More dining variety, a “hopping” bar, fun water elements and a conveniently located port for mid-America clients all won enthusiastic comments from travel agents who recently sailed on the new Carnival Magic.
Travel Market Report caught up with cruise sellers to learn more about the ship and hear their views on positioning and selling the Magic to clients.
All had sailed on the Magic, either in Europe, on the transatlantic crossing, or on the U.S. inaugural.
What is the target market for the Carnival Magic?
"The Carnival Magic covers many target markets: multigenerational family groups, any family with kids, and everyone who has ever sailed from Galveston or New Orleans and wants to see the newest/biggest ship in town." – Debby Stevens, owner, 3D Cruise and Travel, Round Rock, Texas, Nexion
"I would say families. There is so much for a family to do and The Magic has great staterooms that have two bathrooms and will hold five people." – Patsie Vaughan, CTC, ACC, Senior Travel Counselor, Travel Leaders of McKinney, McKinney, Texas
"Almost a majority of the ship was past Carnival guests." – Becky Piper, CruiseOne, Strongsville, Ohio
What were highlights of the onboard experience?
"I really loved the hammocks on the aft of the ship and special Jacuzzis interspersed throughout the ship." – Jo Anita Smith, Manager, Marchi Travel Service, Galveston, Texas, Vacation.com
"It’s like coming home to Carnival. Cabins look the same and major public areas look the same. I don’t mean that in a bad way, because Carnival people know what they’re going to get and they like what they’re getting. And the miniature golf course on the sports deck turned out really nice." – Becky Piper
"The dining venues were great. My favorite by far was La Cucina, the new Italian restaurant option. I thought the food was as good as I have eaten in Italy in the past." – Tammie Speers, president, Timeless Travel, Inc., Bixby, Oklahoma
Any “wow” spaces?
"The Red Frog Pub was a huge hit. The idea behind the pub was to create a Key West feel and Carnival nailed it! I must say I am a little biased as I spent lots of time there. Also, the Camp Carnival area is superb and I was truly jealous of the arcade area." – Connie Kirby, vice president, Vacation Tour and Travel, Conway, Ark.
"The Water Park and Sports Square were big wows. The two-story spa is the largest I’ve ever seen at sea." – Debby Stevens
"The waterslides are fast enough to give a thrill to adults and the ropes course is challenging, especially if you try it with no hands." – Patsie Vaughan
What are key selling points for the Carnival Magic?
"To have a brand new build out of Galveston is major, because lately what’s been going out of Galveston are lots of older builds." – Becky Piper
"Economical, a great value for a family." – Jo Anita Smith
"The food, the food, the food – I was amazed at the options for lunch alone: The Lido Deck grill, the Lido buffet, The Tandoor (Indian cuisine), The Wok, the deli, the main dining room, the pizzeria, the new Italian restaurant (free at lunch), the Ocean plaza featuring a cook-out daily, Red Frog Pub….the options seem to be endless." – Connie Kirby
"Lots of entertainment and activities to do day and night." – Patsie Vaughan
"The ocean view cabins with two sinks, one tub and one shower. Awesome for people sharing a cabin when getting ready." – Tammie Speers
What’s the repeat sales potential for the Carnival Magic?
"The different itineraries make repeat sailings on the Magic a must. With both an Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean sailing offered you will definitely want to sail more than once. I simply did not have the time to experience all there is to offer on one sailing." – Connie Kirby
"I feel it’s very high. Once a person experiences Carnival Magic, they will want to come back with others to try out the alternate itinerary it offers." – Debby Stevens
"I think it will be better than any ship they have had down in Galveston to date." – Tammie Speers
What should agents keep in mind when selling the Carnival Magic?
"This is a ship that will require more advance bookings due to its newness. Relay to clients that waiting for last minute deals is not a good idea, as the Magic will sell out most sailings for quite some time." – Debby Stevens
"The Magic is big, and agents should be careful putting people on it who are looking for a quiet, peaceful cruise." – Patsie Vaughan
“The size of the ship can be daunting. Sell only mid-ship cabins for those clients that do not want long walks from elevator to aft or stern.” – Jo Anita Smith
What are possible obstacles or objections?
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and some people are going to find the décor a little bit on the wild and funky side, but it’s all about managing expectations.” – Becky Piper
“The Comedy Club is a highlight, but this was the only venue where I experienced a seating issue. When they say standing room only, they meant it. The place was packed.” – Connie Kirby
"I know that there was an issue up front in the cove balconies, where the water spray coming in during rough weather made them too wet to use on parts of the voyage." – Tammie Speers