Friday, May 20, 2011

Great article from USA Today on the newest Carnival ship to hit Galveston!

Early word on the new Carnival Magic: The best 'Fun Ship' ever

By Gene Sloan, USA TODAY
And the early word is ... it's a winner.
Cruise reviewers and other travel writers who have sailed aboard the Carnival Magic since its debut earlier this month in Italy are almost universal in their praise for the ship -- industry giant Carnival's 23rd at sea.
Anita Dunham-Potter of, dubs the 3,690-passenger Magic the 'best Fun Ship yet," and John Deiner of calls it "one wickedly entertaining vessel."
To leading Canadian cruise blogger Phil Reimer of, the Magic is "a job well done," and Linda Garrison of New York Times-owned declares it "bright and fun, although not quite as over-the-top as some previous Carnival ships."
What's got the cruise press sounding so upbeat? For starters, a number are noting a somewhat dialed down decor on the Magic (at least in some areas) as compared to earlier Carnival vessels -- a change for the better, they say, that has come about since new management took over the line in recent years.
There's also lots of praise for the ship's deck-top areas, which feature a number of fun new amusements including the first (suspended-in-the-sky) ropes course on a ship and first outdoor weightlifting area (think Venice Beach at sea). Unlike some other big mass-market lines, Carnival hasn't carved off a large chunk of the deck-top area on its latest ship for an exclusive VIP zone, leaving more room for creative, open-to-all activities.
Cruise reviewers also are liking the ship's Caribbean-themed pub and $10-a-head Italian restaurant, Cucina del Capitano -- both Carnival firsts (see our story on the new pub).
As Donna Tunney of industry watcher Travel Weekly notes this week in a story on the ship, Carnival is adding spaces that CEO Gerry Cahill is calling "destinations within a ship ... a new concept for us."
Not everything about the Carnival Magic is drawing praise. Deiner, for one, points to some serious soundproofing issues in cabins as well as some (probably start-up related) service issues. But so far there aren't a lot of complaints.
The Carnival Magic isn't for everyone, of course. Budget traveler-friendly Carnival isn't a luxury line, for sure (and it doesn't pretend to be), and passengers on the Carnival Magic shouldn't expect the same sort of service and amenities as on some more expensive lines. As industry watcher Anne Kalosh writes this week in Cruise Week, a leading industry newsletter, the line's executives are determined to keep the Middle America-aimed brand affordable, and that means keeping a sharp eye on costs.
Still, as CruiseCritic's Deiner notes, "the buzz on this baby has been pretty good so far."