After a leisurely drive through East Texas and the Bolivar Peninsula, we met our friends for a drink at the hotel. Excited, we were comparing notes and I realized I messed up - I left our passports at home - in Fort Worth! Panicked, I called our daughter who delayed her New Years Eve plans to drive home, find our birth certificates and fax them to me at the hotel. Yay to my awesome daughter for saving my neck! I called Carnival and verified that the Birth Certificates would work with our driver's licenses and held my breath till morning.
We have sailed on Carnival 6 times, having traveled 4 out of Galveston. This time we were part of a large group, which made this trip extra special. We spent the night before in Galveston and after breakfast, the rumors began...the ship was late due to fog. Our hotel shuttle was running WAY behind, so we were a little late, too.
When we arrived at the terminal, all of the guests were getting off of the ship, and all of the new cruisers were rushing to get on the ship. Nobody likes the embarkation process, but it was handled well. The lines seemed to move fast and even though we were assigned a group number and had to wait a bit, everyone had a chair and seemed to keep their cool. The agent checked us in with the documentation we had and we were on our way!
Once on the Magic, the "oohs" and "aahhs" began. It is such a large ship. With the wait in the terminal, we were able to go immediately to our stateroom. Our balcony stateroom was directly above the Redfrog Pub and Lanai. I wished for a pulley system so the wait staff could serve us on the balcony, but no such luck. I was afraid the noise at night would keep us awake, but even though we could hear the music and people, we slept well each night.
Our cabin was very nice, and our Cabin Steward, Nelson, kept us comfortable. He even kept my cooler full of ice for sodas.
We ate dinner in the Southern Lights dining room all but one night. Our server, Victoro, was wonderful! He sang and danced, and when he had free time, served us wonderful food at a smooth pace.
We ate several breakfasts and lunches in the Southern Lights dining room and enjoyed our visit each time.
The rest of the meals were on the Lido deck, split between the buffets, deli and Tandoor. We also had two lunches in Cucina del Capitano. All exceeded our expectations. The husband even had lunch, the sequel, at the outside bar-b-que on the Lanai and said it was very good.
We also took the Behind the Fun tour of the ship. Do not miss this opportunity and make sure to sign up early.
Our group brought our own musical entertainment, so we only saw one magic show in the Spotlight lounge. The entertainer was funny and involved the crowd quite a bit.
We enjoyed all three ports of call. The reef snorkel in the Grand Caymans was our favorite. The tour operator was great, and we were able to view stingrays, even though the tour did not advertise them.
We visited the Serenity deck a few times. Very nice and peaceful. No kids when we were there.
I was afraid that with 3,500 passengers, including over 1,000 children, we would be constantly tripping over someone. The Magic has so many outside spaces all over the ship that I never had a problem finding a place to relax. The Lanai circles the ship and chairs were always available. Even on the last day I found new places to explore.
On Sunday morning, packed and ready to leave our fun, I realized we were not moving. One look from the balcony told the story - we were fogged in. Our Cruise Director, James, updated us early and often - the port was closed and we had to wait for the fog to lift. All of the dining rooms were opened. When we were still stuck in the holding pattern, other activities started opening - Club 02 and Circle "C" opened for families and the sports decks opened with tournaments to pass the time. At 11, James announced that lunch would be served - even though we were supposed to be gone by then. Everyone ate well once again! The staff and crew deserve huge praise for their efforts!
At around 1, we inched our way to our terminal, waited for docking and clearance and began the debarkation process. Patience was strained and everyone ran for the doors - self assist and checked luggage alike. Staff members worked hard to pull the checked luggage passengers aside to wait their turn, and those that made it off had to wait in the terminal for self assist pass. I appreciated their efforts!
My debarkation process took less than an hour from the announcement to stepping on the sidewalk, and I had to go through the birth certificate line which takes much longer than passports.
I have read too many negative reviews of this ship, so I thought I would add a positive one. I enjoyed my trip and am ready to book again!