We just returned from a great week on board the beautiful Carnival Magic. This was our 11th cruise, we have cruised Carnival, RCi, and Celebrity in the past.
Pre cruise, we booked a ride with Gulfcoast Limousine Service, which was on time and very professional. Total of 5 in our group and the private ride was only a few dollars more that the Carnival Bus, which is available the day of cruise only. We were picked up in a Suburban at IAH and driven to the Hilton Galveston Island Resort which we booked through Last Minute Travel for less than half of the price on Hiltons website. The hotel was a little bit older, but overall nice for the money, and they offer a free ride to the cruise port and have free parking also.
Embarkation - Great experience. We arrived at 11:26 am on the shuttle, walked to the other end of the building, went through security, up to the check in desks, no lines, got our cards, and were on the ship by 11:55 am. They have this process perfected in Galveston, and could definitely train some of the other ports...(Miami)!
We were onboard, walked to the elevators, up to Lido for lunch. Lots of variety, and most anyone could find something to eat here. We decided to go up to deck 12 by the Spa to check it out, and we found that our rooms were ready and we dropped our carry-ons. Spa staterooms were very nice, and the amentities that came with the room were great also. Especially enjoyed the Thallasotherapy pool, and the heated beds! We would definitely book this stateroom again! Our stateroom attendant Hendra, was great, and always kept our room in tip top shape. Our daughter loved the ropes course and the water works, we enjoyed the slide all afternoon with almost no lines while in Galveston. Our dining room waiters, Fernando and Alejandro were awesome! The bar server also had soft drinks at the table each night after the first night without asking! The food was not the best we've ever had, but it was definitely good. We never got a dish we could not eat. Our daughter ordered the daily steak almost every night and it was always cooked to her liking. We went to the Steakhouse one night, and the filet's were excellent. The service was also excellent.
Overall this was a great cruise with great weather, and a beautiful ship. We were on the Carnival Dream when she was new in '09, and we did not like it, but this ship is excellent. Montego Bay should not be on the itinerary, as it is a horrible port with NOTHING but annoying local trying to hustle you out of something. We literally were off for 5 minutes, and got back on the ship to enjoy a less crowded day.