Carnival Magic: 7-night Western Caribbean Cruise

Saturday, December 3 - Saturday, December 10, 2016

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Day 1: Embarkation

I’ll start off by saying that this was the seventh cruise that my husband and I had been on. Our first cruise was in 2001 with Royal Caribbean on an older, smaller ship, and we absolutely hated it and were sure we would never cruise again. But friends of ours kept telling us to try Disney Cruise Line, convinced we would like a Disney cruise, and they were right. We liked Disney so much that we went on 5 Disney cruises in all. Unfortunately our last cruise with Disney had a number of issues that made the cruise unenjoyable for the most part, and Disney did nothing to correct the issues. So we decided to try another cruise line, and after seeing Carnival Magic’s prices were good, and after reading several good reviews, we decided to give the Carnival Magic a try, and we are very glad we did. I would say for the price and considering everything about our cruise experience, we would give them 4.25 stars out of 5. Now if the price was more, they would get less stars, but we feel that for what we paid, we are very happy with what we received.

A photo of the Disney Fantasy Ship form the Carnival Magic ship while docked at Port Canaveral.

Disney Fantasy from Carnival Magic as we get ready to sail away

This review is lengthy because when I’m planning a cruise, or any vacation, I’m the type of person who likes to read and read about my upcoming trip. I like to know what other people did, what they liked and didn’t like, and what recommendations they have, so that way I have an idea of what to expect, and also so that I’ll have an idea of what to possibly do or not do. Reading other people’s reviews also gets me excited about my upcoming trips! I hope that my review of the Carnival Magic is helpful for you.

The main focus of my review is the food, because I’ve noticed many people are inquiring about the food on cruises, so I hope this review will be helpful for you if you’re curious about the food choices on the Carnival Magic.

(This is the first vacation I decided to write about, and looking back we realize we should have taken more photos of things on and off the ship. I promise that for my future vacation stories I will have more photos.)

 

Getting To The Ship

We decided to use Go Port Canaveral to save money on parking. (Here is a link to the pricing for parking at the cruise terminal at Port Canaveral: Cruise Terminal Parking pricing and info.) At the time of writing this blog, the cost to park at the terminal for 7 nights is $128.  The cost of parking at the Double Tree Hotel is free. What you pay for with Go Port Canaveral is the shuttle service. They have a shuttle service that takes you from the Double Tree Hotel parking lot to your ship for $7 per person each way, and a shuttle that brings you from your ship to the parking lot for the same price. (These prices are what they are at the time of writing this blog. Click on links above for current pricing.) So for 2 people round-trip the cost is $28, saving two people $100 compared to parking at the cruise terminal.

We have used other park and shuttle services before to take us to the port, and those services were much faster. We arrived at the Double Tree Hotel parking lot a little before noon. Go Port Canaveral claims they have shuttles running every hour on the hour, but that wasn’t the case. We had to wait until after 1 p.m. to be shuttled to the port, and the traffic going into the port and at the port was soooooo slooooooow. The places we have parked at in the past cost slightly more, but we waited a very short time for the shuttle to arrive to shuttle us to the port. We would rather pay slightly more and not have to wait over an hour for the shuttle to pick
us up.

Photo of people in line inside of Carnival Cruise terminal at Port Canaveral.

View of Carnival Terminal shortly before boarding Carnival Magic

We didn’t arrive in the terminal until about 2:15, and there were two long lines at the check-in counters. They had lots of employees checking people in, so the line moved at a decent pace. The good news is that once we were checked in, the ship was cleared for general boarding, so we could walk right onto the ship. After going up the terminal escalator, my husband took some photos looking down at the terminal, and the lines had gone down considerably. That’s because we were some of the last people to board the ship! (Those photos are time stamped 2:41, so it was getting late, and we hadn’t eaten anything all day, except for a few almonds, because we thought we would be on the ship before 1:00. Things don’t always go as planned, even with the best planning.)

 

Finally On The Ship!

Once on board, we headed straight for our cabin - #1352. This cabin is Category 4B Interior. This room is located on deck one, midship, and is an inside cabin. (Here is a link to Carnival Magic's deck plan: Deck Plan.)

Photo of interior cabin category 4B with king bed on the Carnival Magic.

Our cabin, #1352, on Carnival Magic

For people who wold like a room with minimal motion, this location is the best you can get. By being closer to the water line, and the middle of the ship both by being midship and an inside cabin, you feel the minimum amount of motion that you can on a cruise ship. Plus, this is a larger ship, which helps reduce the motion, and of course stabilizers help to reduce the roll of the ship.

(If you are concerned about motion sickness, and you’ve never cruised before, I recommend bringing along with you different things to alleviate motion sickness. For my husband and me, we used to use ginger pills, which you can get in the vitamin section at stores, along with motion sickness bracelets which have a couple of smooth round things that push on a certain part of your wrist that helps alleviate motion sickness. For some people those don’t work. They also sell patches for motion sickness, and we saw a number of people wearing patches on our last cruise. You can also use motion sickness pills, or any other thing(s) out there that might help you. Also, if you’re prone to motion sickness, but want to try a cruise ship vacation, I suggest sailing on a shorter duration cruise on a large cruise ship, like three nights or so, just to test it out.) Now, back to the review.

After putting our backpacks in the cabin, we headed for the elevators to go to the Lido deck for food. Yay! We were almost about to get some lunch! But the elevators were taking forever, and there were lots of people waiting to use them, plus they had some elevators dedicated to only employee use for delivering luggage to the cabins, so we decided to take the stairs from deck one to deck 10 on empty stomachs. We were running on empty, and we could tell - that’s not an easy climb if you’re low on energy. But we did it! And we had taken the Aft stairs, so we arrived right next to the entrance to the Lido Restaurant, which offers several different all you care to eat food stations. Yes! Food was finally in sight!

Photo of Cucina del Capitano sign and entrance with stairs leading up to Cucina Del Capitano on the Carnival Magic.

Stairs leading to Cucina del Capitano

Food!

We had planned on going to Cucina Del Capitano for their free lunch - The Captain's Pasta Bar - which I had read lots of good reviews on. We couldn’t find it, so we asked an employee where it was. He told us where it was, then said, “But it closed at 2:30, so you can’t eat there now.”

“Noooooo!” I thought to myself. With all my review reading and cruise planning, I somehow didn’t know that lunch ended there at 2:30 each day. Bummer! Oh well, it’s not like there aren’t other food choices.

“Fine, let’s try the buffet,” we decided.

Photo of Chef's Choice Italian menu at the Lido Restaurant on Carnival Magic.

Day one offered an Italian Menu at Chef's Choice Buffet at the Carnival Magic Lido Restaurant

Day One (Embarkation Day)

Lido Buffet

They were offering Italian food that day at the food station that rotates each day between different International cuisines; it's called Chef's Choice. We each filled up our plates and searched for a table. And searched. And searched. Finally we found a free table - a not entirely cleared table, but a free table with dirty dishes on it is better than no table at all.

My first bite was of the Melanzana Caponata. I love eggplant, so I was expecting a real treat for my taste buds; instead I bit into a lukewarm, bland eggplant. The other items I tried were all so so. My husband felt the same about his choices - nothing disgusting, but nothing really tasty either.

Photo of area at Guy's Burger Joint where food is being cooked and served on the Lido Deck on Carnival Magic.

Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Magic Lido Deck

Photo of the french fries and Guy's Burgers being served to people in line at Guy's Burger Joint on the Lido Deck of Carnival Magic.

The line comes and goes at Guy's Burger Joint, but it's worth the wait even if there's a line - Carnival Magic

Guy’s Burger Joint

We wanted good food, and I had read tons of great reviews about Guy’s Burger Joint, so we decided to try Guy’s Burgers. We were both hoping those burgers lived up to their reputation, but we remained skeptical, realizing that not everyone’s tastes are the same.

I ordered the Pig Patty, and my husband ordered the Pig Patty with no cheese and a Plain Jane with no cheese. We found out that ordering a burger with no cheese at Guy’s Burger Joint is not a simple task for the employees. It slowed down the line, the employees kept trying to hand my husband burgers with cheese on them, their English wasn’t very good, and I think they kept forgetting “no cheese,” so it took a few extra minutes, but he finally got his burgers with no cheese.

We went to the toppings bar and put our toppings on our burgers. I chose lots and lots of grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, a decent amount of crispy bacon pieces, tomato slices, chipotle mayo, and salted the onions and tomatoes.

Photo of Guy's Burger Joint Topping Bar with trays of grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, and crispy bacon on Carnival Magic.

Guy's Burger Joint Topping Bar (From Right to Left is Grilled Onions, Grilled Mushrooms, and Crispy Bacon) - Carnival Magic Lido Deck

Photo of tray with crispy fried potatoes at the Toppings Bar at Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Magic.

Guy's Burger Joint Toppings Bar - Crispy Fried Potatoes Topping, on Carnival Magic Lido Deck

Photo of trays with shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, pickles, and jalapeno peppers at the Toppings Bar at Guy's Burger Joint.

Guy's Burger Joint Toppings Bar - Shredded Lettuce, Tomatoes, Raw Onion, Pickles, and Jalapeno Peppers, on Carnival Magic Lido Deck

Photo of entire Toppings Bar area at Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Magic.

Guy's Burger Joint Toppings Bar with toppings accessible from both sides - Carnival Magic Lido Deck

We quickly found a table outside in the Guy’s Burger Joint table area, and bit into our burgers. They were delicious! We were so happy with our burgers. Yummy! Just thinking of them now, I’m wanting one of those delicious burgers. They lived up to the reviews and more. Wow! The buns are made fresh daily, so I’ve read, and they were fresh. They grill the buns just right. The meat is tasty and moist and perfectly cooked. The super melty cheese is oh so good! And they put just the right amount of cheese on each burger. It isn’t simply cheese - it’s a cheesy concoction, and, from what I understand, they make it on the ship. The grilled onions were thick and grilled long enough to be perfectly grilled, the mushrooms were grilled just right, but I wasn’t a fan of them, even though my husband enjoyed the mushrooms, the bacon was cooked until it was nice and crispy and then broken up into smaller pieces, and the bacon added yumminess to an already super yummy cheese burger. The tomato slices were the right thickness, and the tomatoes were always good tomatoes.

We enjoyed our burgers so much that we forgot to take photos of them! Oopsies! But my husband quickly remedied that by taking photos of  the Guy’s Burger Joint grilling area and toppings bar. So while we have no photo of our burgers, you can use your imagination of your perfect burger by viewing the burgers at the grilling area, and the toppings and condiments area. Now that you’ve imagined your perfect burger, and your mouth is watering for one of those tasty burgers, I apologize. That was so cruel of me to dangle those tasty burgers in front of you like that. I wish I could provide you with one, but I can’t. I’m so very sorry.

After our delicious burgers, and waiting for my husband to take photos of the Guy’s Burgers area, we went back into the Lido buffet area, only to see that every food station was closed because of the upcoming muster drill. So no more food for us until after the drill. What?! I have to wait maybe an hour or longer before I can eat again?! I guess I can make it. After all, I was full and very satisfied after that delicious cheese burger. But I really wanted to try some of the desserts that I saw at Sweet Spot! On the bright side, there would be plenty more desserts to try during the next few days, so I got over it pretty quickly.

Photo of midship pool and large outdoor movie screen on the Lido Deck on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Lido Deck

Pause The Fun For The Mandatory Drill

They were now announcing where the muster stations were, and absolutely no one was listening, not even me. I would try to listen, but there was so much noise I couldn’t hear what was being said, and besides that there were things to see - a whole new ship to explore. I was so distracted. The ropes course, the mini golf course, the water slides, the water fun area for kids and kids at heart, the basket ball court, and so much more to explore. But we were being directed to go to our muster stations, and we never want to be the people who are delaying the muster drill - you know, those people whose cabin numbers must be announced because they haven’t yet made it to their muster station, and we all have to wait, and wait, and wait until everyone shows up so the drill can begin and end. But we understand, because for our first two cruises we did not know that the fun starts earlier than the “all on board” time - we thought that everyone gets there just before sailing. Seriously, we had no idea that we can, and should, get to the ship earlier, so for our first two cruises, immediately after boarding the ship, we were being told we had do go directly to our cabin to get our life jacket and proceed directly to our muster stations. We received a few evil eyes both times, and we couldn’t figure out why. Then on our third cruise we realized, after waiting and waiting for the last people to get to the muster stations, that everyone is anxious for the muster drill to be over so the fun can continue, and getting there late is delaying everyone else’s fun. So we're never late to the the mandatory drill anymore. But thankfully we don’t have to stand outside in the hot sun with smelly life jackets on anymore. The drills are much easier than they used to be.

After the drill, we went to our cabin (#1352, category 4B Interior) and our luggage was waiting in front of our door. We brought our luggage in, and my husband photographed the cabin. It was a cozy cabin. Although not big, it never felt too small. The cabin is 185 sq. ft., and it has two twin beds that convert to a King. Our suit cases all fit underneath our bed, and there was ample closet space. The bathroom is too small for two people getting ready at the same time, but it was sufficient for us. The decor was fine, though we did think it was so odd that there were two prints on the walls, one on each side of the bed, and they were the exact same prints! I guess they got a really great deal on those prints that they couldn’t pass up, so instead of two different prints in the small cabin, you get two of the exact same print. It didn’t matter to us, in fact it made us laugh.

Photo of king size bed, desk, and entrance door to cabin number 1352, category 4B interior cabin on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Cabin #1352 - Interior Cabin, category 4B - view from dusty headboard (Seriously, the top of the headboard was so dusty.)

Photo of sink and toilet in bathroom of interior cabin 1352, category 4B, on Carnival Magic.
Photo of toilet and shower in bathroom of interior cabin 1352, category 4B, on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Cabin #1352 bathroom vanity (above)
and shower (below)

Photo of Florida Coast taken from an upper deck on Carnival Magic as we sail away from Port Canaveral.

View of Florida Coast as we sail away on Carnival Magic from Port Canaveral

Sail Away Party

Then we went up to the Lido Deck for the Sail Away Party, which was such a let down. On Disney they throw a super fun, exciting deck party. The Cruise Director and a number of staff gets involved with fun, loud music and dancing, and lots of Disney characters. They have different things going on to entertain the guests. Guests of all ages enthusiastically get involved, with most of the guests taking part, or at least watching the party. But on Carnival not even the Cruise Director was in sight. Just a D.J. playing loud music with a few people dancing. It was so awkward looking, like Carnival just doesn’t know how to throw a fun party. But that was no big deal, we went to the railing to watch us sail away, and then to explore the ship.

SportSquare is located on Deck 12, between midship and aft. It has a Basket Ball court enclosed in a high net. The court has two rims, so you can play full court games, although the width is less than standard width, but the length was good. My husband and the fellow passengers he played basket ball with played the width beyond the painted lines so that it made the width wide enough to play nearly a standard full court size game. This area is also used for dodge ball games, which are scheduled in the Fun Times, and I believe also volley ball. There is an area adjacent to the basketball court, outside of the net, for people to sit or stand and watch the games being played.

Photo of two people on the basketball court at SportSquare on Carnival Magic.

Nearly full court size basketball court at SportSquare on Carnival Magic. That's my husband with the white shirt - he loves basketball.

Photo of miniature golf and the ropes course at Sport Square on Carnival Magic.

Miniature golf and ropes course at SportSquare on Carnival Magic

Photo of miniature golf course and ropes course at SportSquare on Carnival Magic with SeaDogs hot dog stand in the distance.

Part of SportSquare with SeaDogs hot dog stand in the distance - on Carnival Magic

The SportSquare also has gym equipment outdoors for working out. There is a miniature golf course, which I really wanted to play at least once, but we never got around to it. There were sometimes a number of people playing miniature golf at a time, while other times there would be just one or two groups, or even no one playing. Above the miniature golf course is a ropes course, which we did do later during the cruise, and it was fun to try, but not really that exciting.

There is a walking/jogging track that goes all around SportSquare; it isn’t made of that soft jogging material; I think it’s wood decking painted blue, but it wasn’t too hard to jog on. I think the jogging track is a little less than 1/8 of a mile. Placed along the jogging track are different agility or exercise things to do if you desire, the same as ones that are placed around many jogging areas you’ll find on land. The jogging track was never very congested, but occasionally there would be two or three people walking along side by side very slowly completely unaware of the fact that they were on a jogging track, and oblivious to the fact that people were having to go around them, and sometimes couldn’t hear me saying, “excuse me, passing on your left” or “passing on your right.”  But I didn’t let that bother me, I simply jogged around them when I had the opportunity to do so. It’s not a dedicated jogging track in that it’s also the walkway for getting to one are of SportSquare to another, so it’s not really the passengers’ faults for being a little in the way.

They also have a hot dog stand called SeaDogs open some times on SportSquare. We didn't try it.

After exploring SportSquare on Deck 12, we headed over to Deck 15 which is located Forward on the ship; the entire deck is an adult only area called Serenity. Actually, there is a small part of Deck 15 that does allow children, and that’s at the back side of it where the slide entrance is, but that area is mostly not in view of the rest of Serenity, which is a quiet area that has many different comfortable items to rest on, like hammocks, big cabana chairs for two, and so on that all have comfy cushions and pillows. There are two large spas on this deck, one on each side of the ship overlooking the ocean, or port, depending on if you’re at sea or not.

Photo of hammocks and oversized lounge chairs at Serenity adult only area on Carnival Magic.

Hammocks and Chairs at Serenity Adult Only Area on Carnival Magic

Photo of oversized lounge chairs for two at Serenity adult only area on Carnival Magic with water slide in the background.

Serenity Adult Only Area on Carnival Magic

Photo of jacuzzi overlooking ocean at Serenity adult only area on Carnival Magic.

One of Two Spas at Serenity Adult Only Area on Carnival Magic

The Secret Room?

Next we headed downstairs to an area that was possibly part of Cloud Nine Spa. We can’t find it on any of the ship maps, but we know it exists, because we were in this secret room, and we have photos to prove it. When we wandered into this room, six other people were there, but they left shortly after we arrived. It had floor to ceiling windows around the entire front of the room that overlooked the ocean. As you can see from the photos, it had sitting areas to relax in, and there was self-serve drinks - water with lemon, water with orange, and I think coffee or hot tea. An employee walked in then out of the room, so I’m assuming we were allowed in that room. Another couple popped in and explored, then left. We ended up going there a couple of other times during our cruise, to find the same situation - an empty room, or nearly empty room, then another couple walking in, somewhat confused, glancing around curiously, then leaving. So odd. It was like a secret room, and we discovered it! Yay! And the prize for finding the secret room was absolute quietness, all you can drink water, and a somewhat awkward view of the ocean - I say that because the windows were slanted in such a way that you really couldn’t stand next to them and look down at the ocean, but you could look out over the ocean, however it felt strange and made me feel somewhat claustrophobic.

Photo of a quiet room with seating and lots of windows on Carnival Magic near Cloud 9 Spa and Serenity adult only area.

The Secret Room must be healthy because it has wheat grass

Photo of a quiet room with seating and lots of windows on Carnival Magic near Cloud 9 Spa and Serenity adult only area.

The Secret Room that we can't find on any of the ship's maps - Carnival Magic

Photo of water dispensers in a room with lots of windows on Carnival Magic near Cloud 9 Spa and Serenity adult only area on Carnival Magic.

The Secret Room offers free water! - Carnival Magic

After spending a few minutes in the secret room that’s located on I have no idea what deck, but somewhere near deck 15, we decided it was about time for a cocktail. Am I right or am I right? Yes, I’m right, and we knew of the perfect place for a pre-dinner cocktail - Alchemy Bar! Plus, we wanted to explore Deck 5 - the Promenade Deck - where Alchemy Bar is located.

Photo of mixologist making drinks with guests sitting at Alchemy Bar on Carnival Magic Promenade Deck.

Carnival Magic Alchemy Bar on Deck 5 - Promenade Deck

Promenade Deck

Alchemy Bar is on Deck 5, near midship. Carnival describes Alchemy Bar on their website as a “unique vintage-themed cocktail ‘pharmacy.’ " They say they have elixirs to remedy what ails you. Nothing was ailing me, but I was excited to try their martini flight, and if you go there after 6:00 p.m., you get $1.00 off of a martini flight. The martini flight was $19.95 without the discount. (Here is a link to Alchemy Bar's drink menu: Alchemy Bar menu.) The normal size martinis were about $15 each, if I remember correctly. We decided to explore some of Deck 5 before getting our martini flight. More on Alchemy Bar in just a bit.

Photo of seating areas at Red Frog Pub on Carnival Magic Promenade Deck.

Red Frog Pub on Deck 5 - Promenade Deck - Carnival Magic

Photo of seating area at Red Frog Pub on Carnival Magic Promenade Deck.

Red Frog Pub on Deck 5 - Promenade Deck - Carnival Magic

Photo of pub chairs and game tables at Red Frog Pub on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Red Frog Pub on Deck 5 - Promenade Deck - Carnival Magic

Located next to Alchemy Bar is Red Frog Pub which offers pub grub for an additional fee, and of course alcoholic beverages, which includes its own private label beer called Thirstyfrog Red. Here is a link to the drink menu: Red Frog Pub drink menu. Plenty of seating is available, along with a couple of games to play, including a foosball table.

Photo of the Taste Bar menu on Carnival Magic.

The Taste Bar Menu - Deck 5 - Promenade Deck - Carnival Magic

Photo of Short Ribs Croquettes and Pumpkin Bisque from The Taste Bar on Carnival Magic.

The Taste Bar - Short Ribs Croquettes and Pumpkin Bisque - Deck 5 - Promenade Deck - Carnival Magic

The Taste Bar

From Red Frog Pub we walked around back to near Alchemy Bar, where we came upon The Taste Bar, which offers complimentary appetizer size samples of different foods from restaurants on Carnival ships. For our cruise it was open from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, Thursday, and Friday. Fun Times listed Saturday’s offerings to be from Cucina del Capitano, but what was actually being offered was from Prime Steakhouse. We learned throughout our cruise that what is listed in Fun Times isn’t always accurate. The sample offerings from Prime Steakhouse were Short Ribs Croquettes with chipotle aioli, guava & tomato relish, and Pumpkin Bisque with sour cream. The Short Ribs Croquettes were decent, and I was surprised that I liked the Pumpkin Bisque. I’m not a fan of pumpkin, but this had a curry flavor, and it had a very good flavor to it - it was so good that we went back for seconds. There was never a long line at The Taste Bar, and usually there was no line.

Then we walked outside on deck 5 (Promenade deck) where a lanai wraps around the entire deck. There are 4 spas on the Promenade Deck, two on each side, and they were usually not crowded, and often they were empty. It was about 6:00 p.m. The sun was setting, and there was hardly anyone else outside. As we walked around the lanai, we began to smell a wonderful aroma - the smell of Guy’s Pig & Anchor bar-b-que smokehouse. The next day’s bar-b-que was already cooking! My husband took photos of the menu as we breathed in the delightful smell of bar-b-que.

From there we walked to deck 5 Aft. We were the only people there. We watched the beautiful sunset, and got a few photos of it as the sun went down.

Photo of Guy's Pig & Anchor Menu on Carnival Magic Promenade Deck lanai area.

Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-b-que Smokehouse Menu - Carnival Magic Promenade Deck

Photo of Guy's Pig & Anchor on Carnival Magic Promenade Deck lanai area.

Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-b-que Smokehouse emitting a fabulouse aroma - Carnival Magic Promenade Deck

Photo of a sunset from the aft lanai on the Promenade Deck of Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Promenade Deck, Aft - Sunset with cressent moon on our first night on the ship.

Photo of the Alchemy Bar martini flight menu on Carnival Magic.

 Alchemy Bar Martini Flight Menu - (we could choose 4 out of the 7 listed,  but I wanted all 7) - Deck 5 - Promenade Deck of Carnival Magic

Photo of our martini flight being poured by a Alchemy Bar mixologist on Carnival Magic.

 Alchemy Bar Martini Flight
(Deck 5 - Promenade Deck of Carnival Magic)

Photo of Alchemy Bar drink marker gift given with martini flight on Carnival Magic.

 Alchemy Bar Martini Flight free gift
(Deck 5 - Promenade Deck of Carnival Magic)

Alchemy Bar

It was now time for our martini flight! By the time we got back to Alchemy Bar it was nearly 6:30, and it was much busier than it was earlier. We had to wait for a few minutes to get our order in, but we had found a spot at the end of the bar and we were fine with the wait. After all, we were on vacation on a cruise ship, and we weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere.

The Martini Flight gives you a choice of four small martinis from a selection of seven martinis. The selections were:

1) Martini Seduction - Grey Goose L’Orange Vodka, Red Passion Fruit Nectar, Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice, and Hint of Orange.

2) Fiery Tropical Passion Martini - Patròn Silver Tequila, Patròn Citrònage, Spicy Mango Purèe, and Fresh Citrus.

3) Curative Peach Cosmopolitan - Absolut Citron Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry Juice, and Fresh Citrus.

4) Mixologist’s Elixir - Let your Master Mixologist hand-craft a unique cure just for you.

5) Caribbean Manhattan - Templeton Rye Whiskey, Angostura Bitters, Spiced Brown Sugar Syrup, and Sweet Vermouth.

6) Forty is the New Twenty - Grey Goose Vodka, Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, Cranberry Juice, and Fresh Citrus.

7) Spicy Chipotle Pineapple Martini - Belvedere Vodka, Chipotle Pineapple Syrup, Pineapple Juice, and Fresh Mint.

We decided on Martini Seduction, Fiery Tropical Passion Martini, Mixologist’s Elixir, and Spicy Chipotle Pineapple Martini. The Mixologist doesn’t let you know what the Mixologist’s Elixir is, only that it is a pre-made drink that he has made, and then after we tried it he asked us what we thought was in it.

He poured the martinis at the same time, as you can see in the photo. He didn’t put each drink in order, instead he told us to try each of them and then arrange them in order according to which drink we thought each one was. My husband and I agreed on the order of each drink, and because each drink had a unique flavor, it was easy to figure out the order. When he came back he gave us an A++++ for placing all the drinks in the correct order, and gave us a cool drink marker gift to put on a martini glass! I like it and I would love some more in other colors!

Photo of the four martinis in our Alchemy Bar Martini Flight on Carnival Magic.

 Alchemy Bar Martini Flight (We had already sipped some before we remembered to take the photo.) - Deck 5 - Promenade Deck of Carnival Magic

Now I’ll give you our impression of the martinis we tried from that flight. We ordered the Spicy Chipotle Pineapple Martini because I had read good reviews on it. I thought it was way too sweet and had way too much pineapple juice in it, but my husband thought it was really good. The Martini Seduction was liked by both of us, but it too was a bit too sweet for my liking, but not so sweet that I couldn’t handle the sweetness. The Fiery Tropical Passion Martini was not that great, but it wasn’t bad. The Mixologist’s Elixir was the winner, my husband and I both thought it was the best of the four. It was made from a vodka that they had personally infused with a pineapple flavor, and it had strawberry juice in it, as well as something spicy - I think the something spicy was likely Chipotle Pineapple Syrup in it, but I didn’t ask.

Photo of the Good Eats Menu at the Lido Restaurant on Carnival Magic.

Good Eats Dinner Menu lists some ot the items offered that night at the Lido Dinner Buffet - Carnival Magic

Photo of trays of food at the Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet

Day One Lido Buffet Dinner

From there we went to the Lido Restaurant, on deck 10, to see what was being offered at the dinner buffet. There were a number of choices; the featured options were Maple Glazed Pork with Au Jus; Smoked Chicken Quesadilla; Vegetable Lasagna; Corn Chowder Maryland; Fried Shrimp; Grilled Mahi Mahi/Fresh Pineapple & Red Pepper Salsa; Roasted Chicken; Sauteed Green Beans; White Rice; and Baked Potato, Sour Cream, Cheddar, and Bacon Bits. There were also some salads, including Tomato n’ Arugula, and also Apple Honey Ginger, as well as cold cuts, cubed cheeses, and bread.

Photo of trays of food at the Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet

Photo of trays of food at the Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet

Photo of the Carving Station at the Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet on Carnival Magic with bowls of shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Carving Station at the Carnival Magic Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet

Photo of some of the salads offered at the Salad Bar at the Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet Salad Bar

Photo of bowls with items to put in salad at the salad bar at the Lido Restaurant Bar dinner buffet on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet Salad Bar

Photo of some of the salads offered at the Salad Bar at the Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet Salad Bar

Photo of bowls with items to put in salad at the salad bar at the Lido Restaurant Bar dinner buffet on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet Salad Bar

Photo of trays with bread rolls, cubed cheeses, and sliced bread and deli meats at the Lido Restaurant on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet

Photo of plates with sliced fruit at Sweet Spot at the Lido Restaurant on Carnival Magic.

Freshly sliced fruit is always offered at Sweet Spot on Carnival Magic Lido Restaurant Buffet

Photo of trays with desserts, including a bread pudding with a sauce, at Sweet Spot at the Lido Restaurant on Carnival Magic.

Desserts at Sweet Spot at Carnival Magic's Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet

Photo of desserts at Sweet Spot at the Lido Restaurant on Carnival Magic.

Desserts at Sweet Spot at Carnival Magic's Lido Restaurant Dinner Buffet

Sweet Spot

Dessert is also offered at the buffet, with a few selections every day for lunch and dinner. I didn’t note what the options for dessert were for dinner that night, but we did get photos of the desserts. We found that the desserts at the buffet, which are at their own stand called Sweet Spot, are pretty good. I was surprised at how good they were. We are used to the desserts on Disney Cruise Line’s buffet being not good, and these were tasty and fresh, and there was a great variety. Each day there were new choices, and almost all of the ones we tried, if not all of the ones we tried, were good to very good. They even have different choices at lunch than they do at dinner each day, so it’s worth checking out for lunch and for dinner. Also, each day they offer some sort of bread pudding type of dessert with a sauce to pour over it, and those were pretty good too.

Photo of the soft serve machine at Swirls self serve ice cream and frozen yogurt area at the Lido Restaurant on Carnival Magic.

Swirls at Carnival Magic's Lido Restaurant

Swirls Frozen Yogurt And Soft-Serve

Another dessert option is self-serve frozen yogurt and soft-serve ice cream called Swirls. There are two stations that each offer frozen yogurt and soft-serve ice cream, and they are located on each side of the Lido Buffet, near the doors that lead out to the mid-ship pool. The flavors on the first day were vanilla and chocolate for both the frozen yogurt and the soft-serve, and the flavors change sometimes. We didn’t check it out every day, but I did notice that one day they offered strawberry as one of the flavors. These stations are open 24/7. Later on in the cruise we tried the frozen yogurt and the soft-serve on a day when they were offering vanilla and chocolate, and I thought the soft-serve was better than the frozen yogurt, but I did notice that both options were popular. You can put it in a plastic dessert cup, or in an ice cream cone. Carnival Cruise Line’s soft-serve is way better than Disney Cruise Line’s soft serve, in my opinion, and my husband felt the same way.

Photo of the Main Dining Room at dinner on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Main Dining Room

Photo of the Main Dining Room dinner menu on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Main Dining Room Dinner Menu for Day One

Day One Main Dining Room Dinner

We didn’t try any of the dinner buffet food because we decided to eat in the main dining room. We had walked by the Northern Lights dining room earlier and noticed that nearly everyone was dressed casual, with a high percentage of people wearing shorts. We were surprised at how casual it was in the main dining room compared with how people dress for the main dining rooms on Disney’s ships, but it didn’t bother us at all. We had planned on dressing nicer for dinner, but changed our minds and decided to not dress up for dinner since pretty much no one else dressed up. I’m not one who cares how other people dress in the main dining room. If the majority of people are dressed up, then my husband and I will dress up, but I realize that people are on vacation and they probably just feel like relaxing and they don’t want to have to get changed just to eat dinner. And if people next to me are dressed extremely casual, which, to my surprise, there were a handful of people dressed extremely casual, well that’s fine with me. My husband  and I are focused on each other, and our conversation, we’re enjoying each other’s company, and the way other people are dressed at their table doesn’t diminish the good time we’re having.

The Appetizer choices for dinner that night were Fried Calamari with zesty tomato sauce and lemon aioli; Shrimp Cocktail with traditional cocktail sauce; Chilled Vietnamese Roll, which is Shrimp, vegetables, and vermicelli rice noodles rolled in rice paper, with peanut dipping sauce; Smoked Chicken Quesadilla with guacamole and tomato cilantro salsa; Cream of Ripened Tomatoes with herb croutons; Corn Chowder Maryland, which includes potatoes, oregano, and cream; Strawberry Bisque, which is chilled strawberry soup and fresh mint; Heart of Lettuce with tomato vinaigrette and cheese croutons; and Kale or Romaine Caesar Salad with house made dressing and shaved parmesan. The Rare Finds appetizer was Cured Salmon and Candied Tomato with dill cream, grapes, and lemon dressing.

The Main Entree choices were Sweet & Sour Shrimp - tangy sweet and sour sauce, scallion, garlic and fried rice; Roast Chicken - herbed sausage stuffing, broccoli and carrots; Honey Glazed Pork Loin - green asparagus, braised cabbage, cinnamon carrot puree; Braised Beef Brisket - corn pudding, roasted root vegetables; Vegetable Lasagna - spinach, mushroom, basil, mozzaralla; Featured Indian Vegetarian - lentils, basmati rice, papadam and raita.

Each night they have a section on the menu called From the Grill. The choices were Salmon Fillet - Citrus and pepper rub, broccoli, carrots, red potato; Flat Iron Steak - pepper, herbs, broccoli, baked potato; Chicken Breast - roast garlic and herbs, peas and carrots, red potato; Pork Chop - Caramelized onions, stewed apple, mash. You can choose from the following sauces: Chimichurri, BBQ sauce, Béarnaise, Peppercorn, Roasted Garlic, and Tomato Tapenade.

The Side Dishes were: Broccoli, Carrots, Onions; Baked Potato - sour cream, bacon, chives; Ratatouille; Mac N Cheese, Bacon; French Fries - herb garlic butter; Creamed Spinach.

Some days they offer a Port of Call menu. The first port of call was Cape Canaveral. The appetizer was Orange and Grapefruit Fillets - marinated with natural juices, and served on fresh mesclun lettuce, guava, honey and white balsamic vinaigrette. The entree was Grilled Mahi Mahi - lightly seasoned fillet served with a side of coconut rice, a fresh pineapple and red pepper sauce.

For a surcharge of $20.00 per entree, you can choose from the Steakhouse Selections. The options were: Broiled Maine Lobster Tail served with drawn butter; Surf & Turf - Maine lobster tail and grilled filet mignon; Broiled Filet Mignon - 9 oz. premium aged beef; New York Strip Loin Steak - 14 oz. of the favorite cut for steak lovers.

We both ordered the Fried Calamari for an appetizer. We liked it.  My husband also ordered the Cured Salmon appetizer, and he enjoyed it. I had read that Carnival Cruise Line makes good fruit bisques, so I decided to try the strawberry bisque; it tasted like melted strawberry ice cream to me, but I can see how some people would enjoy it.

For his entree, my husband ordered Flat Iron Steak with chimichurri sauce. He thought is was “all right” and he said it ended up being softer than he expected it to be, which is a good thing.

For my entree, I ordered the Grilled Mahi Mahi from the port of call menu. It was good, and it went well with the coconut rice. The red pepper sauce was not something I would want again, but I can see how people would enjoy it.

Photo of the Chocolate Melting Cake with vanilla ice cream in a container on the side in the main dining room at dinner on Carnival Magic.

So Yummy! - Chocolate Melting Cake on Carnival Magic Main Dining Room Dinner

We forgot to note what all of the dessert choices were that night, but I ordered the chocolate melting cake. I had read mixed reviews of this, it seems people either love it or hate it, and so I had to try it for myself. I loved it. It’s dark chocolate, so it’s bitter and not too sweet. It’s served with a very small side of vanilla ice cream, which was nearly melted, but it was so good with the melting cake. You can order extra ice cream if you want, so no worries if that small serving isn’t enough - but I do recommend ordering the extra ice cream when you order your dessert, because sometimes it takes a long, long time for your waiter to return with your request, even if your request is extremely simple.

(Speaking of service in the main dining room, the servers we had the first night were so slow, and it was hard to get their attention. The assistant server who served the bread kept coming by and saying, “your bread will be here shortly,” but it took maybe 30 minutes or more until bread arrived. And when he did come to say the bread would be there shortly, or to bring the bread, or to pour our drinks, he would always hold his hand on my husband’s shoulder in a way that seemed affectionate - it was odd and very uncomfortable for both my husband and me. The service the first night was not good, but the second night we had a great server, and her team was great, and we requested her the other two nights we ate in the main dining room.)

Back to the first night’s dessert choices. My husband ordered some type of tiramisu dessert, I think it was caramel tiramisu, and we both loved it! He also ordered this odd strawberry dessert that was rubbery and just strange. Neither of us liked it.

Photo of a dessert, possibly Caramel Tiramisu, in the main dining room on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Main Dining Room Dinner Dessert, possibly Caramel Tiramisu (It was very good)

Photo of a strawberry dessert in the main dining room on Carnival Magic.

Carnival Magic Main Dining Room Dinner Dessert, some sort of odd Strawberry dessert

Photo of the Cheese Platter from the main dining room dessert menu on Carnival Magic.

(Smelly) Cheese Platter - From Carnival Magic Main Dining Room Dinner Dessert Menu

Cheese Platter Brought to the Cabin

I had read that you can order the cheese platter from the dessert menu and tell them it’s to go so you can bring it to your room to enjoy later, so we ordered that. Here’s the thing about the cheese platter - I strongly disliked it, and I love different types of cheeses, but not one of these were to my liking. None of the cheeses were unusual cheeses, I simply didn’t enjoy them, and my husband couldn’t stand the smell of the cheeses, so we put the tray outside our cabin to be picked up by room service. However, if you like smelly cheeses, then the cheese platter might be the smell of delight for you.

 

Headache - Time To Recover

I got a really bad headache from the fragrances in the main dining room, so we returned to our room, and I lay down. My husband got changed and went to play basketball. On the television you have the main U.S. networks, along with some other channels, as well as two channels that show different movies each day. One channel is a family channel, with cartoon movies and other movies made for the entire family, and the other other channel is more like non-kid movies, but nothing bad for kids to see. The movies change each day on each channel, with the movie on each channel running over and over all day. The movies are probably on a schedule, but I couldn’t figure out what the schedule was.

Because my head was hurting, I decided to watch something I could just fall asleep to, and one of my favorite movies was on - It’s a Wonderful Life. I’ve seen that movie so many times that I have now idea how many times I’ve seen it, but it’s perfect to watch when you have a bad headache and you just want to fall asleep, because nothing too exciting happens, and since I’ve seen it so many times, I know what I’ll be missing, so it’s not biggie if I sleep through it. As I lay there trying to sleep, my headache got worse and worse. I finally realized what the problem was. The pillow I was resting my head on had a woman’s perfume on it, and it was making my headache worse. Unfortunately I suffer extremely from the harmful chemicals in fragrances, but that’s a whole other story, so I won’t get into that, but I will say just a tad more about what happened with the perfume on the pillow thing, because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

When I booked the cruise in May, I told our travel agent that we needed to inform Carnival Cruise Line that the room needs to be fragrance free. A few days before our cruise, I called to confirm that that request was made, and so he put me on a conference call with CCL to confirm they had the request. They said they had no record of that request. So after over 30 minutes on the phone with CCL, we were assured by CCL that the room would be fragrance free, they said they would put new sheets, pillows, and a new comforter in the room, and they would wash them without fragrance with a light detergent, and they assured me everything would be fine. As I lay there with a throbbing headache after realizing that the perfume I kept smelling was coming from the pillow I had been resting my head on, I knew something went wrong with our fragrance free cabin request.

My husband came back to the room disappointed because the basketball court is closed each evening from I think 5:30 until 11:00 p.m. It’s located directly above Cucina del Capitano, and the sound of basketballs thumping above them isn’t the sound people want to hear while eating their dinner. He wasn’t able to play basketball, so he went to the gym instead.

I told him that the pillow had perfume on it, and he was not very happy. “What?!” he exclaimed. “But you called, and they said they would make sure everything was fragrance free!” My husband is my protector and hero. He sees how much I suffer from the harmful chemicals in fragrances, and he does all he can to protect me. Plus, if I’m not well, that adversely affects his vacation as well. Upset, he wanted to immediately go to Guest Services on Deck 3 to correct the problem. But I figured I could just not use that pillow for one night, and my head was hurting so bad that I just wanted to rest and not have to get out of bed and deal with someone coming in the room to change everything.

My husband decided to go to one of the spas. He went, and it was extremely windy and pretty cold outside, so he was the only person to brave the spa that night. He said the wind was persistently blowing the water out from the spa creating a constant, cold mist blowing in his face. It wasn’t an enjoyable experience, so he came back to the room and watched t.v. with me. I felt bad - it was the first night of the cruise and I knew he wanted to have fun, maybe see a comedy show, or hang out in one of the lounge areas, or something other than lying in bed watching t.v., but there he was next to me, telling me he felt bad for me that my head was hurting so bad, and telling me he hoped my headache would go away overnight. He’s a good guy, he takes good care of me.

Not the best end to the first day of our cruise, but we were looking forward to our Day at Sea the next day.

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