We went on the Carnival Magic in October for a 9 day cruise around the Mediterranean. The ship itself, even being so new, showed some signs of wear and tear but was for the most part very clean. Clientele was generally older and not as quite downscale or rowdy as you might find on Carnival ships sailing in the US.
The buffet food on the Lido deck, as many have mentioned, is cafeteria quality. It was difficult to find options that we really wanted or liked. It became repetitive, even with different options like the burrito bar. Typically, we think of cruises as a time where we will just eat constantly and come back satisfied (and a few pounds heavier). However, we found as the days went on, and especially with all the walking we were doing in port, we were bound to lose weight. We would look at the menu for the main dining room during the day and at times it was tough to find anything we were really excited about. I was also disappointed to see that there was not a lot More
of variation with the dessert selections from night to night. Overall, I would say the food that we did order in the MDR was decent, but I wasn't raving about anything. Although, I will say I was surprised how great the lobster was on lobster night.
Aside from the food, the service in the main dining room was disappointing. I didn't know that there had been such a trend towards smaller tables lately and I think this changed our service significantly. We were at a table of 4, and our wait staff had to look over about 8-10 other small tables. (I'd say as opposed to having 3-4 large 8 or 10 person tables) Because of this, our waiter had time to hand us menus and take our order, nothing more. No recommendations, no explanation of any dishes. Not sure if this is something we just took for granted on other cruise lines, but I had come to expect a little more interaction and recommendations. Our wine rarely got poured for us and our water sometimes got refilled often, sometimes never. All of the staff were very friendly and really worked their butts off to try and make sure everyone was happy, but it's just impossible to provide good service to that many tables when they all sit down at once. It would typically be about 45 minutes before we would see our appetizer and the whole meal would average about 2 hours. Let's just say we were lucky to have good table mates, otherwise we would have really noticed the huge gaps between courses.
We didn't go to all the shows on the ship, partly because we wouldn't make it out of dinner on time but mainly because none of them seemed too appealing. The ones we did go to were just ok - not the same quality that we have seen on other cruise lines. The other activities hosted throughout the days were fun, good variety. The 'shopping' sales were annoying to say the least, and the announcements that went along with them were even more nagging. Many other people have noted the fact that they excessively push merchandise and products on to you throughout the duration of the cruise. I feel like this is just part of being a business, but they could tone it down a bit. I wish there was also a way to access your photos from your stateroom, since the photo stations were always really crowded and congested.
We had a balcony stateroom on deck 8. We would have been frustrated to be lower than that since the main deck and jacuzzis would have been closer to us. It's definitely better to be up a few decks to get your privacy. Our stateroom was large enough and very clean. Nothing to complain about there.
Overall, I feel like if we had paid a lot more to go on a more upscale cruise line, it wouldn't have been worth it since we spent so much time in the ports. The site seeing was definitely more of the highlight of the trip, rather than the actual cruise. This made it easier to stay off the ship longer or even eat our meals in port and not feel like we were missing out on our cruise experience. Nevertheless, it was always nice and relaxing to come back to our ship everyday. Less
Carnival Magic Cruises to the Western Mediterranean
We started and ended in Barcelona. Definitely enjoyed the city and it seemed like there was plenty to do here. We really only spent one full day after the cruise in port, but could have easily spent more. We took the hop on and off bus around the city and thoroughly enjoyed it.
We took a 5 euro shuttle to the center of Livorno, there are buses lined up right outside when you disembark. From there, the tourist info center was selling tickets for a shuttle to Florence - 25 euro round trip. This worked out well for us and seemed reasonable enough for the convenience. If you are interested in going into Academia or Uffizi, make sure you have reservations in advance. We spent way too much time waiting in line at Academia and I regretted not planning ahead.
We did an excursion to Avignon and Chateauneuf de Pape. Avignon was very interesting and we enjoyed the tour. We didn't like that lunch was not included but we were able to find some good choices in the main square. I was excited to have some wine tasting but it didn't really live up to what I had imagined. I would have liked to have had a tour at the wine museum as opposed to just having to wander about and read signs. It got boring and the main focus for our group was just shelling out money on the mediocre wine.
Loved this port! It was so easy to just hop of the ship and walk around. Unless you want to leave the area or want an official tour, you don't need an excursion to get around Monaco. We walked to the palace and casino with no problem. The whole place is beautiful, safe and just fun to explore.
I really did not like that this port was the gateway to so many different wonderful places. We went to Pompeii and Sorrento for the day, which were both amazing. Naples felt unsafe, unclean and just overall a place that I did not want to be. Unfortunately, I did not choose a shore excursion for this day and had planned to take the train. We had no problems taking the train both to Pompeii and Sorrento (even after countless warnings about pickpockets). It was just a shame that we had to even be in Naples at all. I would say just plan on leaving Naples for this day in port - whether you go to Pompeii, Amalfi, Sorrento, etc.
A shuttle (I don't remember how much but not too expensive) will take you across the street from the cathedral. We had nothing planned, so we just walked around and really enjoyed how clean and quaint everything seemed.
We took the shore excursion that toured Rome and the Vatican Museum. It was, of course, expensive but totally worth it. It was a carefree day for us where we got a great tour of the city and an even better tour of the Vatican. Not having to wait in lines was a great plus. We got 2 hours of free time to run around Rome, which we got to see the Pantheon, Trevi and Spanish Steps. They included lunch which was delicious, although maybe our table drank a little bit too much wine considering the Vatican was in the second half of our day :)
We were actually in port in Messina. I was pleasantly surprised with the city. I was worried that I hadn't scheduled an excursion for that day, but we found plenty around Messina to see. We were able to walk all around town and really enjoyed the day.