My husband and I went on a vacation without children this August. We picked Carnival because the price for a balcony was good, and we looking forward to being on a new ship. Our travel agent assured us that the "party" reputation of Carnival has changed over the years, and we would be pleased with the changes. We drove to Galveston from Dallas the day of embarkation; parking with EZ was quick. We were on board by 11. We had several carry-on bags that were a pain to lug around. We went to eat on the Lido deck and ended up getting into our room at 12. Nice surprise! Our steward Harry was excellent, friendly,and truly indicative of our experience with Carnival staff. ALL staff we came into contact with (even just sharing an elevator ride) were tremendously polite and friendly.
Since we were traveling sans kids, we spent a lot of time in the Serenity Adults Only area. I loved being away from all the kids. I wondered why some parents would bring their teens to the Serenity area (??) For some reason the hot tub temperature was lukewarm rather than hot. This may seem like a nit-picky thing to say, but it's experiences like this where things were just "off" or "missed the mark" that make me not want to cruise with Carnival again. The other hot tub was broken all week on the serenity deck.
We ate the first night in the steak restaurant. Definitely book it the first night--we got a free bottle of wine. The food was delicious, except for the shrimp cocktail. A little strange texture. We loved playing Black Jack in the casino. Dealers were friendly as were the other players.
We were pretty lazy the first two days as these were sea days. The second day it rained all day so we were getting a little stir-crazy staying inside. As other posters have mentioned, ropes course is only open when ship is in port but not during days at sea.
I think my children would have loved the Magic. It really is a wonderful ship for families. The water slide, movies while swimming, etc. would have all been things they would have loved.
We also ate at the Italian restaurant. I loved the food, but my husband didn't like the spaghetti sauce--said it was too sweet. The desserts in there were amazing!! I wish I could have the lemon sherbet or the apple tart right now!
I worked out the first two mornings. Get there early as it's busy. It was nice to shower in the locker room--showers in there are huge. We had breakfast in the MDR one time. It was the comedy brunch/punchliner. I thought the menu looked fantastic, and I ordered the Huevos Rancheros. I am not kidding, when I took the first bite, there were pieces of chicken bone in the chicken. I thought it was just a fluke, so I took another bite, and there was a bone with a joint in that bite. It was so disgusting I couldn't eat anymore. I unfolded the tortilla and saw chunks of chicken skin and a couple more bone pieces. We mainly ate the buffet after that. It was a let-down. I really thought after starting off with the specialty restaurants that all the meals everywhere on the Magic would be good. That's what frustrates me about Carnival--why can't they just make all the food top-notch? Or make it all bad?? The inconsistency is annoying. Pizza is good, can't complain there. I ate French toast almost every morning from the buffet.
Wear a watch. We left ours at home, and since we didn't use our phones on the trip, we were asking people often what time it was. We loved Honduras, it was beautiful. I can't recommend Subway Water Sports as the manager was very rude to us for being late. I apologized; I had completely gotten mixed up on local time vs. ship time. She was livid we were late. Belize was great with Nacho & Cynthia. I loved cave tubing and zip lining. Cozumel was a wonderful surprise. I was expecting Cancun, but instead it was beautiful water, isolated beaches, and kind people. I would highly recommend booking excursions OUTSIDE of Carnival. All three of ours were great (other than the crabby dive shop manager). One of them we even got $100 off since we booked our cruise through their agency.
Chef's Table...I'm not a gourmand by any means. Maybe a foodie. So when I tell you that the $150 we spent the Chef's Table was a waste, please keep in mind that I do not have a professional background in food. I love a good meal, and I am willing to be adventuresome. From what I had read online ahead of time, I was expecting a spectacular culinary experience. I won't go step-by-step through the experience, but I will say that there was a lot of fish on the menu. I am not a big fish fan, and even dishes without fish had fish-based sauces on them. The "grand finale" of Kobe beef, I kid you not, looked and tasted like a piece of pot roast out of my crock pot. We ate in the galley kitchen. It would have been good to just tour through there, but to be stuck in a noisy kitchen as a part of a fine dining experience was not worth the price tag IMO.
We watched a couple of the comedians. They were pretty vulgar, but my husband really thought they were funny.
I waited until I had earned enough in the casino to go to the spa. I got lucky and ended up getting several treatments done there after a good night at the black jack table! The steam rooms in the spa are phenomenal. If you are going on the Magic for a couples' trip, make sure you book a spa room so you can go to the steam rooms and thessalotherapy pool for free all week. I just paid for a day pass for my husband and I and we LOVED it. I also did the ionotherapy treatment, which was strange, but it really did take off 5 inches. I'm not overweight, so it was pretty noticeable. I also did a massage, facial, and then scalp massage. Be ready for the annoying sales pitch after every treatment. $700 for red algae treatments I can do in my own home? No, thank you.
Overall, it was good to get away, and I enjoyed our cruise. If I ever do Carnival again, I'll take my kids, get a spa-level room, and pack snacks. I think we will try Royal Caribbean next trip.