I was a little nervous about sailing with Carnival after our experience last year. The crowd on that cruise was a little rough for a family vacation. But I was VERY pleased with my experience on the Magic.
Paid for Fastest to the Fun ($50/cabin) which got us on-board fast. Seriously, from the curb to our cabin (bags already there) in 30 minutes. TOTALLY worth it!
First of all, the cruise was mainly families. My two kids (13 & 8) had plenty of kids their own age to hang out with. That really made a difference for them. Plus, even though the bars were busy, I didn't have to contend with fellow passengers who were drunk before the ship left port never stopped for the length of the cruise. I suppose that's luck of the draw.
The Magic is a wonderful vessel. The staff was exceptional and the on-board events were better than I had experienced on previous cruises. The pools, water park and other sports activities were also a nice upgrade from the Triumph. The steakhouse, even at an extra $35 per person, exceeded my expectations. I have been to some good steakhouses all over the country and the Magic's was on a par with the best of them. The shows in the main lounge were surprisingly good and we all enjoyed the comedy club...smart addition!
I still have a serious beef with the main dining rooms. The food is so-so and the service is muddled. If you are going to attempt fine dining, do fine dining with food to match. And, for the love of Pete, the performing waitstaff is just silly. Let them get on with it! Dinner service should not be a two hour ordeal where you are waiting for you waiter to finish dancing on tables to get around to serving the food. Plus, the food is unimaginative and bland. Be bold!
The only other minor issue is the debarkation process in ports. Carnival could speed this up by moving the photographer away from the gangway.
All in all a truly great experience. We will probably do the same cruise again.