I had a great time on the cruise, mostly due to the wonderful people I shared it with, the hard working assistance of the events planner on board, the attentiveness of the Cruise Director, and the playfulness of the Dining room service staff. All these factors were made even better by the crew member (Slobadon) who found and returned my camera the first day of the cruise. I was ready to write it off to being in the hands of another guest when Obi, the events planner, said it had been turned in by one of the Lido deck crew. I realize it is protocol for the crew to turn anything they find into the Lost & Found but it could have been just as easy to allow another guest to "find" it.
Our events planner was my Angel during the cruise. She helped me during each of our private events and was able to make contacts that I never could. She was always very kind and helpful.
The Cruise Director, while seeming a bit harried (possibly not quite ready for the large task at hand with a new, very large ship) was attentive to suggestions/comments, even considering adding the Guest Talent show to the schedule until the entertainment director nixed the idea. He joined our group during one of our private events and took time to speak with us.
Our Dining team (table 526)was playful and fun, something we haven't had in the last several sailings. While service has slowed, we can see they are working hard to get our food to us. The waiters are handling up to 30 guests each seating. The galley members are overwhelmed as well which creates a domino effect on the service slow-down.
I was glad to see there are more dining options on board the Magic. Some good, some not so much. The outside Barbeque is a unique idea but the food wasn't worth the wait. Ironically, the salad bar where you order your ingredients and the service member puts it all together and mixes it up, is fantastic! Not sure why, but the taste seems better than if I'd put it together myself. The Italian restaurant was amazing! The lasagna was out of this world...no ground beef here! Unfortunately, the food quality in the main dining room is suffering. The Warm Chocolate Melting Cake, the pride and joy of Carnival's menu, is not worth ordering. The last 3 times I've ordered it (including during the TA Inaugural Event) it was undercooked to the point the sugar granules could be felt when eating it. I was disappointed that the BBQ Ribs were on the menu only once during our cruise. Aside from the lobster, the ribs are the best things on the menu! The Maitre'D (Ken) never came around to introduce himself as has been done in the past. While he does have a nice singing voice, and does sound much like Frank Senatra, we missed the dancing in the dining room. We felt we were attending the "KEN the MAITRE'D SHOW" each night.
We were disappointed that the entertainment schedule had reverted back to the older days when we missed much of the evening entertainment because it was scheduled during the same time as we were in the dining room. We skipped dinner in the main dining room to attend the Murder Mystery but were very disappointed in it. We normally like the comedians on board but this trip suffered in that area too. We became HUGE fans of the BLOOD POWER band playing in the Ocean Plaza. They sounded like the bands they were performing and didn't try to make the songs their own. Had a great time dancing to their music.
AROUND THE SHIP:
The Serenity area is wonderful but we were never able to use it due to people saving seats. MANY seats were empty other than a towel, shoes, or other such item(s) "holding" them. Unfortunately, while saving seats is "not allowed", there's not much Carnival can do about it, especially in the open deck areas. I am surprised that this area is touted as being an area of serenity for Adults Only when it abuts the entrance to the water slide.
The spa is beautiful with many new, innovative offerings. More treadmills than on other ships too.
The location of The Vault machine at the end of the casino, where the end of the bar meets the pathway, should be rethought. Crowds build up in front of the machine, making it nearly impossible to get past. This was a huge problem during formal nights when everyone is crowded in lines for pictures as well.
Due to high winds in Montego Bay, we were late getting to port which was uncontrollable. However, many people complained they had been held up disembarking the ship to allow others to board the ship. As some of the people being delayed were members of our group, we were considerably late getting our tour started. The tour that should have started at 10am didn't get underway until 12:30pm. This meant we had to omit some stops and were rushed at the stops we made. This is something that could, and SHOULD, have been controlled. In this case, the disembarking guests should have taken priority over those arriving to the ship. We missed our stop in Grand Cayman which, after seeing the weather in MoBay, was predictable. This was disappointing but uncontrollable.
The service of drinks at the Past Guest parties has always been very slow but this time, it was simply rude! The wait staff served people on the ends of the rows (ones who already had drinks in their hands and on the table) before coming to us...usually with an empty tray. One waitress was asked for a drink off her tray but she, instead, ran off to get special order drinks for a couple she obviously knew personally. Perhaps a bar set up would be a better choice of service.
Overall, we did have a good time. No cruise is ever perfect for everyone but, with a bit of attention by the cruise line, this could be a wonderful ship with a lot of repeat business from it's new home port of Galveston.