I'm one of those people who, before we sailed, camped out on Cruise Critic reading all the reviews of the Magic, the ports of call, things to do, stuff to take, etc., so that I would know everything there was know. I had everything organized, excursions planned, packing done, and ready to go a week ahead of sailing. My husband just rolled his eyes at me and jokingly said I was way TOO organized! :) After we were on the ship - he appreciated some of that pre-planning I did because everything went just as planned with no surprises!
I have to say after cruising on the Magic in September, I was more than a little confused by some of the low Cruise Critic reviews of this wonderful ship! I know you can't please everyone, but....WOW, why the negatives? You're on a cruise, you're not at work, you don't have to clean, wash clothes or fix a meal! I can't imagine why you would complain?! I have cruised two other times with my teenage daughter (while the hubby went deer hunting) on mother-daughter cruises on Carnival's Ecstasy & Conquest, and we loved it. She married this year, and since my husband & I were celebrating our 35th anniversary, I talked him into cruising with me for the first time. After this Magical cruise - he's hooked. What can I say?
The Magic is a beautiful ship. We loved the decor. It's stylish and easy to maneuver once you get the hang of things. Our room (7th floor, aft, balcony room 7448) was very roomy and had plenty of storage. The balcony makes your room feel even larger. It also seemed pretty quiet down at this end of the ship. We loved the extra space to sit outside and watch the ocean go by. We had a king bed with a couch in the room. Our bathroom was plenty big and the shower was roomy. We didn't take (or need) an over the door shoe-holder as many suggest. We did bring along some clothes pins, because they were handy to clip our wet bathing suits to the clothes line in the shower at night. There were plenty of shelves in the bathroom for two people. There are two closets for hang-up clothes. I brought a few extra hangers with us, but there are quite a few in the closet. Another closet had three shelves we used for fold-up clothes. The dresser area had five drawers. I used one for makeup, and the others for our underwear & bathing suits. (There is a hair dryer in one of the drawers.) Our steward agreed to let us remove their cokes/drinks from the fridge and put in our own cokes we carried on board. The safe was sufficient size for all of our valuables, including my iPad, our 2 Kindles, valuables, passports, extra money, etc., when we were on shore. It is a key-pad safe, meaning you put in your own 4 digit code. (You don't use a card.) The room lights were controlled by our Sail & Sign card, or you could use a business card, etc., in it if you wanted. The S&S card was fine for us.
Speaking of the S&S card -- I brought along my own hole punch in my carry-on bag, and punched holes in our cards right after we got them, and attached them to the lanyards I brought with us. You don't know how many people stopped and asked us where to get a lanyard so they could do the same thing! They do sell them in one of the shops on board, and the casino has the springy kind. They are extremely helpful to keep your S&S card handy. My husband was a little skeptical at first, but even he liked it - mostly because our bathing suits didn't have pockets, which made it so much easier to keep track of our cards.
Our room steward, Merta, and his assistant, Brian, were so quick and efficient; we called them our "Ninja Stewards". They were in and out so fast, (and never seen in action!) keeping our room spotless. We often saw them in the hallway where they were always friendly, smiled, and called us by name. We always put out our "Snoozing or Cruising" sign on our door to let them know if we were in or out of our cabin, so that probably helped them know when we were out. They cleaned our room every morning during our breakfast and left fresh towels, and cleaned our room every night during dinner, left us more fresh towels plus the cute towel animal with candy on our bed. We couldn't have asked for better service. They always kept our ice bucket filled, and we never once had to ask. We did give them an extra tip Saturday night because we felt they did an exceptional job.
We ate in the Southern Lights MDR, table 568. We liked Southern lights because we had a view of the ocean in this dining room. (Northern lights does not.) We shared our table with a very nice lady and her adult daughter. We also enjoyed visiting with two ladies from Los Angeles at the next table whose tablemates never showed up after the first night. Our waiters (we had 3) were EXCELLENT, and always remembered our names, our preferences of drink, the kind of bread we liked, etc. On lobster night (2nd Elegant night) my husband said "keep 'em coming", and they had extras waiting and would pop another in front of him as soon as he finished one (he had a total of 4!).
My husband also loved the crÃ¨me brule they served the first or second night during dessert, and told the Maitre d' he liked it on our way out of the dining room that night. The Maitre d' asked for our room number, and two nights later, we had SIX of them brought to our table during dessert! How nice of him! We tipped our waiters & the Maitre d' extra for their service & kindness.
We felt the food on all the ship was very good. We ate every dinner in the MDR and all of our meals were delicious. We had fun stepping out of our comfort zone and trying the "Didja" appetizers on a few nights. We also ate at the MDR for a couple of our breakfasts because we found we liked the slower pace in there, than the busy buffet area. We ate at the buffet for some breakfasts, and a couple of lunches. We also visited the Midnight Mexican buffet and sampled a few of those choices. We had no complaints about the food at all - except that we ate way too much!
We really enjoyed the waterworks and pool areas. The slides were awesome -- the yellow one is extreme! Most sea days, we grabbed a lounge chair by the waterworks area and whenever we would get hot, we would run and let the bucket dump on us, and then come back to our chair! We also enjoyed the aft pool area because it didn't seem as busy. The Jacuzzis weren't usually as full of people, and the pool was a nice size to cool off. It was relaxing to sit in the loungers & watch the wake behind the ship. We also enjoyed the Panini sandwich bar and the Tandori grill by the aft pool. You didn't have to go as far for a snack! I packed a couple of insulated water bottles (a 16oz & 20oz) and we filled them with tea & ice (or coke from our room) at breakfast every morning, and they would usually last us most of the day sitting by the pool. It was very convenient not having to run back and forth for something to drink (neither of us are big on alcohol, so this was great for us). I also brought along a couple of small backpacks to carry our kindles, sunscreen, chapstick, water bottles, etc., in during the day at the pool. Also, they were handy to have on shore.
We did the sky rope course one day, and found it pretty challenging. We meant to go back and do it again, but never had the chance. If you want to do this, be sure to bring gym shoes, water shoes, or something similar. You're not allowed to do it with sandals or flip-flops. The putt-putt course is right below the sky-ropes, and it was fun also. It's on two decks, which makes it more interesting.
We enjoyed a lot of the shows on the ship. We didn't make it to the show the first night (we were exhausted!), but we did on Monday night. It was a Vegas type show with a lot of 70's & 80's type music and dancing we really enjoyed. The entire audience really seemed to enjoy this show. We also liked the Magic show. It was very well done, lots of laser lights and effects, and very entertaining. We tried the juggler's show, but left after about 30 minutes because it was just boring. This did not seem like a show that should be in the big theater. We went to the family and adult comedy shows the first half of the week. Both kinds were very, very funny. We wanted to go to the ones later in the week, but the lines were usually very long to get into these shows. You have to get in line quickly to see these shows, and sometimes the lines were already long after we got out of our 6PM dining. We went to one karaoke night in one of the lounges. It was fun to watch (but we didn't participate!) One of our favorite places to hang out at night was in the lounge chairs by the atrium and listen to the live singers above the bar in the lobby. They were VERY good singers, and they often sounded like the original artists. Lots of people gathered to dance to their music in the lobby in front of the bar. The music & people watching was great in this area.
My husband tried one of the spa treatments, which shocked me (that is NOT normally something he would consider!) He had been experiencing some pain in his foot and his shoulder for quite some time, and went to the seminar about acupuncture, and then decided to try it for his pain. THIS, from a man who is afraid of needles! However, to his surprise, it was totally painless and really worked! His foot and shoulder did not bother him at all the rest of our cruise, and they had been hurting him for months. He was so impressed, he has found an acupuncturist here at home, and is going for regular maintenance.
We enjoyed shopping on the ship very much, especially at the sales offered by the jewelry store. We bought quite a few of our Christmas gifts there!
All in all, our cruise was all we hoped for, and more. This ship is amazing, and all of the crew we encountered were very friendly, and courteous. The crew is always cleaning on this ship, and it shows -- it is spotless! We were very impressed. I don't understand how anyone could cruise on this ship, and not enjoy it. Honestly, I think you are going to get what you give. We always made a point to smile and thank anyone that helped us or served us, and they in return were always kind and friendly to us.
We were very fortunate to have good weather, and an almost perfect sea. We did our own excursions at every port of call, and I have written a short review of each you can click on below. Our first port of call was Montego Bay Jamaica, where we spent the day at Sunset Beach Resort through Jamaica-for-a-Day for $65/person.
At Grand Cayman, we did a private snorkel/Stingray City excursion with Moby Dick for $45/person.
At Cozumel we made our own way to Chankanaab Beach for $20 round trip by taxi, and $26/person into the park, which included a t-shirt and a soft drink or water per person, plus all access to the beach, and sea lion show. I
We look forward to our next cruise on the Magic!