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RDDAILY

Carnival Magic Review July 28 - Aug. 3

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Wednesday – Grand Turk

 

When I started researching things to do in Grand Turk, my first thought was to rent a golf cart and just drive around the island and stop at any interesting places we found.  But, I had read so many mixed reviews about the companies that rent the golf carts… and I knew the Pride would be in port with us, so I was afraid of renting one ahead of time, then showing up and the company telling us they did not have one for us.  We did walk out to the area where they have the taxis, and saw a company advertising golf cart rentals.  But as I figured would happen they did not have any available. 

 

In the end, we decided to walk over to Jack’s Shack.  My boys love animals, and I knew they would really enjoy playing with the dogs there.  Plus, my mom was house/dog sitting for us, and I had told her I would find a place with wifi to text her that day. 

 

The walk over to Jack’s Shack wasn’t bad.  Maybe around ten minutes.  There were a lot of people on the beach selling all sorts of stuff… from boat tours, to jewelry, to renting chairs and umbrellas.  It did get a little annoying to get stopped by someone every couple of seconds.  To avoid it, we just started walking closer to the water. 

 

I was a little bit disappointed in the water at Grand Turk.  The pictures I had seen showed this beautiful, blue water.  But that day, the water was full of seaweed.  We walked just a little past Jack’s Shack, and were basically the only people in that area.  We were still able to get wifi reception from the restaurant.

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Topher and Calypso (the Jack’s Shack mascots) were out and about playing with the tourists.  Topher started digging and digging right next to Ryan and Danny, then he would stick his head in the hole.  Then he would dig some more, then stick his head in the hole again.  After a couple of minutes of doing this, he pulled out a crab!  Then, he chomped on it :classic_ohmy:

 

The boys got a kick out of it!! 

 

I saw a post on the Jack's Shack page just a couple of days after we returned from our trip, asking the tourists to please not throw sand up in the air for Topher to jump and grab (he's the white doggie).  Apparently, he is 12 years old (no way I would have ever guessed this. He runs around and plays like a puppy!)  All of that jumping is causing him to develop arthritis, and is just not good for him.  We did not do this, but did see other people throwing sand up in the air for him to catch.  So if you visit the area, please be aware and be gentle with him.   

 

We hung out in the water for a bit.  The spot we were at had some seaweed, but it was a little bit further out in the water, not on shore like in other spots.

 

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One word of warning for anyone swimming in the area: there are boats that will come in right up to the shore to pick up people for excursions, then bring them back.  They drive pretty fast, and don’t really seem to care that there are people swimming in the area.   It was a little bit scary to see!  You can see one parked right up on shore in this picture, plus a couple more anchored out in the water. 

 

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I am LOVING your review.  We will be on the Magic on the 31st and can't wait to hang out with Topher and Calypso at Jacks. 

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Did jacks have chairs/umbrellas for rent?  I was thinking about going down there on our April cruise, my boys want to be on the beach as much as possible, and I know that my hubby and I are going to want to have a drink or two! 

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10 minutes ago, caryatid said:

Did jacks have chairs/umbrellas for rent?  I was thinking about going down there on our April cruise, my boys want to be on the beach as much as possible, and I know that my hubby and I are going to want to have a drink or two! 

Chairs are free at Jack's but the umbrella is a $10 charge and their drinks are awesome. If you go online to their website (Jack's Shack) you can print off a coupon for a free shot of Grand Turk rum :classic_biggrin:  

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Around 4:00, we decided we were starving and we should start heading back to the ship to get some food.  We stopped for a few minutes at the NASA exhibit, then started walking back to the ship.  They had made an announcement that morning that anyone over 16 years old needed to have a picture ID, in addition to their sign and sail card, to get back on the ship.  I was glad that I could use our driver’s licenses, because I really did not want to take our passports to shore. 

 

In the end, they did not even ask for our license to get through customs, only the sign and sail cards. 

 

We got back on the ship, and went to the deli to get some sandwiches.  My husband and I both had the grilled ham and cheese, and the boys got grilled cheese.  They were all very good!  Plus, we all agreed that the fries from the deli were better than the fries from Guy’s Burgers!

 

We got cleaned up, and the boys went to the kids club.  We picked them up around 8:30 and got some pizza for dinner.  We wanted to turn in early because we had to get up early the next day for our ATV tour!

 

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Love reading your review and seeing the pictures. We are on this itinerary in September. I know you said you utilized the app for schedules, but any chance you have a copy of the kids club schedule and/or the funtimes you can post? Thank you for your time in posting this review!

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I am enjoying reading your review.   We will be going on the Magic to Bermuda in September.  I know there is a violin trio that plays in atrium, but would like to know if there is a band with saxophone and brass instruments on the ship.

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9 minutes ago, wanderlust0713 said:

Do you remember which night was the second formal night?

Hi!  Yes, it was Thursday night (the day we were in Amber Cove).  We had the filet mignon for dinner at the main restaurant that night.  It was delicious! 

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53 minutes ago, lucy2mb said:

I am enjoying reading your review.   We will be going on the Magic to Bermuda in September.  I know there is a violin trio that plays in atrium, but would like to know if there is a band with saxophone and brass instruments on the ship.

Thanks!  You will love it, she's a great ship!  There was a band playing one of the nights in the Ocean Plaza area.  I recall that they had brass instruments.  I know they had music in that area every night, but I'm not sure if it was the same band, or if they had different ones playing. 

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2 hours ago, icedancer43 said:

Love reading your review and seeing the pictures. We are on this itinerary in September. I know you said you utilized the app for schedules, but any chance you have a copy of the kids club schedule and/or the funtimes you can post? Thank you for your time in posting this review!

Hi there!  Yes, I do have the Fun Times and the kids club schedules for the 3-5, 6-8, and 9-11 year olds.  I'm planning to add them to the end of the review.  I just have to figure out how to upload them!  Simon London was our cruise director.  He was a lot of fun!

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Thursday – Amber Cove

 

Before the cruise, I researched things to do in Puerto Plata, which is the closest major city to Amber Cove.  I thought about doing the cable ride and touring the town, but my oldest had been asking about when we could do an ATV tour for a while.  I thought this would be the perfect place to do it! 

 

Carnival does an ATV tour, but my five year old was too young to do it.  After checking out several companies and reading reviews online, I decided to go with Marysol Tours.  They allowed Danny to do it, and they were much better priced than the Carnival tour, since they charge you per machine, not per person. 

 

It was $80 per ATV, up to two riders.  I e-mailed them, and reserved two ATVs for that day.  I sent payment through PayPal, and received a confirmation from them right away, which included a map of where they would meet us, and things to bring (sunglasses, bandanas, sunblock, etc.).  We were supposed to meet them at 8:30.  We did not tell the kids about the tour, since we wanted it to be a surprise!

 

I set my alarm for 6:30.  This was the only day that I knew we were going to have to get up early!  We finally made it out of the cabin around 7:15, and headed for the main dining room for breakfast.  We were walking off the ship and onto the pier around 8:10. 

 

Just a word of warning, it is a long walk from the pier, to the area where you meet the driver that will take you to the ATVs (or to any other tour not organized through Carnival). These tour companies are not allowed in the port area.  It took us about 20 minutes. You have to walk down the long pier, through the shopping area, down a walkway where the taxis are, then down a long street that leads to a security station, then to a parking lot. The guide from Marysol Tours was waiting there for us with a sign. We walked a little further down the street, and got into a pick-up truck with benches in the back. It was only about a five minute drive to the ranch where the ATVs are located. Anyone that had not driven an ATV before was allowed to test it out with one of the tour guides.  It’s very easy to drive. You accelerate by pressing a button on the right hand side handlebar, and break by pressing a pedal on the floor.  The entire time, you are driving in one straight line with the other ATVs, so it was perfect for my five year old since you couldn't really speed.  Ryan rode with me, and Danny rode with my husband.

 

We had a guide in the front, and the mechanic in the back, making sure all of the ATVs worked, and that there were no stragglers. We brought our own bandanas and sunglasses, and you will need them! You can buy bandanas from them, and they rent goggles to wear. All of the roads are super dusty. In fact, our tour guide told us it had not rained in that area for almost two years! 

 

We left the ranch, and drove through several dirt roads.  We stopped at a beach, and were offered water to drink.  It was a beautiful area, with a great view of our ship! 

 

 

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We then continued to drive, and eventually stopped at a private residence.  Again, we were offered water and soda to drink.  At this residence, they showed us how they made tobaccos, and coffee.  We noticed several large windmills in the area.  Our tour guide told us that a large, American company had recently gone in and started installing windmills to help with the electricity in the area. 

 

There is a photographer that follows you throughout the trip. He took excellent photos, and the price was reasonable. $40 for the pictures (they give you a thumb drive with pictures of only the people in your group), and an additional $20 for a video.  While at this residence, he shows you the pictures and you decide if you would like to purchase them.  He then goes back to the ranch to prepare the thumb drives.  I purchased the pictures only. There were 38 in total of just our group of four.  I thought it was definitely worth it, especially since we couldn't really take any pictures while driving the ATVs.

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We left the residence, and stopped at a hill overlooking several mountains with trees.  The guide told us that they filmed Jurassic Park, Part 1 in that area.  Danny was a bit disappointed. He thought he was going to see dinosaurs, not just some hills :classic_laugh:  We then continued driving, and stopped at the beach again.  This time, we were told we would be there for around 20 minutes, and could jump in the water.  My husband and Danny got in.  Ryan and I just dipped our toes!  We then dried off, and continued back towards the ranch.

We stopped at a second private residence.  They had several animals you could hold, including a tarantula, parrot and snake!  My kids are obviously braver than I am.  They held all of them!  They also had a small shack where you could buy souvenirs.

 

 

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We then continued to drive back to the ranch.  Once we got there, the photographer gave us our thumb drive with the pictures.  We thanked our guides and gave them a tip, since they had done an awesome job.  The tour lasted a little over three hours.  We got back on the pick-up truck, and were taken back to the port.  Again, we had a long walk back to the ship! 

 

By this time, we were starving.  But, I had wanted to text my mom to see how things were back home.  I thought I was going to have to go to the pool area to get a wifi signal, but luckily a lot of the stores in the port area offered free wifi.  We stopped at one of the stores, and while the boys picked out some souvenir shirts, I texted my mom. 

We walked back to the ship, and headed for the Lido deck.  The boys had burgers, and I finally got to try out the Blue Iguana Mexican food.  I had some tacos, and they were delicious!  The toppings bar was great too. 

 

After that, the boys wanted to play in the Waterworks area.  We hung out there for a bit, then went back to the room to rest and get ready for dinner.  Tonight was the second elegant night.  Although I did see some people dressed up, most were dressed a lot more casually than on the first elegant night.  Once we were ready to eat, I made my reservation through the Hub App, then walked to the restaurant.  Tonight’s menu included filet mignon.  Both my husband and I ordered it.  It was one of the best steaks I’ve had in a long time!  The meat was tender and juicy.  After dinner, it was back to the cabin to rest.

 

 

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Enjoying your review. Your boys are so cute! They are braver than me because I'd never touch a snake or a tarantula!

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Friday – Sea Day

 

We had reservations for the Dr. Seuss breakfast at 9:45.  It costs $5 per person.  When I made the reservation, they had told us to get there around 15 minutes early.  We headed down to the dining room at 9:30.  There was already a line of people for the breakfast.  A Carnival employee was walking around checking people’s names off a list, and telling them which table to sit at.

 

At 9:45, they started letting us into the dining room.  The tables had little cards with numbers on them.  We found our table and sat down.  The decorations were really cute, and I loved the menu!  It looked like a Dr. Seuss book!  They came around and took our orders, and the characters started coming around, as well.  First were Thing 1 and Thing 2.  They walked around to each table and took pictures with the guests.  Next, they brought out the Cat in the Hat.  He stood at the entryway, and the guests had to go up to take pictures with him.  Last, was Sam I Am.  Like the Cat in the Hat, he also stood at the entry and you had to go up to take pictures.

 

They also gave the kids a little autograph book, and they put a stamp on it for each character.

 

I thought the service was a bit slow.  They took a long time to bring our drinks, then even longer for the food.  My son had ordered a side of ham, and by the time it came, he was already finished with the rest of his breakfast! 

 

But it was a cute experience for the kids, and the decorations and characters made it worth it. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Ryan had been wanting to try the Sky Course, but every time we went, it was closed. It was either too windy, or one time it was lightning.  Today, he finally got to try it.  He did the course twice.  The inside course is easier than the outside one. 

 

 

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Edited by RDDAILY

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That afternoon, they set up a table just past the pool on the Lido, with balloons.  You could blow up a balloon, put a little paper inside with your name and cabin number, and put the balloon on a big net.  At 8:30 that evening, they were going to drop all of the balloons down to the atrium.  They would also select one of the balloons, and the winning card inside would get a Carnival gift pack. 

 

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At 6:00, we sat out by the pool and watched Lego Movie 2 on the big screen.  That day was kids movie day.  They played the Lego Movie, and the new How to Train Your Dragon. 

 

 

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We had been told at the kids club that the kids would be performing during the finale of the Lip Sync Battle.  They had choreographed a little routine for each age group to perform during the intermission.   The Lip Sync Battle was scheduled at 7:30, but they told us that any kids that wanted to participate should be there around 7:15.  So we headed down to the main theater at 7:15.  Danny was super excited to participate.  Ryan wasn’t sure if he wanted to do it.  My kids are so different from each other!  Ryan is more reserved and quiet, while Danny is super outgoing… and very loud :classic_laugh:  In the end, Ryan decided to participate, too. 

 

They brought out the two finalists for the lip sync battle. It was a girl and a guy.  They both performed a routine (they were both great performers)!  Then, they had intermission so that the performers could get ready for the second routine.  They brought the kids up on the stage, and each age group performed their little routine.  Then, they told all of the kids that they could freestyle and do whatever dance they wanted!  I was cracking up watching Danny dance front and center on the stage!  Once they finished, all of the kids started walking off the stage.  I was looking down at my phone trying to watch the video I had just taken.  I look up, and Danny is on stage by himself with Simon! :classic_ohmy:  I guess Simon was pretty impressed with his dance moves.  He did a little interview with Danny, then had him show off his dance moves.  The audience was laughing and clapping.  That child of mine is too much!!!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

After the show was over, we walked out from the theater to the atrium for the balloon drop.  They had a DJ playing music.  They counted down from 10, and released the net.  All of the balloons dropped down on us!  It was so much fun.  After that was over, we went and got some pizza to eat, then went to the room to pack up and get ready for bed. 

 

Yesterday, they had set up a board at Ocean Plaza with numbered tags for the luggage.  They had tags for early debarkation, and late debarkation.  Since we were in no rush to get off the ship, I selected late debarkation.  I finished packing up our things, put the tags on our luggage, and set them outside our cabin door to be picked up. 

Edited by RDDAILY

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