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Carnival Magic July 2014 review Steakhouse, SEUSS Jamaica, Cayman and Mexico


stressedmomof3
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I have finally been able to start my review. I had a wonderful cruise on the Magic- sailing to Jamaica, The Cayman Islands and Mexico, but I came down with a kick butt respiratory infection the day after we got home. I will do my best to get this review finished in the next couple of days as I am feeling better, but thought to start the review as others would be as inpatient as I was awaiting for reviews before my trip:) I am trying to figure out how to post pics again also, so please bear with me if the pics are too large or small- I will try to get them resized appropriately.

 

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On Sunday morning, my family and I arrived to drop off our luggage with the porters at the Galveston port. For 7 days it was $70 at the port parking facility. We went straight into the facility at 10:30 am. We boarded at 11:15 am with Faster to the Fun. The kids though it was not long enough to play a game on their systems- but I was excited to get on the ship and check out our rooms! We had rooms 8440 and 8436 on the ship. They were the connected door type rooms and we stayed in these 2 rooms before. The balconies are just at the edge of where the lanai ends, so looking straight down, you could see the water. Unfortunately, our rooms were NOT ready with the Faster to the Fun and they were not ready until 1pm. Disappointment. We did not see our room steward until day 2-and that was after my husband and I tried to track him down by asking every room steward on our floor if they were our room stewards. Normally this would not have bothered me, but there were issues with what was in the room, needing extra pillows and the cleanliness. You could definitely tell our room steward was not happy the whole trip. BUT our luggage arrived PROMPTLY and very happy with that.

I took a couple pics around the ship right before getting lunch. Here's one of my daughters favorite spots on the ship:

 

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One of the huts at the main pool:

 

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The aft pool:

 

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and here is the view of the lanai from our balcony ( the area you see with a little hut type roof is outdoor seating to the Red Frog Pub-and yes smoking is allowed there. And no- noone in my family smokes and the smoking only was bad once on the whole trip from our balcony area- but think that's because a lot of people lit up cigars that night-hth. ):

 

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We ate in the Steakhouse onboard and lets just say it is SO worth the extra money! We were unsure about the kiddos going, but they loved every bit of it and I can just say that the food is NOT like the main dining room at all. The pics may be out of order of the way the courses were served, but posting them here so everyone can take a look. And again, everything was simply delicious! ( We splurged for this with some onboard credit in price drops we received). DO make your reservations well in advance though via emailing the steakhouse, as when we were at Guest Services Monday morning for our free deck of cards, the lady in front of us said she was upset because she thought she could book onboard with faster to the Fun but the steakhouse was booked 100% full.

 

Caesar salad:

 

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Escargot:

 

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Lamb:

 

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Surf and Turf: ( real Maine lobster)

 

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Salmon:

 

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Filet: ( and this was divine!)

 

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side of baked potato:

 

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chicken dish:

 

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Crab cake : ( My youngest son said it was the greatest!

 

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And this was a chef's special not on the menu-it tasted like a potato soup- out of this world! :

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And this was the other chef's special- I did not taste it, but my husband said this one was good:

 

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and last but not least, the chocolate dessert:

 

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All I can say is this was just amazing. So worth paying the extra for. The atmosphere was great and the food fantastic. There was much more food to be had as my children did not order every course on the menu and by the time dessert came around, only one of us ordered dessert. That's how stuffed one can get here. Again, all I can say is just WOW!

They actually charge your S&S card after you finish your meal like a real land restaurant. Bottomless bubbles cards for the kids worked here - no problem. And yes- there were other children eating in the steakhouse besides mine, and they were all well behaved and nicely dressed ( slacks and a polo top). A couple of the older children seemed to have left before their meal service was done, but with all the kids activities going on around the ship, I can't blame them- it's their vacations too.

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Okay I am going to post a couple more pics around the ship here now. The first are a couple of the Red Frog pub. My husband said the entertainment at night was great. Kids can use their bottomless bubbles here. I did not have any of the snacks here, but heard they were delicious. They cost a small fee, but heard it was worth it. There are Jacuzzis just outside of the pub on the lanai that are virtually empty the whole sailing. They also hold the bean bag toss out on the deck here too. Check your Funtimes. They have a Family Toss and an 18+ toss. My husband and eldest son won 2 ships on a stick here ( 2 separate contests)! This spot is also GREAT to play dominos.They have tables and provide the dominos. I can't say how many times the kiddos and I played dominos here. Oh- also- if you want to play "bags" yourself to practice anytime before/after the contests- you just go to the bar in the Red Frog and ask to check out the bags. You trade your sign and sail card for the bean bags and then exchange it all out when you are done. No charge.

 

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inside the pub:

 

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Here is an entryway photo to the casino. I did play slots, but I am not a big gambler. I walked in there with $20 and came out around $150 for the week. I only played the 2 cent machine and one pull on the $1 Wheel of Fortune. It turned out to be a winner because I won $50 out of that one pull. Very happy for me indeed.

 

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Here is a pic of the taste bar on the Magic. We did not participate in this, but sis see people there in the evenings. This is another fee based item. I did not talk to anyone who did try it so I can not comment if it was worth it or not. This is located around the corner from the Red Frog pub. It is directly across from where they hold trivia and karaoke in the Oceanside Plaza.

 

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Here is a pic of the taste bar on the Magic. We did not participate in this, but sis see people there in the evenings. This is another fee based item. I did not talk to anyone who did try it so I can not comment if it was worth it or not. This is located around the corner from the Red Frog pub. It is directly across from where they hold trivia and karaoke in the Oceanside Plaza.

 

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Looking forward to your review! We'll be on the same ship, same itinerary in October! Can't wait...

 

For the benefit of other readers an FYI- the Taste Bar is a place that gives you small samples from each of the different restaurants that Carnival has on their ships- definitely just a small sample, one from a different restaurant each night. And there is no charge for the Taste Bar.

 

Love your pictures by the way!

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sorry guys- the Taste Bar is NOT fee based. We were told it was by a carnival employee on the ship and I just looked it up and it does not cost one cent. HTH. Thought I'd clear that up right off the bat. :)

 

Well next up down memory lane, I will take you to Jamaica. We docked in Montego Bay. When you get off the ship- there is not much to see/do inside the gates here. There is a long building that you go inside that has a couple shops and a "terminal" where everyone goes to find their excursions. We booked the 4 hour zipline tour through Carnival and had the 9:30 a.m. excursion to catch. None of us have ever zip lined and thought this would be perfect to try it out , especially with a young one tagging along.

Let me tell you, the Jamaica we saw on the bus was not too pretty. We knew that going in that it was very, very poor, but it totally astonished the kids with all the barbed wire around the schools. I think it helped make them appreciate what they have here in the states more. The ride up the mountain- well that's an adventure in itself!!! They all drive very fast, lots of honking and with the passengers being able to look down the side of a crumbling mountain most of the time really can get your heart going at times.

 

But we made it!

 

This is the view where the 1st zipline goes across the water. It was just gorgeous! This is also where another tour went for kayaking. It looked like a lot of fun too!

 

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As for the ziplining itself, it was a lot of fun and time went by so fast! They take your pictures during the first zip, so if you would like to purchase a picture of you and your family ziplining- be sure to look at the camera man on the other side during this first zip. The pictures were pretty expensive, for us it was $30 for 10 pictures on a disc, but in our minds worth it as a once in a lifetime experience for our family. This tour is great from kids aged about 8- older adults who do not have mobility issues. We saw a couple in a group behind us that looked to be in their late 60's having a great time. It is a bit of climbing up some stairs and the side of a mountain, but if you are in pretty good shape and can walk the mall a couple times over, you'll be fine. The guides are GREAT and PATIENT! The last zip by far was AMAZING! Again, this all went by very quickly, but a great intro to ziplining in a gorgeous setting. They are upfront about tipping here, but we were more than happy to tip as everyone was great and helped out our little one so much who was so scared during the first 3 zips and smiling and laughing through zips 4-6!

 

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Afterwards, there is a mini shop to buy some jerk chicken, drinks and t-shirts and pictures and stuff. I would recommend to BRING mosquito spray. Also bring your own bottled water. We rented a locker here for $5 to put our things inside while we zipped. They did not want us to bring any cameras, non prescription glasses, hats, etc... Although we did have one kid in our group who was able to attach his GoPro camera to his helmet.

Then we took the bus ride back through town and one couple wanted to go downtown to be dropped off. The driver said he would not recommend to do so, but the couple insisted. So the driver took the rest of us back to inside the gates and took off with the couple who wanted to go downtown. We actually got back on the ship in enough time to eat a late lunch.

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Here I am going to take a minute to post some odds and ends before I get to Grand Cayman. First I'd like to take a minute to tell everyone about the fill up a paper laundry bag as much as you can stuff for $15. I read about this on Cruise Critic before our trip and very much planned on doing this to save some extra packing. I kept a look out in the fun times for the notice or some insert in my room at night. Nope. On Thursday I tracked down our room steward and asked him about it. He said we could do it anytime during the week. Well- nice. So I rolled all the clothes I could and stuffed them in the bag and used packing tape. I have to say we got a lot of clothes packed in that little $15 bag-a great little use of more onboard credit. More time for me to enjoy the ship:)

 

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Also for those who buy the onboard pictures, they had some neat little bonuses you get after you buy a certain amount of pictures onboard. The first is a photo of the Magic, second was a luggage tag, third was the cruise ship USB, next was the little insulated coffee cup. We did not get past this, but you start a whole new card after getting the mug.

 

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and a pic of a wonderful frog when we came back to the room one evening:

 

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I'll be boarding the MAGIC on 9/7... can't wait!!!

 

Your photos and review are GREAT!!! Makes me get more and more excited!!!

 

The Taste Bar at lunch is a great option, too!! I've only be on the MAGIC once before, for Halloween 2013, and enjoyed this area!!

 

I'm glad to hear the smoke wasn't bothersome. I have not had a problem with it -- except in the Casino -- and that was a visit by my choice. And the Casino has non smoking areas, too!

 

Keep up this great review!!! :)

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The Cayman Islands:

 

Okay, this port we liked. We booked the He**, Turtle farm and Stingray combo tour through Carnival. The kids really wanted to go to he** and yes- we're a corny family.

 

First we drove around in a bus, very boring, but part of the tour. We made a stop at the turtle farm for about 30-40 minutes, a quick stop at the rum factory (maybe 10 minutes) and it's just a very tiny shop. We were not interested in this- but my husband saw someone selling coconuts in front of the shop and bought one and said it was fantastic.

 

Next we went to he**. Let me tell you-there is NO WAY you can get things accomplished here without a plan. We split up into 2 groups. First we ran into the shop that sells post cards, then ran to the post office. My husband went into the other shop to buy t-shirts. We had the post card labels already made out before our trip so all we had to do was peel and stick the labels onto the post cards. We bought 5 shirts, 10 postcards and mailed the 10 post cards all in less than 10 minutes. They were telling everyone to get back on the bus. So- quick snap of the kids in front of the post office and a quick run to the stone formations to get a pic and back on the bus- all in 12 minutes flat! WHEW!

 

They will no longer stamp your passports here at the post office-HTH. Also carry small bills to pay for postage at the post office. They only give change in their currency.

 

Then off to the stingrays! This was the most exciting of the whole trip! Any apprehension I had before going in, all dissolved away. The captain and crew of the boat we went on was amazing! We had a really great time and a lot of memories here. They do sell pictures on disc of your interactions with the stingrays and I have to HIGHLY recommend buying this disc. I can't remember exactly what we paid, but I am thinking it was about $50 and we had about 40 pics on the disc of our family of 5.

 

We were able to get back to port and on the boat for a late lunch after this excursion. They also had a gentleman selling coconuts inside the gate here, but my husband said it was not as good as the one he had at the little rum factory .

 

 

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Rock formation in he**:

 

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Turtle farm:

 

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Stingrays:

 

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gorgeous view out in the water :

 

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