If the Carnival Magic is the best ship and/or class of ship that Carnival has to offer then they leave a lot to be desired. We were not overly impressed. I'm sure some of that has to do with the fact that we cruised the Oasis of the Seas last year. Although both newer ships for their respective companies, they can not be compared in any fair way. That being said, here is my review of the Magic.
Embarkation was not an issue for us because there was no fog delay on January 15th, 2012. We arrived at the port, walked directly in to the terminal and proceeded straight to the counter. We were on board by 11:30 in the morning and encountered no delays or problems of any kind.
First impressions. Nice atrium upon entering the ship. Atrium bar looked inviting. We headed up to the Lido deck to hit the buffet. The basic buffet was not that good, in fact it was bad. I know, food tastes vary for everyone, but I did hear some complaints right off the bat. We proceeded to tour the ship after a brief lunch. Pools looked small and very Carnival-like to me. Pool area under the big screen was nice with many different seating options on two levels. The aft pool area seemed like i nice place to hang out too. The Promenade deck, the heart of the ship, was very similar to the Carnival Conquest's promenade. In fact, the ship in general reminded me of the Conquest, only newer with some improvements. Liked the outdoor area along the promenade with the hot tubs and the bar like atmosphere on the port side of the ship.
Dining. Main dining room was a disappointment, mainly with the food. Our service was good, but others have said it was slow. We had a table for 12 at table 768 in the Southern Lights. We choose late seating and our whole table was family. Our headwaiter, Yuni from Bali was great. She worked hard and was very sweet. The food items were hit & miss. I was surprised that the second formal night did not have a better menu. First formal night was lobster and prime rib. Food as a whole just wasn't up to par. Some family members tried the specialty restaurants and both, the steakhouse & Italian place received good reviews. As stated, buffet was not good. Lunch closed at 2:30 in the afternoon so pizza, burger & grill lines were very long for the rest of the afternoon. Food was better at these locations, however.
Shows. Another disappointment. Carnival singers and dancers worked had, but they didn't have much to work with. The show, WIN was lame to say the least. I mean, it was really lame. The illusionist did a great job, even though some of the illusions were pretty basic. At least he kept us entertained. Juggler guy was pretty good at times too. Wife loves the shows and these shows were a huge letdown. On Conquest, for example they were great as they were on most other ships we have been on.
Other entertainment. Disco was fun. It was crowded every night except for the last night. To me, the piano bar singer sounded like a bellowing bull. I've heard much better. The ship's band was pretty good, but I wished they played in the lounge more instead along the promenade walkway. Heard one comedian was good, the other not so good, but I never saw them perform in person.
Cruise staff. Never saw James the cruise director much in person. His staff was doing the usually stuff though. One of his staff members did tell me that he hated his job. which I thought was odd. Service staff around ship seemed unhappy or grumpy, but there were some smiling faces. Coffee bars girls were always nice & friendly, as were every staffer in the Red Frog Pub. Photographers weren't very friendly. Tried to rush you through.
The best. Red Frog Pub. Great place to hang out. Thirsty Frog Red beer was really good. Tasted like Ziegenbock beer for those of you who live in Texas. Get the 101 ounce tube. It's the best deal on the ship. Free shuffle board was fun too in the pub as was trying to get that darn ring on the tree outside the pub. Liked the promenade hot tubs too, they seemed to be the only ones hot and they were generally less crowded. Enjoyed the disco too.
The worst. Being overrun by kids in the pools and hot tubs. Can only imagine what spring break will be like. Many unsupervised kids with no Carnival staff around pool areas, especially aft pool. There needs to be a better adult area for us big kids. Serenity lacked in this area with no pool, lukewarm hot tubs and limited seating.
Disembarking was a disaster due to a major fog delay. It was not Carnival's fault and I think they handled it well on board. Got to use the cabin until well into the afternoon. Had another lunch and they opened the pub for business. Cruise director kept us informed. The problem was once we left the ship. Terminal was a madhouse to say the least. Total nightmare.
Overall, out of 11 cruises I rate this one tenth or eleventh, at or near the bottom. It was my fifth favorite ship out of 6, too. I don't see us cruising Carnival again. I mean, I had fun, but the ship, crew and entertainment underwhelmed us. I know a cruise is different for every person so don't let my negative review damper your upcoming cruise. I hope it is a great cruise. I really do.