Sailed on the Carnival Magic on April 22, 2012, and here is my review:
I traveled with my wife and two daughter's ages (7) and (10), and we stayed in a Starboard balcony stateroom on the Verandah deck (8th deck) midship. While the room was a bit narrow for two people to pass each other around the bathroom and entry way, we actually found the room to be quite roomy for the four of us. I really enjoyed the balcony, especially drinking a cup of coffee in the mornings. However, I'm not sure my family as a whole used it enough to justify the additional expense. I will book an ocean view room next time, and then decide if after that if balconies are in my future. Our room steward was Kelvin, and he his staff were great. The room was always timely made, and it was nice to see fresh towels twice a day. My girls really enjoyed the towel animals which were left each evening. Kelvin was always easy to find, and was invaluable in answering questions we had which were outside his area of responsibility.
I found the food onboard to be very good. I'm not sure what was up with the reviews I had read prior to leaving that said the food was horrible, it was not. I can tell you right now the best kept secret on the ship is the Cucina del Capitano. We ate there for lunch one day, and then my wife and I went back on Wednesday evening for dinner. We had dinner in the Steakhouse the night before, and actually found the Capitano to be a better experience for the price. Don't get me wrong, the Steakhouse was great, but we personally enjoyed the Capitano more.
If you have children I highly recommend checking out Camp Carnival. I will admit my wife and I were apprehensive at first about putting our two girls in Camp with strangers on a foreign flagged vessel. However, our fears were immediately gone upon meeting the people who ran the program. My youngest LOVED going to camp, and in fact only ate dinner with us two nights, and ate in Camp the other five nights by her choice. My oldest also enjoyed camp, but she didn't want to go all time. However, between the two it provided a nice break for my wife and I to enjoy some the other parts of the ship without children. While all the Camp staff were wonderful, I would like to recognize Stephanie and Jenna for an outstanding job. My girls really enjoyed spending time with them.
One highlight of the cruise was the day we did the ropes course on the sports deck. My youngest daughter took right to it, but my oldest was terrified when she came to the first platform and had to cross a rope a bridge. A young man working the course, Bobbi from England, did a fantastic job of helping my daughter get around the course. She was scared, and had tears streaming down her face, but she made it thanks to Bobbi. When she was done one of the staffers presented her with a medal. I was glad to see my daughter overcome her fear of heights that day.
As far as the shows we only caught a couple, the magician in Destination Unknown and the juggler. I highly recommend both. The magic show was great to watch as it was a magic show mixed with a dance / music show with smoke and laser lights. The juggler was more of a comedian that could juggle and he was very funny. I also enjoyed the Seaside Theatre and watching movies on the Lido deck by the pool. However, I wish Carnival would show newer movies. The ones I caught were Rudy, The Incredible Hulk, and The Aviator. While all good movies, I was just hoping for something newer.
I was one of the lucky one fortunate enough to get a survey. One of the questions was if there was a negative experience we had onboard. I asked my family and we honestly could not come up with one. If there were to be one it would probably be the amount of time it took to disembark the ship, but I'm not sure what more Carnival could do to speed that process up.
All in all, this was a great cruise for my family. I had tried for several years to get my wife to go on a cruise and she finally said yes this year. After 20 minutes on the ship she was already planning our next cruise.