank you Carnival for providing a fun ship experience.