The new Carnival Magic: Firsts, thirsts and the RedFrog Pub

First of three reports on the new Carnival Magic

As the new Carnival Magic cruises in the Mediterranean, you can be pretty sure that for the rest of the summer there will be plenty of Thirsty Frog Red.

That’s the new draught beer with a Carnival Cruise Lines label, poured from a keg in Carnival’s first Caribbean pub.

Caribbean colors on the new Carnival Magic (Photo by David G. Molyneaux, The 3,690-passenger Magic debuted earlier this month to heavy applause. The ship offers three flashy production shows; the cruise line’s first family Italian restaurant, with singing waiters, and an impressive sports deck with equipment that includes workout stations and a fun ropes course.

Most of the media reports, however, have centered on the pub, and the day it ran out of Thirsty Frog Red.

The RedFrog is an indoor/outdoor Caribbean bar on Deck 5 with live music, pub grub ranging from tasty conch fritters (with several choices of bottled hot sauce) to coconut shrimp that can be dipped in a pina colada sauce, bottles of Caribbean beer, and two beers on tap, Stella Artois and Thirsty Frog Red, which is the brew labeled specially for Carnival.

What’s the best and worst thing that can happen when you open a highly promoted new bar? You are so successful that the kegs run dry before the party is over.

That’s what happened in the RedFrog Pub.

The day the Frog ran out of red beer

Apparantly, we passengers liked Thirsty Frog Red a bit too much.

A 101-ounce tube of Thirsty Frog Red beer in the RedFrog Pub on the new Carnival Magic (Photo by David G. Molyneaux,
Tube fills to 101 ounces

From the moment the Magic sailed, the Frog flowed freely into 16-ounce glasses and, believe it or not, a tall tube that holds 101 ounces.

I saw one passenger with his mouth at the bottom of a tube, draining it just as fast as the beer could run.

Less than two days later, by the time we arrived in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Frog kegs were dry, and we had to make do with Stella Artois (no punishment there) and bottles from the Caribbean (or there).

Carnival, embarrassed, put out an emergency call for more Thirsty Frog Red, which arrived in the form of several kegs air-freighted to Messina, Sicily, keeping us happy until we reached the port for Rome, where more Frog awaited. All together, over less than a week of cruising with a full tap, we consumed 20 kegs of Thirsty Frog Red between Venice and Barcelona.

Each keg, by the way, holds 50 liters, so we put away 1,000 liters of Frog.

A glass of Thirsty Frog Red in the RedFrog Pub on the new Carnival Magic (Photo by David G. Molyneaux,
A 16-ounce glass sells for $5.50

I managed to taste a few liters, and I can tell you it’s a smooth beer, medium bodied, 5% alcohol, a bit maltier and a bit sweeter than Dos Equis amber, which is a favorite of mine. The pub sells the 16-ounce glasses, right, at $5.50 and the pub food at $3.33 each. A full tube goes for $25.

I predict a big success for Thirsty Frog Red, especially in the Caribbean, when the Magic sails out of Galveston, Texas, starting this fall.

Passengers on Carnival Magic liked the RedFrog Pub so much that there is talk already about adding a pub to some of Carnival’s older ships.

Next: Swaying around the deck on the Carnival Magic ropes course. How hard is it?


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