I just got off the Magic on Sunday morning. It is Thursday, today. It was an ok cruise. I had read lots of negative reviews for the Magic prior to booking, but I still wanted to give it a try for myself since I know lots of people find so many things to complain about. I last cruised on RCL's Liberty, which was in the neighborhood of 3 years old, I think. At that time, I was thinking there were quite a few things I liked better on Carnival. Two months prior to that cruise I had sailed on the Carnival Freedom.
Generally speaking, I would have to say the Carnival ships are so much the same as each other. I expected the newer, bigger ship to have more, but it didn't. It had a nicer, bigger water slide, which I did not go on. It had a sky-walk thing (can't remember exactly what it was called) that I did not try, either. The decor was nice. There didn't seem to be much "theme" to it, like other ships have had (such as statues of liberty all over the place). The RCL ship had a skating rink, rock climbing wall, surf boarding thing, main street with shops, etc. The Magic didn't have any of that. I can't say how many bars there were on the Magic, and I don't care that much, but it seemed like a lot fewer than previous ships.
There didn't seem to be much entertainment staff. The dancers ran the Bingo. The cruise director did a few shows and announcements. There wasn't anybody entertaining around the pool area, for example, hardly ever.
They had some comedians and a magician and juggler for entertainment. They were ok, but there was no singer or anything like that they brought in. Just the ships dancers and singers.
I hated how starting on Saturday, the day before getting off, they started their getting rid of us routine. On Sunday morning the breakfast was really lacking. I felt very insulted. It seemed like they just wanted to get rid of us. There were no waffles or french toast. I had to ask for cream cheese to put on the bagels since none was set out.
Galveston is not a good place to sail out of. It's next to impossible to get a rental car from there. You have to fly into Houston, which is a 90 min drive from the one airport. There is another airport that is a little closer, but didn't pop up as an option for us when I booked the tickets. We had to hire the limo service for a ride to and from the airport. That was expensive, and not such great service. The weather out of Galveston on sailing day, and the last day sailing back to Galveston, wasn't quite swimming weather. We had the same problem sailing out of California(LA area).
The staff on the ship was fine. The waiters seemed to have so many tables. It seemed that a lot of people got frustrated with waiting for things that they didn't show up for dinner many days. I am guessing at that, however.
The automatic tip thing makes it easier, but I really hate having to tip in general. I am a registered nurse, and we are not allowed to get tips. I always feel I pay so much for the food at the restaurants already, and then you have to tip on top of it. Carnival does allow you to adjust the amount up or down at guest services. It is easier than coming up with cash the evening before like you do on RCL.
We had interior rooms on this cruise. Boy are they small! Not a small couch in the room at all. Only the beds and the desk with stool in the room. We have had a family suite on a previous cruise, balcony room, window room. I even had an interior room on RCL and all of those rooms had couches. The showers are nice. Good water pressure. They include a shampoo dispenser and body wash dispenser. They also have hair dryers in the desk drawer. They only have the one outlet in the room, though, which seems common on cruises.
The food was ok. Some was quite good. We did not go to the restaurants where you had to pay extra.