Carnival Magic Cruise Review by Tump01: Carnival Magic - New, Clean and Disappointing
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Carnival Magic - New, Clean and Disappointing
This was our fourth family cruise on Carnival, first on the Magic. 7 day w/ Honduras, Belize and Cozumel out of Galveston. Honduras was stormy so we spent that day at sea. Embarkation was fast. Getting settled in was also quick - it was basically the identical floor plan of all the other Carnival ships we had sailed on.
Food was a major disappointment. Started out good enough but quickly declined in quality and by the 5th night all of our entree's were inedible. Specialty restaurants were good but expensive. Breakfast and lunch in the regular restaurant was a test of patience and your hunger level. Waiters appeared to be more concerned about keeping things tidy than anything else and at times they disappeared for 15 minutes or so. That wouldn't have been so bad if there were more wait staff to fill up tea and coffee as we ran out. A PA announcement (!) that the wait staff were expected to keep the "pantry clean" was a surprise as they all seemed to be obsessed with cleaning More up... Close to an hour after ordering, our food showed up. I guess this was one way of "nudging" cruisers to eat at their buffet instead.
Dinner seating in the regular restaurant also started out weird. The three of us were to be seated at a large table except there was only two seats left. The waiter tried to cram another chair in but that wasn't working so they seated the three of us at a table meant for two. And I thought being a "VIFP Gold" member actually meant something...
The buffet was hit or miss. A few things were excellent, a lot of things weren't. We would sample everything, then go back and get regular portions of what tasted good. Often what looked the best didn't taste that way...
The demeanor of the ship's staff was also awkward for us. On previous Carnival cruises, we really liked the way crew members would stop, introduce themselves and chat with us to answer our questions and even take the time to offer tips and suggestions. This cruise, we felt that the crew was more intent on getting their work done than anything else. Questions would be briskly answered but they would immediately start moving away, which became more awkward as you had to stop them again to ask a follow up question and so on. They never dropped their smiles but you felt like you were imposing on their time... One exception was our room steward, Diah, I believe. She was excellent.
The Magic's decor was plastic, glass, plastic, chrome and more endless, shiny plastic. The regular restaurant was a brown sea of plain plastic highlighted with more brown plain plastic. It felt cheap and honestly looked tacky. Not impressive since this was supposed to be one of their top-of-the line ships.
The floor plan was the worse flaw we noticed. What worked on previous smaller ships frequently ground to an elbow-to-elbow halt on the Magic. Waiting lines of biblical proportions formed to see shows 45 minutes prior, which tangled up with lines forming to eat, drink or dance, which tangled with lines for photos, which tangled with pods of people standing around trying to decide which line they should get in. If you going to weld 3 or 4 more decks to a ship, you really need to figure out the people flow patterns in worse case situations, not just ideal ones.
Entertainment was hit or miss. Comedians: good, Magician: not so good, Illusionist: very good. One common theme - pull a poor slob (or several) out of the audience and humiliate them - will it never end? We also avoided anything that sounded like those old, tired sing and dance shows. By the way, a 30 minute show seems like a ripoff after waiting 45 minutes in line...
Amenities were fine, new ones were mostly kid-based. The Serenity Deck is okay if you don't mind being in the sun. We renamed it The Seer and Roast Deck. The few umbrellas there were passionately claimed by folks that probably camped out for them the night before. The spa treatment was okay but expensive. After our relaxing spa treatment, we had to to endure a high pressure sales pitch to help bring our stress level right back up. The disco seemed identical in size to the smaller ships which explained why it was too packed to dance at times...
Want everyone in your family to smoke a pack of cigarettes? Just try to take a short cut through the casino...
The size of alcoholic drinks was a small puzzle. Mai Tai drinks were huge, Whiskey Sours were tiny.
Disembarking was fine. We rolled our luggage right off. By the way, Belize is an "unfriendly" port in the homeland security world so expect a longer customs wait when you get back ashore.
Sadly, this will be our final Carnival cruise. On our drive home, my family asked if we could try a different cruise line next time. That hurt. Less
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