Cruising is Magic Again!

LBAC Travel Advisor, Lauren Morris recently experienced a five-night cruise on the Carnival Magic. Contact Lauren for questions and to book your next trip!

Ocean Cruising is back! I was so excited to take a five-night cruise to the Bahamas on the Carnival Magic, I could hardly contain my excitement! The last cruise ship I sailed on was over twenty months ago. 

Before setting sail, there were a few protocols to follow to ensure everyone could sail safely.  Carnival made everything very easy. On my carnival cruise manager, I had to attest to being vaccinated and fill out a health questionnaire. 72 hours prior to my sail date, I needed to take a COVID-19 test and get a negative result.  I brought proof of this test and my vaccination card to the terminal on embarkment day, along with my boarding pass and proof of citizenship.  Everyone had to wear a mask during the embarkment process. Checking in was easy, as everyone is given an assigned boarding time and in no time at all, I was walking onto the ship.  Once onboard the ship, I went to my muster station for the pre-sail drill.  Gone are the days of waiting on a hot deck to hear instructions with tons of other passengers.  The new muster drill is a breeze.  Everyone reports to their muster station at their own leisure. Once there, they show you how to put on the life jacket and make sure you know where to go in case of an emergency.  We were the only ones there and it was so quick, this was a definite improvement from the old muster drill.

There are masking requirements onboard the ship.  Whenever you are in an indoor venue such as the showroom, comedy lounge or elevator, masks are required.  The main dining room and Lido buffet required you to mask until you were seated at your table.  I knew this in advance and was prepared to follow the rules.  No masks were required while at outdoor venues like the pool or walking around on open decks. There is hand sanitizer everywhere around the ship.  All the crew members wore masks which made me feel even safer.  Surfaces around the ship were always being cleaned and disinfected.  They encouraged you to download the Carnival Hub Apt.  This app allows you to do many things; you could get the daily schedule, look at dining menus, order food to be delivered to you anywhere on the ship, book shore excursions, check your account summary, even save you place in line at customer service.  I really found it very useful.

Even though there were some changes, like mask wearing and social distancing, this cruise experience was still very similar to my past ones.  The main showroom had very good musical productions and the usual fun and games, such as the love and marriage game and gender showdown.  There was live music playing throughout the ship.  The one difference I did notice was that the cruise director hosted events that would normally be in the atrium on the outdoor Lido deck. I preferred this because there was no crowding and so much more room to view the event. At no time did I feel deprived of anything.  The crew was so friendly, you could tell everyone was happy to be back and wanted to make your cruise a fun and memorable one.  Everyone from the cabin steward, dining staff, bar and entertainment team made me feel welcome and special. 

The first full day was at sea, and I was able to enjoy the pool and adult-only area on the serenity deck.  Since the ship wasn’t sailing at capacity, I never had to wait on a line to eat or order a drink. With fewer crowds, now is the time to sail. I can’t even count to number of times I took the elevator and was the only one in it.  That was a cruise first for me!

Our first port day was in Half Moon Cay, Carnival’s private island in the Bahamas.  To say it was an island paradise would be an understatement. The water is so blue, and the sand is so white you really could stay there forever.  On this island you can enjoy relaxing on the beach while sipping your favorite cocktail hand delivered by their wait staff, which is what most choose to do. There are also excursions you can take like snorkeling or horseback riding on the beach. Carnival also serves a BBQ lunch on the island so you can stay on as long as possible and take in those beautiful views.

The second port we visited was Nassau, Bahamas.  More beautiful blue water and white sand beaches. The port of Nassau is currently undergoing renovations that are due to be completed in 2022.  These renovations will bring a new experience to the area.  I would recommend taking an excursion like swimming with the dolphins at Blue Lagoon Island, a family beach day or a sea turtle snorkel adventure. I chose to stay on board and enjoy the ship’s pool along with a good book.  One of the things I love most about a cruise vacation is you can choose to do as little or as much as you want.  Every day you wake up in a different destination and you only need to unpack once.

When it was time to disembark the ship on our last morning the process was a little different. Everyone was required to wear a mask while disembarking. If you have your luggage waiting for you at the pier you still had to leave it outside your cabin door the night before. Then after you dock you wait for your luggage tag number to be called to get off the ship.  If you wanted to leave the ship luggage in hand that morning, they were calling you by muster stations instead of just letting all self-assist passengers get off at once.  This reduced the number of passengers trying to disembark and the wait time at the terminal. Once in the terminal we had to stop at a facial recognition station and show our passports to go through customs.  This process was very fast.  I think it was the fastest I have ever got though customs since I’ve been cruising.  I collected my luggage after that and was on my way. In my opinion the disembark process has been improved and went must faster than before.

Travel is back even though it looks a little different than it used to.  Therefore, I recommend using a travel agent and taking advantage of not only our personal experiences but our training and extensive knowledge of all new travel protocols.  Let us work with you to create the perfect travel experience from beginning to end.  You can travel again with the confidence that LBAC Travel is here to be your guide, personal advocate, take the stress out of planning a vacation,  and get you the best value while planning a customized vacation.

Contact Lauren for questions and to book your next trip!

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