Getting on the ship went as smoothly as any I can remember. We sailed the Magic 5/6/2012 and agaian 7/7/2013 and the process took a little longer but somehow was smoother. We managed to not have our carton of soft drinks opened (altho they were in our arms) and the bottle of wine in our carry on bag was either undetected or no big deal. Gate rep was very nice and helpful.
Ate lunch at the Italian restaurant which was good with HUGE portions. Luggage arrived timely and cabin steward was nice and did a very good job.
We're big gamblers and Manish in the casino was great. Beverage service there was excellent. I don't understand why on a ship this size there is only 1 craps table. Many times I would have played but could not get a spot at the table. There were many blackjack tables empty, however.
I saw 1 "production" show - WIN - and was disappointed when recalling previous shows of that type on other Carnival cruises. The comedians were not that funny and one "illusion" show was in the Spotlight lounge and that venue was terrible for that show.
The food was average Carnival at best. I am not picky or finicky or snobby but the service in the Southern Lights at 8:15 was way below what I have had before and what I enjoy most about cruising. We didn't have unusual requests but our final night - when the "showtime" started at 9:20, our appetizer plates (empty) were sitting in front of us with no wait staff in sight. Others around us were on dessert and it was almost 15 minutes later before we got our main meal. The waiter and his assistant were nice but were either inexperienced or stretched too thin - or both.
All in all it was a great, relaxing cruise but it left me wanting to try another line and definitely different ports.
Love all the shopping right at the pier. Have done excursions in the past which I enjoyed. Took a cab ($14) for all 4 of us) to Ocean Beach, the public beach. They hound you to buy a package. We did but we waited it out and negotiated the price down to $40pp.
Love the water. Have done snorkeling over the Kittiwake and the stingray excursions in the past, both of which I recommend.
Had such a bad experience in 2012 never got off the ship. The comedian on board in 2012 pegged it - the ghetto surrounded by pretty water.