Carnival Magic Western Caribbean Cruise

Docked in Jamaica

Well, I hope you’re ready for a photo-heavy post of someone else’s vacation, because that’s what you’re in for! Now home from our 7 day Caribbean cruise, I can tell you that we had a blast and it was so much better than our honeymoon. Which, if you’d like to skip the link, we spent on the Carnival Conquest during a hurricane missing two ports totaling to 6 “fun days at sea” which were actually a nightmare. We decided to take a chance and use the 20% off a future cruise Carnival doled out after that fiasco, and boy are we glad we did!

The Carnival Magic is one of their newer ships, and it’s obvious. Everything is sparkly and fancy. The shows were mind-blowing. The entertainment was top-notch and the food was excellent. Plus, I was laundry and cooking/dishes free for seven whole days! You really can’t beat that. The staff was incredibly helpful and nice, and overall our ship experience was fabulous. I 100% recommend taking a cruise with the Magic. You won’t be disappointed! Well, unless there’s another hurricane. But hell, at least we didn’t crash!

Braving the winds at the front of the ship

And while we certainly had a good time at the casino and Lido deck, we also were blissfully happy laying around in the squishy bedding and watching movies. With a baby at home, that’s certainly gone out the window! So it was really nice to have some veg out time as well as karaoke and hitting up the bar.

We even broke out our nice duds and made it to one of the two formal nights. I think all the hubs is missing here is a bolo tie πŸ˜‰ While the ship was a great time and all, the real fun was had in port! On our first stop in Montego Bay, Jamaica, we decided to fork over $100 each to do a Horseback Ride and Swim excursion through Carnival (held through Chukka). While a lot of Texans (and other country folk) will balk at spending that much on a trail ride, I have to tell you that it was totally worth it. How often do you find vistas like this on a trail ride?

We took about a 40 minute ride up the Black Mountain and down across the coast. We rode along a decommissioned highway that passed local homes and farms. There was a lot of foliage and wildlife to see, and the Husbane had a great time bonding with our guide Paul. They talked about the local game and fishing, and what the locals spent their free time doing. He was tickled to learn that they do a lot of the same type of fishing he does at the shores back home.

Me, my sister, and the Husbane on the ride

What also really impressed me was how healthy the horses were. They were easily the best-looking horses I’ve ever seen for trail riding. The two my sister and I were on were the polo ponies. Paul told the hubs that the guides play polo every Sunday to pass the time. He’s been a trail guide for the past 13 years!

I found it hilarious that they stuck the hubs on a short little pony πŸ˜‰ I expected the “swim” portion to mostly consist of walking the horses through knee deep waters, I was gladly mistaken! We literally swam the horses in deep water. And it was freakin’ awesome!

big fat smiles on everyone's faces!

As soon as you rode over the drop off, you couldn’t help but grin while the horses took off swimming. I guess now I know why they all had to be in such good shape! They definitely worked their tails off.

So. Much. FUN! Again, worth every penny. The water was so gorgeously blue I couldn’t believe it. The photos don’t do it justice at all. And while the excursion took up most of the afternoon, we still had enough time to take a cab ride over to Margaritaville for some amazing food and free wifi.

We loaded back up on the ship, ate dinner and watched the coolest magic show I’d ever seen. Seriously, the props and special effects were Vegas worthy. We didn’t get to see many shows on our last cruise because the waves were too intense for the dancers. So this was a very happy surprise! We called it an early night, because the next morning we had to be off the ship at 7:45 to head over to the Turtle Farm on Grand Cayman island. We chose the Turtles, Turtles, and More Turtles expedition (I know, the name is awful) which was $50 per person and included a shuttle and admission to the turtle farm. Um, AMAZING! I honestly thought the horses weren’t going to be beat, but the turtle farm was spectacular. They had hundreds of giant sea turtles to check out, but the best part? Getting to hold them!

The guide told us if you rub under their throats they calm down, and when you don’t they start flapping like crazy! Oh my goodness, it was so much fun. You had to catch them out of their little tank, and then watch them calm at your touch. After taking the 20 minute tour (with about 5 minutes to spend on the year old turtles) we were set loose for the next 3 hours. You could hang out more with the yearlings, or visit the rest of the park which included a predator tank, freshwater pool with a slide, aviary, nature trail, restaurant, and a saltwater tank to swim with more sea turtles. The tank was massive. It meandered along with grottos and islands to give the fish and turtles an interesting environment. The snorkel gear was free, and you could swim wherever you wanted!

We bought along the Husbane’s Fujifilm XP camera, which is water/shock/dust/freeze proof. It was awesome for underwater photos and movies!

monkey face

snorkel face

There were tons of fish and turtles to chase around and take photos of. I know I’ve said it was fun about fifty times now, but for the reals, it was a blast!

Another cool feature of the area was that it adjoined the predator tank, and you could watch the sharks underwater through the glass. It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to one in real life!

And of course, the hubs wanted to try out a turtle burger at the restaurant. We found the prices to be comparable to any of the other themed places (Margaritaville, Bubba Gump, etc.) so we decided to eat there before the shuttle took us back to port. The food was really good, even though I wasn’t adventurous enough to try the turtle. I guess I’m just not a reptile/amphibian person! Once we made it back to port we decided to take the short walk down to the strand of shops and restaurants, which was gorgeous. And the best part of the Caymans was the regular beach access! It’s pretty rare on the other islands to find. They had stairs and steps leading down to the rocky shores all along the shoreline.

And the cool part (for the hubs) was that there were gigantic tarpon just hanging out right there by the rocks. He got a good video of them underwater with him.I chose to just wade in by the stairs, because I’m a weenie and do not like fish anywhere near me. I was creeped out enough just by the little ones in the artificial tank! Which, by the way, looked incredibly similar to the real thing.

Our last day in port was spent in Cozumel, which we saved as our big shopping day. We scored a ton of good loot, which I’ll save for another post since I have a gazillion photos in this one already πŸ˜‰ Needless to say, our vacation was stellar. Absolutely fabulous. We had a great time on the ship, and an even better one in port. Though I have to say, 7 days was too long to be away from Charlie. We watched a ton of the videos saved on my phone, and made sure to FaceTime when we had free wifi. I’m so glad to be home with her!

 

 

10 thoughts on “Carnival Magic Western Caribbean Cruise

  1. I’m so glad you guys had a good time! You had me scared with your last trip – I vowed never to do a cruise!! But maybe I’ll give it a try!

    1. The thing is: if it’s good, it’s really good! But if it’s bad, it’s really bad. I don’t hear too many stories about a bad cruise, so I think ours was the exception over the rule.

  2. I am SO GLAD you had a better time on this cruise than the last one! I knew you’d love it if you had a good experience with no major weather problems! I was so excited to see this because we sail on ours (on the same ship) in 19 (!!!) days and I’m so excited! I’m happy to see your review of the turtle farm too, because my sister and her family are going on that excursion and we had planned on skipping it but after reading what a fabulous time you had, I think we’re going to go!

    1. You really should go, it was a blast! You may just do a little research and see what the price of admission + taxi would be, it may save you a little money. I think you guys would have tons of fun swimming around the tank, and the nature trail was short, but very pretty

  3. Glad you had a good time. Your pictures are great! You’ve now got me contemplating purchasing a Fujifilm XP for our vacation in August. Thanks!

  4. Wow – this looks like such a fun trip! I am dying to do a horseback ride/swim like you did – such a cool experience! There is a stretch of beach around here that does “horse surfing” where you ride bareback and stand on top of the horses’ backs once they start swimming out into the water…kind of dorky, but I definitely want to try doing that once the temperature cools down a bit here!

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