Fog is always a curse on the Gulf Coast in winter, and this one was no exception. The cold front was supposed to have gone through on Friday but it stalled out. Sunday morning dawned with thick fog so we knew it was going to be a bad day. I checked out the CC site and sure enough the ship was at anchor so we knew not to go on down to Galveston early. The Marine Traffic website for Galveston was down so no help there. How about the Carnival website? Sure enough, not a word about a fog delay. Shame on Carnival, they really need to do a better job of keeping everyone updated.
Never did find anything on their web site. I asked on the CC board about noon if anyone had an update and was given the number to text to. Carnival answered right back and said boarding would start at 4 p.m.
We arrived at Lighthouse parking at 4.45, bags on the bus and we were at the terminal at 5. The line went all the way down the terminal to the end of the building. looked like it was going to be a long wait. About 5.30 one of the carnival staff came down the line asking for platinum cruisers, so we went with her. Straight up to the door, into the terminal and by 6 we were on the ship. Thanks to those who had all the nasty comments to make.
First time on the Magic and first impressions did not disappoint. Very bright, very clean and extremely well laid out. The rooms were not ready so off to the Red Frog pub for the first of many visits.
Went up to the room about 7 to get rid of the bags, we were in a 4J on Deck 7 which is an interior with a window looking out onto the decks that run across the front of the ship. Excellent cabin, plenty of space and a nice view. Met the steward who proved to be great, kept everything in great shape all week.
Have to say that it was a little bumpy all the way forward, she seemed to pound a lot in a head sea in a force 5 which surprised me. I wonder what it will be like if she gets into some really heavy weather. Sure wasn't anything that kept anyone awake at night on this go round.
There are so many dining options on this ship that you don't have to stand in long lines unless you absolutely want to. Sure, at noon everyday there are long lines at the Lido buffet, take a look at the Indian place which is normally empty, the salad bar down on Deck 5 is normally empty, fried shrimp and curry puffs in the Red Frog Pub, the Italian place on Deck 11. Try something different and no lines. The only one we didn't bother with was the BBQ down on Deck 5. We did the Italian place one night and it was excellent, well worth the extra $12.00, although there is no extra charge at lunch.
We had Anytime Dining in the evening in the MDR which worked well, we never waited more than five minutes, and the staff were efficient and helpful. No problems with food quality or temperature. I will say that Carnival is definitely getting cheap, no lamb chops which was always one of our more enjoyable dinners, just braised lamb which is the cheapest cut they can get. I guess next time we'll have to find something else.
We didn't bother with any of the big shows, and missed most of the activities on the Lido. Went to a couple of the family comedy shows and they were both enjoyable. The piano bar was a definite plus with the new non-smoking policy.
DW gave Carnival some money in the Casino, she said she was up at one point but left it all behind.
On the down side I will point out that the weather was cool the whole time so there didn't seem to be a lot of competition for the chairs around the swimming pools. I wonder what it's going to be like when the warm weather gets here and there is just those two pools to go round. I can't help but compare it to the Legend with the three pools and just a much better layout. Also, the Serenity area is up on one of the top decks and the wind just howls across the deck. Every time I walked through there you would see everyone bundled up, and a very bored bar tender wishing he was anywhere but there.
The whole cruise just flew by, and before we knew it we were back in Galveston. No problem getting in this time, they came and got us from the lounge at 8 a.m., we were back at the truck in 45 minutes which is the fastest we've ever come off (apart from the cruise to nowhere last year where we didn't go through Customs).
Would we cruise the Magic again - Absolutely. DW loved the ship and is already asking when can we go back. There were 4100 passengers on this sailing and it very seldom seemed like it. I never did figure out where everyone was hiding. I got two books read, ate a lot of good food, saw some places I'd never been before, and got to turn my cell phone off for a few days. Cruising just doesn't get any better than that.