I waited for nearly a year to take the Carnival Magic Nov 14 trip out of Galveston. It was my 9th cruise, and prior to the Magic trip, I can honestly say "that I never had a bad cruise in the past". Well, this trip changed that! The port switch to Progreso, the dismal service in the dining room and the quality of food really put a damper on the trip. Overall, my trip was not ruined beyond all hope, but it just wasn't all that I expected it to be.
Progreso is by far one of the nastiest places that I have been (and I am well travelled), and I do not consider it worthy to be called a "vacation port". It is a poverty stricken area, with raw sewage in the streets. The 4 mile pier is lined with rat traps. I would not trust food or beverage in this port. I booked this trip to go to the crystal clear Caribbean waters, not a nasty, dirty port.
Like others, I felt that the $25 was a slap in the face, as I believe too that they knew that the ship had issues prior to departure. I felt as though a $250 credit would have taken the sting out of the trip some. This was a serious black eye for the management of the Carnival, and a major turnoff to many who will probably never sail with Carnival again.
To keep it from ruining my vacation, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons. It wasn't easy, but I did it by vsiting Uxmal and Merida. The ruins at Uxmal were worth the ride. I highly recommend Uxmal to anyone who finds themselves stuck in Progreso.
Prior to the trip, I went to the Maroon 5 concert on the pier. I had a great time! I felt like Carnival did a great job with the concert. It was fun, exciting and set the tone. I heard some people fussing about the lack of alcohol, but personally, I was happy with th free water.
As far as the embarkation went, I had no problems. It was quick, smooth and easy. Deembarkation was the same (I chose to use the self-assist method).
Visually, I felt as though the decor on the Magic was much more pleasasnt than the Conquest. I found the Emerald green and Persian blue (I think, may be off on that) to be pleasant. I loved the Serenity and the Lanai areas. The pools were nicely done. I felt as though the Atrium was too small and cramped (next to the Conquest). But other areas made up for this. Overall, I found the Magic to be a beautiful ship.
We opted to get an Ocean View Deluxe. The difference between this room and a standard Ocean View was that it included a bathtub in a separate room. That was really helpful. Overall, the room was typical for Carnival. The beds were okay and the closet space was adequate. The LCD TV did seem to make the room seem more modern and spacious. The one thing that I did not enjoy was the "green" lighting. I learned to shower in the dark, as the lights would turn off 30 seconds after my bunkmate left the room.
As far as the entertainment went, I felt as though the Illusion show was just average. I kept waiting for something spectacular to happen, but never saw anything that really rocked the "wow factor". I think that the Conquest has a better show. Unlike others, I found the juggler/comedian Marcus Monroe to be entertaining. His antics were unexpected. The singer Marcus Anthony was very good and interacted with the audience well. However, I truly disliked the show that consists of the fellow guests singing. I just think that Carnival ought to rethink that show. There were many good bands/singers around the ship.
The new ropes course was a lot of fun. I tried both the easy and hard courses and enjoyed myself. The mini golf was a bit simplistic, but still entertaining. The outdoors fitness stuff was rarely used by anyone. Nice idea though, since the gym on the boat was not quite as nice as the one on the Conquest. We loved the foosball tables, pool tables, shuffle board and ping pong tables. The Warehouse was really fun too. The water slides were fun, but I heard complaints about people getting hurt on the yellow one. I didn't try it, so I can't say for sure.
The Red Frog Pub was one of my favorite places on the ship. This pub had tasty finger food and by far the best drinks on the boat. I had one of the best mojitos in this pub. Our service was good and the entertainment was fun. I didn't try the special beer, but will the next time that I am on the ship.
We went to the steak house on the first night. The service was excellent. The presentation was excellent. But the food missed the mark. Nearly all of our steaks (6 in the party) were overcooked. My baked potato was cold and undercooked. The appetizers were very good. The steak house on the Conquest is far superior.
Whereas I did not get a chance to try all of the new restaurants, I did try as many as I could. We went to the Cucina del Capitano for lunch. The dÃ©cor is very homey and fun. That was the best part. The food was just average.
Mediocre food seemed to be a theme on the Carnival Magic. At least that was what I thought until we went to the 8:15 PM seating in the Upper Southern Lights dining room. The dining service on the ship was dismal. Our head waiter was just horrible. We did not enjoy his service at all. One dinner or two dinners or appetizers (at our table of 6) would be served and the rest followed up to 10-15 minutes later. Drink orders were placed and completely forgotten. The food was seriously below par. Just about every one of my meals came out cold, over cooked or undercooked. The presentation was sloppy and most of it just really wasn't that tasty. I rarely finished eating my dinner, as it just didn't taste good.
If you do go on this ship, stay away from the casino. The slots were too tight, and it seemed like all of the tables were stacked 99% in the house's favor. At least on the Conquest, they'd let you win a little before you were suckered into losing it all.
I would say, that Carnival really needs to make some major improvements on the Carnival Magic to the thrusters, food and service. Or POOF! All of the people boarding that ship in Galveston will disappear.