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Our MAGICal B2B with a side of ELATION cruises (with pics) - 10/7/17.


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Ahoy there mates! For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Jeff ”Jamman54” Maskall, and along with my lovely wife Patti, have just gotten back from a wonderful month long vacation. We spent time in Orlando and Cocoa Beach before boarding the Carnival Magic for back to back 7 day cruises. After getting off the Magic, we immediately drove up to Jacksonville and boarded the Carnival Elation for a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas. So that meant that we had 19 straight nights at sea, which was a record for us. In fact, we set a few records for us on this journey.This would be our first back to back, our first time on the Magic and Elation,and our first time visiting Belize, Isla Roatan, and Costa Maya.

This review will cover all three cruises. As always, we will be giving you a lot of detailed information along with lots and lots of pictures. This will help you decide if you would like to sail on these ships, or visit the ports of call we visited. We like to make these reviews fun, and to make you feel that you are sailing along with us. Folks, grab yourself a DOD as this is going to be a long one!

It’s going to be a while before I get to the Elation part of the review, and I know that those sailing on her in the near future may have some questions. Just ask and I will try to give you the answers that you need.

Patti took well over four thousand pictures during the month. I brought my laptop along so that I could download the photos from our cameras daily, and try to keep up with resizing and cropping as we went along. It soon became apparent that there was no way that I could keep up with Patti’s itchy trigger (shutter) finger so as I write this, only the pre-cruise and the first Magic cruise are fully finished. I will work on the rest daily as I write this review, so that I can stay ahead of the game. For those that are wondering, our go to camera is the Canon PowerShot XS710 HS, and our water camera is the Fuji FinePix XP60.

During our three cruises we were lucky to meet up with quite a few Cruise Critic members.Some we have met before, and others we met for the first time. It was a pleasure to see you all! During this review some of these Cruise Critic members will show up in some of our pictures. I will not identify anyone by name, but if you see yourself while reading, and I know many of you are, and you want to shout out “that’s me”, I say go for it!

Hurricane season….People will say never to book during hurricane season. Hard to do since hurricane season is June to November. That’s half the year. Out of our 50+ cruises, the majority have been during hurricane season, and knock on wood, we have never had a cruise cancelled or even an itinerary deviation. We do however, make sure we have the proper insurance, and are prepared to go with the flow, which brings us to this past September, a month before our first cruise.

We watched in horror as hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria wreaked havoc in the Eastern Caribbean and the Southern United States. We have friends who live and own property in Florida. Fortunately for them the damage was minimal. Our first cruise was supposed to visit Amber Cove, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk. We knew that three out of these four ports had been hit hard, and there was no way we would be going to them. We were hopeful that the itinerary would change to a modified Eastern Caribbean cruise like an Amber Cove, St. Kitts, Antigua or Amber Cove, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau. But on September 28th an email from Carnival gave us our answer…..

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We would be doing the exact same cruise the second week! We were a tad disappointed since we had never been to Amber Cove, but we quickly got over it. First, we will be going to Amber Cove in the spring, and second, since three of the four ports were ones we had never been to, we could do different things each week. Time to begin planning excursions for this revised sailing!

To be continued…..

Edited by Jamman54
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Since being away this long was a first for us, (yet another record!), how the heck do you plan for this???

Ryan would not be going with us, so he would be taking care of the kitties, getting the mail, taking out the garbage, cleaning, etc….. Check!

I would make sure all the financial stuff, like bills, was taken care of. Most of it is online anyway……Check!

How the heck do you pack for a month??? We decided that we would pack our cruise bags with a week worth of clothes. Dressy clothes could be worn more than one time, and since I am Diamond I get unlimited amount of laundry so we could send out shorts, t-shirts and undies to be washed as much as we needed to. So for our cruises we each had one suitcase and Patti’s “body bag”. This is her large red duffel bag that has our whole house in it, including the kitchen sink. She never cruises without it! I laugh now, but if I find that I need or have forgotten something, she has it!

To avoid having to move our cruise bags in and out of hotels pre-cruise, we decided to each pack a smaller suitcase to use during this time, packed with mostly t-shirts and shorts. We then could transfer stuff back and forth prior to our first cruise, and then again before driving up to Jacksonville. This worked perfectly.

So let’s fast forward to 9pm on Sunday October 1st. It’s time for us to leave, so Ryan took this picture of us just as we were about to walk out the door…..

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I’m glad he didn’t take a picture of us when we walked back in the door 28 days later. It wouldn’t have been nearly as pretty! Lol.

We will be driving down to Florida. Patti is not a big fan, but I don’t mind driving. We like driving overnight so that we miss the morning rush hours of Baltimore and Washington, and there is hardly any traffic at all. I just set the cruise control at ahem, 79 mph and just steer between the white lines while listening to tunes all night long. We usually make quick potty and/or gas stops every two hours or so. After nine hours of driving we were ready for some breakfast so we stopped at the Cracker Barrel, Patti’s favorite place, in Santee, South Carolina…..

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Patti loves her blueberry pancakes……..

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I have the double meat breakfast which includes biscuits and gravy. Yummy!!!

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To be continued…..

Edited by Jamman54
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Fully refreshed after our breakfast at Cracker Barrel, we hopped into the van to continue our drive south. In a few hours we were in Florida. I always use I-295 to bypass downtown Jacksonville, and soon we saw a familiar sign. Sorry about the buggy windshield!

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Here is the Dames Point Bridge which we will be sailing under while on the Elation in just under three weeks…..

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We saw the Carnival Fascination in Jaxport. She was there filling in for the Elation while she was still in dry dock. Patti was able to get one decent blurry picture looking back…..

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In less than two hours of uneventful driving we were approaching Orlando. OMG, the construction on I-4 was horrible! Zigs and zags was the theme, and to tell you the truth, driving in a video game was easier than this. It’s going to take them years to get this all fixed. If I was the least bit tired before we hit this mess, I was wide eyed now! Finally, we navigated through this and made our exit onto International Drive.

We would be spending the first four nights at the Rosen Inn International at 7600 International Drive. Not 5 star by any means, but it is clean, comfortable, and cheap. At 59.99 a night it is well worth it. The best thing that I like about it is that it caters to a mostly British clientele. There is a clock on the wall by the front desk that shows London time. Gotta love those Brits!! Lol.

We were given room # 2627 on the 6th floor. Here are some pictures of the room…..

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To be continued……

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Here are some more pictures of our room at the Rosen Inn International…..

 

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Patti catches me firing up the laptop…..

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We then went down the street to the Brick House Tavern for dinner. Afterwards we went back to the hotel and crashed for the night.

 

To be continued…..

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So glad I spotted this right away- I love your reviews, Jeff! thanks for doing this...

 

Yay, You're back.

Have been watching for this.

Welcome back, we missed you.:D

 

Thank you both for your kind words. Glad to have you aboard! :D

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Yay! We’re leaving on the magic Saturday and I was hoping I could get at least part of your review before then, I’m a big fan of them’

 

Can't wait to read more. My daughter and I sail on the Magic on Dec 2nd. First time on Magic after 41 Carnival cruises.

 

Thanks for reading! We had a great time on the Magic, and I'm sure you will too! :D

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Love all your reviews! Thanks to both of you!

 

I knew you were sailing in Oct, but didn't realize you were back yet. Yay, another Jamman review!

 

Glad to have you aboard. Enjoy the ride!!! :D

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The next morning, all refreshed from a much needed night’s sleep, we made our way to the Rosen Inn’s breakfast buffet. Their buffet is pretty extensive and well worth the $9.95 per person price tag.

Today we are going over to Universal’s City Walk to spend some time. The hotel has a free shuttle that operates on the hour in the morning, with early evening departures back to the hotel. Though they recommend that you reserve a seat on the shuttles the evening before, there was room for us on the 11am shuttle, which was perfect!

Welcome to Universal’s City Walk……

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I would be spending my time at the Grill & Brew while Patti shopped and took pictures around the City Walk. I quickly made friends with a couple from northern England who were at the bar having beers at 11:30 am. Gotta love those Brits!!! Lol.

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Patti begins her walk around the City Walk…..

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To be continued…..

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The shuttle boat to the Royal Pacific Hotel, our favorite place to stay at Universal…..

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This is Margaritaville Orlando…..

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We had a late lunch / early dinner at Bubba Gump’s. We had fun playing Forrest Gump trivia……

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We took the 4:30 shuttle back to the hotel, where we spent the rest of the evening relaxing and watching tv.

 

To be continued…….

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So happy to see you are back safe and sound! I've been watching for your review since Thursday.....:p

 

You and Patti are looking great; retirement suits her!

 

Settling in for a lot of review reading this week to tide me over till we leave for Miami and the Celebrity Equinox in 16 days....:D

 

Sharon

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