What's not to love about the fact that Carnival is taking the port of Galveston seriously by putting in their newest and biggest ship there? While I've been on cruises out of Galveston, LA, Florida and New Orleans, it's nice to have a port with a new ship where I can drive there - I've usually felt that I had to compromise on the ship or the destination to be so close to home (Dallas), but not this time.
This cruise was for our family of 5. Our three sons are 13, 10 and 7.
About the ship:
The Carnival Magic feels like all of the other Carnival ships that I've been on - just slightly larger. The kids really loved the sports court and the water slides. It was a big hit for the days we were at sea. My wife really loved the adults only area that was like an escape, and I enjoyed the many different seating options that aren't available on other Carnival ships that were way more comfortable than the standard lounge chairs.
The overall deck plan is almost identical to other Carnival ships I've been on with the promenade deck providing the main thoroughfare for afternoon and night-time activities. The Lido deck served as the 24/7 food deck along with the fun, sun and swimming.
We planned late, so we ended up with 2 internal staterooms. Overall, the rooms were nice and spacious. My wife and I shared a cabin with a king bed and the kids next door had twin beds (two on the floor and 1 fold out from the wall.) The rooms were fine, nothing great. My only complaint was that we didn't get any light in the mornings - so if I didn't set an alarm, we probably could have slept forever.
About the food:
Food-wise, this was very comparable to other Carnival trips I've been on. The one really nice addition was an Indian buffet station. The food was really good, and my older son and I ate at it a lot! And, because it's a buffet, my other sons and wife were willing to try it all. We ended up with the early seating for dinner because we registered late, but it looked like a great idea to use the flexible dining option instead. We had a lot of friends that were using flexible dining, so we ended up trading our table 2 nights (the staff was very accommodating to us).
Overall, this was a nice trip. The ports weren't great (except Cozumel), the food was good and the on-board activities were nice.
The ship is nice, and it feels great to be on a new ship.
Indian buffet was a nice addition to the food lineup
Red Frog Pub and other dining options (we didn't do it ourselves, but heard lots of raves)
The scheduling on Magic was not up to par with other trip we've been on- we had to rush to finish dinner, and by being "on-time" we often had poor seats.
The cruise director (James) was by far, the worst I've experienced on Carnival. He wasn't funny, ran late for a number of events, and didn't seem to be as available as others.
You can't beat going out of Galveston, and Magic is a really nice ship. I'm hoping they work out some of the kinks of scheduling and the cruise staff.