Magic Cruises Ahead? Carnival's Newest Ship Debuts This Weekend

April 29, 2011
Read live reports on the Lido Deck Blog.

(3 p.m. EDT) -- It's finally here.

The 130,000-ton, 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic sets sail on its inaugural cruise this weekend, and Cruise Critic will be along for the ride. The nine-day Mediterranean voyage originates in Venice -- where the ship will be officially named on Sunday -- and continues to Barcelona with port calls in Dubrovnik, Messina (Sicily) and Monte Carlo, among others.

Managing Editor John Deiner will be posting live reports from the ship and its destinations on the Lido Deck, our new blog (give it a whirl now and sign up for e-mail updates). Check back often for his take on some of the innovations that Magic is bringing to the table, including:

Cucina del Capitano, a family-style Italian restaurant with a Tuscan decor.

The RedFrog Pub, with late-night hours, a Caribbean vibe and the line's first private-label brew.

SportSquare, a sprawling activities deck with outdoor exercise machines and a ropes course hanging 150 feet above the sea (Deiner may let his wife check out that one).

Cherry on Top, a retail concept proffering everything from cupcakes to tux rentals.

For a preview, look at our slideshow spotlighting 7 Cool Things on Carnival Magic, and watch out for Deiner's reports starting Monday.

--by the Cruise Critic Editorial Staff