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 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.