8 Carnival Magic Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean from Barcelona

Where to begin....let me first say that these are my own opinions, obviously, and others may disagree with me on some of these points. I don't intend to insult anyone. Our main intent for this cruise was just to get to the ... Read More
Where to begin....let me first say that these are my own opinions, obviously, and others may disagree with me on some of these points. I don't intend to insult anyone. Our main intent for this cruise was just to get to the destinations without having to pack and unpack in each city, on a strict budget. My companions and I are in our late 20s to mid 30s, so this may be an entirely different experience for older folk. CRUISE ITSELF Embarking: we were able to drop our bags off at 10am and explore Barcelona a bit before entering the ship, which was nice. Taxis are aplenty at port, though you may have to wait in a long line to go back into the city depending. Room: we had three girls in an interior room towards the middle of the 7th deck. It was really the perfect location, in the middle of everything. I thought it would bother me not to have a window, but it wound up being fine. I wouldn't have more than three people in a room, though. The bathroom, as you can imagine, is really, really small. The shower is nearly impossible to shave in. But we expected all of this so it wasn't a problem. The TV has very few channels, but if you're not spending a lot of time in your room, this won't come into play much. There are three closets that are a pretty good size and a dresser with three small usable drawers. The beds are high enough to slide a good size suitcase under them. Pool & Pool Deck: the pools are smaller than we had expected. The one in the back of the ship is the quieter one. The front is where they have a live band or loud music. The back has music playing but more in the background. It's difficult to find a lounger by the pool if you don't get up early, but we had no problem finding one on the 11th or 12th decks no matter what time of day it was. Food: Horrible. There's no way around that. We heard some people say that it was terrific, and I feel sorry for those people because they haven't been exposed to truly good food. We tried the buffet, the dining room, and the Italian restaurant that requires a fee for each guest ($10). The buffet: the omelet bar, burrito bar, and wok bar were okay, but everything else was awful. Burgers sit there for hours; buns are stale; hotdogs are boiled until they're mush instead of grilled; meat and seafood are overcooked; somehow the salad bar wasn't even that great and that was just straight up veggies and beans. Southern Lights dining room: We were at the youngest table and were served last every night. As a result, almost every entrEe was served cold. Our app plates would sit in front of us for way too long before being cleared away. Desert was nearly always melted by the time it was served. It took over 2 hours every night, which was not necessary in my opinion. Servers have more than one large table, so they are run ragged by the look of things. And each night dinner ends with a man singing Sinatra and the servers getting up on pedestals to dance a "friendship dance". I know cruises can be cheesy but this was waaaay too much for me. Italian restaurant: not great, not terrible. The pasta was cooked well, but it was served luke warm and wasn't great. I don't think it was worth the extra $10. Entertainment: Danny in the Red Frog is good, but everything else we heard music wise was cheesy to the max. All onboard musicians LOVE Bon Jovi and have a very limited selection of music that they play. We didn't watch any of the comedians or see any of the other shows, so I have no opinion of those. Service: our room porter was great; waiters at the Red Frog are terrific; other service was alright - not great, not horrible. People: Most people on the ship were seniors with very few children since school had just started. We were shocked at how rude the majority of the people on the ship were. Pushing and shoving to get into the buffet. No "please" or "thank you" or common courtesy. No manners at all. It got to be really, really annoying by the end of it. Disembarking: we had no problem. We were allowed to begin disembarking at 5:45am. We left the ship between 7-7:30am and just breezed through. We didn't even have to wait for a taxi. DESTINATIONS Buy this book: Seriously, do yourself a favor and pick up Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports. It was our bible throughout the entire trip. When you have only hours in a city the size of Rome, you don't have time to mess around. This book gives directions by walking, transit, highlights of the city to hit up, restaurant recommendations, what to do if you miss your ship, etc. I don't know what we would have done without it. Itinerary: Be prepared for changes in the itinerary. We were told on our first day that Rome was having a transit strike the day we were supposed to be in port, so they had to shuffle things around. As a result, we would no longer be going to Naples, and that Naples was replaced with Marseilles. Many people, including ourselves, were very upset with this. We chose this cruise specifically for the destinations, and they can just change them on a dime. They said they'd notified us the week before, but they had not. The times you think you'll be in port are also likely to change. I believe Florence was initially supposed to be 7:30am to after 7pm and it wound up being 10:00am to 6pm. Excursions: In the interest of saving money, my companions and I opted not to do any excursions through Carnival. They are way too overpriced in my opinion, and I am not a patient person. I am also comfortable with public transit. If you do choose to go on them, be prepared to wait on people and not have any say in how you spend your time in cities. Our tablemates told us that no matter the amount of free time they say you'll have, it never winds up being that much time. Self-transfers into main cities from port: Italian trains are VERY unreliable. Trains get cancelled and break down all the time. Both happened to us in Florence. Do not wait until the last minute to come back, because a cab ride from Rome or Florence back to port is going to run you hundreds of euros. Liverno requires a 1 hour and 20 minute train ride into Florence. We split a cab to the train station. You'll need to make sure that the train you are on is either direct or requires a transfer in Pisa. Be sure to ask this (we almost wound up not transferring, ending up god knows where). Once into Florence you can take a bus to wherever you want to go. Rome requires a 1.5 hour (or less) train ride from Civitavecchia. The train station is within walkable distance from port. Once in Rome, you can take the subway to the Colliseum or Vatican, or wherever you want to go. It's really easy once you figure out what line you need. The book I suggested gives explicit directions that we followed seamlessly. When going back to port, give yourself at least 20 minutes to walk to the platform once in the train station. Taxis: be sure to ask how much it should cost you if you can, because they will try to rip you off. If it winds up that you need to take a cab back from Rome, I know friends of ours talked a cab driver down to 120 Euro. They'll likely aim for 200. Theft: be smart with your belongings. Thieves run rampant and they're not all scary looking men. We had someone tell us that a little old woman attempted to jack his wallet. I hope this helps! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
One of the main factors is selecting the cruise was the price and the fact that it was quite port intensive. Our party was made up of 4 adults - none of us having ever cruised before and two in our group not having traveled overseas ... Read More
One of the main factors is selecting the cruise was the price and the fact that it was quite port intensive. Our party was made up of 4 adults - none of us having ever cruised before and two in our group not having traveled overseas before. We hit a slight hiccup when we arrived at the cruise port - but it was sorted out quickly and before we knew it we were on board. We were very impressed with what we saw - many of the reviews etc that we had read said that the decor was garish, cheap and nasty.....Well we obviously don't have a clue. We went up to the Lido and had lunch - which was good. Nice selection - all fresh. We explored a bit and then sat in the Serenity area and just after one got to our cabin. We were more than happy with it. Comfy beds, clean and good quality linen, nice size bathroom, plenty packing space. To be honest we had envisage a smaller room - so were pleasantly surprised by the size. Our first night we ate dinner in the Northern Lights - the food and service were very good. My review is going to be my first so bear with me - Being first time cruisers we were open to anything - the cruise had quite a demanding iteninary but we were up for it!!. To highlight the ports First stop was Marseilles - nothing much to write home about. Second day was Savona - we booked a shore excursion to Monaco - what a trip - we had a wonderful tour guide and the experience was outstanding. The 3rd stop was Rome - again we had booked a shore excursion - however this was horrid. We had selected "Rome at its Best" - first we had to swop buses as the aircon was broken - the young lady that was on the vehicle with us said she was not a guide but a tour assistant. I will not go into detail as we could be here for very long......the tour was terrible. Eventually we picked up a local guide for the Basilica and the Colosseum - and then had a very rushed but good end of the tour. Stop 4 - we did our own thing and went to Sorrento on a Hydrofoil and then caught the train to Pompeii. Stop 5 Dubrovnik - again did our own thing - Walked the old city walls and did the Cable car. Stop 6 Venice - day 1 we did most of venice town and day 2 went to Murano Stop 7 Messina - walked around, did a tour on the local "train" and watched the anatomical clock at 12. The Ship - very nice, plenty to do and see The food - plenty of variety, always good. Sushi - very yummy. The drinks - EXPENSIVE The internet - very slow and then to make it worse - VERY EXPENSIVE The Deck and cabins - we were very happy.Situated on the 7th Deck. Why choose an inside cabin? - We only slept there!!! The staff - on a whole - very helpful and friendly - did however find a couple that really made you feel like they were doing you a massive favor and did it with attitude!! A special shout out to Arnaldo( hope it is right) and B - our room stewards.....nothing was ever to much trouble.Also a special mention to the two South African girls on the front desk!!! The Carnival Shore excursions - Very expensive and very little information or no information given out for if you wanted to do something on your own. The shore excursion staff - we took our complaint for the Rome excursion to the desk. The team member was not really willing to help. Gave lots of reasons for why it was not Carnival's problem!! After 3 days we received a discount for the excursion - this however was a small consolation for the fact that Rome was spoilt for us. The Entertainment - very good - really enjoyed the Adult comedy shows and Blood Power band!! The onboard facilities - used the putt putt, ropes, table tennis, pool - all good. For us there were a couple of negatives - On the 2nd day in Venice there was a transport strike. We had heard from guests the previous night. The cruise director only advise us on the morning of the 2nd day - why were we not notified before this??? Surely the cruise ships are made aware of this well before. The other thing that had nothing to do with the cruise - but actually with fellow passengers was the gluttony and waste. We come from quite a reserved family and to see how people dished up food and then never ate it - this was to much for our family There is so much that one actually could get quite carried away.We had a great time and already planning our next one. Thank you Carnival Magic for a wonderful memorable holiday Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was my first cruise, in what will hopefully be one of many. I traveled with a family group of 8. To start off, the embarkation onto the boat was flawless. Even though it has been noted that you could not board until 11:30, we ... Read More
This was my first cruise, in what will hopefully be one of many. I traveled with a family group of 8. To start off, the embarkation onto the boat was flawless. Even though it has been noted that you could not board until 11:30, we had made the mistake of booking a cab too early (or so we thought) and arrived at the port an hour early. I was chagrined to see lines upon lines of people everywhere - waiting for taxis, hanging outside of the port building, looking miserable. To my delight, we got out of our taxi, was immediately met by a porter who whisked our luggage away and we were ushered into the modern, immaculate building. I later learned that I would be one of the huddled masses looking for a way out of the port at the end of the trip. Check in was a breeze, and anticipating having to wait around in the port building before we'd be allowed on the Carnival Magic, we were instead welcomed upon the boat and invited to start strapping on the feed bag immediately. That was my introduction to cruising, and it was a heady delight, that spread out before me was a magnificent buffet and it was mine for the taking. Sitting out on the Lido deck, gazing out into the ocean, dining al fresco, having my dishes whisked away the second I was done with them....amazing. That was the type of moment you'll always remember on your first cruise. Now, for exploring the boat. How bizarre it was remember that this was a brand new boat, only having a few other sailings before mine. I was somewhat chagrined to see that many things already appeared worn (wooden steps, some furniture) or dirty (windows, carpets). I've read in other reviews that Carnival ships usually lean towards a "cheesy" design, and I would wholeheartedly agree. I was expecting things on a grand, modern scale, but that was absolutely not the case. I felt much of the decor was straight out of the 70's, and not in a good way. The only area I felt had a sleek, interesting design was the Spa area, which was beautiful - aqua glass, ocean colored tiles, soothing colors, muted patterns. Otherwise, it was boring beige-ness, hideous carpets, fixtures and lightings that seemed dated already. For the number of people on the boat, it seemed that there should be more actual pool as well, for once the ship was full, you had to cram yourself in for some swim time...forget about swimming laps or having any space. And really, unless you are like the other passengers and hog a deck chair with your personal belongings though you may be decks away and have no intention of returning to it any time soon, you'll find that having a area to sit can be difficult to come by. That infuriated me time and time again that people were no where to be found, but towels,books, etc. were always strewn over the chairs, "holding them" but remained empty for hours at a time. That held true for the adult area, the waterslide area and the pool areas. Not that this should come as any surprise, but though you've paid for your cruise, Carnival will continue to try and part you from your money from the time you enter the ship until you leave. Truly, it would have been easy enough to avoid extra costs beside the $10/day gratuities, but it was sad to see how many things you had to pay extra for. Of course, any alcohol, which is understandable, and goodness knows, there will be a server asking constantly if they can bring you a drink, though no one was ever pushy about it. Things like a "coffee house" where you had to buy frou frou coffees or large desserts... that was ridiculous to me. In the pub, you have to pay extra for any grub. Pictures, pictures, pictures all over the place, but exorbitant prices to buy them. Ridiculous bingo games constantly. I thought there would be more shopping aboard the boat, like souvenir type items, but they have wasted space on having a candy shoppe (where of course, you pay for everything). As this is a port heavy cruise, I wasn't expecting a huge amount of on board entertainment, but thank goodness I wasn't, because there was very little of interest, especially during the day. Some trivia games, casino tournaments, kareoke, but I guess I was just expecting more little classes or lectures, crafts...I don't know, just more. I went to one of the evening shows, singers and dancers were good, set was very nice, songs were somewhat "meh", but since most of them were from the 70's, it fit with the overall environment of the boat, I suppose. Saw the comedians, they were decent. Magic show was abysmal, literally 2-3 "tricks" per performer, and lame at that. Back to my favorite thing, and that's food. There was plenty to be had onboard. Eating at the buffets, there was always something tasty. Some of the desserts were hit or miss (especially any cheesecake product...blech!). When it was busy, waiting in line is excruciating. When I am hungry, I am not patient, but I was a sight better than many people who would just barge in and jump the line, grab something and be on their way, making the rest of us sucker wait that much longer in the line. I sampled most of what they had to offer on board. One thing that I should have mentioned about the ship itself, is that I was constantly turned around and confused, though that might be more due to my lack of sense of direction. In any case, there were indoor buffets, then outdoor kiosk specialty restaurants, which I could never remember which one was where. From my recollection, there were 4 - a deli, hamburger/hotdog stand, tandoori food and pizza place. Never ate at the deli, but sandwiches my sister got looked good. Hamburger/hotdogs were good, fries excellent. Tandoor was awesome, though naan bread was always snatched up, needing to be replaced. Pizza was OK, staff never seemed to be there, you had to wait if you ordered anything beyond cheese. Inside at the buffets, there was a burrito bar, a la Chipotle, that was quite good, though the buffet came with tortilla chips and had the odd experience of having 1 out of every 3 chips be stale and disgusting, and the remainder delicious. Huh. Mongolian Wok line was also long and infuriating and the sauce choice was poor the day I went and ended up not even liking what I had "created". And no rice? That was odd. Now, the dining room experience - ate there a few times for breakfast, and that got old quickly, since the menu was pretty limited. For dinner? Phenomenal! The service, the food, the selection... top notch! Was always happy, if anything was not good, just asked for something different and it was whisked to the table in no time. Probably since we had a private table next to a window, we were luckier and happier than most, but I looked forward to every single dinner. To the cabin - my better half decided not to come on the cruise, so I had to share a room with two other family members. However, it was not as miserable as anticipated. Was very pleased to find that there were two separate bathroom areas in the oceanview cabin - one with toilet, sink and shower, the other with sink and bathtub. Outside of both, a long shelf and dressing table for storage and for prepping for the day. Ideal for 3 women sharing a space, and all three like to primp. The closet space was great and shelves/drawers aplenty to hold all our junk. The bathrooms also had great space for toiletries, of which I brought way too many, but still was able to spread them out. Bed was comfy - service to the room, again was phenomenal. Like ninjas, the staff cleaned the heck out of the room the minute we stepped out of it, never running into them servicing the room, either in the morning or evening. To have turn down service, mints on the pillow, towel animal at night.... aaah, that will also be the takeaway love of the cruise along with the food. To be honest, I was initially somewhat miffed at the idea of being charged an additional $70 for gratuities, especially with three people in the cabin...did they (dining, room staff) really deserve $210? They sure did, and I was scraping together my dollars to give them even more by the end, because I was that impressed at the level of service. Everyone was friendly, helpful... I could never do that job and still be in such a good mood and keep a smile on my face. The casino was marginal...I was hoping for a lot more video slots, but Vegas , it was not. I don't like the "one armed bandit" reel slots, and they had majority of those. I like to be entertained by ridiculous cartoons, etc. while I'm losing my money :) My shore excursion experiences ended up being pretty boring. To save money, I only booked one excursion, Rome at It's Best. The organization to get off the boat and onto your bus was fine, coach was comfy, initial guide was good, taking us into the city, giving us free time. The included lunch was at a random restaurant, and food was given to us, no choice at all, which was disappointing, especially since the main course was meat filled lasagna, which while tasty to me, was no good for picky kids or vegetarians, especially since the salad was filled with tuna, so it was bread for those who didn't eat meat. But a ton of wine was included, so the rest of the tour was somewhat blurry, if not completely boring. The second tour guide that met us in Rome for the afternoon was awful, and it is not even worth describing how excruciating she made the Basillica and the Colloseum with her vast amounts of talking and making us stand in one place instead of actually exploring Rome's magnificence. Thank heavens I had visited Rome before and will not carry just those memories of the worst tour guide ever. However, I should probably thank her for giving me the most hilarious pictures of the entire trip, when I took pictures of every single person in my family looking exhausted, angry, bored and mutinous all in one expression while in the Colosseum. However, don't let that dissuade you from taking this tour...we just got the worst tour guide is all. Rome deserves a lot more time than a day excursion, anyway... For the other ports, despite my initial plans to have tours on my own, they turned into more wandering than anything. Monaco was very nice to explore on your own and it was easy enough to walk through the country without trouble. Livorno, I should have gone to Florence or Pisa, but since it came right after the Rome day, we were tired and just not in the mood to plan. After getting a shuttle bus (5 euro for round trip) into town was good enough, getting some lovely gelato. Naples, had every intention of going to Capri, but again, just wandered around the city, which had a lot more to explore than Livorno, but was very real and gritty, not touristy the way I thought a port city would be, but good. Messina, nothing struck my fancy, so again, just walked the city and there was some neat things to see, churches, church bells, souvenir shops, restaurants, shops. So then, it was time to return to the real world. Debarkation was easy enough, though early in the morning, starting at 6, they were shoving you off the boat via overhead announcements as fast as they could. Who could blame them, with a whole new group of travelers getting on that same day, but a jarring end to it all. We walked off ourselves with luggage, easy enough. Fortunately found the shuttle bus to our hotel and didn't have to wait in the inhumane taxi line or sit with our bags on the curb like a hobo family for very long...only 15 minutes or so, looking with jealousy at the fresh faced new group going into the terminal for their upcoming cruise on the boat we just left. Finally, a word about Barcelona...I absolutely loved it. It was never on my radar as a city (or Spain as a country) I had any interest in visiting - I've traveled extensively elsewhere - England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland (N and S), France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, etc. but was really surprised at how accessible Barcelona was as a city, it's beauty and architecture, great transportation system, especially the Metro. The people were friendly, accomodating and took pride in keeping their city nice. Before embarkation, we stayed at Apartments Spain Square in Eixample for three nights and then at the Renaissance Airport Hotel for two nights afterwards, and both places provided advantages for seeing the city. Using self catering accomodations saved a lot of money in the beginning as well. Overall, it was a trip to remember, and I will carry many more positive memories than anything else. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Food & Drink We thought the main restaurant (Northern Lights) in which we ate every evening was very good. We opted for the flexible time dining option and found this suited us well, as some of our excursions didn't get back ... Read More
Food & Drink We thought the main restaurant (Northern Lights) in which we ate every evening was very good. We opted for the flexible time dining option and found this suited us well, as some of our excursions didn't get back until quite late. Both the food and service in the restaurant were good, I especially enjoyed the lobster and shrimp on the Elegant night, and the steaks. The melting chocolate dessert was fantastic too. We ate at lunchtime in the Lido on the days we were not on excursions, this area was pretty busy some days, but the food always plentiful. The quality was not as high as in the dining room, but there was something for everyone. I particularly enjoyed the Tandoori Kitchen, Burrito Bar and Mongolian Wok counters. The wide selection of food available at breakfast was fantastic, we preferred the buffet at the Lido to the more formal sit down breakfast in the Southern Lights restaurant. I loved the French toast, and the eggs Benedict, along with the continental cheese and ham selection. Soft and hot drinks were available for free all day on board which was a nice surprise. Alcoholic drinks were reasonably expensive but not astronomically priced, in line with other decent hotels and bars. We found the 8% VAT and 15% service charge bumped the price up noticeably from the price on the menu, making the drinks more expensive than you would expect at first glance. We ate at the Steak House on our final night which was amazing. We had fantastic steaks and lobster and very large delicious desserts of which we could only manage a small bite. At $30/person, the charge for the Steak House is not nominal to us, however definitely worth it for this treat. There were many good and affordable bottles of wine here too, and we tried an excellent Tuscan wine. We tried several of the bars on board and particularly enjoyed the Red Frog Caribbean themed pub, and the sushi bar where we ate complimentary sushi accompanied by a very reasonably priced carafe of sake. Itinerary & Shore Excursions We thought the destinations on this cruise were an excellent selection, however did find the itinerary very busy in practice. It would have been good to have a sea day midway through the week. We had a little rain in both Barcelona and Monaco, and a heavy thunderstorm on arrival in Rome, however the weather then dried up and every day was about 28/82 degrees and lovely and sunny. After the first couple of evenings the temperature out on deck was very comfortable with just a light breeze. We booked shore excursions with Carnival for all of the ports before departure. Only one of our trips (St Paul de Vence from Monaco) was cancelled due to lack of interest, so instead we went sightseeing in Monaco independently, as the ship docked right in the Harbour. The other tours we did were The Best of Rome, Leaning Tower of Pisa with Tower Entrance (Livorno), Pompeii and Amalfi Coast boat trip (Naples), Mount Etna (Sicily), Barcelona Highlights and Spanish Village. My favourite day was Pompeii and Amalfi, and the Rome tour was very comprehensive, however 12 hours of sightseeing was quite tiring. Cabin We stayed in an outside cabin on deck 2 and were very lucky with our choice. We were in a room which was much larger than many of the staterooms in this class, and had a bed which looked out to sea through two large windows - a lovely way to wake up in the morning! Our steward was very friendly and efficient and kept our room spotlessly clean. At turn down he created a cute towel animal for us each evening. We were close to the back of the ship so did feel some quite strong vibrations as the ship was manoeuvred into dock each morning, but other than that it was a very calm voyage. Entertainment/Facilities We did a spa tour on the first day and were very impressed with the facilities. Treatments were reasonably priced and very varied. Sadly we did not get time to use the spa though, as we were so busy with excursions. We used the gym once during our cruise. It is large, has much hi-tech equipment and was not too busy. There was plenty of evening entertainment on board, although we found the timings to be strange as they did not fit well with the dining times. We found the general cabaret and magic shows to be a little weak, however enjoyed the comedy club (although some of the jokes were very US centric - the comedians did not always adapt their acts to the international clientele). The bingo sessions were well organised and had decent cash prizes. The pub quiz we took part in was also fun. We enjoyed playing the slot machines in the casino several evenings. We also loved the idea of the open air cinema in the evening (with pizza, popcorn and ice cream all provided!) however did not find a film on at a suitable time to suit our tastes - as with the shows, the movies seem to start at very strange times which did not fit in with the dining, excursions or other entertainment. The hot tubs on deck 5 were much quieter than those by the pool area, which were full of kids. We enjoyed the adults only serenity deck at the top of the ship, although this was always busy during the day and at night the hooded double seats which should have been so cosy could not be used as the wind had broken most of the hood mechanisms - I think a redesign is necessary here. General The electronic door keys/charge cards that we were all issued with were very convenient, and also enabled us to board/disembark the ship very efficiently. Being able to check our room bill via the TV was also very helpful. As first time cruisers we had not realised we would need to pack our suitcases by 11pm the night before disembarkation, which was a pain, and we would make sure we were more prepared with a larger hand luggage bag available next time. Neither were we prepared for how early the ship would dock in most ports and the early starts for excursions, so we found the cruise exhausting rather than relaxing, although very enjoyable. Again this is something we will note for future cruises and feel we want to share with future new cruisers via this site. The ship felt very crowded on the outside deck on the sea day with every sun lounger taken, despite there being thousands. We spent most of this day taking advantage of entertainment inside, such as the pub quiz and bingo. Boarding and disembarkation were both very quick and easy, and on arrival at the ship we were allowed aboard hours before departure and went up to the Lido deck for lunch whilst we waited for our stateroom to be ready. Overall, we had a fantastic time on this brand new ship. We explored some amazing destinations and enjoyed a great time on board with cuisine that exceeded our initial expectations. With regards to entertainment and facilities on the ship there was something for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Went on Carnival Magic for a seven night cruise in July with my hubby and 16 year old daughter. It was our first cruise and we only booked a 7 night cruise just in case we hated it. My husband was not looking forward to the cruise as he ... Read More
Went on Carnival Magic for a seven night cruise in July with my hubby and 16 year old daughter. It was our first cruise and we only booked a 7 night cruise just in case we hated it. My husband was not looking forward to the cruise as he thought it would be like being on holiday in the Trafford Centre ( large shopping Mall in UK) we spent a week in Spain prior to the cruise to relax and get some sun which was nice. We arrived by taxi to the cruise terminal at approx. 11.30am and embarkation was very quick and efficient, we were on the ship within 20 minutes. We walked up the gangway onto the ship straight into the Atrium area and I thought it was impressive. We could not go direct to our cabin as they were not ready, so we made our way up to the promenade deck and found some sun loungers and got a cocktail which was lovely. The ship was getting crowded by now and everyone was in a good mood to start their vacation. The Lido Marketplace was in full flow serving food which looked fabulous. There was staff everywhere who were willing to help and answer any questions and give directions etc. We bought a Soda Card for my daughter and myself ( in hindsight I would not have bothered for myself because I did not get my monies worth, as I drank mainly cocktails and beers and wine all week). They announced over the speaker that we could go to our cabin at about 2pm and when we got to our cabin our cases were waiting for us outside the door. I loved our cabin, it was very new and bright and airy . We had a balcony cabin on the 9th floor. It had a double bed for us and the settee area was made up into a very comfy bed for our daughter. We we're called to a meeting in the theatre and then John Heald the Cruise Director dropped the bombshell that our whole itinerary had to be changed due to very rough seas toward Monaco, so they were going to go to Siciliy first, then Naples, Rome, Livorno and go to Monaco on the last day. This was a complete pain in the ass, as so many people (including ourselves) had pre booked private tours and tickets for specific dates for the Vatican etc. the queue at guest services was horrendous, with everyone trying to rearrange their tours which was not an enjoyable experience. FOOD Loved it Only managed to eat breakfast in the Southern Lights once, as it closed too early for us - so we had all our breakfasts in Lido. Lunch - there was so much choice in the Lido we did not get chance to try half of it. I did have a deli sandwich which was So good and the Tandoori was lovely. My husband liked the Burrito Bar but didn't get chance to try the Mongolian food as the queue was always massive and I refuse to queue for food. Dinner - we had anytime dining in the Northern Lights restaurant and we thought this was a really nice dining experience each night and had some great waiters (some very funny) and each night some of the waiters got up and did a silly dance which I thought was very funny and enjoyable. We got so much food for our Starter and Main Course that I only managed to eat a sweet twice. We ate in the Steakhouse once and it was a really lovely dining experience and the food was fabulous. SHOWS / ENTERTAINMENT We really enjoyed all the shows that we saw in the main Theatre. The first night was a silly show hosted by John Heald and I thought it was very funny, I was in tears laughing. He got people up from the audience and made fun of them. John Heald had a very dry sense of humour, and I found him hilarious. (being a fellow Brit). I Though the Magic show was spectacular and really good. Also the 70's Dance Show was fab, really great singers and dancers. My daughter loved the dance shows, as she is a dancer and wants to dance on cruise ships when she leaves dance college. The comedy shows for Adults only wes very funny too. We went to the Piano Bar or the Red Frog Pub every night after the shows for a sing a long and a Cocktail. We only went into the Vibe Club once and it smelled on smoke so we came out. We don't gamble so did not try the Casino, but we walked though it and it looked impressive. O2 Club Our daughter met so many teenagers on this cruise that we hardly saw her. She went to the O2 club every night after dinner to meet up with her friends and she had a great time. She cried when she had to come home. She didn't take part in many of the activities but just used it as a meeting place. she did tell us that she thought the club was a bit Childish for 16 sand 17 year olds. TOURS We only did 2 full day tours with Rome in Limo which was pre booked. We went to Pompii, Sorrento and Amalfi Coast. Also Highlight of Rome. Rome in Limo was excellent and would recommend them to anyone. Had two great days. We walked around Monaco and Messina ourselves. Stayed on ship in Livorno, as already been to Florence ad Pisa before. All in all we had a great week and really enjoyed the cruise experience with Carnival Magic and now want to try more cruises. Only Downside was the drinks are very expensive and you get charged gratuities on top of every drink, as well as the 10 dollars each per day that is taken from your sail and sign account for gratuities. Need more direction signs around the ship - got lost a lot. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our first ever cruise and we chose Carnival Magic because of its ports of call. As cruise novices we worried about choosing the right room - we didn't like the sound of an 'inside room' but didn't think ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we chose Carnival Magic because of its ports of call. As cruise novices we worried about choosing the right room - we didn't like the sound of an 'inside room' but didn't think we'd need a balcony, so taking the advice of our Virgin Cruise rep we went with his suggestion of room 2497 on the second floor that had a window overlooking the rear of the ship. This was a huge mistake and one I blame solely on our Virgin rep who actually laughed when we asked the seemingly ridiculous question, "Can you hear the noise of the engine from the lower decks, as we are light sleepers?" "There is no noise on modern cruise ships," was the reply. So he booked us in stateroom 2497 and we spent twelve nights in a room that shook, rumbled and rattled, especially when the ship went in and out of port. We actually filmed it to capture the level of noise and vibration, but after compaining the best the steward could offer was to suggest we pack towels round everything! Sleep was often difficult and an alarm call really not needed as the engines had us awake by 5 -6am most mornings. For a first time 'cruiser' I have to say the ship itself was pretty spectacular - I doubt they can all look that amazing, and the level of service and cleanliness was excellent. A plus was definitely the food served in the two main dining rooms, which was very good - we couldn't fault it. We didn't try the ships Italian restaraunt because we were travelling around Italy and had a few meals off the ship, but as it was our anniversary during the trip we booked a table in the Steakhouse, where the staff tried so hard to make us welcome that they never left us alone for a minute, to the point that we wondered if they were rushing us through our meal because they were after our table!! It spoiled the evening and to be frank the food was no better than that served in the dining room. The Lido on the 10th floor was a general buffet that looked great but somehow never tasted quite as good as it looked, and other eateries such as the Tandoori, the Deli, the Pizza place and the Grill were much the same. Hit and miss - great hotdogs and Indian, tasteless low quality icecream and coffee. The same could be said for the entertainment - it was never quite as good as it could or should have been. A lot of the acts and shows in my opinion were second rate, but we really enjoyed the Red Frog Pub and the band Blood Power were excellent, but sadly undersold because they were usually on in the Ocean Plaza, a walk through bar/food area that had all the hospitality and atmosphere of an airport lounge. Yet the Spotlight Lounge was a lovely setting that was very poorly used. My husband was looking forward to the promised opportunity of 'singing karaoke with a live band', which had been advertised but in reality didn't exist. On the few occasions we saw karaoke it was a limp, sad affair, poorly presented and struggling to be heard over music played through the ship's piped music system. Cheesy John Heald, the Entertainment Director took every opportunity to go for the hard sell on everything from tours to ladies watches and he was fond of reminding us we were on a 'luxury cruise' - a bit more time spent organising better entertainment and upgrading the uninformative Fun Times bulletin would have been a better use of his time. I'm not sure we'll do another cruise - the theory is great, but the cost is high and the ship was full to over capacity, so it was impossible to get a sunbed or find a quiet place away from the Las Vegas - holiday camp vibe espiecally on 'fun days' at sea. But seeing Florence and Venice for the first time was fantastic and something we'll remember always! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My wife, myself and 2 friends from the USA were on the jue 3- june 12 Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Magic. For me and my wife it was the first cruise eventhough I have served in the dutch navy for 7 years. Our US friends where on 2 ... Read More
My wife, myself and 2 friends from the USA were on the jue 3- june 12 Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Magic. For me and my wife it was the first cruise eventhough I have served in the dutch navy for 7 years. Our US friends where on 2 cruises before (not woith Carnival). We were surprised by the smoothness of the operation of the ship and the servise profided. The gabin was kept in perfect, clean state by the stateroom steward who cleaned and refreshed at least wtice a day. The food and the drinks on board were great, we especially enjoyed the Steakhouse, but our normal restaurant The northern Light where we were booked for the early sitting profided us with a table just for the 4 of us and excellent service and good food and drinks. The spa is a bit expensive but offers good services. The seated breakfast at the Southern light restaurant was also great. The food buffets at the Lido deck are fine for buffet meals. We had privately arranged excursions from Livorno (Pisa, Florence Tuscany), Citavecchia (Rome and the cathacombes) and Napels, Pompei, Almafian coast with Sorento and Positano. We just Carnival excursions from Messina to the top of the Edna and from Marseille to Aix en Provence. We are very happy about those excursions. In Monaco and in palma the Majorca we went to shore on our own which was also good. Minusses are that the photo's taken by Carnival phototpeople are printed only in US sizes and they don't sell anything digital. There were a few very rude people on board. More on that can be found on John Heald's blog on the carnival Side. After this great experience we will surely cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was our first cruise and it was more than we ever dreamed it would be. We had family with us so that of course made the experience so much nicer. The food was just awesome and freshly prepared daily.. I felt like a princess and so ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it was more than we ever dreamed it would be. We had family with us so that of course made the experience so much nicer. The food was just awesome and freshly prepared daily.. I felt like a princess and so very special.We do not know how we can ever top this experience but we are ready to try.. All the staff we very helpful and friendly. The cruise director John Heald made things so easy to understand and he made sure we all understood what we were to do. Our dinning room staff were so friendly, informative and catered to our every need. Piotr was our head waiter and Jelena was also our second server. If Jelena saw me in other areas of the ship she always called me by name and talked with me.. I was very pleased with both of them. Our cabin was kept very tidy and extra clean. We loved the little towel creatures left for us each night.. We had fun with our grandsons with all the activities on board.. We loved the serenity deck and used it lots.. We enjoyed the many hot tubs and pools also. The ship was always kept very clean and the food was just so wonderful and delicious. You could get anything you wanted all you had to do was ask and it was provided.:)We enjoyed listening to all the different types of music in the lounges. My only complaint would be that it was very difficult to find a lounge chair in any prime location. People would come down for breakfast and mark their place and even if they left for awhile they would leave their stuff and no one else could/would take it.. That was very frustrating. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Carnival Magic Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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