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Carnival Magic Cruise Review by bramblekite: Carnival Magic: Bigger is not necessarily better.


bramblekite
1 Review
Member Since 2011
0 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 5.0
Dining 5.5
Embarkation 5.0
Enrichment Activities 3.0
Entertainment 3.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 5.5
Public Rooms 4.0
Rates 2.0
Service 5.0
Shore Excursions 3.0
Value for Money 4.0

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Carnival Magic: Bigger is not necessarily better.

Sail Date: May 2012
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Galveston

We boarded the Magic May 20 around noon in Galveston, TX. Embarkation went smoothly, despite the fact that I'd forgotten our boarding passes at home and we were unable to print them at our hotel. We had completed the online boarding procedure and we had our passports, so we were located on the manifest and allowed to board with no problems.

Our stateroom was not yet ready, so we went to Lido deck to have some lunch. The dining room was jam-packed so we ended up outside near the pool and the Indian food buffet station. Luckily our seats were in the shade, but the area was mostly glassed-in so it was stifling hot. Ceiling fans or even misting spray hoses would have been a great addition in this area. We dined in this area again once or twice during the cruise. While at sea, the ocean breeze is drawn through and quite refreshing, but while in port this area is just HOT.

Our stateroom was very large and nice, but some of the hardware on our closet doors was already broken More and there was a bit of what looked like wood-patterned contact paper peeling up from the desk. The closet and desk was super cheap looking, but there was a good deal of storage.

The beds were pretty hard; one of our fellow passengers complained that her husband's back and knee were really hurting. His old injuries were inflamed due to the hard beds. We didn't have quite that difficulty, but it was not as comfortable as the beds on the Ecstasy, for example. The sheets pillows and comforter were very nice, though.

The stateroom's bathroom was the usual small space. There was a nice selection of samples in the little basket near the sink. I always enjoy those. There was a sign in the bathroom about "going green" and to hang up any towels we wanted to re use. However, the room stewards replaced all used towels whether they were hung up or left on the floor. So much for that green touch.

The trash wasn't emptied a couple of times (honestly, it was never full, so no big deal), and some sand we accidentally brought in on our beach shoes from Honduras (our first port) stayed in our carpet for the rest of the trip. Other than that, the room stewards did a great job and our room was otherwise fresh and tidy. There was a room spray or something sort of vanilla-scented that was noticable in our restroom the first day. I liked it, but if you are allergic to perfumes it might be unpleasant.

One more note about the bathroom: there is a "scalding warning" posted inside the shower. I wish. The best shower I had aboard was warm, at best. Even at the highest temperature setting, it was not what I'd consider a nice,hot shower.

Ship announcements were not easy to hear; if we were in our room with the door closed, it sounded a bit like Charlie Brown's teacher. You had to open the door and stand in your doorway to hear the ship announcements.

Dining was wonderful. We had dinner in the Northern Lights every night of our cruise. There was some initial confusion when I tried to get us seated with some friends. I tried to arrange it online and over the phone with customer service beforehand, and we were told there was a waiting list and they were unable to accomodate the request, but when we found our friends the first day of the cruise, we found that we HAD actually managed to be seated all together. So that was a nice surprise. We were seated upstairs and our waitstaff was not as inclined to participate in all the singing and dancing and foolishness that the Maitre d' downstairs was urging upon his staff, but honestly I did not mind. Food and beverages were served and old dishes were cleared very promptly and Alejandro, our head waiter, did some funny tricks with napkins and toothpicks if we chose to linger and chat after dessert. Fernando and Adrian were also on our waitstaff team and they all did a great job. The first day of the cruise was my birthday. The second night of our cruise, the dining room staff sang "Happy Birthday" to me and brought me a piece of cake with a candle on it. It was a nice surprise.

We also enjoyed the buffet for breakfast, lunch and "first supper" a few times. Everything was very good and fresh. We had lunch at the Cucina del Capitano one day. If dinner was anything like lunch, it was not worth the extra money. When you enter the dining room, the staff gives you a little form that you can check off to select what type of pasta and sauce you would like, along with toppings such as chicken, shrimp, onions, peppers, etc. You can also order a Caesar salad and bread, if you like. The pasta was fresh and not overdone, which can be challenging when cooking for a crowd, but meats were skimpy. Also, if you look at the deck plan, you can see that the basketball court is right above the dining room area. It ruins the ambience a bit to hear crashing and thumping from overhead while trying to enjoy the ship's attempt at creating a relaxed Italian-style dining experience.

We had afternoon Tea during the "at sea" days, and that was very nice. They seated us in Southern Lights near the windows overlooking the back of the ship. Very nice view. On other cruises, there was someone playing piano during tea-time. On the Magic, the music came from a CD or other recording, through the speakers. It was nice, but not AS nice as live music.

Days 2-3 were "at sea" days and so we played on the water slides and enjoyed the Serenity deck. The water area was a whole lot of fun, though the lines did get long. Fellow passengers were pleasant and polite, everyone waited their turn and we all had a nice time chatting while waiting. There is a fantastic view from the top of the water slides, as well. The giant bucket was a great refresher. Note to parents: please teach your children that tapping young ladies on the shoulder and saying "hey, baby!" is not acceptable behavior. A child on the water slide line with me kept doing that, and since his parents were nowhere to be found, people in line assumed that since he was next to me, he was mine. Embarassing! Any child of mine would have MUCH better pick-up lines!

The Serenity deck was gorgeous. The lounges and hammocks were nicely padded and very comfortable. It got crowded on sea days and sometimes it was hard to find a free lounge to occupy. Also, there is NO SHADE up there at all. There are a couple of 'pergola' areas near the entrances on each side; it does not seem like it would be hard to put a canvas under or over the pergola to offer some place that is shady to sit. The location of the Serenity deck does not offer much quiet; it is adult-only but right near the water park, so the sound of splashes and screams were hard to get away from, unless you went all the way to the front, and then there was absolutely NO shade. It would be nice to have someplace to sit that is out of the sun, away from the kiddies, but still with a good view of the sea and a nice ocean breeze to enjoy. After dark, there are nice light fixtures that give a good ambience, however the hot tubs close early. That was disappointing. I think the only hot tubs that were open much after dark were the ones at the back on Lido, and that pool and those hot tubs were usually full of kiddos. I wish the hot tubs on deck 5 Promenade had stayed open later, also. Who wants to sit in a HOT tub on a HOT day out in the sun? Much more fun to relax in a hot tub after dark. Carnival, please keep them open later, and maybe do all the maintenance and chlorination in the morning?

The decor aboard the Magic was sort of "island generic," not as imaginative and varied as other, older ships, and already not wearing well. This ship was launched in November and there were already signs of wear-and-tear all over the ship.

The "Burlesque" show was pretty vanilla. "Win," one of the "Las Vegas style" shows in the big theatre, was also a bit of a disappointment. Not bad, but certainly not up to Vegas standards.

The casino is large and has creepy rabbits decorating the place. I sort of liked the shiny sparkly wallpaper and the hypnotic changing-color lights.

The Spotlight lounge was cramped and crowded, very claustrophobic, lots of ship movement could be felt, and lots of places in the lounge had giant posts obscuring the view of the stage.

The Vibe nightclub had a great DJ on 70's night, lots of comfortable seating, but not much actual dance floor space. It was adequate for most of the crowds I saw in there, though.

Red Frog pub was fun and their in-house beer brand was tasty. They had various types of 'pub food' for $3, but I didn't try any.

The Sushi bar was great, a good stop for a snack at 5pm every day.

Ports of call:

Carnival Magic did not make even one of our ports on time the entire trip. This is why booking excursions through Carnival is a pretty good idea, even though it costs more. Excursions booked independently would not have waited for us, or re-routed as they had to do in Honduras.

Additionally, it seemed to take the Magic a lot of time to get parked at a pier or anchored off shore, shaking and shuddering and making lots of noise the whole time. Trying to get breakfast as your ship is doing the cha-cha at port is not really a pleasant dining experience.

So, port 1: Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras: there was a "weather condition" that made us have to re-route to Coxen Hole, Isla Roatan.

Our next day was Belize. Once again, the ship arrived and began tendering people ashore much later than expected. The ship was anchored far away, so it was about a 20 minute trip by tender boat.

Final day was Cozumel. We had booked a tour of Mayan ruins & beach day. Our bus was very nice and air conditioned. We stopped at "peepee palace" or somesuch for a restroom break on teh way out & a tour of some replicas of old mayan huts & handicrafts. Then we continued to San Gervasio. Our guide was very knowledgeable and proud of his culture and heritage, but I wish he'd talked less and let us wander more. There were several structures that I would have liked to walk and go see, but once he was done talking and showing us a couple of the structures, we didn't have much time to explore on our own. After San Gervasio, we went to a beach resort on the east side of the island. The east side of the island is mostly volcanic rock and very violent waves. Quite beautiful, but not good for swimming. We paid ship's prices for drinks and $22 for a generous plate of ceviche. Our friends got fajita plates for $15 each. Good food and fresh fish, but honestly, about what we'd pay at home at a nicer restaurant for the same dishes. Gift shops at San Gervasio and back near the port were disappointing, too.

This trip, I saw far too many things made in China and printed with "Cozumel" or "Belize" or wherever. Not very fun or interesting.

Our final "at sea" day, we had enjoyed 5 o'clock sushi and were walking on the promenade deck/"Lanai" on Deck 5. Some guests on one of the balcony rooms a few stories above dropped a glass beer bottle and the pieces came showering down on us. I am pretty sure I heard a "Whoops!" and a "sorry!" but sorry doesn't quite cover the upset and inconvenience of my partner's right shoulder being cut open. We got to see the Medical Station on Deck 0. They did a great job of taking care of my sweetheart; a nurse got his wound cleaned and administered a tetanus shot, and very shortly the Doctor came in, gave him local anesthetic and 8 stitches, followed by a dose of antibiotic and some Naproxen tablets "for the road". Not the best final day at sea. On the plus side, his insurance was not required for a shipboard accident, so our medical care was free. Security came and took statements from us, took photos of my sweetheart's bloody shirt, and then we had a big story for our dinner companions at Late Dining.

For some reason, Customs was very unpleasant and lengthy process this year, but the ship's personnel did their best to keep things moving along and keep passengers from having to wait in lines in the un-air-conditioned areas leading from the ship to Customs area. The new passengers were arriving before the old passengers were even gone! Hopefully whatever the problem or concern was, this won't be a habitual sort of delay. Less


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Cabin review: Carnival Magic Interior Riviera 1217

Our stateroom was very large and nice, but some of the hardware on our closet doors was already broken and there was a bit of what looked like wood-patterned contact paper peeling up from the desk. The closet and desk was super cheap looking, but there was a good deal of storage. The beds were pretty hard; one of our fellow passengers complained that her husband's back and knee were really hurting. His old injuries were inflamed due to the hard beds. We didn't have quite that difficulty, but it was not as comfortable as the beds on the Ecstasy, for example. The sheets pillows and comforter were very nice, though. The stateroom's bathroom was the usual small space. There was a nice selection of samples in the little basket near the sink. I always enjoy those. There was a sign in the bathroom about "going green" and to hang up any towels we wanted to re use. However, the room stewards replaced all used towels whether they were hung up or left on the floor. So much for that green touch. The trash wasn't emptied a couple of times (honestly, it was never full, so no big deal), and some sand we accidentally brought in on our beach shoes from Honduras (our first port) stayed in our carpet for the rest of the trip. Other than that, the room stewards did a great job and our room was otherwise fresh and tidy. There was a room spray or something sort of vanilla-scented that was noticable in our restroom the first day. I liked it, but if you are allergic to perfumes it might be unpleasant. One more note about the bathroom: there is a "scalding warning" posted inside the shower. I wish. The best shower I had aboard was warm, at best. Even at the highest temperature setting, it was not what I'd consider a nice,hot shower. Ship announcements were not easy to hear; if we were in our room with the door closed, it sounded a bit like Charlie Brown's teacher. You had to open the door and stand in your doorway to hear the ship announcements.

Port and Shore Excursions


Our next day was Belize. Once again, the ship arrived and began tendering people ashore much later than expected. The ship was anchored far away, so it was about a 20 minute trip by tender boat. We had not booked an excursion, and we left the tourist shopping area and went into town. Possibly a mistake, but we did have an 'authentic' experience. Belize is like a smaller, dirtier, poorer New Orleans. If you've been harassed, scammed, or begged from on Bourbon Street, think of that and then multiply by 10. Every direction had people shouting and trying to sell us taxi rides, city tours, hair braiding, fresh coconuts, and probably more unsavory things, but I mostly tried to ignore all that. I had a map and some recommendations I'd printed from "Travel & Leisure" magazine, but even with a map and people giving us directions, we never did find the cigar shop on Cork Street, or even Cork Street, for that matter. Eventually we gave up and allowed a hair braider to become our guide for the afternoon. She took us to Brodies, the oldest dry goods emporium (AKA department store) in Belize. It was like an old K mart or something, but there were also groceries. We picked up some cigars, a couple bottles of wine, and a bottle of Belize rum for a good price. They also had cold beer, which we picked up to drink as we walked. I am not sure if it was the heat and humidity that made those beers taste good, or if it was really that good, but the beer was very enjoyable. Having a 'native guide' was also handy in that she dismissed all of the other beggars, hawkers, dealers, and what-have-you that might have otherwise followed and harassed us if we had tried to get to Brodies on our own. After Brodies and a sit down in a shack that was our tour guide's "home base" we went across the street and I bought some stamps. They have commemorative stamp collections on display in a case in the post office, but the lady in the post office only had individual stamps for sale. Oh well. They were very pretty and quite inexpensive. If something is a dollar Belize, it's 50 cents American. The Belize currency I got in change was also a nice souvenir. Finally, our guide took us through the crafts market just across from the "cruise tourist village" Most of the trinkets and jewelry for sale just looked cheap and unattractive, so I didn't buy much. My sweetheart got a rosewood walking stick, autographed by the artisan, for $15. That was a good deal. Back in the "shopping village" we went into the chocolate shop and got some excellent chocolate-dipped ginger, chocolate beer, and cocoa perfume. Overall, however, Belize was poor, depressing, hot and humid. I think I'll either book an excursion next time, or just stay on the ship during Belize day.

So, port 1: Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras: there was a "weather condition" that made us have to re-route to Coxen Hole, Isla Roatan. Mahogany bay excursions were cancelled and passengers were refunded, but I'm sure they were very disappointed. We had booked a dolphin & beach break excursion, which was thankfully not cancelled. But we did get a much later start, which might have been upsetting if we'd liked the beach portion. The dolphin encounter was very cut-and-dry, we were taken to the dolphin enclosure in a small boat, allowed to change clothes, then taken into the dolphin enclosure in groups of 8 or so and put in a straight line shoulder-to-shoulder. The trainer introduced him or herself and the dolphin, the dolphin was instructed to swim past a couple of times, we were allowed to touch the dolphin as it swam past, and then each couple or individual was taken forward a few steps to do photos with the dolphin. Then the dolphin swam past again, the trainer answered questions, and we were boated back to a rather small gift shop where we could buy photos. Best deal is all your photos on a memory stick for $50. I wish the ship itself would offer something similar rather than wasting all that photo paper printing out pictures of all the passengers, selling for $20 each and huge stacks of un-purchased photos thrown away at the end of the cruise. (so GREEN! NOT!) Tabayana beach was pretty crowded and unpleasant. 3 gift shops with not much in them, huge line for the $15 buffet, $8-9 cocktails at the bar and a long wait there, as well. It was basically like being on the Lido embarkation day, only we were by the ocean. The best thing I can say about Tabayana Beach is that the live reggae band wasn't bad. Back in the small 'shopping village' near port, they hadn't been expecting us, so lines were long and the selection was poor. Honduran beer is good, though.
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