Carnival, as always, supplied a consistent "good value for the money" cruise. The Magic is a beautiful clean ship that for the most part absorbs people very well. Our only major concern was the service in the main dining room. Food was fairly good, but on most nights you can expect to wait up to 45 minutes between the appetizer and main course and another half an hour for your desert. Looking around, most tables seemed to be suffering the same fate. Dirty plates were often left in front of guests as they awaited their next course. The waiting staffs were incredibly friendly but appeared to lack training or experience. The maitre d appeared absorbed with the post meal entertainment (waiting staff sings) when he may have better spent his time on dining room operations including staff training. In any event, be prepared for most meals to be stretched out for almost 2 hours.
•Embarkation: Extremely smooth in spite of almost 4,000 passengers.
•Cabin: Clean & comfortable balcony cabin typical of Carnival's other ships. We had little interaction with the room steward but the room was always clean and our only request was promptly fulfilled.
•Red Frog Pub: The pub staff was exceptional: friendly and helpful. Try the sliders and the coconut shrimp. Great value for $3.00. The pub became our favorite spot on board even though we are not heavy drinkers. Nice mellow music was supplied by Marcus most days and nights. He sang mostly pop & country and took requests. The pub was our favorite addition from Carnival's list of new innovations. Great fun.
•Comedy Club: Visited the Punchliner for 4 different acts. The R rated shows had the audience in hysterics. Venue is really nice and shows last about half hour each.
•Marketplace (buffet): Seemed to have less variety than on other Carnival ships. The organization of the buffet is terrible. The whole area is entirely too cramped to accommodate the number of people on board. Carnival could take lessons from NCL in this regard.
•Ports: Visited Key West, Freeport and Nassau. Key West was the highlight with lots of bars and entertainment. Don't waste money on expensive ships excursions as most can be purchased in town or you can simply walk to most places. Freeport was the major disappointment with the port about a 15 minute drive from anything. We had been to Nassau before- good beaches are within walking distance of the ship and there is a nice feeling of activity around the town. In Nassau the ship terminal is right in the center of the city with plenty of restaurants & entertainment available.
•Excursions: Other writers have concluded that Freeport is a bit of a hole and I would certainly concur. We took one excursion in Freeport to try getting some value from this port stop- It was called an Island drive with shopping but was a waste of time and money. Guide pointed out and named almost every business we passed including Burger King & McDonalds. Tour included a slow drive-by of the airport property. One shopping stop was rather sad as the vendors really had nothing to sell. Poverty is no stranger to the Caribbean and this particular stop demonstrated how difficult it must be for people to make a living. Not one of your better tours. Freeport really appears somewhat downtrodden with many businesses shut down after previous hurricane damage
Not our best cruise with Carnival but certainly acceptable. Throughout the ship people seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. It was fun to see the Texans (never shy) at Karaoke. The ship had a different character but people seemed to find a way of making their own fun. Overall, this was an enjoyable cruise.