Carnival Magic: 7-night Western Caribbean Cruise

Saturday, December 3 - Saturday, December 10, 2016

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Day 3: Cozumel, Mexico

Breakfast At Lido Buffet

We had breakfast at the Lido buffet. The buffet offers a decent variety consisting of cold cereals, pastries, and warm items. The bacon is served by an employee, and the employee automatically serves the non-crispy bacon. We always asked for the crispy bacon, and the employee would serve the crispy bacon to us.

Photo of a plate of food, including french toast, maple syrup, eggs benedict, and bacon, from the Lido breakfast buffet on Carnival Magic.

Lido Restaurant Breakfast Buffet - Carnival Magic - Shown here is french toast with maple syrup, eggs benedict, seasoned potatoes, crispy bacon pieces, and more

The breakfast buffet food was always decent, but nothing was ever exceptional, or even close to exceptional. They have a station where they will make your eggs for you per your request, but you have to keep an eye on them because they tend to multi-task, and your eggs can easily get over-cooked. We both like our eggs over-easy, and twice they had to remake our eggs because they weren’t paying attention to our eggs while they were cooking. But with my husband standing there making sure they cooked them properly, they would finally make them properly, and we enjoyed them. The toast isn’t really toasty, so don’t expect toasty toast. It looks toasty, and I’m sure at some point in time it was toasty, but by the time we got it it was always not freshly toasted and not even warm. But we still enjoyed dipping our luke-warm, non-toasty toast in our over-easy eggs.

 

Off The Ship In Cozumel

With our bellies full, we were ready to walk around Cozumel, Mexico. We had been to Cozumel a few times in the past, and the main thing we wanted to do in Cozumel was buy good sipping tequila. When we walked off the ship we were confused. “This isn’t Cozumel,” we both said. “Is this Cozumel?” we both asked each other in confusion. “What did they do? They totally remodeled Cozumel.” No, actually, they didn’t totally remodel Cozumel. After walking around confused at the port shopping area with all the typical touristy port shops, we headed out from that area and walked onto the main street. We crossed the street, and on the corner we found Jehovah’s Witnesses with a cart offering free literature. We asked them if they could help us out. We told them we had been to Cozumel a few times before, and it never looked like this. We asked if there was another port, and if they knew where the Mega store was. They explained to us that there is more than one port in Cozumel, and that for a flat, standard fee we could take a taxi to the port farther down that street where the Mega store is. We always went to Cozumel with Disney Cruise Line, and they said the other port is where Disney docks. They said we could also walk there, but it would take a few minutes, and it was warm and humid, so we opted to take the taxi. I can’t remember what the rate was, but it wasn’t too high, just a few dollars.

We were happy to go to the Mega store because their prices for most things are much, much cheaper than at the touristy shops. Mega is a supermarket - they have groceries, clothing, a bakery with all sorts of baked goods baked fresh daily, a food court, a pharmacy, and so on. Our main reason for going was for their liquor department. The Duty Free liquor shops at the ports are so over-priced - they act like they’re doing you a favor because the items are tax free, but they are charging way, way more than the tax savings. Sure, you pay taxes at Mega, but the prices are so much cheaper at Mega that it’s still much cheaper to shop at Mega and pay taxes than to shop at the duty-free shops and not pay taxes. Just ask any local where Mega is, and they’ll know where to direct you. And don't worry about a language barrier - you can always find people who speak some English, and often you'll find several locals who are fluent in Enlgish. We were told there is another place to purchase liquor in Cozumel that’s even cheaper than Mega, but we had already purchased our tequila at Mega, so we didn’t check that place out. One down side to Mega is that their items aren’t as well stocked as the duty-free shop, so they might run out of the item(s) you want.

Photo of a black and white tuxedo cat named Preston modeling Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila bought in Cozumel, Mexico.

Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila purchased at Cozumel, Mexico Modeled by Preston the Cat

Photo of a black and white tuxedo cat named modeling Gran Centenario Añejo Tequila bought at Mega in Cozumel, Mexico.

Gran Centenario Añejo Tequila purchased at Mega in Cozumel, Mexico - Modeled by Preston the Cat

We headed back to the ship with heavy bottles of tequila. Carnival requires that you check in liquor you purchased at the port as soon as you re-embark. There was one employee sitting at a desk slowly checking in each guest’s liquor. The line moved extremely slow, and the line just got longer and longer while I was in line. Disney Cruise Line doesn’t require you to check in your liquor, which is a huge plus for Disney. If Carnival is going to require this, then they should have more employees checking in liquor so that the line moves quickly. People were getting very annoyed at this process, and I was one of them.

(On the final night of your cruise your cabin steward brings your liquor to your cabin, and you must sign for it. We just happened to be in our room when our steward came that night, so it wasn’t a hassle getting our liquor back.)

When we returned to our cabin we found a bottle of wine with two wine glasses and chocolate covered strawberries on a tray on our bed accompanied with a card saying they hope we enjoy this gesture, and to contact them if they can be of further assistance.

Photo of a bottle of wine with two wine glasses left as a gift in our cabin from Carnival Magic Guest Services.

Gift from Carnival Cruise Line left for us in our cabin - a thoughtful gesture

Day 3 Late Lunch On The Ship

The time to be back on board was 5:30, and we arrived much before that time. Some of the lunch places close at 2:30, such as Blueiguana Cantina, and The Captain's Pasta Bar at Cucina del Capitano. Tandoor and the indoor Lido Buffet lunch close at 3:30. We had some food from Tandoor, which didn’t disappoint. We love that they have that place to eat. The International buffet theme that day at Chef's Choice was Mexican food, which we didn’t try, so I can’t say how it was.

 

The Captain’s Pasta Bar at Cucina del Capitano (Lasagna and Create Your Own Pasta)

I really wanted to try The Captain’s Pasta Bar at Cucina del Capitano, and my husband really wanted to try the Mongolian Wok, so I went upstairs to order pasta to go while he stood in line at the Mongolian Wok.

At The Captain's Pasta Bar, I ordered half an order of penne pasta with pomodoro sauce mixed with alfredo sauce, and I asked for extra sauce, which turned out to be way too much sauce. I chose a few items to add in it. I also ordered the Meat Lasagna.

It took a long time because they made my pasta but forgot the lasagna, so I had to wait a surprisingly long time more for the lasagna to come out. For take out orders, they have a place where you can sit and wait while they make your food. (For take out orders they put your food in a reusable plastic bowl.)

My pasta order was good, but not great. They didn’t put many of the toppings in it, but I’m sure if I requested extra, they would have given me more toppings.

The lasagna was interesting. I had read about this lasagna and had seen photos of it, so I was eager to try it. The meat in it was exactly as other people had described it - it’s basically tender shreds of pot roast meat. Though I’ve never in my life had lasagna with meat like that before, I really liked that meat in it. The lasagna itself was not that great looking, but it tasted better than it looked. I asked my husband to photograph it because I didn’t have my camera with me, and he said it didn’t look appetizing, so he just couldn’t bring himself to photograph it. He wouldn’t even try it. The portion was huge, so I had a lot of lasagna left over. If you like lasagna, this lasagna might be something worth trying, but know ahead of time that it’s probably not like any lasagna you’ve had before.

 

Mongolian Wok

At the Mongolian Wok they offer three different meat choices per day. You choose what meat you want, if any, as well as choose what vegetables and sauce(s) you want, and you let them know if you want noodles or rice. They stir fry it while you wait.

The Mongolian Wok food that my husband had was, in his opinion, not good at all. My husband loves Mongolian food, and he’s had it at many places, but this was one of the worst he’s had. I didn’t try it, so I can’t give my opinion on it. I was surprised he didn’t like it because I had read several excellent reviews on it, and there was always a long line for it, which makes me think other people on our cruise liked it a lot.

 

Exercise for day 3

After eating way too much food, (yet again!),we went to our cabin so that my husband could change into basketball clothing. When we went to SportSquare, he was happy to find a few people playing basketball. (There were a lot of people on the ship in the early afternoon, which isn’t surprising for a port that many people have been to on previous cruises.)

I walked around a bit then relaxed on the “bleachers,” watching my husband play a few basketball games. It’s always enjoyable to me to look out over the ports from the top deck of cruise ships - you get such a great view of the land and ocean from up there. Something I enjoy about cruising is that you can just take it easy, you don’t feel rushed to do anything, whereas on vacations where we fly somewhere and stay on land, we’re always on the go - not that I don’t enjoy that, because I really do enjoy those types of vacations too, but it’s nice to mix it up and have busy vacations, and then relaxing cruise vacations.

The sunset that night was gorgeous, as you can see from the opening photo at the top of this page.

After basketball, we went to our cabin and got cleaned up and changed for dinner; we went to the main dining room for dinner.

 

Day Three Main Dining Room Dinner

The appetizers that night were: Seared Tuna - Romesco vinaigrette, cucumber salad; Flatbread - Cajun shrimp, corn, pineapple; Baked meat balls - Smokey tomato sauce; Gazpacho Andalouse - Chilled tomato with peppers, cucumbers, mediterranean herbs; Shrimp cocktail - Traditional cocktail sauce; Vegetable spring rolls - Soy dipping sauce; American navy bean soup - Root vegetables, leeks; Greek salad - Feta cheese; Kale or romaine caesar salad - House made dressing, shaved parmesan. The Rare Finds appetizer was Oysters rockefeller - spinach, cheese sauce.

Photo of two vegetable spring rolls with soy dipping sauce at main dining room dinner on Carnival Magic.

Vegetable spring rolls with soy dipping sauce (They're delicious!) - Main Dining Room Dinner - Carnival Magic

The entrees were: Seared tilapia - Capers and parsley butter succotash, whipped potatoes; Veal parmesan - Tomato sauce, spaghetti, steamed broccoli; Rosemary lamb shank - Roasted cauliflower, root vegetables; Baked Ziti - Ham, green peas and cheese; Crisp Portobello mushrooms - filled with spinach, butternut squash, pepper confit, parmesan cream; Featured vegetarian - Lentils, basmati rice, papadam and raita.

From the Grill: Salmon Fillet - Citrus and pepper rub, broccoli, carrots, red potato; Chicken Breast - Roast garlic and herbs, peas and carrots, red potato; Flat iron steak - Pepper, herbs, broccoli, baked potato; Pork Chop - Caramelized onions, stewed apple, mash. (Sauces: Chimichurri, BBQ Sauce, Béarnaise, Peppercorn, Roasted garlic and tomato tapenade.)

Side Dishes: Corn and vegetable succotash; Baked potato - Sour cream, bacon, chives; Steamed broccoli; Whipped potatoes; Sauteed green beans - with bacon; Fragrant Basmati rice.

The Port of Call appetizer was Tortilla soup with braised chicken, and the entree was Steak Tacos.

For appetizers, we ordered the vegetable spring rolls, and they were surprisingly delicious! They were so good that we ordered more to take to our room after dinner.

For entrees, my husband ordered the Rosemary lamb shank. He liked it, but didn’t think it was great. I ordered the Seared tilapia (fish for dinner for me again - I was being predictable. The weird thing is that I'm not a big fan of fish, so I'm surprised I ordered fish three nights in a row.) It was good, but I wasn’t very hungry because, again, I had eaten so much food earlier in the day. If I had been hungrier, I think I would have enjoyed it more. We were so full that we didn’t order dessert. We didn’t even consider dessert.

Photo of Rosemary lamb shank with roasted cauliflower and root vegetables from Carnival Magic main dining room dinner.

Rosemary lamb shank with roasted cauliflower and root vegetables - Carnival Magic Main Dining Room Dinner

Photo of Seared tilapia with capers, and parsley butter succotash and whipped potatoes from Carnival Magic main dining room dinner.

Seared tilapia with capers, and parsley butter succotash and whipped potatoes - Carnival Magic Main Dining Room Dinner

Day Three Lido Buffet Dinner

Later that night we checked out the Lido buffet dinner options. For dinner the Lido buffet is open from 6:00 - 9:30.

Sweet Spot had Bread pudding with bourbon sauce; Strawberry almond financier, and other items, including, as always, cookies and freshly cut fruit selections.

If we had known they were offering turkey dinner at the buffet that night, we would have skipped the main dining room, but we didn’t check it out until after we had eaten our dinner. Lesson learned - check the dinner buffet first. Along with fresh, carved turkey, they offered standard turkey dinner items, such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Other dinner buffet options included Spaghetti with cherry tomato sauce; American navy bean soup; Vegetable spring rolls; Seared Tilapia with capers and parsley citrus sauce; Veal parmesan; Chicken sicilian; White rice; corn and Vegetable succotash; Baked potato, sour cream, cheddar, bacon bits; and other items such as various salads and so on.

Photo of turkey at the carving station at the Lido restaurant on Carnival Magic.

Turkey carving station at Lido Buffet on Carnival Magic

Photo of trays of food containing mashed potatoes, stuffing, and other items at the LIdo Restaurant dinner buffet on Carnival Magic.

Lido Buffet Dinner items included dressing for turkey dinner (Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Gravy, and, of course, Vegetable Spring Rolls) - Carnival Magic

Photo of trays of food at the Lido Restaurant dinner buffet on Carnival Magic.

Lido Dinner Buffet items - Carnival Magic

Back to cabin to enjoy a movie

We went back to our cabin and watched a movie that my husband had loaded onto his laptop. Carnival Magic doesn't have a movie theater; they only have the outdoor theater, so my husband came up with the fabulous idea of loading movies onto his laptop for viewing while on the ship. That night we watched The Secret Life of Pets, and I loved it! We watched a few movies in our cabin during our cruise from his laptop.

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