Travis Family on Carnival Magic - Summer 2011: Carnival Magic Cruise Review by Chris Travis

Carnival Magic 5
Chris Travis

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Travis Family on Carnival Magic - Summer 2011

Sail Date: August 2011
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
We have just completed a 9 night Carnival Magic cruise in the Med and had a fantastic time. As we are new to cruising as a family I found the Cruise Critic Reviews helpful in my own planning for the trip - and so wanted to share some feedback for fellow travellers to aid your own planning in the future.

We embarked from Barcelona and we found the boarding process to be smooth and effortless. Compared to some other Ports we visited I would suggest that Barcelona is well organised and a good place to use for departing on a cruise. Debarkation is of course the time none of us want or like but that worked well too-the cab line was long but the wait was maybe only 30 minutes and cabs were plentiful.

Our biggest concern going into the Cruise was that we opted for the Outside "5 berth" family Cabin. Would that work? Well - it did! Yes - we had some "moments" when all of us were in there together but overall it was fine and it allowed us to spend our money in far better More ways. It really is a good sized cabin for 5. Our kids are 9, 11 and 15 and it still worked for us - so for younger kids you will be fine. I was also amazed by the cabin sound proofing - for 9 days you would never have known we had people either side of us. Very good! We were at the back of the ship and very low level (deck 1) so we did get some engine noise and also some noise when docking but it was not too bad. Further mid ships may be better though.

The ship itself is magnificent and really does have something for everyone. The crew really do look after the ship and there seemed to be almost constant cleaning and touching up - especially in the early mornings you can see the Team hard at work to keep her gleaming.

The Sports Square was great for all the family. Much golf was played as a family and the kids got to see both of their parents on the Rope Runners course!

Food and beverage choices were plentiful. The "Sweet Spot" in the Lido Marketplace was my only real disappointment as deserts were quite bland -looked good and sounded good but taste was bland. Other than that we enjoyed all our meals and also treated ourselves to the Steak House one night and that was well worth the extra fee. A truly memorable meal. We also very much enjoyed the atmosphere in the Red Frog -a great place for pre dinner drinks. Highly recommended!!

The Day at Sea was busy!! We learned over the 9 days that most folks do get off in Port each day and so you have much of the ship only half full or less until maybe 3pm. Then it fills up again. But for the day at sea extra sun beds were laid on but most were taken (or reserved with a towel) before 8 in the morning !!

We didn't use the Kids Clubs and the shows were not really to our taste. We did though enjoy the Seaside Theatre and the movies shown under the starlit sky. As I have said - something for all tastes and for everyone to enjoy.

Enjoy the Magic - we certainly did!! Less

Published 08/21/11

Cabin review: 6N1389 Deluxe Ocean View

Corridor outside had quite a bit of engine noise but inside it was fine. The cabin was well insulated to noise and couldn't hear anything from neighbours and only minimal corridor noise. Good to have the 2 bathrooms (only one toilet though) due to 5 of us sharing. These cabins are sold as Family cabins and they did work out ok for us. Good amount of storage -again considering were 5 sharing. Well worth the cost saving to have this cabin rather than 2 adjoining or a balcony - spend the money on cocktails and excursions instead !!

Read All Deluxe Ocean View (6N) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

This was Day Two for us and so we took an organised Carnival Excursion -very expensive when compared to arranging yourself but we felt it was wise. The Port Shuttle carries a small Fee per person and does not take you to the station - there is still a 15 minute walk from the drop off point. Then there is only 1 train an hour from Livorno to Florence. Quite risky to make your way to Florence under your own steam as you may miss the boat if the trains do not run to time!! In Florence you should try to visit the Accademia to see the original sculpture of David but do pre-book tickets through the official website in advance (

You get a guaranteed entry time and best the queues for a small surcharge -well worth it. Kids under 18 that have European ID get in FREE to all Italian Museums so carry that ID with you at all times

Also worth taking a look at the Cathedral and the Ponte Vechhio.

Loved Monaco as we were able to dock in the main port next to the Super Yachts of the rich and famous allowing you walk right off into town. We only went ashore for 2 hours but walked the Grand Prix circuit and saw many of the sites. Lots of glitz and glamour -and magnificent cars. Well worth getting off the boat to see the ship in all her glory in this fabulous setting.

Here we used AP Tours and they worked out fine. We did a tour to Pompeii, Positano and Sorrento for well under half the price that Carnival wanted to charge. It was a 9 hour day trip on a small bus for only 19 travellers and ended in a lovely restaurant in Sorrento (The Red Lion) where we had the best meal of all of the Italian Ports of call.

Highly recommend Pompeii -again under 18's with European photo ID can get in Free. If you do make your own way there instead then do take a guided tour as there are so many stories to hear.

Loved Positano- do be sure to try and visit the Amalfi coast!!

Read 1162 Naples Reviews

To save significant cost we pre-booked rail tickets with TrenItalia. Major cost savings compared to an official Cruise Excursion - we even travelled First Class on a Eurostar train. There is an excellent and free shuttle from the boat to the Port Entrance and from there its an easy 10 minute walk along 1 road to the station. But - our train to Rome was 20 minutes late arriving and coming back it was 20 minutes late leaving!! I do advise allowing plenty of spare time to be sure you do not cut it too fine.

Rome was HOT!! Again you must prebook attractions. Use this official site for the Colosseum and beat the queues -they looked horrendous!! ( Kids under 18 that have European ID get in FREE to all Italian Museums so carry that ID with you at all times

We also had a great lunch near the Colosseum, did the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. But as it was so hot we got back to the station 2 hours before the train time we had booked and could not change the tickets. So-you may be best not pre-booking specific trains and actually taking the Regional trains that take a little longer than the Intercity but are more frequent and at even lower costs - they give you some more flexibility if you cannot stay out all day like us.

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Chris Travis
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