My wife and I took our first Med cruise in 2010 with the 12-day Ruby Princess Grand Med itinerary. We loved it so much, that we couldn't wait to get back and bring our kids. We thought a 9-day itinerary on a brand new ship that was very affordable would be a great way to get back. The pricing was great and Carnival makes Med cruises affordable to our family of four. I am a firm believer that ports are much more important than Cruise lines or ships. We had a great time and did a lot of planning. We did ZERO cruise line excursions.
Here is a quick summary of what we did in each port:
Barcelona: Hop On Hop Off, Funicular, Parc Guell, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, Beach, Gothic Quarter, dinners at Cerveceria Catalana (great tapas and dinner) and Mariscco.
Monaco: Bus to Nice, Cours Saleya, Hotel Negresco, Oceanographic Aquarium & Museum in Monaco
Livorno: Papillon Tour to Florence, Accademia to see the David, Piazza Signoree, Bargello Museum, climbed Giotto's Bell Tower, shopping in leather markets, lunch at Ristorante Toto
Civitavechhia: Train to Rome, Walking tour of Ancient Rome with Roman Candle, lunch in Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps
Naples: Hydrofoil to Capri, 3-hour boat ride with Gianni's Boat and swimming in grottos, funicular to Capri Town
Messina: Tour with Mario Astone to Mount Etna, Taormina
Mallorca: canceled port strike
Marseille: Tour with Provence Reservation to Provence (Arles, Les Baux, and Pont du Gard)
No matter what else we did, with the lineup of attractions and itinerary above, we were going to have a great time. We did. Mission accomplished.
Okay, on to the Magic, Carnival's newest ship.
Cabin: Spa Balcony Cabin 12023 sleeps four and we were comfortable. Great cabin comes with spa benefits including free gym classes, use of T Pool in spa, and thermal suite in spa. I would do one of these cabins again in a second.
Dining: Did anytime dining. When we got there before 7:30, we never had to wait for a table of four. Service on two nights was bad to awful. Servers never checked after serving any course how things were. They seemed preoccupied and overworked. We once waited too long for our meal and server apologized and blamed our section of the galley who were concentrating more on Chef's Table dinner. RIDICULOUS. Food was okay. Some meals were good while others were forgettable. Didn't spend much time in the buffet with only one sea day.
Entertainment: Subpar. Carnival seems to have cut back in this area too. No show on the first night and on the last night, there was the "legends show" which is an excuse to not use professional entertainment and instead rely on passengers to sing and dance. UGH!!!! Other nights had game shows hosted by cruise director, John Heald. The one production show we caught was pretty good. Alternative entertainment in other lounge was comedy, which we skipped. Some nights, just used the spa because of boredom.
Pool deck: a bit of an improvement as the Magic has the sports square with ropes course, which kids loved and a nice mini golf course, among other things. Hot tubs really didn't have hot water. Oh well. Carnival pools still are too small.
Other venues: New Red Frog Pub is a major hit. The bar itself works. It's a fun atmosphere with a guitarist/singer (two take shifts and one was better and much more fun than the guy in the piano bar) who play contemporary music of the 70's, 80's to Now. Bar food, even with the small charge, is well worth it. Steakhouse is much smaller on this ship than others. Book it early and avoid getting shut out. New family Italian restaurant is pretty good and one of the waiters sings Amore around 7:30 with others with him. Very nice touch.
Carnival keeps their cruises affordable and the Magic is a great way to do a family cruise in the Med. The cutbacks are evident and we would think twice about ever booking another Carnival cruise in the Caribbean or anywhere else. But I would recommend their new ship coming out next year (Breeze) for an affordable family Med cruise for anyone. There were hits and misses. But we had a great time and saw great things and had great experiences. It didn't come close to our Ruby Princess Grand Med cruise. But that's a different product. My scores are tough on the ship. But the experience was a 5.