Carnival Cruise

Susan Hegarty 25 August 2011
After a smooth flight with Aer Lingus into Barcelona and one night in the city we arrived at the cruise port and our new home for the next nine nights, The Carnival Magic. This was a brand new ship and I was very excited to be on board! We had a spa balcony cabin, our first time in a balcony cabin and it was very nice to sit out in our own private space. Because it was a spa balcony cabin we had a few extras such as more toiletries, an expanded room service menu and free access to the thermal rooms and spa. The spa was a wonderful way to relax on a sea day or after a long day of sightseeing.

The ship is gorgeous with a huge selection of bars and restaurants and swimming pools, water slides and a water park for kids. There is crazy golf, basketball, giant chess and an obstacle court not for the faint hearted twenty feet above one of the highest decks affording fantastic views. There’s a huge spa, gym, casino and theatre, library, shops, disco and an area dedicated to kids clubs and activities.

The ports of call on this trip were Livorno, Rome, Naples, Sicily, Majorca and Marseilles. The last time we were in Livorno we visited Pisa and Tuscany. This time we spent the day in Viareggio, a beautiful coastal town on the coast. It was lovely to relax, have lunch in a local restaurant and swim in the ocean. Viareggio is great for a day trip or a longer holiday.

As we had been to Rome previously we chose to drive to the cliff top town of Orvieto. We took a cable car to reach the town centre and what a view! The whole countryside was visible for miles, with its beautiful landscape of rolling fields, medieval castles and churches. We enjoyed the atmosphere of this beautiful town which boasts one of the most magnificent cathedrals in Italy. When we returned to the ship we watched The Gladiator with popcorn at the huge screen over the pool as we sailed out of the port of Rome. A very fitting end to a wonderful port!

For our day in Naples we first explored Pompeii and then took a tour to Positano and Sorrento. The drive along the coastline is breath taking. Positano was just lovely, built on a steep hill we enjoyed the walk down to the beachfront with all of its quaint little shops and winding streets and Sorrento was equally lovely. It was then time to go back to the ship and get ready for the Captain’s cocktail party and a wonderful dinner and show.

Sicily was our next port. That morning we climbed the slopes of Mount Etna (in a bus of course!) and our guide explained how the volcano is still erupting. He showed us ash that had fallen only a few days earlier and the spot where a lava flow had just stopped short of a town on the slopes of the volcano a few years earlier. Unbelievable! Then we were ready for lunch and where better to have it than in the famously gorgeous town on Taormina. This town is one of the nicest I have visited with stunning sea views and Etna dominating the background and wonderful narrow little streets that were a pleasure to wander through.

In Majorca we took the hop on, hop off bus around Palma and took a taxi to the nearby waterpark. There are a host of day trips to be enjoyed in Majorca including many beautiful beaches, its aquarium, world famous caves, cycling and winery tours or ride its scenic railway.

Our last port of call was Marseilles, the gateway to Provence. We spent a lovely day in Aix-en-Provence, the old port is beautiful and the drive along the coast stunning.

This was a great holiday. The ships, ports of call and people we met meant that we would surely cruise again and certainly with Carnival Cruises Lines.