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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White House Oranments are a collectable passengers buy when stopping in Key West

KEY WEST – Now her Christmas tree is complete, the woman at the Harry S. Truman Little White House told me. “I’ve been buying these ornaments every year for the past 10 years,” Katherine Mitchell said, paying for her purchase. “When I heard that our cruise ship was stopping here, I knew that I could get my 2013 White House ornament in Key West.” When the Carnival Magic made her first stop on our cruise to the …

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Cloud 9 Spa aboard the Carnival Magic

After braving a snow and ice storm to catch a plane from Indy to Galveston, I was ready for some warmth and relaxation. And I knew exactly the place – the Carnival Magic’s Cloud 9 Spa. Shipboard spas have long been a popular part of the sailing experience, the spa attendant said, leading me on a tour of the facilities shortly after embarkation. “People live with so much stress in today’s world,” she said. “When they come …

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Carnival Magic a welcome escape from winter weather

ABOARD THE CARNIVAL MAGIC – Snow. Sleet. Ice. Grey skies. Coat-huddling cold. Enough already. To escape the winter blahs, I took a flight from Indianapolis to Galveston for the perfect antidote – the beautiful Carnival Magic. As soon as I boarded the ship, I could see that it certainly lives up to its name. The ship is light and airy with magical touches everywhere  . The pastel-colored décor with make-believe palm trees,   beach umbrellas, giant turtle images …

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New Carnival Magic dazzles with Water Wonders

Story and photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch 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, the ropes course aboard the new Carnival Magic offers outdoor adventure suspended above deck with spectacular views. Hooked to a safety harness, passengers can participate in …

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Carnival Cruise Director Welcomes Magic

By Jackie Sheckler Finch John Heald had never been on a cruise ship when he replied to a want ad seeking a bartender aboard the Carnival Destiny ocean liner. “Much to my parent’s horror, I got the job,” Heald recalls with a laugh. “I gave up my job in London and I’ve been on cruise ships ever since.” That was back in 1986. Since then, Heald has quickly risen through the ranks. In 1989 he was promoted …

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Carnival Magic Offers Cloud 9 Spa

By Jackie Sheckler Finch It is supposed to remove stress, get rid of body aches and pains, and wash away harmful toxins. The 100-minute spa therapy is said to provide as much body and mind rejuvenation as eight hours of sleep. I say: Bring it on! So, while the Carnival Magic sails the blue Caribbean, I find myself heading to the ship’s Cloud 9 Spa. With so many wonderful choices, I’m trying the Elemis Aroma Spa Seaweed …

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Carnival Magic Makes Unexpected Two-Day Shore Stop for Emergency Repairs

By Jackie Sheckler Finch The Carnival Magic cruise ship took an unexpected shore stop Wednesday and Thursday to make emergency repairs to the new ship. “We are experiencing a technical problem with one of our stern thrusters, side propellers on the aft that help the ship move sideways,” said Magic Captain Giovanni Cutugno. “Don’t worry,” he said. “This does not compromise the ship’s safely in any way as all other systems and hotel services are functioning normally.” …

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