The new 3690-passenger Carnival Magic will not arrive until May 1, 2011, but Carnival Cruise Lines has already introduced a new "micro-site" www.carnivalmagic.com to allow Carnival fans to explore the new ship. The site has a great hi-res interactive video where users can click to visit various parts of the ship. The site also has a few different contests where guests can win prizes from "bragging rights to a digital camera or even a free cruise."
Carnival Magic is the sister ship to Carnival Dream, which arrived last January. When the new Carnival Magic arrives, these two sister ships will be the newest, biggest and most state-of-the-art Carnival ships ever built. Unlike other cruise lines, when Carnival introduces a sister ship it does not make it an identical copy of the original. Carnival Magic has a completely different interior décor, featuring lavender and green (!) and new public rooms.
How Low Can You Go?
Most every cruise ship has a promenade deck where people can stroll outdoors and maybe play a game of shuffleboard, but Carnival Dream takes promenade decks to a whole new level. There is a new "Lanai seating area" for dining and drinking as an adjunct to the Ocean Plaza Lounge - a combination bar and restaurant area with live entertainment day and night. The Lanai area was created by angling the ship's glass walls inward, towards the middle of the ship, and adding tables and chairs outdoors. They even included four cantilevered hot tubs on this promenade deck right close to the seating.
While the Ocean Plaza Lanai was a revelation when Dream came out last January, Carnival Magic will take this idea even further. The outdoor seating will continue along the promenade deck, forward, for additional seating for the the brand new Red Frog Pub and even further to add an outdoor adjunct to the Vibe Dance Club. The outdoor seating for the Red Frog Pub is close to the Ocean Plaza Lanai seating but it has its own style of décor with thatched roof umbrellas, palm trees and surfboards as art accents fastened to the wall (see the picture above).
The Red Frog Pub will occupy the space (just forward of the Ocean Bar) that was the art gallery on Carnival Dream. The word pub suggests English-style drinking, but one should never expect Carnival to do anything as expected. The Red Frog will be a Caribbean Pub featuring a variety of well-known Caribbean brands of beer and rum. You can even order a "raft" to sample a variety of beers, or a raft of rums. Or you can try the brand new Carnival brand; Red Frog Beer.
These lower deck outdoor public areas for dining are a simple but truly innovative concept in cruise ships. Most ships only have outdoor dining and drinking on the upper pool decks. But when you think about it, cruise ships have been putting open stateroom balconies on decks as low as deck five for years now.
But here is another surprise; both Dream and Magic have balcony staterooms as low as deck two - very close to the water line. They are called "Cove Balcony" staterooms and are one of better buys on these ships. You get the fresh air of a balcony on one of the more stable lower decks. Your stateroom is 185 square feet (same as a standard balcony cabin) and comes with a 45 square foot balcony (10 feet larger than the average balcony). The balcony comes with chairs and a table.
Other Carnival Magic Features
Other new features on Carnival Magic will be a new Italian restaurant in place of the upstairs portion of the regular Lido Buffet on Carnival Dream. This Cucina del Capitano restaurant will serve Italian dishes in "family style" portions.
Kids will particularly enjoy the Carnival WaterWorks aqua park on Magic, which along with the same selection of waterslides as on Dream will feature the first "water dump bucket" at sea.
Carnival is holding several contests at the new site; CarnivalMagic.com right now. One contest asks guests to provide new "pub slogans" to be printed on the drink coasters in the Red Frog Pub. Another one is to name the 500 gallon water dump bucket and yet another is to suggest a dish for the new Italian trattoria.
The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic is slated to debut in Europe with a series of seven- to 12-day Mediterranean cruises operating May 1 - Oct. 16, 2011. Following a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Magic will launch seven-day Caribbean service from Galveston, Texas, Nov. 14, 2011, becoming the port's largest year-round cruise ship.