Last week I set sail on a 7-day cruise aboard the Carnival Magic. This was the first cruise I have taken in about 20 years and believe me when I say… it won’t be the last. Stay tuned for my thoughts on our adventure.
Being on a cruise ship for a week, you learn there are things you wish you had known before- like what to pack, what to expect, and more. After our experience and talking with regular cruisers, I have compiled a list of things you need to know before cruising on the Carnival Magic.
It is important to remember that all cruise ships are made differently, and this list is specific to the Carnival Magic.
1. There is only one outlet inside the room, so be sure to pack a power strip to plug in your phone and other devices. The outlet is on the far end, away from the bed, so if you plan on laying in bed and playing on your phone, I’d suggest also packing an extension cord.
2. The shower only has body soap and shampoo available to use, so be sure to bring your own conditioner if you use it. I am not sure why that is and hope they eventually upgrade their shampoo to a shampoo/conditioner combo.
3. Living in a small space for any amount of time, you’ll want to make sure you leave as much walking space as possible. We found that after unpacking and hanging all our clothing, storing luggage under the bed was the best way to keep the spaces clear and uncluttered. We kept the closet space for clothing and shoes and under the bed for luggage and backpacks.
4. The ship is cashless and everything on the ship revolves around your cruise card. To make it easy, I recommend keeping the card in a lanyard. You can either buy one ahead of time and pack it, or just head to the store on the ship and purchase it there. It was under $12 on the ship and worth every penny.
5. If you are prone for sea sickness or concerned you may be, there are quite a few options to ease your mind. Over the counter medication like Bonine and Dramamine are great to have on hand, however the most recommended seasickness medication is the Transderm Scop® patch that has to be prescribed by your doctor.
6. Bring hand sanitizer! Seriously, bring it and use it. You’re on a ship with limited space, packed with people. Protect yourself. If for some reason you forget, do not worry. The Carnival Magic has hand sanitizing stations all around the ship, especially in the food areas.
7. Check the daily newsletter for events and activities. The room staff on the Carnival Magic deliver fun newsletters every evening that let you know what is happening on the ship the next day. Make sure to read these as you may miss out on some fun events going on.
8. Speaking of the newsletter, there you will see which day(s) are formal night. Depending on the length of your cruise, you will have either one or two formal night dinners. Formal night is optional, but highly recommended. You can learn about the dress code for formal night here. If you are planning on eating in the dining room, formal attire is required. However, if you choose to pass, the buffet and other eating areas are open to you.
9. Please note that not all cruises are created equal when knowing what times to eat. For the Magic, only pizza and room service were available 24 hours a day. Please check the times of when what places are open, as during certain times only a couple places are open to eat and the line can get really long. We waited over 30 mins for a slice of pizza once.
10. If you are traveling with older kids and adults, I highly recommend bringing walkie talkies. I saw several people using them and thought it was a great way to stay in touch as many people don’t purchase the wifi plan. If you are bringing little ones and plan on utilizing the kids club, you’ll be happy to know they provide you with a phone to keep on you so you can keep in touch with the staff and they can get a hold of you if needed.
11. If you book an excursion on port days, keep in mind most excursions last the entire port day, so shopping/exploring may be minimal, if that.
12. One of the most asked questions are if passports are required to go on the cruise. U.S. citizens embarking on a cruise that both originates and terminates at the same U.S. port are not required to have a passport, but will need proof of citizenship such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate and photo ID. You can read all about it here: https://help.carnival.com/app/answers/category/c/173,406.
Do you have any helpful tips to add?
*Huge thanks to Carnival for hosting our cruise. All opinions are our own.