During the third week of August, 2012, 18 memebers of our family cruised on the Carnival Magic From Galveston, Texas we visited Isla Roatan, Cozumel,and Belize. It was our 6th cruises with Carnival. The Magic is our favorite cruise thus far.
The Carnival Magic has a huge number of improvements over the other Carnival ships we've sailed on. Even though I had done quite a bit of pre-cruise research about the Carnival Magic, I was really surprised once I got onboard and started noticing the combined overall effect of each of the little things Carnival had improved upon... it was clearly a superior ship over the others I had been on.
I had read several reviews that were less than complementary after already booking this cruise and was a little worried since we had so many family memeber going along, some of which were first time cruisers. I think all came away feeling this was one of our best family vacations and all are "hooked" on cruising.
Here are some of the things we liked most
1. Better, "tamer" decor and color scheme
The decor inside the cabins is more neutral and less loud than on other Carnival ships I've been on. Kids really liked the lights in the main atrium with the glass elevators that turned colors. Not bright obnoxious colors but cool blues and purples.
2. Safe uses a combo
Loved that we could open with numbers after setting it up ourselves rather than using license or credit card
3. SeaSide BBQ
They serve sliders (small hamburgers), hot dogs, and grilled tacos on sea days They also sell some soft drinks (Coke, for example) by the can. It's a nice alternative to the other lunch options on the ship. The kids especially liked this option for lunch
4. Serenity Retreat
It is larger than on other ships, and with more seating. The double hamocks and round chairs were heaven. Adults could be away from the little ones and relax here for awhile.
5. Ease of navigating ship
Of the 6 Carnival ships I have been on, this is the only one I never got lost on. I have always had trouble getting front to back to get to a show or back to my room etc. This time everything was laid out in a great flow pattern and I never had to back track to find my way.
6.The mid-ship pool
Tiki-style huts offer shade for parents who want to keep an eye on their kids swimming in the main pool. There are wooden benches surrounding the pool, for people who want to sit adjacent to the pool without getting fully in to it. The pool is surrounded by an area with about 2 inches of water so you can sit and keep your toes cool. The pool is salt water and there are showers of fresh water to rinse off with. A little cool at times, The kids loved it.
7. Outdoor deck goes all the way around deck 5
It is great to be able to walk all the way around the ship on deck 5. You do have to go inside to go to the other side, but much better than most ships.
8. Fun hubs
Instead of having an Internet cafe tucked away in some dark corner of the ship like most cruise ships do, they are in public-access computers all around the ship. Sometimes it's one computer by itself, other times it's two to four of them They were easy to get to. Nice Macs with big wide screens. They also had a special price for unlimited internet for the entire cruise. I didnt use it but my daughter did. I think it was $129 for entire cruise. She had her own computer, dont know if that made a difference.
9. Dining rooms do not block off the ship
There's a hallway that takes you past the main dining room in the middle of the ship, unlike other ships where you have to go up and over (or down and under) to get past the dining room. We liked going to see the pictures taken previous day before/after dining
10. Quality of beds
I dont think I have slept as well on any other cruise. Even the 6 mo old slept through the night. No one had a complaint (from out group) about the linens or the mattresses. Wish I could be back on my cruise.
11. Seaside Theatre
Great picture quality on the big TV out by the pool. First time we have been on a ship that I have watched the big screen TV. The ones I had seen just didnt seem worth watching. Had decent movies on too.
12. Sky Court
Most cruise ships have a basketball court up on the top deck, but the one on the Carnival Magic is the best I've seen. My grown kids and their kids spent quite a bit of time up there. They all loved the mini golf which went on two decks. They used the basket ball and weight equipment as well. Much nicer to have exercise equipment outdoors than to be stuck in a gym. My husband and I utilized the seating around it to watch everyone have fun.
It was also great to play miniature golf without having to check out clubs and balls. On the Carnival Magic, they're out for anyone to use at any time. There's also an outdoor pool table, foosball table, and an outdoor video game system hooked up to a big screen. There's also a ropes course.
There is also a ropes course which none of us got time to try. To many things to do and see in one trip. Guess we have to go again and try the ropes course!!
13. Food options
We save for awhile to be able to go on a cruise so dont use the cost option dining. Loved all the new free food options such as the SeaSide BBQ, the Taste Bar, and the Hot Dog Stand, Mongolian BBQ, Pizza, buffet, Italian resturant (only free for lunch) and probably more I have forgotten. Loved all the options as there was always something for everyone.
14. Safety briefing in the main theatre, with seating
Our safety briefing was held in the comfort of the main show lounge. We have always had to stand around and be packed like sardines on one of the decks by the lifeboats before. I LOVED this!!
The WaterWorks area is great. This area on the Carnival Magic is somewhat wind-protected. The Spa and the Serenity Retreat sit in front of the WaterWorks area and this tends to block some of the wind when you are at sea. The little ones loved the small slides and older ones had a great time on the big slides. Something for eveyone. Fun Ship is RIGHT
The long waterslide was a nice long ride, and you got some speed going. The other WaterSlide, which ends in a bowl where you circle the rim, is a bit short although still fun, esp for the kids.
I think they had more options for the fitness minded in this gym. My daughter did a boot camp that she said "kicked her behind". She said it was worth the cost to get moving every morning before the rest of us bothered to get up.
One thing I missed from the Spirit and Conquest classes of ships was a sliding dome that could cover one of the pools during bad weather. We actually on our sea days, and it would have been nice if one of the pools had a dome that could have been closed.
The other thing I had a problem with is no swimming pool on the Serinity Deck. That would have been heaven!!
I do have to say that I am not a fan of Carnival's way of hiring their entire cooking staff. If I want a Burrito at the Burrito Bar I think it would probably be better if it was run by Mexicans, and the food at the Mongolian BBQ would be better if the people there knew how the food really should be cooked. We like both types of food and they just were NOT what they should be. I know Im not going to change the way kitchen staff are hired, but think overall the food could be prepared better if the cooks "knew" the food and how it should be.
I found the majority of the staff to be helpful and pleasant even when guest were less than pleasant. I did find the Filipino folks to be the happiest and more willing to help. Some of the others seemed to be angry most of the time. Oh well, maybe they were just having a bad day when I came across them.
Our cabin Stewardess was efficient, but not as outgoing as all our previous ones.
Our main waiter in the dining room each night was wonderful as usuall. He learned all the kids names and remembered what they liked best. Always did something special for them each night. Earned him a good extra tip.
Our bartender in the main dining room had our drinks waiting for us each and every night (after the first one of course) which we truly appreciated and for which he was compensated for at the end with extra tip.
To sum it up... I can hardly wait til I can afford to go on the Magic again. Hope it is soon.