This was my 5th cruise and my wife's 2nd. We cruised with 4 couples (30 and under with no kids) during spring break (all the wives are teachers) and had a great time. Most recently we last cruised in March 2010 on the Carnival Liberty. The bigger (Magic) ship had many more options in terms of dining and activities, which fit our group great.
The embarkation process could not have gone smoother. We got to the port a little after 10:30am and we were on board by 11:15am. The only line we had to stand in was security screening and that lasted no more than 5 min. Rooms were not ready so we found a nice spot on the back of the ship and half our group had lunch at Cucina. *Special note for groups we had 4 couples and we booked 4 consecutive balcony staterooms, and when do this we could open up the dividers on the balconies to have 1 very large balcony, which was a great meeting place.
The ship had 4,600 people on board and rarely felt like this many people. A lot of theprevious bad reviews mentioned long waits. I experienced this once during a sea day at the burrito bar, because I really wanted one so I waited -- no big deal. Other times that I saw with a long wait times were breakfast on port days from 8:30am to 9:30am, at sea days lunch between 12:00 -- 12:30, and the deli or other 24 hour options from 11-12(when most other options opened). Pretty simple don't eat at these times if you don't want to wait. Food on this ship was great. We usually at 3-4 star restaurants in Chicago and found food to be mostly, very comparable. Lunch options are abundant. Every day you could choose from your normal rotating buffet, Pizza station, Grill (burgers/hot dogs), tandoor chicken (great naan, hummus and salads), deli station, burrito station, salad bar station (deck 5 where sushi is at night), cucina (made to order pasta) which is free at lunch, and on at sea days they open up a seaside grill on deck 5 which serves great burgers, a carnival hot dog, quesadillas, BBQ tacos, etc. Also the main dining room is open breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
There are a lot of little places on the ship which are not crowded. One of the better ones our group liked was the Escape bar by the Northern Lights dining room. We would go there before dinner even though we ate at the Southern Lights dining room. Also the Red Frog Pub before dinner or after diner was a great place to grab a drink and appetizer (an extra $3 an appetizer, but worth it) before dinner. Most nights we got sushi on deck 5 and brought it into Red Frog. Bars on this ship were never crowded and never had to wait for a drink. Also a great spot was the front "balcony" on decks 9 and 10. You need to go through a wooden door at the front of the ship (looks like the middle of staterooms). Great place to go when pulling into ports.
Overall this is a great ship and would definitely book this type of ship over an older ship.