I traveled with my fiance, and this was our 6th cruise. We are in our late 20's. We just cruised on the Valor in Feb, and had a BLAST. We got a great deal on this cruise and though, why not?
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). 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.