I booked this cruise as a gift for my daughter's high school graduation. It was the first cruise for both of us. Overall, we were thrilled with how the trip turned out. One thing I'll say right off the top is that this is the way to explore Europe for people who aren't travel-savvy. It was fantastic to have a home-base in the ship. After a day of struggling through language barriers and differences in customs, we could go back to an American base where our luggage was stowed away in a very comfortable room. In the future, I want to be more adventurous and explore Europe more independently, but for this trip, it was really nice to have the logistics handled for us.
Rather than go through details of everything, including the things that were as we expected, I am going to hit on the things that we loved about this cruise and the things that we hated.
The top thing that we loved was the customer service that we received from our dining room waiter, Jiri, and our room steward, Clemente. These two individuals both went above and beyond to make our stay on the ship fantastic. Clemente would come out into the hallway to say "Hello," and greet us by name every time we walked out of the room in the morning. Once we expressed a preference for something, he made sure that we had it. He was top-notch. Jiri made our dinners so much fun. He also greeted us warmly by name, and remembered our preferences. These two individuals helped to make the ship feel like home to us.
Another thing we loved was the food in the main dining room. We had dinner there every night but one, and every meal was phenomenal. We couldn't have asked for better.
As I said above, this was our first cruise, so I cannot compare the stateroom to any others. However, I had always heard that ship staterooms are tiny and cramped, and I must say that we loved our room. We were in a Spa Balcony room - stateroom 12014. There was plenty of room for the two of us, and more than adequate storage space. In addition, the beds were incredibly comfortable. I would warn any first-time cruisers to read the boards on this site to get tips on things to bring to make your stateroom more comfortable. We did several of those things and they really made a difference. I will do a subsequent posting on the boards related to that.
Now for the things that we hated on this ship - there are really only two.
The first thing was the spa. I can't state strongly enough what a horrible experience this was. First let me give credit where credit is due - the treatements that we had were very nice. The problem was that any relaxation that we got out of the treatment was wiped away by the unprofessional pan handling that went on afterwards. I understand that the spa is a revenue generator for the cruise line. That is why I was willing to pay the exorbitant prices that they charge for treatments. However, to have to spend 30 minutes after my treatment saying "No," to more treatments and to overpriced products is ridiculous - especially when the staff just gets snottier and nastier as you say no. As bad as we felt about the spa experience while we were on the ship, our opinion got even worse after we got home and realized that my daughter had gotten a nail fungus on her finger nails after receiving fills in the salon. Needless to say, we wished we had skipped the spa on the ship.
The second thing that we hated was the whole complex beverage situation on board. Soda card, or no soda card? If you want more than two sodas a day, you should get a card, but if you get a card, you can only get a glass at a time from certain places on the ship. If you want a soda with your lunch in the buffet, you have to get the soda from the bar and then go to the buffet. If you want some ice water, you have to go find a place to get water. I know that this really isn't a big deal, but the effort that it took to think about our beverages was just silly. If I find myself cruising again, I think I will take bottled water on board and keep it in the mini-fridge, and skip the soda card.
Given that those were our only two big complaints, and one was more of an inconvenience, we can easily say that we loved our cruise on the Carnival Magic.