My wife and I are well traveled, even though this is only our second cruise. We know a good trip when we see one.
We booked a cruise on the Carnival Magic, part of a group of twenty-five, including friends and relatives. It was a romantic getaway, considering we were celebrating our recent wedding anniversary. We came the night before, on January 3rd, and stayed at the Hyatt, in Ft. Lauderdale, less than a mile from port. The place had a shuttle. Embarkation went smoothly, much more so than my first cruise, which was also Carnival, but that one was out of Miami. In fact, almost everything about this cruise was better.
Our ports of call were: St. Maarten/St. Martin, St. Kitts, San Juan, and Turk. We didn’t make Turk. The seas were too rough to dock. Safety over everything! I was extremely disappointed, to miss out on taking great photos. Debarkation for the three remaining ports went much better than on my previous cruise. Why? I don’t know. We stood in long lines the first time. On the Magic it was off – easy, on – easy. Maybe they refined the system.
We did an island tour in St. Kitts and St. Maarten, both the French and the Dutch side. Don’t worry. You don’t need your passport to cross the border. In San Juan we took a cultural experience tour.
For anyone who has cruised, you know there’s are all kinds of activities. I’ll just go through what we did.
On the Magic there is Deck 10, the Lido Deck. This is the social gathering spot, the center of town. We met with friends, ate delicious hamburgers and even had seafood. There is a pool we never took advantage of. There was the Showtime theatre which showed excellent song and dance revues. We were there multiple times. We played and won a little at the Hat Trick Casino but we’re not gamblers. We also listened to the excellent bands at Ocean Plaza on Deck 5, the Promenade Deck.
Restaurants? We had excellent meals at Southern Lights, lobster at the Northern Lights, and a ton of food at Cucina del Capitano. A highlight of the trip was drinking and verbally duking it out with Houston Texans fans as we watched their Texans beat our Bills in a playoff game at the Redfrog Pub. Another highlight was our Cloud 9 Spa balcony room. This allows you to take advantage of some aspects of the Cloud 9 Spa located on Deck 14. The spa section had an exclusive elevator to the facilities and the Thalasso-therapy pool and steam rooms. We didn’t do anything else. Too expensive! But I’m glad I booked it. I’m never going back to a non-balcony, non-spa stateroom again. I would recommend that to anyone.
Another highlight was the Chef’s Table. For a price you and about 11 other guests tour and dine in the galley on a ten-course meal and unlimited wine/champagne while being waited on hand and foot by the Head Chef and his lieutenants. Each course is explained. A tour of the galley is given. It’s a special experience.
Our cabin was meticulously cleaned and service in most areas was prompt and friendly. I know some travelers love to point out the dark side of a trip. I’m not that person, but if I had to pick any low-lights in this great adventure it would be a subpar mattress—I expected better.
The primary disappointment was the quality of the mattresses. Carnival definitely should spend more effort in this area.