We (8) family members cruised out of Galveston Dec. 11-18 to Eastern Caribbean. We had 3 balcony cabins on deck 8 and our son and his fiance had an inside on the same deck. My Aunt and Uncle were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Had a great time on cruise! All of us live a few hours away and drove to Galveston Sunday morning.
First, I need to say that all the Carnival Staff on the Magic were the best overall, out of the 7 cruises I have been on. They always greeted you, said hello, asked how you were, were friendly, helpful, etc. I never did see any of them ever rude to any fellow (grouchy) passenger while cruising. Outstanding!
I would like to say a big thank you to our Southern Lights Late Seating Dining Room Staff. Sharwan/waiter/Indonesia, Imade/assistant/Nepal, and Alina/assistant/Romania (Table#543). They stayed busy taking care of all their tables. Imade had to take over as waiter on our table some nights. Alina was always going back/forth to galley with full trays, serving bread/drinks, etc. She worked nonstop! We saw Imade several times working on the lido deck at lunch. He always came by to say hello and check on us. I think it is time to move Imade up to waiter. Carnival are you reading this? All three made a point of learning our names the first night - and that made us feel special. The head waiter was a very good singer and put on a show with his waiters several nights. Sharwan and Imade need to practice dancing a little more - but the waiter behind us was great. Wished I had gotten his name. We always turned to watch him put on his own show.
Gede/Indonesia and his assistant Bojan/Macedonia (ID#440685 - our favorite) took good care of our and our son's cabins. They called us by our names the first time we met them! We traveled at different times and in different directions from our rooms - but Bojan and Gede seemed to always be around to clean up whenever we left. They kept the ice in our buckets. You just had to let them know if you needed anything. Bojan also let us know when we missed each other, coming or going to cabins, while he was working. I asked Gede for a corkscrew for our bottles of wine - and he had one with him. Now that's service! Sure miss those guys.
Need to mention Aakarsh/India closeup magician (watch stealer). He and another magician had small shows in some of the bars at night. Carnival didn't have anywhere else for them to perform. Their shows were always over crowded. I never got in to the hypnosis shows in the library. I heard they were hilarious. The last night, Aakarsh came by our table and tried to steal my watch, while distracting us with a magic trick. But couldn't figure out the safety catch. He said it worked 3 times - before being stopped by mine!
The Cruise Director, James Charlton, did a great job! He got the information out he needed to us, but he was entertaining and comical. Best ever!
The Comedy Show comedians were very good. We all went to the general audience shows before late dinning and the adult shows late at night. Warning - don't sit too close - are you may be included in their shows. A lot of fun.
Now to address some other areas on the Magic: The room service menu has very limited choices to pick from. It took about an hour after you called it in to arrive. Never tried the continental breakfast menu, though. The Captain's Kitchen at lunch is free, but we didn't like it. The buffets on lido deck always seemed to serve the same thing. Kind of hard to find a table sometimes. The lemonade was ok - but instant tea. We ate breakfasts and lunches in the dining room when we could. Enjoyed it a lot more. The evening meals in dining room were good. But when you pick ice cream over their special desserts 3 times. The chocolate melting cake/vanilla ice cream was their speciality. (The 24 hour pizza and ice cream/yogurt on top is nice, though.) The shows in the theater were average - no big star showing up. Not worth playing the BINGO for their payouts. The casino was always crowded, but never saw a big winner. The Art Auctions were boring and lasted too long, (the first one lasted 3 hours). The elevators were crowded most of the time. At embarkation and debarkation half the elevators were shut down for use by the crew. At times the Magic really seemed large and too crowded. It was also kind of rough out in the open water, for being such a big ship. Even though I mention these things - we really enjoyed the cruise.
We did our own excursions at Key West, Freeport, and Nassau. The trolley at Key West and Hemingway's house are worth mentioning. At Freeport we got a van for 8, did our own tour, went to casino and market place across the street from each other, then our driver picked us up later to take us back to ship. In Nassau we went straight to Atlantis in a taxi at dock, then came back and shopped at markets by ship. Prices were cheaper here than at Freeport. These people were willingly to bargain.
Embarkation was handled well. Debarkation was a little slow because of having to go thru custom inspection. ICE checked the younger cruisers very close. We parked at Galveston Park & Cruise across from pier. Only 1/2 block down 25th street and 1/2 block down alley to truck. We were out of their fast.