This was our 3rd cruise with Carnival and our 13th cruise overall. We have cruised on 6 different cruise lines ranging from the oldest and smallest of 32,000 ton ships to the largest of 252,000 tons. We enjoy cruising on the newer and larger ships.
When we heard that Carnival had a new/large ship sailing out of our home state of Texas, we decided to book it. We are a family of 3 and our daughter took a friend. We booked an inside cabin on deck 8 and a balcony cabin on deck 9. Total cost of these cabins were $5332. Some people think Carnival is the 'cheaper' cruise line. However, we have booked the same type of cabins on other cruise ships for less. After cruising on the Magic, I have to say, this ship wasn't worth the money.
After a 4.5 hr drive, we arrived at the Galveston port at noon. It took about 1hr/15min from dropping off luggage, park, sign/sail, pictures all the way thru the boarding process of the ship. Once on board, we headed to our cabins to drop off our carry on bags then headed to the lido deck for lunch. Right off we noticed the flow and the layout of the food stations and the lines started to form and the lack of seating was an issue on this ship. If you eat on the lido deck, you will have to stand in lines, so pack your patience and not your plates as most of the food is not worth the calories anyways.
After lunch, we toured the ship and played a game of putt-putt. Beware of hole no. 3 and 9 as they can be a hazard to other passengers! After putt-putt we checked out the outdoor workout equipment....very lame! After the first day, we never saw anyone using that area.
We did use the indoor gym everyday. It was small compared to other cruise lines and it appeared that the a/c wasn't working properly as the cardio area was always very warm. We didn't take any classes as they were all booked by the first day.
We did manage to book several spa treatments. However, beware of Melanie...she's rough! She bruised my arms, gave me toe camps, and pushed all the products. I like to purchase my products from timetospa.com and use the on-line discounts. However, she insisted that I use a muscle relaxer milk bath that evening (maybe because she knew she bruised me) so I gave in. However, she said it would have to be delivered to my room which I thought was strange. It didn't arrive until 2 days later. So much for using it 'that evening' as she insisted.
The Cloud 9 spa relaxation room and therapy spa is $35 a day per person. You would think that after spending $2000 for treatments you could use them for free...not the case on Carnival Magic. They offered a discount of $20 a day pp. That's crazy, so we didn't go onto that area of the ship.
This ship has some stability issues. At 130,000 tons and smooth seas, it should not be rocking as much as it did. We also heard strange popping noises in the dining area and in our cabin during the docking process.
The ship also has a sewage issue. We could smell it in the spa/gym area and the Tide pool area.
Our balcony cabin was nice and Rudy was wonderful. However, Carnival needs to use bleach as our sheets and a few of our new towels had stains on them. We had a connecting cabin which I would not recommend as you can hear your neighbors talking even at 2am! We could also hear people talking in the hall ways but never could hear the announcements being made by the crew members.
For the first time, we had 'anytime dining'. However, this dining option appeared to be more stressful on the staff. One waiter was so over worked that he dropped two trays on the same night...poor guy...we felt sorry for him. A few nights it took up to 2 hrs for dinner which caused us to miss a few shows. We had a different waiter every night which wasn't an issue as they were all friendly especially John! The food in the dining room was better than the options on the lido deck, but not as good as we've had on other cruise lines.
The layout of the ship was a bit weird compared to other cruise lines. Nothing like a romantic dinner in the Northern Light dining room over looking the life boats! Or a romantic dinner in Cucina del Capitano to the beat of bouncing basketballs! Or relaxing in the adults serenity area right next to the kids water park!!!
We all tried the new rope walk. It wasn't hard or scary. It was hot in that area which made the guy working there a bit grumpy. Our girls tried the water slides but said it wasn't worth the time that you had to stand in line.
The new RedFrog Pub was a nice area. We enjoy playing games there. One gentleman said the beer was really good....we didn't try it.
Our girls enjoyed dancing at the Vibe.
The big screen TV was nice to watch the NBA game. However, some of the shows were not appropriate for younger passengers.
We only went to one comedy show because we didn't find it funny! He talked about his ex-wife the whole time....really? is that the only material you have? We heard that the other comedy shows were so bad that people started leaving the show.
We did get to see the Illusionist which was okay. However, we had to stand in the stairway to see it.
We also saw the juggler....wasn't that impressed....his jokes were lame and his video was very weird.
The casino was small but we enjoyed playing, meeting new people, and the dealers were all very nice!
You can take pictures just about everywhere on this ship. However, beware that you have to purchase the 8x10 at $21.99 before you can purchase other sizes...no exceptions to that rule!
The decor on the ship was a tropical theme but the round lights that are everywhere reminded me of a scary bugs eye! Sadly, this new ship is already showing some wear/tear.
We have visited all three ports in the past so we didn't book any excursions. Instead, we went on our own and shopped and went to the beach.
The morning of disembarkation, we were up at 7am and out of our room by 8am. Headed to the lido for breakfast. We were in zone 18 and 20 so we waited there until we were 'to be called'.......as of 9:45 am they were calling zone 11/12 so we decided to go ahead and leave. We walked off the ship into customs without any problems. Since the self assist line was long we got in the 'short' porter line and were in our car by 10:30. Had we waited until they called our zone numbers, we would have not been off the ship until 11 or after.
Overall, we had a fun and relaxing time. However, we were not impressed with this ship....No Magic or WOW factors were found! So, I don't see us cruising on Carnival again. RCCL and Celebrity is a better option for us!