This was our fifth cruise. All with Carnival and all in a balcony cabin for 7 nights. Galveston is not the prettiest port to depart from but now that we have moved to the Houston area it sure is convenient and cheaper to cruise from here! We are over 60 and it was just the two of us for this cruise. There were many times when I wished we would have had our family on this ship because they would have all loved it!
Because we only live 60 miles from Galveston we drove down on Sunday morning and used the Park n Cruise lot right across from the pier. Excellent place to park and very reasonable at $50. We dropped off our luggage and drove across the road, parked and walked back. We arrived at about 10:30 and was surprised at how many people were already checked in and waiting! Check in was very quick and easy. We were on the Lido deck shortly after 11:00.
We had the Mongolian Grill which was just right for us. It does get pretty smokey when they are cooking though. We then started exploring the ship! It's a great ship, especially for families. There are a lot of areas for everyone. The sports court, miniature golf, ropes course, water park, etc would be a lot of fun for families. I loved the beach pool area with the big screen theater. They have some pretty comfy chaise lounges under shade that make it very easy to relax and enjoy the activities. There was only one time when I found it so crowded that you couldn't easily find a chair and that was during the "hairy chest contest." Yes, that's still a huge attraction for Carnival cruisers and is a lot of fun. The contestants were happy to put on a fun show for everyone!
We were able to go to our cabins at 1:00. Not a lot different from the Conquest but do love the darker bronze colors with the melon orange. The flat screen television has plenty of variety if you want to have it on! I had 3 large suitcases and everything fit very nicely in the closets and cupboards with plenty of space to spare. The suitcases fit easily under the bed. I did bring extra wire clothes hangers and used them. I put my over-the-door shoe bag on the closet door and it closed easily. This helps me keep everything organized and neat.
The cabin steward was very good and very efficient and was always asking if we needed anything. My husband and others commented on how all of the "team members" were always friendly and helpful throughout the cruise. I don't think I ever encountered any staff that wasn't smiling when we passed.
We had early dining in the Southern. This is the first time for early seating and we won't do that again. We enjoyed eating breakfast in the dining room and then just couldn't really enjoy lunch because we knew we would be eating again at 6:00! We just had a light snack or half of a sandwich for lunch. But, that isn't a problem on the Magic because we found plenty of fun little places for this. The Oceanside BBQ, the Tasting Place, Deli, etc. are great areas for lighter eating. We never did find the sushi place open though. We ate breakfast in the dining room every day but once. Hubby loves the Eggs Benedict!
I heard some complaints about the food, but we sure wouldn't complain! The waitstaff in the dining rooms are awesome and they go out of their way to accommodate everyone. We had Creme Brulee the first night and finally on Thursday asked if it was going to be served again and was told no but the next night our waiter had asked the chef to make it for us!!! It was awesome! We had a great meal every night. Maybe not 5 star but still very good to us. The Maitre D never came into our area.
We attended the illusionist show and it honestly was the best cruise production we have ever attended. Very good! The hypnotist was good and we did attend the comedy club a couple of times - they were pretty good but I'm not much for comedy routines.
Because of Hurricane Sandy we were re-routed and went to Key West instead of Jamaica. It was okay, glad we went there once, but wouldn't go back. We just walked the length of the island and saw things we wish we could forget!!! We then went to Costa Maya instead of Grand Cayman. The prices are high in their market place compared to other stops. We have been on this itinerary a couple of times before so we didn't book any excursions this time and so the re-routing didn't bother us at all. At Cozumel we caught a taxi to Paradise Beach and just enjoyed a beach day. Loved it! Will go back there! It was very reasonable, clean, and beautiful!
There was always something to do on the ship. The karaoke in the Plaza was usually very good. Lots of trivia games that were fun even for non-experts! I enjoyed the Ships Q & A session. The one musician from the Red Frog played at the beach pool and he was not very good. The other bands and musicians were all really good.
Debarkation was a breeze. We had a leisurely breakfast in the dining room and as we left was told we could go ahead and leave the ship if we had our things with us. The luggage was very organized and easy to find. We walked through customs without any holdups, rolled our luggage across the road to our car and was headed home by 9:30!
Other things... They were constantly cleaning and touching up around the ship! There are a lot of nice seating areas throughout the whole ship. Love the 5th deck with the outside track that goes all the way around. We seen the Captain around a lot more than on any other cruise. They had a very nice "party" for gold and up Carnival cruisers. Room service was always on time every morning except the first day and then we had a phone call to apologize. There were kids on the ship but they were never a problem and seemed like they were having fun as a group from Camp Carnival. Other passengers were generally VERY friendly and were having a great time.
Things I would change... The selections on the big screen during the day. Prices on the photo's. They would sure sell more if they lowered the prices a little bit. More ventilation is needed in the casino area. I wish they would play more Caribbean style music on board, especially on the Lido during sailing - I really missed it!
We had made friends with about 150 others on Facebook and loved meeting and getting to know many of them! This made it very enjoyable, especially since we didn't have any family with us.
I can't wait to book another cruise on this ship and hope to have our kids and grandkids with us because they will love it!