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 More
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. Less
Cabin review: Interior with Picture Window (obstructed views)
7201 Looks out over the forward observation deck. Very seldom see anyone out there. Nice cabin, plenty of room. Nice how they've left some space behind the cabin door to store you suitcases. A little bumpy when running into a head sea.
We had booked an offshore snorkeling trip combined with lunch on a Deserted Island with Pat & Diane's Snorkel Tours. This was definitely one of the iffier tours I have done.
The weather was cool with a strong wind blowing so I wasn't sure whether the trip would go. We took a taxi over to Lucaya. They have you pay for both legs of the trip when you get out of the taxi, and give you a ticket for the trip back. I was a little concerned about this but it worked just fine.
Went down to where the boat was, and asked if we were in fact going out. The answer was yes, he would put us on a sheltered part of the reef. Nice big boat, big ladders, lets give it a go. We went out about twenty minutes from the port, out in the middle of nowhere they stopped, fought with the mooring buoy for ten minutes and said OK we're here. There is a six foot swell running and the boat is just pitching and rolling, it was enough that DW was getting queasy in thirty minutes.
Well, we had come all this way and spent $130.00 for the excursion so I put my gear on and went in. Absolutely the worst conditions I have ever snorkeled in, and the reef was nothing to write home about. Even the fish were having a hard time fighting the swell which was pushing them all over the place. The current kept pushing us back onto the shallow part of the reef were we had been warned to watch out for fire coral.
I gave it about fifteen minutes and gave up. Good thing I did, it was really hard getting back onto the boat. I was not the first one to give it up, and about thirty minutes or so everyone was back on the boat.
After this they took the boat to the beach and fed us a BBQ Chicken lunch, with lots of rum punch. It was a good afternoon, but after the morning, well.
We took the City Trolley and did the tour of the town. The driver/guide was good and gave an interesting commentary about the things we were seeing. Be warned, the seats are very close together, I'm 6'02" and I couldn't get my knees in straight. When we got to the Hemingway House we jumped off before I froze in that position.
The Hemingway House was interesting but it's a little on the small side so when they bring the tours through everything gets jammed up. Before the cruise I'd read one of his books and some short stories, so well worth seeing where it was written.
Came out and took a few pictures of the lighthouse, then wandered off to Duval Street. Had lunch in a hole in the wall place, excellent sea food, first time we've ever had Crab Nachos. Really good. We hit a few of the art galleries on Duval, picked up a couple of prints for DW, a couple of Margaritas at Sloppy Joes and back to the ship.
We are definitely going to have to take a land trip back to Key West, a thoroughly enjoyable day.
We booked an excursion with Carnival. City Tour and Adastra Gardens to see the Pink Flamingos. Took about three hours, the driver/guide gave a good tour around the city. Stopped at the gardens and saw the Marching Flamingos, for DW this was the high point of the trip. Excellent excursion and well worth the money.
After we wandered down to Junkanoo Beach, again another cool day and the water was cold so we just sat on the beach for an hour, then wandered down to Two Brothers for some fried fish. The fish was good, the service was definitely lacking. Back to town for some shopping, and stopped at the Crew Bar for a beer. The bar tender was hopeless, so after two we went back to the ship. Back on board way before sailing time