This was my third cruise overall, second on Carnival. The Magic is very similar to the Conquest. The layout is basically the same...same lobby layout, same dining room locations, same comedy club location, same casino, etc. The differences were the serenity area and the pool area was a little different. Plus the decor was different (Conquest was actually nicer with the murals on the glass elevator area and the beautiful blown glass light fixtures, etc. Magic was more modern looking, less artsy.)
So for the FIRST unusual thing to happen: Two hours out of Galveston, while seated at the early dinner, the ship starting making a different kind of noise. Some said they thought we were turning around. About an hour or so later, the captain came on and announced we had indeed turned around because of a medical emergency, so we headed back to Galveston (we were only about 2 hours out) so the could disembark. That put us late into Cozumel by about an hour.
The dining room service (we ate in the Southern Lights dining room every night for dinner) was excellent. Only one night did we have slower service because the kitchen forgot to send out the shrimp orders. And keeping the tea glasses full was a bit slow but the staff was going as fast as the could. But overall the service was excellent and the waiters were terrific...plus the learned all of our names (11 of us) by the second night. The food was very good of course and the didn't blink when I asked for a third lobster!
The cabin was nice, we had a 3-person cabin, so there was no sofa. I thought it would be a sofa that converts into a bed that they'd put away each day, but it was more permanently converted to a bed. The sofa parts were stored under the other beds, so we may have been able to convert it back to a sofa, but we didn't really need a sofa so never asked. We had several rooms so asked them open the balcony dividers so we could share one long balcony, which was nice (although some of the dividers being opened blocked the window view). My only complaint would be that they never replaced the bar of soap in the shower, even when it was just a little spec left, but we just used the liquid soap. Why do I mention the soap, because that was my ONLY complaint about the cabin, so you know we were very happy. There was plenty of storage...3 closets, four full drawers, storage around and below the safe, storage in night stands, and plenty of room underneath the beds for the luggage (even with the sofa parts under there).
SECOND unusual thing to happen was that a security guard was posted outside someone's cabin down the hall from us for the last few days of the cruise. Not sure what happened, but evidently someone was being confined to their cabin.
Never got to do the rope course as it was always closed due to high winds except when we were in port. The winds were very high and the see choppy (6 to 8 foot swells). There was a lot of movement of the ship, much more than previous two cruises. Not sure if it was a combination of ship design and the weather, or just the weather, but you never forgot you were on a ship. It was constantly rocking, often thawing you off balance when walking or climbing stairs (not enough to fall down or anything, but enough to throw you off course a step or two).
THIRD unusual thing: While heading into the Showtime Theater, we heard "BRAVO BRAVO PORT SIDE" over the loudspeaker. A few minutes later they announced a possible man overboard and we were turning around to look for them. Luckily it turned out to be a false alarm...never did find out the story but hope to read something on here from someone with the scoop.
So here's my biggest complaint about Carnival (and I'm sure it's the same for all cruise lines). At every meal they want to take your picture. Every time you get off the ship they take your picture...twice...once on the gangway and once with a local "pirate" or "native" or something. They take your picture when you get on the ship. They take your picture out in the hall ways, etc. Now, I'm not complaining about the taking of the pictures, but they charge $9.99 for them. So they print thousands upon thousands of these pictures and display them in the photo area for you to purchase...but $9.99? really? It seems they sell much less than 10% of them and then destroy thousands of prints that aren't purchased. So since they already are printing them anyway and incurring the cost, why not charge just $1.99 a print. Then I'd buy almost all of the pictures, rather than the zero I purchased. Their cost is the same and I bet they'd sell at least 5X the volume and make just as much money, probably more!
So overall, the cruise was great. We had nine first-time cruisers and they all LOVED it. For the two of us that sailed on the Conquest before, we thought the Magic was not as nice (decor wise) as the Conquest, but it was still nice. Will definitely sail on the Magic again (in fact, bought the future cruise voucher while onboard)...as long as they sail out of Galveston.