We just returned from our Carnival Magic cruise. We booked the cruise with Carnival Magic because the Magic was one of the newest ships in the Carnival line. They also offered a room (Grand Suite) large enough for my husband and I and our two young children (ages 8 and 5). We have sailed on Disney, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean as well as Carnival.
Our arrival was smooth. We were checked in very quickly and with a smile. We found our room and checked everything out. The room was very comfortable and large enough for the four of us. It had a nice jacuzzi tub which my son was very excited about. Our king size bed was two twin beds placed together. One of the beds (of the twin) was extremely comfortable but the other was not so comfortable. It leaned and sloped. We did not complain about the bed to anyone. We switched sides each night and also snuggled a bit more on the "comfortable" side. I was worried about what type of bed we might get if we complained. :-)
The service in the bars was horrid. The wait staff and bartenders acted put out to serve drinks. It was very frustrating. Each drink had an automatic 15% tip added to the bill. We normally tip 20% for good service, but with the service we received, we felt they didn't deserve the automatic 15%. What is the incentive if you know you are going to get at least 15% whether or not you provide good service?
The buffet was a complete joke. The food was embarrassing and I felt as if Carnival shopped in the frozen food isle to supply the buffet food.
The buffet also closed earlier than advertised. We arrived 20 minuted before it was to close and the buffet was shut down. Carnival offers 24 hour pizza, but the pizza man had no pizza ready and to get any you needed to wait 10 minutes or more. Overall, a 10 minute wait is not a problem, but with two hungry children and a buffet that closes 20 minutes early - it was one more thing that was frustrating.
Carnival also offers 24 hour room service with a limited menu of sandwiches. We used the room service at least 9 times (breakfast and late night snacks). Each time the order was incorrect with missing items. On 4 occasions the items took over an hour to get delivered. On one occasion I called to order room service (at approximately 5:00 p.m.). The call was immediately put on hold with music. I did not have a problem with this. I realized it was 5:00 and there were probably many others calling as well. After 5 minutes the phone rang and someone at Guest services answered. I told her I had called room service. She then switched me back to room service. I was immediately put on hold again. After another 5 minutes of hold music the phone call was forwarded to Guest Services again. I told the lady that I was attempting to reach Room Service. Her response was "We have over 4000 guests on board and everyone is calling room service."
I did not order room service and we left to search for food. I also felt her letting me know how many guests were on board was irrelevant. Each guest on that cruise should feel like the ONLY guest on board, in my opinion. We paid over $6,000 for the cruise and I was treated as if I was a burden on the people who are paid to take care of their customers. (plus 15% gratuity)
We will not cruise Carnival again.
The pros on the Carnival Magic: Stateroom was big enough for a family of 4 (Grand Suite), the Italian Restaurant was a good experience with good service and good food, Juggling show was fantastic, comedian was pretty funny, arcade was fun and the large t.v. in front of swimming pool was enjoyable in the evenings during the Olympics, large splash pad for kids.
The cons: Poor service, food was horrible unless you paid extra at specialty restaurant, views from dining room obstructed by life boats, elevators used by workmen often, only 2 small swimming pools,