Embarkation: We arrived one day early in Galveston to make for an easy arrival at the ship terminal. We've cruise several times from Galveston and are familiar with the process. We parked at EzCruise parking lot and were quickly shuttled over to the terminal. This was at approximately 11:30 am. We made it upstairs to the security line with our carry-ons and were through that in about 15 minutes. Then we were in line for about 5 minutes for boarding and our Sail and Sign cards. Then to the picture stop for the Sail and Sign cards, the embarkation photo and then on the ship! This may have all taken about 30 minutes. Rooms were not available until 1:30 PM. Our luggage arrived as expected around 4:30 PM.
The Ship: Magic is the largest ship we've sail on. Only my husband and I were traveling this time. We explored for a short bit and then to the Sport Deck (12) for a drink of the day and some TV for the Daytona 500. We enjoyed the upbeat music playing out doors and all the many places to sit and relax. There are rattan couches and chairs, lounge chairs and the Serenity Deck was great for adult only relaxation. This rule was enforced and we did enjoy the quiet time. Our impression of the atrium was that it was small and unimpressive. We liked the colors and decor, but it's not one of our big deals no mater what it looks like. The ship was clean and in great condition. There is the usual shopping opportunities as well as a candy store. We found the elevators to be adequate and available. The Casino was nice. Once side smoking and the other not, but all table games are on the smoke side. Nothing out of the ordinary in gaming here. The Red Frog Pub was great and one of our favorite stops during the day and evenings. Tarek provided wonderful service and was able to make us Bocce Balls whenever requested. The Red Frog ale was on tab and very tasty too. The pub is on deck 5, the Promenade which had outside access to whirlpools and more seating. It was nice feature.
The Cabin: We booked a Cloud 9 Spa balcony cabin (12027) for this trip. It was very nice. The decor is a bit subdued with different art work in the cabin. The size and layout was typical of a balcony cabin. You receive priority spa appointments, 2 complimentary athletic classes, robes with slippers, spa bath products and linen spray for your pillows. The room was quiet and made it easy to get the Sport Deck where we spent a lot of time. We will book this category again, when it's available.
Dining: There were many, many options for this activity. I've read reviews that complained of the lines and such, but we didn't really have this issue. It was no worse then any other ship we've been on, but maybe we don't go at the busiest of times. Sushi was very good, but simple. We didn't eat pizza or the Tandoori, but it was available. We didn't eat in the Steak restaurant or the Italian restaurant. We're not coffee drinkers either. We had late seating in the Southern Lights Dining room. Our wait staff was courteous, fast and accommodating. They were happy and after the scheduled dining room performances, treated us to some "Hammer-time" and "Lady Gaga" dance performances that won't be forgotten. Wigs and all. We had a great team and enjoyed our Main dining rooms experience each night. One small addition, but one that my husband loved, was popcorn at the movie times. It was something that he missed on cruise vacations.
Entertainment: We only watched one comedy show that was very good and the attended the Past Cruise passenger reception. It was also nice with light snacks and plenty of cocktails to go around. We utilized the unlimited mineral pool in the spa, thermals suite and the bean back toss at the Red Frog Pub. Also enjoyed the live entertainment there too. We found many things to do without being on a schedule and enjoyed it completely.
Ports: All our excursion were booked prior to our leaving on the ship, through Carnival. Cozumel - We went to the ruins of Tulum. This requires a lot of transportation via a fairy, bus and walking. We liked it and leaned so many things about the Mayans from our guide. This tour can be hot and requires some stairs and such.
Cayman - We did a trip on a catamaran to the Stingrays. We've done this excursion several times and never tire of it. Tendering is still not fun, but it's necessary to enjoy the island.
Jamaica - We took the Appleton Rum tour. This involves a 2.5 hour bus ride, but you will see some amazing county and some crazy roads for a large bus to be on. We like the tour and found it to be informative. A small lunch was provided and was very good. Run tasting was unlimited. The grounds of the factory are beautiful and well cared for.
Staff: Our cabin steward (Pim) was very attentive, flexible and smiling. Dining room team (Jessie, "I", Alen) were also great and made our evenings. For the additional entertainment I spoke about above, the addition of Alexander and Valentino, along with Alen made our dance team. They fun. We mostly were served by Tarek in the Red Frog. He efficient and fun as well. Generally, I found the staff on the ship to be positive and helpful.
General: We joined late to a group with CruiseCritic and this group was a lot of fun. We took part in a Cabin Crawl/poker draw and it was a good time too. Very nice group of folks to meet.
Disembarkation: We were not up until 8:15. All our luggage was picked up the night before and we had plenty of time for breakfast. Know that breakfast is available in the Marketplace buffet, but it will be limited. We found it to be fine for what we needed. Our impression of the service on that day was poor. The staff was not as quick to pick up left over plates and dishes as they had been throughout the cruise.
We can't wait to go again!!