We are a family of mom, dad, 3 teens, and a 9 year old. Although none of us had cruised before, I researched and read reviews for the entire year that I planned our cruise.
To sum it up, we had a fantastic time and none of us had any complaints! (My husband said his only complaint was that we had to go home.) I worried about things for nothing. I think perhaps the negative reviews come from negative people who are high maintenance.
For more detailed comments, please read below.
Embarkation - Smooth and Easy - We arrived at Lighthouse Parking at about 10:30 and were eating lunch on the ship by 11:15.
Cabin - We had a midship balcony on the 8th deck and an interior room for the teens. We loved our balcony and spent a lot of time gazing at the beautiful sunsets and water. There was plenty of room for us and the 9 year old. Our teens of course visited our room for the views, but were happy with their room as well.
Top Notch Service! I just can't believe any reviews about rude staff. Our steward, Jean, was great. He did his job well. He and his assistants cleaned our rooms twice a day. I did not expect him to be my personal servant. The only "extra" request I had was for ice in my ice bucket for my Diet Cokes, which he refilled twice daily. (And yes, I tipped him extra.)
Food - This is where I see a lot of complaining. First of all, NEVER did we have cold food. You may not like everything, but guess what - you can always get something else. We ate all over the ship. There was food every where and I can honestly say towards the end of the week, I was breaking out my elastic shorts. We especially enjoyed trying all of the dishes in the MDR.
The shows - the illusion show was not exactly what I expected, but it was a cute family show (PG rated). The 70's musical is not to be missed! It was awesome and we loved it. I don't know the main Magic singer, but he is so talented and he was nice enough to pose in a picture with my kids. There was always some kind of music and dancing being done. They really work hard at keeping their cruisers entertained. We saw most of the early shows, but none of the 18 and over shows. The Legends show was ok, just a more planned Karaoke with nice costumes. Basically, there's so much to do that if you find you are bored, it is your own fault.
Elegant Night - Our 7 day cruise had 2 elegant nights. Everyone dressed up nice for it. I would say most ladies wore nice dresses and most of the men (AND) boys wore dress shirts with ties at the least. I did not notice any tuxes or gowns, but definitely everyone looked nice. On the second elegant night, my son was sunburned so I did not force him to wear a tie and he still looked and fit in fine.
Debarkation - Smooth process also. We got our zone number which told us to be out of our rooms by 8:30 and we went downstairs to the lobby (I think). We were zone 18 so we expected to wait a long time, but it went quickly and we were on the road back to Austin by around 10:00.
Well, that's all I can think of for now to say. Sorry it was so long, but I wanted to be sure to let everyone know the Carnival Magic is GREAT! I wouldn't say we are "addicts", but we would like to cruise again and you betcha, it will be on the Magic!