Magic Debuts as 100th Carnival Corp Ship

Carnival expands on active, outdoor cruising By: Marilyn Green
Carnival Magic will sail out of Galveston in November. // © 2011 Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Magic will sail out of Galveston in November. // © 2011 Carnival Cruise Lines

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The Details

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines’ new 3,690-passenger Magic
incorporates tried-and-true Carnival signatures with a liberal sprinkling of new features, many of which will be rolled out to other ships in the fleet.
The ship represents a number of landmarks: the 100th ship in Carnival Corporation’s fleet, the final ship for which Joe Farcus, who has designed all the line’s ships, is the chief designer, and the 10th anniversary addition to Carnival’s commitment in Galveston, Texas.

Two new dining options mark Magic’s appearance: the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub and Cucina del Capitano, an Italian specialty restaurant. Guests can also choose to dine in the main dining rooms, Northern Lights and Southern Lights, the alternative Prime steakhouse or in the buffet-style Lido Marketplace with its New York-style deli doing tremendous business from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. At the buffet, the 24-hour fresh pizza was very popular, and the tandoori and Mongolian wok stations as well as the burrito bar saw plenty of action, too.

There was nearly a mutiny on the inaugural cruise when the RedFrog Pub ran out of Carnival’s ThirstyFrog Red, a private-label draught beer custom-brewed for the cruise line, but, in two nights, the supply was replenished. RedFrog has an excellent guitarist at night and indoor and outdoor seating, with Caribbean snacks, rums and cocktails.

Carnival’s new Italian Cucina del Capitano probably has the most charming ambience on the ship, with family photos from the line’s Italian captains and dishes from their family kitchens. At lunch, guests can choose from a list of handmade pastas and a list of toppings and sauces. At dinner, there is a menu featuring a variety of risottos and pastas. Lunch is free and, for dinner, the fee is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 11 and under — clients are advised to make reservations.

During sea days, the ship’s outdoor lanai area becomes a barbecue, and Cherry on Top, a new addition to the shopping area, features bulk candy bins, gifts and flowers.

Onboard Activities
Magic’s SportsSquare has a jogging track surrounding the first outdoor weightlifting area on a cruise ship, along with Carnival’s first two-level miniature golf course, a Vita exercise course, a lighted multipurpose court for basketball, volleyball and soccer plus ping-pong and foosball tables. Those who prefer to be spectators gravitate to the bar and its large flat-screen televisions.

The adjacent WaterWorks aqua park has a 320-foot Twister spiral water slide, and the new Aqua Play splash park features a gigantic, 300-gallon dump bucket. For adults who prefer other forms of exercise, the ship was alive with dancing day and night on my recent cruise. People jammed into the Vibes disco and other rocking public areas, such as lounges and the atrium, where line-dancing took over. The Play It Again Piano Bar saw crowds every night, and big jackpots at the Hat Trick Casino were discussed throughout the ship, sending yet more people to try the slots and table games.

The fitness room has all the bells and whistles plus complimentary classes and yoga for a nominal fee, and the Cloud 9 Spa provides a range of services, from facials and massages to seminars and makeup sessions, in addition to a thalassotherapy pool and thermal suite.

Family Cruising
Magic offers more than 19,000 square feet of space catering to kids and families, including dedicated spaces for children (Camp Carnival), tweens (Circle C) and teens (Club O2), with organized activities and enthusiastic counselors for each group.

In addition to traditional cabin configurations, stateroom types include two-bathroom, five-berth cabins; connecting staterooms for families; Carnival’s cove balcony cabins, which are closer to the water line; and spa staterooms.

Entertainment is designed for all ages. “Destination: Unknown” is the largest show ever staged on a Carnival ship and stars Jason Byrne, award-winning magician and Las Vegas headliner, and “The Groove Line” is a journey through the 1970s. The Punchliner Comedy Club offers adults-only shows.

Upon Magic’s arrival in Galveston, two more shows will be added. The first is “Carnival Legends,” where passengers dressed as Tina Turner, Michael Jackson or Cher can perform with a live band. The other, “A Kiss Goodnight,” is currently showing as an adults-only show on the Triumph.

The Carnival Magic currently sails seven- to 12-day Mediterranean cruises. Seven-day Caribbean service from Galveston starts Nov. 14.

Fast facts:
Gross Tonnage: 130,000
Length: 1,004 Feet
Guests: 3,690
Crew: 1,386
Guest Decks: 14
Suites and Grand Penthouse Suites: 54
Ocean View With Balcony: 851
Ocean View Without Balcony: 221
Interior Staterooms: 719
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