Disclaimer: Carnival provided complimentary internet so that I could do this blog from the cruise ship. These are my honest views and opinions.
Finally!!! We get to cruise for the first time in two years! It’s been a stressful two years for everyone, including us. It’s also been hard to have a cruise blog with nowhere to cruise. And now we’re actually on a cruise ship and enjoying the ocean on Carnival Magic.
We drove to Titusville the day before the cruise. We used GoPort to book our hotel and our cruise. I’ll do a separate post on GoPort and my experiences with them. So far it’s been a good experience, I’ll see how the return trip goes. Of course we did our mandatory stop at Buc-ee’s to get lunch and gas up.
Transportation and parking
I had stayed up till midnight the morning that we were allowed to start doing our cruise registration because I wanted an early boarding time. We like to get onto the ship early because we don’t want to miss a minute of the experience. We ended up with an 11 am boarding time, which was pretty good. Our boarding number was B03.
We left the hotel at 9:15 am because we needed to stop at Walmart to pick up a couple of things before the cruise. The drive to GoPort took about 30 minutes. Be aware that the GoPort sign is not there right now. It looked like it had been blown out in a storm. We ended up having to turn around to get there. It does say cruise parking.
First you park your car and take your luggage to the sign up area. It’s well marked. She gave us a tag to put in our car, and luggage tags for our luggage. After that we only had to wait a couple of minutes and they loaded our luggage into a trailer and us onto a bus. It took maybe 15 minutes to get to the cruise terminal. They dropped off people to a different ship, then dropped us off at the Magic. They explained where to meet the GoPort bus, and that was it. Easy Pezey. We got our carry on luggage, tipped the porter, and we were off to the terminal. At this point I was a little more hopeful that we’d actually get on the ship, although there were still some hoops to jump through.
At the Terminal
First of all, masks are required in the Terminal building. We were at the terminal about fifteen minutes before our boarding number. There was a long line to get in but it went fast and they let us go in a couple of minutes early. First you go through a station where they check all your info including passport or birth certificate, vaccine documents or documents who have a vaccine waiver, and your covid test. She then stamped our boarding pass.
Next we went through Security. That’s always a pain because your hands are full and of course your keys and phone are in your pocket. Everything has to go through the X-ray machine. And they were not using the bowls so you could just throw your extras into one. Everything had to be in one of your bags. Hated slowing down the line, but it was what it was. After Security we went to one of the tables on the other side and got everything put back together.
Boarding passes in and, we were sent immediately to a clerk to check us in. It was easy, they didn’t take our picture, just scanned our passports. We were told that our keycards were at our room in the mailbox. Then we were told that embarkation would be at 11:15 am and to find a seat and wait.
So we waited…and waited…and waited… I think that boarding finally started close to noon. Not sure why. I’m sure that Priority guests were boarded before that, when boarding group A01 was finally called. Once they started boarding it did go quickly with only a couple of minutes between calling each group up. It went to A11 and then they finally got to B.
Once our group was called it didn’t take very long to board. We went up the escalator with out carry on luggage, then through a station with facial recognition software. For some reason it didn’t recognize me. All she had to do was scan our boarding pass and all was well. Then through the gangway and we boarded Carnival Magic!
We’ve been on Carnival Magic on Halloween before five years ago. She looks mostly the same. There were fewer Halloween decorations this time. Last time it was full of blow up decorations, this time it was mostly a huge Halloween statue called Patch the Pumpkin. Really cute. And some nice Autumn garland. The one thing that always gets my attention are the lights in the Atrium area of the Magic. To me they look like bloodshot eyeballs. And there were a lot of people waiting to get on the elevators. A number of elevators were being used to bring up luggage, so it was a wait.
Lunch is always first thing we do
We headed to the Lido buffet to get a seat and put down our luggage. We couldn’t drop them off in the room till 1:30 pm. There were plenty of empty tables when we got there, it’s a large buffet. I ended up getting a salad, some mashed potatoes, and a tiny chicken pot pie. It was all good. Then for dessert I’m trying to cut sugar out from my diet so I got fruit. Wonder how long I’ll hold out before I eat my Chocolate Melting cake?
At about 1:15 we walked to our cabin and our keys were there so we went in. We got a balcony cabin this time because the prices were so good. We met our cabin steward, Adi from Bali, who was very welcoming. I always love meeting our stewards, they’ve always been so nice. After that I had to go to Customer Service because I did not know how to hook up the internet. Hint…don’t go to Customer Service the first day because the line is very long.
Customer service knew nothing about Carnival Media providing the internet, but she said she’d email them and ask. I then emailed my Media rep and waited to see what would happen. I could always write my blog out and do it later.. When I walked back into my cabin, a bottle of champagne and a bowl of fruit was delivered. And about an hour later the Customer Service agent brought me my codes for the internet. So, all was well.
We had early dining so we headed down to dinner just before 6 pm. The Southern Lights dining room isn’t the easiest to find. You have to go down deck 3, then up to 4, then down to 3 again. We were given a table by ourselves. We normally like to sit with others but since I’ve been having voice problems, I think that it’s fine that were by ourselves. Our wait staff was great, and the Maitre d’ even stopped by to say hi. The food was wonderful, and they even had entertainment. More about the Dining Room in later blogs.
People had dressed up in Halloween costumes before dinner, and it was fun to watch. Later they had photo ops with spooky backgrounds, and a deck party and costume judging on the Lido deck by the pool. We had managed to get some seats on the deck above to watch everything. By the way, our Cruise Director, Gary, is great! I love hearing his Scottish accent.
Finally, at 10 pm, we decided to go to the two comedy shows. Honestly, I didn’t like them much. I think that I’m better off sticking to the PG rated shows. A lot of people liked the shows though, so that’s a me thing.
A word about masks and social distancing
On the ship you have to wear masks going into the eating establishments elevator, and the theaters. Other than that, it seems to be optional if you’re vaccinated. No one has said anything in the hallways that I’ve seen. We don’t wear masks much normally, so I am finding myself forgetting and having to quickly put it on. I’m really trying and will get it down. My husband and I remind each other. And there really isn’t a lot of social distancing. The ship seems pretty full.
First day over
It was a really long day, but a great one. So much to do the rest of the cruise, and it’s going to go by way too fast. Keep tuned for more.