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Carnival Magic Review



Carnival Magic

Itinerary: A 7-night western Caribbean sailing from Port Canaveral with stops in Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay, and Costa Maya
Reviewer: Duncan
Traveling With: A group of about 12
Stateroom Type: Interior

Embarkation: “Embarkation was great…the line was moving very quickly.” Duncan noted that it probably took about 20 minutes in all from curb to ship.

First Impressions of the Ship: Duncan had a great first impression, saying “It was beautiful…it opens right up.”

Thoughts on the Stateroom: Duncan’s stateroom was on deck 2 right below the dining room, but he enjoyed it because there was plenty of storage and he couldn’t hear any noise from the dining room above.

Main Dining Room, Buffet, and Other Food Venues: Guy Fieri has a new barbecue smokehouse that’s exclusive (so far!) to Carnival Magic, and Duncan really enjoyed that, but noted that it’s only open for a short period of time each day so it’s best to get in line early.  He also thought the buffet food was good, saying “My friends and I would have breakfast there in the morning, you have the omelette bar…they’ve got a good mix of food every day.”  Of course, Duncan also ate at Guy’s Burger Joint and thought that was excellent as well.  Duncan and his group had the early seating at 6 pm in the main dining room, and he noted his favorite dish there: the lobster.

Guy's BBQ - Carnival Cruise Line

Guy’s BBQ – Carnival Cruise Line

Entertainment Options: The group that Duncan was traveling with are all in the entertainment industry, so he said they were really into the entertainment around the ship.  They loved the 70s show with live band – he said “the singers were excellent and the band just rocked it…[they’re] called 50 Shades of Groove.”  Duncan also enjoyed the comedian, but commented you have to get there early because seating fills up fast.

Comedy Lounge - Carnival Cruise Line

Comedy Lounge – Carnival Cruise Line

Sea Days: While the voyage was a full one, Duncan said “you never felt like you were squished…they still had seats available.  Our sea days were excellent.”

Ports of Call: Duncan and his group enjoyed Mahogany Bay the most, “we all did our snorkeling excursion together,” he said. “Lunch is included and they have a great beach…we saw stingrays and a good mix of fish.”

Overall Highlight: Duncan’s overall highlight of the voyage was being able to spend it with a great group of friends, and also listening to the onboard band 50 Shades of Groove.

Final Thoughts: “It’s a great 7-night cruise,” noted Duncan. “If I had another chance, I would definitely go on this cruise again.”

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line Opens Panorama Bookings



If you’re the type of cruiser who looks forward to being among the first to board a new ship, this is your lucky day: Carnival Cruise Line is now accepting bookings for their newest ship, the Carnival Panorama.

What We Know About The New Ship

Although the ship won’t begin sailing until the end of 2019, people are already getting excited…especially since this will be the first new Carnival cruise ship to be based on the West Coast in over two decades! Better still, the Panorama be sailing out of a re-opened and expanded terminal in Long Beach, California. “The West Coast is an important market with vast growth potential,” said the line’s President, Christine Duffy, at an event back in February, adding that they were “very much looking forward to having Carnival Panorama homeported” on the West Coast.

Panorama will be the third Vista-class ship — joining sisters Vista and Horizon — and will continue to expand on the idea of allowing passengers to get as close to the sea as possible. Like her sister ships, Panorama will feature the innovate SkyRide (think of it as riding a bicycle through the clouds) and many restaurants which will offer both indoor and outdoor seating. It will also feature the wildly popular Havana section. And while Carnival promises that Panorama will also feature “innovations unique to” the ship, details about those will be released at a later date.

Where is Carnival Panorama Going? 


But for many cruisers, those details aren’t necessarily important… they want to know two things: Where is the ship sailing, and when can I take her for a spin? And this week, that information finally became available as Carnival released the initial itineraries Panorama will be sailing… even as she’s in the very early stages of construction!

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Carnival Panorama

Carnival Panorama, currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy. Photo via Carnival.

Once the ship arrives in Long Beach, her first voyage will be a one-time-only three-day cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada from December 11 to the 14th (keep in mind, this is in 2019). After that, Panorama will be doing a three-port, seven-day itinerary departing every Saturday. Her first stop will be Cabo San Lucas, followed by Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

As of now, the Mexican Riviera itinerary is the only one listed for the ship, although the possibility of her eventually doing other runs out of Los Angeles are wide open. She could even do an Alaska run, such as the 14-day Carnival Journeys trip offered out of Long Beach on the Carnival Splendor.  Interestingly, Carnival Panorama will go straight from the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy to Long Beach, making this the first time the cruise line has not offered a transatlantic voyage in years.

The New Long Beach Cruise Terminal 

Long Beach

The newly refurbished Long Beach Cruise Terminal, which the Carnival Panorama will sail out of year-round. Photo via Carnival.

The state-of-the-art terminal was completed in just 10 months and now allows for 100% utilization of the site’s massive geodesic dome. Thanks to the renovations nearly doubling the space to 146,000 square feet, it also now boasts 34 check-in counters and a seating for 1,584 guests. Most importantly, Long Beach is now a two-way terminal, meaning it can operate both embarkation and debarkation at the same time.

“Carnival Panorama promises to be a spectacular addition to our fleet and we’re delighted to provide our guests with an opportunity to be among the first to sail” on her, Duffy said.

Bookings for Carnival Panorama are now open by contacting your travel agent or heading over to


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Carnival Raises Faster to the Fun Price



The good news: When sailing on most Carnival Cruise Line ships, you can still purchase the Faster To The Fun package. The bad news? On many of those ships, taking the happiness highway’s express lane is gonna cost you a little extra.

How Much Faster To The Fun Went Up

Carnival quietly boosted the price earlier this week, although news of the change spread quickly across social media. Some proclaimed that they didn’t mind paying the extra fee for the program — which offers numerous benefits, including priority embarkation — while others thought there were better ways in which they could spend the money.

So how much did the price go up? Previously, the cost — which is per cabin, not per person — ran between $49,95 to $79.95, depending on the ship and the length of the sailing. The price has now gone up to between $69.95 and $99.95.

The Breakdown


Screenshot via Carnival.


  • The program will cost $69.95 on 5-day sailings, except on the Sensation, where the price is $59.95.
  • For 4-day cruises on Carnival Conquest, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Valor and Carnival Vista is $69.95.
  • For 6- and 7-day sailings, Faster To The Fun will cost $89.95.
  • On sailings lasting 8 days or longer, the package will now cost $99.95.

When Carnival first rolled Faster to the Fun out in 2012, it was $49.95 per stateroom across the fleet. In 2016, the line switched to the tiered pricing system which remains in effect to this day.

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What does Faster to the Fun include? 

A limited number of Faster To The Fun passes are sold, which is one of the reasons many believe it to be worth the price, as it allows for faster boarding thanks to separate security screening lanes and an express boarding lane upon embarkation. Those who purchase FTTF also have immediate access to their staterooms, which generally are not available immediately upon boarding. The perk also includes priority luggage handling, access to priority tendering in ports where applicable, a choice of disembarkation times and priority dinner-time assignments.

Do you generally purchase Faster To The Fun? Will the change in price impact your decision to do so in the future? 

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Queen Latifah Named Carnival Horizon’s Godmother



The newest ship to join the Carnival Cruise Line fleet also just became the coolest with the news that Queen Latifah has been named the Carnival Horizon’s godmother.

When The Queen Will Reign

Carnival Ho

Photo: Carnival

Beloved by millions, the actress/singer/author/businesswoman said it was “an honor” to be selected, especially given the line’s longtime association with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, “a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.”

Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, said that “with her fun-loving spirit and positive, can-do attitude, Queen Latifah embodies our brand and knows how to Choose Fun in everything she does. Knowing that she is a long-time supporter of St. Jude and has performed on and won Lip Sync Battle made her the ideal candidate to serve as godmother on our newest ship.”

READ MORE: Sneak Peek At The Carnival Horizon [Photos]

Latifah will officially assume her duties at the naming ceremony, which is set to take place during an invitation-only overnight gala being held on the Carnival Horizon in New York City on Wednesday, May 23. During the ceremony, St. Jude will be presented with a check representing funds raised at various Carnival events, both on ships and on shore. The atrium-grounding Dreamescape funnel will also feature artwork created by dozens of St. Jude patients.

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The gala will also see Latifah taking part in a special event titled Lip Sync Battle: Horizon which will showcase the ship’s authentic reproduction of the hit TV series.

Over the past few years, Latifah has… well, pretty much done it all. She’s won awards from groups as diverse as the Teen Choice Awards and the Screen Actors Guild, not to mention a Grammy, an Oscar nomination and two NAACP Image Awards. She was also the first hip-hop artist to be honored with a star on the world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, and now runs a production company — Flavor Unit Entertainment — which produces a wide variety of programming.

After The Gala

Following the naming ceremony and Gala on May 23, the Carnival Horizon will spend the summer sailing out of New York City before relocating in September to Miami, where she’ll sail year-round cruises to the Caribbean.

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