Sailed on the Magic during the height of Spring Break with 1500 kids under the age of 18. We added 7 to the count, 5 teenagers a toddler and a pre-schooler. Loved, loved, loved the demographic since we didn't seem to have anyone much older than me on the ship. No wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes in site. Everything moved at a faster pace, a lot less congestion everywhere, elevators were speedier, room in the casino, lines for embarkation and debarkation moved much quickly and the Lido buffet actually had room to move without all the geriatric paraphernalia crowding the aisle ways and tables cleared faster as people ate and moved on (except for us).
Embarkation on Sunday was a bit slow just because the logistics in Galveston could stand a thorough overhaul. We arrived on a private bus from Houston and no one knew where to park us to unload and hauling luggage for 17 from a bus to the trollies was a bit of a mess. The line was long but kept moving, and the only real slowdown was when some in our group had to have their water and beverages checked. It would be nice if people didn't smuggle so that those that don't wouldn't have to be caught up in the shake every bottle dance.
Once on board, about 1:45 (an hour and 15 minutes for embarkation) we dropped everything off in our rooms and headed to the Lido deck. We ate at the Italian place, enjoyed the Pasta but the kids weren't thrilled about the anchovy flavor of the salad dressing. Some in our group waited for the Mongolian grill, longest wait all week, but other than that everything moved well and tables turned quickly with the staff on top of clearing them rapidly.
The weather was chilly early in the week and never got caribbean hot. The sunshine was sporadic at best but sunburns abounded, nevertheless. Plenty of sunbathing lounges, unless someone is dying to sit at the main pool. Never had a problem finding a seat on the opposite side of the prevailing wind direction, even on sea days. Must say that I didn't see the chair hogs. Yup, people got up early but they occupied their seats and turnover was brisk if you were a bit patient, even at the pools or the serenity deck.
Found plenty of places for our large group to gather either inside or outside and enjoyed the Ocean plaza for Continental breakfast and a salad bar lunch (great soups) and tables galore to spread out playing our board games. Food for the most part was certainly edible. Carnival is not the cruise to take if someone wants high-brow food. It's convention food and its temperature depends on what everyone is eating at your particular table. We loaded up on appetizers with sometimes a half-dozen each and sometimes our soups got lukewarm waiting for us. We had two 8 tops and we switched seats every night, so kudos to the servers for figuring out who was who and remember all our idiosyncrasies. My food complaint is the same in all ship dining rooms...you get a plate full of stuff even though you don't want anything, say, except for the meat dish. Lots and lots of wasted side dishes because I just can't do potatoes with fish.
The cruise was fun, the kids had a great time, the ports were passable though I would have preferred anything besides Jamaica. The seas were a bit rough but I slept like a baby in a rocking cradle and actually loved the movement of the ship, wet bathroom floors not with standing.
Good return for the investment...not my best cruise, not my worst. But again, it was super great not to be traveling with a shipful of retirees...made a nice change to see families having fun, teenagers laughing, and parents relaxing.