We just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Carnival Magic. We were traveling with 3 teenagers, 3 kids, my in-laws, my husband and myself. When we first got on the ship, we were really impressed. Being a new ship, everything was nice and clean. Our rooms were very roomy with a king bed, and two bunks, plenty of storage and two bathrooms (only one had a toilet). We had an ocean view cabin. We chose this ship because of the water slide. We were disappointed at first because it was closed because of high winds the first two days. The rest of the week, it was open but some days were only open part of the day.
The entertainment was OK. We actually left early during one show because it was so boring. They did have "Family Friendly" comedy shows which were good and I appreciated the fact that they "rated" these shows. Some of the other shows didn't have a rating and the costumes were inappropriate for children.
Dining room service was really good. We really enjoyed our wait staff and my family can be rather demanding when it comes to dining. HOWEVER, the drink server SUCKED!!! We don't drink alcohol but we couldn't get her to come to our table without asking. She served all the tables around us but would not even acknowledge our table and acted irritated if we asked for a soda. The last night she didn't even stop at our table, at that point, I had given up on her and drank lemonade and water that was offered by the wait staff.
The food was typical cruise food. The ship did offer different stations that you could get cooked fresh and cooked to order (i.e. sandwich bar, burrito bar, waffle bar that served French toast and pancakes, omelet bar, Mongolian bar, tandoor bar, pasta bar, hamburger/hot dog bar, and pizza). It was nice to have fresh options and a variety but the lines were extremely long. My mother-in-law waited in line for 45 min for the Mongolian bar. This made it very difficult when trying to feed a family, especially with small children. We waited in a lot of different lines for each meal and weren't able to eat as a family. My advice...order room service or go to the restaurant if you are traveling with small kids to avoid the lines. Also, the "food Bars" were only open part of the day. Pizza, Hamburgers, sandwiches were open all day. Even the buffet was only open part of the day. I tell you this because during port days, when you get back on the ship, your options are REALLY limited. Eat breakfast early on port days to avoid the LONG lines.
Our first port was Cozumel and we booked through Carnival and went to the Adventure Park /Zip line/ and snorkeling. The adventure park was perfect for beginners, small children, but not much for experts. The staff was great with our kids and our little kids really enjoyed the rock climbing and zip line. The snorkeling was OK. We were really crowded because they were trying to keep us all together and the current made it difficult to stay away from people. I can't count how many times I got kicked in the face by other snorkelers. After wards, we were allowed to hang out in their pool and get some lunch. We had a little time to shop before getting back onto the ship, but not much.
Our second port was Grand Cayman, what a nightmare!!! The tendering process was ridiculous and slow. We waited over an hour to be tendered and we booked our excursion through Carnival. We were late to our excursion. There were other people on the ship that weren't able to get off the ship until after noon. They were extremely frustrated. We did the Dolphin swim and Sting Ray city for our excursion. Sting Ray city was great but take your own snorkel gear/goggles if you want to swim under water. Then we went back to the island to swim with the dolphin. We had a great time and loved swimming with the dolphins. However, our ride on the dolphin was about 20 feet long. Not long enough to really enjoy it. The excursion offered CD's with pictures and a DVD of your group. It was $140 for both. We ran into some big problems with the DVD/CD. My husband waited over 45 minutes to get the video...meanwhile a shuttle is waiting outside, full of people, waiting to take us back. Let's just say, there were some pretty ornery people on the shuttle that made some really rude comments to us. IT WAS NOT OUR FAULT, the people kept telling us, "2 more minutes, 2 more minutes". The video was worth the wait because now I have some priceless pictures that I wouldn't have been able to take myself. A little pricey but worth it. We barely made it back to the ship on time, without any lunch, and our kids were starving. They did have a hot dog stand at the Dolphin's Cove but it looked nasty! We got to the ship and we were greeted with an outrageous line for tendering. They allowed people with small children and disabilities to move to the front of the line and we had small children, which was good.
Our third port was Montego Bay and we did the Jamaican bob sled and Dunn's river falls. We really enjoyed this excursion but felt extremely rushed!! We were rushed climbing the water fall and were getting honked at by the shuttle when we tried to stop long enough to buy a drink. The lunch they served was OK but not very kid friendly. Once again we were flying back to get to the ship on time. We were told we would have time to shop a little, but we didn't. Our tour guide was really friendly and warned us about Jamaican's giving us sob stories to try to get money out of us, which we appreciated. But in Jamaica, EVERYONE wants and expects a tip. Even the lady in the bathroom filing the toilet paper rolls. It got really annoying!!!
My little kids went to the Camp Carnival and most of the time, LOVE it. The only complaint was other kids not sharing or taking over, typical kid stuff. My 6 yr old said it was his favorite part of the entire trip.
The teenagers really liked the Club02. They were frustrated because one night they shut down the dance party because younger teenagers kept trying to sneek in. Only complaint that my girls said was that they had to work really hard to keep the other kids involved with the dance party because they would shut it down if no one was dancing. The crew member over the club wanted it to shut down so he could go hang out at the club with his own friends. So my girls had to keep the dance going by getting others to dance, but I think they had fun doing it.
I can't say I would never cruise this ship or cruise line again, but we really had some problems that made our trip not as enjoyable as we would have liked. The last day, the fog was too thick to get into port and weren't able to get off the ship until 1:30 PM. We missed our flight and had to fork out another $700 do get flights home. When traveling with a LARGE crowd, get your travel insurance!!! I am not blaming this on Carnival, but it really didn't help end our trip.