We had a ball on the Magic, we are seasoned cruisers (24) Azamara, Celebrity, Princess, etc. etc. but did not attempt to compare this ship to any of the so called "luxury" lines, you get what you pay for.....sometimes. The ship does have a few kinks to work on, i.e., buffet flow was not good, the photo shop process was atrocious, someone needs to work on improving this process immediately, training of new staff, additional staff required to increase staff to passenger ratio (pretty normal on a "budget cruise" line):
Ship: The ship was beautiful, impeccably clean, beautifully decorated for Christmas. . The Lanai deck, fantastic, this is the outdoor portion of the promenade deck, Red Frog Pub, hot tubs, etc., very nicely done. . Casino was fun, (don't expect to win anything on the slots) just have a good time, 1500 points.....free drinks. The Serenity deck was a wonderful place to relax, adults only. Our cabin was one of the best I've experienced, very comfortable for three women, three closets, three beds (sofa was made into a bed using a standard mattress); beds and linens were excellent, great shower, storage and stateroom service, exceptional.
Entertainment: We really didn't see any shows so can't comment on the entertainment, the musicians in the lobby and on the beach deck were good; Christmas caroling and snow (yes it was faux) was a delight.
Main Dining Room: Food was good, but apparently due to long pick up lines by dining room staff from galley, the food sometimes was cold and there was a long lag time between courses. The headwaiters were assisted by young assistants who appeared to be going through a learning curve but hopefully this will sort itself out soon. Our waiter, Juan, was fantastic; he provided the best service he could and had a terrific personality. Of course I believe he was responsible for more than 10 tables, good grief, and had to sing and dance too! His assistants were personable but needed training; they gave the best service they could at their level of experience.
Buffet Lines: The Buffet needs a better flow, pancakes and waffles are at the pool deck, there is also an omelet station but if you want bacon or other breakfast foods you have to stand in another line inside............and then good luck finding a seat. Food quality and quantity was inconsistent but this is pretty typical of cruise ship buffets (any buffets).
The Italian restaurant was worth every bit of the $12 up charge, and is free at lunch, food and service great; we did not try the steak house.
Photo Shop: If you see your photo and want it, buy it immediately because the cruise card process does not work properly and you will lose your photo or have to stand in a long line to purchase and then return to pick it up. In addition, photo quality is not very good.
Staff Training: It appeared that some of the staff had never been on a cruise ship; queries regarding type of food, schedules, and location were answered with a smile but with a lot of "I don't knows". In addition, there appeared to be tension between experienced staff members and new staff. We did not experience any rudeness only staff trying to be helpful but just didn't know what to do.
The staff in general was very friendly and really went out of their way to please but as I said it appeared that quite a large percentage of the staff was in training or new to the ship, and the ship was understaffed to accommodate so many passengers
We loved the itinerary of Key West, Freeport and Nassau, with the exception of Freeport, the ship docked right in the middle of town, great shopping and restaurants within walking distance of the ship.
We experienced a lot of movement on the ship, was surprised because the sea was not that rough; would have thought that a ship of this size would have more stabilization.
Embarkation and disembarkation in Galveston was a breeze, be aware that at the time we disembarked you had to wait in line for a porter, we did not know this and tried to flag one down, then found out about the new process; one person stands in line for the porter the rest of your party collects your luggage. (The process may change.) The best is if you can handle your own luggage, you will be the first off the ship. To wrap up, a great time on the Carnival Magic out of Galveston, so good we're going again soon and hopefully the "kinks" will sort themselves out with help from Carnival Management!