The 130,000-ton, 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic was launched in Venice in May 2011. She was Carnival's 23rd ship and Carnival Corporation's 100th. Mainstream cruising sure has come a long way in size, as is seen in this picture comparing Carnival's first ship with the corporation's 100th. What doesn't show in the picture is how much the onboard experience and amenities have improved over the past 40 years.
The Carnival Magic sails seven-day cruises year-round to the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Mexico from its home port in Galveston, Texas. I sailed on the inaugural 9-day cruise from Venice to Barcelona.
Gerry Cahill, Carnival Cruise Line's CEO and President, told a group of media attending the inaugural that the company's goal is to factor in "fun" and "memorable" when designing a new Carnival ship. The Carnival Magic is a great ship, and fits Carnival's "fun-ship" and "memorable" theme perfectly. Carnival executives know their primary target market is middle America, and this ship is geared towards the type of memorable cruise vacation North American families and couples are looking for--social, fun, affordable, unpretentious, and good value for their vacation dollar. They've certainly succeeded with this ship.
The Carnival Magic has two new exciting (and fun) dining venues. The first is the Cucina del Capitano (Captain's Kitchen), a family-style Italian restaurant. The second is the RedFrog Pub, which has a Caribbean/beach theme. It has inexpensive pub-food with a Caribbean flair and a wide selection of beer, including Carnival's first private label draught beer, Thirsty Frog Red. The ship also has traditional Carnival guest favorites such as the Lido, with its wide selection of international and American favorites, two main dining rooms, and its Prime Steakhouse.
The 1,845 Carnival Magic cabins and suites are similar to the wide array of accommodations on the Carnival Dream. The ship was full on our sailing so I didn't have the opportunity to tour the other cabin categories, but my standard balcony cabin was a nice size, with plenty of storage. Families will love the two-bathroom/five-berth cabins and the connecting staterooms. Carnival has continued the cove balcony cabins on deck 2 that have cozy balconies closer to the water line and the spa cabins that provide special access and benefits.
I loved the outdoor decks of the Carnival Magic. Although our inaugural sailing was full, the decks didn't seem crowded, even with sunny weather on our sea days. The SportSquare area with its ropes course is especially fun, as is the WaterWorks aqua park. Adults will enjoy the comfortable seating, whirlpools, and bar at Serenity, the adults-only outdoor deck space. Like most large cruise ships, the Carnival Magic has a Seaside Theater with a 270-square-foot LED screen and poolside seating. The ship even has a half-mile Lanai encircling deck 5, with easy access to the indoor space at the RedFrog Pub and Ocean Plaza.
The interior decor of the Carnival Magic is bright and fun, although not quite as over-the-top as some previous Carnival ships. Principal designer Joe Farcus seems to have gone for a slightly more subdued look, which I think Carnival guests will still love. Don't worry, the cruise line hasn't sacrificed one bit of fun, with some memorable touches. I thought the atrium lights were spectacular, as were the Lido chandeliers near Cucina del Capitano. The ship has a new fun retail space called "Cherry on Top", where candy lovers can satisfy their sweet tooth or buy indulgent gifts for those back home. The Cloud 9 Spa has dozens of treatments, a restful thermal suite, and a thalassotherapy pool. Kid's will appreciate the 19,000-square-feet of space dedicated to kid's clubs. Of course the Carnival Magic has a large theater, with three new Las Vegas-style production shows, one of which has a magic theme.
Let's take a detailed tour of the Carnival Magic.