While I typically do day-by-day recaps of my cruises, I decided to do something differently this time around. Mainly because our days at sea and life aboard the ship weren’t all that interesting! There was a lot of sleeping, eating, reading, and playing cards. So, instead, I’m breaking these recaps into four separate posts: one post detailing the ship and some of the things we did on board, and then three posts about the different excursions we did in Cozumel, Belize, and Honduras.
We sailed on the Carnival Magic, which is one of their newer ships and I could immensely tell the difference between this ship and some of their older ones. It was built in 2011 and features some really cool water slides and a ropes course, as well as an Italian restaurant and balconies on the lower floors. While I wasn’t too impressed with the food choices (I’m such a picky eater and didn’t feel like I got my money’s worth in food this time around), I think those who are more adventurous eaters would really enjoy the menu.
Our check-in process was seriously mind-boggling easy. It took us 15 minutes from the time we parked the car to the time we were walking onto the ship. Usually, you have to stand in two long lines: one to get your boarding pass and passport scanned, and another to get your room keys and picture taken (which is your ID to get on and off the ship). Instead, Carnival used our passport picture as our ID on board, which meant we only had to stand in that first line and then we were shuffled on board (well, after the security checkpoint). Carnival, slow clap for you. That process could sometimes take an hour and nobody enjoyed it. Instead, we just got our passport scanned and then our room keys were sitting in a little box next to our room. Pretty darn easy!
Internet on Board
Unlike previous cruises, I decided to purchase the Internet package. When I first started cruising (in 2011), Internet on board was notoriously unreliable and insanely expensive. But recently, they’ve revamped their Internet service and now offer a variety of packages that are much more reasonably priced. I selected the social media package for $35. I really only used it to post to my Stories, as I wanted to have a highlight on my feed from my vacation. Now I can relive my vacation anytime I want through my “Crusin'” highlight. Woo! (I also posted a photo a day to my regular feed, which was fun!) I tried not to use the Internet for anything else, though. No mindless scrolling or checking in with other people – I really like being away from all of that on a cruise. As far as the actual Internet service goes, it was okay. It’s definitely not lightning fast and would take forever to post a video, but that’s Internet while sailing in the middle of the ocean! I was just grateful for anything.
For the first time ever, we got a room with a balcony and I am soooo glad we made this upgrade! Having a balcony seemed to open up the room and it was nice to just sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and oh-so-gorgeous views. Our room itself was pretty nice, although I had to laugh at the way they separated our beds where there was maybe an inch of space between them. Ha! We had a couch, plenty of closet space, and a decent-sized bathroom. I was really happy with the room, and even more happy with where it was, since it was so close to the action. We only had to walk up one floor to get to the dining room or walk down two floors to reach the gangway to get off the ship in port. Pretty perfect!
Days at Sea
Our days at sea were pretty low-key. We slept in (typically not later than 9) and I would usually go out to the balcony to read while waiting for my mom to get up. Then, we’d go down to the dining room to have brunch before heading out to the deck. We didn’t spend too much time on the decks this cruise, but that’s fine by me. The lido deck is so, so overwhelming for me (I’m definitely going to write a post about how to cruise when you have high sensitivity very soon!), so I stay away from it as much as possible. We could usually find deck chairs a little ways away from the action, which was nice. There were lots of naps before dinner in the room (my faaaave) and we played bingo twice, which is one of my favorite things to do. It’s not cheap (we got suckered into doing the $40 package), but it’s a lot of fun. I also liked to sit in the atrium around dinnertime to listen to the violinists play. It was so soothing and relaxing!
Entertainment on Board
My mom’s not one for musical theater, so we didn’t see any of the shows, but they seemed to be pretty fantastic. I’ve been a little turned off by shows on Carnival’s older ships (so corny!), so I didn’t push her too hard to go to a show. So I can’t blame her here – I really didn’t think they were going to be all that great, but I may have been wrong in that respect. We went to one of the PG-rated comedy shows and it was pretty damn awful. I’m pretty easy to make laugh and this guy couldn’t do it once.
Just like our last cruise, my mom and I opted for Your Time Dining. On previous cruises, we did the specific dining time where we would be seated with other couples and families. Usually, that was fine and even great, as we got to meet some really cool people. Until our Bahamas cruise when we were seated with a very unfriendly couple that made dinnertime really really uncomfortable. Now, we just go to dinner whenever we want and always ask to be seated by ourselves. (Like I kept telling my mom, “I’m not here to make friends!” ;)) It’s so nice to have that flexibility to eat at a time that suits us. I really love that! Also, I asked for a second bread basket at almost every meal because there is no shame in my carb game. (This fact is made even more impressive when you consider that my mom doesn’t really like bread and would only eat one roll from the basket.)
Oh, and one night, we made a reservation at the Italian restaurant on board. We picked a night where the menu in the main dining room was a little lackluster and had ourselves a fancy Italian meal. It was an extra $15 charge, but I feel like it was worth it! I really enjoyed my meal (I got chicken parm) and the dessert was to-die-for delicious. I definitely left dinner feeling thoroughly stuffed!
One of the more interesting parts of our cruise was our neighbors. Y’all, I don’t think they’re going to make it. They fought the entire time, and we could hear them through our wall. (I’m not sure why… we had a connecting door, so maybe that’s why? I’ve never been able to hear my neighbors that clearly before!) I’ve always said that a cruise is such a great vacation for a couple because you’re forced to have lots of time together, away from the stress of regular life. But, boy oh boy, it is not a good vacation if your relationship is a little rocky. Can you imagine being stuck in a tiny room together when you’re in a terrible fight?! Yikes. So, lesson learned, only cruise with a partner that I would actually want to be stuck in a tiny room with for days on end. Got it.
The Best Cruise? The Best Cruise.
But that was the gist of what it was like on board! Truly, I think this was one of my best cruises. It’s hard to top my first cruise because it was such a special experience and I remember how magical it all was, especially being in a different country for the first time ever, but this one was truly great. My mom and I didn’t fight once and nobody got injured either. My mom did end up getting a cold around day 5, which was no bueno, but she was a trooper! (And it just meant that I didn’t have to feel bad about us going back to the cabin early every night because damn, even on a cruise, all I want is to be snuggled up in bed by 9pm.) We had fun and got to enjoy some awesome experiences, which I’ll be talking about next week.
I think seven-day cruises are my sweet spot. By that seventh day, I was ready for my own bed and dependable Internet and a regular routine. I was so happy to come home and get back to my life. And I love that. I love that I can immensely enjoy my vacations, but also enjoy getting back to my regular life. That’s the sign of a truly content life.