The first new venue was an overnight success on the inaugural sailing I attended. The RedFrog Pub is Carnival Cruise Line's first onboard pub. Located on deck 5, the RedFrog has both indoor and outdoor seating for 120 guests. It's theme is a mixture of Caribbean and Key West, with palm trees and decor straight out of a beach bar. Although we were sailing in the Mediterranean, this laid-back place definitely has a Caribbean feel. I wouldn't be too surprised to see it added to other Carnival ships in the future. The RedFrog serves Caribbean-themed pub snacks (priced at $3.33 each) such as coconut shrimp, chicken wings, Bahamian conch salad, and fried grouper fingers. Yummy, and a perfect lunch, snack, or light dinner. The pub also has live music that fits the Caribbean theme and a wide selection of island beers, frozen libations, and rum drinks.
Carnival has brewed its first private-label draught beer especially for the Carnival Magic, called Thirsty Frog Red. This beer was so popular with inaugural cruisers that the RedFrog ran out the first night! This may have been because many cruisers were buying it in huge 101-ounce servings, which is enough for a whole table. As you might expect, Thirsty Frog Red is red in color and has a very slight fruity taste. Very tasty.
Carnival has made excellent use of the space over the Lido Marketplace, adding an Italian family-style dining venue called Cucina del Capitano ("The Captain's Kitchen"). This traditional Italian restaurant, with its red and white checked tablecloths and kegs of chianti, pays homage to Carnival's Italian heritage. Past Carnival cruisers will already know that all of the line's captains are Italian and many Carnival ships, including the Carnival Magic, were built in Italy. The menu consists of made-to-order Italian favorites developed by the cruise line's executive chef and four chefs de cuisine who spent three weeks in Italy researching and eating with some of Italy's finest chefs and their families. Those who don't like chianti can choose from a wine list specializing in Italian vintages or one of the specialty cocktails such as a Limoncello Martini designed just for Cucina del Capitano.
Meals at Cucina del Capitano are casual and fun, featuring homemade pastas and other Italian specialties. Some recipes come straight from the Captains' (or their wives') kitchens. In addition to the delicious food, I think most diners will love two other elements of this restaurant. The first is all the old captioned-photographs lining the walls. Most of these pictures either came from Carnival's archives or from the personal collections of Carnival's current or former captains. The second is the warm service, touched with fun. The waiters serve chianti from rolling kegs and entertain the diners with lively songs. Although dinner has a fee of $10 for adults and $5 for children 11 and under, I think most Carnival Magic guests will want to experience "Cucina". The Italian restaurant also has a complimentary made-to-order pasta bar at lunch.
Carnival hasn't changed all the restaurants on the Carnival Magic, continuing with two large main dining rooms, Northern Lights (mid-ship on decks 3 and 4 with 948 seats) and Southern Lights (aft on decks 3 and 4 with 1,248 seats). Dinner is served at two fixed seatings (6:00 pm and 8:15 pm) or with anytime dining between 5:45 and 9:30 pm. Dinner usually includes six appetizers and soups, two salads, and six main courses. Also offered are traditional selections like Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, grilled flat iron steak, grilled chicken, and gourmet burgers. The dessert menu also features six selections, including my favorite--the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake.
I was happy to see that Carnival still has its classic alternative Prime Steakhouse on the Carnival Magic. This room is elegant and has a great atmosphere. If you like beef, lamb, or lobster, you will love the Prime Steakhouse. Located aft on deck 5, this contemporary steakhouse has prime beef ranging from a 9-ounce filet to a 24-ounce porterhouse. I had the surf and turf combo, which was a very small filet and a lobster tail--just the right size of each. Those looking for a "lighter" meal will enjoy the fish or chicken. The side orders are huge and delicious, with wasabi mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms favorites at our table. Although Prime has a $30 per person surcharge, it's a great place for an special meal to accompany your unforgettable cruise vacation. It only seats 69, so get your reservations early.
Those looking for another unforgettable experience might choose to experience the Chef's Table in the galley. Eight to twelve guests get to savor a special menu that begins with a champagne and canapés cocktail hour, followed by a personal tour of the galley in operation, and a seven-course meal with wine pairings. This one comes at a steep price--$75 per person, but would provide some great stories to take back home.
The Lido Marketplace offers international flavors at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Almost every type of cuisine is offered on one day or another, including Italian, Asian, Tex-Mex, tandoori, and all sorts of deli sandwiches and salad-fixings. Pizza and frozen yogurt are available 24-hours a day.
On sea days, Carnival Magic's outdoor Lanai area on deck 5 transforms into an on-deck barbecue, dishing up grilled items such as sliders, chicken, and hot dogs. Salads, homemade chips and salsa, quesadillas, and traditional barbecue accompaniments are also included.
Also on deck 5 in the Ocean Plaza is the Plaza Cafe, a patisserie serving specialty coffees and sweets such as baked-on-board cakes, pies, and cookies for a nominal charge. The Plaza Cafe also has freshly made milkshakes and premium ice cream. With both indoor and outdoor seating in a central location, this is a busy hub of the ship.
One of the most popular places late in the afternoon on deck 5 near the Ocean Plaza(from about 5 pm to 8:15 pm) is the sushi bar with complimentary freshly-made sushi.
The Carnival Magic also has complimentary 24-hour room service with a selection of sandwiches, salads, and snacks.