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Old December 5th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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Carnival Magic Transatlantic

Carnival Magic Tranatlantic Review 10.28.2011

Just the Facts:
Cruise: Carnival Magic Transatlantic
Dates: October 28--November 13, 2011
Captain: Giovanni Cutugno
Cruise Director: James Charlton
Ports: Barcelona, Spain - Palma De Mallorca, Spain - Malaga, Spain - Las Palmas, Canary Islands - Freeport, Bahama Islands - Galveston, Texas, USA

This was my 26th Carnival cruise, 67th overall, 2nd Transatlantic, and 1st cruise on the NEW Carnival Magic. I’m traveling as a solo on this cruise.

Day 0- Thursday- 10/27/11
When traveling for a cruise holiday it is best to arrive a day before debarkation to acclimate yourself and allow for any potential travel problems; however, as a solo I decided to travel on the day of sailing. I left the ranch by 10:30 am to make a 2:00 pm flight from DFW airport. All went well and the flight arrived early at JFK in New York. The direct flight to Barcelona was scheduled for 9:00 pm but was delayed several times. It finally got away several hours late.

Day 1- Friday- 10/28/11- Embarkation- Barcelona
My overseas flight arrived in Barcelona about 1:00 pm local time, about three hours past the originally scheduled time. Spanish immigration was easy and after retrieving my bag I sought out the Carnival shuttle operators. They were very well organized and easy to find. I purchased a ship transfer ($30) and checked my bag with them that would later be delivered to my cabin. A very simple process. Soon we were on a bus and dropped direct at the Carnival pier. The VIP check in was also very well organized. The line seemed long at first glance, but went very fast as they had several check in windows available for VIP and added more as needed. I was on board about 3:00 pm and now had a chance to catch my breath and start looking at the newest ship in the Carnival fleet. Very impressive so far. (Atrium photo at right) After dropping my bag in the cabin I went to the Lido Marketplace to get a lunch before they closed for boat drill. The roast beef and salad were very good. After lunch I enjoyed some much needed cabin time to refresh from the long flight and travel. Boat drill began about 4:30 pm and seemed to go very smooth. I looked around the ship a bit and visited the excursion desk to make a query about an excursion the next morning, but it was sold out. I took a series of short naps and tried to adjust to the time change as best I could. Dinner time at 8:15 pm came fast so it was off to the Southern Lights dining room. I had a very good table location near the center of the dining room with friends and soon to be new friends. For dinner I ordered the Creme of Sun Dried Tomato Soup, the Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail, the Sweet & Sour Shrimp entree and the Crème Brulee for dessert. After dinner several of us went to the Showtime Comedy Club located in the Spotlight Lounge. I recently saw comedian Chase Elstner on the Carnival Glory and really enjoyed his show so I wanted to catch his act. He was hilarious. All the venues on the ship that featured live music seemed to be well attended. I retired to the cabin late and found a nice surprise: a ticket to the excursion I wanted for the following day.

Day 2- Saturday- 10/29/11- Palma De Mallorca
A nice morning with cloudy skies and occasional light showers. I went early to the dining room for my traditional 1st morning breakfast of Eggs Benedict, bacon, hash browns, grapefruit, milk, and tomato juice. It was very good and a good sign for the rest of the cruise. I had to meet the tour group in the Showtime Theater at 9:00 am and soon we were off for our excursion. The excursion was the Soller and Train Ride ($80), one of the more popular choices. We took a bus into Palma with a short stop then proceeded to the village of Soller. The weather was clearing and we had time to sightsee and visit the local Pablo Picasso museum. We then boarded the Soller Train, an old vintage electric train, for the trip back to Palma. It was a very picturesque excursion with the old village and mountains. We had the option of being dropped off at Palma or back to the pier. I chose to return to the ship. Upon returning I went to the Cucina del Capitano pasta bar where you can select your choices of pastas, sauces, and toppings. I had bow-tie pasta with meat sauce and topped with cherry tomatoes and grilled chicken. It was excellent and I will be returning. I tried the Key Lime pie from the Lido Marketplace for dessert and it was also excellent with a light sprinkle of pistachio on top. Now time for a nap as I’m still not quite acclimated to the time changes. After napping and some ship exploration I went to the Southern Lights for dinner. My choices were Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail, Langoustino Cocktail, a Mixed Green Salad, the Grilled NY Strip Steak, and the White Chocolate Bread Pudding for dessert. It was all very good with the steak cooked to order and the dessert a very nice surprise. Following dinner was the Welcome Show. Usually when these are held so late they are not well attended, but it was standing room only for this show. I guess with it on the 2nd night people were more rested and looking for entertainment. James the Cruise Director did a good job with a skit, the Captain introduced the officers, and the comedians did a short bit. No production singers or dancers, but the live band was very good. Following the Welcome show some friend and new friends went to the Piano Bar to enjoy Ron Pass. With the new non smoking policy I can now really enjoy the piano bar much more than in the past. We stayed for quite a while and Ron was brilliant. After closing the bar I returned to the cabin for a restful sleep.

Day 3- Sunday- 10/30/11- at Sea
The seas are very calm, but it was overcast and rainy in the morning. I slept late and had to hurry to make the 10:00 close of breakfast in the dining room. I had a nice standard breakfast to begin our first sea day. I took my computer up to the Red Frog to begin making notes and ‘people watch’ along the promenade deck. A new feature I took advantage of since I was sitting next to it was the Salad Bar set up where the Sushi station is located on deck 5. That’s a very good use of space to use it for a salad bar at lunch and sushi in the evenings. My salad was very good, you have a choice of several types of lettuce and several choices of add-on vegetables for your salad. Toppings include various dressings, nuts, or cheeses. Very nice. For dessert I went to the Lido Marketplace and had Banana Creme Pie & Tiramisu Cheese Cake. I have been very impressed with the desserts in the Marketplace, better than the dining room so far. I took a very short nap then went to the Magical Pond Hoppers meet. I wasn’t active on the CC boards, but really enjoyed the thread set up on Facebook. The meeting was fun and the Cruise Director and Captain came by for a while as well. After the meeting it was time for Afternoon Tea in the upper Southern Lights dining room. They served the usual cucumber sandwiches, petit fours and tarts. I didn’t see or wasn't served a scone, but they did serve whole large slices of chocolate cake. For a change of pace I listened to a bit of afternoon karaoke, it was the usual pretty bad folks other than one guy singing “Mac the Knife” who was excellent, I bet he will be in the Carnival Legends show at the end of the cruise. Some friends needed something from the spa and we ended up getting a nice tour of the complete Spa facilities. The Thalassotherapy pool (photo left) looks very interesting, but what impressed me is the vast improvement of the steam rooms. With such a busy day I didn’t get a nap and it was soon time for dinner. For dinner this evening I had: Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail, Thai Shrimp Soup (very spicy, but very good), Prime Rib with Baked Potato, and the Variations of Strawberries and Tropical Fruit Lasagne for dessert. A very good dinner. After dinner it was two sets of comedy in the Punchliner Comedy Club. Both Carl Faulkenberry and Chas Elstner were very great.

Day 4- Monday- 10/31/11- Malaga, Spain
Another great nights sleep and calm seas and nice warm weather. I was around early and in the dining room for a nice Eggs Benedict breakfast. The meet time for my excursion was 8:30 am and soon I was off on the Nerja Caves excursion ($60). We passed through Malaga on the way to Nerja located about 30 miles east. Our first stop was the Balcony of Europe a tourist site for well over 200 years. It’s actually just a small cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with great views. It is now somewhat touristy, but an interesting village here as a part of Nerja. The ice creme here was very good. After recovering a lost passenger we made the short drive to the Nerja Caves. These are very interesting and one of the largest cave systems in Europe with the largest ceiling to floor stalagmite/stalactite column in the world. There were a lot of steps, but it was an enjoyable excursion. I did sample the local Andalusian Beer and it was very good. We returned to Malaga and were able to see much more of the city on the way to the pier. When we arrived back at the ship we could see the ridiculously long lines of passengers trying to check back into the ship, fortunately they knew it as well and by the time we had made our way through the terminal and local security (including x-ray of bags) the lines were gone. In that time the ships staff had stopped the redundancy of a second check in and only required the sail & sign card to be used. It would have been an hour+ wait if they had not done this. They need four entry points not the two they have used so far if they plan on checking every ones bags. For a late lunch I had turkey from the carving station in the Lido Marketplace. Next to it was a bowl of small cranberry sauce and a small bowl of something white. Not having seen this before I ask what was in the bowl. I was told it was “turkey sauce.” Interesting...I had to try this new ‘turkey sauce’ and soon discovered that it was cold white gravy (there were no potatoes-so very odd) BTW- The Turkey was excellent. They had red velvet cupcakes and they were good, but just a bit dry-none of the excellent pies today. I did a little ship exploring this afternoon and visited with friends before an afternoon nap. I love the habit of a nap and the interior cabin is perfect for it. I have made a new friend with Ana the guest services manager. She is working on getting my shareholders OBC (on board credit) that wasn’t on my account. I did have the correspondence on my computer so I’m sure she will get it arranged for me. TIP: always bring your OBC proof with you-just in case. I went up to Promenade early this evening in order to see all the Halloween costumes. The guests and crew really looked great. They did the thriller dance and paraded along the promenade. Dinner was very good, I ordered the Chilled Langoustino Cocktail, Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail, Grilled NY Sirloin Steak, and a special Halloween dessert selection. After dinner I went to the Showtime Theater to see the judging of the Halloween costumes. It was very entertaining and CD James did a good job. The photos are of the Hooters Lady who won the contest and our bar server at dinner (enlarge photos at your own risk). After the Halloween Contest it was 'close down the Piano Bar' again. Ron Pass was again VERY entertaining on the Halloween night. One can see why he has so many fans. It was a late night, but we gained another hour in time tonight so it’s ‘all good’!

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Ray McDonald / Snoozeman

My Personal Cruise Blog: My Cruise Blog
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