Battle of the Bands to be Held by Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruise Lines, New Orleans’ most popular cruise line, and local television station WDSU-TV have launched a search to find the most spirited high school marching band in the Big Easy. “The Battle of the High School Marching Bands” competition celebrates local spirit and skill, and will ultimately award the winning band a $10,000 cash prize from Carnival and chance to perform aboard Carnival Sunshine, the line’s latest ship to call New Orleans home when it arrives there for its North American debut this November.

Area schools have three weeks to record a three-minute video of their band performing their school fight song. In the performance, the bands also must identify their school and the name of the contest, “The Battle of the High School Marching Bands.” To enter, high schools must upload their video to YouTube by Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 6pm CST, and email a link to the video to a dedicated email address [email protected]. A special judging panel will select the top five finalists.

Beginning on October 22, the five finalists will be posted to the WDSU-TV website (www.wdsu.com/carnival-cruise-lines) for schools, families and members of the community to get in on the musical fun and rally around their favorite band. Voting will run through Friday, November 1. Fans can vote once per day for the duration of the voting period.

The winning band will be announced in November and receive $10,000 for their school’s music program courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines, along with the opportunity to perform aboard Carnival Sunshine during its U.S. debut celebration at the Port of New Orleans on Sunday, November 17. Each of the four additional band finalists will receive a $1,000 cash prize from Carnival.

“As we prepare for the U.S. arrival of Carnival Sunshine to New Orleans, we want to do something truly special to celebrate that is in the spirit of New Orleans and its rich music history,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer. “This contest provides an opportunity for us to help foster musical development in the next generation of talented performing artists and is a great way to partner with the community to celebrate the November arrival of Carnival Sunshine,” Berra added.

“WDSU is thrilled to partner with Carnival Cruise Lines in celebration of the U.S. arrival of Carnival Sunshine,” said Joel Vilmenay, WDSU’s president and general manager. “Along with this state of the art vessel, Carnival’s generous gift of $10,000 to a deserving school is big bow on a wonderful present to the Crescent City.”

Beginning November 18, 2013, the 3006-passenger Carnival Sunshine will offer seven-day cruises to the Bahamas and the Western Caribbean from New Orleans. Earlier this year, the ship underwent an unprecedented 75-day, $155 million transformation, incorporating all of the line’s “Fun Ship 2.0” dining, bar and entertainment features, as well as a variety of exciting innovations unique to the vessel and 182 new staterooms.

Carnival has a long history with New Orleans, launching the cruise industry’s first year-round program in 1994. Over the years, Carnival has dramatically increased its presence in New Orleans and carries more passengers from there than any other cruise line. With the addition of Carnival Sunshine in November, the line expects to host more than 330,000 passengers annually from the Crescent City.

For more information about the Battle of the High School Marching Bands, visit www.wdsu.com/carnival-cruise-lines.

Fleet wide improvements for the Carnival Corporation

Carnival Cruise Lines is conducting a fleet wide $300 million plan to significantly enhance emergency power capabilities, introducing a new fire safety technology system and improving the level of operating redundancies.

The improvement plan is the result of a comprehensive operational review, overseen by parent company Carnival Corporation & plc, initiated immediately after the Carnival Triumph fire in February 2013.

“All of Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships operate safely today. Each vessel already has effective systems in place to prevent, detect and respond to emergency situations, and we meet or exceed all regulatory requirements,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “However, by applying lessons learned through our fleet-wide operational review after the Carnival Triumph fire and by taking advantage of new technologies, we have identified areas for enhancement across our operations. These initiatives reflect our commitment to safe and reliable operations and an enjoyable cruising experience for the nearly 4.5 million guests who sail with Carnival Cruise Lines each year.”

The work is already underway and will not affect scheduled itineraries. Upon completion of the initial phase, the line will install a second permanent back-up power system on each ship to provide an even greater level of hotel and guest services if main power is lost. These additional services will include expanded cooking facilities and cold food storage, as well as internet and telephone communications.

The company has also announced the formation of a Safety & Reliability Review Board that will include experts with significant expertise in marine and occupational safety, reliability and maintenance, marine regulatory compliance and quality control/assurance.

The parent company Carnival Corporation & plc previously announced a corporate-wide operational review of all 10 of its brands and 101 ships. The review process will include learnings from the recent incidents that can be applied across the corporation’s fleet. Carnival Corporation & plc has confirmed that, based on the results of the ongoing review, the latest versions of technologies and enhancements will also be implemented on the remainder of the fleet where they are not already present. The overall program of enhancements across the corporation’s 101-ship fleet, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn in North America; P&O Cruises and Cunard in the United Kingdom; AIDA Cruises in Germany; Costa Cruises in Southern Europe; Iberocruceros in Spain; and P&O Cruises in Australia , is expected to cost between $600 and $700 million.

“Our fleet already operates at a high standard of reliability. The investments announced today for Carnival Cruise Lines, and those we will continue to make, will reinforce our ability to consistently deliver the customer experience that 10 million people every year have come to expect from us across our fleet of 101 ships. Absolutely nothing is more important than the safety and comfort of our guests and crew, and we will use the full resources of our company to meet that commitment,” said Micky Arison, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc.

Initial implementation of the upgrades to the Carnival Corporation & plc fleet will take place during the next several months. Each class of ship is different and often systems differ on ships within a class, so the enhancements will be tailored to each vessel.

These fleet wide improvements will most likely help the cruise consumers regain their faith in Carnival Lines after the recent unfortunate events.

New Carnival Breeze to feature Bonsai Sushi and Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ – Facebook contest launched

Dining is a highlight of any cruise and the 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze will feature a huge array of culinary choices when it enters service June 3. Two new offerings will include Bonsai Sushi, the line’s first full-service sushi restaurant, and an open-air barbecue venue called Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ.

To celebrate Carnival Breeze’s variety of dining choices, today Carnival Cruise Lines is launching a sweepstakes on its Facebook fan page tied to another of the ship’s dining spots, the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina. The sweepstakes asks fans to choose their favorite burrito or taco toppings available at the casual dining venue for a chance to win a Caribbean cruise for two on the new 130,000-ton “Fun Ship,” along with round-trip air transportation.

Here’s a look at the Carnival Breeze’s many different tantalizing dining choices:

Bonsai Sushi – Carnival’s first full-service sushi restaurant, Bonsai Sushi offers a wide variety of Asian-inspired delicacies with a contemporary decor featuring artwork by world-renowned graffiti artist Erni Vales, colorful koi kites flown during impromptu celebrations, and, of course, several Bonsai trees. Located along Promenade Deck, Bonsai Sushi includes a number of varieties of sushi, sashimi, and rolls along with bento boxes and the venue’s own interpretation of a sushi boat – in this case, a sushi “ship” – with prices ranging from $1 for appetizer-sized portions to $15 for a sushi ship for two.

Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ – Reminiscent of a backyard barbecue, this complimentary open-air dining venue located on Promenade Deck offers a mouth-watering array of grilled favorites, including barbecued chicken breast, kielbasa, Italian sausage, and Fat Jimmy’s signature item, pulled pork sandwiches, along with traditional sides like baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw and mini-corn muffins.

Guy’s Burger Joint – fresh-made burgers, hand-cut fries and innovative toppings created in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri.

BlueIguana Cantina – offering authentic tacos and burritos that can be personalized by diners at an extensive salsa and toppings bar.
The Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez – featuring hilarious comedic performances and an extensive menu of brunch-time favorites.

Fahrenheit 555 – a classic American steakhouse offering mouth-watering steaks and other gourmet fare with impeccable service (venue will carry a surcharge consistent with other steakhouses in the Carnival fleet).

Cucina del Capitano – a family-style restaurant reminiscent of a cozy Italian home with dishes such as Piatto della Nonna, inspired by the grandma of Carnival Breeze Captain Vincenzo Alcaras with penne pasta, crispy shrimp and prosciutto in a vodka cream sauce (venue will serve as a free lunch-time pasta bar during the day with a nominal charge for dinner).

Lido Marketplace – a casual poolside eatery offering an array of international favorites, from paninis and 24-hour pizza to Indian Tandoori and a Mongolian Wok station and just about everything in between.

“The Comfort Kitchen” – new venue located within Lido Marketplace offering American-style “comfort food.”

Ocean Plaza – an indoor/outdoor café serving cappuccinos, lattes, and espressos as well as pastries and other confections.

RedFrog Pub – an island-themed pub where guests can nosh on Caribbean-inspired fare while soaking up the distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West ambiance.

Serenity – salads, sandwiches, wraps and other light fare available at the ship’s exclusive adults-only retreat.

The Taste Bar – complimentary bite-size offerings inspired by popular Carnival dining venues, along with a signature cocktail tied to that eatery’s particular theme available for purchase.

Sea Dogs – a hot dog-shaped cart within the SportSquare outdoor recreation area offering all-beef franks and traditional toppings (debuts on Carnival Breeze in November).

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, the “BlueIguana Cantina Fight for Your Appetite” sweepstakes runs through May 10 on Carnival’s Facebook fan page. Fans are asked to choose their favorite taco and burrito toppings in a series of head-to-head competitions pitting such options as guacamole vs. sour cream or breakfast burritos vs. traditional tacos. All participants who vote are entered into a drawing for a Carnival Breeze Caribbean cruise for two, as well as round-trip air transportation, that will be awarded on May 17.

In a fun twist, the sweepstakes includes a unique feature in which fans can digitally throw images of burrito and taco toppings and other BlueIguana Cantina food items at their fellow Facebook enthusiasts’ pages.

Exciting European, Caribbean Itineraries
Following an inaugural 12-day cruise from Venice departing June 3, 2012, Carnival Breeze will operate a series of 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona through Oct. 25, 2012. After its trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Breeze will sail year-round from Miami beginning Nov. 24, 2012, offering port-intensive six- and eight-day cruises that showcase the best the Caribbean has to offer.

Carnival offers new four- and five-day cruises from Port Canaveral

The Carnival Ecstasy is now offering some great deals for cruises out of Port Canaveral. Photo courtesy Carnival Cruise Lines.

By Jackie Roseboom

Carnival Cruise Lines will launch the cruise industry’s only four- and five-day Caribbean trips from Port Canaveral with the Carnival Ecstasy. She departed Nov. 7 on a five-day sold-out cruise to Nassau, Freeport and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay — the first of 78 annual cruises from the Space Coast.

Carnival Ecstasy’s one-of-a-kind schedule includes two different four-day itineraries, along with two different five-day choices. Four-day “long weekend” cruises depart Thursdays and visit Nassau and Half Moon Cay or Freeport, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays, calling at Nassau, Freeport and Half Moon Cay or Key West. Great rates include non-refundable Early Saver rates starting at $329 per person for four-day voyages and $349 per person for five-day departures.

Combined with Carnival Sensation’s three- and four-day Bahamas cruises and Carnival Dream’s seven-day eastern and western Caribbean voyages, the line offers a variety of itineraries, cruise lengths, and departure days from Port Canaveral.

“The growth of Port Canaveral as a cruise departure point is truly extraordinary and millions of consumers have discovered the benefits of sailing from this convenient and centrally located homeport,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.  “The Canaveral Port Authority is an outstanding business partner and deploying a third year-round ship is a testament to our relationship with the port and our confidence in its continued success.”

Port Canaveral CEO Stan Payne said, “The Carnival Ecstasy’s arrival comes only a few days after we shattered our record for cruise passengers at Port Canaveral.”

Carnival Ecstasy received a multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2009 that added a new facilities and features, including a WaterWorks aqua park with a 300-foot-long spiral water slide, a tropical-themed resort-style main pool area and the Serenity adults-only retreat. Ninety-eight balconies were added to existing staterooms, as well. These new features are complimented by the ship’s onboard amenities such as a renovated 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival health club, three restaurants, complimentary programs for children, a 24-hour pizzeria, a jogging track and 12 lounges, bars and nightspots.

Carnival Ecstasy’s new schedule continues the line’s longstanding relationship with Port Canaveral, that began in 1990 with a 950-passenger ship carrying approximately 100,000 passengers annually. Over the past 21 years, Carnival has dramatically expanded its presence at the port, adding newer and larger ships along with new schedules and itineraries.

For additional information on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” cruises go to carnival.com or contact your favorite travel agent.

– Jackie Roseboom is a regular contributor to Cruise Guide, “Orlando Attractions Magazine” and CruiseNewsWeekly.com.

Carnival launching Fun Ship 2.0, a $500 million dollar fleet-wide transformation

Carnival Cruise Lines has started an initiative they're calling Fun Ship 2.0, which includes new dining and entertainment options, many of which enhance guests' poolside experience.

By Jackie Roseboom

Carnival Cruise Lines has unveiled what they are calling Fun Ship 2.0. Guests will be able to enjoy new dining choices, bars and lounges, and entertainment options through partnerships and new branded spaces. In the first phase alone, which extends through the end of 2015, Carnival will invest more than $500 million across its fleet of cruise ships.

– Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez will be coming to Carnival Liberty this month and fleet-wide next year.  Lopez will act as a consultant on the hiring of comedians and will advise on décor, lighting, music and more to enhance the comedy club experience. Lopez will pre-recorded his voice and video messages to welcome guests, and a new Punchliner Comedy Brunch will keep diners laughing with live comedy in the main dining rooms.

– Playlist Performances will have guests singing along and dancing in their seats during 30 minute hit-packed shows such as “Motor City” which celebrates the R&B Motown sound of the 1960s and ‘70s, and “Divas” which combines music, dance and fashion to feature tunes from iconic female entertainers. “Latin Nights” offers a fusion of Latin culture, rhythmic music and choreography while “The Brits!”” features tunes from the UK’s most famous artists of all time. The new shows will premiere on Carnival Breeze when it enters service next summer, followed by other vessels.

– Award-winning DJ Irie was named the official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines.  In this new role, he will create and lead “DJ Irie’s Spin’iversity” to train and develop the musical skills and personalities of on-board DJs to boost the overall music experience for guests of all ages.

An artist's rendering of celebrity chef Guy Fieri's new onboard restaurant, Guy’s Burger Joint.

– Carnival has partnered with celebrity chef Guy Fieri to offer a free shipboard dining venue called “Guy’s Burger Joint”, featuring the Food Network star’s hand-crafted burgers, fresh-cut fries and special recipes created exclusively for Carnival. This laid-back, poolside dining venue will be modeled after a road-side burger.

– “Hasbro, The Game Show” is a new series of larger-than-life productions and entertainment activities based on the popular Family Game Night television show on The Hub. The games include: “Sorry Sliders” which involves a giant shuffleboard court; “Simon Flash” where two teams of four guests wear giant light-up color boxes and must shuffle themselves quickly to repeat a color sequence; “Yahtzee Bowling” with a giant ball and larger-than-life-sized bowling pins; “Operation” which is set up like a skee-ball board where contestants try to get the balls into different slots on the patient’s body; and “Connect-4 Basketball” which uses a basketball setup rather than the traditional checkers.

– EA Sports and Carnival have configured an exciting new sports bar concept. Designed to be the ultimate hangout for sports fanatics, guests can play their favorite EA Sports video games, watch live sports on a massive video wall, and keep up with real-time sports scores 24/7 live on a ticker. Guest can enter the daily trivia contests, compete in EA Sports video game tournaments. Other new bar concepts include: RedFrog Rum Bar offers guests the Caribbean vacation vibe with a pool-side version of the popular Caribbean themed RedFrog Pub, which debuted on the Carnival Magic; The Library Bar is a new intimate cocktail lounge featuring bar service and automatic wine dispensers,ideal for guests seeking a quiet venue; The BlueIguana Tequila Bar, a Mexican-themed atmosphere with tequila-based frozen drinks and Mexican beers and complimentary poolside dining.

For more information go to Carnival.com/funship2.

– Jackie Roseboom is a regular contributor to Cruise Guide, “Orlando Attractions Magazine” and CruiseNewsWeekly.com.

Breeze beckons Carnival enthusiasts

Artist rendering courtesy Carnival - The 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze, a sister-ship to the recently-launched Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic, will debut in Europe in June 2012. She will feature an expansive pool deck, contemporary furnishings and tropical décor in staterooms.

By Michael Coleman

Carnival has launched “Carnival Breeze Life’’, a campaign to inspire potential passengers to celebrate a Caribbean island mindset year-round in anticipation of the debut of their new tropical-infused ship.

Carnival Breeze, a 3,690-passenger vessel, sets sails in Europe in June, 2012. After a summer in Europe she will then sail year-round from Miami beginning November 24, 2012, offering port-intensive six- and eight-day cruises that showcase the best the Caribbean has to offer.

By visiting the new Carnival Breeze tab on the company’s Facebook page ( HYPERLINK “http://www.facebook.com/carnival” www.facebook.com/carnival), potential passengers can enjoy an engaging social experience with exclusive opportunities, videos and giveaways — all while learning more about the new 130,000-ton ship. The tab includes a “Meet the Carnival Breeze” area with detailed renderings offering a sneak peek at the ship’s public spaces.

Just as Carnival Breeze is designed to provide guests with the breezy feeling of the tropics, the campaign encourages potential passengers to infuse the Caribbean spirit into their everyday lives.  By visiting the Carnival Breeze tab on the company’s Facebook page, fans can declare “I Will Live the Carnival Breeze Life” to join the movement. For each person who joins, Carnival will donate $1, up to $20,000 total, to its charitable partner, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of the world’s premiere centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other childhood diseases.

“As we gear up for the introduction of our tropical-inspired Carnival Breeze, we encourage Carnival fans to celebrate the spirit of the Caribbean in their everyday lives,” said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. “Whether it’s donning flip-flops to a business meeting or adding a drink umbrella to your morning orange juice, we invite visitors to regularly explore all the fun, interactive experiences and videos about Carnival Breeze and island life on our Facebook page.’’

The ship will feature a number of open areas to highlight the sun, sea and sky complemented by colorful interiors and public spaces that take their cues from the region’s cool island breezes and warm tropical sunsets.

Through dramatic artist renderings, fans can also get a first look at Carnival Breeze’s design on Facebook and at HYPERLINK “http://www.carnivalbreeze.com/” www.carnivalbreeze.com. From the sun-splashed ambiance of the Lido Marketplace restaurant and a palm tree-lined indoor/outdoor café and live entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza to the Lanai outdoor wraparound promenade with sweeping ocean views and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, ship designers seek to bring the Caribbean ambience inside. The breezy tropical surroundings will even extend to the ship’s staterooms which incorporate a palette of pastel hues.

Potential passengers are also encouraged to turn to the Carnival Breeze Facebook tab where each Thursday from 3-4 pm EDT the company will feature an hour-long Carnival Breeze Break. During these weekly sessions Carnival fans can chat with each other and the Carnival team to share their tips and stories of Caribbean fun plus receive giveaways — from island-inspired food and drink recipes to Carnival Breeze desktop wallpaper and more.

The new Facebook tab also features an exclusive photo gallery where Carnival fans can showcase how they are inspired to live in the spirit of the Carnival Breeze. Here, visitors will also find tips to Live the Carnival Breeze Life plus enjoy a comedic Web series featuring “Mr. Breezie,” a character who is transformed by the Carnival Breeze lifestyle.

Visitors to the ship’s website will also find a “How It’s Made” section featuring a construction timeline with images and videos of the shipbuilding progress.  The site also offers a countdown clock for the ship’s U.S. arrival, consumer testimonials, port-of-call and itinerary offerings, and information on the many dining, activity and entertainment choices available.

On the web: http://www.carnival.com” .

Carnival, Princess adopt new onboard smoking policies

Image courtesy Matt Roseboom — Two of the world’s most popular cruise lines, Carnival and Princess, have modified their respective onboard smoking policies.

By Michael Coleman

Carnival and Princess, two of the world’s most popular cruise lines, have adopted new onboard smoking policies which will be rolled out in the coming months.

Citing its “ongoing commitment to keep pace with changing guest preferences’’ the 23-ship Carnival fleet, effective this week, will only permit cigarette smoking in dance clubs, designated areas within the casino and casino bar, certain sections on the open decks on all vessels and also in the jazz clubs on 13 Carnival ships.

The 13 ships include Carnival Destiny, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Victory, Carnival Spirit, Carnival Pride, Carnival Legend, Carnival Miracle, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Glory, Carnival Valor, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom, and Carnival Splendor. Cigar smoking will also be permitted in the jazz clubs. On other vessels in the fleet, cigar (and cigarette) smoking will also be permitted in designated areas on deck.

Effective December 1, 2011, smoking will be prohibited in all Carnival guest staterooms. Those guests in balcony accommodations will be permitted to smoke cigarettes and cigars outside on the balcony. Spa staterooms, currently featured on Carnival Splendor, Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic, will continue to remain entirely smoke-free, including on the balconies.

The modified smoking policy is the result of recent guest surveys conducted by the company that covered a wide range of topics. The surveys indicated that nearly 90 percent of all Carnival Cruise Lines’ guests are non-smokers with less than five percent of guests opting to smoke in their staterooms.

Meanwhile, at Carnival Corporation-owned Princess Cruises, the line will prohibit smoking in cabins and on balconies across its 16-ship fleet effective January 15, 2012.

The new policy reflects changing customer preferences and the move around the globe — from North America to Europe — to further restrict areas where smoking is allowed, according to the line.

“Our consumer studies now show that smokers are a small minority of our passengers, and that the large majority of passengers value having their primary living space onboard smoke-free,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.

Swartz added that balconies are included in the new policy because they are a hallmark feature of Princess ships, and the line believes it’s important to keep that peaceful space clear of smoke.

She added that Princess still welcomes passengers who smoke, and will continue to provide special venues around respective ships to accommodate smokers. Smoking will continue to be allowed in the Churchill’s cigar lounge, a section of the disco and casino, and a portion of the open decks.

On the web:
www.carnival.com
www.princess.com

Carnival Magic makes her debut in Europe

Little kids and big kids alike will love the Waterworks area. Get dumped on by hundreds of gallons of water, then go down one of three large slides. Carnival Magic has their longest twister waterslide of any ship.



By Jackie Roseboom

Living up to her name, the christening of the brand new Carnival Magic was indeed magical.

The ceremony took place onboard while in port in Venice, Italy. Carnival’s CEO appeared out of nowhere on stage in a helicopter to start the festivities. The sailing away party, with breathtaking views of Venice was a perfect way to start off a first cruise on a brand new ship.

The ship’s Godmother, Lindsey Wilkerson, was diagnosed with cancer as a child. She credits her survival to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She is dedicated to raising funds for St. Jude to ensure more children are helped the way she was. Carnival has taken a pledge to raise three million dollars in three years for St. Jude. On each cruise there is a “Groove for St. Jude” dance party/fundraiser.

In addition to the parties, there are so many fun activities onboard. On Carnival’s new fun ship you can climb high and mighty on the new Sky Course. The views from this rope course on the top deck are amazing as you test your tightrope walking skills (while being tethered to a safety line). The Sports Square features a miniature golf course, a billiards table, foosball, ping-pong and outdoor workout equipment. There is also an area up top to play basketball and many other sports. The oversize board games are also a big hit.

The full service Cloud 9 Spa supplies everything you will possibly need to relax and rejuvenate. The gym classes and equipment are top notch and the spas’ thermal suites are not to be missed. They consist of heated lounge chairs, different kinds of steam rooms and a large, wonderful hot tub with a view! Here’s a little hint: to add to experience, get the custom scrub while you are in the steam room. It will leave your skin baby soft and it’s only about $9 extra. It’s the perfect thing to add to your spa treatment.

There is no shortage of dining options and nightlife on the Carnival Magic. Of course, there’s the “always aimed to please” the main dining rooms, but the Lido deck has many different options to choose from, including tandoori, sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs, pizza, a burrito bar, Mongolian wok and so much more. The new Cucina Del Capitano is an extra fee Italian restaurant by night and a free made to order pasta bar by day. The Prime Steakhouse also has an extra fee, but it is so worth it due to the mouth-watering steaks.

The fun new hangout onboard is the RedFrog Pub. It’s Carnival’s first ever pub. It has a comfortable neighborhood bar feel with a Caribbean flair. There’s an extra cost of $3.33 for each of the yummy things on the menu. You’ll probably want to try the Thirsty Frog Red. This house brew is made just for the pub and isn’t available anywhere else. It sold out on the first cruise and they had to ship some more in. There’s live music nightly and a fun outside area. In addition to the Red Frog for nightlife, there are also lounges, a piano bar, karaoke with a live band and dancing. Of course the shows in the Showtime Theater are something to see and don’t forget the big-screen movie on the pool deck. Kids, and kids-at-heart will love the three water slides and large water dump bucket and splash play area. With all this, you’ll have a hard time being bored, but if that’s what you’re looking for, the Serenity deck is perfect place to unwind with its soft lounge chairs and inviting hammocks.

The cabins onboard the Carnival Magic are very comfortable and available for most sizes and budgets. The Carnival Magic will be sailing the Mediterranean for the summer and in the Caribbean, sailing out of Galveston for the winter. The Magic’s sister ships are the Dream, which debut in 2010, and the Breeze, which launches in 2012.

For more information go to carnival.com

Here’s video of the naming ceremony:

Follow us on the Carnival Magic during her inaugural cruise, May 1-10

Cruise News Weekly staff will be boarding the newest ship at sea next week and you can follow along on our social media sites.

We’ll be boarding the brand new Carnival Magic in Venice, Italy on Sunday, May 1 for a 9-night European cruise. Port stops include Messina, Civitavecchia/Rome, Livorno, Dubrovnik, Naples and Monaco. The cruise ends in Barcelona.

We’ll be posting live photos, information and videos (Internet connection willing) right from the ship throughout the cruise. Look for a full review in the coming weeks.

Here’s where you can find our updates.
Twitter: Twitter.com/cruiseguide
Facebook: Facebook.com/cruisenews

In addition to our coverage of the Magic, you can watch Carnival’s official videos of the christening and around the ship on their Facebook page. You can can also participate in a Facebook quiz based on their videos for a chance to win a seven-day Carnival Magic cruise for four to the Caribbean.

Watch Carnival Magic’s launch videos and enter to win a free cruise

Carnival Cruise Lines is inviting their Facebook fans to experience the excitement of Carnival Magic’s May 1 launch from Venice, Italy, with a series of videos that showcase the ship’s inaugural activities along with its many unique features. Then fans can participate in a Facebook quiz based on the videos for a chance to win a seven-day Carnival Magic cruise for four to the Caribbean.

A series of 11 videos will be posted every half hour between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. (U.S. Eastern time) on Sunday, May 1. The videos take viewers on a journey as they enjoy a front-row seat at the Carnival Magic’s naming ceremony, tour the ship’s bridge, and learn more about the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, WaterWorks aqua park, and Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant, with insight from company executives who helped create these exciting new spaces.

The videos also offer an in-depth look at the ship’s European ports of call and a recap of the day’s events, including a chat with the ship’s godmother, Lindsey Wilkerson, a former patient of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who now serves as an employee and an ambassador of the organization. Carnival Magic’s Senior Cruise Director John Heald will also answer questions submitted by Facebook fans as part of an informative “Ask John” segment.

“Only a handful of people get to witness a ship launch in person so by using Facebook we’re enabling fans from all over the world to be right there with us as we welcome Carnival Magic into the fleet,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer. “Those who are not already among our 725,000 and growing Facebook fans can visit us at facebook.com/carnival and simply hit the “like” button.”

Fans can also follow Cruise News Weekly staff as they attend the inaugural activities and first sailing. Just visit Facebook.com/CruiseNews and click the “Like” button. You can also follow even more updates from May 1-10 on their Twitter account at Twitter.com/CruiseGuide.

The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic will spend its inaugural season in Europe with a series of seven- to 12-day Mediterranean cruises operating May 1 through October 16, 2011. Following a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Magic will begin seven-day Caribbean cruises out of Galveston, Texas, on November 14, 2011, becoming the port’s largest year-round ship.