I sailed on the Magic for the first time the last week in June. This marks my 6 Carnival cruise, 3 on the Conquest and 2 on the Celebration. I have never written a cruise review before, but felt compelled to after this last cruise. There were some things that I liked and then some things not so much. First, the embarkation. The traffic getting to unload luggage at the ship was pretty bad. A bigger ship means more cars. Not really a problem sitting in a car with a/c for 30 minutes. When you finally get to the ship, the porter quickly helps you unload you bags directs the family where to go while you park (make sure you tell them where to wait for you). I park the car in the city lot for $10 a day, took the shuttle back to the ship. All very quick and efficient. Now I found my wife and daughter (12 years old) and I begin to dread the long lines I know will be coming. I go upstairs, not much of line here, it has to be around the corner right? Got to the person to sign you in, gave the pre printed boarding pass( definitely do this on line before you leave home). Quickly scanned our passports, off to the next station. Took our pictures for the Sign & Sail cards family bon voyage picture.........then we are on the ship. From the time I met the family after dropping off the car until we are getting on the ship........less than 30 minutes! Very fast and efficient. Now we are on the ship time to check out the room. We took the Conquest to the Bahama's last July and had a balcony on Deck 10. The room was so hot the entire cruise that the wife refused to get a balcony this time. So, it was a room with a window this time on the main deck. Nice clean room, king bed, sofa bed, usual small bath with shower. But what is this door. No way, a second bathroom with a tub/shower and sink!? Nice! And this room's a/c worked great.
If you have been on the Conquest, everything is laid out pretty much the same.....just bigger. We docked at the same pier next to the Conquest in Cozumel, so I got a chance to see how much bigger the Magic really is compared to it. As reported by several other reviewers, this ship rocks.......and not in a good way. The first night at sea was a little rough due to tropical storm Donna in the eastern Gulf. My wife was literally rolled out of bed at 5:00am in the morning (and remember we are on deck 2). The first day at sea, 25% of the guests were seasick, including veteran cruisers like my wife. I was in gale force winds on the Conquest once and it did not roll side to side as bad as the Magic. We we were docked next to the Conquest i could see why. The Magic is not really that much longer or wider, it is just a lot taller. Including have a freshwater splash park on the top deck. The ship is so top heavy, that swells of any significant size start the ship rolling from side to side. On the plus side, the pools and water park now stay open even when in port.Come back from a shore excursion early and the adults have taken over the splash park.
The food seemed to be a hit and miss. Avoid the self-serve breakfast buffet on the Lido deck behind the pool. The scrambled eggs are powdered (at least they tasted that way) and you have to get you 2 pieces of bacon from the "bacon Nazi". Ask for a 3rd piece and it "no bacon for you! Next..." The omelet station by the pool was quite good though. The carving station near the back of the ship was hit and miss as well. One day I had some roast beef that was quite good, the next day simply awful. I seem to be impossible to keep a high quality food with this much food and that many people. We only ate in the formal dining a few times. We did the anytime dining for the first time and found that we liked it. We just really didn't like the food. They had the same tired menus. They also had their "every night entrees" on the menus. Some cut of steak that is so tough that you literally can't cut through it and a gourmet hamburger....... really? They did have a steak house and an Italian bistro which you could get reservation for and pay extra. Gone is the New York styled pizza by the slice hidden in the back of the ship. Replacing it is pizza by the pool, think Cici's. My 12 year old liked it. There is a Seaside Grill we stumbled onto that was a pleasant surprise. Only open from 2-4pm on at sea days. burger sliders, and quesadillas hot off the grill. The Red Frog Pub and the piano bar were fun. For the kids, they have more activities. The warehouse game room, the water park, sports deck and ropes course.
The pictures were a quantum leap from previous cruises. Still all the same photographers at every turn, only now they scan your sign a sail card. Go to one on the 8 kiosks the next day and insert your sign & sail card and voila all your pictures pop up on screen. The new improved theater by the pool was also nice. Bigger and better than the Conquest.
If this is your first cruise, have no worries. All of the first time cruisers were in awe with the ship. It is a magnificent feat of engineering. They have therapeutic lighting in most main areas that are constantly changing colors. The decor of the ship is a classy yet subdued, not the Las Vegas art deco glitz and glamour of the previous ships. I still have mixed emotions about this ship. Disappointed? Yes. Impressed? Yes. Will I sail on it again? To be determined.......