The end of Carnival Magic Cruise

ABOARD THE CARNIVAL MAGIC – I see a definite pattern here.  In chatting with my cabin attendant Marco Balbuena of Peru, I learned that he has been with Carnival Cruise Lines for 20 years. During an evening cocktail party, Guest Services Manager Marcus Davies of Wales told me he joined Carnival 17 years ago. My dining room team headwaiter and surprise singer Catherine Villareal said she has worked for Carnival seven years. Stopping by my dining table …

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Carnival Magic dazzles with fun recreation

ABOARD THE CARNIVAL MAGIC – It  doesn’t look all that scary. But when you are up there standing on a thin rope with the vast sky overhead and the deep sea beneath, it can be quite exhilarating.  And a bit frightening, I must admit. A first for cruise ships when it was unveiled on the  Carnival Magic, the ropes SkyCourse offers outdoor adventure suspended above deck with spectacular views. Hooked to a safety harness, passengers can participate …

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St. Jude and Carnival

ABOARD THE CARNIVAL MAGIC – On this beautiful day at sea, Payton Stinnett is hugging a new friend, a cuddly teddy bear wearing a Carnival T-shirt.  Although this is her favorite souvenir from the Carnival Magic cruise, the Dallas girl also knows that the stuffed animal her mother just bought is helping raise money for a very worthy cause – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “It’s to help other kids,” Payton explained. Since December 2009, Carnival Cruise …

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Carnival Cruise Lines ‘Ship on a Stick’ a popular prize

The first person eliminated in the musical chairs competition aboard the Carnival Magic won a consolation prize of a miniature model of the ship. The last man standing in the musical chairs also got an award – a miniature model of the ship. “Everyone wins on the Carnival Magic,” cruise director James Dunn explained. “This is a wonderful prize … We call it a ‘Ship on a Stick.’” The gold-colored plastic ship looks like the Magic and …

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Carnival Magic Prime Steakhouse is prime dining

ABOARD THE CARNIVAL MAGIC – Why pay $35 extra to dine in Prime Steakhouse when the food in the other Carnival Magic dining rooms is so great? Because it is worth it. I made a reservation my first full cruising day and ate in Prime Steakhouse that night. I had heard about its excellent reputation and how the 69-seat steakhouse books up quickly. So I wanted to be sure I ate there on this cruise. Although the …

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Carnival Cruise Lines creates popular RedFrog beer

ABOARD THE CARNIVAL MAGIC – He used to live in the forest, soaking up the rain. Now he lives on the Carnival Magic, basking in the sun. That’s the Carnival story about the RedFrog. And they’re sticking to it. In fact, the little tree frog has made himself so at home on the cruise ship that he has his own private label draught beer, custom-brewed specially for Carnival – ThirstyFrog Red. The first pub ever on a …

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Carnival Magic visits the Conch Republic (aka Key West)

Key West – It might have been the shortest naval battle in history. “We declared war on the United States and threw stale Cuban bread at a Navy officer,” guide Robert said. “It lasted for about a minute. Then we surrendered and asked for $1 billion in foreign aid to rebuild. We’re still waiting for that $1 billion.” When the Carnival Magic docked for the day in Key West, many of us climbed aboard a Conch Train …

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Whimsical sculptures a popular photo stop for Key West cruise

KEY WEST – The gigantic man and woman seem to be twirling to some unseen music. Located in front of Key West’s Customs House Art and History Museum, the sculpture is a work of art to some, a travesty to others. But it is undeniably one of the most photographed sights in this colorful Florida community. I’m sure not the only person standing here with my camera clicking away to capture the dancing image. And there are …

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Six-toed Hemingway cats an intriguing part of Key West

KEY WEST – Rita Hayworth lounges on a bed. Tony Bennett curls up on a chair. Harry Truman suns himself on the front porch. Howard Hughes snoozes by a bench. And Dorian Gray hangs out somewhere around the bushes. These cats are free to go wherever their want in the Hemingway House because it is their home. They are special cats and as many people probably come to see them as come to view the Key West …

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Chickens, roosters a colorful part of Key West cruise stop

KEY WEST – He strutted down the street like he was cock of the walk. “He’s beautiful. And he knows it,” a woman said, watching me try to take a photo of the confident rooster. I think she was right. Perhaps this preening critter knew that he was a popular sight and that he could come and go as he pleased – protected by the laws of Key West. Where else do chickens have such legal jurisdiction? …

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