Booked this cruise on short notice to accompany some friends. I had just returned from an extended cruise on Holland America and while on-board had heard numerous unkind remarks being made about Carnival and the type of people who cruised on it. Having done numerous cruises on Carnival I had never encountered the things I was hearing. So after booking this cruise I was determined to pay close attention and see if I could find examples of what I had been hearing. Below are my observations:
The embarkation in Galveston was handled well and much more efficiently than several years ago when it was a nightmare to get aboard in Galveston. We had wanted Spa Balconies but due to late booking only one was available and our friends took it. We were on Deck Eight in a balcony and found the cabin to be very roomy, well maintained, and well decorated. No complaints with the cabin and the steward did an excellent job for the entire seven days.
The Lido Buffet was open for lunch on boarding and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get your lunch and find a table. The food wasn't anything spectacular but it was served hot and tables were easily available. The partitions between the tables were very nice and made it easy to hold a conversation while eating.
The main dining room (we were in the Southern Lights Dining Room)was very good. The waiter Wayans and his assistant Goran (Sp??) were great. I knew they had many tables to take care of but the level of service they gave made you feel you were the only one. The food was served hot (a real plus for me) and I didn't receive any dish that wasn't edible, on the contrary most were very delicious. I looked forward to dinner each night as the people at our table were very pleasant and the staff in the dining room made you feel welcome. The maitre d is a very gracious gentleman and made you feel welcome and each night had entertainment for the guests. One of the waiters, Darwin, was an excellent singer and each night his singing made the evening memorable. I can't imagine why Darwin is in the dining room, he should be headlining in the main theater.
I also noticed that the staff from the janitorial to the officers went out of their way to speak and be friendly. I was very impressed with this level of friendliness and it translated into everyone seeming to enjoy their job and trying to do their very best. Bravo Carnival Magic, you have your people showing a positive attitude and this is making your passengers have a great time and want to return.
As I had mentioned we were unable to get a Spa Balcony so instead purchased the Thermal Package. It was worth every penny charged and each day I looked forward to spending time there. In fact it was so enjoyable that you didn't want to get off at the port stops. It was kept immaculately clean and the staff was pleasant and welcoming.
We made three port stops, Roatan,Belize City, and Cozumel. Since we had sailed this route earlier in the year we didn't do any planned shore excursions. In Roatan we did get a taxi driver to take us to the West End and in Belize City we got off long enough to find an Internet Cafe and then went back aboard. Cozumel is always fun to visit but with several ships in port things were so crowded that we took a taxi into town had lunch at one of our favorite spots and headed back to the ship.
Activities on Sea Days were available or one could just be lazy and enjoy sitting on the balcony. There were numerous families with families but I was never aware of any of the children being around, Carnival does a good job of keeping them entertained.
I only have one small issue to bring up and it is a personal one-smoking. I respect the rights of smokers but also reserve the right not to have to smell smoke the whole time I am sitting on my balcony. I had wanted the Spa Balcony as they are totally non-smoking but there is a limited number of them. I would like to suggest that a portion of the regular balconies be designated as non-smoking, that way we non-smokers won't have to smell your cigars and other funny tobacco while we enjoy the sea air. Just a suggestion and I appreciate the efforts the cruise lines have done to designate smoking areas in the public areas, just wish the same could be done for the cabins.
In conclusion, the Magic delivered a cruise that anyone could enjoy. I consider myself a seasoned cruiser and to be completely honest enjoyed the Magic as much as some for which I paid a lot more. I'll sail again on Carnival and in the future when I hear snide remarks made about Carnival I'll tell them about the Magic....Abracadabra...Presto...its Magic!