In the beginning, there was Cruise Critic. And it was good. Some say, a must-read option for any cruise taker (especially first timers such as my wife and I). Then, there were Debbie-Downers, who have found their way to gripe about things no man can control, such as bad weather at ports, or whose reviews contain misinformation all around. I'll try to limit this to straight facts with the presumption that subjective opinions are entirely just that, so let's give it a go!
First off, the all around experience with Carnival Magic was absolutely fantastic. The ship sailed out of Galveston for a 7 day Western Carib trek from Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. You guys have read the stats on the ship itself, massive, large passenger and crew capacity, great breadth of amenities on-board. Each day's itinerary is packed with things to do, decks to explore. You can be as relaxed and non-engaging as you like, or never let the slightest shadow of boredom take over any part of your day by trying to do it all. We took in trivia games, comedy shows, headliner illusionist and juggler shows, dancing competitions, movies on the giant screen by the beach pool, games at the video arcade, lounging in the Serenity deck, running track/working out (both with great views of the sea), ropes course, mini golf, well, you get the idea!
The food selection is immense; from the dining hall options to the buffet and specialty food places (Indian, Japanese, Mexican, Outdoor Barbecue, etc), I couldn't find one dish that would be considered horrible and several that were really tasty. I know others like to go 'Iron Chef' and lambast the server working the breakfast shift at the Grill section because he forgot to give you extra cream cheese for your bagels. Fair enough. At this time you can either take the snooty approach and demand satisfaction for the king's ransom you paid for your trip (unlikely) or attribute a minor lapse from one of 1500 crew members to, *gasp, human error at the workplace. Either way, how this, or other 'mishaps', affect your vacation is entirely under your control. In the grand scheme of things, the entire food scene was wonderful.
There was a cooking demonstration at the Prime Steakhouse, where you would normally pay extra to dine. Not only was the demonstration great, the audience sampled the multi-course food prepared by the chefs. I'm cheap and found this a great way to enjoy a la carte food and save-a-buck prices. Similarly, you can visit the pasta bar at the Cocina del Capitano for free at lunch vs. other times where it will cost extra. Both these places have delicious food options!
The family-friendly comedy shows were pretty good. We heard from Munsy (spelling?) and Tony Esposito and had a good time. The illusionist had very impressive acts with several "how in the world did he?" moments. Marcus Monroe (that's Mm for short) had a juggling/comic act that was my favorite entertainment act of the week. If juggling doesn't work out, he would make a really good comic.
The three ports were terrifically different. It rained intermittently in Montego Bay (oh man, I hope I'm not one of those people) but that didn't deter us from visiting Doctors Cave Beach, Margaritaville and going snorkeling. The weather improved successively and Grand Cayman included a nice tour of Sting Ray city and relaxation at Rum Point beach. Our warmest day was in Cozumel and it was arguably the best spot for us on our trip. All around, the only gripe would be too little time to spend doing so many things of want.
All in all, we would definitely do a Carnival Magic cruise again, trying to cover more activities that were left out on this version. Don't let naysayers turn you off from a great experience. Plan early, research a lot, be considerate of others, and expect a great time from Deck 0 to Serenity.