Challenging the ropes course on the Carnival Magic cruise ship

Second of three reports.

Carnival Cruise Lines has introduced the first ropes course on a cruise ship. The 230-foot course on the new Carnival Magic, now cruising in the Mediterranean, is so well planned that anyone of moderate athletic ability will be able to get around. Yet, if you want to tackle the course at a different pace and style, you can get a serious workout.

Ropes course on Carnival Magic (Photo by David G. Molyneaux,
Ropes course on Carnival Magic

Station by station, I worked my way around the ropes course on the Magic’s sports deck in about 15 minutes, stopping to chat with others along the course. It had been a while since I did a ropes course – since my days in the U.S. Army – but this one is not terribly difficult, and no drill sergeant will be yelling at you to pick up the pace.

There are two courses, side by side, each in a circle, one inner and one outer, above Carnival’s new play area that includes such games as ping pong and foosball.

Ropes course on Carnival Magic (Photo by David G. Molyneaux, You’ll be walking while wearing a harness that is attached by a strap to a track above you.

That means you won’t need to worry about falling, as you can let go of everything and sit in the harness until help arrives or you decide to get back on the course.

There are 10 rope bridges in each circle, with eight stations to stand on between the bridges. Some bridges are easier than others, as some have simple steps while others require walking on rope.

Ropes course on Carnival Magic (Photo by David G. Molyneaux, The inner circle is said to be a basic course, while the outer circle is supposed to be more challenging, but as I switched back and forth between inner and outer, it seemed that some outer bridges were easier than some inner ones.  I did pass up the bridges that were a single rope, which would have required me to turn sideways.

The ropes course may be a challenge for anyone with balance difficulties or a lack of arm strength, as arm power becomes important as you hold the harness strap to balance yourself. However, I watched all ages and sizes trying the course. The smallest must be at least 48 inches tall. There is no charge.

Ropes course on Carnival Magic (Photo by David G. Molyneaux,
If you’re worried about looking silly in front of friends or family, I’ll tell how to do it the easiest way:

The taller you are, the easier it can be, because you can use the strap that attaches to your harness to guide and steady yourself. The first time around, you may want to use your lead hand to pull down on the harness strap as you step, reducing balance problems and sway. The second time you do the course, loosen your grip and play more with the ropes.

Next: Thoughts about new hardware on Carnival Magic


David Molyneaux is editor of ( where he writes and blogs about cruise and travel news, with tips from his trips around the world.

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