I have just returned from the Carnival Magic Western Med tour and to say I am bitterly disappointed is an understatement. I have travelled with Carnival Cruiselines twice before, both times whilst on holiday in America. I found the cruises to be great fun the entertainment good and the food was good quality. That was probably about 7 years ago. I feel the standards on Carnival have dropped considerably.
This particular cruise is obviously aimed at Americans who want to see several countries in Europe whilst staying in a floating hotel. Myself and my husband are English. We had a cove balcony stateroom which was fine, quite spacious really and I would not fault the accommodation or indeed the ship, but the food (although plentiful on the buffets) was fairly bland and tasteless. We had opted for the formal dining option, but our waiter's understanding of English was pretty limited and the service was poor. Our food was never hot and the quality disappointing. Most of the vegetables were either pureed or undercooked! The buffet on offer at breakfast and lunch was quite good and varied and so we tended to make lunch our main meal of the day if we were not out visiting the various ports of call.
As I mentioned previously, this trip is aimed at American visitors who had made long Trans-Atlantic journeys to join the ship in Barcelona, they then were out on exceptionally long shore excursions (sometimes up to 10 hours!) to make sure that they visited as many European destinations whilst on the cruise. Most of the bars close at about 12.00 a.m. with the exception of Vibe nightclub and the Casino bar which closes at around 1.00 a.m. (apparently according the Cruise Director because the American guests had complained if they were awoken after long shore excursions or had gone to bed early because their coaches were leaving the ship at 7.30 a.m. the next morning for a trip). The entertainment was very lacklustre, indeed there was no show at all on the first evening of the cruise because most of the Americans had gone to bed early and on the second night, in the 'Showtime Theatre' the Cruise Director picked 4 members of the audience and gave them each two handbells and they then over the course of the next 30 minutes or so learnt and then performed a song. One other evening's entertainment was on a similar theme - this time recruiting passengers onto the stage and humiliating them by requiring them to pass a spoon tied onto a piece of string through their clothes - what fun.....not! We did have a 'magic' show one night and a 'multi instrument' playing lady another(supposedly a 'favourite' with the British Royal Family) who did a Glen Miller themed act - really cutting edge! Hardly the high end entertainment we had expected from Carnival's promotional advertising. Throughout the week there were 'shows' consisting of karaoke auditions to recruit guests to perform in the 'Living Legends' final night show as 'Elvis Presley' ' Frank Sinatra' 'Tina Turner' etc etc. We felt that there was an over emphasis on audience participation shows and also total lack of consideration for European guests who were not jet-lagged and were looking for a more relaxed cruise and indeed more professional entertainment. The high points for us during the cruise were spent in the Spotlight Lounge which was also known as Punchliners Club when there were late night (10.30 & 11.30) Adult comedians. The Cruise Director was constantly 'plugging' the various expensive shore excursions and in the theatre and this was even repeated on the cabin television channel. I will not be travelling with Carnival Cruises again and would strongly suggest that this particular European Cruise is only ever marketed to Americans, who will all want early nights because of the gruelling shore excursions.