BOARDING: My wife had been on a Carnival cruise out of Galveston before and had horrible experiences while getting on and off the boat so I was expecting the worst. We live in Austin, TX so it is just a three and a half hour drive to Galveston. I dropped my wife and our luggage off and went across the street to park. We used non port parking and I will always do that. It was so easy. Once getting back to her we only spent about 35 minutes in line and had our sail and sign cards before 1:30 p.m.
We were on the ship by 1:45 and our cabin was already ready so we stopped by and dropped off our carry on stuff. Went and grabbed some lunch on the Lido deck and then went back to the room and found our luggage was already there. We unpacked and went to Southern Lights dining room for safety meeting.
The crew on the ship could not have been nicer. Everyone was smiling and greeted you every chance they had. The ship was really clean and seemed to be More
in almost perfect shape.
We chose to use the anytime dining since we eat at different times all the time at home. The food in the dining room was great every night and the selections available were better than I thought they would be. Our cabin was in the back of the ship and we were assigned to the Northern Lights restaurant which is in the front of the ship. This was a little annoying, but we figured out the first night that all of the anytime diners were in the same dining room so it made sense.
Lido Deck Buffets / Other Options:
We did eat breakfast almost every morning on Lido deck. The selection at breakfast was great as was the custom egg station. The other eggs were so/so and we learned that waiting 10 minutes for an custom eggs was worth it. We also had lunch on Lido when we were not in port. The food was great then as well. We also had burgers and pizza at some point during the week from the stations. We never did try the Mongolian grille because the lines were really long, but we did try the burrito station one night and it was ok.
We only did room service one night and it was really bad. Never even crossed our mind to do it again.
Italian Restaurant / Steakhouse:
We went to the Italian Restaurant for lunch one day and it was great so we did dinner there as well the one night the menu was not for us in the dining room. This was one of the best two meals we had on the ship. We did not try the steakhouse.
The biggest complaint of the entire trip for me is the lack of food options at times on the boat. I have never been on a cruise when there was not at least one buffet open at all times. The only option on Magic after 11:00 p.m. or so was pizza and the buffets are closed from 2:30 to 6:00 in the afternoons as well.
We went and saw the show the first night on the ship and it was kind of a preview of everything. It was ok. We spent a lot more time at the comedy shows than anything else. I think we did those at least four nights. They had two comics at the beginning of the week and then two others swapped with them in Cozumel. All four were great. We walked out of one of the shows. It was one of the cheesiest things either of us had seen on a ship or off.
We both love the casino and spent some time there each evening. We actually came back about even after going up and then losing it towards the end of the trip.
My wife is more of a water baby and spent every morning we were not in port at the pool laying out. She spent more time on Serenity deck than anywhere else and loved the huge round chairs they had. They were great for napping. We were also on board for the Alabama - Notre Dame game and NFL Playoff games so we watched a lot of them on the big screen at the main pool. That was cool.
Montego Bay, Jamaica:
This was the one port we did not do an excursion on and looking back I wish we had. We were disappointed with this place. It just seemed to be dirty and not really tourist friendly. We spent the afternoon at Margarittaville. This was probably the fourth or fifth Margaritaville we have been too and it was the dirtiest for sure. The wife did love the water slide and the beer was cold so that helped save the day. We were back on the ship three hours before we had to be and went to the pool instead.
Georgetown, Grand Cayman:
Some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen. We were up at the crack of dawn and on our excursion by 7:30 a.m. Wifey wanted to swim the stingrays and we chose the Deluxe Catamaran excursion. After taking a bus for 15 minutes or so we took the 20 minute boat ride to Stingray Beach and spent an hour swimming with and holding wild sting rays. I have never seen my wife so happy. I would recommend this to anyone. We were done by noon so we had lunch and drinks at Hard Rock Cafe and did some shopping at the outdoor malls. We hit Margaritaville again and it was much nicer than in Jamaica.
We got off the boat early and did a little looking around at the shops in the port area. Our excursion left an hour or so after we got off the ship and we took a catamaran to Passion Island. The food, beer, drinks, and service was great, but the water was not what I expected. It was windy so the water was rough and it was not the blue water you want when you are on vacation. It was murky and gross. We met some people from our area in Texas that were on RC Freedom Of The Seas and spent time drinking with them before heading back. We stopped at the shops and picked up a few things.
The last time my wife came back into port of Galveston she spent six hours getting off the boat and through customs. Her ship was delayed getting to port because of fog and there were four ships dumping at once. This time was the complete opposite. We chose to self debark and carry our bags since we only had two each. We left the cabin at 7:15 and I was at my car by 8:00. Pulled back up to pick up wifey and the luggage and we were on the road by 8:15. Back in Austin by noon. Easiest thing ever.