This was my first time to Cruise on Carnival. I have cruised previously on Princess several times and wanted to give this new boat a chance. My wife and (15yo) daughter had cruised previously in June of 2012 on the Carnival Magic and traveled with me on this sailing.
We arrived at approx 1:30pm by private car and had no wait to get on board. Great time to arrive if you do not like to wait. I have found this true on all my previous sailings.
My first impression of the ship was it is very confusing. I learned quickly that you could not take the mid ship elevators to the restaurant on Deck 3. If dining in the Northern Lights, which requires to enter on Deck 3, you have to use the forward elevators only. The atrium in front of the dining room was very small. I always felt the area was crowded with people and no good places to sit and relax. On Deck 4, there is also almost no areas to sit. You can only walk on one side of the ship to get around. On a boat that can take 3k+ people, this is just to cramped for me. I believe they sacrifice public areas to put more cabins on board.
We chose any time dining with usually getting in line around 6pm. Some times there would be no line, but on at least 3 occasions the line was backed up into the elevator lobby and would take 10-15 min to get seated. The food I would rate as average. Some nights better than others. The biggest complaint we had, after eating in the dinning room every night, was the service was slow. Staff was friendly but they looked like they are assigned to many tables to cover efficiently.
Our room was on deck 9 mid ship with a balcony. This room is just below the pool deck and buffet. Very noisy cabin. I originally thought this would be a ideal area to be in. Close to the mid ship elevators and easy access to the Lido deck. What it turned out was to be very noisy with crowd noise in the hallway and could hear the TV in adjacent room. Always heard the chairs being moved around up on the Lido deck. I would not book in this area again. From reading other reviews I would try to get on the Lido deck or Spa deck. Those cabins appear to be in a quieter area with less foot traffic in the hallways. Other than the noise issue I thought the cabin was comfortable for the 3 of us in the room. A/C worked very well, in fact at times to well. No issues with the shower area. I believe this was the biggest shower area I have had on previous cruises on older ships.
Getting off the boat went smooth. They left us notes telling us to expect longer wait times because we visited Belize. From the time they called our group number to disembark to walk through Customs at 9:30am, took approx 20 min. Not bad in my estimation. Once again we went back in private car and had no problems with the disembarkation.
Overall I would sail again on the Carnival Magic. I would just try to find a quitter cabin to be in.