This was our 3rd cruise, all on Carnival. Our 1st cruise was on the Holiday out of Mobile about 4 years ago and the 2nd was on the Ecstasy out of Galveston about a year and a half ago. Needless to say, I was looking forward to being on a new ship.
We traveled from San Antonio on Sunday morning and parked at Galveston Park and Cruise, which was right across the street from the terminal. We parked, made it to the terminal, handed the bags to the porter, and were embarked all in less than 30 minutes. We explored the decks for an hour or so and spent a little time in a hammock and had the Tandoor buffet for lunch. It was very good with good chutney, chicken Marsala, and fresh naan.
Our first impression of the boat was how new and fresh it was compared to the others we had been on. The lobby was very nice with tile and hardwood floors.
The Cove Balcony room was large, spacious, and provided privacy and nice shade by being situated underneath the lifeboats. The proximity to the water was great and we could hear the wake and foam churn inside the cabin and we were far enough forward to see the great spray from the bow when the water was choppy.
Our room Steward, Rodrigo, was wonderful and remembered our names and was very attentive.
> We don't drink so we can't comment on the bar scene but I did cruise through the Red Frog Pub and it was a neat space and everyone seemed to be enjoying it.
> Southern Lights: Really great service by Gaspar and his team. Great entertainment with Darwin, the singing waiter. He has a fantastic voice and really should have a recording contract. The food was overall very good. The smoked duck was out of this world and the Alligator fritters were excellent. Had some great people there at our table, including Tall & Taller, which made the experience better.
> Lido Dining: Overall, what you would expect from large scale buffet dining. Although the Tandoor was excellent and the fruits and desserts were very good. the breakfast options were fairly standard except that each morning there were new items to try such as English Bangers and Mash, etc. By the beach Pool on the Lido Deck there is a morning buffet with thick cut french toast, both regular and stuffed with berries. That with the strawberry compote and fresh whipped cream made for an awesome breakfast.
> Shows: I went to a few shows. I lived through the 70's once and choose not to re-live it so I did not attend the 70's spectacular but others I talked to really enjoyed it. The magic show was very good as was the juggler/comedian. I also saw the family friendly comedy shows and was pleasantly surprised.
> Lido deck shenanigans: Didn't go see any of the normal things (hairy chest, ice carving, etc) as there was more than enough to keep me entertained. The popcorn and evening movie on the large outdoor screen was a nice touch to end the day though.
> Serenity Deck: A nice place to 'get away'. The lounges are super comfortable and many can accommodate 2 people. I did find an empty hammock on the last day and enjoyed a nice nap!!
> Sports deck and workout area: Sportsdeck is great and kept clean. The basketball court is a nice way to relax if you don't feel like just sitting around. The running track is 1/7 of a mile and the scenery can't be beat. Be aware that if you plan on running at a good pace, you will have to play frogger around the many walkers. The workout area on Deck 12 in the Spa has top-notch equipment. About a dozen treadmills, 6 ellipticals, free weights, and other equipment.
> Waterworks: Great place with fresh water and two really fun slides. The longer one (Twister) is very fast and long and rivals anything I had been on at Six Flags or Sea World.
> My wife doesn't care much for crowds so she spent time in the room and enjoyed the quiet there. We also were impressed with how quick room service was. You can order on the TV and within about 20 - 25 minutes the food would arrive. I highly recommend the Portobello Mushroom sandwich, which has buffalo Mozzarella and the Hot Pastrami sandwich. The Pastrami was some of the best I have ever had. My wife also ordered the chocolate cake. She is the expert on chocolate and said that although different from the Warm Chocolate Melting cake, was just as good an experience. For those of you who have had WCMC, that is high praise.
We had great times in Jamaica (Croydon Plantation) in the beautiful mountains, Grand Cayman (Did Stingray City and Reef Snorkel though Dexter's Fantaseas for only $40 each), and the Secret River Tour in Cozumel. The last one is a bucket list type of experience as you float through an underground river. However a word of caution. The ferry ride over to the mainland is very choppy and can be it's own bucket list if you don't take some Dramamine or Bonine if you have motion sickness.
Disembarking went smooth. We did the self-assist. The started letting people off at 7:30 and we were in the car by 8. Having the Cove up front helped make that a shorter time as well.
The only drawbacks were the few passengers that could not control themselves and got too drunk and decided early in the morning to make fools of themselves in the hallways or in nearby rooms. To the crew's credit, security did come by and got things calmed down quickly.
I will post port specific items in separate port reviews. Overall had a great time and would highly recommend the Magic!!