They're counting down the days (only 248 more) at Carnival Cruise Lines' Miami headquarters. That's when their newest "Fun Ship," the 130,000-ton Carnival Magic, sets sail.
While we wait, Carnival is giving us a peek through the porthole at some of the ship's unique spaces and fun features. From Carnival's first-ever pub, featuring its own private label beer, to an authentic trattoria that brings the heritage of Carnival's Italian captains to the table, to an expansive outdoor sports complex featuring the first-ever ropes course and outdoor weight-lifting area on a cruise ship—along with cruising's first gargantuan water dump bucket—Carnival Magic is destined to be the most innovative "Fun Ship" to date.
While Carnival Magic offers vacationing passengers a variety of opportunities for fun, relaxation, and enjoyment, the two innovations that appeal most to the Cruise Diva team are:
• RedFrog Pub: A new concept for Carnival, the RedFrog Pub (above) offers a laid-back Caribbean vibe with island-inspired snacks and drinks, including ThirstyFrog Red, a private-label draught beer brewed especially for Carnival Magic. Located on Promenade Deck 5, the 100-seat indoor/outdoor pub is a convivial place where guests can relax, meet new friends, sip a frozen cocktail, and snack on Bahamian conch salad, grouper fingers, firecracker Jamaican chicken wings, and other Caribbean favorites. RedFrog Pub will also offer tastings of top-rated rums of the Caribbean and a collection of the region's best beers. With a nod to Carnival Magic's Caribbean itineraries, which kick off in Nov 2011, RedFrog Pub's decor is decidedly British West Indies meets Key West, evoking the warmth and friendliness of a local island watering hole. Nautical-themed interiors with rich wood details, vibrant tile work, portholes, and images of ships at sea, along with foosball and shuffleboard tables, and a jukebox, complete the playful pub atmosphere.
• Cucina del Capitano ("The Captain's Kitchen"): An homage to Carnival's rich Italian lineage—all of the line's captains are Italian and many Carnival ships, including Carnival Magic, are built in Italy—Cucina del Capitano (above) is a dinner-time option with made-to-order Italian favorites in comfortable, relaxed surroundings. Dine on hand-made pastas, risotto, and fresh-from-the-oven Italian specialties—many served family style—complemented by a wine list specializing in Italian vintages. Many of the dishes and recipes were hand-selected by Carnival's captains. Framed archival photographs, many from the captains' personal collections, table arrangements that invite conversation, wood-beam ceilings, and ornate wrought ironwork recreate the ambiance of a cozy Italian home, while the warm service makes everyone feel like they're part of the family. Truly an unforgettable dining experience. Dinner carries a nominal fee. During the day, the space is utilized as a casual made-to-order pasta bar with items offered on a complimentary basis.
These and more of Carnival Magic's many features are highlighted on the interactive micro-site, CarnivalMagic.com, which features a full-screen virtual tour, exclusive images and videos, construction footage, and more. The virtual tour is exceptionally well done. The site also contains details on a series of unique contests and promotions Carnival will offer for fun fans to add their personal touches on Carnival Magic leading up to the ship's maiden voyage.