Embarkation/Parking: This was the second time we departed from Galveston. The first time the parking went smoothly, but this time we had to wait for quite awhile for a shuttle bus to pick us up. We dropped off our bags at the terminal, then parked in the port parking lot, and buses kept driving through the lot and did not stop! Finally, a bus stopped and told us he would take us since we did not have large bags, but the other people would have to wait for special vans. However, the embarkation process was very smooth. We were probably on the ship within 20 minutes after entering the terminal.
Cabin: We had a deluxe ocean view cabin with the extra bathroom that has a sink and tub with shower. That was GREAT as my husband and I could get ready at the same time. There was also an extra closet in the room, so we had tons of storage! The room was designed for families, but since school was in session in April, we were able to book the room. It was very comfortable, clean, and everything worked properly.
Service/Food: We had excellent service during the entire cruise--from the cabin steward to the wait staff to the general staff--they were all nice, friendly and extremely helpful. No problems what-so-ever. We were very impressed with the fact that all of the beverage stations in the cafeteria were always full. No wandering from station to station like we had experienced in other ships when we wanted a glass of ice tea. Plus the ship was very clean! We have seen ice cream stations on other ships that were totally a mess and it was always well tended on the Magic.
The food in the dining room was excellent, and we liked this cafeteria better than any other Carnival ship. They had the usual buffet lines, deli area, hamburger area, and pizza area, but in addition to those there was an area that served made-to-order burritos, made-to-order Mongolian stir fry, and another with Indian food. Two other nice touches were an outdoor BBQ on the Promenade deck that was open during sea days, and there was an area outside of the Casino called Plaza Bites where you were able to get soups, sandwiches, and wraps without going up to the Lido deck. Also many of the passengers seemed to be unaware of the fact that you could dine for free in the cute Italian restaurant during lunch hours. (I think it was $12 at dinner time.) We ate there twice and it was GREAT!
Entertainment: It was good. We enjoyed the evening shows in the main show lounge and also really enjoyed the comedians. You need to get there 20 to 30 minutes early to get a good seat.
Summary: I would love to cruise on the Magic again! It is my favorite Carnival ship so far. We truly enjoyed the outdoor spaces and loved the fact you could walk the deck around the entire ship. We appreciated the fact that you could sit out in the sun OR sit in the shaded areas on that deck. The outdoor BBQ and hot tubs were a great touch. The pool/slide/game area was fun too. We played some miniature golf and watched the younger people navigate the rope course! We also enjoyed the shuffle board and foosball in the Red Frog Pub.
We thought it was a big positive that the karaoke/dance/game area was NOT in the casino as we do not smoke so we could enjoy the entertainment without the casino noise and smoke. It is in the Ocean Plaza. The Plaza Bites and coffee shop was right across the dance area which was also nice.
Another nice touch was that you could put your ship card in a computer station in the photo gallery and it would use face recognition software and bring up all your photos! No searching thousands of pictures. Oh, that reminds me that the cabins have a system that requires one of you to put your ship card in a slot to turn on the lights! Then when you leave and remove the card, the lights go off automatically in a predetermined amount of time to save energy!
The only negative experience on the Magic was extremely LONG LINES when getting off the ship at the ports. We have cruised 10 times and this was the only time that we experienced this problem. People were backed up from the front of the ship to the back of the ship on the Riviera deck. We poked our heads out of our cabin and decided to wait until the line got shorter. If you wait 45 minutes to an hour after the process begins, then the line was fine. We cannot figure out what is the reason for this... BUT it was the only negative thing that happened.
EVERYTHING ELSE we experienced on the ship was WONDERFUL. I would recommend it to anyone and my husband and I will definitely cruise on this great ship again. You get excellent value and service for your money...