My wife and I, along with her brother and sister-in-law, sailed from Galveston to Key West, Freeport, and Nassau, the Bahamas. This was our third Carnival cruise. We had previously sailed on the Victory to San Juan, St. Thomas, and St. Marten; on the Conquest to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Both trips were enjoyable except our cabin on the Conquest was under a loud conveyor belt that was quite noisy. Carnival gave us both a $200 dollar refund for our two nights of torture after midnight. We had a adjoining balcony state rooms and really enjoyed them. I had read the reviews about the Magic trip and was sometime pleasantly surprised, sometimes not. The boarding was fine. We arrived early and had no problems getting through the lines and on board. We had a luncheon after arriving at our state room and got settled in fairly quick. I am an insulin-dependent diabetic and had my supplies with me. I asked about using the cabin icebox and the steward was most helpful. He said they were supposed to wait until after six o'clock, when the ship was under way, but he immediately opened the refrigerator and allowed me to put my insulin inside. He also made it a point to remember our first names and used them throughout the trip. First Class. I had read that the ship was crowded and you could very seldom find deck space, shade or sun. NOT SO! I have picture after picture of the decks completely deserted. The ship was clean and the crew fairly pleasant. Many did not seem to speak English but made an effort to be police. Our cabin was adequate except for one seemingly significant point (to me). There was only one 120a box in the whole cabin, and it wasn't in the bathroom. It was tight to the left of the dresser and two plug-ins competed for camera, computer,and cell phone battery charging, and my shaver. I brought a plug-in, not a battery operated one. The balcony was nice enough. Not large, but who needed large? It was adequate to throw left-over bread to the sea gulls that abounded in the ports we attended. Great camera shots.
The food. I read another review here that said how great it was. It was monotonous. We usually ate on the Lido buffets. Two buffets that were opposite each other, but had the same food. Both had almost exactly the same food each day. The variation was whether the main meat was turkey, beef or pork. On the last day, just before we left ship, my brother-in-law told me to close my eyes. He said "tell me what food we have served, and in order." I laughed because he and I both knew that I could tell him what was being served, in order. And for some reason, each time I put noodles on my platter, because they were good, I always left lots of room on the end of the platter for the main meat being served. Each time the server would slice off a thin piece of meat and place it on the top of my noodles. Ignoring the blank back of the platter. I wanted to say something to him because I thought he was just being insulting, but I don't think English was his first or second language. Just for drill, we ate twice in the formal dining room. One breakfast to get hot eggs, and once for lunch, where the Club sandwich was the best choice. You could wait in line at the Lido buffet for made-to-order omelets but then you had to go back into the buffet line for the rest of your breakfast, or do it the other way around.
When we arrived at Key West, my wife and I took the city tour bus hop on, hop off. This was a great value. (I read the reviews.) We got on and off several time. Some of the stops, like the butter fly house, cost extra, $10 or so, but were well worth it. The $12 for Earnest's house and gardens didn't turn us on, so we just took pictures on the fly. There was a small acre or so place on the beach when you make a right hand turn that really caught our eye. Actually my wife's bathroom needs. She developed a stomach virus after boarding and it lasted all the trip. My brother-in-law and I felt squamous most of the trip,but in fairness, his wife had no problems at all. Anyway, we entered the small park-like entrance and asked if he sold water and did they have a bathroom. He said "no" they didn't sell water, but he had free water. Then he gave us a map to show us where the bathroom was. Really nice gentleman. Of course we gave a donation to the museum.
Went to Freeport the next day, Wednesday. Took the tour bus around the city. I had noticed that there wasn't much to look at from the ship, but we went down to the shopping area and I bought a conch shell painted with 2012 and "Magic" with a ship on it. Appreciated the fact that it had been modified so that it could be blown and make a loud noise. My only purchase of the trip. We caught our bus at noon and proceeded to take a tour of all the residences on the island, and a few industrial locations. We stopped at one small "straw" hut flea market, and later one very nice, and expensive flea market in a more affluent area. I got tired of walking and waited for the others at a vacant bench. My wife purchased a few items for friends. Overall, a very poor choice of tours. But I'm thinking it was the best available.
Next to Nassau. I had read the reviews and decided to do what most of them suggested. Pick a direction and walk. While walking out, my brother-in-law got into a discussion with a taxi driver. He was offering to take our group of four somewhere for $15. Brother-in-law thought that was too high and said, "we'll think about it." I had been paying more attention and knew the taxi driver was saying $15 for each traveler, or $60 for a short trip. Shish. We walked around for an hour or so and then beat a hasty retreat to the Magic. Later that day I had a conversation with another Magic guest. He said they had gone to the Atlantis area and one of their beaches. He said they had paid over $300 and got bored within an hour and a half. In fairness, I don't know how many were in his group, but he was not a happy camper. I spoke with lots of the ship-mates and asked them how they liked their trip. Most responded negatively. One said she had been on numerous cruises, and I forget how many, but she had been on two this year alone. She said she would pick another cruise line next year. I'm thinking that Carnival has lost sight of what made them the largest cruise liner in the world. Anyway, I have tried to be comprehensive and honest, and let you, and Carnival, know that this was our last Carnival trip. Wade