Our group of 10 took the January 8th cruise out of Galveston. We had 3 rooms,2 ocean views on deck 1 and 1 cove balcony on deck 2. 5 Ladies shared 1 ocean view, 1 family all adults shared the other ocean view, and my wife and I shared the cove balcony.
Embarkation did not go well due to the Magic coming in 6 hours late due to fog. We arrived at 330pm due to the delay and waited until 630pm before we arrived on board. The staff at the terminal was great especially since a number of passengers decided that it was the staff's fault that they were delayed by the fog. The only other problem we had was that even though we were given the check in slip the staff member forgot to save the check in on the computer, which, much to our surprise, we were informed that we were not check in when we finally got called to board. After a couple of minutes of pleading our case they allowed us to board and we got it all cleared up within 10 minutes with guest services.
The crew on the Magic was great, even though we had your time dining we requested the same servers every night we ate in the dining room. They were great, friendly, warm, attentive, and shared information about the ports we were visiting. Our room steward was friendly, introduced himself the first night and remembered our names after the first brief meeting. We hit it off with one of the servers in the ocean plaza and learned a bit about her home country. She made for us a version of sangria they drink in her home country and we ended up ordering it multiple times. The crew in all the areas greeted us with a smile and a hello. I am puzzled by some of the criticism of the staff on the Magic as I only had one unpleasant experience and that was with a member of the staff not the crew. Even then it was just a matter of that one person being rather "cold", not rude.
We really enjoyed the food in the dining rooms, we thought it was fine. Some of it was very good. We had no problems getting seated, even though we requested the same servers. One night we had to wait 10 minutes. The other 4 nights we ate in the Northern Lights we were seated within 2 to 3 minutes. Except for one case of cold crab cakes our food was served warm and we never had slow service. Not all food items were great, I had the southern fried chicken the first night and loved it, then on the last night had it again and it was dry and overcooked. We loved the vanilla ice cream and by the last night everyone was ordering it with a cup of espresso or cappuccino. Also we found the caesar salad to be a disappointment. Loved the sweet potato soup. The market place buffet is another story. It was crowded, food so so and breakfast terrible. After the first morning we had every breakfast in the southern lights dining room and while it was not very creative it was decent, service was great and it was fun sitting with other people. We enjoyed the pizza did not like the grill. Enjoyed the plaza bites for lunch the bbq on deck 5 was fair. Sushi was just plain bad. Specialty coffee was worse in fact the specialty coffee in the main dining room was far superior and you could get it for breakfast as well as dinner.
We ate in the La Cucinia and found the staff to be very good, the atmosphere wonderful, and except for the steak, the food to be a disappointment. We found the steak house to be great in all ways, except for their wine list. It was just so so except if you want to spend 220 for a bottle of opus or 180 for caymus. You would be much better off buying the wine beforehand bringing it on the ship and paying the corkage. The main dining room wine list is a major disappointment their choices were safe and mediocre.
The one real issue I had with the Magic was the main showroom. It was designed poorly. The sight lines were terrible and worse there was not enough room for everyone for both shows in the same day. That is just bad business considering that everyone paid for the chance to watch the shows. If Carnival can not accommodate the people who have paid for the right to see the show then that is wrong. I had the chance to see the shows I wanted, but many people could not. Loved the spotlight showroom it was comfortable, some of the comedians were very funny and they had 4 shows a night when the comedians were scheduled. We spent a lot of time in the ocean plaza which we loved but it tended to be very crowed at times. We also had a great time at the Red Frog Pub. Loved the beer, entertainer, and the food. We didn't go to the Vibe but my daughter and her friends went there most nights and had a good time. Spa was ok nothing special, workout room was crowded but fantastic view. The waterslides and the rope course were closed more than they were open on sea days especially the rope course. (dang wind) If you are a glutton for punishment dodge ball in the sports square might attract you. Hot tubs were mostly crowded pools were not. I really enjoyed the Serenity areas, they were very relaxing.
We were in a cove balcony, 2322, and I wish they were on every ship. I would take it over a suite considering the value. Even though we were 2 decks above the water it felt like we were at water level, and every morning we would open the curtains and lay and watch the water go by. Room was standard size which is more than enough for 2 people. Plenty of storage, place to sit, 3 closets and of course the closet size bathroom. The room had a squeaking sound when we were underway which bothered my fix it nature, but my wife didn't really care. I called maintenance and they were able to dampen it somewhat. It was due to the ship structure right at our front door. 2322 would not be my first choice again but I loved the location so I would select a room close to it. For the Eastern Caribbean cruise we watched sunset from our balcony right before departure from key west and we watched sunrise right before we pulled into Nassau. The family units in the other 2 cabins our group had, had 2 bathrooms in each. Which in the case of the 5 young women in 1 cabin was very nice.
Overall I found the Magic to be a very nice ship, great crew, decent food, good entertainment and activities. (my wife and I love the trivia games) It is just to many people for me. Because of the cove balconies I might consider the Magic again but probably not. Even in this off season trip the common areas were crowded. I did not use the casino so I have not included it in the review. One last thought, I have read in some reviews that people have found the people from Texas rude. In my experience that is bull. I am a native Californian and I found the people from Texas to be charming, interesting, and friendly. On the Galveston cruise you just have to get used to being asked "what part of Texas are you from". There really is another state besides Texas, REALLY!