I was skeptical to take another cruise out of Galveston with Carnival. My last cruise on the Ecstasy was five nights with stops in Progreso and Cozumel in June of 2008. On that cruise, I had an obstructed ocean view and felt like a stranger in a strange land. I’m not Texan. I don’t like country music. I have no tolerance for children running around in my vicinity. I don’t even like frozen sweet tropical drinks or mass-produced American beers.
This August my in-laws invited my spouse and me to join them for a 7 night cruise on the Carnival Magic in mid November. They are in their late Seventies. This was an invitation I couldn’t pass up. Spending time with parents is a limited commodity as we get older.
I did a lot of research mostly at Cruise Critic to find out how to maximize the potential with what could have been a disastrously disappointing experience. It completely paid off. This cruise converted me to a Carnival aficionado, and now I’ve caught the cruise bug.
I wanted a more private feel on this cruise so I chose a spa balcony and never regretted it. There’s plenty of room for two with the three closets, two for hanging clothes and the third with extra shelves, multiple drawers and cubbies in the long desk, ample under bed storage, two small side tables with space, and 6 small shelves in the bathroom around the mirror for personal toiletries. The bed was very comfortable with fresh linens and daily turn-down service with pillow chocolates and delightful towel animals. The spa amenities included Elemis shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower gel and hand soap. These were replaced as I used them with a simple note left on the desk to my excellent cabin steward, Herbaju. The coconut pillow spray was a nice touch, but not my favorite. My cabin was always maintained spotlessly. The shower water pressure was fantastic—better than at home and adjustable by temperature from icy to scalding. Some smart soul who had my cabin previously placed two sticky hooks on the wall across from the bed which turned out to be a nice place to dry wet clothing from our rainy itinerary. There was also a retractable clothesline in the shower proving perfect for wet bathing suits. The room also included a hair dryer which I never used, and a for-fee mini fridge I used for two splits of Korbel to drink on the balcony as we departed Cozumel. The balcony was modest, but private enough. Two deck chairs fit nicely (one reclined by there was no room to use it in a non-upright position) and a small table filled my private ocean view. Cabin temperature was adjustable as well, and I never had a problem with the air conditioning.I had organized a Cabin Crawl and had an opportunity to see all kinds of cabins on the Magic. From the smallest interior on deck one to Ocean Suites, the cabins are uniformly clean and ample with storage. The only décor difference between regular and spa cabins was the color scheme of the carpeting, bed runner, and artwork. I did find the cove balconies on deck three attractive with their proximity to the water.I got a tip from a fellow group member about how to best insure that we’d have excellent service from our steward. On the first day, I left a small bag of chocolates with $20 on the desk with a note. I told him that we appreciated everything he did and that this was in addition to the standard daily tipping we were paying. I guess it was a bit of a bribe, but it was well spent. When I organized the cabin crawl, I also had a fifth of lemon vodka delivered to the room for shots, and Herbaju made sure that we had an extra-large bucket of ice to chill the bottle for my guests. He also took ours and our in laws luggage together early on debarkation so we could easily find our bags at the port.