Fun time, just not as great a ship as I expected...: Carnival Magic Cruise Review by chihuahua_love
Overall Member Rating
Fun time, just not as great a ship as I expected...
Destination: Western Caribbean
We have never left from Galveston before, and I don't know if we will again. The crowd was REALLY rowdy, much rowdier than any previous cruise. People were smashed before we even left port and were extremely loud and obnoxious. There were also more children on board than I'd ever seen. Also something that was different (and may not matter to many) - I always bring on the alotted 2 bottles of champagne. I like to put a bottle into the fridge as soon as we board so we can enjoy it while we sail away. The fridge was locked this time. I asked the steward to please open it and explained why, and he said (very vaguely) that he can't until after the drill. I said okay. So after the drill, I asked again, and he seemed put out and said that he couldn't until after 6pm (2 hours after sailing). More Okay, nothing I can do. So at 7pm when we return to the cabin to get ready for dinner, I expect it to be unlocked. Nope. So I have my fiance track him down, and this time the steward is clearly annoyed and quickly opens the fridge and leaves without a word. Then, on the last night, we come back to the cabin around 5:30 pm to change, and find the fridge locked, with all of out sodas and wine removed and set on the desk. I just found this really odd. What's up with the fridge police?
THE GOOD: 2 Slides instead of 1. A Tandori food station that was REALLY tasty. Ship did have a newer feel (it is new) with palapa style umbrellas and wicker seating. More outdoor areas to enjoy with pretty touches. (Fake palm trees outside Red Frog Pub, better seating, etc.) More hot tubs spread throughout the ship (some on deck 5). Quiet loung chairs on deck 5 as well.
THE NOT SO GOOD: With 4,300 people on board - yes, 4,300 PEOPLE! - slide lines were 30 min long. Sandwich station lines were the same. The 2 TINY pools looked like people soup with adults belly to belly and kids jumping in wherever they could find an opening. I did not go in. Food options generally sucked. I do not wish to eat burgers and fries and pizza every night, therefore we were left with no options but a sandwich from room service. The dinner buffet closes at 9:30pm, but they start packing it in around 9:15. We only went so sit down dinner twice because our time was 8:15pm, so it was either dinner or one of the few shows that they put on. For the first time on a cruise, we actually got bored. I noticed there were hardly any show options, and with the number of people on board, unless you were there an hour before to snag a seat, you were out of luck.
The Spa isn't really something I use, but I do like to take advantage of the steam rooms and saunas onboard. All the other ships I've been on have lovely saunas and steams overlooking the ocean with a large glass window. On the magic, the ladies locker was TINY with a little sauna tucked away in a corner. No steam room. If you want to use the fabulous steam room shown online (overlooking the ocean), it's an extra $250 per couple for the week! That was a first, and completely absurd. But again, that's a personal preference that may bother you.
The crew was the worst we'd ever had, EVER. I do not expect to be treated like royalty or anything. Just an occasional smile would do for me. This was bad. I hate to say this, I really do because I know it is hard work for the crew, but our steward was just kind of...brisk. Never happy, never smiling. We heard a set of ladies complaining about their steward 2 decks down so I guess it wasn't just us. We only ate at the sit down dinner twice, but the waiter was just plain UNfriendly. Annoyed when I asked for an extra appetizer, rolled eyes sort of thing. A few encounters at guest services where we were told a problem with a charge was taken care of but wasn't, so we would have to wait in line twice for the same issue.
The worst, though, was when Carnival lost a bottle of champagne I had bought in the Caymans to drink on the last night. (your alcohol is delivered to you on the last night). I got a message on the last day around 2pm. They had sent my champagne to another ship, and I was out of luck. ON MY RECIEPT, it shows that it was to be sent to the Carnival Magic, but Carnival first told me that the store on the island had written down "Destiny" instead. When I provided my reciept showing that the store had marked "Magic" correctly, they simply said that they were not liable anyway. I would have to pay to call the Cayman Islands store when I got home to get my money back (even though it was a "recommended" store). I told them that I would be happy with just a replacement bottle, even of lesser quality. Nope. Then they brought out their "shopping guide" to tell me that it was not their problem, and snootily told me to go buy some Veuve Cliquot in the gift shop. (This same gift shop that sells a $6 bottle of Barefoot Bubbly for $26.00.) Just a mess. All I wanted was an "I'm sorry," or "have 1 glass on us for the trouble" or ANYTHING! Instead they tried to make me feel like an idiot and never once said sorry.
All in all we still had fun, a vacation is about who you are with and the good memories you have. But after a GLORIOUS time on the Valor with a good staff and lots of entertainment, the Magic just did not hold up to it's potential. We will still cruise again, but I think we will go back to another line for a bit. Less
Cabin review: 4H9333 Interior
We had room 9333, mid ship. The cabin was fine, what we expected. But it was really noisy at times. Being one floor down from Lido at midship, we could hear chairs scooting around at all times, loud thuds, running children above us, etc. For a light sleeper, I would recommend a different cabin.Read All Interior (4H) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
This was our 3rd time to Cozumel. 2nd as a port stop. For some reason, we docked about 3 miles from downtown. Last time we docked right at the downtown area which was great. Be prepared to pay about $15 round trip for a cab into downtown. We tried walking but only made it about halfway because of the heat. We kind of wished we had booked an excursion or rented a car this time, because while downtown is colorful and interesting, it's much of the same street after street.
We always stop at "Palmers" restaurant for a bowl of lime soup. I don't know that I'd eat a full meal there (tourist prices) but the soup is about $4.00 and great.
If you want to rent a car, it's really easy as there is an Avis and the like at the port. Cozumel is an island and has one main road that goes all the way around. That's what we'll do next time.
This was our 2nd time to Grand Cayman, and is our favorite of the three stops. Last time we did the Stingray city, and it is a MUST DO! Gorgeous water and swimming with stingrays - lovely! We didn't do it this time, but opted instead to go back to the turtle farm which was cheaper and also a favorite of ours.
We caught a van carring a group of about 6-8 for an "island tour" for $15/pp. Time was limited at the Turtle Farm, which also costs an additional $10/pp to enter if you choose. But once inside, you can pick up and hold the turtles and love on them. We were soaked by the time we left but had a great time, even though we could have stayed longer! At the end of the "tour" you can stay at the seven mile beach instead of going back into town if you want. There's a public bus stop to take you back for $2.50/pp. We weren't really beach prepared so we headed back with the van.
Look for a local restaurant for lunch, off the beaten path. We asked locals around a pet store and everyone said "Roti Shop" for lunch. We found it, and although it didn't look like much, the food was amazing! We were the only tourists there. The price for a huge amount of food, 1 beer and a soda was $16.00. Less that one meal at Margaritaville. Cayman island is safe and friendly. I recommend it.
We have been to Ocho Rios, but never Montego Bay before and were really excited! Great weather and beautiful water of course. We found a van taking tourists to Doctor's Cave Beach for $5/pp and got on.
I would recommend taking a cab instead of a van if you are going to the "Hip Strip." Same price but quicker. The van waited to fill up past capacity, then as soon as we were moving they informed up that first we would be stopping to "shop." The entire van protested luckily, so on we went to Doctor's Cave Beach. It is $6/pp to enter the beach. We didn't rent chairs, we just used towels to lay on. We took a glass bottom boat with a few others for $20/pp (operated by locals)once we got to the beach. It was nice and relaxing and lasted about an hour.
Be prepared to be hassled constantly. If you don't want a bracelet, don't let them just come up to you and tie it on your wrist. I was half asleep on the beach when I was awoken to a man saying "respect" and tying a bracelet on my wrist. You will also be asked to buy joints over and over. Be careful, there is police on the beach, and locals make more money by selling you a joint then turning you in.
The "Hip Strip" wasn't very "hip." We prefered Ocho Rios, but it was still beautiful here and the people friendly. Would go back, but not a favorite.
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