Our magical experiences aboard the new Carnival Magic are many. As compared to other ships, the Magic has so many options to choose from to entertain oneself. But first, a word about embarkation: Easy, Easy, And Easy! We pulled into port a little later than planned, around 11:30. We parked at Lot B, took one of their complementary shuttles to the port. We took on our own luggage, since it was just my husband and I this trip. We went through security fairly easily, except when we had to go open our bags and allow port security to examine each of our twelve cans of soda and both bottles of wine. It was a little uncomfortable to have my intimates in full view of bystanders, but painless all the same. We were on to Check-In, which took (including line time), about 6 minutes! And we were off to board the mega-ship.
After a walk through the winding gangway, we entered the ship and grabbed a glass elevator to the ninth floor. Though they had a Carnival member waiting at the elevators to tell you that you could only go up to the Lido deck, we thought we would look to see if our room was indeed ready so we could drop off the luggage on the way....and it was. So by 12:30, we were off to lunch on the Lido. The buffet was good, what is considered normal Carnival buffet food. Some of the items were rather good, others not so much. Regardless, I think there are too many choices for anyone to really complain. We did try the Italian Restaurant for lunch--it was a nice change from the buffet food downstairs on the Lido. New friends of ours (our awesome assigned tablemates!) did reserve the evening meal for $12 pp, and they reported that it was a nice ambiance and hearty meal. Probably the most surprisingly delicious food I ate on the Carnival Magic was the Cream of Wild Mushroom soup...so good! I really expected a bland cream soup; I was wrong. Very hearty and flavorful!
As for the decor, this ship is bright, big, and well-lit. The lobby itself seems really inviting. In the past, the lobbies of ships have been somewhat overlooked because they were usually just a transitioning point. However, they have added seating on the upper floors that make "hanging out" comfortable and desirable, especially when accompanied by the musicians located in the winding staircase. Carnival has added convenient kiosks to alleviate the wait at Guest services; you can look at your Sail & Sign account or get change for ports, etc. conveniently. The biggest changes on this ship would be that Carnival has fine-tuned their use of space aboard these ships. I loved the layout and the amenities. I have been on the Carnival Dream as well; this one takes the cake! The Promenade, Deck 5, is a nice flow of changing scenery; the shops, casino, ocean plaza, Red Frog Pub, Clubs, Piano Bar, and Spotlight Lounge. The kids clubs are down on the Mezzanine, Deck 4. They, too, are really nice! I usually don't see a lot of the older kids using these facilities, but this time they were always full. Kudos to Carnival for finally capturing the older children's interest! Deck 12 is awesome, awesome, and awesome! The rope challenges and entire recreation area up there is any kid's (or adult's) dream! My husband and I had a great time one night playing mini golf, connect 4 xxl, foosball, and ping pong. They have a full basketball court and workout equipment in surround. Great for a day overlooking the sea!
Shows...not impressed. These are usually a focal point for us, but after having such a majestic ship, I was hoping the shows would only add to it. Instead, I felt they took away from what I have come to expect from Carnival. It's too bad; the shows could only have made this vacation better, but all the same, we had a great time without them. I can't even think which one to recommend. If I had to, I would say "Groove Line" was the best show I watched. The illusionist performed acts that we have all seen many times, but the liveliness and colorfulness of the show (lights, smoke, etc) kept us tuned in. I hope they work to improve upon these for this ship in the future!
The service on this ship is not bad; I didn't really see that there were too many people to be serviced appropriately. At dinner, we had three different servers at times, and Fernando especially did a wonderful job taking care of our table. Our room steward was a bit of a disappointment. In all my cruises, I could leave the room for 20 minutes and return to a cleaned room. This cruise was quite different; we could leave at 9:30 am, return at 2 pm to grab our sunglasses, etc. and the room would be the same as we left it. The evening turndown, too, did not come at the 5:30-6pm usual time; it was more like 830-9. Nothing that was detrimental to us, but it was obviously different. Strangely, every time we would hear him in a nearby room on our way past, he was on a cell phone talking. Strange!
Ports of Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. All great days with great sun! We were less structured this cruise with our excursions, and did our own thing with the exception of the Highlights and Shopping excursion in Montego Bay. Upon return to Galveston, the fog was thick! But, no delays. We waiting in our room until 7:40 (self-assist), went down and were off within 15 minutes of a line wait. Customs was quick and painless, as we didn't bring much back this time. We waited 10 minutes for a shuttle, and the driver was a great help with everyone's luggage. So appreciated! We went right to our vehicle, loaded up and hit the road.
Great cruise, out-of-this-world ship, and awesome vacation. We left with great memories, great photos, and new friends, Dennis and Melissa?. Carnival just keeps getting better!